Archive | Growing Up RSS feed for this section

Oh hey, what are the haps?

11 Jan

The haps? I will TELL you the haps:

1) I’m in the midst of transitioning into a new job. A big girl job, guys. This process has been taking up a great deal of my time.

2) I’m breaking up with Boyfriend. What? BAM! Welcome back! It’s a long story, one that will probably end up making its way into being my next post, but let’s just say that it’s time (and that it has been time for a while). I’ll get back to you once I work up the courage to take the little bag of his things that I’ve been carrying around with me for DAYS over to his place and get this over with (dammitfuckIhatethisshit).

3) I’ve been having nightmares! Absolutely horrible ones! Every! Single! Night!

For the pas two weeks!

Exclamation points aside, I honestly have no idea what’s going on. Each night it’s a different dream but it’s always horrifying enough that I end up wrenching myself awake just to get away from it. And then, naturally, I can’t fall back to sleep because I’m stricken with terror.

Needless to say that after two weeks of this, I’m really tired. Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing? Any suggestions? I’m getting desperate. And cranky.

4) Uuhhhhg…

5) I miss you? I miss you and I think you’re wonderful and think it’s finally safe to say that I am, in fact, back.

Hi.

Advertisements

How your brother destroying your car can be a good thing

18 Aug

Today the following conversation took place between Meredith and I:

Man, if only I had waited to buy my new (to me) car! Imagine how sweet it would be to roll to work each day in a pinstriped Mustang GT? That’s me though; always jumping the gun.

As you may or may not recall, in an act that can only be described as sheer tyranny, Middle Brother decided to teach me some cosmic lesson by backing violently into my 10-year old Hyundai. And by that I mean he just wasn’t paying any attention. Still, many would argue that ignorance is merely a form of tyranny so, accident or not, my accusation stands.

Don’t worry though, he and his car made it through without a scratch. The universe works in mysterious ways.

Anyway, what with my car already being old and in need of some serious repairs before its face got smashed in, it came as no real surprise that the damage inflicted upon it made my poor Beast not worth the money it would take to get her back on he road.

It was a sad day. I wasn’t mad. I accepted it with a twinge of the heartache that I always feel when having to say goodbye to anything, material or otherwise, that has played a significant part in my life. This is especially true with vehicles. Vehicles take you to the places where you build your memories; they are an inanimate accomplice in the crime we call life and a sanctuary when all we need is a place to be quiet for a while (or to drown out our thoughts with loud bass and bad music. Or good music. Either way, sound system therapy).

I reflected – While the Hyundai wasn’t my first car, we certainly had our share of memories.

I got my first flat tire with that car (on the side of a busy 8-lane highway while speeding to a concert after arguing with my parents who totally didn’t want me to drive it to said concert and telling them “The car will be FINE! FRIG!” Yep… Good times). I also got my second flat tire with it but thankfully that was a significantly more humourous experience which I was much better prepared for. That car and I were run into a snowy ditch one winter (no harm, no fowl. It was actually pretty funny). For all its faults, that car was good to me. Still, when the powers that be speak, I do my best to heed and this was quite clearly a sign that it was time to let the ol’ girl finally have some rest.

And so began an agonizing few weeks of “car shopping”, an activity that I have decided is wholly over-rated and far too time-consuming (hense my extended absence). It sucked. Of course, a lot of that probably has to do with the fact that I couldn’t really afford to be getting a new car, but still, when you live nearly an hour from civilization, your only choice in pull up those big girl panties and ROLL.

Being immobile for the first time since I was 16 was incredibly frustrating (a feeling that was no doubt shared by anyone who wound up having to drive me around). My decision to bite the bullet and invest in a newer used car (granted, it’s not that new. I went with an off-lease 2006) instead of throwing away a few grand on another clunker caused a great deal of tension between Boyfriend and I (he thought like I should be holding off until I had finished paying off my credit card so I could get the new car I really wanted instead of settling for something else. I thought he was stupid and clearly incapable of understanding my situation. Or showing human emotion).

I spent days running around town and combing across the internet, trying to find the best deal only to end up losing the best deal and having to start all over again. I fought with Mom over colour and Dad over the make and model I chose. I lost sleep waiting to find out if my loan would be approved and prayed that I wouldn’t need a co-signer. I choked down the bitter pill that was my significantly higher insurance premium.

And then? When the smoke cleared?

I had my new car.

Everything worked out and, in the end, all the stress and frustration was totally worth it.

And you know what?

I’m actually glad it happened.

There’s the obvious benefit: I have a snazzy new car that I can be proud of and that I can rely on. Gone are the days that I had to cross my finger and hold my breath when I drove a few hours to visit friends. I don’t have to borrow someone else’s car when I go to the US and no longer have to engage in bloddy rounds of fisticuffs with anyone that dares insult my ride. It’s also a pretty sexy little number if I do say so myself, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.

But really, it’s more than that. This is the first car I’ve ever bought myself and it’s the first time I’ve gone through the motions from start to finish alone.

My first car was a product of necessity – my parents bought me a totally unglamorous ’89 Sundance beater as soon as I got my licence. It wasn’t a sweet 16 present and it didn’t happen because I deserved it. We lived in the middle of nowhere. Me having my own car meant that they didn’t have to drive me to work anymore and that I could take on the role of chauffer for my three younger brothers. I resented that little tin can at first but soon came to love it like it was a living, breathing friend. You should have seen me BAWL the day the wreckers came to haul it away, long after I had to retire it (against my will). The two other vehicles I’ve driven since have been hand-my-downs (ups?) from Middle and Youngest Brother.

Picking out my own car, applying for (and getting approved for) the loan, setting things up with the dealership – it has all been a very empowering experience. Considering how little control I had when the situation first arose, I feel very in control now. I feel like an adult, guys. And for the first time in a long time (maybe ever?), that sensation doesn’t suck.

Now all that’s left is a name. With the exception of the Hyundai, I always name my vehicles (The Hyundai didn’t get a name because it was ABOVE being pidgeon-holed by worthless moniker. It was a formidable badass that was simply known as The Hyundai. Or The Beast. So, I guess it did have a name. Kinda).

So… It’s little, two door, fire engine red and is a sporty little diablo.

Any ideas?

Wherein I attempt to get my shit together

19 Jul

Have I ever told you about my soul-crushing guilt complex? Because I have one of those and, let me tell you, it’s a major kill-joy.

Back in May I applied for a job. It was a great position at a great place. Bonus points? It was in my field AND it was referred to me by a big-deal contact on the “inside”. I was super qualified for the position and I had an in? I was ecstatic.

I slaved over my application, sent it and waited.

I never heard anything back. I was crushed.

At first I languished over it – how could I be SO qualified AND have an excellent inside reference and STILL not even get so much as a phone call? I couldn’t figure out how I kept going wrong with this whole “establishing a career” thing and I felt pretty hopeless. Eventually I got over it and even started to settle into my current state of affairs in such a way that was way more positive than it had been. I made a plan – I’d give myself until November (which would make a year at my current job) or until March (until the end of my current contract), then I would start looking again.

And then last week, as if the Powers That Be were purposely holding out to make sure I wasn’t a cosmic pussy, I got the call.

It was a woman from the HR department at the place I had applied to back in May. I had been shortlisted for the position and they wanted to interview me on Monday. Which is to say, what is now today.

This is about when the world around me slowed and went fuzzy and my heart skipped a few dozen beats before I realized that this was actually happening. My first reaction after gaining feeling back in my limbs was to quake with excitement – Yes! The want to interview me! It’s finally happening!

Everything was coming up Jam.

And then, like I always do, I started to get all wishy-washy.

I looked around my cubicle and I started to panic. I haven’t finished my contract yet. That’s bad, right? And what am I supposed to tell my boss? A man who has looked after me and made sure that I am always taken care of. What about my awesome co-workers? (don’t get me wrong, they aren’t ALL awesome) And what about the job itself? Sure, it’s not even remotely in my field and doesn’t pay enough for me to pay off the education I’m not really using AND be self-sustaining at the same time. But it IS a steady job that has been very good to me during an exceptionally turbulent time of my life and I’m just going to BAIL ON IT?

Guys, I was being ravaged by guilt over the very prospect of leaving my job (an easy pay-cheque) for a career. It was DESTROYING ME AS A PERSON.

“Are you fucking kidding me??” my Work Bestie snapped at me when I whispered her my news. She too is working on moving on to greener pastures. Her workplace loyalty is an all-time low, “It’s a job in your field at a cool place that could end up paying you anywhere from $12 to $20 grand MORE than what you’re making now and you’re feeling EMOTIONAL about leaving this place?”

“Yeah, but – ”

“I WILL PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE.”

She’s a really positive motivating force in my life.

I called my mom and, I shit you not, I thought she was going to cry,

“This is amazing!” she all but sobbed, “This is everything you’ve been working for. Do you have any idea how much this is going to change your life?”

I felt like I was trying to keep a dirty little secret, “Shh, ma’! It’s just an interview! I haven’t gotten it yet, DON’T JINX ME!”

But I was thinking the same thing. I tried shoving all of that to the back of my mind – I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I wanted to be calm and level-headed about it. But the GUILT. The totally irrational, borderline-debilitating GUILT! It was starting to taint my opinion of the job entirely.

Not good.

I knew I wanted that job. I was genuinely excited about it. I even knew that my boss, although he would be disappointed, would also understand. He himself has said that he doesn’t except me to be here long, that this job is just a stepping stone and that people like me “don’t stay in places like this for long”. And that was ok. Hell, he even arranged for me to have career-planning sessions. I think he’ll be ok.

But still.

This is a problem. I attach so much emotion to things and places and moments in time that I come to have a hard time letting go. Uhg, I have SUCH a hard time letting go. I’m always afraid of disappointing people (who would never actually be disappointed, but my brain is too warped to realize it) or of losing those things that give me comfort (even when they’re not good for me or have already served it’s purpose).

You should see the boxes of stuff taking up space in my room and every available storage space in our house because I just don’t have the heart to get rid of it.

I cried the day we had to haul my first car off to the wreckers because even though it hadn’t run in over a year.

I often slip into fits of depressed nostalgia when a song on the radio reminds me of people or places or events from my past, even if those memories aren’t happy ones.

There’s probably something wrong with me. I have no idea.

I have passed up or settled too many time because I was afraid of letting go.

And after a few hours of fretting, I realized that, this time?

This time was not going to be one of them.

So I bought a pretty new dress and broke in some sassy kitten heels. I spent hours updating my portfolio until it was pretty much a fucking piece of art. I let myself do some what-if budgetary calculations (just a little though. It was sort of like stealing a smidge of frosting from a birthday cake before it’s been served – enough to get you excited about what’s coming but not so much as to spoil it). I studied and rehearsed and Boyfriend made my lunch for me so I could go to bed early.

I showed up half and hour early because I was too nervous to keep sitting at my desk. While I waited, the candidate that was interviewed before me finished and breezed past me with this smile plastered across her face like she was so damn proud of herself. And she probably deserved to be proud of herself but I was too busy judging the way she looked and the way she walked and the way she UHHG to care about that.

But it was her smile that I found to be so unnerving. She looked so confident. Unshakably confident. I smiled back and then looked down at the portfolio I was clutching in my hands. Why shouldn’t I feel that confident? I had no reason to feel anything BUT that confident. My portfolio was stellar, I was ridiculously qualified and, as Jaimie so eloquently put it, I am a consummate badass!

I decided to focus on something funny to help shake the nerves and settled on my favourite funny memory: I was at a conference with a colleague once and, in the middle of the presentation we were listening to he dropped his pen. Not wanting to draw attention to himself (or something?) he lunged down for it quickly. He also forgot to push his chair out when he did so and wound up cracking his forhead off the table so hard that his upper body bounced back up as fast as it went down. The only evidence that anything had happened was the suspicious swaying of his enormous Italian ‘fro (Think of that kid from High School Musical. You know, the one with the hair? SHUT UP YOU TOTALLY KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT) and a look on his face that screamed “WTF JUST HAPPENED”. Amazingly, I was the only one who witnessed it. We almost pissed ourselves laughing and how we didn’t get our asses hauled out of that presentation eludes me to this day.

But anyway, laughing helped. It continued to help as I revisited that memory several times over a period of 20 minutes that the panel kept me waiting before they finally invited me into the room. It’s helping even now. Oh god, SO FUNNY.

As for the interview, I truly believe that it went well, I don’t know that it was the most amazing interview I’ve ever given, but I was confident and gave what I feel were great responses. I felt comfortable and I knew what I was talking about. They liked my portfolio.

So now, I wait.

They said I should be hearing from them by the end of the week. That means four days of distracting myself and pretending it’s no big deal while secretly maintaining a vision of nothing but an absolutely positive outcome. And repeating my new personal mantra of “I WILL get this job, I am a consummate badass” several hundred time a day.

And maybe looking into finding someone to talk to about this all-consuming guilt thing.

One way or another, it’s a step in the right direction.

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – In settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living”
– Nelson Mandela

Babies and (sort of) bad dinner guests

21 Jun

This weekend I went to a dinner party with a group of friends I used to work with when I lived in the city. Now that most of us have moved on to other opportunities, we make a point of getting together as often as our busy schedules allow. It was an awesome night of good food and wine and even better people and I’d be lying if I said that a night with friends wasn’t exactly what the doctor ordered.

One of the big causes for celebration that night was a pregnancy in the group (don’t worry – the mama-to-be wasn’t hitting the vino). Naturally, pregnancy and babies was the most popular topic of conversation that evening.

This is where I need to pause to tell you that pregnancy just might scare the shit out of me.

I mean, obviously, there’s the fear that is associated with the idea of getting pregnant before I’m ready (and by accident). But for me it’s a lot more than that.

I love kids but I’m not convinced that I’m ever going to have any of my own (for a LOT more reasons than I can’t begin to list here. It probably deserves a post of its own but I just wanted to establish right away that I have NOTHING against the chillun). It’s weird because before I got to university I was excited about the prospect of motherhood(although it wasn’t a role I was planning on taking on any time in the near future). Now things have gotten to the point where I finally had to sit my mother down and break the news to her that if she was expecting grandchildren (she is) she’d have to expect them from one of my brothers.

People usually tell me that my anxiety (because, yes, I would call it as such) is normal; all it means is that I’m just not ready yet. And who knows, maybe they’re right and one day some internal switch will get flicked and I’ll wake up all OMG IT’S BABY TIME but right now my baby switch remains firmly (possibly even rusted into) the off position. For now I leave that incredibly noble task up to women far better suited for the job than I.

But it’s not just the idea of having a kid and being a mother that puts the fear of god into me. Pregnancy, the act of growing and carrying a child to term, and then the act of delivering said baby, are both as terrifying to me as they are fascinating. The terror part however, is relatively new.

I think I can attribute much of the terror to my love of reading mommy blogs (Yeah, I KNOW). It has been on these blogs that I have learned about things associated with pregnancy and delivery that I simply DID NOT KNOW before. Some of these things are genuinely amazing, some are a tad unsettling but still good to know, and some of it? Some of it is down right traumatizing.

My mom thinks that all of the mommy blogs I’ve read have alone scared me away from having kids and that I should only take each experience with a grain of salt – after all, each pregnancy is different. While she can related to some of the things I have turned around and interrogated her on (“Oh yeah, cracked nipples. That happens.” OMGWHATNOW?), some of it she never once went through with me or my two brothers.

But as much as I attribute the fear to the stories I’ve read on these blogs, I don’t believe that they’ve “scared me off” (Okay, maybe a little but they are not wholly responsible, let’s just put it that way). People fear that which they do not know and thanks to a bunch of honest and witty women, the miracle of life suddenly looks very different than it used to.

These are the things that they don’t teach you in high school health and sex-ed classes (Torn nethers? OH GOD). These are the stories that your mother, aunts and grandmother do not tell you growing up (I knew what post-partum depression was, but I didn’t know what is WAS, if you know what I mean). These are the things I’m GLAD to know about now, to have time to reflect on and come to grips with, so that I can make an informed decision on whether or not this is really something I want.

I get that these things are fleeting and the pain is temporary in the grand scheme of things and that the blessing of a child makes up for all of it a million times over. But knowing what I do now, and recognizing the way it makes me feel has helped me to realize just how very not ready I really am.

If that makes me sound a little crazy (or at least more so than usual) then so be it – I am ok with that.

But like I said before, I also find the whole business fascinating. It’s like watching one of those programs on Discovery Channel where a lion takes down a zebra and you’re like “OMG WHY?” but at the same time you can’t turn away because you know that it’s natural and important and you’re LEARNING something about the way the world works.ý

Not that I’m equating having a baby with the eating habits of carnivorous animals or anything like that.

Ok, maybe not the best analogy but it’s HOW I FEEL.

Oh god, don’t hate me.

Please?

Anyway…

For all the fear (or perhaps because of it) I find myself more eager than ever to learn more about it. Not just the textbook stuff but the stories from women who have LIVED IT. And not the sugar-coated PG versions either – I want the truth. I want the emotion and reflection and second thoughts that go with all the joy of such a life and body altering experience.

Because I think it’s important. If this is something that I may do later on in life (something that is expected of me as a woman but something I may, as a woman, also chose not to do, because I can), I think I deserve to know.

That’s where this dinner party comes in.

My friend is a beautiful person in every way. We’re all stupid excited for her and her husband because not only have they wanted this for a long time but because we know that she’s going to be an amazing mom. She is also the type of person that doesn’t hold back and has a very honest answer for every question asked of her.

So I asked her,

“Are you scared?”

And she told me yes and yest not really at the same time and she’s staying positive. And then the flood gates were opened. I asked her about how her body was feeling and if she was worried about the way it was going to change. I asked her what it feels like when the baby moves and if she’s the type of parent who will vaccinate or not. I asked her how she was preparing herself for the pain and DOES SHE KNOW ABOUT TERROR X, Y AND Z?

The whole time our friends were shooting me dirty looks and kicking me under the table.

“What are you doing?” On of them hissed at me when our friend got up to grab the dessert, “Are you trying to scare her?”

Of course I wasn’t trying to scare her but I quickly started to feel like that dinner guest that doesn’t get invited back so I reeled it in a little. Still, she answered all of my questions as truthfully as I expected she would and I appreciated it.

I wound up having to stay the night because things wrapped up at midnight and I was the only one with three hours of driving to get home. After everyone had said goodbye, I apologized for asking so many questions that perhaps had come across as insensitive.

“Oh my god,” she laughed, waving me off. “Why? It’s only natural. Babies are a big deal. I just hope my answers helped!”

I appreciated that, too.

Back where I started

11 Jun

About 4 months ago, Boyfriend and I were entertaining the notion of moving in together. Not necessarily because we were feeling like we were ready to take things to the next level; more like it just seemed like the most logical option. He wanted to move out of his dingy basement sublet to a place with better internet and I needed to move out of my parents’ place. We’d finally be able to see each other more regularly. It all seemed to fit pretty well (and in retrospect I’m sure it usually does for couples who are moving in together for the first time). We decided we’d rent a house, seeing as neither of us is ready for a mortgage. This way we’d have plenty of room for us and my dog and, just maybe, we could start feeling like adults.

We got as far as going to look at places. It didn’t take long for him to get cold feet, which then caused me to get cold feet and soon we were left standing there, shivering, wondering why we had ever though this was a good idea in the first place. He was hung up on money and job security and I didn’t want to move in with someone who was in doubt. We decided to wait.

Not a month later, Boyfriend had found a 2 bedroom apartment in a nice part of town with good internet and was planning on taking it. I was so hurt. I knew that while there was some truth to the money and job security concerns that was never the whole story. I was part of the problem too, although I wasn’t sure what part of “me” or “us” it was. It understandably caused some friction and more than a few angst-filled late-night conversations, but we eventually moved past it.

This is when I really started to crack down on making my own independence happen. I always knew it would eventually, but I was going to let it happen in its own good time. Now I was suddenly reformulating my budget and paying of debts in big chunks so that I could move on as freely as possible. It was the first time in well over a year that I really felt like I had some kind of control over my life. I crunched the numbers and I decided that I would be able to move out in August or September. I was elated.

Then, as my luck would always seem to have it, a new challenge was tossed in my way. I was informed that my trusty old car is on her last legs and might not make it to the end of the summer (and even if it does, I shouldn’t be taking it on any long trips aka most of my big summer plans. This is me finding myself relating to Kit’s epic college road trip in the Shitty Oldsmobile).

I realized that I could do both – replace my car and get a new place, but it would be really, REALLY tight. Like, absolutely NO room for error tight. I talked with Mom about it, I bounced ideas off of Boyfriend and I eventually let myself accept the fact that the apartment would have to wait.

If I can’t get to and from work, then I can’t make money and if I can’t make money then I can’t pay rent.

Priorities.

(This is where I start clicking my glittering heels together, taking deep, controlled breaths and telling myself that everything is going to be ok)

I knew it was the right decision, but I spent all day yesterday (that’s how fast this has all gone down. It was less than a week ago that I was celebrating my revelation of being two months away from freedom after all) agonizing over having to put that idyillic fantasy I had been living in back on the shelf. Me and my dog in a cute little bachelor pad. Workin’, playin’, chillin’. It had been so good while it lasted.

The terrible irony of the timing of all of this is that Boyfriend started moving into his new place yesterday. He’s been respectful of my mourning, not boasting about how wicked his new place is nor asking me to help him move. Still, I didn’t want to be the bitter girlfriend, so when I finally got home last night after such a long and mentally exhausting day, I sent him a text to ask how it was going.

We chatted back and forth and he told me it was going well and that the place is nice.

“I think Dexter is really going to like it.”

Dexter is the bloggers-anonymous name I’ve given my dog (yes, even my dog needs a fake name. People know him. He’s almost famous).

I paused.

“Uhh, he probably isn’t allowed in the building. Also? Why would I bring Dexter over?”

I think this might be a good time to mention that Dexter probably weighs as much as I do.

“I want you to start spending more time here,” he said. “I’m worried about you. I don’t want you going crazy because of what your family is going through. Spend your money on getting a good car. That should be your focus right now.”

I’m so glad that this conversation was happening via text message because this is where I started to cry.

On one hand, I was so relieved. He has always been good about letting me run away to his place when things get stressful but I’ve always felt guilty about having to abandon Dexter. This also might be a good time to mention that my dog is like my kid.

Now I not only have a place to go, but I can bring Dexter with me. And I can stay. I can stay as long as I need. And this might be exactly what Mom needs to help let me go – a slow weaning process instead of her having to lose me all at once.

But on the other hand, it’s almost like the worst thing ever. I was raised to be a strong and independent woman. Even before my dad left us, Mom taught me to never depend on a man. Relationships, and everything that comes with them, should be a partnership.

I don’t want to be taken care of and I’ve spent too long living under the roof of other people. I want a place that I can actually call my own for a change.

But the idea of a place where I can just be, even if just for a little while…

Now I’m tired. I’m tired because I was up half the night with this rolling around in my brain. I’m tired because I’ve been struggling to come to terms between my values and my personal well being.

I’m tired in life.

I’m tired and I have no idea where to go from here.

Uhg.

Weekend of blah blah blah

6 Jun

Saturday: Boyfriend and I took off to the big city to catch a baseball game. I turned off my phone and decided that I was just going to ENJOY MYSELF for a change. It was a little scary and there were definitely a few withdrawal tremors earlier in the day.

And you know what? We had a blast. We got matching sunburns, got drunk in the stands and watched my team kick ass. What was supposed to be a shitty day weather-wise wound up being perfect, we ate delicious food and when we got back home he decided he was sick of the fact that I am, as it turns out, terrible at baseball and took me outside to teach me how to swing a bat.

HIM: Bend your knees! Stick your ass out a little! C’mon!

ME: INAPPROPRIATE!

I’m still pretty awful but it was a lot of fun.

Sunday: Everything about today made up for how great yesterday was. I woke up to – surprise! – my family in a shitty mood.

Every time Dad opened his mouth it was to yell at one of us (“That cardboard box should be placed in the recycling vertically, not tossed in horizontally! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUUUU?” – That is, sadly, almost verbatim. This, apparently, is all he is capable of. At the risk of sounding like some emo kid, I can’t really remember the last time he said something nice to me.

Mom decided to make me pay for the fact that I dared to taste freedom for a day by putting me to work despite the fact that I had scheduled the day for working on projects (that’s okay though. I mean, I’m in my 20s and living at home so how important could my freelance clients POSSIBLY be, right?). I understand that she’s stressed and that I have to pull my weight, especially given the circumstances, but I cannot get ANYTHING done. To illustrate said point, I’ve been called back downstairs to help her with ridiculous little things THREE times since I’ve started this post.

And Middle Brother, who is rarely to be seen on a weekend at the best of times (a double standard, if I may be so self-righteous as to point out) announced that he and his (on again, off again) girlfriend of 6 years(ish) have broken up for good. This being the third time this has happened, and what with the reasons for it being pretty solid, we all know it’s for the best. He’s taking it significantly better than the last time this happened, which was, as it turns out, almost exactly a year ago. Last summer he spent each day in tears and/or intoxicated so this year’s brooding is an upgrade to be sure.

Still, angst.

The best this to come of this day was the result of some desperate, family-related madness that had me sitting down and re-budgeting my life so I could figure out how to get out of here faster. I realized that if I started putting all excess funds (usually split between my credit card and savings) toward paying off said credit card (excluding extra income that I get from freelancing. That will continue to go towards beefing up my savings. Ha! Beefing.) I could have that sucker paid off by the end of next month.

This revelation made the rest of the day so much easier to take.

I feel so bad that the only time I seem to blog about my family is when I’m bitching about them. We’ve been through so much together and we are SO much closer than I make it sound. I swear we have our fun too, see?

She felt bad, I swear.

It’s not like I’m ungrateful for the fact that my parents took me back in, nor do I think for a second that my life will be easier once I’m on my own (Conservative estimates see me living below the poverty line).

It’s just that KNOW that I can’t do this anymore. I can’t deal with the rage and bitterness ALL THE TIME. I can’t deal with the blatant disregard for the importance of my work and the extra income it provides me with. I can’t deal with being scolded like a douchebaggy teenager for wanting to invest some time into my relationship. I can’t deal with being yelled at for forgetting to turn off a light or for getting frustrated when I’m always being expected to lend a hand when my brother is free to come and go as he pleases.

I’m tired. My heart hurts. I need to start standing on my own two feet without having to worry about this ALL THE TIME.

I need out.

So the question is this:

Am I justified? Or am I just selfish?

Because, sometimes? I’m just not sure.

Finding my red dress

28 May

Have you read Jenny’s (aka The Bloggess) post about her red dress? Maybe you already have. Maybe you haven’t (but definitely should). I read it the other day whilst I was meandering about my favourite blogs and, I’ve gotta say, it kind of hit home.

The post, and the whole idea about the red dress, encourages readers to let ourselves have or do the things we want but have been too afraid to go for because of impracticality. Jenny says go for it anyway, because you and I, all of us, deserve it:

So today, think about what it is you need and were too embarrassed to ask for. And then go fucking do it. Wear a ball gown to the grocery store. Invite the neighbors to have a picnic on the front lawn. Get that novel out of your sock drawer and publish it yourself. Stand on a bus stop bench and belt out a song for the waiting strangers. Find a playground swing and remember how it felt to fly. Find your red dress. And wear the hell out of it.”

It all made me sit back and think – What have I been denying myself that I want? Where in life am I holding back? What can I do to make myself feel like the “dynamic and vibrant” person that I am? What, basically, is my ‘red dress’?

In life, I don’t want for much by way of things. Part of this is because I worry almost to the point of being obsessive over the impact consumerism is having on the environment (basically it’s a whole lot of OH MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE). Part of is also the fact that I’ve done a pretty good job (after a lot of training, weaning and financial instability) of being content with what I have. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’m definitely that person who finds something in a store that I absolutely LOVE but instead of buying it I carry it around the store with me until I convince myself that I don’t need it anymore and I end up putting it back.

What I want in life, what I’m working towards, is my independence. I want to move out of my parents’ house and start standing on my own two feet. I want to pay off my student-related debt and live comfortably with my dog. Is that really so much to ask?

In order to make this happen, I’ve had to be very frugal with my money. This means that pleasure buying is a great big no-no. Again, not that bad of a thing but sometimes I miss the thrill of doing something just for me, you know? Like the other day, I was browsing around looking at purses. Ladies, I know it might be hard to believe but I actually have only one at any given time. I don’t switch it up to match my outfits or the occasion or the phases of the moon. One. As you can well imagine, it’s starting to get a little frayed and I’m ALWAYS losing stuff in it (I can’t remember the last time I was able to pick catch a call on my cell the first time). But just as I was starting to fall in love with a new one, strutting around the store like some big deal with it hanging off my shoulder, I remembered that my car is due for an oil change.

So I put the purse back. I put it back and saved my money for the oil change because that is the practical thing to do.

Better luck next month/season/year.

So when I read Jenny’s post, I was inspired. Maybe it was time to get or do something that would make me feel like I was worth the extra splurge. And as luck would have it, I just happened to have an extra $100 to dedicate to the cause.

Every year my quasi-estranged father sends me $100 for my birthday. There’s no animosity between us, but we aren’t as close as we were when I was little and he had yet to make a series of poor life choices that would ultimately drive us apart (stop me if you’ve heard this one like a MILLION TIMES ALREADY). Still, we remain in greeting card contact and every year he sends that $100 and every year he tells me to buy myself something nice and EVERY YEAR I put it into savings instead.

Well not this year. THIS year, I would finally spend that money the way he always told me to. THIS year, that $100 would go to help me get my own red dress.

Except that I didn’t want a red dress per say…

It took a bit of soul searching and wrestling with that guilty little monster in me that was, as always, trying to talk me out of it, but I finally figured out what I wanted.

And so yesterday I ordered my very first pair of long-coveted <a href="http://www.toms.comTOMS Shoes.

Yeah, I know, it may not seem like much but to me? They’re everything. For years I’ve been hearing from friends how TOMS are pretty much the greatest shoes ever – they’re ridiculously comfortable, fun and best of all? For every pair you purchase, TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a child doing without in some of the most poverty stricken places in the world.

Being able to do a little philanthropic good while spoiling myself is a really big added bonus (so is being able to spread the word about TOMS with all of you!). I’d rather donate my money to a good cause than spend it on myself in most cases ANYWAY, and before I was so strapped for cash I enjoyed making occasional donations to initiative I believe in.

It was really nice to be able to give back again, even if it was in a round-about way. It made me feel capable and in control of my own life again. That in itself was a great feeling.

I received notification that my shoes have been shipped. I’m giddy just thinking about it.

I’m giddy because these are so much than just shoes – They’re fabulous, glittering gold shoes that I WILL feel dynamic and vibrant in every time I wear them. I’ll wear them because I deserve them and when I look down at my sparkling feet I’ll be reminded of how hard I’m working to be able to stand on those two feet and I’ll KNOW that everything is going to be ok.

Oh, and I’ll wear the hell out of them while I’m at it 😉

Thanks, Jenny.