Saturday, March 26, 2011

temper fits

oh, man, what a week. crises, emotional freakouts, the whole nine yards. i have an exam in two hours. i should be studying, but i have approximately no attention span, because i am also ragingly ill with the worst cold i've had in years. when it rains, it freaking pours. i've been just a joy to be around, too. i've gotten into a series of really stupid arguments with the man, over tiny little things like he interrupted me! he must not respect the things i say! and hey, in this debate we're having over social issues, he keeps countering my arguments with blue-collar vs. white-collar examples. he thinks i have privilege bias! (the life of the mind, eh?)

boy, when i want to be, i really can be a petulant child. it's the curse of the self-aware, too, that even as i'm throwing fits, i recognize how stupid i'm being, and yet seem powerless to stop it. the other night, when i was decompressing over the missing neighbor problem, i started into another one of my world-famous worry cycles. as i unloaded, the man responded to my concerns with solutions. god, it turned into one of those stereotypical man/woman conversations: he wants to fix it! i want to vent! when i said as much, he threw his hands in the air and said, fine. talk.

when i did, he listened. he's good like that. but then he said, as he's taken to doing lately, is being upset or angry about this doing any good? what are you talking about? i'm getting it out of my system! no, you're not. you take all of this stress onto yourself, stress that really has nothing whatsoever to do with you, and let it eat you alive. then you come to me and collapse into a puddle, telling me that you're overwrought and you want it all to go away. here's the hint, darlin': YOU have to make it go away. just look these problems in the face and tell them that you can't do it right now.

good lord, he's smart. see, i've always fancied myself as managing my emotions when i go on these rants. i told him, have you ever known me in all these years to be any different? this is just what i do. i take on the problems of those i love as my own. yeah, you do. and i think it's killing you. but how do you stop? you just do. you have to, for your own self-preservation, limit your emotional exposure to other people's problems. you can't save us all, babe.

that's the big secret, i guess. i get so tied up with doing what i can to help people i love. it's like the old george steinbrenner quote: if i can help, i wanna help. my issue comes with determining where i can actually help and where my exposure is just hurting me and doing no one else any good, either. so that's the work i have to put forth in the short term: building up my little garden walls. i'll never have a fortress around my heart; it's not in my nature not to be empathetic almost to a fault. but i do need a little barrier, a little form of insulation, to keep myself - and those around me - from going insane. and hopefully, this'll keep the tantrums in check, too.

now if you'll excuse me, i need to go read about tax allocation language in operating agreements, while trying to limit the number of times i sneeze between now and the end of the test. happy saturday, eh?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

it works. it really, really works.

just a quick update: she's been found. about an hour after i posted last night, emily was found, and unharmed at that. talk about a huge relief.

thank you, thank you, thank you to my DC-area blog-friends in particular. y'all came through for her so, so much, and it's a beautiful and inspiring thing. i can't say enough about it.

twitter revolution

i got so rankled during all the uprisings in the middle east over the last few months when people said, oh, all this happened because of social media! see! it IS important! i found it to be, really, the height of first-world arrogance, pretending that the things we as privileged and connected westerners were doing on the internet had anything at all to do with the complex, generations-old rebellions in these countries. there is just no way that freaking twitter had anything significant to do with it. it's not that important. hell, half the things i read on twitter in a day have to do with either charlie sheen, chad ochocinco or cats in unusual situations.

but then today happened. today, i found out that my parents' next-door neighbor emily, one of the sweetest people in the world, has disappeared. horrifying news: she's a young mother, with an 18-month-old baby, and (worse yet) a history of psychological issues. she left for work monday morning and hasn't been seen or heard from since. scary enough. so my stepmom and a few other people started a facebook group. as people started to talk to each other there, we all started spreading the word to people we knew.

enter the DC social media world. DC is a very internet-friendly town, and our social media community is peerless. i've been to a couple of twitter-centric events, especially right after i moved back here and needed some new friends. one of the people i met during all of this is the incomparable proprietress of the southified masshole, who i think might know every single person in the metro area. i reached out to her and the rest of the people i work with over at dcblogs for a little publicity help. and with that, we were off to the races. within three hours, several major DC news sources were on the story. for every question someone had, someone else had an answer. in a situation when getting emily's face all over the universe as quickly as possible was the A-1 most important thing, everyone came through in the best way possible.

now this is what twitter, and all that other social media, can really do for us. it's so incredible how well that worked out. thank you all so very, very much for getting the word out the best way you knew how. it's amazing to see that in action. as civilians, we can't really do all that much besides publicize. the DC social media world, rock stars that they all are, did an incredibly inspiring, fantastic job. it's an honor to be a part of such a great fabric of people.

and if you're local, and you've seen emily, please call 202-680-4181. thank you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

high school sweethearts

my parents met in tenth grade, in 1968. my mother was a do-gooder smart kid with a rebel streak; my daddy was an underachieving smart-aleck more interested in his music than being part of the mainstream. (he only participated in his high-school graduation because his grandfather asked him to.) though they had ups and downs, breakups and reunions, throughout their relationship, they were loyal to each other until her mental illnesses got to be too much for both of them.

i used to think that there was no way that you should ever settle down with someone you dated in high school. 'course, i settled down with the boy i met the first day of college, and well, you know how well that worked out. i basically made myself a hypocrite of the first order there, but i also kinda proved my rule. you don't know anywhere near enough about yourself when you're seventeen years old to have any idea what you're going to need when you're twenty-seven. god knows, i thought, i'm living proof of that.

but then something hit me today as i was playing around on facebook. i've had quite a few friends who've married and divorced since high school, just like me. some of them are on to second relationships, and a couple are on to second marriages. and a very significant number of these people have gone on to date and marry people they knew and cared about in high school. i'm one of them. i met the man in tenth grade, in 1996. i was a do-gooder smart girl; he was a slightly underachieving smart-aleck more interested in his computers and his politics than being part of the mainstream. hmm.

maybe there's a little something more to this whole initial instinct thing than i once thought. i mean, lord knows it's not a hard and fast rule. i'm learning quickly that there is absolutely no such thing as a hard and fast dating rule. anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something, and something that will do nothing good for you. but there's an immeasurable comfort in having someone near you who knows you so thoroughly, so completely, that there aren't any surprises. you don't have to work as hard, be something or someone you're not. all i have to do is love him.

so the whole high-school sweetheart thing, maybe all it needs is a little revision. go out, see the world, learn yourself... and then, at the end of the day, you just might find what you needed in the first place you thought to look. i know i did.