Monday, December 14, 2009

I am a Hermit.

Most people think of me as outgoing. I have decided, however, that I am a hermit.

I went to a party in San Diego on Saturday and found myself dealing with some pretty intense social anxiety before I actually arrived. I’m not sure why this was. Normally I don’t give a crap about whom I do or do not meet; but for some reason, I felt weird about the whole event. Even on Friday, I felt anxious about going to this shin-dig. I think it was just generalized anxiety. It wasn’t really specific to the event.

The event was a hula-Christmas wacky-tacky party. I didn’t really get it. I just wore my tackiest Christmas apparel and went with it.

Maybe I should preface this story with telling you that I am the most ridiculously prepared person you’ll ever meet. For instance, I carry an extra band-aid in my purse, tissues, Purell…until a few months ago, I carried an extra pair of panties in my purse. Then one day, my ex-friend said,

“Uh, are those panties in your purse?”

Rachel: “Yeah.”

Ex-friend: “That makes you seem like a big hoe.”

I still have no idea why having back-up panties would make me appear to be a hoe. I mean, what if I got in a car accident and wound up in the hospital? There’s no way I’m wearing some manky weird hospital panties. Their panties probably get washed with the HIV sheets and the plasma pillowcases and those hospital gowns that old people have crapped in. I will wear my OWN sanitary panties, thank you. Or what if I get really tired and decide to stay at my friend’s house over night? Then the next morning, when I shower, I have nice clean undergarments to put on. Alas. I no longer carry extra panties because I do not want to be thought of as a hoe.

Anyway, so, I go to this party in San Diego.

There is something else you should know about me. I have not slept well since I was about 12. I have spoken of this on countless occasions before, so ignore me when I beat this dead horse into oblivion. I toss and turn and have weird dreams and wake up with my back all cork-screwed and feeling like hell EVERY DAY. I feel bad for my co-sleeper, or whomever you may have. I am the worst co-pilot sleeper in the world. With this being said, I do every possible thing that I can to maintain the tiniest level of crappy sleep that I can grasp.

So, integrating my preparedness and my crappy sleeplessness, I bring ear plugs everywhere I go, and I often pop Melatonin- and on this particular Saturday, I decided to tote my air mattress with me to this party to minimize the shittiness of my REM cycle.

At about midnight, I was bored making meaningless chit-chat with people that I did not know. I get really sick of telling the same dang story.

People saying, “MY! What an accent! Are you from Texas?” and me feeling really bored and dull and rough around the edges. When they ask me these stupid things, I watch their mouths move and hear this dull moaning in my ears and I mentally fill in the gaps with, “I’m a big effing ignorant retard, and I grew up in southern California on a trust fund, and I have nothing in common with you and think you’re stupid because you have a southern accent, but the truth is, I went to community college and failed all of my gen eds, but still got into USC because my daddy is a big donor.” And all the time I am smiling and nodding politely, wondering if perhaps the person’s head will blow up and little particles of emptiness and stupidity will float through the air and vanish into the ozone layer like tiny little finches.

Never happens. Their heads never blow up.

Anyway. I got really bored. Really, really bored. After an insane week filled with written comps and oral comps and emotions up and down and feeling insecure and insane and sick and hungry and exhausted and wondering if he likes me as much as I like him and wondering if I’m supposed to buy my coworkers Christmas presents and if I’ll be stuck in this job for the rest of my life and maybe I should move to Texas since apparently I’m the stereotype for the whole effin state and I don’t want to date anymore unless there’s a point to it and I want to get married and have kids one day and own a home and that sure as hell isn’t going to happen in L.A. unless I marry a 78 year old venture capitalist and having bottomless mimosas on a Friday afternoon and feeling like I have absolutely snapped and there will be no salvaging of the person I once was, I. was. BORED.

So. I exited stage left into some girl’s room, blew up my little air mattress, popped in my ear plugs, and decided to sleep.

Bad plan.

When you go to sleep at a party when everyone is smashed and dressed like King Kamehameha with Christmas ornaments for earnings, you are absolutely targeted for having “Balls” written on your forehead in Sharpie ink.

Throughout the course of the evening, I woke up on several occasions with creepers looming over my bed, giggling and tickling my feet or poking me, like poking a dead jellyfish with a stick.

I felt like a caged up zoo animal. I felt like an insane, hermit, zoo animal who was about to jump out of that air mattress and start stabbing everyone, Wolfenstein style, like when he runs out of guns and has that little wimpy knife but can get pretty crazy with it. Stab stab.

This is why I do not like going to parties where I know that:

A) I don’t have a get away car
B) I will have to sleep on someone’s floor
C) I do not know my way home.

Now, setting all melodramatics aside, I actually had a fun time. I spent some quality time with the girlfriend I rode with, and that was nice. But being ridiculed for being a prepared hermit control freak is no fun for anyone.

The whole point of this blog is that I have decided that I am officially a hermit.

Also, today was one more day of hell on earth at my office where I got completely thrown into counseling someone for whom I was not prepared. Awesome. I need a new career path. I should have gone to business school. Then I could be my own dang venture capitalist and not have to marry one.

I joke about having to marry a rich man a lot. People shouldn’t take that so seriously. People sometimes get all heated and red in the face and sigh and say, “You’re such a gold digger!” But I’ve never dated a guy with money, nor is that something that even comes up in my preliminary man-screening survey. Money is real fickle. You can’t count on it.

Two memories occurred to me recently, as I have finished my master’s degree.

I have done a lot of things on my own.

There were two times in my life where I could have gotten married. I was young and still thought the best of most people. With contestant number two, we talked about moving to So Cal together if we ever did the whole future thing together. He was an insane person, and I found that out right around the time I found the ring in his sock drawer, and thank God I pulled the quick release strap and got out of that whole mess. Anyway. I moved to So Cal alone. I did it myself. I didn’t need that idiot to do it. I did it myself.

With contestant number one, he always said he’d take me to Italy if we did the future thing [look at my avoidance issues. I can’t even type the “m” word now.]. I bought a ticket to Italy over Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas, Rachel. Happy graduation, Rachel. I did it myself. I’m doing it myself.

I have a lot of things to figure out. I’ve checked all of this b.s. off of my life accomplishments list, and now I’m completely undirected and wondering what the H comes next. But I do know one thing.

I am a hermit, and I am proud.

Goodnight, San Diego.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This isn't a Funny One

What a day of restoration.

Ever wake up and feel like you’d give anything to have peace? Five seconds of peace. I feel like that all the time. Today I got that five seconds.

Today I was feeling exceptionally discouraged, missing my old funny self that I used to know so well. I needed crisis intervention. I called my Memaw.

Any time you feel like your life is going to hell, a good call to Memaw will cure you.

I cried the whole way to work, feeling empty and broken and lost, like nothing made sense. Raccoon tracks made their way down my face as I slobbered into my blue tooth like a big fruitcake. Most of the time I didn’t even talk. I just listened. Memaw talked to me my whole way there, from Playa all the way to Miracle Mile, telling me that God had a plan and purpose for me. In my heart I know that, but I sure as heck haven’t felt that way in a long time. I’ve felt like a screw up. Is perfectionism curable? Is there a pill for this? This sure is a self-centered, completely illogical weakness. Anyway, talking to my Memaw made remember and BELIEVE that God really DOES know what He’s doing, even though most of the time I’m floundering around like a kick fixin’ to puke on one of those whirly things on a playground.

I made it through my typical horrendous work day and drove home grimacing every time I had to move my foot. I think I have a broken toe. Pretty sure I broke it while attempting to teach myself to moonwalk 24/7 for five consecutive days during Thanksgiving break. I don’t have the luxury of hardwood floors at my apartment. I had to take advantage of those glorious slick surfaces, smooth as bacon grease, while I was back in Memphis.

I rode the elevator up to the third floor of my building not giving a crap if anyone saw me with my chipped toenail polish and my nappy filthy hair. I have that hateful DON’T MESS WITH ME aura when I ride that elevator at 7:46 a.m. and 7:06 p.m. I was hungry and exhausted and my toe hurt like hell.

I came to my apartment door with a gorgeous bouquet of roses and daisies at the step. I had to look at the number on the wall twice to figure out if this was even my apartment. I’ve been on this boyfriend sabbatical sort of since 2008. I’ve dated here and there, but let’s face it, flowers are usually a “I am an idiot, maybe these will make you forget that” gesture from a doofus boyfriend. And sometimes they’re just a kind gesture; but most men don’t get that. Most men just buy them because it’s a bandaid to a horrendous event.
My dad doesn’t make this mistake. Rusty buys my mom flowers because he “gets it.”

My best friend from Baton Rouge sent me flowers for no reason at all. That, my friend, is a quality human being. When I called her to thank her, she said, “Your Facebook statuses made me think you could use a little happy.” Even as I type this I’m a little teary. This girl has got to be the best friend I’ve ever had.

I made dinner and showered and plowed through about 2439082039 pages of homework and I went downstairs to check my mail.

I normally check my mail once a week, because either the box is empty, which makes me marginally sad, or the box is full of bills, which makes me realize that I need a trust fund. Both feelings are not so hot.

There were two cards in my mailbox that weren’t even bills.

One was from my parents. It was a card just because. They said they were proud of me and were praying for me. It choked me up.

The other card was from my Uncle Randy telling me he’s proud of me for making it through my master’s program. He said a lot of really kind stuff and he even sent me a graduation check. There’s a big fat knot in my throat as I type this. I’d write more but I already had my daily cry and don’t want to release all of that estrogen again. The ozone layer is already in enough trouble.

I think sometimes people feel like they’re at the end of the rope. They feel frazzled and empty and lost, like nothing in life makes sense. They can’t see the pattern. There’s just madness. I’ve felt like that since last spring. And all of a sudden, today, I woke up to an outpouring of unconditional love. It felt right- and for the first day in at least five months, I’ve had a sense of peace.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

When you have Insomnia...

I've submitted my written comps, but I still can't come off the high of anxiety/adrenaline raging like a high school freshman with a scorching case of PMS. I've been on sinus medication for the past 10 days that has made me completely loony tunes and the stress I've been under has been so intense that I don't know what it feels like to be relaxed anymore. I wonder if the old me is gone for good. I remember a time when I was genuinely funny and congenial. I saw the good in things. Now I am mad ALL THE TIME. I also cry on a regular basis, which is not like me AT ALL. I used to wave at people when they let me in front of them in traffic. I don't even do that anymore. Anyway. It's 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday. Nobody should EVER be awake at 6:30 on a Saturday unless they are an ER nurse. Effin insomnia. There's nothing like lying in your bed in a deep REM sleep and then dreaming that a gang of your hoodlum neighbors rip your hand-crafted Christmas wreath off your door, tear it to pieces, and leave bits and pieces of garland and glittery ribbon all over your Melrose Place building. Yes. These are the things that wake me up with a pounding heart. Do I need meds? Do I need intense therapy? DO I NEED AN EFFING VACATION? Yes, yes, yes.

I went home for Thanksgiving, which was good. It's like gaining closure after you've been in a dysfunctional relationship and you've been stuck in an unhealthy pattern of behavior for so long that you've forgotten normality. Here's what I mean: I've been stuck between the glitz and glamor and loneliness and self-centeredness of L.A. and the genuineness and simplicity and underachieving sweetness of the South since January. I've been trying to figure out if I should move back to Memphis. Just the stress of balancing my checking account at the end of every month is enough to give me a coronary. I envy those bimbo idiots on "The Hills" who make gazillions of dollars for getting lit and being whores. I really do. Must be nice to be as intelligent as an eggplant and get a check for $29089238209829382 at the end of the day for doing NOTHING. Anyway. Being single and a woman in a big city is the most isolating, anxiety-invoking experience in the entire world. It's exhausting knowing that YOU are responsible for everything. EVERYTHING. If something breaks, you have to fix it. If a rapist comes to your door in the middle of the night, YOU have to knock him in the head with a hammer. If your car dies, YOU have to ride in the tow truck with Alfonzo to the nearest service station. If a homeless man decides to steal your purse in Venice, YOU have to chase his ass down and take it back. It. is. EXHAUSTING.

So anyway, I've been reevaluating and second guessing my whole life for the past few months, trying to kick this depression and figure out what makes sense for me. I keep thinking that maybe I just need an emotional rest. Maybe I should move back to Memphis and live with my parents and be an old maid and work on paying school loans. Maybe I could quit my job where my hair falls out because I am in an EXTREMELY verbally abusive environment and am constantly subjected to the irrationalities of a rageaholic and move back in with my parents and do something simple like work as a receptionist in a dentist's office. I keep thinking this. I keep longing for less.

Then I went home.

Going back to Memphis reminded me of how people are in other parts of the states. You live in L.A. long enough, and you start thinking that everyone is out to use you. Everyone is out to trample you to get what they want. Even people I've considered as close friends have proved my theory right by calling me up, telling me how much they miss me, and then ending the conversation with a quick, "Oh, by the way, can I borrow your....(fill in the blank)?" and then I realize that all of the theatrics were for typical L.A. show.

I think I got a hernia when my best friend got married in September and I danced my tail off at her wedding. With this being said, the first stop on my venture to the M-town was a trip to the chiropractor. It was my 25th birthday and I was at the chiropractor's office. How depressing.

Now, I have only seen this guy maybe twice before, a few years ago. AS SOON AS I WALK IN THE DOOR, the receptionist says, "If it isn't Miss California!!!!" and begins asking me all about grad school and life on the left coast. All of the chiropractic aides gathered around me and asked me what California was like and asked me if I ever saw famous people. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen. They weren't pretending like they cared because they wanted to borrow my crap. They really, genuinely cared.

I saw friends of mine that I haven't seen in a long while. Just being with them made me feel centered again. I also didn't have insomnia while I was back home. I slept all night, the whole night through. We had Thanksgiving dinner with family friends and I realized that they'd known me my whole life. They really KNEW me. It felt right.

It's funny how being home can sort of heal you. It was a good trip. I didn't have to worry. I also realized, though, after day two, that I wouldn't be able to hack it if I moved back home. Just driving without the traffic made me slow down. I'd stop at Walgreens or the grocery store and wouldn't have to shove my shopping cart between 15 kids under the age of 4 who were hanging off the cereal shelves like spider monkeys. I didn't have to wait to get gas in the car. I had to follow the speed limit, often 30 MPH, or else I WOULD get a ticket. Things were...slow. Slow isn't bad. But I also got a little bit sad when I saw everybody doing the same things they were doing two or three years ago. Is this bad? Absolutely not. A lot of people feel very comfortable in routine; in familiarity. I just wish I was one of those people. I wish I was comfortable with living the same life forever. Maybe if I wasn't always having a panic attack about something, maybe if I wasn't a control freak, maybe if I wasn't always on the verge of a puke fest, I would be even worse off. Maybe all of this intense negativity is a good motivator for me.

The thought of having a job like working as a receptionist and living with my parents makes me want to DIE. Really. But then I think, I wish I wanted that. I wish that I could be happy with that. I see people's mini feeds on facebook saying things like, "Michelle cooked a casserole for her husband tonight! Decorated the Christmas tree and the kitty helped! Now baking cookies!" or "Candice has the best husband! Can't wait to cook for him!" and I feel a little bit like an alien. Most of my "friends" from "home" write about:

A) their husbands
B) cooking
C) cooking for their husbands.

I wonder what it's like to be content sitting around making barrettes all day, longing for my husband to come home, and as soon as he walks in the door, hugging him and kissing him and telling him how I've had no purpose all day because he has been gone, and then inviting him to a Southern Living feast to make him happy.

Freaking disgusting.

The thing is, a lot of people are genuinely happy living that way- and who is to say that they're wrong? I'm just beginning to wonder if I have a substantial mental health deficit. I think that I am going to become an insane hermit.

Back to Memphis. I needed it. I completely needed that slow pace... But I've seen too much now. It's like that guy in the Matrix who essentially ruined his own life because he'd experienced too much. I can empathize.

I wonder what I'm doing. L.A. is too fast, Memphis is too slow, Baton Rouge is out of the question... I have no next step. This could be why the meltdowns continue to occur. I keep wondering if I've somehow ruined my life; like I'm completely un-fixable now that I expect a certain level of stress to keep me motivated. Ugh. It's my job, friends. Pray for me. I'm going to snap.

Over the past month or so, I've really been insane. With comps lingering over my head, I've been unable to focus on anything. I keep forgetting things. I can't remember simple conversations I've had with people. I can't remember where I park my car. It's been horrendous.

I came back to L.A. after Thanksgiving and started working on my stupid comps. As I was at my computer, typing away on how my classes had made me a better person (total B.S.), I get a text from this guy that I hate telling me that my comps were due Thursday, instead of Friday, which is when I thought they were due. I absolutely flipped out. This shaved off 24 hours from my bullshit fest of essays about my life-changing experiences at a Jesuit institution. I. nearly. died.

Right at this time, as my face feels hot and my throat is closing up, my chair breaks. The legs just fall right off. I land on the floor, right on my tailbone. Not exactly positive reinforcement for someone who's dealt with a lifetime of self esteem issues.


I'm grouchy because the sun isn't up yet and it's SATURDAY. It's like I can't even enjoy my weekends because I know that Monday is lingering around the corner, about to snatch me up with its ebony claws and leathery wings.

I need an intervention.