Monthly Archives: April 2013

Old Beginnings

Ajooma and Mary Kate went with me to a gallery downtown this afternoon. We went to check out a display that my employer sponsored for current and retired employees in an annual art show. There was a separate section where the literary submissions were displayed like beautiful artwork. It moved each one of us. Ajooma and Mary Kate told me it was one of their favorite parts of the whole display.

One thing I hoped would happen when I started this blog is that I’d get back to some creative writing. I used to love writing – particularly short stories – but I got away from it for years, and I miss the feeling of finding, arranging, and feeling the words. It feels good to get it down, even if it doesn’t mean much to anyone but me. But I figured, if that was one of the hopes for the blog in the first place, why not share something?

Quiet Longing

“Feel however you feel,” she says
when I tell her I feel silly
for feeling silly.
“I won’t ask you anything
if you don’t want me to.
But if you do,
I will.”
I turn up my lips
in as much true appreciation
as I can muster.
Even though we’re in private,
my countenance is
the one I show
in public.
Calm. Preoccupied, perhaps.
But nothing more.
When the door closes shut
behind her,
and the television
is nothing more
than background noise,
I drop the countenance.
I let the tears and wine
flow freely.
I feel how I feel.
And I wish
she was here
to ask me.

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Tiny Humans

When I was growing up, I always thought being an adult would feel different than the way I currently feel. I’m not sure whether that means I’m not an adult or that my perception was wrong. I vacillate between feeling like I’m twenty-five-going-on-twenty-one or twenty-five-going-on-fifty. The whole being-an-adult thing still feels very surreal to me.

It’s not so much the fact that my friends and family are (getting) married. I’ve been used to that idea since 2007 and 2008, my junior and senior years in undergrad, when most of my friends started getting engaged and married. I went to a conservative undergraduate university where many of the female students had the goal of getting the (and I’m not kidding) “Ring Before Spring” – get engaged before you graduate. Not all ladies did this, but a fair number did. Some succeeded but were relatively quickly divorced. For plenty, everything seemed to work out. In any case, my first semester of law school, I attended or was part of four or five weddings. It was a running joke in my circle of friends: “Sam, what are you doing this weekend? Another wedding?” One friend of mine jokingly (and sometimes, heartbreakingly) called me “Jane” from 27 Dresses because I’d been a bridesmaid so many times. It’s been a pretty steady stream of weddings since then, including Ajooma and, soon enough, Mary Kate. In any case, marriage isn’t what makes things feel so odd.

It’s babies.

Babies are everywhere lately. My Facebook news feed, on pictures outside cubicles of my coworkers, all over Pinterest. I mean, I guess babies are everywhere all the time and I’m just noticing it more now. The ladies I knew in college and sometimes high school are procreating (and have been for some time, in some cases). That’s what makes me feel like:

That’s when I realize that we’re “adults” in the way I used to think of adults. The baby thing blows my mind because I’m not at a point in my life where I’m ready to have kids, and I can’t currently imagine what it feels like to be ready for that kind of thing. I mean, babies are cute and amazing and all, but they’re also scary – scary in the sense that it means you’re responsible for whether something lives or dies, grows up well-adjusted or completely mental, and all that jazz.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m PUMPED for friends of mine who are at that stage in their lives/relationships. It’s exciting and scary and fantastic all at once. And I don’t hate babies or anything (although I’m generally afraid of holding them because I’m terrified I’m going to break them or drop them) – I like them and I’d like to have them someday. It’s just also mind-boggling to me. There are days where I view every baby I see as a perfect little bundle of sunshine and rainbows and cuteness, but there are also days where I view every baby I see as a little poop-making, vomit-spewing, screeching tiny human who can’t tell me what’s wrong. It’s a whole different level of responsibility that I have a hard time fathoming.

I guess that’s it – the idea that you’re responsible enough to not only take care of yourself and your partner, but also a teeny tiny half-you-half-your-partner being. That’s the part of adulthood I haven’t reached yet and that both scares and excites me. It seems perfectly natural and wonderful to see my friends reaching the baby point, but it seems like something far away in the future for me (even though it likely isn’t). I mean, it’s not like I’m a completely irresponsible person who has a hard time taking care of herself. Far from it. I just – wow.

Babies, man. Seriously.

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04/26/2013 · 10:12 AM

Warrior Pig and Healing

I have two sisters: an older sister (“Ajooma”) and a twin sister (“Mary Kate,” just for funzies. She’s SO annoyed that I’m calling her that,  but now I can’t help myself). Mary Kate is super crafty and is great with attention to detail. (Ajooma is supremely talented in a lot of ways, but this post has more to do with this back-story. Bear with me.) Mary Kate used to have this small (maybe three-inch-tall) stuffed pig, and she used to use construction paper or scrap pieces of fabric to make outfits and costumes for it. One week, it was Rayden from Mortal Kombat. Another week, he was a French painter. Another week, he was something different entirely. Ultimately, we ended up calling him “Warrior Pig.”

Mary Kate had a knack for guessing how to strategically place the pig in places where you needed to go. Want some ice cream ? Poof! Warrior Pig was on top of the carton in the freezer. Want some popcorn? Bam! Warrior Pig was inside the box. Getting ready for bed? Spladow! Warrior Pig was leaned up against your pillow, waiting for you to join him for a sleepover.

When I was younger, I thought Warrior Pig was creepy. Over the years and the laughter, I’ve come to appreciate Warrior Pig as hysterical and as a kind of initiation process for people. Boyfriends and future husbands have been “Warrior Pig’d” in various ways. We joke about it. He’s now a staple of my childhood, all because my twin sister was creative enough to see what he could be and how much fun he could create. But at some point, the original Warrior Pig was discarded during a move or during an adolescence-turning-adult purge. I don’t remember what happened to him, but the more we remembered him, the more we missed him.

For two years, Ajooma and I lived together, waiting anxiously for the time when the three sisters could be reunited. We finally found a good three-bedroom in the spring of 2011. With Mary Kate finally moving back in with us, Ajooma and I thought it would be best to try to find a new Warrior Pig as kind of an initiation. Do you know how difficult it is to find a stuffed pig that isn’t huge? We were trying to find something that we could put into cabinets and trick one another with. Finally, we found a very French (fancy hat, painter’s slate and all) pig and decided he’d be Warrior Pig version 2.0. We gave it to Mary Kate as a move-in gift, and she loved it.

We’ve been Warrior Pig’ing each other ever since. In the medicine cabinet, in our purses, in our lunchboxes. When someone needs a pick-me-up, when it’s just a random thought, whatever. I love the tradition we’ve set for one another.

I had a really rough week last week. Add that to the fact that Mary Kate, her fiance, and I had moved in together and we weren’t sure how it was going to work. All of us were stressed and nervous and trying to make it work. Add to that the fact that our mother LOVES fake fikus plants, and we have one that we didn’t know what to do with. I was having a particularly emotional night, and Mary Kate and her fiance wanted to watch Star Trek. I went into the bathroom as normal, and came out, and both Mary Kate and her fiance were cracking up. They told me to go back in the bathroom and figure it out. I went back, and suddenly I noticed the fake fikus peeking out from the shower curtain, and when I opened the curtain, Warrior Pig was hidden among the branches. For the first time in a few very stressful days, I laughed out loud. And two days later, I hid Warrior Pig in the shower before Mary Kate’s fiance came home from work with a note that said “You’ve been Warrior Pig’d. Welcome home.”

That ridiculous childhood distraction has become somewhat of a staple for my sisters and I. It symbolizes creativity, fun, laughter, and love. And it’s a constant reminder of how I don’t know what I would do without my wonderful family and our special string of craziness.

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Comfortably Numb

The move is over. Well, I should say that the moving part of the move is over – we’re still unpacking, I still don’t have bedroom furniture (I may purchase that this week), and I’m still getting used to everything. Emotionally, I was done with the move late on Friday, and I feel good about it even though things are still in a state of minor chaos until everything is unpacked.

It was a weekend for change, and I don’t really know how I feel. I decided before I started this blog that if I ever did start one, I wouldn’t put every boring detail of my life on it because my life isn’t anyone’s business but my mine. Although part of me wants to use this as a forum to vent and air every moment of this past weekend as a kind of catharsis, a bigger part of me doesn’t have the words or the inclination.

There’s a quote from Bridget Jones’s Diary that sums it up fairly well: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.” Work is great. My living situation is good. My finances are in order. My love life? That’s the one the quote relates to. (I was going to say “fell to pieces” or “broke” or something, but none of it sounds right to me.) That’s all I’ll say about it. I respect and love the people who started following this blog too much to go into more detail.

I’m not okay, but if experience has taught me anything (and I hope it has), I know that eventually, I will be.

 

 

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“Moving” or “Things I Hate Doing”

I’m happy to say that the past week did not involve any hospital visits or emergencies. It was a pretty low-key week, all things considered. But I can’t say that this week will be the same. Why? It’s moving week, muckaluckas*.

(*Side bar: what’s a “muckalucka?” It’s network television’s way of saying “motherf*cker,” at least when they air Pineapple Express. And “asshole” becomes “casserole.”

Side bar to side bar: when network television airs The Big Lebowski, “This is what happens when you f*&# a stranger in the a$$!” becomes “This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps!” When did the Alps become part of the plot line? Who knows. But I digress…)

Let me make myself crystal clear: I hate moving. The prospect of packing up all my stuff and hauling it from point A to point B makes me want to throw myself on the ground, wailing and flailing my arms about like a petulant child. The logistics, the organization, the leaving my comfort zone, the having to go through all the crap I’ve hoarded over the last however-many-years I’ve been at my place – all of it. I dread it. It’s just a pain in the ass.

Pain in the ass things that have happened this move? The tenant in our apartment-to-be decided not to move on time and didn’t tell anyone, so we had to rearrange everything and push our move-in back two weeks. The new leasing office has poor inter-office communication, so we end up explaining and checking things a bunch of times. I stepped on a shard of glass yesterday while packing. So it goes.

I’ve moved about twelve times in my life if you count all the back-and-forth to and from college (when my whole life fit inside one large box). This does not include all the times I’ve helped friends and family move. Sometimes, the moves were simple and well-coordinated, and sometimes, it took every fiber of my being not to set everything on fire and tell my friend to start anew. You’d think that with that much experience, I’d dread the whole moving thing a lot less. Nope. I’ve learned a lot about how to make moving easier, but “easier” doesn’t mean “I don’t hate it.” I do.

I currently live with my twin sister, and we’re moving into a two-bedroom with her fiance (save money, bros!). She shares my hatred of moving. I think this is why the move (so far) has been slightly less painful than usual – we both hate it, but we talk each other through it and deal with it in small, manageable pieces. We even made a Moving Week Game Plan so that everything seems less daunting.  Thank goodness she’s been patient enough to deal with me and to discuss things slowly and methodically. Otherwise, I’d end up in the fetal position rocking back and forth on the floor and whimpering.

This weekend, I got started by throwing a bunch of stuff away and preparing things to donate. Now that I’ve purged the unneeded crap (why did I still have Christmas cards from when I was in college? or the posters/random junk I hung on my dorm room walls? and all of my law school handouts and notes?), I’m actually kind of excited. It’s cathartic to throw away some of your old life (your “baggage,” perhaps) and move forward. There’s something relaxing about simplifying, cutting down, and only taking what you need that makes everything just feel good and new. (In my head, I’m hearing the conversation Lonestar has with Princess Vespa in Spaceballs: “Take only what you need to survive!”)

So this week is all about packing up (slowly), cutting down on the materialism (a little), and eating only what’s left in the apartment instead of grocery shopping (beans and rice, anyone?). I’m excited to move to a new place, start anew and save a lot more money. Even though the process sucks, it’ll all be worth it. Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Unless this whole living-with-your-sister-and-her-fiance-so-everyone-saves-money thing ends up blowing up in our faces, but that’s a post for another day.

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04/08/2013 · 11:48 AM