(Me circa 1985-ish... just before societal pressure kicked in for me and every other girl to wear a slutty costume.)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
(Me circa 1985-ish... just before societal pressure kicked in for me and every other girl to wear a slutty costume.)
Friday, October 30, 2009
Visit him. Yep, pure genius. I know. Amazing isn't it? With all this time off. Not working and all, why not visit him? Money has been a factor, but I came up with an even more ingenious plan. I called my dad up and said, "Wouldn't it be great if I could come to New Jersey for Thanksgiving?" He said that it would and I responded, "I have been thinking. What if you bought me a ticked to come see you for Thanksgiving? That could be my Christmas present. You wouldn't have to get me anything else."
So, a ticket hasn't been purchased at this point, but I am feeling pretty optimistic that it will be. I am actually really pumped. Not that I don't get excited to see my dad and the rest of my family...it is just that it feels like it has been so long. I am excited to just hang out. Eat lots of good food. Do a puzzle with my grandmother. Show my grandfather pictures. Laugh with my cousins about stuff we did when we were kids. Just enjoy my family. So fingers crossed that everything works out.
Oh, and because I don't do things without a touch of crazy I need to note that this ticket I am requesting is an Amtrak ticket. Before you go freaking out that I am opting to spend 20 some hours on a train as opposed to 2 hours in a plane, I need to explain. One, I do not like flying. I actually hate it. I actually feel like someone is torturing me. Terrible. Anxiety. This doesn't mean I don't do it. I do, but when I have all the time in the world why do I need to go the quick and painful route? Second, I actually really enjoy the train. Like, I embarrassingly love it. I. Heart. Train. And third, the ticket was cheaper because it is like the busiest travel time for airlines. People normally don't have the time for train travel over the long weekend that is Thanksgiving. I do. So, I am going Amtrak.
However, the above does not really get at my crazy. This does:
Yep, somehow I found myself on the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis website looking up train wreck statistics. Awesome.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I called my older brother last night to chat. I text him earlier in the day and he said he would call me back. I was getting impatient, so I called him around 6pm. He said, "Oh weird. Don't do that again. I was just thinking that I forgot to call you back and then the phone rang." I'm pretty much a psychic...if you didn't know that. Just letting you know.
Anyway, we talked about our plans for Thanksgiving and then I interrupted him and said," Wait, real fast, can I ask you a question? I just started drinking coffee so I don't know if this is normal. Does your pee smell like coffee if that is all you drink for the morning? Normally my pee doesn't have a smell because I drink so much water, but today it totally smelled like coffee."
Brother is laughing uncontrollably.
I continued, "Like, I know your...or any one's pee smells weird if they eat asparagus or something like that, but does coffee do the same thing?"
Brother still laughing.
Me, "I'm serious." I start laughing.
He never really gave me an answer. He said, "Emily, you're a freak. What happens in your head?"
I didn't know how to answer that. I don't know. All I know is what happened in the toilet. And, it smelled like coffee.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This whole unemployment thing that I've been doing for the past couple of months has been an interesting journey. It is odd. I have almost forgotten what it is like to actually get up for work and have a daily responsibility. My weeks generally revolve around two or three different commitments. After that, the rest is up to me. Regrettably, I have not been making the most of that time. I will say that I have a tendency to be very hard on myself. Extremely. Hard. In the past couple of weeks I have been struggling with my purpose. I put a lot of stock in my purpose in life...the footprints I leave in this world. I've begun to fear that no matter how hard I walk right now...those footprints are non-existent. It's one of my biggest fears.
I will admittedly share that I am not really looking for a job, which makes it a little difficult given that I put a lot of emphasis on my career to give my life purpose. The fact that I am not even looking is much to the chagrin of some of my closest friends and some family members. There is a reason for my decision though. In addition to putting stock in leading a purpose driven life...I put an equal amount in happiness. I fear that I won't find happiness if I just seek out any random job that will hire me. I want to find it within. What better way to do that then to have all the time in the world to discover it?
You see, if I were a betting woman I would say that all my chips get evenly split between purpose and happiness. I just truly believe that when you do that...all in...the returns are tenfold.
For those who are concerned, I do have a plan. I'm working with two great friends on a start-up company, which I am over the moon excited about. I really do believe that it will be a great thing and afford all of us some amazing opportunities to be happy, creative, playful, energetic, free, expressive...
So, in the mean time, I wait. I've had big plans to do this "Month of Emily" thing. I've wanted to focus on discovering happiness, taking care of me, and doing good things for myself. For some reason, it just seems to get fucked up on day two (okay maybe one) every time I try. It is just that in this time I have a lot of varying emotions: excitement for what may be, anxiety for what currently is, paralysis from fear, and a host of others. They seem to get in my way.
Perhaps the trick is simply saying it out loud (or as out loud as the blog allows). Today, is day one of the "Month of Emily." I will work on making sure I don't hold back on any of my proverbial chips and place them all in happiness and purpose. Holding back gets you in trouble.
As simple as that sign is, it was just what I needed to see. Everything is going to be amazing. I don't need to worry. All I need to do is play my part in making it a reality.
Monday, October 26, 2009
(If you are totally horrified, it might be good to note that I did end up talking to him later and properly ended things. Those details are just not as interesting. Hopefully I've renewed some faith you had in me.)
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It's something people don't like to talk about. Don't like to acknowledge. It is something that many people would be happy just sweeping under the rug. The one flaw with this mentality is that there is not a rug big enough to hide the realities of domestic violence. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. And while it's not something that is exclusive to the female experience, 85% of all domestic violence survivors are women.
I spent years working in the field of domestic violence. It is an issue very close to my heart and perhaps the topic I can discuss with more passion than anything else. I used to say that I would never do anything else professionally. I saw myself working in the field until retirement. Something changed along the way. It wasn't that it was too depressing. In fact, when I told people what I did for a living the first reaction of a great majority of people was, "that's so sad." Others changed the subject as quickly as possible. I always explained that it wasn't a sad career. My time working in shelters was quite often happy. Yes, there were very sad stories. Heartbreaking stories. Yes, I closed my office door on more then one occasion and cried. However, the shelter was a place of hope. The shelter represented change, whether for a lifetime or a day, in the lives of the women and children who walked through the doors. It was a choice I made, but I chose to see it as a very positive place.
So, it wasn't "sad." And, I didn't leave because it became too depressing. But, it became heavy. I have an insane memory. I can recall a name or a face of someone I met once, years ago, almost instantly. This skill was often called upon at the shelter. I would be asked to join a meeting and would be given a few facts about a woman and her children- I could usually recall her first and last name and the details of previous shelter stays. It came in handy. I knew the details of the stories of almost every woman staying in the shelter. I took notes, but rarely needed them. I just absorbed it all. I could see their faces and their stories in my head. I still can. As I type I remember their names. I moved away and was offered a job outside of the domestic violence field. The break allowed me to reflect and what I realized was that the work became so heavy on my heart. I still see their faces. I still remember their stories. What became harder was that I saw and still see the faces and story of my own family.
You see, we have our own rug we do some sweeping under. We rarely ever talk about it. Once when I was practicing in front of my brother for a public appearance I was going to be making, he questioned the 1 in every 4 statistic. He said, "that's really high, isn't it?" So, I get why someone who hasn't experienced it first hand has trouble grasping the sheer gravity of how widespread the problem is. I get that people can't put a face to it. My brother, who had my face, who had my mom's face...who had his own face...couldn't.
I know the story of a woman who said she didn't deserve better. I know the story of a girl who feared going to school because there was a chance her mother would not live to see her make it home. I know the story of a woman who said she didn't feel loved by a man who didn't beat her. I know the story of a boy who knew his mother only by the name "Bitch," it was all he ever heard her called. I know the story of a woman who said, "he only choked me a little." I know the story of a child who called the four walls of a shelter the only home she ever knew. I know the story of a woman who died at the hands of the one she loved the most.
I know their stories. One of them is mine.
Please, know how real it is. Talk about it. It is the only way to shine light under the rug.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I would like to say, "I never lie." However, saying that would in and of itself be a lie. That's right, I lie, so do you. And according to a researcher at the University of Massachusetts, whose report has sat as an open tab in my browser for far too long waiting for me to write this post, a reported "60 percent of people lie at least once during a 10-minute conversation and tell an average of two to three lies." If you do the math for a whole day...it's a lot of lies being told.
The study speaks about the differing content of the lies of women versus men. One being to make another feel good and the other being to make the liar look better. The study found "women were more likely to lie to make the person they were talking to feel good." I get this and think that it has been the motivation for a great number of the lies I've told in the past, "I love it!" or "You were the best I've ever had," etc. But, I think that is only half of the truth. Women lie all the time to make themselves look better. (see: makeup, fake eyelashes, hairspray, Spanx, push-up bras, etc.) If you ask a woman how much she weighs (note: DO NOT EVER DO THIS), I have my money on the fact that she will lie.
We all have our own motivations for being dishonest, but I began to think back at some of my most notorious lies. Now, I am not a huge liar. I think honesty is the best policy and I have a very guilty conscience. If I lie, I quite often come back and tell on myself. But, I do have one lie that I told that still makes me giggle to this day. The ridiculousness of it is outstanding. And, it was all told in the vain of looking better.
My family moves. A lot. Or, moved. A lot. Growing up I went to eight different schools before I graduated from high school. My parents had this extraordinary knack for finding the least opportune time to uproot our lives. It was usually just as I was getting used to our latest destination. Seventh grade, which is also known as the worst grade ever. Everyone in seventh grade is ugly and awkward. It is this pit of hormones and puberty and none of it is pretty. We moved in October during my seventh grade year. Everyone was settled into their school routine and cliques already were formed. Then, I bust up on the scene. Let's just say I wasn't Ms. Popularity when I arrived. The kids in the upper class community in Memphis, Tennessee were very different than the kids I went to school with in South Florida. They were very different than me. Or, I was different than them...whatever. Anyway, I made one really good friend- April. April lived just down the street from me and we had a lot in common. We began to talk on the phone and hang out. We'd go on walks in the neighborhood and trespass on the golf course that backed up to our subdivision. She was a welcome distraction from my normal activities of going home and crying and complaining to my mom about how I hated Memphis and wanted to move back to Florida. There was one very big difference between April and I. She smoked. I didn't. Enter: My Lying.
I cooked up all kinds of excuses for why I couldn't smoke with her in my head, but when it came down to that moment where she offered me a smoke all rational lies flew out the window. I panicked. I was like a deer in the headlights. Paralyzed. I blurted out, "I used to smoke, but I quit. I don't want to start back up." What? I love the image of me being some hard core smoker in fifth grade and having to kick the habit and go on the patch. She responded, "Oh, that's cool. Yeah, I should quit some time." Wait, she bought it? Or did she? Were we both staring at each other lying our faces off knowing that the other one was just as much a liar as we were? Was our attempt to save face so desperate that we would tell and accept any lie? Apparently, yes.
This lie went on for well over a year, basically until our friendship started to fade and she started taking prescription pills for fun. She was well ahead of me. It would be years before I did this.
Anyway, it makes me laugh because I wonder what would have happened if my seventh grade self had just looked her in the eye and said, "No, I don't really have any desire to smoke." Life would have probably been easier. You see, if I had the courage to say that to my one friend, I probably would have had more than one friend. If I had the attitude of "take me or fucking leave me," I probably would have surprised myself how many people would chose not to walk away. They (whoever "they" are) say that nothing is more attractive than confidence. That could be a lie, but I buy it.
While I have more confidence than that seventh grade girl I once was, I still think we can all learn a lesson from her and her mistakes.
What would happen if we stopped looking for acceptance in lies? How would our lives change if we always told the truth...no matter what? Is honesty always the best policy?
...was awarded to me by one of my favorites, Amanda at A Silvertongued Serenade.
When I started my blog I wasn't sure if anyone would read it or if I even wanted anyone to read it. It took about a month before I even told most of my friends I had a blog. And, if you know me personally, you know I keep very little private. But, as I gained readership and began receiving comments I can't tell you how special it has made me feel. To know that other people appreciate what I write is beyond what I can express in words.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Now, to just quickly get it out of the way, I wasn't all up in arms about how someone could dare tweet about miscarriage or abortion. I wasn't passing judgement or planning out carefully crafted insults. No, I was more in awe.
I have to be honest that I first came across this tweet while reading one of my favorite blogs: The Rest is Still Unwritten. Apparently, more than the world wide web was abuzz about this tweet heard (or read) 'round the world. That's right, CNN even got in on the action by having Rick Sanchez interview Penelope. And, it was this interview that rendered me speechless.
Mr. Sanchez began the interview by saying, "I'm gonna ask you a tough question, young lady, do you have no shame?"
Besides the fact that the host of a show on CNN referred to a 42 year old woman as "young lady," which I have a feeling was more out of condescension then respect...and that he asked, "Did you literally just have it? Or, did you excuse yourself?" (referring to her miscarriage as if it was a moment in time sort of thing) I guess I am speechless because this stirred so many emotions up for me. And, I am left to wonder why it is that people can't tweet about miscarriages or abortion. Really, when we boil everything down, why tweet about anything? Does the world really need to know this?
Or what about this earth shattering news?
You see, no one needs to know anything that anyone tweets about. Twitter is there. People use it. Why is there suddenly some unwritten rule that says you can tweet about what you made for dinner, but you can't talk about a very personal experience. Why is some stuff off limits?
And, I get it. Really, I know the answer to this. I'm not that naive. I understand that some people believe that there are topics that are to be kept private. But really, why do others get to set those rules for us. Why are we made to feel that there are some things we can share, but others we can't. What if we want to share them? What if we need to share them?
We live in a time where we don't keep much private. Or perhaps it is more fitting to say that we view privacy differently. I don't even know the names of my neighbors, but I know the life stories of people that I've never even met because of TV and the Internet.
So, why is it that we are shamed for making choices about how we share our own lives? Why do others get to set the rules for our lives? Why do they judge when we choose to set our own rules?
That may have been the kicker for me. It may have been the way that Rick Sanchez said, "...do you have no shame?" Why? Why do we have to feel shame in sharing our life experience. I won't tweet or blog or post about the personal business of others on my Facebook status, but why can't we decide on our own what we give of ourselves?
I'm a huge proponent of sharing the personal experience. Probably to a fault, at times. I think you should discuss things. Get it all out. Say what you feel. I do believe that the best way to do that is through face to face interactions, but I also find great catharsis in doing it through the written word. And, in the world we live in today...the written word usually has an http:// before it. There should be no judgement in that.
So, this may have been all over the place, but the point is that I was speechless because I felt so many things. While I was in awe of Penelope's free expression of her own personal experience, I was sad because I was reminded that we shame each other for the human experience. There is no one person to point the finger at, but the truth is that at times we all contribute to the shaming of others for experiences that are out of their control or feel larger than us.
I remember posting something a while back and having a conversation about how I didn't need my family to read it because it said something about sex or something. The response I got was, "well, why put it on the Internet?" It was a valid response, but what I responded with was that it felt good. It sometimes feels good to get things out that are taboo and ugly in the eyes of others. Life isn't always beautiful. And, if that makes others uncomfortable, I'm sorry. Sometimes, there is more than just the pretty stuff to share. We sometimes experience hurt, abuse, miscarriages, abortions, depression, anxiety, pain...and sometimes we just make ravioli for dinner. It's life. There should be no shame in any of it.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
On October 29, 1941, United Kingdom (Great Britain) Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Harrow School to to hear the traditional songs he had sung there as a youth, as well as to speak to the students. This became one of his most quoted speeches, due to distortions that evolved about what he actually said.
There is a part of me that thinks these words could not be more perfect. However, the other part thinks that giving in can sometimes be the best and most freeing thing.
What should one do? Should you always stick to your guns and never back down? Or, do you open yourself up to something other than what you always stood firm on and allow for a new reality to set in?
Monday, October 5, 2009
I'd like to think that most people preparing to use a toilet in a place where this sign is posted have, in fact, used indoor plumbing in the past. Is this a problem? Do owners of public toilets have to deal with the hassles of cleaning up after people that are fishing in the toilet? Or, marking it like a dog?
I will argue with the makers of this sign that two of the improper uses are actually the correct way to use a toilet, if you are 1) a guy, or 2) throwing up.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I'm not even sure how I haven't blogged about this before. Perhaps it has become as natural and normal as breathing that I forgot to mention it. Perhaps I was trying to avoid talking (or blogging) about it. It can be somewhat of a taboo topic for some...I guess some people just get uncomfortable. But, I can't let it go unmentioned anymore. It is time to talk about the elephant in the room (or the next room in this case). That's right, boys and girls, I'm talking about my neighbor. The vomiter.
Side note: I was enjoying that build up and could have gone one much longer. I love that it made it sound like I was about to reveal some deep dark secret or something. Mwuh-haha...I laugh and tap my fingertips together. I fooled you this time.
Okay, a little background. So, I moved into my apartment at the end of March this year. My apartment leasing company was awesome enough to allow me to move in early since April 1st was in the middle of the week and it is much nicer to move on a weekend...when friends are off of work. Anyway, I moved out of a house that I lovingly call The Orphanage after living there for about a year and a half. It was very fittingly called The Orphanage, as in the year and a half that I lived there I had a total of eight roommates. That's right. The front door was definitely revolving. Needless to say, it was nice to finally get my big girl place and be alone for a little while. My first night here was odd. It was so quiet and no one was home...no one would ever be home but me. No one was there to say goodnight to me or turn out the light if I fell asleep with them on. It was just me in my quiet little....WHAT THE FUCK? Suddenly I heard the most violent vomiting that I've ever heard. And trust me, I've heard some violent vomiters. I used to asked my friend Stacey to quiet her vomiting when I was hung over because it was too loud and making me sick. No, no, this vomiting...the vomiting I heard on my first solo night in my apartment blew all other vomiters out of the water (the toilet water). This vomit was intense. As I lay in bed unsure of whether I am disgusted, impressed, or concerned I think to myself, "Wow, someone had a bad night." Without much more thought about it I rolled over and went to sleep. Yay new apartment.
I woke up the next day still super pumped about my new place. I had all but forgotten about the vomiter. I was too excited to be in my new place. Yes it was a big change, but one I had been looking forward to for a while. I spent the first day running errands, unpacking, and enjoying my new space. As I am sure everyone knows, moving is exhausting. My first weekend in my new place was not spent going out and celebrating. No, it was spent unpacking and going to bed early. So, I snuggled into bed for my second night in my new place and began slowly drifting off to...WHAT THE FUCK?!? He's back. Seriously dude, AA much?
What I learn was that the events (i.e. vomiting) of that first weekend were not going to be isolated. This dude meant serious business. Serious vomiting business. I came to learn that his vomiting didn't follow any schedule. Nope. He vomited in the day. Sometimes early evening. Sometimes at night. He wasn't time discriminatory. He lived to vomit on no man's schedule. The only thing that was habitual about the vomiting was the frequency and the rhythm. Oh yeah, three big hurls at least once a day. Every time. Always the same. Huwahck. Huwahck. Huwahck. Done. (Yes, h-u-w-a-h-c-k. That is how you spell the noise made by a vomiter. Look it up.)
The vomiter has become quite the legend amongst friends and family. Everyone knows about him. We all have our own theories as to what is causing this chronic vomiting. Alcoholism. Terrible gag reflex when brushing his teeth. Chemo therapy. Bulimia. Weak stomach. There are so many theories. All I know is that this guy is a mystery. Like Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. I've never seen him. I've been living next to the dude for over six months now and have not seen him once. I really am beginning to wonder if he is he even real? It isn't just me though. I've had witnesses here to experience the vomiting. It is always the same combination of shock and amazement.
Okay, the other day I was awake at about 6am and he was up to his old vomiting ways when I realized that if I stood at my peep hole long enough I would probably see him exit his apartment. I couldn't bring myself to do it though. It is almost like how you don't want to know to real identity of a superhero. Next time I heard him vomit would be like the Christmas after you find out that there is no Santa Claus. It isn't even worth waking up at 5am to see what your mom bought you at the mall. It ruins the magic.
I did have a friend say that I needed to find out what he looked like because what would happen if I hooked up with someone and it turned out that the person I hooked up with was the vomiter. I shot this down pretty quickly because the fatal flaw is that I am pretty sure if I hook up with someone, regardless of whether it is my apartment or theirs....one of us would be all, "Hey, weird. We are neighbors." I would quickly gasp and be all, "Hey, weird. You vomit like all the time. What's up with that?"
In a way I feel like we are a match made in heaven. I once had a friend tell me that I spend like 60% of my time fake throwing up...this vomiter has given me so many more ways to work vomiting into conversation and to do some fake throwing up.
So, in a way, I guess I should really thank the Vomiter (that's right, he deserve a capital letter now) for all that he has done for me. Thank you Vomiter, you complete me. You had me at Huwahck....
Friday, October 2, 2009
Anyway, I sent my brother the video (linked above) because he was this huge Lion King fan when he was little. He would bring all of his stuffed animals into the living room and blast the soundtrack. It always ended up with him hobbling around and triumphantly holding his Winnie the Poo stuffed animal up in the air (a la Rafiki and Simba).
Oh, he would also sit at his little plastic piano and pretend to be Elton John as he would sign along to Can You Feel the Love Tonight.
As a twelve year old, I didn't find this cute. As an almost twenty-eight year old (yes, my birthday is one week from today even though I am sure you already know that because it is on your calendar and you have a countdown just like I do), I think it is adorable and it makes me miss my brother.
This brings us to today. He called to say he got my email and it made him laugh. He asked what I was doing and why this even crossed my mind. I explained the whole Little Mermaid link from my last post and he started laughing. He then busted out, "Look at this stuff. Isn't it neat? Wouldn't ya think my collections complete?" He laughed. I laughed. And then I said, "Wouldn't ya think I'm a girl, a girl who has everything." He again laughed, as did I. Then he says, "I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty." To which I joined in, "I've got whozits and whatzits galore. You want thingamabobs, I've got twenty." Five minutes later finishing the song off...we officially became losers.
This, right here, is why I need a job.