Sunday, March 22, 2015

I'ts Not About the Nail

This should be the theme of my whole weekend. 

If you've ever seen the video, "It's Not About the Nail" then you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, I highly recommend it. I've always been the most empathic listener in my family, which in all honesty is probably how I've survived twenty-something years around them. It's an art, really. Listening without the intent to speak; just listening with the intent to listen. Sometimes I forget myself and listen with the intent of offering up any amount of advice I can gather, when that's not really what the speaker wants. Sometimes, all we want is to be listened to, empathized with, and be told, "yeah, that really SUCKS."

This weekend, I made a bit of a "breakthrough" with my mother if you will. Anyone that knows me is aware of my work situation in which I am the sole recipient of masses of bullshit strewn my way on a daily basis. Over the past year, more specifically the past six months, I've fallen into a deeply rooted depression, and it's hard to get out of bed in the morning. I set three alarms, beginning an hour and a half before I need to leave the house, knowing that I will be fighting the fight come morning. I hit snooze, half thankful I still have some time left to sink into my mattress, half hoping I will sleep through it and not get up and have to drag myself to that godforsaken place. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of teams and divisions within my agency that are fantastic places to work, and my team actually used to be one of them. I used to skip class while I was in college and go to work instead because I loved it so much. I felt amazing being there and working with such fantastic people. That changed drastically. Management left, and the new management that came in turned the division into a dictatorship empire of bullshit. 

I was in the car with my mother yesterday, which is a weird statement in itself, and I was talking about how many hives I have thanks to my job. 

"Why don't you just leave?" She asked, like so many people have asked me before. 
"It's not that easy," I replied, weighed with frustration. I then proceeded to present an anecdote about why it's not that easy.  

Almost two years ago, a trainer in our department left for another agency, for what she thought was her dream job. After holding that job for almost a year (long enough to pass probation), she wanted to come back to our agency. During that time, management in our division changed for the worst, but a job vacancy for her old trainer position had opened up, so she excitedly applied. The other trainers that had worked with her previously were excited to see she would be coming back, after all, she'd previously been doing that job for a couple years, and was a shoe-in for one of the six positions being filled. She interviewed extremely well, and had working experience that applied directly to the position. However, even though she'd left the agency on good terms with everyone, the upper management that had the ultimate decision responded to her interview with a rejection letter. She didn't get any of the six trainer positions, and when she inquired as to why, management responded with, "She left when we needed trainers, and now she wants to come back? That's too bad."

There was absolutely no legitimate reason why, but they were pissed she left in the first place, and because they are immature preschoolers throwing tantrums, they burned the bridge for her. They came up with reasons why they would no select her for the position, and passed it off as legal. She made a choice that benefited her career growth, the right choice for herself, and these managers make it impossible for her to come back in any division at this agency, not only ours. 

So, you're thinking, okay, so what? Right? Why can't I just pick up and leave. It's not that easy. Every single move I make has to be strategic. Every email, every word out of my mouth in meetings, everything I do must be calculated. Is it worth the potential outcome? I'm at a point where the best option for me is to sit back quietly, and watch. I continue to go above and beyond partially because I have hope that the universe will come back with something amazing for me, but also to prevent those managers from having anything to hold against me such as decreased production or quality of work. Every action I take at work must be mannered in a way that is beneficial to me, without degrading my division or team. It's exhausting, but one wrong move, and I'm done. 

As of now, I'm making a whopping $2200 less than my team counterparts, for doing twice the amount of work. I finally reached a point where my management team recognized my hard work, and told me they were going to reclassify my position to one higher, so still only $500/month more than I'm making now, but it counts for something, and I'm grateful for it. The problem is that I was told this almost three months ago, and nothing has happened. I recently interviewed for another position in another division, and my management seems to be waiting it out to see if I'm offered this position. If I am, why do more work to reclassify my position? Makes sense. 

I'm telling my mother this, and suddenly I saw the light bulb illuminate. Ding! It's moves and counter moves. If I had more in savings than I currently do, I'd take a leave of absence and figure my life out and find a new job. I don't. So, it's not that easy, and sometimes, I don't need a solution. If I could change my circumstance in this instance, I'd have done it a year and a half ago, but instead, I'm doing everything I possibly can TO change my situation to no avail. A year and a half of interviews and always being second choice. Always a bridesmaid, never the bride, basically.  Sometimes all I need is for someone to say "Yeah, that SUCKS."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Training Academy

During my recent trip to Disneyland, I decided I would do things I'd never done before while I was there. After all, I was starting fresh. A year ago, I was at Disneyland with a prince, and frankly everything from that trip is foggy, except for that face. This year, I would see shows and volunteer and be involved. I would take the chance to do things that I wanted to do. 

Items on this list included: 
✔️Ride the train all the way around ✔️Disneyland
✔️Go to the Innoventions Hall
✔️Meet Captain America
✔️Iron Man suit-up in the Innoventions Hall
✔️See the Mickey & the Magical Map show
✔️Whoop some major ass at Midway Mania
✔️Two or more different Star Tours scenes 
✔️Fantasmic!
✔️Dinner at the Blue Bayou
✔️Ask about the Dream Suite 
✔️Fireworks
...and last but definitely not least... 
✔️Jedi Training Academy

Let's get to the point - I REALLY wanted to do the Jedi Training Academy, so I conveniently planned to have lunch at the terrace before show time. 

I was so excited I could hardly eat lunch, and I kept fidgeting in my seat (which slightly annoyed those with me). The photographer roped off the middle aisle way in preparation for the show, and kids with their families chattered excitedly among the swooshing zings of invisible light sabers. 

Then... The music. You know the music. You can hear it playing right now. Out burst the cloaked Jedi masters, confidently breezing through the aisle, faces covered, arms folded all the way to the stage where they stood tall and still like statues until they were announced. 

YES. This is AMAZING. I don't even remember being this excited at my senior prom or graduation from college even. ️Jedi Master #1 started on about picking trainees for the academy, and I was eagerly hopping with my hand raised. I didn't give a shit that there were adults staring. Who cares? This is DISNEYLAND. The happiest place on earth... And this was making me happy in that moment. I want an awesome full length cloak to start my Jedi training in, damn it! 

So... You can imagine my disappointment when a blonde actress comes over and tells me that if I'm not between the ages of four and twelve I should sit down since I would not be getting picked. 

Ouch. Like a knife to the heart. Then to top it off, Storm Troopers come running in while Darth Vader rises from a platform under the stage. Smoke effects and all. Damn it. This was the only time I can remember wishing I was under twelve. 

Without missing a beat, I pulled up an old picture on my phone of me and my little brother in a special effects photo; his face in place of Hayden Christensen, and mine in place of Natalie Portman's. "LOOK. How about now?!" 

The blonde girl was speechless. "Well. I do apologize your majesty. Looks like you've mastered time traveling like the rest of the cast."

I could hardly keep from giggling and I could tell she was torn between staying in character, laughing, and running away. In retrospect I probably shouldn't have told her I'd come back to the next show with a kid who could be in it, which I did quickly regret and ran away. 

The many adventures over here.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Shatter Me

It was 4 a.m., I couldn't sleep, so I did my hair and I fixed a drink. I went and tore your pictures up, built a fire in my bathtub, painted my toes while I watched them burn, then put out the flames with your t-shirt. If the neighbor looked through my windowpane he'd say she's finally gone insane. I might break a thing or two sometimes, but I'm not crazy. 

If you think that sounds crazy, then you should've seen me sitting by the phone all those nights alone. I believed the lies you told me, and forgave you when you said "I love you, baby"... That's what I call crazy. 


Saturday, March 7, 2015

The one where I dated the Brawny man...

   So, by now we've noticed a trend in my dating life, haven't we? I'm a magnet for crazy and destruction. Well, mostly. There must be something about me that makes everyone I date instantly know what they want in a partner to spend their life with, because I seem to be the female version of “Good Luck Chuck”. Truly, almost every guy I’ve dated has moved on to immediately meet the person they will marry or have a happy relationship with, or at the very least knock up. Once I got over the Hollywood Sociopath and Army Asshole, I ended up in this dating frenzy that, if I’m being honest, is a bit of a blur. I went on an absurd amount of dates (they were JUST dates... I have more class than where your dirty mind was going) with an absurd amount of guys. One of these guys just wanted a friends with benefits deal, although I did make him take me on a proper date before anything happened (or he tried to make happen. I ended up faking food poisoning at that point. Some things just look better on the hanger than when you try them on). He apparently saw me as being worth the equivalent of one matinee movie, and I was too distraught and determined to get over these crazies to care.

      Another, we'll call him Bill, was probably one of the sweetest men I’d ever met. Okay, he easily was up to that point. He called me Kitty, and despite my hatred of sickening pet names, I didn’t mind in the slightest. After a couple weeks of dates, I’d started to think, “Wow. Maybe there are decent men left in the world. Maybe my luck is turning around.” Let’s keep in mind that I was twenty-one and na├»ve as all get out. 

     Bill was a tall burly dude, like the Brawny man, and had arms that felt like being wrapped up in the warmest blanket on the coldest night. Well, at least that’s what I’d thought at the time. Now I know what warm really feels like. 

      On this particular date, which ended up being our last, we’d decided to go out to dinner, and I let him choose this time. I should have known that was a mistake. We ended up at a Mongolian place that wouldn’t have been my first, second, or eighteenth choice. Oh well, it’s the company that matters, right? As I was beginning to let myself open up and really let him get to know me, and honestly really let myself get to know him, he started fidgeting with his hands and looked a bit uneasy. Uh oh. I knew we shouldn’t have come to this place. It’s probably got Ebola all over it.

“So, Kitty, there’s something I need to talk to you about…” he began.

“Sure, what’s up?” I said, putting the forkful of food I’d attempted to start on back into my bowl.

“I really like you, and I think you’re a really fantastic woman. I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you.” Okay, these are all good things, so why don’t they sound good?

As he continued, I absentmindedly started plastering that wall back up as quickly as I could. He started saying some more nice things that got quite vague, and the next thing my brain actually comprehended was, “…but I’m getting married tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry, you’re WHAT?”

“…Getting married.”

“Yeah. No. I heard you. Does she know? What are you thinking? You know what it doesn’t even matter. Good luck. I wish nothing but the best for you,” I blurted out within about three seconds.

      I left my food on the table and slapped down a few bucks for my share. I mean, I wouldn’t want to take any cash from his new wife or anything. As I walked out of the hole-in-the-wall restaurant, I realized that I didn’t drive myself. Shit. Instead of getting a second slap in the face and spending another ten minutes in the same vicinity as this lying jerk, I walked home… all five miles… in heels and a dress.

      Years later, I log on to Facebook and see a message from a name I don’t recognize. I open the message and start reading it as I’m sipping some pink moscato from a mason jar I found in the back of the cabinet. Dishes really don’t do themselves.

“Hey Kitty.”
I nearly dropped my glass, but I didn’t because it had wine in it and wasting wine is a sin.
“…I hope you remember me and I’ve been wondering how you are doing. I miss you terribly and I think about you quite often. I needed to send this message to apologize for ending everything so abruptly.” Well, you DID had a wedding to get ready for. “This is my cousin, John’s, Facebook account, so you can message me back here if you don’t despise me and want to message me. If not, I understand. Much love, Bill.”

Holy. Shitballs. 

Honestly, it took me a solid ten minutes wracking my brain trying to remember who the heck it was, but then it hit me like ten bowls of Mongolian food in heels.

      I sat and stared at the message, gripping my wine, for what felt like an entire episode of Pretty Little Liars before I started to type back.

“Bill-
I’m really surprised to hear from you after all these years, let alone remember me, especially enough to message me from a family member’s Facebook. I guess I made an impression, huh? Good to hear you are doing well. What’s new? How is married life?”

      Not that I actually wondered, I kind of just wanted to hear what his explanation or excuse would be; at the very least it would make a good story.. and I quickly got more than I bargained for. 

      He quickly messaged back boasting about his wonderful wife and two great kids and they were all doing great. YAY! I finished my wine before messaging back, “SWEET! Good to hear!” as enthusiastically as I could. The next message is probably the one that changed the whole situation.

“Hey, this is John. Bill left. Just wanted to let you know.” Well, at least his cousin is considerate. Hmm... I wonder if he’s as good looking as his cousin…

“Thanks, John. That was really strange,” said the moscato.

“You’re welcome. Bill explained everything to me. I’m really sorry he did that to you. He’s a good guy but he really used to be a jerk.” Hmm... Let’s check out his profile pictures. Oh, damn, he’s THAT cousin! I realized I’d met him once at a sports bar we went to one night to watch some football game. I also then felt like a total jackass.

“It’s okay. I can’t say I haven’t had my moments. That’s life, right?” I responded, hoping he couldn’t read my mind and realize I forgot who he was.

      After a couple weeks of texting back and forth, I started to actually like this guy. Not in like a dreamy, butterflies, I-could-see-a-future-with-this-dude sort of way, but I was willing to see if maybe something good could come of it. I'm not opposed to meeting friends. But still. Damn it. 

     John had come from a rougher background than I had, and faced more struggles to get by every day. He did what he could, but sometimes it wasn’t enough. After a few months of talking and me starting to really open up to him, I’d sent a message and never received a response. I knew his phone was broken and he was waiting for his replacement to arrive in the mail. Honestly, this should have been the red flag for me. Seriously, who waits for anything in the mail anymore?

      A week went by with no response after multiple attempts to text and call. Figures. Must run in the family. After about a month and a half, I got a Facebook message from him saying he’d, “just got out.” Ummm, from where?

“I lied to you. I was broke and had no money for a replacement phone, and I knew I had to keep talking to you so I wouldn’t lose you, so I stole a phone and was arrested for theft.”
Oh good lord.

“John, I wish you’d have just told me. I care much more about honesty and integrity than I do money or material objects.” Well, it was true… mostly. Why I spent the energy being nice to this moron is beyond me. Sometimes I think I am too nice for my own good; it might be the destruction of myself reall.

“I was embarrassed. You have everything and I have nothing to offer. I wanted to be good enough for you.” Aww, well, that’s sweet at least. Kinda.

      We messaged back and forth, and he’d hinted at wishing things were easier, like relationships and that I’d be a great person to have a relationship with. When I asked, “Why me?” and he responded with, “Why not?” I was a little taken aback.

“That makes me sound like I’m just another person that’s there and I’m an afterthought,” was apparently the wrong thing to say.

“You know what? Whatever, I'm done, then. Cause that's exactly how you treat me! I'm a second thought to you and you are never around when I need you. Everything that's happened has been because I wanted to be with you in one way or another. To be honest, you probably are talking like this because you already have another dumb guy in your life getting strung along, just like you did to Bill. I can't believe I chose you over my family! Well, at least I got a good orgasm out of it! That's just the kind of person you are. I can't believe I wasted any of my time on you, let alone the months I spent in lock up thinking of you! I was in love with you! And you wanted Bill -a married man who was probably lying to you just so he could fuck your brains out and drop you! You never really cared about me! You only cared about yourself and your superficial Californian life! I can't believe I ever stopped to think we could be together. I should've known I was just another name on your list! Go back to your superficial life, or even Bill for that matter, cause he is the only one that will fall for and deal with your shit. I've about had enough. I can get any woman I want! I can get a genuinely beautiful woman, with a beautiful body and a beautiful mind, instead of settling for someone who is black at the core!”
     
      There were so many insanely inaccurate items in that message, I wasn't quite sure which one to giggle at first. That was also the last I’d heard from him; I had no intention of responding to that level of crazy.


…Annnnnd another one bites the dust. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Gephyrophobia



Anyone that knows me can tell you I have a few extreme and irrational fears. Birds are at the top of that list, along with bridges. I honestly have no idea how these fears developed or when, but I do know that there are few things I hate more than being on a bridge. I don't have a phobia of heights; I think it's the falling to my death with nothing to catch me that I'm terrified of. 

So, when I planned a birthday trip for an incredibly thoughtful man, I had to force myself to get over it and just deal with it. He happens to love bridges. Like, he's wanted to see a covered bridge his whole life and never has. Judgement isn't coming quick because I have a few Alice in Wonderland items that I'm obsessed with... so... hey, to each their own, right?

I decided that this surprise trip that I'd have to brave (due to my awkwardness during long car rides as in addition to my bridge-phobia) was a good opportunity to shut my phone off and dust off my camera instead. Nothing I'm overly proud of, aside from the fact that each of these was taken from a bridge... From the edge of  a bridge. High five to me for this one! Oh, and he liked the surprise. There were many speechless hugs. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

What now?

When I was seven, I loved Disney princess movies. I loved pretty much any Disney movie, really. I always believe they way the princesses made a wish and it came true was so magical. I was convinced that one day a tall man with dark hair and dreamy eyes wearing boots and a cape (yeah, cause that was standard Disney prince attire) would come literally sweep me off my feet while I was throwing shiny pennies I stole from my parents' coin bucket into a wishing well. I also figured I would have a wishing well, fully equipped with ivy growing up the sides and bricks chipped from years of wishing pennies being dropped to the bottom by hopeful  young princesses. 

When I was ten I asked for a telescope (and a bike and a pony and a car, but let's be realistic here) simply so I could look at all of the stars and dream about being an astronaut one day and exploring, seeing every star I'd ever made a wish on up close. I didn't take into account that all of the stars I'd wished on were dead by that point given the distance and speed of light, but I was still hopeful and wished on stars every chance I got. I would sit outside for an hour, searching for the brightest star before bedtime, and make my wishes, thinking about how tiny and insignificant my house was in comparison to the entire universe out there. 

When I was 13, my friends and I all had our little lists of check boxed items that we wanted our dream man to possess. Blue eyes. Blond hair. Maybe a brunette. Green eyes. Maybe  blue because then our kids would have blue eyes to match both of ours. Taller than me. Six feet was my favorite height. Some items were complete deal-breakers (at the time my biggest deal-breaker was if he didn't like a boy band I was in love with then he had to hit the road. Priorities, right?). 

When I was 19 I had my first real heartbreak. I was convinced I was going to marry this guy, and not because he fit some silly list, or he wore a cape and rode a horse (although, I wouldn't put it past him), but because he wasn't any of those things. i thought I was rebellious (totally a joke on me), and I thought I knew everything. My pride took over. Well, that and as it turns out any kind of birth control makes me batshit psychotic. Truly, I think my parents' decided to just give up for a while until we figured out that I was bonkers because my hormones were so out of whack. 

When I was 24, I truly broke someone's heart. We had fun, but it could never be serious. He was dangerous to my well-being, and once I realized that, I did what was best for me. I put myself first, and that meant someone else came last. 

When I was 25, I met a man whom I've considered one of my best friends. I'd never met anyone who I'd even come close to connecting with nearly as much (aside from Kimber and Nic), and I essentially freaked out. I panicked; what if this never came along again? I'm not a person who has a large number of friends, or even people I would consider a friend. I've met a lot of people. I know a lot of people. I don't have a lot of friends. I have even fewer best friends that I put all of my trust in and lay everything on the line for. This heartbreak, this hurt to the core kind of damage, this is the heartbreak I made amends with never getting over. I packed up that relationship, put all of the tiny broken pieces of myself into a box, and put that box in the back, dark corner of my closet. At some point, you just need to pack it up and move on, because you know trying to make it work won't help. Some things aren't capable of being saved. Some things you just grow out of because you change fundamentally, and that's okay. It's okay to change and move on. It's okay as long as you aren't hurting yourself in the process. Sometimes things work out and all of your hard work and effort and tears and hope get you through. Sometimes you're the exception to the rule, and you're the princess that is swept away by a shockingly handsome constantly-leaves-you-without-words kind of good looking prince. 

Ever watch Ender's Game? Or read the book, I only mention the movie first since it's visual. Well, at the end, when Ender goes into the final "test" and destroys the ship... It's kind of like that. Like everything was a lie. It was all an agenda I was clueless about; I was set up to be molded into this person I became, and although it was a better version of me, it still took a great deal of effort and trust and hope. It took challenges and weighing options, deciding if it's worth the effort, and ultimately I decided that it was so I kept pushing and giving it my all. Then, at the end, when the victory is supposed to be right in front of me to grasp and hold on to and to revel in, to breathe in, to relax in because all of my hope was worth something truly, innately good... It's ripped away like it was only ever a facade in the first place.  I made amends with and accepted the fact that I would probably always be at least a little heartbroken about this relationship. This would be the one that got away. This would be the one I couldn't save, and this would be the one that destroyed my emotional capacity. This would be the one that made me give up hope. 

So, now what? What happens when that box gets dragged out? What happens when you've finally made peace with yourself and with the universe, but this friend that you cared about and loved so much comes barging back in, mercilessly tearing down the walls you've spent months working to build back up in fear that someone else will do the same thing? What now?