Thursday, December 17, 2009

Playful Mind . . . Playful Body

Today is the last day of having short hair. That’s right, I said it. Actually I said it last night, and a girl said, “Umm, how is that possible?” I smirked and said, “Girl, I’m getting my first weave!” One of the perks of having a best friend who’s also a hair stylist. And being playful with my mind and body.

I don’t understand people who say tattoos, piercings, and hair dye (among other modifications) are so bad for you. You know who you are! Let’s face it; if women in the stone ages had the options we do now, they would be walking around with different hair or their caveman’s name tattooed on their foreheads. Think about it for a second. It’s a basic trait of the sexes: we want to improve ourselves to fit either our own version of ourselves, or what we think will attract the hottest mates.

But for the moment, let’s examine my weave. It’s really just an example of the transformation I’ve been going through for the past few months – or arguably, for my whole life. Ever since I was old enough to buy hair dye or get tattoos and piercings, I have played with my self-image. The first time I dyed my hair black, my sister’s best friend Lucas was sitting in the kitchen.

“You look like a vampire, Jess. Wash it out.” I didn’t. I proudly wore it, even though people teased me mercilessly. The most odd part of my first hair dyeing experience is that my hair is naturally almost black anyway. What was the difference? Since that time, I have had my hair dyed red, purple, and even bleached blonde. Why not?

There is a song lyric that mentions having ‘fake hair, fake eyes, fake nails – what on you is real?’ To which, I argue, the person underneath is real. That is the version of a woman that works for her, so get over it. That’s my theory.

Now, let’s move onto tattoos. Emali and I used to say we never wanted tattoos that could be seen under our wedding dresses. Well, the older I get, the more I realize that I don’t need to look like someone else’s version of perfect: I do however, need to be my version of perfect. (There is also body makeup, but we won’t get into that right now.)

UPDATE: This weave thing is not for the faint of heart. This is PAINFUL! The hair is actually braided and sewn into my scalp, and for those who have tattoos, it feels like the gun is stuck in my scalp. Chew on that. I’m drinking a Corona in hopes that the pain will be numbed. Anyone have a flask of whiskey?

To be continued . . . .

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Aah, Sleep, you wiley thing. I am awake, wide awake, and Kendall Payne's 'Scratch' speaks so much truth in my ears. And Johnny Lang's 'Breakin' Me' does the same. I can't turn the music off, because usually it lulls me to sleep. Not tonight! Damn!

Regardless, I decided to do something useful with my past-midnight time. I'm looking through my old blogs, and two themes keep throwing themselves in front of me like teens in a suicide pact jumping in front of a train: searching and the opposite sex. Not necessarily in that order, I guess. I can't believe it, but they actually seem to be tethered together by a common underlying theme.

I want a soft place to land.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Strength and The Sweetest Thing . . .

. . . is a pineapple, according to me. I'm not sure if I've written about my Pineapple Philosophy, but it goes like this: I am a pineapple. I have a lot of defensive prickles, but if someone takes the time to push past those, they'll find a lot of real sweetness inside. So, I'm lying here on Emali's couch crying a little, evaluating things, listening to ridiculously painful music (the likes of Destiny's Child's 'Emotion' and Des'ree's 'Kissing You') thinking of someone's lips, desperately trying to keep my heart above water. You see, painful waves of feeling (fucking 'f' word) keep washing into my heart, relentlessly peeling back layers of prickles. These waves, these waves, they keep me off balance.

I have the feeling that I shouldn't allow myself to feel these things, it's my instinct to keep them at arm's length, hand outstretched, palm sternly on the chest of the heart of all this bittersweetness. It's probably not the smartest thing, says my head. The same head that holds the eyes that keep leaking warm, salty tears which stream down my cheeks, landing on my chest. Odd, I think, that the tears keep landing on the chest that hold my heart, thus feeding the waves. It's a time worn feeling, but crash go the waves, unfailing, lapping at my defenses.

Half of the time I don't realize that they're there, those walls. But it's nights like these, when it's pointed out to me that I - what am I? What do I write to describe myself? I'm a witty literatus, endlessly cowering behind clever banter and quick, verbose returns - am afraid, like a child hiding behind stone, brick, and mortar, all carefully placed and meticulously stacked in order to save myself - from what? From looking like a fool - that fool who lunges for something, opening up, showing the pineapple innards, only to be denied it and hurt. What does it really cost, though, should I be hurt again? Failure (or heartbreak) is just another spade full of mortar, smudged onto a brick and stragetically placed, plugging the potential hole that I have already decided will end up there. Aah, cynicism, my old friend. Hello.

I don't know how to show how I feel. I almost wrote that I don't know how to feel, but that's not true. The tears and open, raw sensation in my chest can attest to that. My heart hurts, my head is clouded, and I am frustrated. When I worked at the hospital, I used to watch recovering stroke victims struggle and strain, desperately trying to open up and tell me what they wanted, what they needed, and I pitied them. Now I pity me. I am the same. Worse, actually, because it's a self imposed prison.

Luckily I have Emali's help. She is so strong, and she patiently teaches me how to feel, and to express myself. She is patient and kind, like love. The way she is with her Angel amazes me. I would have shut down and walked away time and time again, when it got too hard. Express yourself or walk away? Emali takes fear and love (intertwined) by the hand, shows it what she is, and breathes life back into it. Jessie, however, drops the hand and steps away, like feelings are the business end of a gun and the safety is off. I would dance away from the peril time and time again, but Emali, in her gentle manner, taps her forehead to the barrel and says, 'I can handle this, and so can you'.

It would appear that I have a lot to learn in the ways of feeling and strength and bravery.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

After the fall from grace?

Life has a tendency to grow and develop just in time to crumble and leave one feeling more desolate than ever. The higher you climb, the harder you fall, I guess.

But what then? What happens after the fall, after your butt hits the ground and your are bruised and covered in dust and disappointment? Do you lie there and wallow in self pity, rolling in the dusty earth, crying about how you fell? Or do you get your ass up, dust your pants off, look around and say "What now?" I would love to say that I just jumped up off the dusty ground and looked for the next best opportunity.

I didn't.

I wallowed, and I cried, and I acted like a big, silly baby. I went home to Mommy, to be held in the arms of my family until I could get my mind back together again. Never before this recent set of struggles had I even believed that my bubble could burst. I always thought I would land softly and spring back immediately.

Just last night, as I lie awake on my best friend's couch, I thought to myself, Have I hit my knees enough yet? Is this the bottom? Have I fallen far enough? When again will I have the strength to get up and stand up proudly and with purpose? I can safely say that after three months of feeling lost, that I am just now beginning to get my ass up off of the ground, and am taking stock of my dusty rump, and the bumps and bruises which resulted from my fall.

But I wonder, when will I stand tall again?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The beauty of not knowing anything

A month ago I was lost.

A week ago I was lost.

Today I am lost.

Today, I'm happily lost, wandering through a sunny autumn park, sipping leisurely on a cup of my favorite FAVORITE coffee. Old Crown's house blend, brewed by Mike on Anthony Blvd. in Fort Wayne. A month ago, if someone would have told me I was at my favorite park in Indiana, sipping on my favorite home brewed coffee, I would have laughed and called them cuckoo. But here I am, and I have a smile on my face. Here's why:

I lost my job, and though it was not entirely unexpected, it was still a kick in the skirt. And I thought to myself, why not take a couple weeks and spend it with family and old friends in Indiana? Then, the company who owes me a few grand, has not paid me. Oh, and unemployment hasn't gone through yet, either. Therefore I am at the mercy of credit. Not a good feeling - so I decided to stay in Indiana through Christmas. Maybe in 8 weeks I'll get my head on straight. Maybe not. Who knows, really?

But as I wandered through frustration and nerves, I realize that all this worry is draining the energy right out of me, and my mind is whirring around without the luxury of getting anywhere; no conclusions are to be had when I'm in this state. And that makes me even more frustrated. But here's the positive:

I opened my eyes to the possibilities that other venues have to offer, and looked around. My sister and I have similar goals (neither of us want to work for other people, and we would like to start our own business), and I would love to work for myself - that way when I don't get paid, it's my fault ; )

Last week I went to Defiance Ohio to visit my friend Rebecca, who recently opened her own shop. She's an artist, and a Jane of all trades, and her beautiful, eclectic shop reflects that. But more importantly, Rebecca has business sense. And if I were working full time at a meaningless job, I wouldn't be able to do what we are doing - I'll be working for her, learning from her how to run a small business, how to make soaps and candles, and possibly even metal work. There's nothing like learning at the hip of a master. And I wouldn't have this blessing in my life if it weren't for losing my job, not getting paid, and therefore being "stuck" in Indiana.

It's a funny little world, isn't it?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quick thought

Have you ever laughed so hard you cracked your back? I just did, and it felt great!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Step Away From The TORNADO, continued.

I'm always seeing about guys. And though I keep cycling through poor sucker after poor sucker, I haven't yet found what I'm looking for. Wait - I'm onto something - I haven't yet found what I'm looking for in many aspects of my life. Ok, in ALL aspects of my life. I love it, and I hate it. I love that I am restless and brave enough to keep searching, and not just able to settle on something less than what I need. Notice I omitted the word want there; I need something more than what I want, which is not exactly a fine line, I think. But anyway, I digress.

The same points I'm proud to have, are also the ones that sometimes keep me up at night, and keep me in a flurry of motion, never landing on anything that enables me to hit my Zen point. Hmm. There's another thought. Which comes first? The Zen or the happiness? Perhaps I should flip the way I approach things, and take on a more Zen-like point of view.

Sidenote: I am in Old Crown Coffee in fort Wayne, and there are 3 super delicious boys to look at. Speaking of digression, it's like a dude buffet. I could sample them all, and still be searching for something, which is exactly my point. Baaah!

My mother reminded me of this fact the other day, and I quote: "By the time I was your age, I was married with two kids." That knot in my stomach came right back with full force because I don't know if I want to have kids. Ever. Marriage sounds nice, but turning away from the sexy dude buffet sounds a little worrisome. My parents' marriage ended twice in divorce. Now my dad is married to another woman, and my mom is still searching. Does that mean I have no hope? What does it mean that my mom sister and I are all without partner? Does it matter at all, in the end? These are all ideals, floating around in free space, and every time I reach up to take hold of the thoughts and wrap my mind around them, they float away, nebulous. Perhaps I am just lost.

But is anyone ever truly found? Is this 'time off' just another way of the fates watch me chase my tail like a squirrel in the park? Much like most people who care to stop and look, and evaluate, I am lost. But kind of happy in the delirium of the nebulous interspacial place of "no idea".

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Step Away From The TORNADO

Sometimes I shake my head at myself in bewilderment, and say, "Oh Jessie." That's sometimes all I really can do because, very often, I surprise the hell out of even myself. Let's recap:

I moved to Charlotte on June 1, with the intention to develop "roots" there, insert myself into the community and make that place my home. I worked for a good friend of mine while I interviewed for my dream job - of the Charlotte Jess, anyway - and I landed that job after 6 weeks of interviews. It would have been my highest salary, paid benefits, and a paid-for MBA. So you can see why that would be a dream job? Security and opportunity. Six weeks later, the company I worked for went under.

I am, psychologically, wrecked. So I loaded Foster into my car and headed back to Indiana. For some clarity, and some peace of mind, and of yeah, to see about a guy. To see about some residual feelings that snuck up on me and cuffed me upside the head.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Deliver Me

Deliver me from confusion.

Deliver me from unemployment.

Deliver me from a job that I hate.

Deliver me from an unfulfilling life.

Deliver to me a man who is fun, silly, smart, and who thinks I rock (because I do).

Deliver to me the sense that no matter what's happening, there's always time to dance, and to make love.

Deliver me from having hate in my heart.

Deliver me from building walls around the best parts of myself.

Deliver me from ever losing my sense of curiosity and imagination.

Deliver me a check for a million dollars.

Deliver me from squandering what I do have.

Deliver me the sense that where I am is where I am supposed to be.

Deliver me peace.

Deliver me wine.

Deliver me fantastic friendships that grow and bloom.

Deliver me a poet's heart, a warrior's skill, and a shrewd investor's mind.

Deliver me from ever losing sight of the beauty in everyday things.

Deliver me the desire to actually eat my 5 veggies per day, and not 5 donuts for breakfast.

And finally, deliver me pizza within 30 minutes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Difference

Have I only posted 50-something times on this blog? Has it only been since January?

January seems like a lifetime ago - happier, simpler, and I was reaching for something about which I was so certain. Aah, we've hit on something - another mirage? Another house of mirrors named Certainty? Yes. I look back through dusky memories of January, February, March when I was sitting on top of a bubble that would never pop, most certainly. Sitting in a class of 6 or 7 peers, clad in scarves, galoshes, gloves and winter hats.

Mary Ann, a colorful memory of green and purple. A Mardi Gras of life and art and ideas against the fire red of her hair and freckles, her apple-green eyes gently prod, saying 'keep going, keep pushing, keep thinking'. Her color lights up the otherwise drab room like a single firecracker in the night.

Meghann sits calmly, tranquilly sipping hot tea with her scarf bound around her neck, a thoughtful smile dancing on her face. Her eyes miss nothing, though. She reminds me of those Victorian beauties who just exude placidness and wonder. Her mien stands in direct opposition to mine, I think. Maybe that's why I appreciate her so much.

Michelle was so unsure in the beginning, as we all dragged ourselves into the classroom on a snowy, freezing night in January. Michelle's eyes are so much like baby blue lasers that I can't help but to look at them and be mesmerized. She's an optometrist. Figures. She was so unsure in the beginning, and so were "we" I think. A scientist! But then she started to talk, and piece the beauty of the world together in her own way, a way sort of different from my own, but sort of the same, and it was like watching puzzle pieces move themselves into place. Her ideas inspired me to think differently.

Dawn. Dawn was always one step away from greatness, and one step away from teaching all of us. She was the one with the most to balance in her life, I think. so much happening, so much to take care of. I have myself to take care of, and sometimes I even fail at that. The failure to do what Dawn always could and did do is why I am writing this afternoon, I guess. I didn't and don't do it. I sit and ponder, dying to make sense of things, and end up spinning my wheels until I'm so frustrated that I can only sit motionless. Everything has crashed to the ground, and I need to pick up the pieces. I need to move into action, scrape myself up off the ground and dust myself off.

My mind is paralyzed. Motion seems impossible, even painful. So why do I keep thinking of those nights in Mary Ann's class, and of the peers I think so highly of? What's the difference, anyway?

Looking for Something with Kendall Payne

I keep moving around, looking for my place. My space. That place where I can be profound and move people with my words, change the world with my words. How do you dream, when you can't fall asleep? I move and I move and I move, and once I get to where I'm going, I realize that I am still ordinary. I am still small, and am still impactless. I'd like to know if you'd be open to start from scratch. I used to think that I was special, and only I have proved me wrong. I thought I could change the world with a song, but I have ended up in India(na) with no map to guide me home.

What is this feeling that started in the center of my stomach, and radiated out to my heart, and reached into my brain to stir up pain and wanderlust and wondering. I feel pain and uncertainty. Is it so easy to trust in what I feel? If it were then I would have trusted it by now. No wait, that's wrong. I probably wouldn't. I am not a trusting person, especially not in myself. I usually get things wrong in my own life. Go left! Inside, that guttural place, says it, screams it, whispers it in quiet, hopeless desperation. And I go right, defiant. Defiantly seeking, moving, twisting, writhing, running, running, running away, long dress trailing behind my bare feet as I escape, and escape again. Looking for my place, looking for my space. Does it exist? Where do I exist? Do I exist at all? Sometimes I think not - I am a ghost, a filmy, flimsy recreation of what I should be, projected onto the world where I should be. Where do I exist in full color? Am I tangible? What do I reach out to touch, and in touching do I obtain? Obtain what? Mirages, mirror images in a house of mirrors? Reaching, reaching, reaching out into nothingness. What have I obtained by running, running, reaching, reaching?

To Jessie: I'd like to know if you'd be open to giving yourself a second chance?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Poof! And the bubble went boom

My head hurts, and not for lack of caffeine. It's stress induced. I'm on the brink of losing my job. Here, now, at what Ben Bernacke calls the end of the recession I am staring into the murky abyss of unemployment.

Simply put, this sucks.

It has been a dream of a year, moving to Charlotte. I have a great roommate, lots of new friends and what seemed like an open door to a new career, a reimbursed MBA, and some great experience.

Wait, what is that? Is the room moving? I'm sliiiiding - nope. That's just the rug being pulled out from underneath me. Fuuuuuucccckkk.

Hey, on the plus side I got accepted into my MBA program. Hah! Excellent irony. What's a girl to do?

Sunday, August 23, 2009


This past week has been very busy and mentally straining. Don't get me wrong - it was a GREAT week! I started my new job with First Legacy Investors, a company that is willing to pay for my MBA, and that is about as supportive as can be. I'm very impressed, and even more excited to dig into a new job. The problem is that I have never done the work before, and I have never worked in finance, so there are challenges there.

The problem is that I don't know everything, right now! Granted, my new boss and my co workers understand and embrace that, but I hate being the person in the room who has no idea what is really happening behind the scenes. I know I'll learn, and that it will take time, but something inside me just wants to explode onto the financial scene and impress the hell out of everyone. LOL

I start my second week tomorrow, and I'm going to walk in with the same attitude I had in the beginning, and I'm going to wow myself by Friday. Refocus.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Looking for the bright side

Dating sucks. Meeting new men, sitting across the table from them, trying to get to know them and trying to believe that they aren't pigs who want to get into your pants then leave - that sucks.

It's frustrating.

And it's disheartening.

I'm past the stage of being a friend with benefits, and good riddance to it. And I'm tired of people looking at me that way. How do I make it stop?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pet Peeves, Off The Leash

People who say 'people that . . . " You immediately sound ridiculous and not credible as a person. Ugh! People are 'whos' not 'thats'.

Misspellings on common, everyday words, such as awesome (spelled in many cases 'awsome'). To be awesome, the object must create awe or be awe inspiring for some reason or another.

Misuse of words: 'Irregardless' is not a word - 'regardless' is.

People who don't treat others with respect. Two times recently, I have been on dates and the guys have referred to me as 'bitch'. Trust me, I don't dispute the fact that I can be a bitch if I need/want to, but really? Let's think of another adjective people. And it's in passing - not that I've done anything bitchy. It's more like this: "So I said to myself, I should give this bitch a chance", or (and this is my favorite), "Whatever, biatch."

Anyone care to shed some light on this stupidity?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Work Funnies

Classic Work Day Funnies

So this customer's mom is having surgery, so he's pushing a new roof back a couple weeks.

Ran: "So, can we just nail your mother to the roof? And if you go that route, can we do the work?"
Ko: "Well that's only about a 10 year shingle there."
Ron: "But if we nailed your mother to the roof, how much rain could she stop? Compared to our product?"
Ran: "Nailing your mother to the roof is not a wise decision. You should probably go ahead and let us do your roof."
Jessie: I've got nothing, but I'm damn impressed.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Yet one more thing I don't understand . . .

So I've just sat on my arse watching the NCIS marathon - well, not all of it of course - and USA network keeps showing previews starring some girl who just lost her husband, and she keeps saying, "I lovED him". Keep watching every show about a dead person, and they'll continue to say loved in the past tense.

I know that this sounds trite and probably quite silly, but actors and actresses say this all the time in fictitious shows, and it makes me curious as to who feels this way? Think about it.

Jessie, after finding out that her loving and ridiculously sexy husband died in a freak tennis racket accident. For some reason, detectives think the grieving widow had something to do with it, and she gasps with her hand to her chest and says, "but I LOVED him". If I were her sexy dead hubby, I would haunt that bitch's ass in a heartbeat. What the hell does she mean, she looooveeddd me? I'm still lying on a slab, and I haven't even been buried and that shallow hoebag is saying she doesn't love me anymore? Have you ever heard of rigor mortis? (Sorry, bad joke.) Point being, when does love or feeling stop? And who is writing this shit???

And even more to the point, why the hell am I paying attention?? Uh oh.


I finally added a blog specifically for fiction/non fiction/poetry stuff I've written. Some are good, some suck, and some are just silly. But I love them all the same. So peruse, enjoy, and leave comments. ;)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Thousand Directions, None The Same

Ready for stream of consciousness? If not, turn back now. If you've never read the likes of Woolf or Kerouac, you may be unfamiliar with the term 'stream of consciousness'. In that case, let me explain: it's a polite term for the mental shits you get at times. My favorite Virginia Woolf entry is in To The Lighthouse, when time passes from the perspective of the empty house. The title of the chapter? Time Passes. Ironic. Easily the most beautiful thing I read in my undergraduate career. I want to buy Waiting by Ha Jin again, because I let the damn thing get rain soaked. That was another beautiful book. Patience is a virtue I don't really have, but Waiting has an abundance of patience oozing from the main character.

Foster is snoring at the foot of my bed, and I love that dog more'n my luggage. "You know I love you more'n my luggage." - Clairee, Steel Magnolias. Excellent movie. The only time I've seen my grandmother cry is when we watched that movie together. I miss her Christmas cookies - only 5 more months!

Do you know what one of my biggest pet peeves is? When people say, "People that . . . ." People are 'whos' and not 'thats', and that's just common sense - to me anyway.

Tonight I saw the stars. Really stopped and saw them for the first time in a while. It's just the simple things that are the most amazing. The stars watch us as we lead our temporary lives with what I'm sure is infinite, bemused patience. Stars that shine, people who look at the stars. I looked up and stared until my neck hurt. I was sitting at Caribou Coffee on East Blvd. at 11 o'clock p.m. sharing a coffee while the breeze caressed my skin like silk on satin. It was probably 75 degrees outside, with a small baby's breath of breeze. The night critters were singing and serenading anyone willing to listen, and I am listening. It's beautiful, transcendent and timeless. Evenings like tonight are made for people like me who are willing to feel its beauty.

I need to clean my room, but I think that this is probably not constructive at the moment. I should probably sleep, but I'm listening to good music, but I prefer to listen to Foster snore. That's a lot of 'buts' in one sentence. Canine innocence. Adorable. Life affirming. But then there's Jonny Lang and Portishead, which are my music choices for this evening. No idea why, except that they feel good on my ears.

Flibbertigibbets & Portishead

Fact: The book in my bathroom is called Woe Is I, and it's all about grammar and word usage. I love that book, and it's filled with fun facts.
Fact: The book on my nightstand is To Kill A Mockingbird and I'm enjoying the hell out of Harper Lee.
Fact: Foster is sleeping right next to me and I'm listening to Jonny Lang, loving the evening I had. If I ever doubt that I made the wrong decision about moving (which I never do, by the way - but this is theoretical), it's nights like tonight that affirm my place in the world. Beauty is everywhere on evenings like this, when the universe seems to just wrap you in her loving arms and lead.

Yesterday was a complete fucktard-filled fiasco, featuring myself as the lead fucktard of course. Who else? As Jessie goes tripping through life, she's pretty congenial as a rule. But there are times - say, after a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a bloody Mary, and of course half a dozen or so Fiji Moons, when Jessie becomes a bleeding moron. And I paid for it all day. Oh holy hangover . . . .

But of course, today is a new day and whatnot, so after working from home today, I decided to check out this local band. Although there was an ulterior motive associated with my seeing this band, a pleasant thing happened. (You were wondering when the heck I was going to get to the point, weren't you?) An old friend got in touch with me out of nowhere. We chatted, and he decided to come with me to this dive bar. I hadn't seen him in probably 2 years, and he hadn't cut his hair in about that amount of time, so while his keeps getting longer, mine mysteriously keeps getting shorter. Complete hair role reversal. I love it! Here's the thing that blew my mind, though: we got along so well, it was almost surreal.

That's not to say we had friction before, but it was like a rebirth of friendship, of kinship and an acknowledgement of the thing I needed the most today. I am always amazed at what the world has to offer me in a mere moment. And I guess I should open my eyes to the possibilities a little more often.

Passionate. Stupid, But Passionate . . .

Oh, Jessie. Will there ever be a time when you decide that it's a good idea to hold your cards to your chest? Boy, does that sound like a good idea. But where practicality is - well, practical - I am not.

Hint: Drinks do not help. STOP TALKING after you've had the right amount of drinks, no matter how passionately how you feel about whatever it is you're babbling about. Really, shut up. SHUT UP. Rinse, and repeat.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Infamous Leftie Rogue Fiasco Continues . . .

So after Heather, Angela and I left the Planet Hollywood pool and made our way to our hotel room to change, it seemed I could not live down the rogue leftie experience. Damn you, cannonball!!

That, however, did not last. As it turns out, Ang and Heather both had quite the buzz going, and though I couldn't steer the conversation anywhere else, I of course had to laugh at the international nip show. But as we got into the elevator, swimsuits still dripping with pool water, an amazing thing happened.

The elevator door opened, and one tall and quite handsome guy was standing in the elevator. Alone. Schweet. Then the 3 Stooges enter and push floor 17. The man-stud was on floor 14 or some nonsense. So the three of us chattered and laughed, and my sister looks at Stud and says, "Wow. I feel sorry for you having to ride along with us - " And then she hit the floor.

No, really. As the elevator began to move, my darling sister slipped in her own pool water puddle and landed on the marble elevator floor. Heather laughed so hard that she too fell in her own pool water puddle, and landed next to Angela dear. Jessie somehow remained standing, and just looked at Stud, shrugging my shoulders and laughing like a lunatic on methamphetamine. I had the wherewithal to hold onto that nifty little rail that the elevator men so generously supply, however. Stud laughed uncomfortably and stepped over two bodies and got off on his floor.

Yesss, Jessie remained standing for the remainder of the elevator ride.


We all got ready to go out that evening and Heather put on this adorable one-shouldered black & white shirt over white pants. She looked very cute for a night out on the Vegas strip, and we walked across the street to The Bellagio to watch the water & light show, along with a few thousand other tourists. It was water, and there were lights. Super. But I had an adult beverage riding shotgun with me, and so the show got better as time wore on. At a loss for something to do post light/water show, we decided to run back across the 6 lane street to our hotel for some gambling fun. So, the Walk sign flashes, and Heather, Angela and I jog across the street, when we hear, "Hey!! Nice chest!!" Of course, there are like 3 THOUSAND people in traffic with us, but Heather yells back, "Thanks!!" and keeps running.

I turn around to investigate the commotion, and what sight greets my eyes??? Heather's leftie - swinging outside of her shirt, bobbing up and down with her steps. HAHAHAHAHA! Vengeance is sweet!!

Oh Heather, you'll never live that one down.

Well. Daddy always said that's a deep thought

I hate to sound cliche here, but thank goodness it's Friday. This has been quite the mentally draining week, and for many reasons. I applied to an MBA program here in Charlotte through DeVry University (golf claps or poetry reading snaps here - thanks.), and though I have applied to grad school before, and been accepted thankyouverymuch, I forgot what an inane pain in the arse it is. Can't I just scan my retina somewhere so that my entire academic, personal, and professional history is given and I can finally stop repeating myself, and touting my accomplishments to whomever will listen? How about a pint of blood, while they're at it? Perhaps a strand of my DNA for kicks?

Okay, I'm being slightly overdramatic. I can admit that, but if I've been accepted into one program, wherein lies the difficulty with switching me over? I oversimplify. Eh, oh well. It's my blog, and I can cry if I want to. ;)

Also, it's just been a busy work week, and I'm still not caught up completely. However, I do feel pretty accomplished in that area so I can afford to stop, relax, and breathe a little bit.

It's been a great, busy week! I started a running program, and for those of you who know me personally, I have never claimed to be a runner. But there's something very freeing in the experience and I find myself compelled to run, even on my 'off' days. It forces focus, and pushes every needless issue out of my mind. Also, I am forced to listen to my body, and pay attention to it, and I understand now that I haven't been paying enough heed to it lately. So I am making up for lost time, as it were. Shayla, I understand now why you run, or used to if you don't anymore.

Also new this week: I have a second interview for a finance company - a perfect fit for me, actually, so I am really hoping to dazzle my interviewers on Tuesday. Excellent. Still shopping for that ultimate power suit. ; )

Also in the Jessie Newsreel: I am spending a Friday in a wonderful way. I am babysitting the V-Dub, known as baby Violet to you. She's 7 months old, and the most fascinating kid. She's so expressive and funny, and she's my little darling for the whole day. It's amazing how much babies force you to stop and enjoy the simplicity of life, and of love. Today she grabbed her grandpa's beard and ran her fingers through it, completely mesmerized by this new texture. She grinned and giggled, and fussed a little about it. And now, even though she has her own toy cell phone, she's still in love with mine. I just laugh, because the odds are good that I'll break it way before she does.

With age does not come grace to the hopeless.

Baby V-Dub also loves jeans, and if I look away for a second, she entertains herself by scratching against the grain of my jeans, and by taste testing them at my knees.

All information comes in through the mouth, her grandpa says. And I think he's right.

I have a lot to be thankful for, and even though it's been a banner week on the whole, thank God the weekend is almost here! That's a time to relax, reorganize, and for God's sake, take a breather.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All Right, FINE!

Everybody keeps telling me to add more funny stories, so let me think of one. DISCLAIMER!!! If you thought little of me before, please keep reading. These embarrassing (and yet hilarious) stories can't possibly make you think more of me. And yet, I fall on the sword.

Picture it: Vegas, 2009. My sister, her friend Heather, and I decided to start drinking at 10 a.m. by the pool. We started with 48 ounce daiquiris . . . or 24 ounce, but who the hell cares after a couple?? The math works out anyway. So it's hot as hell with the oven on, and Ang and Heather decide to take an icy cold dip in the pool. Heather yells, "Come on Jess! Cannonball!!" I debate for ooh, maybe a tenth of a second, and decide 'why the hell not?' So I stand, adjust my bikini, take a running leap, and


I break the surface, my short black hair glistening in the sunlight. I feel glamourous, I feel wonderful, I hear laughter . . . more laughter. And yet, more laughter. And a little hooting. But I'm a little buzzed, and a little slow on the uptake so I look to my loving sister and my trusted friend for the answer.

"You're leftie is hanging out!! Check your top!" It's like slow motion, when you know something is terribly wrong, but you just can't get to it fast enough. One heartbeat - thud - two heartbeats - THUD THUD - yup, that leftie is quite the escape artist, especially post cannonball.

Picture it: YMCA Ballantyne gym, today. I'm warming up on the treadmill while listening to some good, thumping music, mentally prepping for the impending doom of a run. My steps quicken, and the mill treads more quickly as I beat out a cadence of steps and fall into the rhythm and the pace of this run. I'm feeling more confident: my strides are equal and smooth, my form feels good, I'm gaining an understanding of my body as that of a runner. I smile inwardly, and - crack - something else happens outwardly. Thank God nobody else was around. I just hope that everyone else had their earphones in. . . .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Gigglehood and Refreshment

Obviously gigglehood is made up, but in the Dictionary of Jess, it means the state of laughter and gaiety which results from surrounding yourself with people who appreciate you, and make you laugh. That's gigglehood. I'm in a decently regular state of gigglehood, but refreshment on the other hand is harder to come by.

Once again I read from the Dictionary of Jess: Refreshment is the state of surprise or happy shock that comes with honesty or pleasant behavior from another person. (See also Unexpected.) Even when the truths that you hear may hurt temporarily, the refreshment that comes with honesty is, well, refreshing and unexpected. It's a universal truth; apply it to everyday life. ; )

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

And yet again. . .

I feel that my perspective may make me a selfish person. Who doesn't want to spend time with her family? It's not that I don't, but I'm not sure that I can be completely myself around them. Weird, huh? Or maybe everyone feels that way. Ha! Who knows? I think it's funny as hell, and yet sad as hell. But that's a fault of being human. We don't understand each other completely. And if we did, I'm not sure that would be healthy, either.

But I got to thinking again, about a different aspect of this stagnation that can be involved in having static models of the people around us. I look at my parents - they're divorced, they don't know each other at all anymore. My mom said recently, "Whenever I see him, it's like I'm looking at a stranger." They were best friends when they got married, but something broke. Did they stop looking at each other with a sense of wonder? They stopped learning about each other, and about the new things they learned individually, and about new interests, new dreams, old dreams.

They forgot about each other because they saw each other every day. But then again, did they ever really see each other? I don't think they did, and that makes me sad, but I also take it as a learning experience. I couldn't ever do that to myself. I couldn't be with someone who stopped looking at me with a sense of - I don't want to say awe or wonder because that sounds arrogant - hunger, maybe. Hunger to learn, to understand, to gain new perspective. Because I always want to learn new things about people. New aspects, new facets to the diamond. I guess I'm just anti-static and pro-plastic.

Maybe I should get that printed on a t-shirt. ; )

New Things!

First order of business: I'm adding a new blog that is for my misc. fiction writings only. These are things I haven't attempted to publish, and are in bits and pieces. Read them for what they're worth. Give me comments and FEEDBACK please! They're in pieces for a reason: I haven't showed them in a public forum, so please check them out, and give me honest criticism and perhaps next steps for them. ; )

First & a half order of business: My biggest pet-peeve is when someone says, "people that". People are who's, not that's.

Second order of business: I am probably the happiest I have ever been. I made a new friend today at Dilworth Coffee, and I adore the perspective of new people. He is a middle-aged man named Keith, and he works from coffee shops on his computer. He's self-employed, and comes to network. He is a very interesting person, but he asked me this: "Why did you move back to Charlotte?" The simple answer is that it's my home.

I feel complete here, and I feel like I'm home, and I'm meeting new people and loving it! It's interesting how just one simple shift can change a perspective so completely. It's funny how that works. I can't even expand on it more, though I would like to. It's just a click I feel with the city, with the people I've met, with the area surrounding me. It's a nice fit.

But Keith posed another interesting question: "Do you want your family to move here?" Hmm. That took some intense pondering. I like the distance. I think the distance between my family and myself is really what the doctor ordered because they have preconceived notions of me (and rightfully so; they've known me for, I don't know, ever), but the trappings that come with such a knowledge is a blinder of sorts. I am always learning, discovering, challenging, and understanding new things. My family seems to not respect this, or maybe they don't want to let go of the stock notion. And I'm sure I'm the same way, but i think I have a better understanding of what it is to be plastic (not like a water bottle, but plastic as opposed to static). People don't stay the same, though they may seem to to the people who are closest to them. This is the danger of people who are too close, especially family. So I guess the answer is yes and no. I love the space. I feel like I can blossom without the entanglements of preconceived notions. More in a minute.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Phantom

Last month, the week I moved to Charlotte in fact, I bought one balcony level, center stage ticket to see Phantom of the Opera. I think I spent around $80 for absolutely wonderful seating. Today, weeks later, was the day to watch, to sit in the theatre while actors & actresses dissolved into their characters, weaving an unbreakable spell for me. I sat wedged between two men: the first, a slight, scrawny man who was wearing a suit one size too big. He smelled pleasantly of cologne, heat and the cocktail he held. The man on the other side wore a flannel shirt and khaki pants. There I was in the middle of these two men in a little black dress and spiky heels. Interesting combination all the same. As the stage grew dark and the spotlights clicked on, I realized that the telling of this story could have come from an unlikely source: the chandelier. JD (my roommate) warned me about the chandelier, and to expect fireworks but I wasn't prepared for the pop! of the monstrous lighting fixture, or to watch it begin to fly and swing overhead. I was instantly enchanted by the story.

The artistry of The Phantom is something I haven't been witness to in a long time. The last play/musical I saw was Swing! back in 2002, I think. Is that really true? Thinking back I think so, but I think a lot so let me think about it. Regardless, the sheer mesmerization that occurred immediately was totally worth the money, the wait, the self consciousness of Jess in a little black dress and spiky black heels (which would put me at roughly 6'2". Oh my.), and worth everything. Immediately I was pushed and tugged back into another time, reminiscent of Poe or Shelley, back to the gothic romance of organs, candles, and eerie, disturbing music followed by daunting and haunting laughter of the phantom. In short, I was a kid in a gothic revival candy store. All I was missing was a skull shaped lollipop.

This Phantom was a menagerie of wonder, of creativity, of dark, forbidding love. In truth, I found Phantom to be one of the most truthful romances I've witnessed. I remember being about age 13 when my friend Abby flew to New York to visit her aunt, where they saw the Broadway production of Phantom. She came back singing "Music of the Night", and whenever I find myself humming benignly, I tend to be humming that. It's so melodramatic, tugging at something bittersweet inside. That's beauty, the connection between music and genuine feeling.

As Phantom took Christine past the lake to his home, I was mesmerized. But when he began to sing, a few small, hot tears welled up and slid down my face - I was so hopelessly moved, as though my heart and his were connected. I would venture to say that every person in the audience who was paying attention felt that same sort of tug. It was wonderful.

And when Phantom let Christine go at the end, he was so devastated and heart broken. I cried a few more tears. The romance of it all! Here's the thing: romance novels are stupid. They're unrealistic with their neatly tied happy endings. Stories like this, like Phantom, like Lolita (yes, I would go so far as to add Lolita here) are truth, at the core. There's a sad, sometimes horrible truth that comes with real love. I wanted to comfort the phantom, and to tell him it will all be fine, even though: a.) it wouldn't be fine; and b.) he's a murderous raving lunatic.

In the end, all I can say is that was the best $80 I ever spent, and I am throughly enchanted by the Phantom. Escaping into a dream world even for 2.5 hours was just what the Angel of Music ordered. Those 2+ hours will stay with me indefinitely. Bravo!

I want!

I want to take Foster for a run on the beach.

I want to start a writing group for survivors of abuse.

I want to invite everyone to write for my group, regardless.

I want thighs that could double as a sexy vice.

I want to sleep without waking up at 4 a.m. Two nights in a row is plenty!

I want for my sister's house in Atlanta to be sold.

I want to buy a motorcycle. I want to not die on that motorcycle. Though, I know there are worse things than death. Paralysis.

I want to see Phantom of the Opera again . . . and again after that.

I want to go roller skating with regular skates - not the roller blades that suck.

I want for my roommate to not snore so much.

In lieu of the aforementioned 'want' coming true, I want more ear plugs.

I want to appreciate everything, and not remove myself from the moment.

Mainly, I want everyone I love to know that I do. I think they know, but I guess I'll just have to say it again until I'm sure. Sheesh, that could take quite a while!


I woke up this morning dreading the day. Rather, dreading the upheaval that comes with living an "adult" life. Not many things are simple, the way I would like them to be, but I also think the intricacy of the web we weave has its innate beauty. The smallness of the world is so beautiful, and I think that if we drew upon the intimacy of our surroundings, we would be much happier.

I take a lot of risks, and I do that because I am driven to. I'm driven to actively seek my happiness and my inner sanctity instead of just waiting for it to tap me on the shoulder, buy me a latte and unfold the mysteries of my life for me. My friends say I'm crazy, and they're absolutely right! But it's an awesome kind of crazy. I do things now because I don't want to regret not doing them later. So what if I look back and say, 'damn I probably shouldn't have done that', and believe me, I have said that - many times. And still . . . .

If you know me at all, you have heard me say these things many times before. What makes tonight so different? I'm asking myself the same question. Perhaps that I haven't explained that there's another size to the coin - an equal, profoundly different side that complements the first. Maybe I haven't brought it up because I never thought of myself as one-sided; apparently others do consider that to be the case, so I feel as though I have to explain myself.

Wait, rewind for a moment. Explain myself? Why? I feel like a kid again who was just called on the carpet to explain some shameful action. I have nothing to be ashamed of. But now I feel like a puppy who has just been smacked on the nose for some treachery. I feel shy tonight, and introverted. That happens more often than a casual acquaintance would think when/if they consider me at all. People see what they want to see, but I would like to illustrate the other side of the coin.

"You're definitely a partier." LOL, what a great misconception. Easily remedied. Since I moved to Charlotte I have been out more than ever, getting to know people and as my best friend puts it, "putting myself out there for the first time." When a new acquaintance said that to me, I giggled and felt a little stab of pain as well. I thought, wow, what a funny mistake. For years I battled myself to go out, relax, and have a good time. For a reference, ask Emali, lol. My twenty-second birthday was met by me, lying in bed, while Emali knocked on my door - everyone was going out to celebrate my birthday, but I wanted to stay home and chill out. I didn't want all eyes on me. I wanted safety, comfort.

I do take risks, that's true. But what I want more than anything is safety, comfort, and the knowledge that I have a home and friends, neither of which can be taken from me on a whim. It's so funny, this dichotomy. I can't explain it properly, and so I babble. I want people around me who don't assume they know me, and people who see through the sarcastic shell to find the sweetness inside. I'll go back to a self-description that has worked well for me in recent years: I'm like a pineapple. You've just gotta fight to get past the prickles to get to the real truth of what I am. That's it, that's the only way I know to say it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Others See . . . .

Last night was Mix at 6, a Wednesday night tradition where I do business. It's a shopping center/office complex with a lot of good things to offer, including a live band and plenty of interaction. In short, I'll never be lonely here in Charlotte as long as there's wine and a band. And wine. And sushi. That's the mix of last night. But my point is?

I recently began working out at the Ballantyne YMCA, which is located right where I work. It's a small Y, but it's bright and light, lined with windows and great exercise equipment. Really, all it's missing is a pool (bummer, I know). So I've been working out either before or after work. Yesterday I chose to sleep in rather than get up super ridiculously early to work out. So my day went like this: meetings, meetings, computer work, meetings, Mix @ 6. At 5 p.m., I got my ass to the gym for a quick workout (hint: the first time I make an excuse is the beginning of the end for a work out. I know this about myself, and am trying to fix that), then made it to the Mix @ 6:30. That's fine.

The group I met was like, "wow you're crazy! Making it to the gym, and you look great!" (I was so sweaty, even though I showered after sweating and re-applied makeup). Then compliments began raining down on my head like I had missed a thunderstorm on the weather report. I honestly didn't know how to take them. I'm not great at accepting compliments anyway, but this was abnormal. Four of us at the table, 3 directing super happy pretty-girl compliments at me. It was weird. Pleasant, but weird. I felt like interjecting, and telling them that I was a big fat fraud.

I started working out because I gained 30 pounds.
I put makeup on as war paint, and because I'm having a monumental breakout. Ugh!
I dress nicely now because I just bought all new "big kid clothes" because I worked in a hospital for 5 years. Scrubs don't fit the business world very well, or so they tell me.

Does everyone feel this way at some point or another? I think probably, but it still feels like I'm the only fraud slinking around here. ; )

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In The Light Of A Brand New Day . . . .

I'm so glad I didn't confront the person who made me feel invisible. Normally I'm quite an up front, in-your-face person with an outgoing personality, but for once (Thank God!) I did the right thing and kept my big trap shut. There are certain things you can change, but how others see you is up to them - not you. Not me. As far as how it makes me feel when someone sees me as something I'm not, what can I do about that? I'm pretty multifaceted, but what I feel makes up the core of me is not exactly what others see. I'm speaking in generalities, I know, but you know what I'm talking about. This happens to everyone. If we could wear our hearts on our sleeves all the time, perhaps we would be seen more clearly by others.

But maybe that's not always such a good thing, being seen 100 percent clearly by others. Sometimes I need to be secretive, and keep things to myself. Last night I did keep things to myself, and here in the light of day (and sobriety) I'm glad I made the right decision. Looks like I may be growing up a little bit after all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I hate being invisible, and sometimes it's hard for me to understand how the real me cannot be seen when I feel as though I display myself pretty well. Decently, at least. As far as identity crises go, I think that I'm a pretty good candidate for therapy. At least a rudimentary psychoanalysis. Do they give out coupons for that sort of thing? I wonder.

Here's how I've been seen by others lately: "Wow, I didn't know I was so feminine until I met you, Jess."
"You're hot like my other friends."
"You're just so outgoing and crazy - like one of the guys."
"People love you [read: just not me]."
"Gosh, it's so comfortable being around you. You're just like one of the guys."

Am I a ghost? What am I to other people? Why do people assume that 1.) I like/appreciate those comments and 2.) that it doesn't break my heart when I'm not seen for who I am? It does. And I am sort of shocked that it's taken me so long to write about how I feel when someone says the aforementioned things to me. Don't take pity; change how you view me. Open your eyes and realize that I am standing before you.

Listening material: Joshua Kadisson's Invisible Man (There I go with the fucking gender bending, but what do I know? Apparently I'm not feminine enough to be counted as a woman. Therefore, what do I know?)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Settling in

I have moved across the country twice before, and twice I have moved back to Indiana. I had considered it a weakness, but now, upon this move I have decided that that's just crap. I'm having the time of my life, working with friends, making new ones (something I had hesitated to do the first two times. Somehow I knew it was temporary - I knew I would move home eventually, then. A sort of self fulfilling prophecy.), and branching out in good, healthy ways. It's been two weeks, and I'm impressed with myself thus far. No depressed funks, no denying myself of living life. There are no thoughts of running back to the comfort of Indiana because I know I'm building a better life here. In two whole weeks, perspective has shifted, and I am happy! Yay, Jess!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

And In That Same Vein

I've opened up that can of worms, and it's something I haven't explored in a while. I've been busy with finishing my first semester of grad school, planning a move, and of course working overtime. I wrote several papers regarding something extremely personal. Abuse is something I have experienced and only half dealt with, but I think I'm doing a pretty decent job of leading a normal life. (Normal, what is normal anyway, except for that which no one obtains?) When I stayed with my mom and my sister the week before I moved to Charlotte, the old physical memories of dread, fear, and dirtiness popped up regularly. I had a very hard time putting those feelings aside while I dealt with the immediate issues of life.

Now I'm sitting here reflecting on why I am so self sufficient (read: stubborn and unwilling to look vulnerable, even in a toilet fixing capacity). Shit, I'm just stubborn and sealed off from living the way I strive to. It's like trying to touch fog - you are, but you're not. I seem to be living a life in limbo. However, now I have the time to work on it - and I have the reasons for change. I am not living with the people who have known me since childhood. I'm in a new city with a million new people to meet. Perhaps I can do a little meaningful blossoming while I'm here. Whaddya know? A new door opens . . . .

I'm So NOT A Southern Belle

There's a show called Southern Belles on Soapnet. Please don't ask me why I'm watching soapnet at 11 p.m. on Saturday night, but go with it here. I am a newly implanted Southerner, and I am having not so much a culture shock, but a ridiculously pampered girl shock. I'M IN A WORLD FULL OF SOUTHERN BELLES! I, however, am not that person. I'm not a helpless, pampered, overly manicured piece of arm candy. I can do things for myself, and I don't need to be constantly yelling for a man to come and rescue me.

My World: Oh fuck, the toilet flusher thingie broke. I can't flush it without removing the damn lid and pulling the chain by hand. Ick. Hmm, what is a girl to do? Oh, I guess I'll try to fix the damn thing myself. A little grunt work, eyeball the situation, put the puzzle pieces together and - voila! - it's fixed.

The Southern Belle World: Oh my, my, the commode isn't flushing. Well, nobody needs to know that i go to the bathroom, so I'll just hope someone else notices that it's broken. Oh, shoot. There's toilet paper in the bowl, someone will know I've relieved myself. Oh, fiddle sticks. I guess I'll just yell for help. Heaven forbid I reach in there myself. I don't want to ruin my manicure, so I'll just yell for help. "SOMEONE, HELP! I CAN'T DO A THING FOR MYSELF! OH LORD!"

You see the difference? This is the world I am now living in. I went to get a pedicure the other day and sat next to a pampered housewife in full tennis garb. People actually wear that down here. And the worst part? There's a part of me that wants to open up to everyone and be a little vulnerable. And there's a little part of me that wants to wear the cute little tennis skirt while getting my nails done in the middle of the day while my kids are in school.

Now that doesn't mean I want to stop being self sufficient, yelling for help when I break a nail! But I think there could be a compromise there. But I guess that means opening myself up to possibilities. Oh God. What a week!

It Took Unemployment . . . .

It took unemployment to make me realize a few things, but tonight as I'm sitting in my roommate JD's comfy man chair digesting the Chinese takeout I just inhaled, the realizations just keep coming.

ONE: I need to take more time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Today I was cleaning off the back deck, loving the sunshine that beat down on my shoulders while Foster played in the grass, and I realized that I don't get outside often enough. It was really pleasant!

TWO: I don't do many leisure time activities. After cleaning off the back deck, I sat in the aforementioned comfy chair while Foster slept on the red (yes, I said red) leather couch, my phone rang. It was Hannah, my friend who has lived here in Charlotte for about 5 years. She's another Indiana transplant, and thank goodness for that! She's the best. She and her friend Chrissy were at the pool with their kids, and she wondered if I would like to join. My knee jerk reaction was to say thanks, but no. WHAT?? It's a beautiful day, sunny and 80, and I was going to sit inside alone. Sheesh. So i snapped myself out of it and hopped into my swimsuit and got my ass to the pool. And ya know what? I LOVED it! I think I'll do it more often.

And tonight, I'm trotting my happy ass downtown to meet some people - and meet the bottom of some drink glasses in the process. ;)

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Reality/Revelations

Oh my, it's been both the longest and shortest month of my life. Though the move to Charlotte has been a smooth transition (relatively speaking), I still find myself in a state of upheaval. Foster and I drove down Monday night, after a weekend in Vegas with my sister and her friend Heather. Our drive took us about 2 hours longer than usual and was littered with doggie potty stops, snack stops, and doggie drink stops. Mentally it took twice as long as usual, and by the time we got to our new home, I wanted to hibernate for about a week. And in a way, I have. However, the move is not much compared with other issues I've had this week.

Apparently I have a quality that most other women hate: confidence. I never noticed that confidence inspired feelings of intimidation, fear, or hatred in other women. I'm just me, and while people tell me I exude confidence, I don't feel it most of the time. There's a difference (and I'm sure you can vouch for this as well), between how one feels on the inside and how others see themselves. I don't think others notice that I'm not as secure as what they perceive me to be. Since I've come here, I don't know if I'm just more sensitive to comments or if I'm being judged more. It seems as though my outer armor is being attacked by people who feel as though they can just shoot comments my way - because I seem to be more secure than I actually am? Interesting.

On the other hand, maybe society as a whole has just reached a point where the recipient's feelings don't matter. Perhaps it's that the sayer simply must say what's on their mind and to hell with the consequences. I don't know, maybe I'm jaded, but I don't like that thought, and I don't like the feeling of being the recipient. Hmmm. Is this a case of karma? Have I acted that way in the past? Now that I'm unemployed (temporarily - I start my new job Monday), is this a time for deeper reflection. And perhaps a class in real self esteem.

Friday, April 24, 2009

A litany of realizations

A friend & classmate of mine recently wrote a poem entitled "I've come to realize", and it got me thinking what I have come to realize in my lifetime.

I've come to realize that free never means free.

I've come to realize that sex without love is an invitation to disaster.

I've come to realize that I like the sound of Foster's paws scraping on wood floors over the glamour of a nightclub.

I've come to realize that I am terrified of dying, but I really don't do much living.

I've come to realize that walking around naked is fine, except when the blinds are open and I'm surrounded by male neighbors.

I've come to realize that my bawdy sense of humor is just who I am, and that likely won't change.

I've come to realize that I'm not sure if I want kids someday, or if I don't . . .

And I've come to realize that it's okay that I don't know yet.

I've come to realize that I don't give myself enough credit.

I've come to realize that people with poor grammar really, really piss me off.

I've come to realize that the more people yell, the more I stop listening.

I've come to realize that I love puppy kisses.

I've come to realize that I love summer nights, and winter days.

I've come to realize that someday I'll be a hermit - if I can afford it.

I've come to realize that I deserve better, and that's no small feat.

I've come to realize that I have really big feet.

I've come to realize that I would get a foot reduction before I would get a breast augmentation.

I've come to realize that having a regular sleep pattern is the key to being a happy, kind person.

I've come to realize that I don't have a regular sleep pattern.

I've come to realize that I only take vitamins regularly if they are Flintstones brand.

I've come to realize that I would rather read a book than lose control.

I've come to realize that I am better than what I give myself credit for.

I've come to realize that knowledge is the best investment I can think of.

I've come to realize that I keep people at arm's length, though I may want to invite them in closer.

I've come to realize that it's okay to voice my opposition to anything I want to, as long as I do it respectfully.

I've come to realize that I have a pretty good life, and that I am a lucky person.

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Red Lobster Stupidity

After the Behemoth Crab incident (Chinese Proverb: Man going backwards in office chair look like fat crab walking), my sister and I calmed down long enough to begin digging into our own dinners. My sister is so cute: long blondish brownish hair, and the same soft green eyes as me. Her hair was just a little disheveled, and my own was a short black nightmare yesterday as I battled a hangover. So we sat talking and eating while this adorable little munchkin kept trying to jump through the partition and hang out with us. He was blond, dimpled, and couldn't have been older than three.

Ang: "He should come hang out with us. We need more entertainment.'
Jess: "No we don't, but he is cute."
Ang: "I wonder what they feed kids here? Seriously, kids don't really like seafood, do they?"
Jess: "I doubt it. I don't know. We were weird kids, so we probably loved this shit."
Ang (her hair mussed, and a forkful of pasta in her hand. She was deep in concentration. "So what do they feed kids here? Like, fish sticks?
Jess: "Well - I don't - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

I don't know why it was so funny, but it was. And I had to simultaneously squeeze my cheeks and focus on not spitting out my potatoes AND not vomiting: I was stuffed already, and my sister's dry sense of humor didn't help.

Do you ever get the giggles so badly that you just can't stop? I was making a scene, and I knew it. Tears flowed, I made strange choking noises, and I couldn't stop it! Ang didn't help; she was making the same scene.

Moral of the story: Red Lobster DOES NOT serve fish sticks on the kids menu! What the hell?


I never said I was a nice person. Now you know ; )

Effing Red Lobster!!

I never knew Red Lobster could be so funny. Granted, it's the home of mediocre seafood but I'm landlocked in Indiana, so give me a break!

Anyway, my sister and I had dinner at Red Lobster last night. No big deal, average meal. We sat at a table in the packed dining room where a sign over my head read "Flying Fish". Wow! I thought it was interesting. But, continuing on. . . .

To my left sat a woman of average age and average size, eating her snow crab legs. Next to her sat one of the biggest, most obese men I have seen in a long time. I would say he was about 5'9" and 450, busting out of his red, 5X polo shirt and dress pants. The sight of an obese man in Indiana is unremarkable, but he was sitting on an armless office chair, complete with wheels. Interesting, I thought. Did he ask for this chair, or did the hostess just hook him up with it instead of having to embarrass him? (Note: there's a point when you should consider NOT eating a tray full of Red Lobster pasta, and I think this gentleman had passed that point 150 pounds ago. But who am I to judge?)

I had to focus on my own meal, however, and my sister and I ordered. And I casually glanced over every so often at this behemoth in his red polo shirt, but my sister and I never verbalized what we were thinking. (Reminder: my sister and I are both huge bitches. But on the up side, we're both funny as hell.) Midway through our appetizer, after behemoth had decimated his tray full of food, his wife neatly folded her napkin and stood to leave. Out of the corner of my eye, I waited for him to get up as well. And though he did not stand, I was not disappointed.

Behemoth grabbed his two canes and ROLLED BACKWARD OUT OF THE RESTAURANT in his office chair!! He brought his own office chair to the restaurant, and wheeled through two dining areas!

Ang: "Did you - "
Jess: "Don't. I can't even look at you right now."
Ang: "Okay, wait. It'll pass."
Jess: "Ok. Breathe."
Ang: "Nobody else looked! How can that be?!"
Jess: "Breathe in, breathe out."

Ang: "How do you think that conversation went? 'Honey, I'm gonna just start bringing my own office chair whenever we go out, ok? 'Sure honey, that's a great idea.'"
Jess: "Umm, should I tell them that they actually make wheelchairs?"
Ang: "Nope. It's much funnier this way. But I wonder how that conversation went down. Seriously."

I just don't know, kids. I just don't know.

Oh, I just realized. . .

Saturday night I got home from a late shift at work, and I felt . . . hmm, how exactly did I feel? I felt like fighting, like partying, like going out for some drinks and dancing until every particle of stress and care had been flung away from me. I felt like listening to angry rock music and taking shots. I felt like grabbing a guy and taking him home. I wanted to feel like the badass I used to be.


So I got home, whipped up mixed drinks for my sister and myself, and got ready to go. I was going out partying, damn it all. So I slapped on a coating of makeup, tousled my hair into a sexy mess, threw on jeans and a decent shirt and left to meet my friends at Piere's, a bar here in Fort Wayne that is more a meat market than anything else. During my overnight shifts in the ER, I have seen more gunshots, knifings, sexual assaults, and simply morons - and they've all come from Piere's. Needless to say, my guard goes up. But there's something about walking into a bar and having everyone look at me that I needed Saturday night. I needed to feel sexy, though I wanted no one there to talk to me, or touch me. It's a double standard ; )

So I sauntered up to the bar and ordered a drink. Then I looked around me: women were dressed as absolute sluts. I can't imagine why men would never take them seriously. The men who were there rain in packs, afraid to look uncool walking by themselves, without a posse to flank them. In short, I looked around with sober eyes and thought to myself, "Shit I'm getting old. I'd rather be home blogging."

But maybe it's not just as simple as 'getting old'. Twenty-seven is not old by any means, but there is a certain maturity that I have reached - stop scoffing - and it's certain that I don't belong at a dive like Piere's. I've passed the point of the one night stand, and the idiocracy of trying to meet someone at a bar. That's right up there with spitting into the wind, in my opinion. So I stood there watching the skank parade pass me by. Some girls looked up at me and glanced away immediately; others stared openly as I, 6 feet of Jessie, and my friends, 6'10 and 6'2 respectively, stood by the bar. It's interesting to watch, really. But I decided that I was not one of those girls anymore, those who measure their sex appeal by how many drunk people ogle me in a given night. There's more to me than that, and I left the bar a disappointed and self-assured woman.

I can't explain that last thought, except for this: I'm disappointed that I'm restless enough to try to measure myself by others, and self-assured enough to realize that I don't need it. Interesting realization, Jess. Perhaps a little late coming, but as long as it happens, that's all that matters.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


One paper done (pending revisions, of course), and only the Jenbe project left to go. I'm almost there! Almost to the end of the semester, and though I want to look up and feast my eyes on the finish line, I duck my head back down and get to work - until tonight when I let loose and go out darankin'! Anyone care to join me in a couple hours of absolute mindlessness? If not, I'll drink one for you. = )

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 2, 33 left to go . . .

Day two of living with my sister, Angela. I've gained 5 pounds, in 48 hours, and I am currently working on a red wine buzz. She cooks. I drink and do homework, re-searching aspects of my life. Life is beautiful, as they say in Europe, or in better places than here. My sister has no appreciation for wine, but I can forgive her that. Besides, I just taught her a new trick: we can now make the world's smallest wine glass symphony.

Tonight, she cooked while I did some research for my final paper. It's depressing and raw work, leaving me mentally exhausted and emotionally taxed. After a couple of hours, I took an emotional health break while she whipped up grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and soup. Now we sit side-by-side on the couch, Angela playing with the wine glass, totally engrossed in rubbing a finger on the rim of my wine glass. She makes music, and I make word art. Who said we weren't talented? "It's fascinating, this sound." In the same breath she adds, "I need to get out more." Ha! So do I! She dislikes most wine, but appreciates its beauty, the way it swirls in the hand-blown glass. I appreciate both aspects, but am slightly engrossed in research, and I need to get back to it.

However, it's these moments laughing with my sister that I appreciate, much more than researching a dark topic. I'm happy researching the bottom of this dark wine.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I have chosen.

I have chosen to write my final paper for my other class on the topic of molestation, and the ripple effect it has on the people surrounding the perpetrator as well as the victim. Molestation is such an ugly word, and I hate it. I wish I wasn't associated with it, but I am. I have been since an extremely young age, age 4, even though I didn't put a name to the experience until I was 23. It's an amazing, powerful experience to put a name to the monster who wreaked havoc on me for so long. Amazing because I felt powerful after I named it. I got some of my power back because I began the transition from the small, weak child who hid alone, afraid to tell anyone about my experiences, to the survivor of the abuse. The earth is a little shaky under my survivor's feet, but the ground is there nonetheless.

So anyway, I had to complete an annotated bibliography for this re-search paper (Re-search, as opposed to research is more a re-gathering of the experiences and memories, supplemented by the wisdom of other writers), and I found so many good sources for consultation. In the beginning, after I became a "survivor" of abuse and not just a "victim", I researched everything about abuse. I had to read it before I could feel it, if that makes sense. I knew nothing of what was considered to be a normal reaction, or normal thought process, and after years of being afraid to declare how I felt, I needed to understand that what I felt was within normal limits. So I gobbled up books and studied them as though they were religious doctrine; and in a very distinct way, they were. I have never put much stock in the Bible over the Qu'ran, or the Torah. Really, I have not put much stock in religious writings as law, so I figure I can create my own spirituality.

Healing through reading has almost always been my spirituality, so reading these books and internalizing them was never much of a stretch. Though I had done a lot of reading on the topic of healing from a wound such as mine, I had been centered only on myself, and not the people around me.

What about my family or friends? How have they been affected by my experiences? The destructive path I took for years after high school, when sexuality was such a physical reaction to such a physical experience? I am quite sure that my family and friends suffered much through my "don't care, whatever" attitude. More importantly, what experience is there for the person who committed the crime against me? Unfortunately, that person is now dead, and she died years ago. Her husband died before her, and now I have no one to ask.

But through my family's wall of silence, I have found a few chinks in the armor. I hear that the person who abused me was in fact, abused herself. Interesting. Now there's a ripple effect for you. The abuse she suffered was one tear in a placid lake, but the tear she shed extended itself all the way to me. That started an entirely new ripple, but it will stop with me, and not touch anyone else in the same way it touched me. And it's those ripples that are felt all over the world, in different societies and in different cultures. This problem of incest is not an American problem, and certainly not one committed against the female gender only. This is what my paper is about, and I hope that it's worth the pain.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Something missing, something more"

Today I went to a gathering for Malidoma Patrice Some', at Weisser Park Community Center, located just off Creighton Avenue. I was so frustrated because I had never been to Weisser Park before, and Mapquest failed me, making me about 30 minutes late. But the stress and frustration I felt on the drive to Weisser Park melted away as soon as I stepped in the door of the community center.

Here I was, one of four white faces in the audience, and I felt completely at home. I knew a lot of the people who were in attendance, many of them being students or teachers of Jenbe. These kids I have grown to respect greatly, and the process of getting to know a completely different culture from my own shed some light on not only West Afrikan (the traditional spelling) culture, but my own as well.

First, I realized that I am the not-so proud owner of some deeply etched prejudices. I feel I can admit that because most people do have prejudice in their hearts to some degree. I am not proud of that fact, but getting to know these crazy energetic young people has been wonderful. The first time I met them, I wondered why everyone talked over one another (more than some young people do, maybe), and talked back to the "elder", the person who had the floor. I found out today. In the Afrikan culture, the act of "talking back" to a speaker is a way of showing respect to not only the speaker, but to the ancestors as well. The act of talking back represents that the one talking back is paying attention, and moved by what the speaker is saying. It's support.

In my culture, it's a sign of disrespect to talk while someone else is talking, but it's embraced and expected in others. Now I understand.

I realized also that I feel like a tightly wound white chick when I'm around these kids. I needed to loosen up when I stepped through the doors. That was a hard lesson to learn, but today, in front of Malidoma Patrice Some' and company, I danced. I sang, and at times I sang loud. I remembered a time when I was a small child and my great grandfather would sing in church. He was an awful singer, but he did it anyway because he was moved by the words, by the feeling, by the connection he felt to his god, to his religion. I never felt that in church, but I felt it today. I felt the connection to Mother Africa, the cradle of life. Everyone's life, not just that of black people.

This connection to the mother land, to the traditional drums, dancing and culture makes me sad, makes me feel like I'm missing something. My culture is all about modernity, and the past is seen as outdated, worn out, obsolete. We are supposedly the newest, best versions of humanity. Our links to the past are fleeting, if at all. In the Afrikan culture, among Afrikan Americans and other Afrikan traditions, links to the past and to ancestry are the hands that lift this current generation up. Ancestors are respected, loved, and still looked to for advice, even if they had passed years, decades, centuries before. They still gain wisdom, and pass it down to the living. There is a real, tanglible relationship between the living and the dead.

I am reminded of Nancy Welch's article about "excessiveness". One must ask oneself, "Is there something I'm missing? Something more?" After watching and participating in the presentation today, I realize there is a piece missing, a piece of my heart, and a piece of my past that I don't know. I don't know my ancestors, and I have never tried to talk to them. I am missing something, and now I'm searching for that, for something more.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Appropriate Poem (Sidebar)

After the post from yesterday, I realized that I had written something similar before. I use the poetry of others to help explain my point, but I also create my own - - this poem was written for a class I took a year ago. It's called a BOP, and you use the refrain from a song to help illustrate your point. I chose Paolo Nutini's song entitled 'Last Request', and I think it's appropriate. Enjoy (or don't).

Jessie Ruckman

Heaving deep breath before I dunk my head and dive
Back under icy academic waters and steals my breath.
Write an article, edit this, run that, design page 1.
Perform CPR, I need and EKG – Jessie where are you?
Run! From the uneasy waking moment, diving back
under water. No time to steal a breath.
But I’m no wiser than the fool that I was before.

Dashing wildly through my life, forgetting that I am
Alive. School, work, school, sleep. Dive, breathe
Dive again. Slipping under water, give my condolences
To life, hold breath, putting world on pause
While I strive for something better.
Holding breath, lungs exploding, learning begins
And I balance and begin to breathe.
Slowly, wearily.
But I’m no wiser than the fool that I was before.

And another day of stifled panic revealed
One thing about who I am is that,
Head under water, pushed to the point
Of break or become;
I’ll beg for the punishment of no sleep and no life.
All for that piece of graduated paper.
But I’m no wiser than the fool that I was before.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

deep thoughts. . .

I am holding my breath, and though I've only been under the icy water for a short amount of time, I can feel life's grasp loosening, letting go. Here it is, almost midnight and I'm at work, stressed out after yet another run-in with my idiot neighbor. I had just gotten out of the shower, dripping wet when he came pounding on the door. Imagine that, he didn't like the fact that I was blaring my tiny little stereo. Even though I'm annoyed that he acted so self righteous, I relished the fact that I was vindicated to some tiny degree. Now he knows how I feel. But enough of that.

I am sitting here at work at 11:59 p.m., with a paper due in 12 hours. Have I started it? NO. It's all in my head, yes, but you can't turn in thoughts by pulling them out of air. Unfortunately papers aren't spoken. But every time I begin to get involved with homework and then hit a wall, my mind begins to wander to the big move. At this point it's just a matter of time, but I feel like I'm getting ready to return home after a long absence.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

The meaning of this poem swings from thoughts of suicide (ugh) to my interpretation, and it's a soothing balm for my soul: One can stop, if even for a moment, to appreciate the inherent beauty in things even though he or she struggles to keep from drowning in the day-to-dayness of life. Frost has anticipated my thoughts and soothed my mind by forcing me to realize that A.) I am not alone in my pursuit of sanctity and sanity; and B.) even though I have miles to go before I sleep, I am free at any time to stop and appreciate the beauty of the struggle. That gives me strength. That gives me comfort. I know that I have hurdles to jump and mountains to climb and papers to write before I can finally rest and be at peace, but I also know that I can complete these tasks and be at peace with myself while I do. So while I am holding my breath, lungs screaming for air, somewhere in the back of my mind I realize that I am not just drowning. I'm diving for a rebirth. This insanity of working overtime at odd hours of the day and night, coupled with finishing this semester at school, topped of with planning a move and trying to have some semblance of a life. I know that there is a purpose to all of this nonsense.

It's just a matter of staying awake and not going completely insane before the chrysalis opens and the butterfly emerges.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh yeah. . .

By the way, Happy St. Patty's Day everyone! I hope you are all safely enjoying some green beer and shamrock shakes from mcdonald's, lol. I personally will partake in an Irish Car Bomb. Delicious.

Unbelievable Ramblings

I feel so discombobulated. I never even knew that was really a word that I could apply to myself until this trip to Charlotte. Let's be clear about something: I don't want to go home. If I wasn't enrolled in school, there's not a shot in hell that I would be driving home tomorrow for anything other than gathering my stuff and turning right back around. It's not that I hate Fort Wayne - on the contrary. I have come to love it so much that I fear I'll stay if I don't run now. I'm not down with a lot of the mediocrity that I see there (of course, that has a LOT of qualifiers, and I mean no disrespect. I mean that strictly in the terms of my own life.) I have to get while the getting's good, as the saying goes.

On to new business: the job hunt. The job hunt sucks, and I was so frustrated yesterday, after WALKING OUT of an interview that I slammed my new car into a median. No damage to the car, and after splurging on a 1-hour massage, no damage to myself either. But I am getting discouraged, which sent me into a psychological tailspin that goes a little something like this.

"I have a Bachelor's and I apparently get a job. I'm transferring down here, but teaching part time doesn't pay the bills. Plus that's a helluva student loan tab I'm racking up. I'm almost done with massage therapy school, so I could do that. But that's another year, and I would have my master's by then. But where does that land me? I can't see the forest through the goddamn trees. Fucking trees. Solution: chop the bitches down. No, that doesn't work. Maybe I should get my MLS and be a librarian. I like libraries. Maybe. File that thought away. But for now maybe i should go back to waitressing. Hell no. Retail? UUUUUGHHHH! People suck. They make me angry. Maybe a bookstore wouldn't be so bad, though. Hmm, I'll apply to Borders. But I have a DEGREE!!!! It gets me nothing. Where the hell is my Nexium? I feel an attack coming on."

Umm, that was painful. So what did I do? Nothing. I got a massage, and then I got some Chinese food. And I hibernated. With my computer. Looking for jobs. LOL. I'm incurable, a dog with a bone. A bone that hates me and tries to bite me back. Thus is my current relationship with Charlotte. Or, perhaps with life in general. I have the same problems in Fort Wayne, but they seem less intense there because I've settled into a routine. The routine acts as a shield, hiding the truth from me because I've settled into my own personal ignorant bliss. That realization is painful as well.

I feel like Dorothy at the intersection of Yellow Brick and Yellow Brick. . . and Yellow Brick. All roads lead to something, but I am a little scared to find out, to go on a limb, to take a leap of faith. Were there enough cliches in there for you? I know that what I'm doing is right. I feel it every time I think of it, and every time I come here. I feel like I'm at home, but growth is painful. Finding a job is painful. Deciding which path to take is painful. Does anyone have some advice?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Aah, I can be such an ass. I was just whining about having a shitty day, for no reason, and I checked my work e mail. My coworker, and friend, had surgery today. A tumor was wrapped around her spine, and the surgeons didn't know if she would be able to walk again afterwards. I went to visit her, and she is moving her legs, grateful to walk. Grateful to have the use of her legs. Now, my problems are selfish and needless. She's wonderful, and I've been silly.


I'm like 98% non smoker. But that other 2 percent . . . oh that 2 percent is saved for special occasions, such as drunken stupidity or, like today, when I am in such a shitty mood that I'm not suitable to be around others. No reason, really, except that I'm in a bad mood. Hellacious mood, actually. I sat in class, thoroughly annoyed by the comments people made because I'm thinking to myself, do you not pay ANY attention when the teacher speaks? Good God, she said that same thing last week, and this week it's like some people just had an epiphany. Ugh. So after I left, I drove my new car (cussing like hell at the idiots in traffic) to the nearest gas station, bought a ham sandwich and a pack of smokes. They'll last me about six months, probably. I ate my sandwich in the parking lot, and - shit - I can't work the fucking lighter in my car. Automatically I'm pissed at the salesman who didn't show me how to work the damn thing. Oh well. I whip open my car door and march straight back into the store, plop down a lighter, make some lame joke, plunk down my dollar-seven and walk away.

The smoke stinks, but the taste is satisfying. It's a cold February day, but all four of my windows are down, lest my car reek of smoke when I'm out of this shitty mood. But I like to watch the white-blue smoke of my Camel Lights curl out of my mouth and snake into the sky. It suits my mood. Goddammit. I am angry today. Back into traffic I go, searching in vain for a good song on the radio. I can't take this shit. It's all so sappy. I want something that ROCKS! Stirs my blood, gets my fists pounding on the steering wheel, shakes me out of my mind, rattles my teeth. Nothing. GODDAMMIT! I whip my car into the parking lot at work, all the while thinking to myself, laughing darkly to myself that this is going to be one hell of a night. I can't fucking wait.

Do you know when a person smiles, but their lips curve up and their eyes remain dead? Unmoved, unemotional. That's how I'm smiling today, and that may come as a shock to some of the people in my outer world. Some people say I have a brilliant smile - to some, that's the defining part of my face. Blah blah blah. I'm angry, so my smiles don't count. But, why am I so angry? I try to decipher it myself, but somehow the meaning escapes me, like a fart in a skillet. Haha. That's disgusting. Maybe it's because I have to have an extremely uncomfortable conversation with one of my best friends, to tell him why I have been avoiding him for two months. Other than some face value things (Angela knows this), there has to be some other reason why I can't bring myself to talk to him. I mean, I tell him everything, and have for years. We dated, then we didn't date, then we dated again. Our friendship never suffered, but instead grew stronger because of it. We know each other better now. But now the stakes are higher, and I'm not sure that I can do what he wants me to do. Hell, I'm not sure if he wants it anymore.

I'm annoyed because I don't have any answers. I'm 27 years old, with a full time job, my own place, and working on a master's degree. But I have no answers, and I wish someone would tell me what to do, when to do it. Then I could stop thinking, stop second guessing myself and just live. Fuck. My smoke is done, and now I'm dizzy and wishing I had a toothbrush. I stomp it out the rest of the way, still frustrated, still annoyed. Still wondering who's going to tell me what to do.

Monday, February 23, 2009



There was a time when I never thought I would ever finish school. I floundered from job to job, never really knowing what I wanted to do. I never realized that I had put up such tall, well-built fences around myself. I kept myself hidden from the outside, and mostly hidden from myself. There was a time when I hid the deepest parts, even from other parts of me. In one paper for this semester, I wrote about the friction between myself and myself. I think there’s more to add to that statement, for everyone who has ever examined herself closely, painfully aware of what may possibly be lurking in the shadows. Everyone tucks memories, experiences, thoughts away for later examination, or possibly forever. Sometimes these experiences are never heard from again, but simply tucked into the wrinkles of our brains for building our character. Whether they are used consciously in the future or not, they form the foundation of who we are. The subconscious is a mysterious thing, and I don’t pretend to know much about it. But I have learned a little about myself through these experiences of writing and searching through those dusty files.

In a poem I wrote for a class two semesters ago, I examined what it was like to perform CPR on a four-year-old boy. It was heart-wrenching at the time, and I wrote down the raw feelings from that day on a piece of scratch paper, put it in my pocket and worked the painful feelings and perspectives into a poem. I turned it in for a grade and put it aside, kept it in a file from that class only to stumble across it about a week ago. That poem knocked the wind out of me, even after a year of distance. I’ve posted it below.

Sunday Morning
An Epitaph

All over this frozen city, people
are lying in bed sipping
steaming coffee, clipping coupons,
or making love
to ward off the February chill.

Here I stand alone, drowning.
There is no Sunday romance for me
as I batter this little boy’s chest.
Reasoning, bargaining.

I sliced this baby’s jammies
off with my own cold
sterile steel in slow motion
as the world fast-forwards.

That’s my job.

“Start CPR!”
“Push Epi!”
“Do it again, harder!”
“Make the beat count!”

Fiery tears threaten, recede
as I stare blankly at beeping screen.
Four years old, no life left.
Lying on a slab, blue
jammies flayed open.

“Stop CPR.”
Breath heaving from the effort, I glance down-
look at his face. Warm mahogany
irises watch, done.
And I touch a gloved hand to soft brown hair.

Baby, keep fighting. I’m fighting with you.
Monitors slow to a final halt,
Cold, silent.

I shut it down, roar inside.
The clock stopped softly, 10 a.m.
I ran - knelt, rocked
alone in a sterile bathroom-
Screamed, shattered mirrors.
Because the funeral march breaks

Inside my head for the little
boy in sliced blue pajamas.

While all over this frozen city, people
are lying in bed sipping
steaming coffee, clipping coupons,
or making love
to ward off the February chill.

I never noticed the depth of feelings when I read it the first few times to myself, and then to a class of my peers. I was terrified to read it aloud, afraid that my readers wouldn’t understand why I wrote it the way I did, or that the material was so extreme that people couldn’t identify with it. My class was so diverse that I thought surely I would offend someone, or that they would find me crazy. I don’t know what I was afraid of, but I was afraid, and when I read it aloud the class was silent. Then I looked around to my classmates’ faces and realized one woman was crying, and several others were tearing up as well. The men were moved, and everyone took something from my written experience. The point is, that was the first time I had ever opened myself up by reading aloud to an audience. I was unsure of what I was looking for, but I began to find out that I was seeking the ability to open up a part of my life and air out those dark spaces, and reopen the memories that had been locked away in the dark.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


It's Sunday.  A gloomy, cold, snowy, overcast Sunday, and I got ditched for lunch by a friend who is teaching me a lesson in communication.  More specifically, my disturbing lack thereof.  There are of course reasons why I haven't communicated as much as I should lately, but some things are best kept unsaid in forums such as this.  Regardless, my Granite City date fell through, so I went to Panera Bread for their free wi-fi, and of course, their tomato bisque soup.  Delicious.  

I'm sitting along, reveling in the luxury of having to speak to no one, except through my fingertips and this computer.  So every time I look up, I glance around at the people who surround me, and I can't help but to catch some of the most unhappy people I have seen in quite some time.  Frankly, it's bringing me down, but it also serves another purpose. I learn every day what I want from life. 

For instance, this day after Valentine's Day, I'm looking around at couples who should in theory be happy.  But the table directly in front of me is a pair of miserable people who seem to have lost the reason why they fell in love.  They are bickering constantly, snapping and sniping at one another and not communicating at all.  Of course, their tones are appropriately hushed, but I am close enough to hear everything and I have the advantage of conversing silently with myself instead of someone else.  My ears are wide open.  Then, to make matters worse, in the middle of a heated discussion, Man picks up his ringing cell phone and engages in a 5-7 minute conversation to someone other than his wife.  She keeps looking at me, and I look back at her as impassively as possible, like I'm really focused on my homework, Facebook, or whatever it is that I happen to be working on at the time.  I'm very sad for them.  I can't see his face, but she wears a bitter expression around the tight lines of her mouth, and her eyes look sad.  Overcast and sad.  

The table adjacent to me is even worse.  They have apparently been together so long that they have run out of things to talk about.  I haven't seen them smile once.  In fact, he's even been reading the paper while she stares the opposite direction.  Ugh, it reminds me of my parents.  

There was never any yelling in my household, with the exception of myself and my sister.  But what else do teen girls do to each other besides torment and occasionally exchange gossip?  For the most part we stayed in our own separate rooms, entertaining ourselves and hiding from the icy silence in the downstairs half of the house.

We had a beautiful house in the country, situated on 30 acres of land complete with a wandering creek and our own private woods.  It was beautiful, but still somehow completely untouchable.  Just two nights ago I had a dream that I went back to that house and begged my family to be the way we once were.  When I woke up, dry tear streaks stained my face.  I cried in real life because of a bad dream.  But we want what we want, and who are we to tell our hearts that they are wrong?  There is a rift there, and of course I want it fixed.  But the conscious part of me knows and accepts that it won't happen.  

But now that I am looking around Panera Bread on a dreary Sunday afternoon, the sadness strikes me again.  But it also gives me focus on the things I want, and how I intend to live.