I’m feeling really pissed off this morning.

I’m pissed because I’m losing the tiny bit of tan I got last week while on vacation.  I miss being on vacation.  I miss being around people.  I spent the week with my friend Christina and her family, and J and I had constant companions, even if it was just company for watching tv or sitting in the garage enjoying the sunshine and a smoke.   I miss the conversation.  I miss laughing.  I miss just being myself without having anything to do.  I know that can’t last forever, but I’m pissed because it made me feel like I’m not enough myself in my daily life, whatever that means.  I miss the sunshine and the sound of the ocean. 

When we were at the beach on Sunday, J was out playing in the waves while I read a book.  Well, tried to read a book.  No matter how much I’d been told to relax about him, I still couldn’t read more than a paragraph without looking up.  He kept ignoring me and going too far into the waves; there was a riptide warning.  I told him not to go in above his knees.  But of course, the level kept changing because of the waves: one minute it would be at his ankles, the next at his chest.  When I realized I couldn’t see him in the ocean, I calmly got up from my towel and started walking toward the waves.  I knew he’d be to the right, because that’s where the ocean was pulling swimmers.  It wasn’t the first time I couldn’t find him, and usually I’d end up finding him digging in the sand, where I wasn’t looking.  When I got to the water, he was running up to me (from the right), half-sobbing, telling me about how he’d gotten pulled under the waves.  He said a woman helped him get back.  I hugged him and calmed him down and he started digging in the sand.  I know I looked for him as soon as I couldn’t see him, but I was still disturbed.  He was fine until that night when he couldn’t fall asleep, saying he could still feel the waves pulling him under, but eventually he slept. 

I’m pissed that it still haunts me.

I’m pissed because I want to write and I’m paralyzed.  I know if I do, I need it to take over my life (I WANT it to) but the band is distracting.  It’s an extroverted creative pursuit, and writing is an introverted creative pursuit, and I feel like a fucking schizophrenic just thinking about it.  I love singing, but I’m a better writer than a singer, and that’s really what I want to do.  I’m just afraid if I quit the band (dissolve it, really) that the other members will be disappointed in me (it was my idea after all) and that I’ll end up disappointed in me.  And I’ve also got that hero complex – why can’t I do it all?

I’m pissed because I make a ton of money for one person, yet I can’t seem to get a handle on my finances.  I’m saving money in one place just to spend it in another.  I want J to be able to do cub scouts and martial arts and basketball and music lessons, but I don’t have the money for everything.  My rent just went up, too.  And I have credit card bills from my vacation.  I seem to pay them off just to charge things again.  It’s driving me crazy.

I’m pissed because I hate my job.  I hate being at home all fucking day.  I hate having no one paying attention to me or my work.  I hate that I worry that I’m expendable because nobody sees me or asks anything challenging of me.  I like that I don’t have to rush anywhere in the morning, that I can come and go as I please, and that I’m respected enough to not be micro-managed.  I know that’s lowered my stress level a lot.  I feel like I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth, that I’m ungrateful for the good things it’s brought to my life.  And I’m afraid of them going away.  I just need some external motivation to keep me invested in my job and excited about it.

I’m pissed because I have grey hair and I’m too tired (I’m always tired, it seems) to dye it.  I’m pissed that I still haven’t lost any weight since meeting with my MD about dietary changes (I’m supposed to lose 20 pounds to get to a healthy weight).  That I just can’t seem to wake up in the morning to exercise.  I’m pissed that I ordered a dress that’s too small for me that I’m supposed to wear in three weeks and I know I’m going to diet in ways that aren’t what she and I discussed just to fit into it. 

I’m pissed that I’m pissed, because life is better than it’s been in a long time.  J’s doing great with his behavior and loves school.  I’m still feeling open and positive about life and not concerned with the whole guy thing (because strangely, I’m not pissed about that at all). 

I’m pissed that Christina and her husband have friends who would help them hide a body (to turn a clever phrase) but 99% of my friends don’t even call me.  I’m pissed that last week one of my supposed friends (obviously she isn’t) implied to a third party that I was a homewrecker when that’s about as far from my character as possible.  I’m pissed that I even considered her a friend.  It makes me wonder who else out there thinks they know me.

I wish I knew how to get over all this, because all it’s doing right now is coursing through me, when all I want is the lightness I felt last week.  The bright, California sunshine yellow of contentment.

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After things ended with the last guy I was dating, I decided to throw myself into my writing.  I had to admit, I’d been inspired by his commitment to his art, and conversations with him had really gotten me thinking about how much I missed it, not only in practice but as a part of my mentality and identity.

I have a bunch of stories in-flight – some autobiographical, some fictional.  For one of the stories I wanted to work on, I needed to go back and research some personal details.  I tore up my room until I remembered where my journals were (all dozen or so of them), and set to reading.  I knew I wasn’t looking for anything related to my 14-year-old self, but I was curious and I had time to kill.  I don’t think I’d ever read my journals that far back.  Hell, I can’t remember the last time I actually went back and read any journals.  The first one led to the second one, and before long I was flipping through them searching for clues the way Nicolas Cage or Tom Hanks would frantically flip pages of ancient texts in a suspenseful mythology-meets-crime blockbuster movie.

I wasn’t happy with what I found.  I wish I were writing about something moderately embarrassing like body odor or gynecological problems.  This embarrassment is so much deeper and I frankly am ashamed of it, but I feel like if I don’t SAY IT that I’ll never get past it.  And I feel like other people knew I was doing it but I didn’t, so this is my way of coming clean.

I have always loved men (loved flirting, talking, laughing with them) and loved the idea of love.  I’ve been in love a couple of times, dated quite a bit, and had some casual arrangements.  But somewhere along the way, I became a person who believed that “if only ___ happened” – if only I had the right puzzle pieces – life would be complete and I could be happy.  Having a boyfriend/husband – or even simply the affirmation of male attention – was part of this.  I was in complete denial about it, and frankly am sure I declared I wasn’t that kind of person.  But I was living with this 24/7 radar going when it came to men and honing in on those who might be my puzzle piece, with an intensity that was disproportionate to the actual connection.  That’s because it was about the need rather than the person, and this need – wherever it came from (that’s a whole other conversation) – was controlling my life. 

You know the Invisible Gorilla study?  Here – I’ll let you check it out if you’ve never heard of it:

http://www.livescience.com/6727-invisible-gorilla-test-shows-notice.html

As soon as I discovered the invisible gorilla in my life, I couldn’t “unsee” it.  And just as suddenly, it was gone.  It wasn’t gone without some pain and embarrassment, but it’s gone.  I feel like a marionette with its strings cut.  I feel lighter.  Less pressurized.  Like the radar in my head is gone.  The hyper-self awareness is gone.  The self-judgement and filtering is gone.  The standard – whatever it was and whyever it was there – is gone.

It feels amazing.  I’m enjoying my writing immensely.  Hell, I’m enjoying everything I’m doing now because I’m not judging it from an outside standard anymore.  I’m enjoying hating things and disliking people and whole bunches of stuff I wouldn’t allow myself because I needed to come across as a puzzle piece myself – just in case.  But I’m not a puzzle piece.  I’m just me.  Me who might not be anybody’s puzzle piece and frankly I don’t actually give a shit.  I don’t feel like my life is a path toward something now, but a series of moments in the present (and when I say “feel” I don’t just mean mentally – it’s like I can feel it physically).  I’m just not limited mentally to the “dream” anymore – a dream that obviously had a lot of insecurity and perfectionism in it.  Every day I felt like I was internally – and externally – justifying why I hadn’t gotten there yet, and putting on a “brave face.”  I really wish I could slap that face now, shake myself years ago and tell myself what I was doing.  It just slowed me down.  Kept me from this amazing personal acceptance and freedom. 

I always prided myself on not having regrets.  Now, I have lots of them.  I feel like a first-class idiot, honestly.  But it’s over, and my future is wide open.  My present is phenomenal.  And I am me, for better or for worse.  If regret is the price I have to pay for that, I’m good with it.

One thing that’s been on my mind this week that I need to get resolved is tattoos.

I don’t have any.

Not a one.

It always seems to be the one thing that surprises people about me.  They assume I do, for some reason.  I don’t know.  I must have that bad girl look.

I’m torn, because I don’t know if it would change how attractive I am, although I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  I wonder if I’d think I were prettier.  Studies have shown that statistically, women with tattoos are less (scientifically) attractive than those who don’t have them (they show the opposite for men).

I’ve had an image picked out for a few years now, and it hasn’t changed, so it’s probably safe to get it.  I just need to grab the concept and make something a little more feasible out of it.  Luckily I have artistic friends.  But I don’t know where I’d put it.  It represents some excellent and personal symbolism to me.  I don’t think I’d regret it.

Of course, thinking about it made me think of another excellent one this week as well.

I’d probably be allergic anyway.  I’m no good with piercings.  Maybe my body just wants to stay the way it is…hmmm…

“She falls asleep with her hands in fists

That slowly uncurl in the ether of dreams.”

It’s really tempting to just say things like, “This week can suck it!” when you’ve had a crappy few days, but frankly awesome stuff is happening too so it’s hard to generalize.  Oh, but generalizing is so much fun!

I have a fucking STAPH INFECTION in my leg.  I thought I had a bug bite, and for some dumb reason thought I’d post it to Facebook, and my friend Bridget suggested I should get my ass to the doctor.  Good move, Bridget!  The doctor drew a circle around the spot and said, “If it goes past here, you need to call me.”  It’s already past there but since I just started my antibiotics, I’m not worried.  My dad made a bad joke about me ending up on crutches this weekend whilst simultaneously urging me to keep an eye on it (will I sleep tonight? who knows?).  I’ve heard the horror stories, imagined my dramatic death at such a young age (always useful in those tragic revenge fantasies a la Anne Shirley), and decided to chill out and let it consume me if it will.  In the meantime, it’s weird.  I mean, who just up and gets a staph infection?

Me, that’s who.

And this on the heels of disappointment in romance.  I really thought that guy was something special.  I’m not new at feeling foolish, just feeling fooled.  That was one confusing ride.  I just wish I could make some sense of the contradictions I heard from this guy over the last two weeks.  I definitely learned something…I’m just not sure what yet.  Instead, I drink wine and focus on other things, like…

Writing!  You motherfuckers are in for some awesome writing.  Because I’m wicked back on track.  I’ve got a few pieces I’m working on again, and I’m really enjoying it.  Some is fiction, some based on true stories, some articles…at this point I’m not sorting it out…just going with it.  It feels fabulous. 

This weekend I’ll be in CT visiting.  I suddenly miss my friends and family desperately.  I need to snuggle some nephews.

I have a feeling there’s going to be an announcement at work tomorrow that’s going to affect my job, but I’m not going to let the possibility of anything stress me out.

This morning I was trying to work with J on his mindfulness of time.  “We have 15 minutes until we have to leave,” I said.  “Is 15 minutes a short time or a long time?”

“Depends on what you’re doing,” he replied.  “If it’s fun, it’s short.  If it’s not, it’s long.”

Touche, darling, and well put.  Such is my week, which can go to hell and also kick ass.  Such is life.

Outside of my apartment windows buzz cicada killer wasps, fighting over territory in this thick heat.  They are huge and look menacing, but they aren’t.  Only the females have stingers, and you have to grab one to get stung.  (Which makes me sort of want to grab a male wasp just to hold it, but not enough to try.)  It’s strange to walk out to the car and see them fly at me as if to say, “This queen is mine – you cannot have her!”  I brush them away with my skirt and carry on.  They’ll be gone by the end of the summer.

My experiment with planting flowers has been somewhat successful.  I didn’t put the time needed into weeding, so there are a few flowers here and there sprouting up amongst grass on the side of the building.  Little bursts of color among the green.  I’d thought about weeding at one point, but I was afraid I’d pull up the flowers with the weeds; I know so little about it.  J says that next year he wants to grow a vegetable garden.  Maybe when I see the tulips come up again by the front steps I’ll feel encouraged again.  Tulips I can do.

I can’t remember the last time I sat on my front steps with a drink or a book and just soaked in everything.  Maybe I’ll do it today.  I have a lot on my mind.  It’s making me clumsy and distracted.  I need a reset button.  Something that will ground me.  Something that will synchronize me with the moment again today.  My metaphorical, red construction paper heart has done too much leaping this week and is arrhythmic, throwing off all the rest of me.  I want it to stop, but I really don’t want it to stop.

I feel as if my home is maturing.  We’ve been in this apartment nearly a year, and the pictures and furniture are settled into their places, and there’s nothing I really need anymore.  This weekend, I’m handing down my son’s desk to my nephew, and I’ll need to get him something new.  Something taller.  Oy.

The last few weeks J has been walking this line between surprising maturity and confusing regression.  One morning he’ll be fighting with me about something stupid and by the afternoon he’ll be clearing dishes and offering to help me with things.  I wonder if the fighting is somehow part of the struggle to leap to the next stage for him.  I hope that’s all it is, because I can’t take the attitude much longer.  In the meantime, he’s pushing forward with his desire to be more grown up and responsible, which I can’t fault.  He asked me for an allowance and after some contemplation, I’m giving him one.  We agreed on the chores (2 weekly and 1 daily), although he wanted to do more.  I don’t want him to set himself up for failure.  I told him that he’d get more chores as soon as he turned 10, which appeased him (who has these conversations with their kids – really?).  I wonder what’s got him so focused on this – is it just the age or something more?

I’m working with him on a few things this summer around the issues he has in school: executive functioning, work completion, and social interactions.  It sounds like I’m making a project out of him, but really it’s simple things.  Getting him a clock and a timer to help him understand time better.  Doing crafts with him so he grasps the end-to-end feeling of finishing something.  Bringing him to the beach so he can play with kids his age.  Teaching him typing to help him get his ideas down on paper faster. 

For my part, I need to step back more.  Let him develop that inner voice (the one that says, “go brush your teeth” rather than “go pet the cat”).  Let him work things out on his own.  It’s hard to do. 

Is that part of my maturing?  Probably.  As is learning to work from home.  As is trusting myself.  Not worrying so much.  Acknowledging my feelings even if they’re dumb.  Hell, feeding the cat cheese is a sign I’m more relaxed about things than I used to be. 

So it goes.