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Archive for March, 2005

it’s true, i have been beating up on myself a lot lately, and that does need to come to an end. funny that i am the meanest to myself right about 21 days apart each month. hmmmmmm…. but i do need to stop comparing myself to other people and start giving myself credit for all of the wonderful things i am capable of. synge is right, i am not sans career right now because i am stupid or lazy or untalented, but just because i have not found the right thing yet. and so i have been looking….

i spent the whole day online on wednesday trying to be proactive with my non-career-gal blues. for those of you who don’t know, i have been taking creative non-fiction (read: personal essay/travel essay/memoir) writing classes at northwestern since last fall, and i love them. i have always wanted to write, i have had ideas swirling in my head for a long time now, and finally doing it has felt great. and the cherry on top is that i really think i am good and so do my teachers and the people in my classes. that’s certainly a start. so when i began my career search i thought to myself, ‘how can i turn this writing thing into a situation that would be more steady and employable than constantly submitting essays to magazines and This American Life but would still allow me to do that?’ (and no, teaching is not an option for me- i don’t like children particularly, i am not patient with strangers and i am not good at explaining how i get from a to b). i have always known i would have to go back to school at some point, because i just don’t want to work in theatre and i don’t have the training to do anything else. so i began to scan some local colleges’ grad school majors and that’s when it hit me (bear with me; i am trying to walk to the fine line of being positive and not belittling myself while still acknowledging that some of you may be thinking you’ve heard it all before as far as me and my job ideas, but i really do think this is different): journalism.

in the fall of 2006, i am going to go to columbia college in chicago to get a masters in journalism. i can finish it in one to two years, and they are very big on getting their graduates internships and helping them get jobs in the city. i had always thought about journalism, but i thought it would involve many many more years of school or that as a theatre major i would have to start from scratch. but not so at columbia- they don’t even require the GRE (yipee! i won’t have to relearn math!). and though columbia college may not be columbia university, it is still a well known school locally and, like i said, they are good at making sure you leave with contacts and job possibilities. as i see it, a journalism degree is somewhat like a law degree for writers in that it can turn into a million different jobs, including many of the more creatively bent ones that i have always dreamed of (travel writer for Gourmet anyone??).

so, having that goal in mind, i feel much better. i am attending a workshop at the Iowa summer writer’s workshop this july (taught by hope edelman, who wrote ‘motherless daughters’- i’m so excited!), i hope to begin submitting pieces to local publications by the fall, i will finish up my creative non-fiction courses at Northwestern by next winter, that leaves the spring free to fully immerse myself in wedding planning, and then i go off to get my masters! so maybe my life is fuller and more exciting than i thought. i just need to keep my eye on the big picture and not get bogged down by my little jealousies or my hormones. that said, i am off to let a woman insert a cold metal device into my vagina and scrape my uterus with a stick. (as sarah jessica parker says, ‘ i love being a girl!)

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more of the same

it seems that i have taken this blogging as jounal phenomenon to the darkest extreme and turned this into a place where i can bitch and pity myself in public in order to get nice reassuring comments from far away friends. i suppose with a title like ‘the dead parent’s society’ one could deduce that i am a bit of a dark wit anyway, and i was setting myself up for melancholia; i’m beginning to think that maybe i should have gone with something cheerier, like ‘ rainbow brite and the chirpy sunshine band’ or ‘ happy tales of bliss and glee”, but really, wouldn’t everyone just hate me even more for posting on somthing like that? i think reading blogs can be a nice way to remind yourself that everyone’s got their shit to deal with, it’s not just you. and so i continue the trend…

i am having major career envy. i finally understand my friends that are sick of hanging out with married or engaged couples. i have a friend who is always bitching about the fact that everyone she knows is getting married and how it makes her feel so alone and single and how she hates hanging out with couples and people who are always talking about their boyfriends. well last night, i spent a very nice girls’ night out with some of my career gal friends, and today i feel like a big worthless pile of shit. they were all talking about their jobs, and how much they love their work, and how hard their jobs are, and how busy they are, and how so-and-so had just asked them to be on such-and-such board, and how this project and that project was coming along. and i just sat there, seething with jealousy and feeling about as stupid and uninteresting as i’ve ever felt in my life. as much as anyone has ever wanted a boyfriend, i want a career, and, dispute it or not, i think that it’s much easier to find a boyfriend than a career (though techincally both have about equal power to make you feel miserable and insecure). i listen to my friends who have great jobs that they love and i just feel so lost; i don’t know what i want to do, i am almost 30 years old, and i don’t know what i want to do! and everyone keeps telling me, “oh you’ve got plenty of time” and ” you don’t have to know what you want to do right now” and ” you can do many different things in your life”, but none of those things make me feel better, especially when faced with so many of my friends and my peers who started out at the same place as me and are now so far down their own paths that i can hardly even see them anymore. i feel like i am sitting at the starting line, and i don’t know how to start the race.

i feel like i’ve become a joke, every week i’ve got a new career idea, and every week i either lose interest or momentum. i’m too picky, i want my dream job, but i don’t have the follow through, and i feel like everyone is just looking at me and clucking their tongues and saying, ” if only she wasn’t so lazy…”. but it’s not that i’m lazy (well, not primarily), it’s that i don’t know where to go. i don’t know which path i want to start down, and so i keep putting a foot on one path and then doubting it and then turning around and putting a foot down another path and so forth and so on. not to keep speaking in metaphors, but i feel like i’m standing in the middle of a train station with a ticket in my hand, all paid and ready to go, but i can’t read the destination, and my platform doesn’t exist. so here i am, a traveler with no destination and no mode of transportation, everything i need except where to go and how to get there.

and J trys to help, but he is so goddamned confident and patient with life. and i can’t talk to R, because she’s the queen of the career gals, she has always known where she was going and how to get there. and i keep trying to think about my mom, and how she started her career in her late twenties (with a three year old, no less), and my stepmother, and how she didn’t go to law school until she was in her thirties, but those things become less comforting as i slip closer and closer to the age that they were when they did finally make up their minds, and i still don’t have a clue.

it’s at times like this that i really and truly envy my old across-the-street friend Jill. she knew she wanted to be a math teacher from the time we were in middle school. so she went to college, she majored in math and education, and now she teaches high school algebra. just as easy as that.

the other night at work, i overheard a young girl who was in town visiting colleges with her mother. she was fresh-faced and old-fashioned pretty, with the look and the attitude of a girl from a J.D. Salinger short story, all intelligent innocence and grown up idealism. she and her mother were the second pair in line for the show behind an older couple who were asking her about her school visits and her college ambitions. i was inspired by her youth and freshness, happy for her in all of her yet-to-come-ness, until they asked her what she wanted to major in. she said she wanted to double major in theatre and english, she wanted to be a playwright, and the bitterest, most beaten-down part of my soul wanted to run up to her and scream out “NOOOOOOOO!” i was shocked and appalled with myself, but my instinct was to tell her to major in pre-law or business or at least to take some education courses, because you can’t do anything with a theatre degree or an english degree (bear with me synge) and you’ll just end up careerless and struggling and confused when you’re thirty or you’ll have to go back to school later. and of course, this instinct made me feel horrible, like i had lost all of my own youthful resolve and hopefullness and creative idealism. of course there are exceptions to the rule, there are people who do make wonderful use of these degrees (ie. Synge, and MAH, and R), who do get a job in their art, and who do find wonderful careers, but could someone please tell me their secret, because i am sick and tired of standing in this train station.

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anniversaries

mondays are going ot be my special days from now on, my days just for me to write and think and clear out my brain, to spend a little time checking in and taking care of myself. a much needed day. and this particular monday is an especially free one, as i have no writing class tonight, and J is working a double, so i have the whole house and the whole entire day to myself. yea. but strangely, even with all of this free time and space, all i have motivated myself to do so far is eat and sleep, and it is almost afternoon, so here goes.

last saturday was the ninth anniversary of my mother’s death. it’s strange how her death day has become almost more significant to me than her birth day. sad. friday night at midnight i was over at my friend R’s house and my phone started beeping right at midnight. i’d forgotten that i had programmed the day into my phone’s calender, unaware that that also set an alarm. what a wake up call- ” your mother died today! your mother died today! remember, remember! your mother died today!” most of saturday i tried not to dwell on it, and i worked that night, with plans to go out drinking later that night with J and some friends, so i figured i would be fine, plenty to distract me. but both of my aunts called me at work to see how i was doing. and later that night at the bar it was all i could talk about, until i got myself distractingly and purposefully drunk. but i woke up sunday morning just fine, sure i had made it through another one, better than usual, less drama, less mess. we had friends coming over for dinner that night, so that whole day was full too, cleaning the house, going to the grocery store, cooking like a madwoman. so much to do, no time to dwell, busy busy busy!

the trouble started with the red wine, though even that took time.

dinner was great, company was great, except for a slightly runny cheesecake, all was well. when everyone left, J and i settled into the couch and watched Carnivale, a show i have become totally obsessed with, while my giddy, tipsy hostess high wore down. the house was warm, my belly was full, i had spent the evening with some of my favorite people, now i was watching my favorite show with my favorite man, and all was well in the world. until the show ended, and the wine began it’s usual tricks.

red wine makes me sad and emotional. i don’t know what it is, or why it’s so, but it always happens. i love it- last night we had a rich zinfandel, so deep and dark and sweet like cherries and smoke- but it is always a dangerous thing to play with if i have anything important on my mind. even things that are deeply buried will come out when i am drinking red wine. (remind me not to drink it at my wedding…)

as J turned the tv to a sports channel, and i got up to go to the bathroom, the sadness began to hit me. suddenly everything that i had been trying to ignore on saturday began trickling through my brain. i felt sad, and hopeless, and lonely, and isolated, and scared, and hard, and cold. i told J i was going to take a shower. i stripped off my clothes and crawled under the hot spray. (i wonder why it is that when i am upset i always want to take a shower- is it a womb thing? a water as redemption thing? just a sensory distraction, a guiltess indulgence?) but even standing there in the water i could not cry, either for myself or for her. lately i have been sad, but i cannot seem to cry. i just stood there, with the water hitting my back and thought about how alone i have felt since she left. how i have never let anyone into my life all the way, even J (though he’s come the closest), since she died. and how i am so sick and tired and frustrated and angry at the way i have shut myself off. how desperately i want to be open and brave and hopeful like i was when i was a child, when i felt safe and protected and sure of myself. i hate remembering her death day. i hate always noticing that she’s gone. i hate that now i have to do that with my dad too, and i can feel myself not believeing that he is dead. i want a day when i do not think of them. i want a day when it does not cross my mind. or i want

hell, i don’t know what i want, but this melancholy thing is not nearly so romantic in real life as it is in tennessee williams plays, and i am more than a little tired of being so damn introspective and aware of my feelings. sometimes i see stupid shallow people and i envy them. it must be nice to go through life not thinking about things all of the time, just doing what you’re told or what you’re supposed to do. and who can i blame for my acute self-awareness? my mother, of course.
i just miss her. i want her back. i want my dad back too, but my mom more, because i am starting to forget what she looks like. i am starting to forget what she sounds like. and i don’t know if i do remember who she was. we never got to be friends. we would have been great friends. i wish i had gotten a chance for her to drive me crazy, like everyone else is always saying their moms do. i wish she had been the first one i called when i got engaged. i wish she was pressuring me to have grandkids, or pushing me to get a better job, or calling at the most inconvenient times, or trying to treat me like a child even though i’m all grown up. i wish that i had been the one to let her go, to push her away as i grew, instead of her leaving me first.

three thousand days. next year it will be ten years. and ten years after that she will have been gone from my life longer than she was in it. right now i am becoming a grown up, and my mom is not here to see it. i will start my own family some day, and no one in it will have known her but me.

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roller coaster

boy, reading back through my entries, it seems like i am in a bit of a permanant flux- i go from emotional to recovered, to emotional to recovered like some sort of moody rocking horse. i guess i have always been emotionally close to the surface… but thank you all for the support and tales of understanding. really that’s all i needed- to know that i am not the only one feeling this way and therefore not some sort of flawed, socially retarded freak. and i am trying to take a step back and see that i do have friends here, i just tend not to call on them as much as i could, guarded little minx that i am, but they are there if i want to make the effort. J and i were discussing it (poor thing, he gets to hear about all of my ever-changing anxieties) and we decided that i am typically more of a one-on-one gal, i am more of a lone wolf than a social butterfly, but the problem lies in the fact that i have always wanted to be a social butterfly, and therefore felt inadequate. actually, i decided that lone wolf was not quite the right term for me, i am not so fierce, i am more like a lone chipmunk ( i gather nuts…for me).

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no, i do want to write about it now. i am not happy. well, that’s not entirely true; i love my boyfriend/fiancee/whatever (let’s just call him J) very much and he is my best friend, and our relationship is wonderful, and i am happy that i am back in the habit of going to the gym, but other than that, i am just not very satisfied with my life right now. i don’t have any friends. not other than J, and not any here in town anyway, and though that is all entirely my own fault, because i am distant and shy and cowardly and REALLY bad at making new friends, it still sucks. i mean i do have a few friends, but not many, and i miss having a close group of girlfriends. i miss girl nights. i miss being able to call someone up in the middle of the night to go get ice cream or get drunk or jump in fountains or drive to the beach, and no one could do that now anyway because everyone is all grown up and has a real job and responsibilities and all that stuff. and that leads me to my second major whining point: i hate my job, and i want to know what the hell i am going to do with my life. i want a career, or at least career ambitions. all i have is a bunch of half-explored paths and a totally useless theatre degree. i feel like my whole life has been about ‘what am i going to do with my life THIS week?’ be an actor? a waitress? a singer? a writer? a party planner? a yoga instructor? work in non-profits? WHAT??? i might as well start saying i want to be an astronaut or a ballerina when i grow up- i might want to NEXT week! (though honestly, the ballerina thing would never work with my boobs) i just feel like i’m drifting. i feel like my relationship and getting married is the only thing i have going for me right now, and i never wanted that to be all i had going for me. i want ME to be going for me. but going where? and with what friends? i miss my old friends and my old friendships. aw hell, you guys are the only ones who read this anyway, so let’s just say i miss you guys. i know it has been a long time, and i know everyone tried to keep in touch with me and i was never very good at it, but it was never because i didn’t think of you guys or miss you. i am just scatterbrained and lazy, i get off track easily, maybe i’m ADD like my dad. and i know it was all so long ago, and everyone has their own lives now. and i know that we are still friends, sort of, but i just feel like all of you have stayed so close and i let myself drift away, and i guess lately i really regret that. i hope i can still come back, still try to be better about keeping in touch and checking in. i know it will never be like high school, and i’m not even saying i would want that, i just miss having such a really close group of friends around. emails and the occasional phone call are nice, but i miss late night coffee and board games. i get so jealous when i read Synge’s posts about hanging out with MAH and her Viddipookins (or whatever the nickname is, i know who it is) and other old friends, and when i read about everyone visiting eachother for the weekend. i barely get to see my family- they’re so spread out and far away, and none of them ever come to visit me- and i wish i could come to visit everyone, but it’s just so hard.
i’m sorry to anyone who happens to read this. like i said, i am just feeling poopy and lonely and feeling sorry for myself. and i’m on my period, that’s a big part of it, i’m sure. i love chicago, but i miss the east coast. i love J, but i miss my friends. kristoise told me when i got engaged never to ‘act like a married woman’ and stop going out with my girlfriends. i don’t want to. but what if i don’t have any girlfriends?
(sorry again for the whining- can’t you just hear the nasal tones? being moody sucks)

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quick

it’s been a very long time (in blogging world anyway) since i posted, so i thought i’d just check in to say that i am alive and nothing much is happening in my life, hence the no blogging. well, actually i have a lot to talk about, but it’s all mostly whining and self pity, and right now i just don’t have the energy to go into it. i don’t think anyone reads this blog anyway (see? blatant self pity). but i will try to sit my butt down and write tomorrow sometime. they took away the internet from our computers at work (the only thing i had to distract me from the fact that i’m a college graduate -with honors, i might add- who works at a job that monkeys could do) so i am not online as much as i was before. boo. blah. blub blub blub. i feel poopy.

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