Sunday, March 30, 2008

Into the dark night

I've always been a night owl. I know I got this from my mom, the most extreme, non manic-depressive night owl I know. She does stuff when she's up late like clean the house, fix things (she's big into DIY) or, my most favorite example, paint the house. I think I was 14 or so and I woke up around 2 or 3am and walked into the living room to find her using a roller, painting our living room walls. She was wearing a white ribbed tank top that belonged to my father. I still remember her response when I asked her what she was doing: she wiped her forehead with her arm and said "What does it look like I'm doing? Go back to sleep."

She pulls these types of stunts all the time. When I was home last month, my stepfather told me she was up all night cleaning the house. I asked him what does he do with her when she gets like that. "It's just who she is."

When I was a kid, I usually went to bed after 11 or, if it was Saturday, after SNL. Then I'd stay up in bed and read comic books or whatever young adult books I'd bring back from the library. I never got busted for staying up, but I kinda wanted to feel like I was getting away with something. One time, like on TV, I grabbed a flashlight and a book, turned off the lights and got under the covers. My mom walked in at some point, flicked on the light. Instead of getting mad at me for being up, she got mad at me for reading with a flashlight and said I had to read with the lights on.

When I went to live with my grandparents, from 17 to 21, I remained a night owl but something changed. Everybody else was asleep. When I lived with my parents and was up late, I was always comforted knowing that most of the time my mother was up and doing stuff in the other room. But with my grandparents, they retired early and the house would become unreasonably quiet for me. I remember one time standing in the doorway of my bedroom looking out into the rest of the house at my grandparent's closed bedroom door and at the darkness of the living room and kitchen, hearing the soft hum of appliances. Actually, now that I think about it, I did this a lot. It just felt so alone and empty. I started to not like staying up late because it exaggerated this feeling of aloneness. I'd feel trapped in my house, because after a while it was too late to go outside, too late to call my friends. Television at that time of night only had infomericals. So I stayed up, full of angst, and read and wrote poetry. It actually ended up being the most fecund time of my life, writing and thinking and writing some more. But I have to admit, there was also a lot of emotional darkness. So nighttime has always had this quality of aloneness and emptiness that I desperately wanted to escape along with the creativity I would escape into. Creation out of destruction. Life out of death. These were big themes for me back then. (and, as an aside, it's why I've wanted a tattoo of an ouroboros.)

These days I try to go to bed around 11, because I want to exercise in the morning and obviously I need to go to work. But it's always a struggle to maintain that routine. When the weekend rolls around I break it and spend the next few days to try to get back onto an earlier schedule only to break it again and again. When I go on vacation, I revert. But I seldom find pleasure or creativity staying up late now. I'll sit up thinking about how I don't like my life, or how much I dislike one thing or another about myself, I'll beat myself up for not being able to sleep earlier and wake up earlier or I'll look out of my living room window at the stillness of the backs of buildings and scare myself thinking about how when I'm elderly, I will still be up late at night battling myself.

These past few weeks have been particularly bad. I just have not been able to return to my routine. I have considered, why am I hell bent on changing something that is so much a part of who I am? Why can't I just roll with this? Because I'm afraid. Being up late brings up a lot of darkness in me and I've just not wanted to deal with it. Back when I was 20 it was different because the darkness was complemented by creativity. Now, I just stay up and try to numb my brain out so I won't think of anything uncomfortable. I see the clock tick and know what is coming. I put a lot of pressure on myself to not pay attention to what I'm actually feeling.

And then some time earlier this week I decided that I should just loosen the reigns a bit. Instead of trying to force myself to exercise at 7am and the self-flagellation that follows because I can't get up that early, that I should run after work. That maybe I should let go a bit and not be so hard on myself. That I should just let go and embrace this part of myself that I have really disregarded and treated badly. I started to remember what it was like to be in my grandparent's house and that maybe I shouldn't be so afraid of facing my own thoughts. Thursday, I picked up a book and read into the early morning which is surprisingly something I haven't done in a while. And here I am writing this blog post at 1:55am. Yeah, it means I will face some things I'd prefer not to, but who am kidding? It doesn't go away just because I'm not looking.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

And now for something girly

So I cut my hair a few weeks ago. Nothing serious, just a clean up. The cut was fine, but he didn't get all of my split ends and the ends of my hair feel dry. I'm really annoyed by this. I also don't know what I want to do with my hair; do I want to grow my hair out or do I want to go back to a bob?

And then there are my eyebrows. I haven't had them waxed in six months; I've been doing it myself. It doesn't look awful but not as perfect. I figured I'd get this expense off my list for a bit, but now I wonder if it was worth it. I compared pictures from six months ago to now and I can see the difference. Ok, I can go get them waxed, but then I'll have to explain my "disappearance" to the waxer, whom I've known for ten years. (eyeroll)

I found someone who wanted to transfer his gym membership at equinox (allowing me to avoid the hefty initiation fee) and after saying it was still available, he went AWoL. I kinda want to go back to the gym now, so please reply to my email so I can take a spinning class.

What's up with (straight) girls who look down at your chest a lot when speaking with you? What are they doing? There's one girl I know who does this and the first couple of times I actually looked down thinking I may have spilled something. I certainly don't wear shirts with my boobs busting out of them. What gives?

That's it for today.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cool Web Stuff

Totally awesome: Every South Park episode is now available free online. 

Super duper cool:  I LOVE this. Every company should do this! Share your idea on how to improve Starbucks.  You know I have an opinion about most everything, and of course, like many, I have opinions about Starbucks.  Now, you can share your opinion, vote on opinions and supposedly Starbucks will get the popular ones done.  Mine?  Officially ring back the short cup and the mocha valencia latte. (yum!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

The other half

I have some social fears, like the fear of accidentally farting loudly while laughing, having something in my nose while talking to someone, or overstaying my welcome . Example: I have one friend and she and her fiance are such gracious hosts, so laid back and at ease, that time flies while I'm hanging out with them. Hours later, it will hit me: maybe I'm not reading their signals. I'll become hyper aware, looking to see if I can interpret anything as a sign to get lost. But I can never find a sign with these two! So I mention that I should get going and am met with, "No, please. Stay a little longer." The fiance follows up, "Yes, stay." No sarcasm, nothing. In that moment I'm unsure what to do and the following thoughts run through my head:
Do they want me to stay? Really? I'm sure they want me to leave but are being nice. No way. But they're not Southerners, they won't say shit to be polite and then talk about how I didn't leave once I'm gone. They truly want me to stay. But I've been here for three hours already, surely they want to do their own thing? Wait, what do I want to do? Well, I'm having a good time and I do want to stay for a bit longer.
I stay a bit longer but end up feeling so concerned that ten minutes later, I leave. Why? Because I'm terrified of being where I'm not wanted.

Tonight, I hung out with a colleague for a bit whom I don't know very well. He invited me to a concert that his friend from out of town was playing in. After the show, I waited with him for his friend to show up and then I left, thinking that he'd want to hang out with his friend by himself.

I walked to the train and stopped for a bit and looked up at the bright moon. I felt sad that I was going home but it wasn't until I was on the train that I understood why: my actions weren't based on what actually went on. He didn't tell me that he wanted to only hang out with his friend. He didn't give me a cue to leave. I left because I assumed that he wanted me to go. I left because sometimes I leave people and places a lot earlier than I want to because I don't want to even risk feeling unwanted. Hence, being concerned about not being wanted means that sometimes I miss opportunities to be social and make new friends.

I know where this stuff comes from. I know this is old, old, old shit that I still struggle with. But man, how long before I let it go? How long before I stop assuming that I'm an outcast? Why can't I just be in the present moment?

G.I. Joe says that knowing is half the battle. I got that down. The other half is doing something about it.

(Yes, I did just end this introspective blog post with a quote from G.I. Joe.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How the mind works

This is such an incredible story. I don't want to add any commentary. I love what she says, her emotions in telling her story, and her message:

Sunday, March 9, 2008

back or forth

This weekend I've been watching "In Treatment," an HBO half-hour show. Amazon had a free download of the season this weekend and I had nothing to do. The show isn't that interesting but I am fascinated by the opening credits. A wave of dark blue water rises on left, angles down, and then rises again on the right. I watched five episodes before I figured out what it was: one of those wave machines from the 1980s!

Do you remember those? Maybe your parents or someone older than you had one sitting on a desk. Some cool older kid I knew had one. (Heh, Tina. She was much older than me and somehow allowed me to hang with her. I wish I knew her last name so I could look her up). I also remember seeing them at offices, too. A long rectangular plastic container with a dark blue liquid that rhythmically sloshes back and forth. I tried to find an image of the machine, but could only find new versions of it. I even looked on ebay. Heh, no one has them anymore I guess. I'm not the only one who noticed it and that the main character of the show has one. Seems like a few viewers are looking for them, too.

This weekend was strange. Saturday it poured and I stayed home. I cleaned and went through old magazine issues of Real Simple that piled up (I'm so over that magazine). I went out and ran in the park when the rain slowed to a sprinkle. Today, I went out and grabbed a latte, came back home and didn't do much. Sometimes this is exactly what I want to do but other times, it reminds me of how alone I feel here with no close friends nearby, no one to spend time with.

My aunt and uncle in Long Island have really been reaching out, especially after my grandmother got ill. Asking and insisting I come by on the weekend. Next weekend, I've committed to stopping by. They've always invited me over, but I have traditionally kept my distance, not because they aren't nice people, but because... well, because I'm closer to my other aunt and uncle. So maybe we can get to know each other better. That would be nice.

The other part, the lack of close friends nearby, is enough to send me packing and moving back home to Florida. Much is made of the internet and of social networking. I have friends across the country and the world. I love staying in touch and seeing photos of their kids. I love their emails, but I wish they all lived a little closer. I wish I could see them more often. It's really hard feeling alone most of the time. My interests in solitary activities and my tendency to isolate myself make it really, really difficult to make new friends. I thought I had made a new friend, this girl I had met at work. We became running partners and friends, but ultimately, it didn't work out. Friendships with women have always been few and far between. I find them to be so fragile. Our friendship ended recently and that made me think about how my face to face interactions are limited to coworkers and strangers. And it’s not what I’d like my life to be like. If I don't break out of my shell, if I don't change, then my life will continue to be like that.

I'm unofficially giving myself until 2009 to make a proper life here in NY, which to me, means all that I currently have plus local friends. If I can't do it, if I'm still without a group of friends by this time next year, I'm leaving. At least in Florida, I can be with family and at least one good friend that lives there.

Making friends should be easier than dating, right? Right???

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Go gadget go!

Two songs have been stuck in my head for as long as I can remember. One of them is the finale of the William Tell overture (aka: the theme song for the Lone Ranger).  This song runs in my head whenever I brush my teeth.  I don't know how it got there, but almost each and every time I run the song through my mind as I brush.  Well, it's a really fast piece, isn't it?  Makes sense that I'd be playing it in my head as a kid to get through the brushing.

The other song is um, the Inspector Gadget theme song. I'll be walking around and then:
doot do doot do doot inspector gadget
doot do doot do doot do doot! do doot!
doot do doot do doot inspector gadget
doot do doot do doot. doot doot.
Go gadget go! and so on.

I'll be sitting here at work, like right now, and "doot do doot do doot" will start. No reason.