Saturday, July 31, 2010

Second Looks

I went to see "Inception" tonight.

It was good but confusing. Much like a book that absorbs me, I will probably see it again to catch all the parts I missed the first time.

It did make me think though. Without giving things away, I will just say this... I totally get the feeling of reality vs. the world we create for ourselves. In truth, I tend to build things up and create/desire the impossibility of perfection.

Goals that are out of reach... people beyond my grasp... dreams that never reach fruition. I live in a world of impossibility. Then sometimes -- most times -- reality creeps in and the dream tends to crumple. For a while, I crumple with it. And that really sucks.

This is what I remind myself of, however. Life, like a good movie, can be good but confusing. But it's always worth a second look.


Tonight, I wanted to say good-bye.

But I couldn't.

Maybe because I didn't want it to end.

Maybe because I'm never sure if it will begin again.

And even if it does, it is just never the same.

But I missed my chance nevertheless.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Being Normal

Today, a dear friend of mine asked me when it became out of fashion to just be "normal". It was the most thought-provoking question I'd heard in a long time because in truth, I don't even know what "normal" is anymore. But I sure as Hell know what it isn't.

Know this: I am rarely shocked by the atrocities that one member of the human race can commit upon another. It is sad but true. But I am always horrified by it. Especially the crimes perpetrated under the guise of love. Those wolves that lay in wait and don the sheep's clothing.

I had to call a mom today, and I had to tell her something about her daughter, something that had already shattered her family beyond recognition, something that she already knew. And although she already knew all the things spilling from my mouth, I still managed to wreck her with my words and poke my fingers into a wound that will not heal in a thousand lifetimes. When her voice hit that first unmistakable crack, my heart broke in half. She was falling apart, and I wanted to as well, but in that moment, it's just not very professional to fall apart yourself.

I held on somehow for a few more minutes, and managed to hang up the phone before I crumbled. I don't know how, but I did. In that moment, all of my indignant rage, all of my well-deserved and much-needed anger that normally shoots through me vanished. It fled my body. I was left with a nothingness that pissed me the fuck off. Normally, I would yell or scream or kick the shit out of some inanimate object. I would scream and cuss and rage against the unfair world and faceless God who would allow such a fucked up thing to exist, and now I couldn't.

All I could do was weep.

Ordinarily, I might see this girl once in a day. Maybe twice. Today, however, she was everywhere I turned, and I had no clue how to speak to her or look at her without totally losing my shit. But somehow, I did. Because when someone is just trying to hold on, to live their life without losing their shit, it's just not very professional to lose yours.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just Another Sanity-Saving Saturday

The hard week streak is over.

I know by proclaiming this, it is sure to jinx me, but jinxes be damned. I woke up today with a dead sleep hangover, still holding on to my guilt and sadness and anger, and I assumed that nothing could cure it. And so because I wanted to be in a bad mood, I was.

And then I wasn't. Mainly because no one would let me.

First, my sweet friend bought me lunch, and I never let him buy me lunch, but the jackass snatched the check right outta my hand.

Then I went to the basketball court where like 10 kids gave me like 10 hugs apiece and seemed genuinely, completely excited to see me. I don't feel like this happens a lot, so it was quite nice.

Followed up by a trip to the pool where one of my campers told me I was wearing "Streetwalker Red" nail polish. Normally, in real life, this might offend people. It does not offend me. It IS kind of streetwalker-ish red, and it was even better because she admittedly has no idea what a streetwalker even is. She's just repeating what her mom says. Attention moms of the world: they really are listening.

Then I got to spend a whole hour with my feet in the cool water, my shoulders soaking up some much-needed sun, and my sides hurting from Alison making me laugh 'til I cried. It was luxurious and awesome.

A decent dinner, a whacked-out camp talent show/dance, and kids with hundreds and hundreds of glow sticks. And glow sticks automatically make everything better. Snacks and songs in the dining hall, and now I'm waiting for my funny friends to come join me on the rooftop for more funny stories and even more laughter. And laughter is the soundtrack of camp.

All around me, life went on, and I loved it and treasured each and every moment because I only have 6 days of those moments left.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Getting Lost

I find that I am constantly losing my way. It's well-known that I'm pretty directionally challenged (it's a genetic defect that no GPS can cure), but my sense of mis-direction sometimes creeps out of the car and into deeper, sometimes darker parts of my soul.

And that's when bad shit goes down.

Somebody told me once that, in the car, I am easily lost simply for the fact that I never trust that I can find my way -- that I doubt my own abilities and senses, and in that worrisome moment of "right or left?" or "this exit or that one?", I lose all consciousness and fixate on the fact that I might mess up.

I fucking hate messing up. Even more than feeling lost.

He reminded me that maps can be handy, all roads eventually lead somewhere, and if all else fails, you can always effing turn around and just start again.

But this is the problem. Sometimes, you can't just start again. Because life doesn't come with a road map and a set of do-overs. Sucks, but true.

I've made lots of choices in my life -- some good, some not-so-good, and some which were just plain lucky. One of my worst habits, however, is the second-guessing of those choices. Even the good ones. I have never been able to just accept that things happen. I tend to remind others that "everything happens for a reason", but let me tell you right now, most of the time, I'm totally full of shit and just saying what I think will make you feel better. You shouldn't really listen to me in that moment, but everyone does.

Sometimes things happen, and I, nor you, will ever know the reason. Sometimes things happen in the blink of an eye, and even that is long enough to jack up all of Existence. And that idea makes my brain hurt because I will backtrack and examine the chain of events leading up to that moment, and I wonder where I fit into it. Where was the beginning? Where is the end? And where, at times, is the beginning of the end? I roam around in the World of What If, obsessing about "left or right?", "here or there?", and "this or that?", and I fixate on the moment where I feel like I messed it all up.

Then I'm lost, and I'm left stranded on that road to nowhere, wishing I could just turn around and effing start all over again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This Too Shall Pass

The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day has now stretched into the Three Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Days.

And it totally sucks balls. Hairy Balls. Sweaty, hairy balls. And that's just no bueno.

But out of the darkness, there is always light.

Here's my two little rays of it:

A) Heather, my totally badass friend who is powering through spinal surgery recovery, is getting to go home to live, once again, on her own. This assures that World War III is guaranteed to not start at her mother's home. At least not yet.


2) My friend, Amanda, is somebody's mom. And it's a very lucky little somebody, for sure. Welcome to the world, Griffin (formerly known as Li'l George Foreman). I hope to steal you from your Aunt Courntee's arms very, very soon.

These two pieces of news give me hope. Hope that no matter how bad things get, life will go on. Life will be successful and joyous.

Because, let's face it, if you can survive something like having someone's hands on your mother effing spinal cord for 12 hours or shooting a human being out of your va-jay-jay, these days too will surely pass.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today was a hard day.

An unbelievably hard day.

Today was the kind of day that makes you question not only the choices of others but also your own personal choices in what kind of life it is that you mistakenly signed up for. Emotionally, physically, and mentally draining.

But this is what I learned about myself.

I can do the things I wasn't sure I could. I can put aside my own whiny tendencies to support those that need me more than I need me at any given moment. And, yet again, everything I've learned in the past 15 years really does come through when you need it most, and, yes, I am still learning each and every day.

And, today was surely not the hardest day ever. It just felt like it.

But I also remembered that others, when you need them most, will always be there. Whether it's a hug, or a smile, or a meaningful text, or a free Diet Coke, or a visit even though you don't have time to visit, or just continuing on their way without questions but with the knowledge that they just have to carry on. Those are the important things to remember as you lie in bed.

It's my self-appointed job to go around saving others every day, trying (sometimes in vain) to fix the unfixable, and feeling the pain/joy of being needed and purposeful. But some days, even the savers need to be rescued, the fixers feel broken, and the driven lose their way, and that's just how it is. Hopefully, when that happens, someone will be waiting patiently to pick you up, dust you off, and send you back into the fray.

So tonight, this one's for the Cavalry because it's almost time to saddle up again tomorrow.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How the Stones (Might Have) Totally Got It Wrong

"You can't always get what you want...
But if you try sometime, you might find...
You get what you need."

Ummm... sometimes you might find...
That you don't get what you want or what you need.
And that totally blows goats.

I don't think the song would've been nearly as popular with this message. It just doesn't give you the same cool, sing along at the top of your lungs, kind of vibe.

My optimism tank is on empty today, and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm just dreading the end of something that I both want to end soon but cannot bear the ending of, and I'm not very adept at such a paradoxical idea.

Maybe I'm just being super-tired and more than a little bit whiny. This is always a distinct possibility.

But I think it's probably the first.

And that totally blows goats too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Five Steps to a Classy Lifestyle

So, my friend Alison is one. classy. broad.


She is.

And when we are hanging out together, we totally class each other up even more. In fact, here's our "Guide to Being a Classy Broad... Just Like Us".

Rule #1 -- Classy broads need their beauty rest.

When you feel the urge to take a disco nap, just do it.

Doesn't matter where.

Doesn't matter when.

Doesn't matter what six year-old is watching you, taking a nap on the ice cream freezer, through the camp store window.

But you should always carry a pillow.

Or a stuffed possum to use as a pillow.

That's the creepy tail hanging out. Gross.

Rule #2 -- Classy Broads don't need doors. Windows do just fine in a great escape situation.

Rule #3-- Classy Broads are always in fashion.

Even when your only choices are a giant turtle shell, a bungee cord, and a cowboy hat.

Rule #4 -- Classy Broads will be okay with a friend announcing her fake pregnancy on Twitter because... who knows? Maybe those bitches will throw a "Cash Only Baby Shower".

Rule #5 -- Classy Broads cannot be tamed.

Not even with duct tape and sheer determination.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rainy Day Blues

I don't like rainy days.

They make me think too much, question too often, and wish too foolishly.

They make me lonely and lazy and a little bit insane.

Today, I almost bought a dog because I wanted someone else in the house. I have two cats, but they could give a shit if you're lonely. Not if it's going to interrupt their nap time. This is probably why you'll never see such a thing as a seeing-eye cat. They wouldn't give a damn and would just expect you to find your own way around, Lazy Ass.

But the laziness brought on by the rain outweighed the loneliness, and the pet store seemed ultra-far away.

Rainy days make me do stupid things like begin a closet clean-out, drink by myself and look up old boyfriends via the Internet. And those last two things are a dangerous combo.

Don't worry though, I don't keep booze in the house, and my internet's all jacked up. My iphone's great and all, but it's for emergency stalking only. And one day of rain does not constitute an emergency.

I better check the forecast for tomorrow though.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Get Your Credit Card Out Now. That's an Order.

So... I'm still pretty new at this blogging thing. Originally, I was a little fearful to write because I was worried that it seemed pretentious and self-centered. The only people I knew with a blog were people with charities and things like new babies. Well... I don't have any rugrats to keep people posted on, and although I associate with many different charitable organization, I'm not sure that they want their names associated with a blog that has posts which reference bull testicles, dead snakes on a string, and my extreme love of the "F" word. Therefore, I was a little nervous to start this whole blogging business.

In my own obsessively-compulsive tendency, I did lots of "research" (i.e. following lots of different blogs/bloggers), and one of the writers I fancied the most is a fellow named Black Hockey Jesus. In fact, I fancied him so much that I read his whole blog beginning to end in two nights. And, believe me, that's a ton of reading and even more thinking. He makes me think. Like to the point where my brain actually hurts. He's excellent. Truthfully. I'm telling you... check him out here. After staying up two whole nights, reading his blog life from beginning to end, I found myself doing something I swore that I'd never do.

I wrote a friggin' fan letter.

Well...technically, it was a fan email, but that sounds even more ridiculous and embarrassing. Therefore, I'm sticking with fan letter even though it does make me feel like I'm choosing between Team Edward or Team Jacob or doodling Black Hockey Jesus's name on my binder at school. I'm way too old for that casserole of nonsense.

And guess what? Dude wrote me back. Immediately. And he was amazing and reassuring and much-needed in my life. I figured out that what I was missing was a total stranger to tell me to quit my tiptoeing around and just step up and quit being a worry wart. I knew my friends would encourage me because that's who they are... but when it's your friends, you can never be sure where the line between total honesty and bias really lives. Fuck everyone else, he told me, and do what makes you happy. He was a total smartass at first and then became super-encouraging with my questions/qualms about this whole writing dilemma I had. If he didn't already have an incredible wife who he obviously adores and two funny-ass kids he's sure to not abandon, I would've developed a mad crush. But he does have those peeps, and I'm not completely insane, so I've kept it to just a writer's admiration.

So, anyhow, this whole blog you're reading can very well be traced back to BHJ's delightfully awesome email. I hope it's been worth your time. If it hasn't, then what are you still doing here, jackwipe?

Now here's the real need for this post (although I've been looking for a way to publicly love/thank Mr. Black Hockey Jesus but didn't want to look like... you know... a stalker).

BHJ, for all of the ways that I adore him, has a passion/obsession with running. Seriously, the man has run over 1100 miles in the past 6 months. I don't get it, but he does it and truthfully, that's not really the worst addiction he could have, so I'm gonna let it slide. It just means that my love for him is a definite no-go because I totally suck at running. Seriously, if I was the girl in the scary movie, I would totally just give up and take a machete to the face because all that running? No thanks.

He's run for causes before, and I've noticed and been appreciative. There's a few posts where he links to other super worthy causes. I don't ever click because I know myself, and I know that I would click away my life savings for the people on the other end of those clicks. But this time? That mother effer showed me a picture. A picture of a completely darling 8 year-old kid named Tanner. A picture of a completely darling 8 year-old kid in his wheelchair. A picture of a completely darling 8 year-old kid, in a wheelchair, who will never escape that wheelchair becasue he has muscular dystrophy. And all I could think about were all the completely darling kids in my life, some in wheelchairs while others are not, and it pissed me off that there is even a need for 8 year old sized wheelchairs. That's where I feel like God or Nature or genetics or even the world is nine kinds of fucked-up.

Whoa... rant coming on. Switch gears, D.

Anyway, this kid's aunt is apparently a blogger and has organized a 5K for Tanner in which everyone will run in a tutu. Black Hockey Jesus, however, has upped the ante as he's known to do and you can read about it here. For reals, click the link. Don't be like me.

BHJ's going to run as many 5K's in a row that he can handle. The Dude's a lunatic. He gets it. He owns his lunacy, and that just adds to his complete awesomeness. I told you... the running is an obsession, but now his obsession is helping a darling 8 year old, and I totally heart this (me + BHJ = LUV).

So, click the link, fall in love, toss out a vote for a nickname for little Tanner, take out your credit card, and help out. Or you can make a pledge right here on this little widget, placed in honor of my pseudo-friend BHJ's request. But make it big. Like I said, this dude's crazy and will run until he cannot run anymore, and I simply cannot wait for a post update while he re-hydrates in some hospital.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Yellow Candles and the Art of Being Present

Today, I lived my life as a bystander.

I missed my opportunity to be present and attentive to the world spinning and humming around me.

I was disjointed and disappointed, and I let that get the best of me.

I hate that.

And then, a kid... a kid who has bitterly opposed any and all authority for the past 5 days, all snarls and eyerolls and teenage annoyance... snapped me back to reality.

Want to know how he did it?

He cried. This too tough 15 year-old wise ass, sobbed throughout closing campfire. He wept for almost 20 minutes, at first quietly and then not-so-quietly, until his counselors pulled him away to check on him. Then he revealed that he was sad because camp was ending. Here's a kid whose smart-mouth and shit-eating grin and eff-the-world attitude had steeled him against almost any kind of real emotion for God only knows how long. And he was so present in that moment, so sad and scared and unsure, that he forgot to be ashamed of his tears. It was stunning.

After campfire, when he came to grab his Foster Kid Cocktail of Meds, he asked me if he could keep the candle he'd made for our closing ceremony. He told me he wanted to bring it back next year. All I could say was, "Sure. Of course." It was such a sad little candle, no bigger than something you'd find on a birthday cake, but he held onto it so tightly that it made my heart ache.

I had a different post all planned. I'd been writing it in my head all day. It was going to drip with smart-mouth and eff-the-world attitude. It was depressing and angry and spiteful. But the whole time I was typing tonight, all I could see was that crappy little yellow candle in his hand and his eyes, red from crying, and I couldn't leave it alone. I arranged and re-arranged and changed it up a hundred different ways, but to no avail. The whole thing felt disjointed and disappointing, and I've had enough of that today.

I hope that kid never loses that candle. I hope he does get to bring it back next year. I hope that when he gets back to his home, he takes a piece of all of us with him. And I hope that I can remember tomorrow, what it's like to be present... fully present... for the world spinning and humming all around me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's Probably Fine

I learned about 85% of what I know from camp. Maybe more.

Sorry, Mom, Dad, siblings, and teachers, but it's the truth.

Whether as a camper, where I learned how to swim or build a fire or shoot a bullseye, or as a counselor where I learned to soothe a homesick kid, take a fish off a hook, entertain 60 kids crammed into the showerhouse during a tornado, or identify a venomous snake. Or as an ad staff member where I became well-versed in parent phone calls, CPS reports, human resources, and buttering up the important people like the registrar, maintenance crew, and kitchen ladies (b/c let's face it -- those are the people who truly run any business). I've got skills that no college class could ever teach me.

More than anything, however, I learned the best skill possible. Flexibility. And it's totally a learnable skill because, as a nervous-nellie kid, I liked knowing what was going to happen. I relished my routine, and I took comfort in the normal. I still do, and I totally prefer it, but the reality is that when you work with kids, "normal" goes out the effin' window fast. Because, honestly, nothing at camp will ever go according to schedule. At camp, you're dealing with anywhere from 75 to 150 different personalities, wants, and needs at any given moment. Then you throw in things like rental groups, rainstorms, and random acts of WTF, and camp becomes a recipe in "What the hell are we supposed to do now?"

Well... here's what you do.

You just do. You do what you can with what you have, and if you do it with the right attitude, with the right people around you, sometimes shit just works out.

And that's pretty incredible.