After Andi’s post last week I found it particularly amusing that this was my calendar page on Friday. And yes, G and I bought a calendar of hate to keep us entertained at work. That is all.
Have you ever had one of those nights where you think to yourself that you are blessed?
You probably have. I have. The problem is that when the sun rises and the alcohol wears off, I’m right back into my doom and gloom attitude where I cannot see the positives and think that my life is nothing but a challenge.
This is why I am writing tonight. I may be a bit on the drunk side of life (4 martinis will do that to you) but I cannot express to you how many times I realized tonight that I have amazing people around me and if I have these wonderful people around me, I must not be so terrible, right?
A while ago, a few of my friends and I decided to form a “literature and liquid” group. Basically, a book club for people who care a little more about drinking than talking about the book (really, I think we spoke about our most recent read for about 90 seconds!). The purpose of the group is to talk about the book we have read but also to remember to connect to each other outside of work. Tonight was one of those nights.
Allow me to indulge my loving self right now. I cannot get over how wonderful these women around me are. I really feel so blessed I could burst and I am, at the same time, so sad that tomorrow I may forget it all. There are three women in the group. The first, MW, is like a sister, a mother, a best friend, a mentor, a colleague, and a master chef all rolled into one. My life would feel so absent without her. The second, MB, is stunning. And, I mean that—absolutely stunning. Her personality and her beauty have yet to be matched by anyone I’ve met. She listens. She cares. Truly cares. The third, MC (yes, all of their names start with “M”), is so very strong. I listen to her speak about her choices and her life and I wonder how anyone could be so resolute and strong in their decisions.
I admire all of these women and I think to myself, based upon my viewpoint of myself, how in the world do these women enjoy themselves around me? But, the truth is, they do. MW tells me so often, “You are my favorite.” I don’t know that she will ever know how much that means to me. Even if she doesn’t mean it (which in my drunken haze I really think she does) it has such an impact on what I think of my “true” self. I hope someday I remember to thank her for what she has done for me.
And, then I’m brought to my thinking about this blog and my fellow Kousanahan—Roya. I’ve been in 14 weddings. 14!! I’ve listened to the long speeches and thought, “I’m not going to wait until I get married to let the people I love know what I think of them.” Shame on me for not doing this sooner. I struggle with low self-esteem and I know Roya is struggling with life. Who doesn’t? But, damn, if Roya could just see herself through my eyes for one minute—hell, 30 seconds—I think her life would be transformed. She is beautiful. Kind. Funny. Contrary. Honest. Loyal. Loving. Stunning. She is one of those individuals that I’m blessed to have in my life—one of those individuals that when I’m around I think “how am I worthy of being around her?” She is the person who has saved me from myself many times over the past several years and I wonder if I will ever be able to repay her for what she has done, is doing, and will do for me in the future.
This blog post is a ramble. But I do it in hopes that people realize that while it is great to realize how blessed we are when we feel uninhibited (i.e. drunk!), it is even better to be able to remember this when we are completely “with it.”
Hug your friends. Recognize their brilliance. See that if they are around you—you too are fabulous!!!
Allow me to vent for a few moments to publishers and authors. If you want someone to read your books, don’t make the covers so embarrassing.
Let me explain.
Last month, my therapist handed me the book “Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem.” He wants me to read it. Anyone that knows me knows that I can read really quickly but I prefer to take my books with me when I go out so I can read any chance I get. With this book, there is no option to do that unless I am perfectly comfortable with feeling as if I am being judged.
Let’s be clear. I have low self-esteem. I am NOT okay with feeling like I am being judged!
What stupid publisher (I know but I’m going to make you work for it) would say, “We have a book about low self-esteem. We should slap a bright red cover on the book with the title of the book so clearly that it looks like it is a neon sign!?!?”
I know that I need to work on my self-esteem. I get it. But, reading a book in public with a bright red cover announcing to the world that I need to work on my self-esteem is a bit much.
Thanks but no thanks.
I am off to find a self-help book with a cover with a fake title (something like “Most Intelligent Thing Ever Written” or “Idioms of Science” or “Andi is Beautiful”)—something that will help me feel better about myself as I read it in public and have people look and me and think, “Wow! That gal is smart!” or “That gal is beautiful!”
Perhaps this exercise in realizing the stupidity of the choices of some people and companies is the first lesson in raising my self-esteem. Heck—I know, given the chance, I could come up with a better cover for this book. Looks like my therapist won—I just said something nice about myself!
My job, an unrelenting struggle for perfection, frustrating family relationships, and countless other things lead me to a therapist a few years ago. It took a long time for me to come around to seeing a therapist (that’s what my friends are for, right?) but I can’t imagine where I’d be now without her. She’s fabulous and if she weren’t my therapist I’d totally want to be friends with her.
My dear friend K has long seen a therapist who she calls Niles. I love that: 1. Because I love David Hyde Pierce and 2. K is incredibly witty and I don’t know anyone else who would call his/her therapist Niles. So for the purposes of this blog my therapist needs an alias. But I won’t steal Niles (even though I want to). Instead I’ll go with Jane. Why? Because Jane Lynch was a hilarious psychiatrist on Two and a Half Men.
Anyhow… Jane and I have been discussing mad. Such a basic emotion, right? Well no. Not for me. I don’t do mad. I suck at mad. But I’m awesome at sad. I feel sad a lot and I understand it. I’ll go so far as to say that I’m an excellent crier.
But mad feels wrong to me. So instead of feeling mad I turn the feelings inward and get sad. But today was different. I walked to my car feeling sad and annoyed. And then I stopped myself and thought “Am I really sad? Am I really annoyed? — Hell no. I’m mad.” And when I got to Jane’s office and told her about this, she told me to name five things I was mad about. And I did! It was hard to do, but I did it. I succeeded at mad! Sort of. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t sound mad. And I cried. But still – yay me!
This can only be described as a breakthrough. I’m going to work on accepting mad as a valid emotion. Mad can be good. Mad can be productive. Mad can kick sad’s ass.
Women tend to hone in on one or two things about a guy (or girl if that’s who they so desire) that really make them swoon. For Kate, it’s glasses. And if he’s a scientist or post doc candidate in glasses… oh you better watch out.
For Z, it’s sustainability.
Tonight we met up with a group of friends and friends of friends for happy hour and dinner. The entire group was fabulous – smart, nice, engaging, progressive, creative. And most everyone in the restaurant was super hip. After a few margaritas and getting over the feeling that I’m not cool enough to be with such a kicky group, I started to feel like I was in a movie. You know those shots of the big group sitting around the table with drinks and 10 conversations going and laughing and overall wonderfullness? Yeah. I was in that tonight.
Anyhow… Z is chatting with this guy who starts talking about his job: working with a community organization, focusing on sustainability, recycling, etc. Well friends, he had her at sustainability. Tonight she can go to sleep painting mental pictures of a solar-powered future together. Or maybe just a few fun dates.
As I was driving home, it dawned on me: I don’t know what my “thing” is! What makes my heart pitter-patter when I meet someone new? How can I fall in love and live happily ever after if I don’t even know what my “thing” is that makes a guy irresistible to me?
The truth is that I probably do know what my “thing” is and I’m just too damn scared to tell the world or even myself. Because f I don’t define or vocalize what I want, then I never have to be disappointed with not getting it.
I need to change that.
Upon returning from our brilliant vacation in Mexico, my furnace died.
Actually, it died while we were gone. I came home and my house was 51 degrees. Since I had a delayed flight and my car was dead when I finally got to it, my return home was later than I had planned and I was too tired to deal with it. S, who was watching my furry cat babies while we were away, left a note that she thought she messed up the thermostat. I was hopefully that was the only problem. No such luck.
So I called the heating and cooling guy who fixed my AC over the summer. He’s the guy who does work for my contractor boyfriend (not really my boyfriend but he’s done some great work on my houses and if I had more money I’d have him redo the whole place) so I figure he must be a good character with good rates.
Well the heating and cooling guy is certainly a character. Probably the most interesting man I’ve met in Pittsburgh. or anywhere for that matter.
On Wednesday evening, he was here for two hours. I think he did about 30 minutes of work, and the rest of the time he talked. And talked. And told me about how he used to have a great house that was foreclosed on. It was nice when he bought it, but great once he added to it. It had an in-ground pool, waterfall, outdoor kitchen, etc. His wife raised the kids and he ran a business.
His wife never worked until his large heating and cooling business went under because he was screwed by a very large job that never paid. She fell into a great job making good money and she told him to move out. So he went to live with his mother. She called and said come home. So he did. And within a month she had lost her job. He said it was okay and they’d make do. Then he learned that she found out she was being let go just a few days before she asked him to come home. Needless to say, the marriage didn’t last. So he’s back to living with his mother.
He tried to fix my furnace. He did a repair and told me to call him in the morning and let him know if the heat stayed on. We went to the ATM so I could pay him cash for the service call. Shady, I know, but I totally didn’t care because I had good stories and heat in my house.
I called him Thursday and left a message. He must have missed the message, but showed up at my door Thursday night to see if I had heat, which I didn’t. He started it again and tried another fix.
Thursday night I learned that he was reckless in his 20s. And he spent two years in jail for selling cocaine to major league baseball players. He loves baseball! He’s clean now and has been for a long time. From observation, he runs on caffeine and nicotine now.
He called Friday morning at 7:30 to check on the heat. Then came over. Quit simply, the furnace couldn’t stay on and since it was 18 years old, it wasn’t worth sinking more money into. So we went down to the wholesaler and I bought a new furnace. Then stopped at the ATM to give him $100 cash. He and a guy came over at 5:30 Friday night to install it. They were here until 11 p.m.
That’s when I learned he was an only child. His father was an Irish immigrant who was kind as can be until he had four drinks in him. That’s when he turned into a mean drunk who had to be fetched from the bar. He was raised to fight but is afraid of mice. His Italian mother once broke the neck of a mouse in front of him and his kids and to this day it gives him the creeps.
If I could make the time and commitment, I could write a novel about this guy. Others might be frustrated by his timing and rambling but I’m intrigued and fascinated.
I have a hard time with small talk and meeting new people because I’m so uncomfortable with who I am. That’s why I love meeting people who just put themselves out there and have no fear about showing anyone and everyone who they are. It’s a little crazy and totally inspirational.
Unlike Roya, I’m not ready to say “Suck it, 2011!” but I’m definitely ready for the year to be a simple memory in the rolodex that is my life. While there were some ups and downs, for the most part, my 2011 was in the gray area.
I will probably remember 2011 as the year of the thyroid (or the killing of the thyroid?). In March, I had radioactive iodine treatment to burn my thyroid out. Why? Because I’m a weirdo and my thyroid felt the need to flip between Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s (yes, diagnosed with both autoimmune disorders—like I said, weirdo!) every couple of weeks. Basically, my life was like this: “Oh my god. Oh my god. I’m never going to be able to do that. But I have to. Wait I’ll stay up all hours to get this project done. Oh my god. Why is my heart beating so fast? I’m going to die. I. am. going. to. die.” to “I cannot get out of bed. My life sucks. I’m so depressed. No one loves me. I’m so tired. I’ll sleep for 27 hours.” Yeah—weirdo (imagine being my friends dealing with this mess… my apologies to them!).
While I would love to say that being a superhero for three days (the time I was sequestered in my home unable to see or touch anyone) was fun and that I glowed green and purple with orange coming out of my ears, it wasn’t. The ablation (the words of the doctors) led to 9 months of blood tests, waiting, more blood tests, waiting, one dose of synthroid, waiting, more blood tests, waiting, changing the dose of the synthroid, and, you guessed it, waiting. I’m told that they will figure out the perfect dose of the medication for me—but, for now, I’m still waiting.
Other than the thyroid, the year was, like I said, blah.
I had some great times. Thanks to conferences, work meetings, and random trips, I got to play with Roya more times in the past year than we had in a few years combined. I got to eat cranch and boom boom wings at Wing City in Fredonia, NY (don’t knock it until you try it!). I played in Disneyworld with Roya and attempted to run a ½ marathon of which I ran 5 miles and then stopped (I hadn’t trained and I wanted to have plenty of energy to walk around the magical kingdom the next day). I went snorkeling and saw sea turtles and stingrays. I taught a new course with 200 students enrolled and learned the problem of forgetting to turn off the microphone as I sang “Look at me now. Uh. Look at me now. Uh. I’m gettin’ paperrrrr” (that is definitely one for the memory books). I laughed, smiled, and danced (mainly in front of my classes) a lot in 2011.
There were also some low moments. I cried a lot. I questioned what I was doing with my life a lot. I needed hugs a lot. I was mean to myself more times than I care to try to remember (though it is easy to remember because it was almost every other day—and, some weeks, every day).
So, I guess it is time to make 2011 a memory and welcome in 2012. I’m thrilled to be ringing in the New Year with Roya (one of my favorite New Year’s memories was with her, Carrie, and me making braised cabbage—yummy!) and hope kicking off the year in a happy way will lead to great things.
In 2012, I’m going to find my inner athlete (insert laughter). I’m going to read 50 books (that one I can do). I’m going to blog at least two times a week (try to at least…). I’m going to have cranch and boom boom flavored wings at Wing City again. I’m going to go to SpaWorld in Centreville, VA. I’m going to travel. I’m going to find my backbone again. I’m going to smile and laugh and dance even more. But, mostly, I’m going to be nice to myself. I have to.