You don’t like me and that’s okay

I have lived my life as a pleaser.

 

It was a long time in the process of growing up before anyone in my surrounding circle of acquaintances was mature enough to admit to anyone else, “I just don't like you.”

 

And the first time it happened, I was appalled. Hurt. What the hell? I'm amazing! Why would anyone consciously not like me and want to be my friend?

 

Modesty has never been a great skill of mine.

 

Over the years as I've grown into my crotchety middle age, it hasn't really gotten easier.

 

I've realized, though, that it happens.

 

You meet someone, and immediately you know how you feel about them…at least a little. Sometimes that initial impression is wrong, of course, but often it's correct. It's lasting. You can try and change it, reason it away, but sometimes your guts just don't like someone else's guts.

 

Other times the dislike is a result of action. Poor judgment on one side, the other. Both.

 

It turns out the same.

 

Sometimes auras just don't jive. The way you see the hallway may not match my perception at all, and my perception may make you angry just because it exists.

But I'm me. I refuse to apologize for being who I am. If I wrong you I admit it and apologies are certain…but I cannot feel bad about who I am as a person for the rest of my life just because of mistakes that I've made.

 

It doesn't mean I'm not worth your time. It doesn't mean you aren't great or that I'm not absolutely spectacular.

 

Sometimes you just don't like me. And that's okay.

 

What the ?£€¥

Brave Little Blogger Contest

 

See what I did there?

Earlier in the week, I took a stroll through my old blog at Xanga. This is old stuff, folks. The idea of a blig or a blog or whatever it was was completely foreign to me. Facebook wasn’t a thing yet unless you were actually a student, people still used MySpace, and the world, while shrinking, was still pretty big.

I wrote everything I thought in that blog. Insecurities, fears. Reading back over some of the stuff that is still there (not all, though, because I don’t even remember the password, so there’s no doubt all sorts of nuggets hiding in private mode) I was completely embarrassed.

And then I wondered why.

One of my main goals in my writing, whatever format it has been in, has been to be as bald and blatant as possible. To say the things that you might think but never admit. Things like sometimes I have farting competitions with myself and I think I just realized I haven’t worn deodorant in like three days, or that I have coupon codes for sex toy sites in excess. Things that everyone kind of ignores about themselves.

But I realized, in my reading, that I leave a whole lot out now. I don’t post my laments about my relationship…or not as much as I did. I don’t wonder in print about people who talk about Sue Schmo and what they say about me.

I don’t criticize or talk about people I love because I know they’ll probably read it. I don’t say things online that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face….even though I may think them. And while that may be the socially acceptable and responsible thing to do – the smart thing – it makes me feel like a hypocrite.

For instance, I can’t say on Facebook that my best friend’s family hates me or that there are certain people who I keep in my life only because they have to be. I can’t say that there are days I feel like the biggest loser on Earth because I feel like talking to someone and I have only the toddler and the cat. I can’t say the things that annoy me about the people I love most. Not even that I love them maybe too much.

In all honesty, I can’t say which is better. My Xanga posts were lamenty, embarrassing, angst ridden, teenagery blather…but they were straight from the gut. The posts I write today are struggly, observant, sometimes well written, and read by everyone I know.

To be straight, I don’t know where the line is. I don’t find anything appealing about airing marital issues online or sounding like the OMGLOL4RLZ chicks whose posts I ignore on my facebook news feed every day, but I don’t want to feel like I’m being anything less than totally honest.

First world issues, I guess. There are worse problems in the world than my blog. Or so I hear.

Forward Ho

 
I hereby greet the new year.
 
There are lots of superstitions about bringing in a new year. 
 
I stayed in one spot for a full extra thirty seconds after Lucy hurled on my shoulder and hair just so I could get my midnight kiss on Saturday night. 
 
You’re welcome, surrounding partygoers. You’re welcome.
 
My point is that there are lots of things that tradition dictates one must do or not do to usher in a new year.
 
Eat certain foods. 
Be loud at midnight to scare away evil spirits.
Refrain from paying bills.
Postpone laundry (something I only found out AFTER I put the puke clothes in to wash).
Along with lots of others…some that make sense and some that simply sound stupid.
 
But it can’t hurt, right? Like avoiding black cats or throwing salt or not stepping on cracks…why tempt fate?
 
Except I think sometimes I get so focused on the why-not-it-can’t-hurt-just-do-it mindset of a new calendar that I overlook some things that might actually be useful.
 
Like starting new. Forgetting things past and having a clean slate, letting go of baggage which serves no purpose besides gall.
 
So instead of remembering why QR Nobody  annoyed the shit out of me in 1999, or what Sal Asshole did to give him his Asshole name, I’m clearing accounts. 
 
Starting over.
 
Cleaning out.
 
Second (third, fourth) chances all around.
 
I feel it will help my soul.
 
Happy new year. Look ahead, not behind.

The day before the upheaval

This weekend Dan is having a New Year’s Eve party.

Which, in a roundabout way, means we’re all having a New Year’s Eve party.

Dan has always been better at having company than I am. When we were married, there was a regular stream of visitors to our house on Farmington Road. Chess and Risk games lasting until the wee hours.

When we divorced, Dan got custody of most of the friends so I haven’t really had a problem with visitors.

We live all together now, though. It happens here in our shared household as well. Where I tend to shy away from company and worry about what the sticky spots on the floor might say about me or what the piles of laundry convey, Dan has, apparently, infinite huge amounts of self confidence and doesn’t bat an eye to have guests whenever.

It’s generally agreed upon, though, that an organized event requires a bit of upkeep. Especially after Christmas and 2+ weeks of people being home a LOT. We are currently serving as host to an over abundance of wrappers, dust, mismatched socks, and unbatteried Wiimotes. Not to mention the deceased tree occupying the open spot of wall and spitting crispy tendrils in every direction.

Is it just me, or does Conway Twitty look like he would smell like a truck stop?

Tomorrow has been designated cleaning day for the indoors. Normally I hate it, but after looking over the guest list on Facebook I have been seized with cleaning juju.

I don’t really expect it to last. I hope it holds on until tomorrow.

Why is cleaning so hard? Why can’t it be fun, like riding a roller coaster or masturbation?

That needs to be looked into.

From a random act

I had promised myself I wouldn’t write about this. It seems…exploitative. Wrong.
 
But for some reason it keeps presenting itself.
 
Let me preface things by saying I’m not claiming to be some big mournful friend. I am not that, to the point that I wasn’t even Facebook friends with these people. I don’t really know why – there was no ill will. It’s just not something I ever did – hunt them down and friend them.
 
Anyway, it doesn’t matter.
 
Tuesday morning, Josh was getting up and dressed for his day. He was up and about like always, and on one of his trips in and out of the bedroom, I heard him catch his breath. I turned over to see him standing in the doorway, his phone glowing in his eyes.
 
“Amanda Cossey was shot. She’s dead.”
 
It was the most bizarre thing I could imagine being said. He might as well have been talking about goats with purple horns and allergies.
 
I saw faces, names, confusion of memories and high school and passing acquaintances.
 
Amanda had been in school with me for years. I remember her as bubbly and popular, but one of the rare kinds of bubbly and popular where she actually seemed sincere. I remembered basketball games and cheerleading.
 
And then it was just there, like something raw in my belly. I felt completely useless, and the kind of pretentious that makes you feel dirty. 
 
This sounds awful – but she wasn’t my friend. She was a remembered presence, someone I thought of fondly.  I hadn’t seen her since high school. I didn’t know when she got married or when her baby was born.
 
To feel the way I felt was somehow misplaced.
 
I’m still not sure why.
 
The day passed, the requisite Facebook statuses were posted. News stories
 
I know it’s normal to be confused when something like this happens. 
 
Except, dammit all, it’s not. Nothing about this is normal. And it doesn’t matter if we were friends or not. 
 
The fact is that a girl I knew is dead. Not because she was sick or because a car crashed. Because someone saw her as an obstacle instead of what she was…

 
A wife.
A mother.
A friend.
A sister.
A daughter. 
 
She wasn’t these things to me. 
But it doesn’t seem to matter. 
 
I don’t want to be one of those people who immediately jumps on any tragedy to talk about how great the person was and how close we were. 
 
I have good memories of Amanda. She didn’t deserve this kind of end. 
 
I hope one day we understand things like this. 

Insert Work Wanted ad here

Yesterday I went to the local job fair.

I really don’t know what I was expecting. I’d called for details and the gal I talked to made it sound like an organized, streamlined process. Resume tweaking, printing, and then pick the businesses you’re interested in and visit them.

I didn’t need resume help, I have a resume that I very much like.

It was very lucky for this girl that I didn’t, because I pulled up in the parking lot and….well, there was this huge bus that said it was an “online lab” and it kind of felt like the windowless van that follows the ice cream truck around.

So I bypassed the molester van and went on in.

First of all, I had on heels and I had to walk down this huge ass flight of stairs, the last five of which were on wheels and it kind of felt like I was tightrope walking. On ice. Over fire.

Once I made it down and I was amongst the blue curtains, I was a little confused.

All the publicity had said to dress as though you were going to an interview. I was surrounded by people in John Deere hats and flip flops with camo shirts. Classy.

The booths were varied. Kind of.

Army and factory and Avon and Mary Kay.

And the worst thing I think was that every booth I might have been interested in simply directed you to their website to search for open positions. Like I couldn’t have stayed home and done that from my chair with Netflix.

I don’t know what I was expecting. Applause when I entered. Commentary on my twisty hairstyle. Compliments on my lovely tree picture on my resume. Something.

Instead, I was in and out in about twenty minutes.

To be fair (job fair), there were a few interesting places there. I spoke with one fellow who worked with the state rehab and he was full of possibilities for me…after I finish my Bachelor’s. I talked to one lady who is my friend on LinkedIn, and she was really helpful and optimistic.

So it wasn’t a total bust, but it wasn’t what I expected. Which I guess nothing ever is. Maybe it did some good. We’ll see.

Apropos of nothing, here’s the sweetest picture ever.

F@&$ Fantasy Football

Alright, I admit it. Fantasy football takes a shitload of knowledge and intuition that I just do not possess.

Initially I thought that it would be good for me. I thought hey, football will be on in this house all winter anyway, this is a great way to give me incentive to get involved. To learn. Broaden my horizons and have some healthy competition.

Yeah, no, that’s not what has happened at all.

I knew when we did our fantasy draft that I was a little out of my element. Like I said before, I picked Mark Ingram because of those MASSIVE. ARMS. The rest of my team I picked up based on names I knew and what the little Yahoo! drop box said about a player during the draft.

Which explains how I ended up with Terrell Owens, who is I think retired now, and a bunch of other players that I don’t even know enough about to know which to point out as the worst.

This is not my game.

And what’s worse, instead of being driven to care and watch the games and tweak my team for any given week, I think about how much knitting I could be doing.

Pathetic much?

There should be a similar passive point based game for things like American Idol, or The Bachelor. THAT I could get behind and totally know what was up.

Is that contributing to weak women stereotypes? I hope not. That isn’t my intention.

It’s just…I don’t know. I don’t understand the rules of football well enough, much less which player threw to who and who is due to have a comeback this week as opposed to sucking it up and losing me points last week.

So I sit. Emphatically at the bottom of the league pile. Because not only do I not know what to do, I don’t really even care.

Looking back. Reflection and stupidity

I was doing some reading earlier – reading of old entries and how things have changed and not.

I found this post, and it made me think about a lot of things.

It’s almost exactly a year later, and things are so much different that they’re kind of startlingly the same.

As far as God and purpose and meaning go, I’m still kind of lost. The hit our faith and confidence took during our time in Jackson was severe, and to be honest I’m not sure we’ll ever fully recover.

We were so sure we were doing the right thing.
We were so happy, and then we were miserable.

But now? Not in a million years did I ever think we’d be where we are now.

Well, not really physically “where we are,” because really all of us living together is pretty much an epic adventure and it’s become second nature to us all.

But where we are in the sense of goals and progress and general good will toward humanity.

I was sure when we left Jackson that we’d never fully be happy and fulfilled ever again.

Dramatic, sure, but cut me some slack I WAS GROWING A PERSON.

If I could do and say anything I wanted, I’d say things to those people we left.

I’d say to Ellie, thank you for hiring me. You were more of the face of good in our months in Jackson than anyone else we met. You meant more to me in those days than I can ever say.

I’d say to Michaele, you are me with red hair and better boobs. I miss you more than anything and I would never have made it without you.

I’d say to Jackson commuters – really? Suck it up and put down that bowl of Cheerios when you’re going 80 down the interstate. Eat a damn granola bar if you’re that hungry.

I’d say to Priest 1 – you were the biggest disappointment. When we met, you were awesome and inspiring. You were hip and down to earth and we both loved you immediately. The confidence we both felt in you – as a person, as a priest, as a friend – was completely cracked and really disheartening. You never seemed like a lap dog…until you were.

I’d say to Priest 2 – I reached out to you. I needed you. And when you ignored that? I have never felt that degree of worthlessness. I trusted too much in what I needed you to be.

And to Priest 3? I could fill a book. The level of hypocrisy and disillusion that I equate with you now is staggering. I don’t know what I believe comes after this life – I don’t know if I believe we just end, or if we go on…

But if we go on? If there are saints and angels and streets of gold? I don’t want to be there if you are. Whatever Paradise is supposed to be, you can’t be a part of it and it still be Paradise.

so there it is.

I suppose I’m still bitter (who am I kidding), but I’m also hopeful. I never thought I’d have that again.

I do. We do. And I think that’s the best revenge.

art shamelessly stolen from Natalie Dee

Maybe the stereotypes aren’t all wrong.

I recently wrote a post about how I feel about local businesses.

In that same vein, I’ve been doing some thinking. It’s a change for me. I don’t really think about my town that much.

For the relative whole of my life, I’ve lived in the same town. I’ve gone the same places, seen the same people. I used to hate it.

I think living here takes a certain type of person, or, well, certain types.

There are the types of people who are easily and naturally involved with everything, those drawly pageant girl belles who belong to auxiliaries and leagues and go to meetings with cucumber sandwiches. Girls who wake up every morning and curl their hair. Who bake in tanning beds and can wear pearls every day without it being ironic.

Then there are people like me. Misfit people who can fit in, but only for a time and only with great effort. People who can live in the same approximate area and never be recognized from one day to the next.

But you know, deep down, maybe we’re not even too different. I bet a lot of the same things hold meaning for us, just because of where we came from.

How Shiloh Road will never be anything other than The Strip.
How those first few muggy weekends of the fall still feel like football weather.
How the honeysuckle perfume in the summer heat can choke you.
How we know a magnolia blossom smells best right before it starts to wilt.
How the papermill smell can overpower the whole town.
How a slugburger from Borrum’s tastes distinctly different than one from the White Trolley.
How impassable the streets are on the day of the Christmas Parade.

At face value I suppose there’s a lot of ways the people of my town are different, just like anywhere else. One only has to see the variety of church denominations to know that, and maybe stand by and listen during a political rally.

But we’re more than our face value because of the common factors we share. No matter how much we resist our sameness, it’ll always be there. Like the railroad, or the red clay. We are a part of our own corner of the globe, and we forget how important our simple surroundings can be. How much they make us individuals in our own right.

But then…a flood. A storm.

We realize then that we all depend on the same things, because at those times it’s forced upon us.

And those times – when people are desperate, shocked and hurting – we are reminded that as different as we are, we are a part of the community.

No, we are the community. And if we don’t take care of each other and the memories that make up our shared identities, then no one will. It will be lost, and then all people will have to go by are Faulkner novels and Eudora Welty.

I don’t want it to be lost. I want my kids to grow up with the privilege of loving and hating their town, for the same reasons I did. I want to look back and be able to share memories with them. Memories of the same trees, roads, hills and buildings. Maybe even some of the same people.

So I’ve thought about all this. And I realize that as corny as it sounds, I think I like my small town.

Photos courtesy of Joshua Steen, who takes great pictures and makes cute babies.

Turning tables

This is an unfair arrangement we have here.

You know so much about me.
My husband’s name.
My kids’ names.
The damn dog’s name.
My living arrangements.
That I let my children listen to inappropriate music and tv shows.
That I have overshare issues.

But aside from a few of you (hi Mom!), I have no clue about you.

Are you young?
Are you old?
Are you agoraphobic?
Do you like elephants?
Do you have a blog?
Can I read it?
Did you finish college (by the way, did I mention I’m starting school in a few weeks? Exciting.)?
Do you spend lots of time reading blogs written by strange Southern women?
Do you have wall hangings?

Normal bloggers who aren’t me would have some sort of contest. A giveaway to entice comments.
Me? I’d like to do that. However, I have nothing to give. I suppose I could make you something out of yarn. Sound appealing?

Maybe I’ll do that. So leave a comment, tell me about yourself, leave your link…and then if I can think of something to make for you, I’ll draw a name and make it. How about them apples?