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.