Tag Archives: life

An Open Letter to the Women in My Life

31 Jan

Dear Women in my Life,

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are my sanity and my strength. You are why I get up in the morning. No, you are how I get up in the morning. You are my sounding board and my support; you are my protection and my reinforcement; you are in my corner pretty much always and when you aren’t, and for good reason at times, you explain why in the most compassionate ways to make me understand my mistake, but to still ensure I never feel abandoned. With all of you, I am never alone.

These past few months have been tough, for all of us. Every single time I open my eyes it feels like a brand new affront, a brand new injustice, another way our government is being taken from us, used against us; its intentions hidden under layers of lies, or alternate facts, or fake news, or whatever the fuck they are calling it today. And for a moment I feel like it is too much, like it is me against everything, like I am living in this world where up is down and injustice is being legislated and a plagiarist is running the Department of Education. (Because, actually, that is the world we are living in excuse me while I scream.) But then I remember the women I am lucky enough to call friends and family and I breath a sigh of relief knowing that you are all there, that we are all going through this, and that we will somehow get through it with the love and support of one another.

So let me say this again: thank you. Thank you for your support, for your ears, for your understanding, for your analysis, for your dismay and anger and sadness and disbelief about all that is happening around us. I feel that too. And I hope that I have been able to provide even a small percentage of all that you have provided me. Because here’s the deal, ladies, we have a long haul. And women do a lot of emotional labor.

A lot of emotional labor.

A fucking lot.

And that emotional labor is unpaid and, more often than not, expected but underappreciated. And so let me say that I appreciate that emotional labor, that work, that we are all doing for one another. I notice it and I would not be able to live without it. But let us all remember that in the midst of all of this work, and all of this struggle, and all of this pain and disbelief and heartache, to take care of ourselves. Let us not forget to ask for the support of those around us. There is nothing shameful in it. Believe me there is more than enough emotional work to go around. And it is okay, too, to take a step back and say

Hey, this is all too much, I need a minute.

Take that minute. You deserve it. We all deserve it and more than that, we all require it. I had a conversation with a few of my core women today about the importance of self care and the importance of remembering that we cannot put in the work, we cannot be the best us in these horrible times, if we don’t take care of ourselves, and of one another. If we don’t ask for an ear or extra support and love on an especially tough day. If we don’t say,

Hey, friends, I need you to just check in on me today. Today the hurt is too much.

Because sometimes it just is. Our strength comes from our ability to admit when it is all just too much to handle alone. That’s when the rest of us can come in and be reinforcements, that’s when the rest of us can give you what you need – be that an ear or a drink or a joke or the biggest most heartfelt hug we can muster or some shared tears.

So again, thank you. For everything you have done and for everything you will do going forward. Because as I said before, there is a lot to be done, a lot to be endured, and we will need one another more than ever. And let me also say this: I am here for you as best as I know how. And every day I try to be a little more here, a little more supportive. I am trying to be the friend you all have been to me. I am trying to recreate for you the support that you provide that I could not live without. And I am trying to remember to say thank you, and to say it louder and more often.

And so thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul and the recesses of my brain. Thank you. I survived these past few weeks because of you and I will continue to learn and to fight and to be part of this amazing team of women for the next 4 years (chaos butterfly help us) and then beyond.

I love you. For all you are and all you do.

Forever grateful
And with open arms ready to give a giant hug,
Or a tissue to dry a tear,
Or some pointed words directed at the asshole that made you feel shitty,
Your friend,
Your Support,
Your Cheerleader,

Rebekah

New Orleans Diary: Week Two

9 Dec

Goal: To write a blog post every week that I spend here in New Orleans, talking about the things that happen and the things that I hope happen but sometimes don’t. But sometimes do! But also sometimes don’t. I will try to keep my discussion of plastic bags to a minimum. Read my week one post here.

Driving: So I’m still on about the drivers mostly because I grew up in New Jersey and we always got such a bad rap for our driving (and signage) but the driving (and signage) here are way worse. For example, the other night I was driving around with my friend Carie and I drove near two people in like a 5 block span who were not using their headlights. And it wasn’t like it was 6pm and the sun had recently gone down and these people had just not turned their lights on. It was 11 at night. It was full on darkness. And all of a sudden I look in my rearview and see this thing speeding up behind me that looks like a UFO or something but then I realize that, no, it isn’t a UFO at all (imagine my surprise), it is a matte black car without headlights. I nearly had a heart attack and died right there. Thankfully I didn’t. But seriously, driving here is not for the weak. Shit is lawless as fuck.

The Loudest Lady Ever: As previously stated I have been staying with my friend Carie on the West Bank while I look for a spot. The area that we’re staying at is really historic and also quiet. Except for this one lady who is quite possibly the loudest person to walk the face of the earth. The other day I was doing some writing on the balcony and I heard her talking, no yelling, to her poor little dachshund. She goes “OH MY FEET HURT SOMETHING FIERCE” and then she goes “WELL IF EVERYONE WASN’T AWAKE BEFORE THEY’RE AWAKE NOW.” (You were meant to yell those things I wrote in all caps, btw.) So it’s like, she knows she is the loudest person ever. The good thing is that because she is so loud you can hear her approaching from 5 blocks away and quickly retreat to your home which, I suspect, everyone in the neighborhood does because there is magically no one out on the block when she goes for her walk. Maybe this is all part of her plan. Maybe she likes to imagine that the world belongs to her and her alone and by scream-talking all the time she can make this dream a reality, at least in the block-by-block sense. She is the Queen of Ghost Town!

Foster Campbell: There’s a pretty big deal run-off for a Senate seat here in Louisiana between Foster Campbell (D) and John Neely Kennedy (R). It’s sort of the last chance for the Dems to flip a senate seat in advance of our upcoming fall into tyranny, I mean…wait…no, that’s what I meant. Campbell is over here campaigning all by himself, meanwhile Trump is taking some time off from his “National Thank You for Ruining the Future of this Country and Maybe Even the World by Electing Me” tour to give some speeches on behalf of Kennedy. So, yeah, we all know how 2016 goes. Anyway, the reason I am writing about this is that I am from up North. I am from a place where most democrats campaign on a platform of some degree of gun control and are not often photographed or videotaped holding any sort of weapon. It’s like, our thing. Not so down here in Louisiana. Foster Campbell, known, by the way, to be socially conservative, ends his campaign ads by shooting a rifle. Could you imagine a democratic senate nominee in the North shooting off a rifle as like a pivotal part of his or her campaign ad? I sure can’t. So, I don’t know, no judgement or anything. You do you, Foster. That was just a thing that I noticed and thought to myself “you know what self? I think maybe your readers would find that interesting. Or if not interesting, at least notable.” I hope I was right. If not, then kindly disregard the previous paragraph.

Running group: This week we did hill repeats. This is actually kind of funny. If you didn’t already know this, New Orleans is incredibly flat. So, via our Facebook group, I was sent the address for the meet-up point. Carie and I were hanging around in the Quarter so when it got time for me to head over, I left her at a spot where our friend Brian was working and I drove to the starting point for the running group which turned out to be the side of the road of some busy avenue. I sat there in my car for a few minutes, looking around. I called my mom. There was no foot traffic. I didn’t see anyone else from the group. To be honest, I was a little bit nervous. New Orleans is not exactly the safest city in the country. Did I get the address wrong? Did I somehow end up in a neighborhood that I shouldn’t be in? What was a girl to do?! But then, as if sent from above, I saw another person in running clothes! I kept my mom on the phone (for safety!) and walked over to him. It was his first time meeting the group but, having lived in New Orleans for longer than me – which admittedly is not hard – he said that this meet-up spot made sense. You see, there was an overpass that crossed above route 10. And that was to be our “hill.” I chuckled to myself, thinking back on the hill in Prospect Park that I have run up countless times. This one was more like a little hump. Until you sprint up it a dozen times and your legs turn into noodles.

Bags: I know I said I was going to keep the discussion of bags to a minimum and I fully intend to keep my word. I just wanted to say that the other day I went to the store with a giant canvas tote like an elitist fuck and the dude at the store packed it totally full of things. But then I had some left over items that wouldn’t fit and so he put each one of those things in its very own plastic bag home. So I think that my previous theory about a deeply intrenched distrust for bags is actually the correct conclusion. More research pending.

In Conclusion: That is it for week two. I have some visitors coming. Also a few friends and I are going to see the AcroKitties perform on Sunday (HOORAY!) so I bet next week’s entry will be exciting. Hold on to your seats, kids. This is gonna get wild.

STILL Living that Hive Life

16 Aug

Do you remember when I wrote that post about how I keep on getting hives? Well, guess what? I am still getting hives. And guess what else? It still fucking sucks. Right now, for example, I am sitting on the porch of a house in Vermont that my family rented for our occasional Frankation and I have hives on my knees. Nowhere else, just my knees.There were a whole bunch of them before but now I only see like 4. Four hives. Some of them are small like pin pricks and other ones are almost quarter-sized. Size aside, they are all itchy. Very, very itchy.

So, where did I leave you last? I believe it was sometime in April before an appointment with a doctor to try and figure out what in the world was happening. As I predicted, she did some weird shit with magnets and then proclaimed

CANDIDA!

and told me I couldn’t eat a whole bunch of things and also gave me some pills, some of them very, very big. Here is a list of the things that I was told not to eat because of candida and also hives, which were supposedly caused by candida:

  1. wheat
  2. dairy
  3. sugar
  4. caffeine
  5. overripe fruit
  6. dried fruit
  7. basically don’t eat fruit except maybe an apple or something
  8. things that are fermented
    1. alcohol
    2. vinegar (does this include catsup? I don’t know!)
  9. soy
  10. basically everything else except lettuce and maybe some salmon

So I tried the diet and as it turns out it is really, really hard to avoid eating all those above-listed things when you already don’t eat meat or poultry. Going to a restaurant was problematic. Breakfast also was an issue. Couldn’t eat toast. I love toast. More problematic even than toast was the fact that I kept getting hives! Still! More and more often! What could it be?! MYSTERY!

I decided basically that I would ignore the hives and maybe they would go away, sort of like what I do to an annoying little kid (or, more accurately, some of my bar customers). I felt like maybe if I didn’t make the hives feel special, like they mattered or were deserving of attention for their poor behavior, then perhaps they would pack up their itchy little bags in search of a more reaffirming host. As it turns out waging mental warfare against hives is entirely ineffective. Hives don’t give a fuck. Why? Because hives do not have brains. Back to the drawing board.

I started paying an insane amount of attention to all the things I was doing and when exactly the hives were rearing their brainless little heads. I noticed that I got hives most often on Sundays and Mondays, days when I am the most tired. Was I allergic to being tired? Or, perhaps, was my exhaustion making my body less able to fight off things that it did not like? The second option seemed the most likely. I jotted it down in my mental notebook. I started paying extra special attention to what I was eating on Sundays and Mondays. It seemed to pay off this one day in May when I was at the beach for my friend’s birthday. The day started out rather warm. There we were: a bunch of girls sitting on beach blankets eating tortas, drinking seltzer and soaking in the sun. It was a Sunday. Hive day. Everything seemed to be going off without a hitch. Hive free! But then all of a sudden everything changed. (Dun dun duuuuuun.) The sun hid behind the clouds, the wind picked up, the sky turned ominous and I ate a handful of almonds.

HIVE ATTACK.

It was the worst attack I had experienced in about a month. They were everywhere. It was like a race against the clock to find the closest CVS (I forgot my topical cream – rookie mistake) before I was entirely consumed by hives. I panicked. I called my dad to report to him that his daughter was likely going to cease to exist in her current form and instead would just become a Rebekah-shaped itch monster. Hive-Bekah, or something. I need to work on the name. Anyway, I decided it must be almonds. What else could it possibly be?? I did a quick assessment of things. I love almonds. But I hate hives. But do I love almonds more than I hate hives?

Hmm.

Close, but no. Almonds were out. Much to my dismay even without the almonds the hives kept coming! I started eating almonds again. It made virtually no difference. Back to the drawing board. Again.

As the summer wore on the hives came with less frequency. Maybe my stress level had lessened? Maybe I was wrong and the hives do have brains and they got bored of me and jumped body? I mean, don’t get me wrong, there were a few incidents. There was the day in June I went for a walk and it was sort of rainy and I got them all over my hands. Then there was the time I was at work and they quickly overtook my knees and knuckles. But the attacks were few and far between. I thought that if the hives came with this level of infrequency maybe I could live with them. I wouldn’t turn into Hive-Bekah after all, I would just occasionally experience bouts of intensely itchy discomfort. Ideal? No. Manageable? Maybe. But then one day: a breakthrough.

I was hanging out with my friend Jessy. We had been hanging out all day, doing all kinds of things. Mostly we were eating. But there were other things interspersed in there as well. We ended the day drinking glasses of wine in her room in an attempt to escape the intense heat of the rest of her apartment. She was sitting on her bed and I was sitting at her desk just in front of the air conditioning unit. Over time I noticed that my shoulder, which was receiving the bulk of the cold air blasting from the window unit, was getting progressively itchier. I looked at it. HIVES! And then like a bolt of itchy, itchy lightening  it hit me: the hives might not be related to things I was eating at all. Instead they might be caused by the environment or, more specifically, by the cold! I told Jessy and we quickly took to the internet (even though I strongly recommend against internet diagnosis) and we discovered the answer: cold urticaria.

Cold urticaria (essentially meaning “cold hives”) is an allergy where hives (urticaria) or large red welts form on the skin after exposure to a cold stimulus. The welts are usually itchy and often the hands and feet will become itchy and swollen as well.

And then it all came rushing back like one of those movie training montages that I love so much only way less inspiring and with a much sadder soundtrack. Every single time I got hives I happened to be cold! And the hives only struck on exposed skin! Iceland? Cold! Rockaway Beach? Cold! Walking through the rain? Cold! Right now? You guessed it: COLD! (Which is weird because it is August and New York is sweltering but whatever.)

So anyway, yeah, I’m allergic to the cold. I have always disliked the cold but now it has reached a whole new level. Now the feeling is mutual. Now I hate the cold and the cold hates me. And it demonstrates its intense distaste by making me super duper itchy. This might seem like a terrible fate seeing as how I live in New York where it gets very cold. And, actually, it does sort of suck. But knowing is half the battle. And now I know never to take an exploratory mission to Antarctica or go to one of those ice bars where you wear some weird suit and walk into an ice castle and drink vodka or do a polar bear swim. Luckily for me these are three things I have absolutely no interest in!

So, if you need me I will follow in the footsteps of the generations of Jewish women before me and head down south for the winter where I will wear funny outfits and play bocce, hive free.

 

Goodbye Forever, Box

30 Aug

At some point during the life span of this blog I wrote about how the state of my room (AKA a mess assessment….amessment? Yes? No?) was a clear reflection of how things in my life were going. And, actually, perhaps more to the point it was, is, a reflection of how things in my head are going. I don’t mean that in any big way, really. I am a relatively even keeled person. I would say that on a happy-to-sad spectrum I generally reside closer to the former than the latter, with some forays into sadness and a vacation home in anger and disbelief. I would categorize myself as my friend Ashlie described herself, a loud introvert. I had never really heard that term before but the second it came out of Ashlie’s mouth I thought to myself,

yes, that’s me.

Anyway, my room. Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you: my room is always a little bit of a disaster. In college a pile of clothes would migrate from my bed to my desk chair and back again depending on which of those things I needed at the moment. As I’ve gotten older I’ve been better about putting my clothes away (although truth be told a bag of clean laundry sits outside the door of my bedroom because I haven’t felt like dealing with it) but still the clutter remains. Shoes litter the floor, piles of New Yorker magazines reside on my desk and coffee table, unopened mail with personal data lies unopened, awaiting an afternoon of shredding. For years my awesome ex-boyfriend kept my mess, and my mood, in check but since he moved away about a year and a half ago things have gotten progressively messier. Both in my head and in my room. I stopped doing the things I have always done by sheer force of will, desire and habit: writing and running. I started keeping to myself more, seeing friends less, allowing my room to become an embarrassing disaster. The worst of it all was The Box.

You see a few years ago me and my roommates, boyfriend included!, moved from the second floor to the third. My landlord was redoing the apartments and the girls upstairs had moved out so we took over the newly renovated space. We all sort of haphazardly packed up our things and carried them up the single flight of stairs to restart our lives in a slightly better version of the place we had been living in for years. At the end of the packing process, I threw a bunch of odds and ends into a big box, figuring I would unpack it and put the things away. That was years ago. The box has remained packed, if you can even call it that, since 2012. Every time I went to deal with it I would be overcome with anxiety. Where does all of this stuff go? What do I do with it? How do I organize it? I would inevitably throw everything back in the box and head out for a run in an attempt to refocus and have another go when I got back. I never had another go. The Box stayed. And then, last week, I had enough. I came into my room with the intention of going through the box, organizing things, putting things in rightful places, feeling accomplished and like having The Box take up this huge swathe of space in my room, and my brain, for the past forever actually had some purpose. Like it wasn’t all for naught. I stood in front of The Box, looked inside, and simply said

Fuck it. Fuck you, Box. I hate you.

I got the garbage can and simply threw everything away.* I threw away the old articles from grad school. The weird candle holders I never used. The picture frames I bought at Bed&Bath in 2002 (saved the photos, though). The broken jewelry. The notebooks. All of that shit that has been causing me anxiety for all this time just gone. I took the garbage out, went back to my room, changed into running clothes and went out for the first run I have wanted to go on for as long as I can remember. And I started thinking about my next blog and my next marathon.

It’s been a long and sad road this past year and a half. And it’s crazy how you don’t even realize you’re on it until one day, you just make a turn and all of a sudden the fog sort of lifts. One day you just go into your room and you tackle some seemingly small project that is somehow the physical manifestation of all of the shit that has beaten you down over the past 19 months and you look outside and the sun is shining and rather than forcing yourself to go out there you want to do it. It’s a crazy thing and I don’t know what did it but whatever it is, fuck am I grateful because this shit — the sadness, the anxiety, the overwhelming feeling that I have been letting everyone down, myself more than anyone else — was getting tired. And was starting to make me feel like I had made some turn away from my old bright self into someone far more muted, someone about ready to burst into tears without reason or warning at any moment. I thought I was the only one who noticed but apparently I was wrong.

A few weeks ago, after visiting my parents for the night, I received the following text message from my father:

Hi, glad you came out yesterday. I missed you. I have to say I am a little worried about you. Seeing you made it easier. I hope you can use this trip as a reassessment period to come back and just be happier. Anything I can do to help let me know. I love you.

And so to my dad and everyone else: I am back. The Box is gone. And now I am going to go out into the world because I want to. And see my friends who I love. And get ready for an awesome fucking adventure through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. And then, who knows. But I think it will probably be great.

*To be fair I recycled some of it but I felt like that took away some of the drama.

A Little (Slightly Depressing) Self Reflection for Your Sunday

1 Feb

Alright I know I have been super duper quiet on this blog as of late. That is partially because I have been writing (almost) daily over on my other blog, ChafingIsReal.com. Any of you who haven’t checked it out yet, or don’t know what the deal is, here is some info! So this year I decided to sign up for this challenge to run 2,015 miles in the year 2015. For those who are wondering, and yes people have asked me why I chose the number 2,015, it is one mile for each year since Jesus was born. I mean, not really. Jesus has nothing to do with it. That was really just a nod to the religious history of our calendar. I’ll stop now. So, you can watch over there to see how I am doing if you want, and read all the nonsense that I spout. It isn’t all about running, either. There are all sorts of fun things that happen so you should check it out, if you feel so inclined. Moving on from self-promotion….

This past Friday I got back from a 9 day trip to New Orleans. I’ve been going down there for a visit every year since I moved one of my closest friends down there back in 2012. My annual pilgrimage has almost become a marker of time, so I figured I would use my return as a sort of self-reflection on all that has happened in the last year. And you guys, a lot has happened.

About halfway through my trip I realized that it has been almost a year since I quit my job at the bar I worked at for almost 6. It is weird to think that the end of a bar job could be such a big milestone in a person’s life but it really was. I realized, after leaving and taking a step back from all that happened, that I had been in almost an abusive relationship with my job. I don’t really know how else to put it than that. In a lot of ways, too, being there year after year almost stagnated my growth as a person. Well, maybe that isn’t entirely fair. I don’t really know how to explain it. Working the same place, the same shifts, for so long is both a blessing and a curse. On the good side, I built myself up a bit of a business, a lot of people came in on my shifts to hear my stories, read my bar signs and shoot the shit. On the bad side, the longer and longer I stayed, the more and more I felt like I would never leave. It became almost a security blanket. The flexible schedule allowed me time to do other things (like get my Master’s) but I ultimately just felt trapped. And angry. And, more than anything else, sad. I know I have said this before but it almost felt as though I could have woken up and been 25 all over again. That’s how stagnant I felt. Quitting that job, although it caused a landslide of disasters that seemed to effect every other facet of my life, was one of the best decisions I ever made. And I think that finally, a year later, I can really reflect on that and appreciate it.

Now that’s not to say that everything is unicorns and rainbows. A few weeks ago, sitting on the floor of my Aunt Catherine and Uncle Mikel’s living room during the middle of our annual Chanukah party, my dad looked over at me and said,

You’re not having a very good time, are you?

Thinking he was talking about the party (which was, by the way, fucking hilarious for myriad reasons) I turned to him and said that I was having a good time. He looked back at me and said

No, I mean in life.

And it’s true, I wasn’t. I’m not. I keep waiting for it to get just a little bit easier but it doesn’t and probably it won’t. That’s life, right? When one thing comes together, another thing falls apart and it is a matter of juggling highs and lows, expectations and realities, excitement and disappointment. I guess part of the thing is that as we get older, the expectations we have of where will we be, who we will be, become a little bit higher and when we don’t measure up in whatever ways we think we should, we fall a little bit father than we did, say 5 years ago. Time seems a little more pressed now. I feel a little bit more behind. But it’s silly, all these things. There is no proper pace, no right place to be in life. We all take our own road and each one of those roads has its own struggles. I guess it is all a matter of understanding when it is time to make a change and what that change has to be. Last year, it was quitting my job. Right now, I am working on this running project as a way to get to the end of the year and look back and say,

Wow, look at what I did. Look at what I accomplished.

It’s not about anything other than taking control of my life, setting myself a positive goal, and then doing whatever I can to (safely) achieve it, documenting the entire journey more for myself than anyone else. It’s a measure of where I was at the beginning and where I will be 2,015 miles later. And all those hours spent running will give me a lot of time to think about where I want to be after that. They will let me spend time thinking about something I have been wondering a lot lately, whether I have overstayed my time in New York. But on the other hand, is it the city or is it me? It makes me think of some Ben Folds lyrics (cheesey, I know, but he plays the piano with his elbows!):

Lucretia walks into a room.
Because she does it’s not the same room
The one she wanted to be in
She says, “Everywhere I go, damn! There I am”

Because, and this is a thing I have said countless times to countless people, changing location doesn’t mean everything will get better. You will still be there. And if you are the problem, then you are going to be exactly the same only this time thousands of miles away from family, support, and whatever the hell else you left behind. So it’s a crap shoot, really. You can never really know what the root cause of the problem is until you change something and see what happens. So I am thinking about writing the names of a bunch of cities, throwing them in a hat and then picking one out and moving there. That seems completely reasonable and adult, right? Right.

Anyway, I’m fine, really. I just think it’s good to air some things out sometimes. We see so many representations online of how perfect people’s lives are, that sometimes it’s good to remember that everyone’s life is a little complicated, a little shitty. So here’s me throwing a little self-pity into the ring, you know, just to keep things interesting. Now I am going to go do what I always do when I am in a crappy mood: go for a run. And then I will write about it (in hopefully a much more up-beat way than this Debbie Downer of a post) over on my other site. And then I will go to work so I can continue to financially tread water. To life!

Please don’t ask me what else I do

24 Sep

Mostly, right now, I want to explode. I don’t actually know a more accurate way to put it. You know how sometimes you just go about life and realize that everything is just sort of, wrong? Or that you ended up somewhere entirely different than where you thought you would be? And then people say stuff like “oh, maybe that’s not so bad” but it is. It actually is so bad. So the other day at work this thing happened. So just to preface, I think maybe some of you people think I am really sensitive. I’m not, actually. I get mad about things but they don’t tend to penetrate through to anything, you know? Like, I get pissed off when people go through life acting like entitled little shits, but it doesn’t make me feel worse about myself, it just makes me feel a little worse about those people and the people who raised them. And also their friends who never call them out on their bullshit. Oh, and also the society in which we live that seems to think it is better to placate people because they have money than tell them that they suck at life. Because, obviously, money > respect.

Anyway, I can tell that I am in a spot when things people say to me at work actually get through. Generally what it is is some well-meaning person who just doesn’t get it. This is a perfect example. You wake up one morning and you have this HUGE zit on your forehead. Right in the middle of it. And you are aware of it and super self conscious and all that and you do whatever it is that you can to try to get it to go back to where it came from. You put on toothpaste to dry it out, some sort of zit cream, makeup. But nothing helps. It’s like a third eye. And you go out in the world and you know everyone sees it but there is nothing you can really do and then one person, one stupid person, is like

“hey, there’s something red on your forehead. Did you bump your head?!”

And you’re like

“no, motherfucker, that is just a HUGE GODDAMN ZIT THAT I AM INCREDIBLY AWARE OF BUT THANKS SO MUCH FOR POINTING IT OUT AND POINTING OUT THE FACT THAT IT IS BASICALLY LIKE I AM GROWING A NEW HEAD OUT OF MY ALREADY EXISTING ONE.”

and then you go home and cry and wonder why everyone is so mean.

That’s not what happened at work. What happened was the following. I was at work, you know, working, and this lady who has lived in the neighborhood who I have known in passing for a long time came in and ordered her drink and sat down right by the service station and the following conversation happened:

Actually, let me preface this real quick by saying that I have spent the better part of the past 5 months feeling like a waste of space. Okay, so keep that in mind.

Lady: So, are you done with school?

Me: Yup, graduated a year ago May.

Lady: what was the degree in again?

Me: Master’s in International Affairs.

Lady: So, are you working?

Me, standing behind the bar, I look around: Um…yes? Right now?

Lady: No, like, somewhere else.

Me: I work at another bar in Crown Heights.

Lady: But not in your field?!

Me: No.

Lady: Well, are you looking?

Me, wanting to scream MIND YOUR BUSINESS: No.

And then I stormed off and didn’t make eye contact again. It’s like, I know she meant well and was taking interest and couldn’t possibly know that the fact that I am doing nothing with my degree except paying it off is the equivalent, for me, of having a massive goose egg-sized zit on my forehead but still. It made me mad. So, a word to the wise, please don’t ask your service professional what “else they do” as if doing what they’re doing isn’t enough. For some people, it’s what they love and they have made a career out of it and that is fucking awesome. For many others, we are trying to figure it out and putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. Your questions, well-meaning or not, might not have the desired effect of making you seem interested in our lives. It sounds as if you think what we’re doing isn’t good enough. And the thing is, it is good enough. It just might not be our passion and that is something we are all trying to figure out and deal with. So, ask us how our day was, but please please please for the love of god, don’t ask what else we do.

No Room of Glass

2 May

Sometimes you just have to run.  Or, well, sometimes I do. I discovered running when I was a freshman in college.  My college didn’t really suit me so well.  It ended up being fine but sometimes I do think that if I had it to do again I would have done it differently.  I would have taken my mother’s sage advice to take a year off between high school and undergrad and gone and worked on a farm.  I would have used the time to really think about what I wanted out of my college experience rather than just going along with something that was expected of me.  It’s not that I regret it, really, because had I chosen differently I wouldn’t be here now and I wouldn’t have done the things I’ve done, met the people I’ve met and learned the things I’ve learned.  Sure, I would have done different things, met different people and learned different things but I guess I am happy with the end result.  I am happy, generally, with who I am.  The process, though, could have been fine-tuned.  Even still I feel, overall, thankful and content.

But then there are those other days.

There are those other days when all I want is this thing that I have daydreamed about for as long as I can remember.  This might sound insane but I have always wanted a spare room with brick walls, no windows and lots of glass items.  I have wanted some safety goggles and maybe some sort of a suit that would protect me from flying shards.  And then I have wanted to take those glass items and hurl them as hard as I possibly could across the room and just watch them shatter everywhere.  I don’t want to hurt anyone.  I just want to break shit.  I just want to have 10 minutes every once in a while, when the build-up of impatience and let down and frustration and confusion becomes so intense that I just want to scream but instead I could lock myself in my brick-walled room and just fuck shit up.  And then I would take a deep breath, call in a cleaning crew (because in this daydream I would have them on speed dial and I would be able to afford their services) and I would go back to my normal life as if nothing happened.  No tears.  No pillow punching.  Just a lot of broken glass, a sore arm from the force behind the throw and a better outlook.

Unfortunately that is not in the cards for me at the moment and so instead I run.

I have been, over the past few weeks, nearing that breaking point where I need the glass.  I have been maybe not taking the best care of myself.  Eating too many omelets and scrambled eggs because I am too lazy too cook something legit.  Watching too many episodes of Gossip Girl.  Today I hit sort of an apex of frustration with stuff and thought that maybe what I needed was to just go out, have a bunch of drinks, pass out like a sad sack and worry about it all tomorrow.  But I did the thing that I do, which is that I thought about how that would make me feel in the morning so instead I went for a run.  I ran by the water and there was, at that moment, nothing that could have been better than feeling the sun on my skin after a long and cold winter, feeling the cool breeze coming off the water and smelling the wonderful smell of salt water.  I couldn’t help but smile as I ran by the men with their fishing rods set up to catch whatever it is that swims there.  I didn’t even have an ill-fantasy about one of them casting without looking properly and accidentally snaring my eyeball which was, I have to say, a first for me.  I had one of those moments where I honestly felt like I could run forever.  My legs felt, I don’t know, springy.  It was like they just knew that they had to shut down the exhaustion and the soreness and the heaviness that sometimes aflicts them when I hit the double digit miles and just go with it because there is no room of glass (yet) and there are not enough drinks in the world to calm me the way a run can when everything is just right.

In those moments when I think about the decisions I made in the past and maybe start slipping towards regret, I try to think about some of the positive things that happened as a result of those decisions that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.  There is always something.  Always.  On top of the friends I made, the abroad trip I never would have gone on otherwise, my decision to move to the city and into an apartment with my best friend in the world, and all the other things that I just don’t want to bore you with, I found running.  And honestly, had I not I wouldn’t be half the person I am today.  And I would be a hell of a lot drunker.