Saturday, November 13, 2010

pardon the interruption

i knew this time was coming. i knew, eventually, that this little... tic, i guess, of yours would eventually become an issue. i'm actually surprised it took this long. but here it is, so i'm dealing with it.

i know you don't like everything i like. we don't have to have the same tastes in everything. never have, never will. but do me a favor? when i happen to mention something related to something i like that you don't, could you maybe not just wait for me to stop talking, then immediately go back to the last thing you said before i spoke, as if i hadn't said anything at all? see, when you do that, here's what you convey: "if i wait her out, she'll get the hint and shut up."

yeah, that's really not what will happen. what'll happen is this: i'll begin to get the idea that you don't respect me. we can have differences of opinion until the cows come home; that's actually a whole lot of fun. you are a worthy opponent, and i love sparring with you. but i will not be made to feel like my interests are SUBSIDIARY to yours. that's when things start leaving the realm of OK and careen headlong into... unpleasant territory.

part of the deal i made with you is that i'd open myself to the things you like and at least make an effort to indulge you. i don't expect you to be able to rattle off hockey stats and learn the difference between colton orr's role with the leafs and brooks laich's role with my beloved caps. but i do expect you to treat my loves with the barest, gentlest modicum of respect. it's not an unwarranted interruption to your life to listen. you can handle it. i have faith in you.

Friday, November 12, 2010


in the face of trying times and more stress than i care to contemplate, i have decided, pretty much in the last two hours or so, that i am going to try something new. i am going to face the rest of 2010 with a relentlessly, aggressively positive attitude. i mean it this time. i will find the positive side of things if it freaking kills me. it's a survival mechanism at this point. so here goes; i'm going to test this out here. tell me if it's working.

event: unwinding my old life is making. me. crazy.
positive spin: i get to practice domestic relations law in a risk-free environment.

event: school is insanely busy this week.
positive spin: it's a good distraction from my old life.

event: i don't have regular access to a car, and it's cold outside.
positive spin: walking everywhere = exercise = being able to eat big macs every so often.

hmm. i'm not so sure i'm getting this right. well, whatever; i'll have plenty of time to practice in the face of all the stresses and annoyances swirling around me right now...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


today is veterans day. in america, this is a day off for some, but not all. there are giveaways at chain restaurants and sales at furniture stores. lots of people make lots of noise, and i'm sure it's very sincerely meant. (not being sarcastic, for once, either.) politicians do photo ops, grandstanding in front of people wearing camo and old men in ball caps embroidered with the names of their ships.

but honestly, how many people really take the time to think about what it means to be a veteran, especially in the modern sense of the word? military service used to be essentially compulsory for young men, and most people called just went and did what was asked. but the nature of service changed when the draft ended. our armed forces are 100% volunteer these days. that changes things somewhat, to say the least. now the people who defend us at home and abroad do so out of conscious choice. that's really a special thing to do, even if it's only done because someone feels he or she has run out of options for the future.

and in spite of this regime of service by choice, which should force the decision-makers to be all the more careful with people who have opted in, our leaders have made increasingly cavalier choices as to where and how to use our soldiers, sailors and marines. life is not a game of risk. these people are real flesh and blood. and increasingly, troops come back from war... changed. not like war hasn't always been hell. far from it; war has always been horrific. but in the past, it seems to me anyway, war was only entered as a last resort or to fight a clear, definite evil. we entered combat soberly, reluctantly, and with a sense of what we were doing. i don't get that sense anymore.

as i've said before, it is my humble opinion that if we are going to send people who have chosen this life into harm's way, it had damn well better be done with the utmost sense of necessity and purpose. if we can't look at ourselves and say, UNEQUIVOCALLY, "this is worth spilling our soldiers' blood over," we have done our forces a disservice. and that is inexcusable. combat changes people. that's unavoidable. if we're going to subject people to that kind of change, we'd better have a good reason. i am against a lot of these wars we've entered in the last decade, and it's because i really, honestly feel that the people who wanted these wars have treated - and continue to treat - our troops like life-size GI joe dolls. that's completely reprehensible. our troops deserve better.

so on this veterans day, i remember the sacrifice of those who are gone. i honor the service of those who chose to fight for us, past, present and future. i love my friends and family who wear the uniform, and i value their brothers and sisters in arms. i choose to commemorate this day by giving to iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, an amazing group designed to serve my generation's veterans and current members. do the same. and by god, make sure you recognize what those who serve have done for us, and continue to do for us.

thank you. all of you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

type A

i will totally cop to being a borderline obsessive planner. i like things to be set up, a certain way, well in advance of actually getting there. let's just say that i'm not the kind of girl who digs a surprise party. i like to know what's going to happen.

so it really, really, REALLY grinds my gears when people who are supposed to be in charge of setting an agenda just... don't. look. it's november. the semester will be over in one month and seven days. now is just not the time to tweak your freaking syllabus! i cannot deal with... to call what this is "disorganization" drastically insults the disorganized.

i was not always this way. those who knew me as a teenager are consistently amused by my need to have everything set up. (they are comforted by the knowledge that my pickiness has not translated into keeping my room clean. i'm still messy.) but my new life, my newly-molded orderly and logical mind, demands a certain amount of order. i can't really function without it. and by god, it cannot POSSIBLY be that challenging to set up a semester before it starts. really.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

famous last words

trying times abound in the little segment of the blogosphere my friends and i call home. my problems are nowhere near as serious as other people's, but there are problems here nonetheless. this semester's really starting to get intense. the last dregs of the old life just won't go away. i have the worst backache i have ever had in my entire life, one that takes one look at painkillers and says, really? that's all you've got for me? yeah, right. and i just had to back out of helping with a project at school on a subject about which i am thoroughly passionate. sigh.

but then, as i was walking (slowly) home from the train tonight, a song i hadn't really thought of in a long time popped up on the ol' ipod.

i see you lying next to me
with words i thought i'd never speak
awake and unafraid...
i am not afraid to keep on living
i am not afraid to walk this world alone...
 - "famous last words," my chemical romance

generally speaking, when i'm down and depressed, so is my ipod. but boy, did it come through for me tonight. a lot of my problem lately has been this gnawing sense of fear. i'm scared that i'll let people down professionally. i'm scared that i won't live up to the expectations of my grad program. i'm desperately afraid of my financial future. i'm afraid of somehow wrecking the best relationship of my life. anxiety and i have become really good friends lately.

but you know, i can't let this sort of thinking take me over. i got where i am by putting my head down and moving forward. i earned every bit of academic and professional success i've earned so far. the money thing will work itself out. i have no reason to doubt my man or his unflagging faith in me. i will not let the bastards get me down. i am not afraid to keep on living. i am not afraid to walk this world alone. i'm not alone, either. i may be solitary, but i also have amazing parents, a boyfriend who loves me, friends who form the best cheering section a girl could ask for, and all manner of support from all kinds of sources. i'm lucky as hell. i can't forget it.

i am NOT afraid. famous last words, indeed.

Monday, November 8, 2010

dark of night, light of day

good lord. this has been the kind of day that just tries your SOUL. i mean, to start with, it's dark all the time now. that's draining enough; some of us little plants need the sun to grow and bloom, and all this night isn't the best thing for us. it's not that i don't like the darkness. i mean, most of my favorite things happen at night. but i need to see the sun from time to time or i get... chippy, let's say. it's almost like excessive darkness wraps my heart in a compression bandage. the bandage tightens really easily, which makes things feel raw, rough. it really kills my natural cheer, is what i'm saying.

hey. stop laughing. i can hear you from here. :)

all levity aside, though, the dark is one thing. but man, has it been a rough, awful day for tons of people i care about. work setbacks. personal challenges. health scares. dreams deferred. loved ones lost. it's enough to make you lose your faith, if you have any faith to lose.

i've really been off a step all weekend. i can't explain it; i've just not been on top of my game. i nearly threw a temper fit because the girl at mcdonald's messed up my order. i nearly lost my composure in the middle of a really nice dinner over... christ, i can't even remember why. and this afternoon, dealing with all the horror of the day, i lost it. driving back from lunch, the man and i kinda had it out over a misunderstanding over my worldview. and that's what it took to pull me back from the brink. why the HELL are you yelling at him? he didn't DO anything. he just didn't get your point. 

thankfully, i was able to get a hold of myself. i just stopped talking, which is what i usually do when i've screwed up, i know i need to apologize or change course, but i'm either not ready or not sure how to. he picked up on it and asked me if i was OK; i did my best to explain my insanity and try to make him understand. and what's amazing is, he seemed to. he kissed me, he wrapped his arms around me, and he held me close to him.

and just like that, the darkness broke a little. to be able to redeem myself from, really, inexcusable behavior just by virtue of his understanding how my brain works (or doesn't) touches me so deeply that it's hard to even contemplate for too long without getting overwhelmed. i always tell him when we're alone, "you're so good to me." his response is a simple, "i try." and the fact that he does try, even when i don't live up to my end of the bargain, gives me so much faith in him. he's always been a constant in my life. now more than ever, that's the truth, and my god, am i grateful for that.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

shattered dreams

i've had a whole lot of fortune slung my way over the past few months. i really appreciate the hell out of what i've been given. not to be too cheesy or sappy, but a lot of my dreams really have come true. it's a damn nice feeling.

which makes it all the harder to know what to say when someone i care about has a dream deferred. it's rough to watch someone struggle to stay even-keeled when something he's worked so hard to get didn't come through for him. we suffered through the preparation together, commiserating, trusting in one another's ability to make this happen for ourselves. i got it. he didn't.

it's a gut punch, especially when i think about his level of qualification compared to mine. he's so much more ready to do what he wants than i am. but here i sit with the credential, and he doesn't have it. there's a lot of time for him to get what he needs; this is a temporary setback. but in the moment, it's just brutal to watch, to contemplate. and the worst part is that i don't think there's anything i can say or do to make him feel any better. so i get to sit by and watch while he goes through this process. my heart hurts for him, but there's nothing i can offer.

all i can do is silently support him, standing by while he picks up the shards of the dreams that have broken and starts the process of rebuilding them. whenever he wants a friend, i'm there. that's all i can do, and by god, i'll offer it.