life


Friday, June 24 2011

So much has changed in the last year – almost all of my circumstances, and a good bit of my own personality, if that’s the right word to use. Well, I’m still a bit strange and I still use humor too often and too ineloquently, I am still reserved and a touch too sensitive. I still cannot dance to save my own life, still somewhat more comfortable than is appropriate. But I’m also more likely to speak in a group than before, to initiate conversations. I am able to dance much more freely if not well in public, I now trust myself to handle life’s business, and I feel immeasurably more confident in my own appearance. My hair, my skin and posture I believe are much improved from the state they were in just ten months previous.

 

The major physical change to my circumstances is the big move I made – fromFloridatoNew York.

 

You’ll remember that I was looking into various AmeriCorps positions last summer – social service work, stipends, sometimes inclusive of housing as well, and with less experience than a normal job requires. I specifically was looking outside of Miami, outside of the whole of Florida because I had wanted to move away. I have hated Miami for a very long time, almost as long as I lived there, though it became even worse when we moved away from the beach and more inland. I was bored. I could walk nowhere and my driving was – remains – abysmal, though neither I nor my family had the money for an extra car in any case. I never was able to feel as though I fit in that city; not with my shyness, which was crippling, not with my jeans and cardigan instead of shorts, skirts, dresses. My eternal sneakers and tennis shoes instead of cute sandals and heels.

 

It is a little funny, that the appearance and style I was lacking inMiami– the things that left me out in the figurative cold rather by myself – I have gained them all living a thousand miles away, where it’s none of it necessary anymore. I could probably go back, really, and be comfortable – get a decent paying job, an apartment by the beach for what it costs to live in an outer borough here. I could meet people this time, walk around freely looking good and knowing it too, swimming in the beach and dancing in the clubs. It would be so much easier now, and yet the desire is not there; I think about Miami and all I can recall is how I felt all those years – waiting in the sweltering heat for a bus that would take half an hour more to arrive, dismissed by everyone around me, belittled by my family and dreaming about getting away.

 

And of course it’s not just an avoidance of Miami that makes me love New York City. It’s such a unique place; I don’t imagine I could achieve this level of contentedness anywhere else. By and large it feels like a Northeast city. I remember the first time I went to Baltimore, to DC, and how I loved the brick, the little houses with tiny front porches, the gray of the side-walks and the look of the city set on rolling hills. I know I’m not describing this very well, because honestly I don’t believe I am able to explain it fully; I simply like the aesthetic of an urban neighborhood in this region. Dense, staid, old.

 

When I get near my apartment and glance up at the building to check on my window, see the park across the street with its side-walk benches, the busy road a block down with a thousand dollar stores and cheap pizza shops – it makes me feel content. On the train I stand by the door and stare out at the landscape of theBronxfrom the windows; a setting sun, smoke, warehouses and little stores, big brick apartment buildings and wild-flowered, abandoned lots, people going about their business on the weed-cracked side-walks below. In the distance sometimes, the skyscrapers of Manhattan looking serious and gray.

 

The subway – that’s another thing I love, rather predictably given my lack of driving skills or car. It’s still strikes me sometimes, the care-free simplicity of simply wandering to the bus stop at whatever time with the assumption that transportation will arrive within the next five or ten minutes. New York public transportation; there’s almost not anything I can really say beyond what’s been said a million times already – it’s the best in the country. It will take you anywhere, or nearly. It’s fairly fast, even with all of the delays – I suppose some might complain about the cost but I’m given an unlimited monthly by my work so that’s no concern of mine. Although, I do often note that the monthly unlimited for transportation inMiamiis about the same price for an abysmal service in return. Even if I knew how to drive I would be loathe abandon the train – where there’s (much less, and less noticeable) traffic, where I can read or listen to music in commute, where there are no worries about whose been drinking or not, where even travelling at two, three, four in the morning I have never been in an empty train and never felt particularly unsafe.

 

Since I am beginning to be able to recognize when I am going on at length about something which is not especially interesting to anyone else, I’m going to cut myself off here and bring this entry to a close. A lot has certainly changed since last I updated this journal – I moved from a city I hate to one I adore, I got a new job, I met many new people. Hopefully this time I’ll be a diligent enough blogger that I get to actually write about it all.

First of all: I am studying, which I need to be, I’m just also blogging, watching ANTM, and browsing flickr outfits on wardrobe_remix and fatshionista, too. Sigh.

The sad thing is, the material isn’t uninteresting – not at all! What could be better than a class, which I practically hand-picked, about suicide, relationships, and depression? That is the stuff life is made of!! And yet, I slack. I suspect that in the end, I’m just not an academic person – that’s not where my heart is (which sounds unbelievably corny, but I only mean that some people find all the fulfilment they need in researching, in making a name for themselves in academia, and I just care much more about living comfortably, figuring out this whole relating-to-others thing, and helping others more generally….I don’t have the heart of someone who was ever going to be great, even if that’s what I was raised to desire, and I’m finally starting to realize/come to terms with that).

….Meanwhile! I applied to a job which sound absolutely dreamy today – training, pretty good fucking pay by my standards, public service (my desire to work for the state is no secret – I believe good public services are the measure of an advanced society, and the government in general is pretty good about benefits/pay, at least around here), my Very Own Cases, pretty much everything I envision when I allow myself to fantasize about professional future. I probably won’t get it, of course – not being pessimistic, just stating the reality of being a single, inexperienced salesgirl in a city with hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers going after a handful of jobs – but it’s my favorite opportunity that’s popped up so far.

I also used my last ten-dollar-off coupon of the month to buy a dress for my sister’s graduation in a few weeks – the dress is for my sister, of course, not for me. It was sixty dollars originally and I got it down to 12-something, all discounts told – not to bad, though not cheap enough to really excite me. It’s a great dress as well, black but made sunny for its pink-rosy print and it’s a-line skirt. It’s also strapless with a beautiful pleating detail across the bust, so that it looks like the material is merely sitting in front of the breasts instead of lying on them – my sister calls it a “pleated shield” and it pretty much does look like some kind of weird armour. It adds a nice bit of edge to an otherwise completely feminine dress, and once you throw on a cardigan it’s totally work appropriate. Once I get a camera in my hands I’ll probably post a picture or two.

Ok, now I really am going to double up on the studying – I absolutely must have this reaction paper submitted by tonight, no excuses! Out of my way, writer’s block! Fuck off, laziness! Tonight it’s just me and the interpersonal theories of suicidal ideation.

yours,

– Tuesday

Right now: eating Fruit Discs, the delicious supermarket-brand knock-off of Fruit Loops, half-watching Say Yes to the Dress, trying to read the articles my prof. sent me on interpersonal theories of suicide and re-checking the various jobhunting sites which have become staples of my internet history. So basically my life has become a mix of scrambling to cobble together some kind of professional future and then battling the waves of anxiety inherent in that effort with foodstuff, TV, internetwandering and shopping. Oh, shopping.

Now, I had previously thought I would abandon my department store gig at the first offer of anything in an office, where I can wear non-rubber soled shoes because I get a chair and there would be paper work and computer systems involved. After further reflection (and a minuscule, vaguely insulting raise – I now make *almost* a dollar more than minimum wage, isn’t that nice?) I’ve decided to stay put until I find a job in the actual field I want to enter, which is social/health services. After all, even if I found something in, say, a technological start-up company which was nice enough and paid more than I make right now, I would just keep job searching for the job I really want anyway, and then if I found it I would have to leave pretty soon after accepting, which I don’t like to do. Or maybe my reasoning makes no sense and I’m actually just super lazy. Whatever. This way simplifies things for me and makes me feel more focused.

In the meanwhile, I’ve been taking advantage of said crappy retail job to slowly build up the material trappings of an adult life. Probably from watching too much What Not To Wear, I’ve become much more interested in dressing less like a fourteen-year old and more like an adult. Until very recently I didn’t own any clothes at all except jeans and t-shirts, any shoes except sneakers and tennis shoes (and my beloved red Docs), I had a bookbag and a couple of rundown, old purses with missing hooks, zippers and handles.

So I’ve been slowly building a wardrobe which is respectable as well as true to my style – which I’m only just discovering anyway, so the timing is actually pretty good: had I done this earlier I would probably want to throw it all out now anyway. I’ve gotten a couple of nice shirts, a pair of nice, comfortable flats. My most recent acquisitions, which I am proud of to an inappropriate degree:

– A big giant purse, which is nice/adult enough to take to job interviews, work, etc., but also exactly what I wanted personally – big enough to fit my netbook, journal, agenda, wallet, etc., but casual (cotton, mostly) with sea-side colors (white, beige and mostly sunny-day ocean blue – I look at it and want to go swimming) – with a zipper and five different pockets. Came to $5.17 thanks to a sale, a coupon and my employee discount.

– A pencil skirt! Now, I always thought that I hated pencil skirts, because I am rather slim and thus always looking for things which will give the illusion of curves – big fan of a-lines, here – and I always thought that pencil skirts made you look narrow and flat. No thanks, right? Wrong! I loved each skirt I pulled on – I still don’t quite understand it myself, but I think it has something to do with the high waist and the way your hips look when you walk. I went with a dark gray with a black belt which I found in the clearance rack – not too tight or trendy, hits just below the knee, overall guaranteed to be appropriate for almost any job and yet still, I think, quite flattering. Cost after various discounts: $8.39.

I can’t believe I ever hated shopping.

ps: I would have pictures up, but my sister’s camera is dead (well, was killed after a bad fall….accidental cameracide) and my father took his camera with him when he fucked off to wherever, so I am camera-less. If I do get a hold of one I might come back and add pics later, because I really do think blog posts look quite bare without them.

yours,

– Tuesday

I actually managed to (a) dress myself (b) leave the house!! Go me! Actually, the evening was a steady degradation of plans to celebrate graduation – which I have not actually completed, though I did attend the ceremony a few days ago – which was first moved a day, and then moved another day. We were going to go to a nice opera, and then in the face of sold-out cheap student tickets and heavy traffic, quickly adapted the plan to a night of drinking and watching Date Night and shopping by the beach, where all the cool clubs are. Then it got kind of late and my poor, batshit crazy mom’s head exploded at the thought of my staying out past midnight even in the face of my long history of staying out until two or three in the morning, so we decided to watch Date Night and maybe just sip a beer at the nearby mall, which is a great hangout spot if you are a middle school teenager and not much else. And then my friend’s car broke down for the hundredth time and I naively thought it would be fine to go with M. and R., who are a couple, just the three of us, yay! So of course I sat in a dark theatre by myself for half the movie while they “talked” outside, and then sat in a dark theatre basically by myself while they cuddled nearby.

The movie, though, was pretty funny and I am not much of a socializer anyway, so I enjoyed myself pretty well anyway. Afterwards M. and R. once more wandered off by themselves and in a valiant attempt not to resent their couply happiness I listened to music and really, really wished anyplace was still open so I could have a drink, any drink, and then flirted with a security guard in a last-ditch attempt to entertain myself/FEEL LOVED confirm my ability to hold a conversation, and then I went home and watched Life and House Hunters International.

So, overall, can I say I have a life? Well, no. But I think I made at least a good-faith effort, right?

OK, so – been a while! I logged on today for the first time in not-quite a year, and saw that I had actually written a Hiatus Announcement post, and then obviously never actually got around to publishing it….blogging fail. But in any case, I decided to back away from the internet for a while and journal privately (in an actual notebook, with a pen!). And I did that, and now I’m here again.

So to quickly bring you up to speed; I’m still at the department store, depressingly, I’m basically done with university minus a summer class I’m taking, after which I will graduate immediately,and  my plans for the future are a giant mess though I feel very good at the moment about all the different ways it could go. I’m considering wrapping up my self-imposed dating hold, what with school being over. I’m thinking of maybe staying here in the city rather than, as I had assumed until very very recently, transplanting myself almost halfway across the country to New Jersey and making it somehow work there. I may take some extra classes – maybe go for a graduate certificate – because my GPA certainly suffered this last year what with the working and the class overload and the personal stress. But all of that will be detailed later.

Today I’m running errands. Because I have free time for the first time in, no joke, a year at least. It’s amazing how much you can actually get done when you don’t have four or five different projects hanging ominously over your head. So I am: returning library books, using a coupon I have to buy a graduation present for my sister, sending my transcript out to an internship in Baltimore, returning a fairly hideous bag, stepping into a pretty store I discovered the other day to just window shop a little, picking up some food for the budgies – in other words, being normal and enjoying myself.

More later!

yours anonymously,

– Tuesday

So, I’ve spent most of the last 24 hours hooked up to a heart-monitor. It’s weird because I never, ever get sick, not really – except for this last year or so, when apparently my body’s just been fucking up left and right.

Actually, it’s nothing major so far, just a series of common, minor, irritating conditions: nasal drip through almost all of the winter which thank-god disappeared, occasionally-mortifying angioedema since January, and just recently probable mitral valve prolapse – hence the monitor. Oh, and new asthma. The annoying thing is, all of these are really very minor, but I still freaked out almost every time something new came up and went to a doctor, so I’ve racked up at least a few hundred in bills (I don’t want to count them! Depressing) to basically learn I’m fine over and over. I don’t even get illness-related sympathy, just sort of scolded for overreacting to the occasinal irregular heartbeat/inability to breathe/swollen body part.

…Ok, possibly I had some frustrations about all of this that I was unaware of, but now that I got it all out in rant form we can move on.

I’m skipping class again. A different class than last time, though – this one is relatively easy, but soulsuckingly dull. And attendence is both taken and counts towards the final grade, so I should really resist the (very, very strong) urge to skip but – I’m only human.

Back to the heart moniter for a moment: I’ve never seen, nevermind worn one before. The biggest takeaway is: goddam these things are uncomfortable. The patches that connect the electrodes to the moniter are itchy as hell, but you can’t touch them. Also, the skin that was underneath got completely red and irritable after I, very painfully, ripped them off in the bathroom a few minutes ago.

That was probably the worst part, the second being that it looks a bit weird to walk around with it, even if it’s mostly in your pocket and you have a high collar to hide the electrodes. People definetly had that uncomfortable look they get when they’re trying not to react to someone’s obvious illness. Not too bad, overall, but I still felt a bit weird and so did what I do whenever I feel less-than-stellar, which is, unfortunately, go to the bathroom and ply on the make-up. Maybe not ply, though – just some heavy mascara, a bit of lipstick, a quick powedering. It’s a terrible, vain habit, but I guess I like looking slightly better, and I find the actual application of make-up to be sort of thereuputic. Yes, I know that’s not normal, no, I’m not dealing with it right now.

It really has been a busy day, though. I got up at six in the morning to be the first in line for some bloodwork. This is also the third time I’ve had blood taken out in as many months, which isn’t fun but at least I’ve become totally blase about watching my lifeblood spurt into little glass tubes. After the lab I had just enough time to get a slice of bread and a boiled egg and then off to the University I went.

Except I had to go early to meet up with poor old G and lend her a few bucks because she had literally nothing in her bank account and has to pay for classes. At least I managed to retrieve the minibottles of vodka and gin I had stored in her car, though, and they’re tucked safely away in my bookbag (actually, it probably would have looked extremely sketchy to anyone watching – standing in a corner of a parking lot, I hand over a few bills and G. thursts a small, plain brown paper bag at me, which I then quickly hide away).

Of course, any other day I could have enjoyed a little drink and probably even been good to go to class without wanting to beat my head against the wall till something broke, but today was heart-monitering day and I could not have a sip (well, I probably could have, but a single sip of alcohol seems wasteful and weird).

Also, for lunch I had a packet of vanilla waifers and a bar of Dove Smooth Milk Chocolate, which finally tastes good again after I OD’d on it last year. My stomach is not happy but I’m feeling okay.

It’s been a while, but I’m sitting in the library, tongue burnt from a Starbucks mocha, skipping class because I missed today’s assignment, and life is good.

I’m on the hunt for a job right now – almost any job will do, really – and it’s actually going surprisingly well. Apparently previous experience makes a difference, because I’ve only filled out about five applications and have gotten two interview calls already. Last year, before my stint at the bookstore, I must have turned in about thirty applications and only Nordstrom ever wanted an interview – and those bastards sure as hell didn’t hire me (although they were super nice about it, sent me a real, honest to god mailed paper letter to reject me by). But I have a good feeling this time – soon I will join the ranks of the partly employed!

In Bad Economy Stories I Can Relate To news, our house is being totally foreclosed on. Bummer! To add to the general dismalness of that situation, my dad finally left/got kicked out (??) of the house, so it’s just us womenfolk now. Hence the new-found need for another money source, since my father’s taken his (significantly larger than my mother’s) income and disappeared. Well, not exactly disappeared – he’s moved into, I assume, an apartment somewhere, won’t tell any of us where, and appears sporadically to help out around the house, “visit”, or give us fucking useless bits of money – fifteen dollars for me last time he was here, which I took even though it’s kind of insulting because I need it anyway. So it’s a weird situation.

But actually all of this might be a step in the right direction. My parent’s marriage had been dissolving for a while, and neither were willing to budge to fix it, so this has been coming for a long time. Sometimes separation is the best option – although I sort of wish, that if it had to happen anyway, it had happened a lot sooner – my dad will be alright, he had money, a mistress, plenty of friends from happy hour at the bars, so, whatevs.

My mother’s situation is much more troubling — she makes twenty-five thousand a year, had very few friends, is frankly not getting any younger, and now she has to navigate a new, single life. She doesn’t have as many friends – her work isn’t that conducive to close-friendship-making – and I seriously worry about her being alone for the rest of her life. She could eventually date again, I suppose, but it’s just complicated – where do you meet a good guy, over fifty, when you don’t go out much, are shy, and there’s somewhat of a language barrier (Spanish is her primary language)? Match.com? It’s depressing.

So all of that – worrying about what Mom’s going to be doing with her days now that she’s alone, worrying about her financial situation – is why I’m seriously feeling the pressure to never leave home, even though we don’t really get along and I am miserable here. I will, though, leave home, because at some point I have to start my own life, right? I mean, I’ve put that off already until I’m nearly twenty-two (next summer, when I graduate college) – my mom wants me to then get a full time job and we would live together in a nice place indefinitely. I want to leave. I want to go very far, far away, where I can relax and go out and drink and have sex and have fun without the stress that seems inherent to being here.

To add to the confusion, I’ve recently become very, very interested in Americorps – honestly it sounds like a program that was made for me (with a few tweaks here and there). I would love to go and commit for a year of service – the only problem is mom, again. We don’t get along but she’s my mother and alone now, so I feel a pretty strong sense of commitment and duty to her, too – which is why, although I had planned on leaving after graduating, I had also planned on continuing to pay my part of the rent after moving – Americorps does not pay enough for me to be able to send anything back regularly, though. Not even close. I’m keeping it as an option but I have to really think about how to work this financial problem.

This has been a very long update. Possibly I got a little nervous there as the coffee (a tall white chocolate mocha with whipped cream & chocolate syrup – order it, it’s delicious) began to kick in. So, until next time,

regards,

Tuesday

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