Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'm feeling extremely restless. The following is a cover letter I sent with a job inquiry email today:

I need a job so I won't have to become a hooker or make meth in the
bathtub and sell it to elementary school kids.



Monday, August 30, 2010

Recent Stuff

Right now my finger looks like this:

I've been spraying water on my wallpaper to yank this crap off my bathroom walls, but now I've got this gimpy finger. I've hated this wallpaper since I was 15, and I decided that the wallpaper will not win. I am kicking my ugly wallpaper's ass.

Maybe unemployment is getting to me.

I'm running out of day time duties, so I've started taking down wallpaper and Googling how to distress my cabinets.

I've met some interesting people recently.

I've been purging my life of crap that I don't need. I used to have this ex boyfriend years ago who was one of the dumbest people I've ever met, and he was a computer "engineer," except of course, he wasn't any kind of engineer at all. He was just a really stupid guy who would Eff up your computer worse when he "fixed" it than when it was messed up to begin with. So anyway, I needed a laptop, so he gave me this total POS one, and today, I sold it to a lady in the Burlington Coat Factory parking lot.

She sort of looked like a viking.

She was driving this huge portable dog grooming van, and she was wearing a uniform that looked just like a FedEx courier outfit and she was rather robust and had two short pigtails. And I liked her.

Then I sold my mini fridge to a lady today who is a military wife and rides motorcycles. Her husband went to LSU. She said that she is going to California in two weeks and she and her best friend are riding a convertible up the coast.

I love these people I meet on Craigslist.

I know that girl got murdered from some nut job via Craigslist, but so far, I've had only pleasant experiences.

What else.

Oh yes.

The other day, my dad and I took the cat to the vet. The cat is a girl cat. The vet kept calling the cat "him." My dad said,

"You keep calling Peaches him [I call the cat Blanket after MJ's son]. Is this cat not a girl cat?"

and the vet says...

in a VERY excited voice...

(drum roll)


And I just about fell out of the chair, onto the tile floor, covered in cat hair and animal fingernails, and laughed so hard that I almost died.

I don't care how old I get.

I will continue to call every girl I meet named "Jenny" "Jenny-talia" and I will always laugh at 7th grade humor. Always. Until I die.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Friends are Funnier Than Yours

Because I haven't felt funny in a long time, I decided to post a funny email that my friend sent me that made me laugh my face off. Enjoy!

"...Idle hands are the devil's playground. Sometimes when not much is going on, you over-think shit and think you're going nutso. But you'll be fine!

I miss you a great deal. Probably because I took your presence here in Los Angeles for granted and thought, "Oh, I can hang with Rachel next week." But next week turned into Rachelisinf-ckingmemphis. Oh well. We will still keep in touch and possibly have some sort of Notebook-esque reunion in the future. But hopefully without the Alzheimer stuff. That shit freaks me out. If you haven't seen the Notebook, well, I've just spoiled it for you. It's your own G.D. fault."

Baaahahahahha. It's true. My friends are funnier than yours.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Funemployment Rawks

Unemployment is starting to be really fun. I think in about two weeks, I could lose it, but as of now, it's working out well. I swam a bunch of laps today and starting getting my paperwork together for grad school and sent out some resumes. I just spent an hour playing Hank Williams songs on the guitar. I rode my bike around the driveway and ate leftovers by the pool. I haven't been able to enjoy time off in a long, long time. I'm starting to like it.

I just wrote like ten paragraphs about how stupid people always feel the need to update their Facebook statuses with really dumb things, like, "...

You know what?

I was about to post an idiot's EXACT status update, and then I thought,

"You know, somebody is going to read this and think you're a huge a-hole for calling that girl an idiot," and then I decided to delete it all.

I'm going through a weird phase where I'm trying to figure out what my ultimate goal is for a career. I used to be really sure, but then I realized that I'm not enough of a do-gooder to spend the rest of my life being poor. Also, I'm sick of always having jobs but never having a career. I want something to work towards.

Is it toward? or towards?

Anyway, I've been setting up meetings with people that I like and people who are smart and picking their brains about where my life should go, and it's been a very insightful and enriching experience. I've even been exposing myself (ha, makes me sound like an exhibitionist, doesn't it? I'd change "expose" to "interact," but now you're hooked) to people I've lost touch with or I haven't liked in the past, and I'm finding out that maybe I have more in common with a lot of people than I think. I self-isolate a lot. I don't know why. I'm really happy when I'm around a big group of people. You'd think I'd spend more time interacting with groups. But a lot of times I just want to be a hermit, and I turn my phone on silent and turn my Skype off so nobody will contact me. Anyway.

It's been nice to reconnect with people and learn from people and see people in a new perspective now that I've lived on a different planet and got a degree in counseling and worked with some severely emotionally/mentally impaired people. It sort of changes you.

I started out wanting to Blog about all kinds of hilarious ongoings, but I can't think of any now that I'm actually typing. I need to write more. Writing is the only thing I never get sick of. When people talk to me, I think of their words running across the top of my mind in a big long word banner. It's like closed-captioning for my brain. Isn't that weird? I think that's a sign that I need to write more. I really want to write a book. I started writing one in 2006, but I couldn't ever develop my ideas, and it was fiction, and I'm starting to think that maybe I could write an autobiography about one genre of my life. I need to get on that. But right now I need some Chunky Monkey.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lunch Lady Land

I thought I should probably update my Blog because I’ve been receiving a lot of “DON’T JUMP!” messages from concerned readers. Moving home has been a tough transition, but things are getting better. I’m starting to feel a little less crazed. I’m still dealing with feelings of isolation and homesickness for my own space and friends in L.A., but for the first time in years, I am sleeping like crazy and having dreams again. Nothing tops that punch-drunk feeling of REM sleep.

I started embracing this whole unemployment period of my life by enjoying the things I don’t usually have time to do. I’ve been playing Dolly Parton songs on the guitar. I’ve been having lunch with people. I’ve been lying by the pool and reading books. Life is starting to relax a little. I don’t feel near as depressed as I did at first, and despite the fact that I don’t really have friends in Memphis anymore (I have one, anyway), I am feeling a little less lonely.

I had lunch with a former professor a few days ago, and it felt good to feel understood and it felt good to laugh with somebody who “gets it.” It was like medicine for my soul. Nothing is better than connecting with someone who understands you when you feel like you don’t even have anyone in your life to call if you run out of gas.

Yesterday, I volunteered with some people from my parents’ church to feed the homeless at the Memphis Union Mission. I used to volunteer at the Union Rescue Mission in L.A., and I loved it. Memphis Mission had a different feel altogether. Some old ladies from my parents’ church tried to talk me into being a Christian counselor. That’s the weird thing about Memphis. Everyone tries to pin you into a religious corner. I remember I grew up with some kids whose dads were ministers, and they were absolutely appalled and began overtly judging me when they found out that my dad was a pilot and had never gone to seminary. Ha. What a bizarre mindset. I never got it. Not even when I was a third grade kid. That never made any sense to me, and thank God it still doesn’t.

Anyway, these old kooks kept telling me that I should join the staff of counselors at a mega-church cult whose name and location I will not disclose, or that I should go to seminary. Isn’t it weird how some people put a fix-all on your life with a religious answer like “church” or “seminary” or “Bible fellowship” or “small group,” and they don’t know what your background or experience or passion or life is all about? I find this really, really weird. I forgot that I grew up in the thick of all of this when I lived in L.A. How quickly I have been reminded.

I found myself shutting off pretty quickly. I found myself remembering why I found most Bible-belters ignorant and why when people have asked me my “religion,” I’ve said, more than once, that I am a “recovering Baptist.” But then something happened.

We started serving people who actually needed help.

Maybe I should tell you about my abhorrence for Mayonnaise before I do anything else. My sister and I HATE--- LOATHE Mayonnaise more than anything in this entire world. If I even SMELL it, I want to puke. So guess what my job was last night.

My job was to be the coleslaw lady.

We all know what the base of slaw is.

Effing Mayonnaise.

So. I had to dump a big heaping spoonful of Mayonnaisey slaw on everybody’s BBQ plate.

The thing is, my focus wasn’t on the smell of the slaw. I didn’t notice. I didn’t notice because these guys really did need the help. You start looking at all of those teardrop tattoos and missing teeth and scars and eyes full of brokenness, and mayo ain’t nothin.

Every man that walked by and had one of my magical scoops of slaw said “Thank you” and really MEANT it. Most people don’t mean it when they say “thank you.” They say it because it’s a formality, not because they really feel the gratitude. These guys felt it.

So all of this got me to start thinking about some things.

I’ve been grappling with separating what I think about faith and God from the cult I grew up in. In my attempt to separate my faith from cultural religious beliefs, I started thinking about how if we don’t help meet other peoples’ needs, maybe those needs won’t get met. I mean, there were enough people down there helping out last night to serve all those guys, but I went through three huge pans of coleslaw to feed everyone, and I probably still could have given those guys seconds. I mean, what if people actually started helping other people, and got their butts off of church pews and out of programs and classes and organized religious activities and started to HELP people? I am not being critical of the programs and all of that, I’m just saying, I don’t know if Jesus did Awana and Bible Drill and went to church camp and played electric guitar in the church “worship” band, but I do know that he washed his disciples’ feet, and he healed the blind, and he was there for Mary and Martha when Lazarus was dead.

Then I started thinking about all of the times that God has met my needs through other people. And here’s what I started to think about.

Two years ago, I was all geared up to move to L.A. The problem was that my car had about 160,000 miles on it and sort of ran like crap. So I started to pray. I thought: if God was opening the door for me to move away, he needed to provide a way to get there. So I reminded Him of that. I prayed all the time, “God, I need a new car. I only have five bucks to my name. If you want me to go to L.A., you’ve got to do something about this.”

So one day, a couple of weeks before I moved, my dad said he wanted to talk to me. He told me that he was going to let me take his SUV out to school until I was finished. I cried my face off. God did that.

I think that God uses people even if they don’t believe in God or even if they aren’t Christians and even if we have different beliefs and values and views. I think that God uses everybody to get things done.

For instance, when my purse got stolen at work, I had to take two days off to get a new license, to get new keys made, to replace everything. Just going to the DMV took me a million hours. That job didn’t give me sick days or vacation time or anything. When I wasn’t there, I wasn’t paid, no matter what. So not only had I figured my budget for the month including those two days, but I had also figured out my budget to get my boyfriend a birthday present, and then, my budget was completely shot, and I was up a creek.

Taking those two days off and the cost of everything in my purse cost me about $800. Who has an extra $800 lying around? Well. Probably rich people. But I sure didn’t/don’t.

So I prayed about it. All the way down to my stolen iPod and Coach wallet. I prayed that God would just deal with it, because I couldn’t, and I was so worn out and felt like I was a pair of shoes that had been thrown in the washing machine and I just didn’t belong in L.A. anymore and I was so exhausted and over it.

My boss called me over the weekend when I was at the gym and said she was writing me a check for $1,000 on Monday to cover the cost of everything. I cried my face off again. This covered the cost of the lost days at work and everything that was stolen in my purse and the cost of extra keys and changed locks and a new license and everything. My boss wasn’t a Christian or a “God-fearing” person or someone that I’d ever ask about how to live a good, moral life, but God used her to meet my needs.

That extra $200 gave me enough money to buy an iPod, but I used my iPod money to buy my boyfriend’s birthday gift. And guess what. Before I left, my friend gave me a going-away iPod. God used my friend to meet my needs.

I’ve just started to think, though. What if we stopped worrying about who was Baptist or Presbyterian or Catholic or whatever, and we just helped other people out? You never know how you’re touching somebody else’s life. Maybe you can do it by being a coleslaw lady.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In my TN Moutain Home

It’s been hard for me to pull it together to write recently. I feel like I have marbles in my head. I keep talking in watery sentences that don’t make any sense. I’m in a perpetual state of exhaustion and I’m not sure if I should chalk it up to clinical depression or just a disruption in my quarter life crisis.

The week before I moved was hard. I wanted to spend as much time with the people that I loved in L.A. as I could, but in the back of my mind, I sort of wanted to just be a recluse in my apartment so I couldn’t get any more attached and I couldn’t make any more memories.

I sold a bunch of my stuff on Craigslist and met some interesting people. A guy named Chris with tattoo sleeves came to look at my dresser. He owned a Harley dealership. He was from Missouri. He opened the drawers to my dresser and said, “Wow. These are roomy. I could fit a body in here.” Hearing that from a Harley-dealing, tatted, bald-headed man who was in my apartment alone with me didn’t provide a lot of solace.

I met a massage therapist who bought my bed. She asked to be my friend on Facebook later. What a cool lady. She was the epitome of attractive L.A. The idealist, the warm-hearted, the person connected to the industry but not brainwashed by it. She told me that after she gives Colin Ferrell massages, he rubs her feet. She hugged me when she left.

A lady named Sharon bought my bookshelf. She was my favorite. She was about five feet tall and 200 pounds and she had two knee replacement surgeries. She was a professional caterer for celebrities. She told me that one of her celebrity clients bought her a new Mercedes. She auctioned it off and gave the money to St. Jude. She told me that her husband does stand up comedy and that I should keep doing it. I told her that I don’t feel funny these days.

I had an Indian guy buy my mirror and when I told him that I was moving back to Memphis, he said, “Oh yes, isn’t that where Elvis’ palace is?” Hahhahahaha. Elvis’ palace.

My last night in L.A., I spent with my best friend out there. It was hard to leave. I cried a lot.

I have a lingering feeling of defeat that I tried to counsel myself into anticipating, but let’s face it, you can’t counsel yourself. Hell, I don’t even think a counselor could counsel me right now. I didn’t really have a coping strategy for the depression, just a basic “brace yourself” plan for the transition.

The trip home was a disaster in a lot of ways. Things kept going wrong. I tried so hard to be prepared for my family to help me move, but I kept having these massive sobbing meltdowns, so I never quite finished packing. Currently, I keep opening cardboard boxes full of shampoo, panties, and light bulbs. My OCD had me packing everything, wrapped in bubble wrap and paper, and putting organized labels on the boxes. My family had a different strategy for packing. I appreciated the help, but I think the mounding disorganization made me feel even more lost, like I had (have) absolutely no control of my life, and things would just continue to spiral downward, and I’d get sucked down with it. Sucked down into unlabeled boxes full of mismatched items.

I know I did the right thing by moving home, but I sure do feel hopeless right now. I feel like my life got really generic all of a sudden and I have no goals. It’s a hard time for me. I know that a lot of people read my blog to be entertained, but I don’t have it in me to be entertaining right now. I just need to write a little bit here so I don’t feel like I’m keeping it all trapped inside of me. I don’t want to be one of those nuts that goes on a shooting spree or something because they never actually vent. I’m definitely not a candidate for insanity in that capacity, so don’t worry.

Some weird things have happened recently. Last week my boyfriend took me to a victory party for a local elected official. That was pretty wild. I was surrounded by baby boomers in boat shoes and golf shirts and my glass was never empty because everyone was so attentive. I grew up around extremist political activists, so I sort of despise the whole political scene in general. And here I am at the elected official’s house, toasting glasses with Memphis royalty. Oh, Rachel. Your life is so unpredictable.

My dad has been on my case about my hair looking too much like that of a stripper (I have always had a fondness for bunny blonde), so he offered to pay to have my hair done at a salon. I decided I might as well take advantage of the opportunity, and I called the best guy in Memphis, who used to cut my hair when I was little.

I showed up at his salon and it was obvious that he didn’t recognize me. We shot the bull a little while and then I told him who I was. I’m pretty sure we’re best friends now. He said, “I can’t believe that sweet little brown haired girl grew up to be a glamour kitten!”

My hair man talked to me about his story. He told me about his struggles and his life and where he came from. It made me feel connected for the first time since I had moved home (which had only been a few days, so don’t think I’m as dramatic as I sound). We talked about the pseudo Christian subculture that we grew up around and how incredibly weird it was/is. It felt good to talk to somebody who was real. Most people aren’t real. Most people don’t even know they’re fake. Most people aren’t very smart.

I told him about where I am in life and how I just feel like I’m floundering around, waiting for my death sentence. I keep thinking that coming back to Memphis is like a return to the elephant graveyard, like I’m here to accept my fate and die amongst the elephant bones. He put it so plainly.

“Honey, sounds like you have Vocational ADD.”

Maybe I’ll write a book called Vocational ADD.

I get so into certain things. I get so interested in ideas and plans and I go after them a thousand percent, then one day, I wake up bored as all get out and feel trapped and disgusted. Maybe that’s why I have some commitment issues. You can’t pull that crap when you get married.

Right about the time that I’m really feeling happy at my hair man’s place, the most OBNOXIOUS PERSON IN THE WORLD walks in.

I knew this girl because she grew up with my younger sister. She always has that Little Orphan Annie/Pollyanna look on her face. All dewy eyed and smiley, like Howdy Doody. She NEVER shut up. Not once. She ran her mouth nonstop. She is also the best friend of the girl that was “the other woman” of my ex, who he subsequently married. I always wind up seeing these people that I wish I’d just never see again. There are so many parts of my life I wish I could just forget about. I did for a while. In L.A. I didn’t think about all of this crap as much. Then I moved home to see that everyone is exactly the same and all of the b.s. I left behind is still alive and well and thriving and waiting for me to remember and confront. I don’t have the energy to confront it.

Anyway, old Howdy Doody Ratchet Mouth finally left, and I was able to enjoy the rest of my hair experience while listening to things like this:

“My daughter just turned 10, so I took her and some of her friends to Graceland for her birthday party.”

“The first fight my boyfriend and I ever had was over bar-b-que. I said Central was better, he said Corky’s was better. I didn’t talk to him for a week.”

The meaningless chit-chat at the salon made me remember things about Memphis that I do love, even though I currently feel like my life is over.

My boyfriend and I went down to his friend’s lake house on Saturday. Memphis is the only place on earth that you can spend the morning getting your hair done and the afternoon in a golf cart in the woods, rushing down steep hills and catching spider webs and bugs in your teeth. It felt good to get out of town for the day. I saw a bunch of wild turkeys and a deer and a bunch of bass jumping out of the water. I always sort of hated that stuff. All of those variations of brown always disgusted me. But on Saturday, it was peaceful, and I needed to remember the peace that comes with nature. Made me think of Dolly Parton.

“Sittin' on the front porch on a summer afternoon
In a straightback chair on two legs, leans against the wall
Watch the kids a' playin' with June bugs on a string
And chase the glowin' fireflies when evenin' shadows fall

In my Tennessee mountain home
Life is as peaceful as a baby's sigh
In my Tennessee mountain home
Crickets sing in the fields near by

Honeysuckle vine clings to the fence along the lane
Their fragrance makes the summer wind so sweet
And on a distant hilltop, an eagle spreads its wings
An' a songbird on a fence post sings a melody”

Saturday night we went to Oxford. If there’s one place on this earth that I loathe with all of my heart, it’s Oxford. I hate politics and Oxford and preps and Greeks and Ole Miss, and all of a sudden, God started dying laughing at me, and plopped me right into the middle of an Oxford, preppy, political, Ole Miss dynasty. So I had dinner in Oxford and actually had a good time. A guy walked by the plate glass window of the restaurant in a seersucker suit. I kid you not.

On Sunday, I’m pretty sure I attended a cult service at a local church. I am currently shopping around for a church. I feel like it might be the only thing that could perhaps provide me with a little bit of stability, since the rest of my life feels like a total disaster right now.

I sat in a stiff wooden pew amongst a 100% white crowd of Frozen Chosens. Everybody was wearing a suit or a dressed-up J.Crew sweater set. It was incredibly depressing. The pastor was draped with black robes. There was organ music and a star-warbling fat lady singing a bunch of warbly soprano words that were completely indistinguishable. I saw some girls that I knew from childhood who married their husbands when they were like 20 years old. They still have their natural hair color. Put a bullet in my head if I ever succumb to my natural hair color. They sat there in their pressed dresses and sweater sets stiffly and blankly, like slaves.

I wore metallic shoes.

Living in L.A. made me sort of forget about some things. I mean, I didn’t really forget them, but I lost touch with them so they weren’t in the front of my mind anymore. I forgot about the crippling effects of legalism and group-think and blind conformity, because I was out doing my own thing where nobody gave a crap if you went to church or where you went to church or who you were dating. Nobody cared, because everyone in L.A. is so driven by their own motives for success that they really don’t care about you unless they can use you for their own merit.

Here, in Memphis, there’s a lot of emphasis on where you go to church, who your parents are, what your last name is, where you get your hair done, what kind of clothes you wear on Sunday, which “legacy” you are, what area of town you live in, blaaaaaa bla blaaaaa. I mean, I guess that is everywhere- it’s in L.A., too, but there’s just so much emphasis on these pristine cultural norms that it sort of makes me want to jump in my car, move to another city, and escape again. I’ve done that twice though, and it doesn’t seem to work. I always wind up back in this town, like a dog returning to its vomit.

I was approached yesterday to do volunteer work for a Christian counseling center. I don’t know how I feel about that. I always swore up and down that if I ever had to work in any form of “ministry,” I’d off myself. But maybe that’s where I need to be. I think the whole ministry has a crying need for people who are real and who have struggles and who feel lost and can admit to their own humanity. “The ministry” doesn’t need any more cultural Christian zombies, walking around in their stupid sweater sets with their mousy hair and spouses they’ve been married to since high school.

Anyway, I digress.

I really want to write a book, but I have no direction. Can you write a book with no direction? I guess that Don Miller guy does it all the time. Maybe I can just type a little bit every day, documenting my caustic tirades, and throw it all together and see if some schmuck will publish it.

I think I am going to continue organizing my iTunes files. I have 30 boxes to unpack, but the thought of opening another unlabeled box really stresses me out, so I guess I’ll go back to my Rolling Stones files.