Aspirations Drowned in Espresso

A mix of comical, honest, and overly metaphoric.

Ho Ho Hooohhh I Almost Made It

Shout-out to my fellow anxiety ridden readers! We made it through Christmas and if you made it without tears then a huge “Congrats” to you. I did not. I wanted to make simple excuses for it. “I hate crowded bars.” “I was tired.” “People wear me out.” I definitely said these things as part of my desperate attempt to redeem my falling apart or explain to a calm person why I wasn’t. The funny thing is…when I don’t actually address the reason…I usually feel haunted by that moment until I do. Like my subconscious is some fairy godmother pouting over my shoulder and poking me with her wand whispering, “What’s really the matter, dearie?”

SOOOoooo…I stared into the oblivion, read a book sat by the coast and listened to the crashing of waves…all while being poked by that glittering wand of honesty. “FINE!”, I thought, and after some processing I figured out what I didn’t want to admit.

I was surrounded by family and friends of someone I love. People that I mostly enjoyed and seem to function better than my family ever did. I’m scared. (I resisted saying that I “was” scared, because I’m still in it.) I’m scared because I have something to lose. I’ve been a somewhat stone-like woman for a while now. I worked all the time, slept around, went out whenever I could, was available at a moments notice. I knew that if something fell through I could fill it. I was so detached I wasn’t even present to myself. It’s why I couldn’t figure out where to go or what to do. Thankfully, life lit a fire to the set that I had created for my life show and I had to make some real choices. I had to be present.

I haven’t had much of a family to fall back on in a long time, so being introduced to that environment again was certainly amazing…but it was also terrifying. Losing a family once was enough. Hell, it was too much for a while. The idea that I could get close to one again and lose them…while it may be a tad ridiculous to think so grandly…it freaked me out. I cried on and off up until and after I realized what scared me. I’m still healing and breaking down walls, and will continue to do so for a while. In order to keep that going, I need to get to the bottom of and be honest with myself about these breakdowns in communication with myself and others. Hopefully, if you have similar feelings, this can bring some catharsis. It’s weird to learn, but you are deserving and capable of love.

 

 

 

Bah Humble Yourself

I hate Christmas. When I mention that phrase, it is often responded to with “awww”s or shock and dismay. I can only assume that they wonder how a wide-eyed blonde girl can suddenly look like Krampus in a pit of fire. So, I figured I would put together a little listy-list – so millennial – of Christmas flaws. Here we go!

Classism and the Reminder of Where You Stand.

As a child, it’s that feeling of being uncool and unlike other kids. Not having the same toys or tech. Lacking the same style or brand names. It’s being on the discounted lunch list. I wasn’t entirely sure what it stemmed from when I was young, but I knew it put me in a certain category. As a parent, it means feeling like you’re letting your kids down…even if you are a stellar parent. Even as a simple adult, it can feel like failure. If you work hard all year shouldn’t you get to treat yourself? I care about this person and want to spoil them, but I’m barely making ends meet. Sure, it’d be great if we just made gifts for one another or celebrated time over trinkets. Black Friday, small business Saturday, and cyber Monday beg to differ. Fist fights and trampling for television sets and toys. You better believe a chunk of my previous credit card debt was Christmas gifts, because even though I was broke I felt like my family deserved better.

No Place like Home? What is Home?

A couple years ago, I was slightly relieved to find my brother had similar feelings around Christmastime. See, we have a very small family. Maybe not by blood…but on speaking terms – counting myself – we have a merry three. My mom, my brother, and myself. Christmas is usually a time to reunite and catch up with family. It is all over commercials and even Facebook as friends take photos with relatives old and young. What if your family has rejected you for something you believe or practice? Or your parents are divorced and you are juggling holidays? I hadn’t found a home-type feeling till just recently. You know what sucks to hear every year, “Oh! There’s no place like home for the holidays, ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam, When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze, For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!” It may seem minor, but especially when you can’t even afford the time or money to visit the TWO other family members in your life…it can be really isolating.

Why the Playlist?

Ok, maybe I realized I need atleast a third point to feel like a true list…HOWEVER! Why is this the one holiday that requires a month, minimum, of the same – damn – songs. Songs that get “revamped” every year. I know some people love it. We are a sucker for the familiar and tradition. Even I can appreciate ritual. But, I definitely see way more grimaces than I see people skipping and tapping to another rendition of “Frosty the Snowman.” It’s fun for kids, but why should I be singing about Santa when really he is just a reminder of when I first realized my parents were cool with bold-faced lies. I don’t sing about the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy. Oh, and now they made a consent version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside?” Well, I would like to have the option to consent to having my ears filled with the same ten songs for 30plus days. Yep.

So, I will write cards for my friends because I like snail mail and I will buy my fella a couple reasonably priced items to spoil him. I’ll even take some anxiety-filled glee at watching my secret Santa whom I barely know open their present. Just don’t expect me to count down the days, wear various Christmas shirts, and smile like an elf living solely on cookies and Starbucks lattes. If I could I would do away with the lot. To my fellow Bah Humbugs, I see you and appreciate you. I’ll always be there to chow on some Chinese food and drinks some libations while we crush the patriarchy.

 

 

Far From Just Another Year

A year ago I was packing all of my belongings into my car. Ok, I planned on packing them all in my car and was reminded I don’t have an SUV. Instead… I shoved all I could in my Toyota Corolla, threw away some more items, and borrowed money to rent a second car for my friend drive the rest of it. I also discovered my battery was beyond dead when my car wouldn’t start. It was quite the exit. My last year in Chicago had been a rollercoaster. I had taken a job I thought was promising and turned out to be the opposite of what I imagined, was almost broke, and lived in a basement “apartment” with little to no sunlight. I was miserable. It’s easy to cover up misery in Chicago, because you create such a great community of friends and drink all the time. I think I knew when I bashed my skull on the pavement riding my bike home in March that it was over. I had said for a couple of years that I should go, but lacked a destination or the fire under my ass. Then, poof, I was laid off. Without a full-time job or lease it seemed the fire had been lit. I took the opportunity to stay with a friend and the month or so I had left was spent tying loose ends, saying goodbye to friends, and visiting my family.

A lot happened in a]the following year. I felt the lowest of low. I felt like a charity case and a failure. It was hard leaving all the close friends I had made the past seven years. In New York, I worked at a restaurant that reminded me why I loved food and hospitality. I contacted my father for the first time in almost twenty years. My father died. Two weeks later in fact. It released a lot of anger, resentment, and hurt that I hadn’t realized was still a big part of me. That was followed by a lot of healing and reiki classes. I met my amazing boyfriend that I rarely discuss online, because I don’t feel like I need to announce him or keep a log of our time. I’m glad I met him after I had done a lot of personal work, because I know that a younger me would have sabotaged the hell out of it. He has a great heart and snarky sense of humor, and challenges me when I need it. It’s pretty great and I love the guy. I moved again! This time back on my own and in my first true apartment that I decorated to my liking. My drinking dropped drastically without effort. I’ve found an amazing friend base. Much to my chagrin, I realized I needed to go back to school and that all the years I joked about working with kids were because I wanted to. The jokes were just because I was scared to admit it and wasn’t sure if I could. (Far from the first or last time I used humor as a coping mechanism) I registered for classes and bought the laptop I’m typing on. I’m struggling financially and had to get a second job. OH, and I climbed my first rocks on a mountain. It wasn’t without struggle or grief, but I felt like a damn champion and want to keep up the challenges.

I’m beginning to ramble, so I’ll wrap it up. Many things have happened in the past year…some worthy of note, some private, and others not worth mentioning. The main change, is I feel a sense of home. I’m a little choked up just writing it, because  it’s the first time that I have felt that I have a safe space…that everything will eventually work out…and that I don’t have to be a personality or a character to have a place in it all. It is a feeling that is difficult to express or obtain, because it is such an individual experience. I miss my friends in Chicago and I will make a trip to drink and dine and catchup. There may be days when my anxiety gets the best of me, genetics be damned, but I have a support system to snap me out of it and a nest to take a breath or two and remind myself that I belong here and that it will all come to fruition. Makes that crazy year seem worth it.

 

 

 

 

In Support of Hugs and High-Fives

Today, I got a Facebook message of encouragement – applauding my positivity and supporting my decision to get training that will improve my chances for the job position I’m finally pursuing. It’s something I’m still surprised by and absurdly grateful for.

Looking back, I remember more hindrances than encouragement. Money became an issue before I even held my first coin. I knew that anything involving it was not available to me. This wasn’t because we were poor. In fact, my dad had a great job. He was intelligent and good with computers. He was set, but he’d be damned if that money was wasted or “thrown away”. The trip I took to the Emergency Clinic to have my eye flushed of chemicals was blasphemous. I remember him yelling at me for being negligent and costing him. I did my best from that moment forward to keep myself free of injury. More importantly, I shaped everything around that need to keep myself from costing him. My mom can tell you about the drawing I made of myself as a ballerina that was scribbled out. I had deduced that classes cost money and my dreams of dancing were a waste. I managed to be in a few free clubs in middle school, but shortly after my stepdad entered the picture and I was encouraged to clean house or work. I had no social life and was barely allowed to go to choir and pay for my own voice lessons. Oftentimes, if I complained to my mother about something it was met with, “you think that’s _____, I’m_____”. I realized she wasn’t a means for consolation. She served to remind me it could be worse, so suck it up.

I could go on, though I feel as though I’ve reminisced enough for your eyes. The point I’m trying to make is : I grew up lacking the encouragement. It was not known, expected, or understood. The most encouragement I got was when my teachers were attempting to get me into a college to get me out of my house. By the time teachers and friends had begun to encourage me I felt unworthy. It was hard to take seriously and I often felt a need to brush it off in the hopes they would see it was a lost cause. Much like most affection, it was uncomfortable. Much like hugs, encouragement took getting used to. Also like hugs, people lacked understanding of why something so natural was difficult for me to accept or even embrace.

Today, I got a Facebook message of encouragement – applauding my positivity and supporting my decision to get training that will improve my chances for the job position I’m finally pursuing. It’s something I’m still surprised by and absurdly grateful for.

Rotten Pumpkins and Wine-Stained Teeth

Some of these streets are so packed with restaurants that I wonder how there can be hungry people. I can see friends and couples circling the block like birds of prey as they choose a place to dine. I declined asking my friends if they were free this evening. It feels better being alone intentionally, rather than conditionally. Also, it seems like a night to sulk…to feel dreary…to hate oneself for being down when one is lucky to have menial problems. I read about cartel violence in Mexico, a lack of aid in Liberia, and countless other tragedies around the world and wonder who I can get to slap me out off my whine ridden perch.

Sitting in this coffee shop seemed a better choice than hunching nearly cross-eyed on a couch with a bottle of wine. Truth be told, I am keeping myself occupied while I wait to see if my company is wanted by a lazy fellow I’ve chosen to distract myself with. I don’t settle for relationships, but I will settle for a decent distraction with no investment. In a mere half hour I can can see whether I’m going to sarcastically toy with this bloke or nosh nearby.
I’m unsure whether to have a drink. It will either help or send me deeper into bummerland. I filed and polished my nails to deter myself from taking out my frustrations on them.

Everyone seems to be walking quicker to escape the chill they’ve yet to adjust to. It seems as tough our Indian summer may be over. The college students next to me have provided nothing of note to write about. It has all been vapid relationship talk. Moments like this make me thankful that I have such unique and intelligent women in my life. I can avoid these long banal conversations about internet dating, friend betrayal, and art school.

Steps that Lack Spring

Every Tuesday night, I watch my friend’s child Amara. It’s a great way to see my friend weekly, earn a couple o’ bucks, and prevent that internal “baby maker alarm” from ringing. It is just enough kid time to satisfy my want to nurture and play. The kid is a charmer and I am flattered and humbled by her love for me.( I feel all soft and vulnerable as I write about it.)

Last night, I had the pleasure of being greeted by my miniature fan child at the door – all smiles, hugs, and “I missed you.” Shortly after putting my things down and playing with the princess, her mom asked her to finish her homework so that we could watch Dancing With the Stars. Munchkin was most excited that we were watching it together – sweet – and ran off.

There are talks that you will have with people dear to you that will break your heart and remind you that this is adulthood, real life, and there is no prep for some struggles you face.

Both of us have previously discussed the role of mental illness in our family and communication issues – but yesterday I could see how hard that can be….that it Is, in fact, a constant battle that rarely gets easier.

My friend is writing her will. That shit is already bananas for me to think about. She is in her 30s. I just can’t see that as old enough to be writing a will…however, she has a child. There needs to be a plan. Where would her child go, who gets what, etc, etc. As she is trying to compose this legal document, she has realized that she can think of no one in her family that she would want to leave her child to. At the end of the day, in terms of family, she has no one.

Watching my friend tear up, I realized there was nothing I could say. I know this, because I have similar pains. It would be easy to say that I would gladly watch her child (because I would) or tell her something along the lines of “You aren’t alone! Your friends have your back!” These are both honest and kind words to utter, but neither of them can fill the strange, seething void that comes with realizing that your flesh and blood had left you on your own. If I did not have my younger brother, I too would be in the same exact sentiment. Though, I have my own fear that I would have to ask my younger sibling for help ever. It seems unfair to ever burden him in that manner. (I realize I shouldn’t consider it a burden.

Automne : Le changement et impermanance.

My leggings slowly soak up moisture left by previous rains on this park bench. I am surrounded by leaves that resemble watercolor work – shades building in depth, changing tones and colors. Autumn, to me, is a cave of reflection and a harping reminder of impermanence. I am constantly being bat between feelings of contentment and disappointment. Success and failure. This season is a safe space for my heart where my feelings go to swell, breathe, and vocalize their existence. It’s as if there is an annual forum for hearts to go. The previous year is looked over and evaluated in order to see how the following year can run more smoothly. As we sit feeling hollow, lonely, and overly intrusive – our hearts are crying out over the injustices they suffered within their homes, our bodies, and beg for a change.

“We must reconnect!”
“No, we must remember how to love!”
“My home has been overcome with a harsh fluorescent tone. I hear that the hands are tired from tapping screens? The eyes have told me similar tales. I assume these screens are the horrible lights invading my home. Is there something to be done here!?”

Rain drizzles on my words. A strange sort of understanding from the universe. We are all shedding tears and preparing for the harsh rebuild of winter. My heart aches and attempts to pour love down my stomach to ease the tossing and turning of thoughts and feelings in my gut. A task that will take much of this transformative season and more callousing by the strong grip of an ink pen.