Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Good things are Coming

My dad called me this morning. He's in L.A. He told me where he was staying and what he was doing, and it made me imagine exactly in my mind what everything looked like. I got incredibly homesick, but instead of being sad about it, I started writing an entry in my memoir about my L.A. adventure, and it started with my old job.

As I was writing about my old counseling job, I started laughing about it. Maybe when you're going through a dark period in life, when you're broke and people are mistreating you and your work is so miserable that it's all-consuming, you don't see the humor in it. Well, I'm far enough removed now that I could NOT STOP LAUGHING at how bat-sheet crazy my work was. I mean really. What 24 year old recovering Baptist from Memphis winds up working in forensic counseling with 50+ year old B-listers and trans clients and sitting in on their divorce trials at the L.A. County Courthouse? Just thinking about some of the blatant insanity that I dealt with made me have full-fledged belly roll laughs.

I guess sometimes I don't realize how intensely ridiculous a situation is until I think back on it and consider the circumstances. I started thinking about some of my clients and the situations I dealt with and how, considering my sheltered and very protected upbringing, I thought about and dealt with these situations. Hilarious.

When I talked to my dad this morning and he told me he ate at In-N-Out Burger, I said, "You know, I was so destitute and fed up with L.A. when I left, I never foresaw me missing it this much, but every single day, I really, really miss it." And he said, in such a practical way, "Well, you never know. Maybe you'll move back." and for some reason, that gave a lot of relief. I don't know that I'll ever move back there, because being poor really sucks, and I don't foresee myself being able to have a decent middle class lifestyle in L.A. without being extremely rich for Southern standards. But what I recognize about myself is that I lock myself into picking choice A or B, deciding that if I choose one thing that I'll have to take everything that comes with it...But that just isn't so.

When my parents met, my mom was in Baton Rouge and my dad was in Memphis. She didn't know she'd be moving to Memphis and leaving everything that brought her down, but that's what happened. All she did was take a chance by trusting my dad, and with that leap of faith, she was able to embrace the adventure of a lifetime.

I have been doing SO MUCH BETTER than I did at first. I don't feel depressed and regretful like I did at first, but I still cling onto this desire for adventure, this hope that maybe I'll be able to pack up all of my crap once and for all and finally find somewhere in life that feels like "home," whatever that is, if it even exists. I look forward to finally doing away with all of the cardboard boxes, and being able to have all of my life in one place. I'm not sure if this sense of "home" is something that I've just made up in my head, but I think that there's something to it. I don't think it's necessarily a geographic location - I think that having that sense of home is when you feel like your little place in the world is yours- you fit there and you can make it your safe place where you can really be yourself after you've been beat up by your day. It's a place where you can proudly display what's important to you- your pictures and knick knacks from travels and degrees and paintings. It's a reflection of your heart. That's what I think it is. And I think I'm on the verge of finding my "home."

I think finding peace within myself is probably the first step, and knowing me, I'll never 100% attain that peace, because I don't think that I'm one of those zen types of people who accepts life as it comes. I always try to make it better, which is one of my best and worst traits... Anyway, despite this, I know that if I am more cognizant of having an attitude of acceptance, it'll be a heck of a lot easier for me to maintain peace than if I just let my own human nature rule my day, and I think that I'm getting there. That makes me happy.

I'm excited about things that are coming down the pike, even though I have no plan and I have no idea what I'm doing or where I'm going. I think that this is going to be a big year. I think that, despite the uncertainty and ups and downs and shaky ground, that good things are coming, and right now, I just have to make myself ready for them.

I'm still going to be irritated with the obnoxious yuppies with whom I constantly interact. I'm still going to want to sock people who try to cram their unrealistic and shallow cultural views down my throat. I'm still going to roll my eyes when people try to make my life as small as theirs. But I am also going to try really hard to remember peace and acceptance and to see that all of these little fractions of pictures, will, eventually, become one big mosaic of my life, and it's happening every second. Time to embrace today and look back at all of the INSANITY and belly-roll laugh at it. It feels good.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Snow Blows

I've been spending a decent amount of time writing my memoir, so I haven't been blogging about day-to-day crap as much, so forgive me, faithful readers (I always feel empowered and elderly when I address you as "readers," especially if a pleasant adjective is used prior to the word. I was born way too late on the time line of humanity). Not a lot has being going on in my pseudo-personal life, so forgive me for having nothing to write about. And, as always, sorry for ending a sentence with a preposition.

This morning I drove to work in a pelting-down of snow. I imagined God up in Heaven shaking the dandruff out of his hair, onto Memphis, before reaching for his Selsun Blue. I know that's sort of ridiculous, but I really did think of that while I was driving down the doldrums of 240.

I had a good weekend. I finished Tori Spelling's first book, as trashy as it sounds, and it was sort of like watching a mindless movie. I loved it. I felt like I had a little wee vacation from my life. It brought back so many memories of my own life, oddly enough, from memories of growing up to the first boy that kissed me (ugh. haha. do I throw up or laugh?) to the places she referenced in L.A.

That's one good thing (of many) about my life right now. I have more time to read and do things I typically don't have the time to do. I also finally have a little bit of money to do things like buy new blue jeans. Score!

I attended a Superbowl gathering last night with a few of my childhood friends. I don't spend enough time with them. It was nice to be with people who have always known me. It made me feel safe. My guard was down because it didn't need to be up. I don't feel that freedom as much as I should. Maybe i should try to think about that safe feeling more so that I can experience it more. Maybe I think too much.

What else, what else.

During the Superbowl, I kept thinking about how A-Rod's brothers played Rockband with me and my friends at my apt. one night in L.A. when another party that we were at was crapped on by the po-lice. They seemed like nice boys. I know. I'm so cool with my third-party connection to the MVP via online brag blog. Anyway, that's what I thought about.

I think I've been under an immense amount of stress recently (I know, I know. I'm always stressed). What sucks is that I don't always realize it when I'm stressed. I just recognize the symptoms of it.


I got into a little tiff with someone the other day, and I subsequently had to pick up some garments from my alterations lady, and when she asked how I was doing, I started bawling. Not just some ladylike crying. Some all-out, full blown sobbing at her counter.
She said (in thick Chilean accent),

"Life is too beautiful to cry."

It was nice. Until she started talking about a bunch of crazy crap that didn't make any sense.

My alterations lady, the one who said I'd have "problems in life" because my boobs were too small, and that my pants always fit weird because my calves are too big, and the one who constantly makes me feel like crap about myself, was the exact person I happened to have a meltdown in front of on Saturday, and she even gave me a hug. Life is ironic.

I also started crying in the tanning bed, and at first I was trying to choke back the tears because I was scared of electrocuting myself in that cancer box, but then I figured if I sweat my ah-ss off in there anyway, what's a few gallons of tears? So I had a nice long cry in the tanning bed until I decided to suck it up and go run. So I got over my little crying spell and ran my butt off, until I hit the steam room. Then I cried again for another 15 minutes or so. Then I started to feel like I was going to faint, so I bailed out.

So. Crying for me is often a symptom of stress. It doesn't always mean that I'm "sad" or "distraught." Sometimes crying is just a way for my body to let stress evaporate.

I just noticed that I use an unnecessary amount of quotation marks.


I hate not feeling like myself. To me, crying in a tanning bed = NOT FEELING LIKE MYSELF! I pretty much don't have any clue about what "myself" is supposed to feel like, because I've been undergoing so many transitional life issues for so long, but I do remember a time where I was kind of fun and spry and excited and adventurous.

The thing is, right now, I don't necessarily feel like I'm NOT all of those things anymore (double negative! Shame on me!). I just kind of feel like they are all dormant.

As I was driving to work in God's dandruff this morning (to borrow an enlightening sentence from a friend, "snow hasn't been cool since I was 10."), I wasn't feeling depressed or upset or worked up. I was just sort of going through the motions. And that's OKAY, it's not the worst thing in the world, but I think I need to embark on an adventure soon so I can reconnect with myself.

Church was awesome yesterday. They did away with the skinned-cat singers and had a big, voluptuous black lady singing about Jesus, and she was waving her hands around and jumping up and down and doing some preaching in between singing, saying things like (while singing, too), "If you lose your job on Friday, and you wake up on Monday, Jesus is still the boss," kinds of things. It made me get excited for the first time in a while during the music part of church. This is what Memphis means to me, when I set aside the B.S. of this town---the blatant hypocrisy, the cliquiness, the private school/pleated pants/fraternity thing, the "everyone goes to church" fake crap-----what Memphis is, aside from the crap, is a town rich with soul and spirit and wisdom, but you have to look to find it. That lady singing at church yesterday reminded of the things that I miss when I don't live here. Then, of course, some white guy gets up there with his guitar and sings some "I want to kill myself" "worship" song, but he wasn't depressing enough to kill the mood that the black lady had just ignited in everyone.

I'm really looking forward to Mardi Gras. Some of the best memories I have in my whole life are from Mardi Gras. There's this family-oriented partying that takes place that makes you feel warm and content, and you forget about all of the run of the mill B.S. that can be overwhelming, like paying off loans or living with your parents or gas prices getting higher. You just enjoy your family and your friends and come home with a trunk load of beads and stuffed crap, and you remember who you are.

I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I Heart My Paw Paw

I may or may not be turning into an old maid/school marm. Today I put on compression hose to wear to work. Let it be known that I vehemently hate pantyhose, and have refused to wear them for many years because of the way that they drag across my prickly legs and run and bunch up around my crotch, but last night during Zumba class, I noticed a vein throbbing in my leg, which sort of made me recognize that I’m getting old and that I need to start taking preventative measures to remedy this lumpy leg issue. I hope that my legs don't turn into a map in a few years. I hope they aren't covered with Mississippi River sized veins. Recently, though, I've been kind of been accepting my fate, whatever that means. I don't think about feeling overwhelming regret EVERY DAY anymore. I just sort of wake up and go to work and go to the gym and tan and that's about it, and it hasn't been so bad. I've been more accepting of my bland circumstances/existence.

So, today, under my blue jeans, I am wearing pantyhose that are squeezing the HELL out of my legs and make me look like Oksana Baiul. Triple axle, here I come.

I got a facial the other day that may or may not have given me third degree burns all over my mug. My friend and I took our other friend out for a spa day because she just got married. As a result, my face has been flaking off. I look like a leper.

I also got a massage that day by a big beefy girl named "Tabby." Tabby could have played Linebacker for the Packers. She was a bruit. I might be paralyzed from the neck down now. I'm not sure I'm that cut out for all of the girly/high maintenance things in life, like pedicures. Man, I HATE pedis. I also hate sitting in a chair for four hours while my hair color processes. I like to get my tan on, because that takes less than 15 minutes. I also like to work out. All of the other stuff is a little too much, I think. Well, I used to get massages from this ex-baseball player guy who was sort of a sleeze, but he had a good grip on him and could crunch all of the knots out of my back like a champ, so I'll probably get a massage again, but I have decided that facials are OUT.

I've been looking rough this week. Burn face, varicose veins. I'm only 26 and I'm totally falling apart. And yes, it is because I live in Memphis again.

Last night in my Zumba class, we did the Tina Turner dance to “Proud Mary,” where we did, indeed, do the “pony” from the 60’s, and I just imagined myself skipping around with a big teased hairdo and thick black eyeliner and white fringe go-go boots. It was the most fun I’ve had this week. Zumba is awesome. All of my friends in there are baby boomers.

I went to a wedding on Saturday night that cost the daddy of the bride $400 grand. I don’t even know how many zeros that is. And guess who was there. Pollyanna. I’d get into it, but I can’t. Eventually I'll tell you, dear readers, all about Pollyanna, and we will have a Blog roast about how obnoxious she is, but not today.

The wedding was well done, but really over the top. They spent a ton of cheese on it, so it SHOULD have been well done. I kept thinking, though, if hell were to ever freeze over, and I were to ever get married, I wouldn’t want to invite 600 people and feed them all fillet mignon just so I could have a big beauty pageant wedding. It just isn’t me. I don’t like enough people to invite the whole world to my (hypothetical) wedding. Maybe by the time I get married, if I do, I’ll recruit more people that I like, but even by then, if "then" occurs, I won’t want a big huge shin-dig. Not like that. Not with 13 bridesmaids and a tiara and an after party where everyone has to wear a wristband to get "in." Nah. I’m more of a $75 drive-through chapel in Vegas type of gal. I guess this makes sense, though, considering that I'm wearing compression hose and have a burn victim face.

I called my Paw Paw on the way to work this morning. My parents and sister are going to the Philippines to see where he was captured during WW2. I wish that I could go SO BADLY, but I can't take off that much time from work, since I'm already taking off work for some other important dates. I was supposed to go to the Philippines last October, but the trip was canceled. Makes me sad to think about it, but everything happens for a reason.

I was so happy to talk to my PawPaw. He always encourages me about going back to school and what I'm doing in life. He's always supportive. He never makes me feel bad about not being married or living at home or working through all of this crap in my life. He's awesome. People like that are so few and far between in life.

I made a CD w/ my best friend when I was living in L.A., and we recorded a bunch of old country music (Hank Williams, Ray Price, Tammy Wynette), so I mailed him a copy of it because he really likes that sort of thing, and he couldn't ever load the songs on his computer when I tried to email him the files. This is what he said about the emails:

“Well, I couldn’t load your music on the computer when you sent it to me. A box popped up that said something was holding me up.”

Hahaha! Something was holding him up. Nobody's funnier than PawPaw Haley.

He asked if I was working, and I told him that I was doing bookkeeping work now. This is what he said about that:

“You having so many different kinds of jobs is really going to give you an advantage when you have your doctor’s degree. You’re like your Uncle Randy. He worked at a service station and as a guard and at the store. That makes him a better doctor. And your cousin... Well, all your cousin ever did was just go to school. But you and Randy? Y’all have had lots of jobs. So one day, when you are a doctor of psychology with your doctor's degree, and you have a patient come in who says, ‘This bookkeeping makes me nuts!’ You’ll be able to say, ‘I know EXACTLY how you feel.’”

And you know what? Hearing that today was exactly what I needed.