Too early

I’m always too early for things. Guess it’s better than too late, but it’s still a hindrance–for me, not really for anyone else. 

I think it’s another way that anxiety makes me take on more than my fair share. I’d rather sit in a hot parking lot alone for a half hour than make someone wait two minutes. That’s no good, but I can’t help it. I feel better when I’m prepared, and being prepared by being early is just another way to do that. 

I’m sitting in a hot parking lot right now, actually, waiting for lunch with my boss. It’s not just any lunch with any boss–it’s our first lunch, because it’s the first time we’ve met. Meaning, I’ve worked for her for the entirety of my 6 month internship and am only meeting her now, a week after it ended.

Oh, yes, I’m nervous. I’m the first intern in over three rotations to see her face (she works at home). But at the same time, I know her. Right? Is it possible to know someone from a half-year of emails and a handful of phone calls?

I guess I’m about to find out. Well, in half an hour. 

Jeez. It’s like a first date, except we know each other and no longer work together and…this is so weird.
I hope the food is good at least? Chinese food, how could it not be? Worst comes to worst I’ll just fill myself with egg rolls and go home and never see her again, case closed. 
You’d think someone with a blog section on conversation starters would be less nervous about this sort of thing…

To stand out or not to stand out

When I put together an outfit I never wear more than one “weird thing.” 

Meaning, if I’m wearing a yellow shirt I can’t do something new with my hair. If I wear a big necklace I can’t wear heels, and so on. Only one weird thing at a time.

I tell myself that I do this out of a sense of fashion. After all, don’t want to wear an outfit that is too loud. However, I’m beginning to think it’s because I don’t have enough self confidence to wear something that makes me stand out. 

Like how I wrote in my “fashion tips” posts, it works best for me if I wear something that can be both fashionable and not too bold, or something that can be changed from one to the other as need be. Perhaps it’s time I change that.

I painted my nails bubble gum pink today while waiting for a train. Will this make me more confident, or will I be removing it by sundown? Only time will tell. For now, I see it as a personal challenge. Let’s see how long I can stand it!

Schedules

I’ve been out of work for 2 days and I already miss a strict schedule. Days seem to last so long without 11 hours devoted to work/commuting! Yesterday seemed to last a week, and yet I did nearly nothing.

Not only that, but it’s messing up my blogging schedule! It’s funny, I seem to get more done when I have less time to do it. Otherwise, I just end up procrastinating. Like with blogging; if I have 15 minutes to blog I can write two posts and have them ready. If I have 15 hours to blog, I probably won’t end up writing anything at all.

Strange, strange. Why? I don’t like being a procrastinator. I’ve never liked summer, as a kid. It just feels like such a waste of time. And that sucks, because I spend so much time waiting for it.

I guess I just feed off structure. I’ll grow out of that, probably. After all, the world isn’t organized in little boxes, and time never follows the plan.

“Family”

I imagine the guy in the featured image of this post is wearing a party hat, not a dunce cap.

I wish there were two separate words for immediate family and extended family without having to call them both “family.” My grandmother once sat down with a pen and paper and counted over 100 cousins, stretching into second-, third-, and fourth- categories and even organizing them by twice-removed and so on. Are they all “family,” to me, too? Even though I’ve never met them?

I’ve never found “family” to be a value of much importance. I love my family, sure, and I’m lucky to have a decent one. But do I love that extended family?

Only out of principle, and therein the problem lies. It’s a fact that I don’t know my family well out of the essentials, and yet I am obligated to say I love them.

I’ve mentioned before that we need different words for romantic, familial, platonic, and objective love. Perhaps if we redefined “love” and “family” I wouldn’t even be having this problem.

This is all stemming out of me having to spend the Fourth of July with a section of my extended family.

Why? Why do we force ourselves to socialize with people we don’t like? Why do we lie about liking them?

Ugh. I’ve been in a pretty bleh mood lately. Pretty pessimistic. The problem when I get in these pessimistic ruts is that pessimism is the most realistic way of thinking.

The SO’s family

Oof! I just had the most filling dinner ever. It was amazing Mexican food but I’m so full. 

It was with my boyfriend and his family. These dinners used to be really stressful for me, but now they’re okay. 

I no longer grab at the hem of my dress or drink water compulsively to excuse myself from talking. I no longer speak in a whisper or control how loud I laugh. It used to be bad, though.

In fact, I had actually used these dinners as an example of an “anxiety-producing situation” when I first began therapy for anxiety about 5 months ago. In such a short amount of time they have gone from one of my worst fears to something I quite look forward to–and not just for the piles of great, free food. I like his family a lot. The dinners are fun, exciting. I like getting to know them more and I like how they are getting to know me.

I suppose it’s a mix of becoming more comfortable around them and becoming more comfortable with myself. 

It’s nice to feel accepted. It’s something that takes time and work, but it’s worth it. I love how I’m beginning to be treated like part of the family. I like belonging.

I am still nervous about some facets with them. We’re going away for a weekend together soon, which should be…something.

I’m getting there. For all those nervous introverts with one foot in and one foot out of the significant other (SO) family door, just know that it gets easier. 

Belie: Short Fic Friday

The bells are shining, round and bubble-shaped. The bells are huge, they hurt my head. The tower is tall, we walk right underneath. The aisle is…

My dress is white, my dad is shaking, my shoes hurt my feet but they look so nice. My flowers are wrong. I wanted lilies. Lilies mean death, apparently. Inappropriate for a wedding. I beg to differ.

I’ve always liked lilies.

My shoes still hurt. The bridesmaids float like angels. Their dresses are blue, with pink sashes. My husband, no, my fiance stands like a statue. The grotesque crucifix hangs on the wall behind him. So graphic. The nails.

The priest. I wanted an old one, he’s so young. The people line up. The little girl, with the flowers. The boy, with the rings. What’s his name? Who knows.

My dad’s still shaking. Maybe now crying. I want to smile. I don’t feel a thing.

He says, “let’s go.”

We take a step, and the aisle falls in steps like an opening handheld fan and it’s a staircase,  covered in red. My dress is long, we fall. We float, like angels, downward. We float in time to the music. I hear a string quartet, I hear a beehive. I hear the bells, ringing ominous and dark. Lilies mean death, do the bells they ring at funerals? Are there special wedding bells, did I miss them?

The aisle is so long. Fiance waiting, sweating. The flowers are wrong.

My father says, “don’t worry, I’ll stop this aisle from being stairs.”

People stare.

 

I blink. My reflection blinks, too. What a pretty mirror, such a nice frame. I suppose the hotel could afford it.

“Well,” I tell myself, returning to my makeup. “No matter what happens, at least it won’t be that.”

I paint my cheeks, my eyes. I’m in sweatpants, my dress hanging in the closet. I’d kicked my fiance out. How soon is “before the wedding?” How long were we supposed to spend apart?

Of course it was a dream. Can you dream while awake? Daydream, I guess. I was young, then. I pull my skin back at the temples. What kind of person gets married for the first time at 50, anyhow? I sigh, drop my blush brush to rest on the vanity tabletop.

Big wedding. Had to have a big wedding. Couldn’t have lilies. Headache.

Bells? Out the window, bells? Morning mass.

I raise the brush to my cheek again. Well, here we go.

Leaving

That’s it. The next intern is officially trained, and by this time tomorrow I’ll be officially out of here.

The nostalgia is real. I’ll not only miss the job and the people, but the color of the cubicles. The corn muffins for breakfast. The Liberty Mutual letter opener. The Sharknado poster. There are so many little things around here that I’ll miss. I’m never going to reenter this building again after Friday.

Yikes. I mean, I’ve already left several places before. Three schools, for instance. Five jobs. After each “last day” there were things and people I’ve never seen again. Even old friends’ houses, though with less warning. There was a time when I left their house for the last time, but I didn’t know it.

I can’t help getting emotionally attached to places. I’m introverted; I spend more time paying attention to inanimate objects than animate ones. My keyboard! I’ll have to leave my work keyboard tomorrow, the very keyboard I’m typing this post on. My computer, my crappy old Dell computer. My phone, with the blinking voicemail. The maps and lists and tips and tricks on my walls. The guidebook that was my bible for the first month or so.

Soon they’ll even take my email from me. Gosh! I like this job, though. I wish I could stay longer. I’m still learning. I just learned where the second bathroom is, the same day I finished training my replacement.

Leaving is rough. Leaving is hard. But I have to just keep on reminding myself that it’s a good thing.

Sure, I won’t get to be a Boston Globe reporter anymore, and I won’t see my friends anymore, and I won’t be able to be in this building anymore. But I also won’t have to drive an hour and a half twice a day in rush hour. I won’t have to do all those tedious intern duties. I’ll be able to freelance. I’ll be able to go on to the next big adventure.

It’s good to look on the bright side of bittersweet.

Stages

Obviously, there are life stages. Teen years, puberty, middle age, and so on. However, I submit to the jury that there are several smaller stages that fit arbitrarily within these stages, regardless of age. Perhaps most prominent and widespread is the stage where you wore black and listened to metal and were mad that your mother wouldn’t let you dye your hair.

In my experience, many people go through an “atheist” stage. It makes sense to question one’s beliefs now and then, but that’s not what I mean. I’m not talking about a healthy time spent in philosophical thought, I’m talking about those three or four months when people turn into super atheists.

I went through it, as did many of my friends. Thankfully, I grew out of it, and even retracted many of my atheistic ideas, settling on a firm stance of “I don’t know.” Now, I like to learn about and explore all types of religion, but in my atheist stage I couldn’t stand it.

There’s also, for the younger generation especially, the Social Justice stage. This one has always been around, but it’s especially spread with the advent of social media. Whether they’re called social justice warriors or tumblerinas or whatever, many people go through a time where political correctness and open mindedness are their top priority.

Are people who are like this bad? No. Can these things be stages? Absolutely. I went through both. The best part about these stages is that you tend to get highly invested in them, and then they fade away, leaving only a small mark on you. I’m glad my stages happened, because now I have a wider lens with which to look at the world.

They’re not bad things at all. I had a healthy eating stage, and a reality tv stage. I had a Buddhism stage, an anti-Kindle stage followed by an e-book stage, an all-natural stage, a gym rat stage, a musical stage, and numerous stages where I questioned my political standing, sexuality, job goals, relationships, and general future. And all of these stages, these short-lived obsessions, affected me positively afterward in one way or another.

I love when I can recognize someone in a stage that I had already passed through. Oh, you’re in the stage where you think any song released after 1970 is crap. Been there. And look, that’s the stage where wearing sweatpants every day didn’t feel gross. I…kind of wish I was still in that one.

It’s sometimes said that people can’t change. How wrong that is. Stages are proof that people change. We try on different hats to see which fits best. We get to choose different facets of our personality and change how we are seen by the world. That’s amazing!

It’s hard, when you’re in a stage, to tell if it’s a stage or not. Is blogging a stage, for me? Is sign language, is biking? I suppose any new interest could be a stage. Alternately, it could become a permanent part of you. The best part of life is its uncertainty. Embrace uncertainty, and embrace your stages with reckless enthusiasm.

Better to have several hats you don’t wear anymore than no hats at all.

A shelf of unread books

When the Used Book Superstore opened up two miles down the road, I began buying books by the dozen. Books I’ve never heard of, in genres I’d never read before. Classics, like Gone With the Wind. Collections of Shakespeare and the full Sherlock Holmes.

I don’t think I’ve read a single one of those books.

When I began working at the Globe, my trainer told me that if you walk by the arts section, there are always bins full of books you can just take. They’re books they’ve already reviewed or have decided not to review, and instead of tossing them they just let you take them. Advanced copies! Unpublished gems! I would take one every day, maybe two on Fridays.

I haven’t read any of those books, either.

It’s not that I don’t like reading–I LOVE reading. It’s just that it takes up a lot of time. I used to devour books, but now I read them at a snail’s pace. It took me six months to finish Life of Pi, only reading snippets while on the subway.

It’s not that the books are boring, either. They’re on subjects I like, like poetry, art, religions, even on writing itself. They’re fun fiction stories with grabbing back covers. I just haven’t gotten to them yet.

And so, I have a shelf of unread books. Well, shelf might be the wrong word…it’s more of a full bookcase. I have four (!) bookcases in my bedroom at home: one for my absolute favorite books, one for books I loved as a child, one for miscellaneous books and Harry Potter, and one for books I’ve yet to have read.

It’s a disease, really. I’m addicted to hoarding books.

I recently made myself admit that I wouldn’t ever read half of the books I have acquired, and donated about 15 to the library. At least there, there’s a fraction of a chance that someone will read them, as opposed to my room where the chance is practically zero. My next book won’t be Art: Unraveled, no matter how cool the cover looked while walking past the arts section.

I don’t know why I do this. I don’t hoard anything else. I go through my closet at least once or twice a year. I never buy anything I know I won’t use, except books.

Maybe it’s because I want to be a writer, and books fascinate me. Maybe it’s because I want to be the kind of person who reads everything, even though I just don’t.

Well. Maybe this summer I’ll be a big reader. If I have time, between work, Nano, blogging, German (am I still pretending to learn German? I haven’t practiced in so long), cooking, and everything else. Well, this is why I never get through books. They’re low on my priority list, even though I love them.

I think I put things I enjoy at the bottom of my priority list too much.

Catching up on Farmers Markets, summer….

Training Day 1 complete! I can already tell she’ll be a great co-op.

As I transition back into freelancing and new girl transitions into the Globe, I am being less bittersweet and more confident. This is going to be a good, new change.

I start, basically, the day after I leave. I’m covering a farmers market.

I love famers markets. So lovely, fresh, green. People walking around in sun hats, kids walking around in bare feet licking ice creams. The one in my home town offers homemade empanadas as well as fresh-picked strawberries. I like the infamous Haymarket in Boston, too, though that’s less wholesome and fresh and more…Haymarket.

For non-Bostonians, buying something at Haymarket is equivalent to buying a carton of milk that expired yesterday. It’s probably fine today, and will probably be okay tomorrow, but after that it’s a fifty/fifty shot between okay and diarrhea.

Ah, well. I’m exaggerating. Either way, this isn’t like Haymarket. This is a small town market squeezed into the library’s front lawn. This is a market full of fresh fish and ripe tomatoes and all-natural soap.

I love farmers markets. Such a lovely atmosphere full of hard working craftspeople and farmers.

They’re pretty introvert unfriendly, unfortunately. The whole idea is making conversation, approaching people, bartering. I always feel a bit bad when I enter a tent and then don’t buy anything.

Perhaps, like how I dreamt yesterday about the Introvert Boutique, it would be nice to have an Introvert Farmers Market. Though, I suppose that would just be Whole Foods or some other supermarket.

I’m just being silly. I’m excited for summer, I’m excited for farmers markets and sundresses, I’m excited to get back into my favorite version of journalism.

Really though, I’m excited to have more time free for writing and blogging, especially with Camp Nanowrimo coming up. Anyone out there a nano-er?

If not, check it out my friends: https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in

 

Also, this is my 200th post. Thanks for reading:)