Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2015

'Tis that time for reflection again, and whilst I like to reflect after each event happens, I figure I would give a more general account here.

1) I grew some roots.

I am 18 months in to this job and it feels like I have been there for 10 years and it is still my first day wrapped in one.  I was promoted in May, now it is December, and I have hardly ever done the same thing twice; therefore, I retain next to nothing, but I seem to be pretty decent at it so onward we go. I look forward to coming into work (most days) and my co-workers and I seem to have quite a bit of fun together.  They are one of the best and most cohesive groups of people I have ever met.  They want me to step ahead and start solidifying my future there, so I suppose that is in the cards for me for 2016.  Series 7 or bust? 

2) I remembered how horrendous Junior High could be.

My girl, Lou, has had one hell of a year.  At first I wasn't sure if I was going to pull her out of her current school.  The lack of attention by administrators was disheartening, her friends were rotten, bullying was running rampant, and my heart was breaking.  I would come home from work and go directly to school, so I was seeing less of her.  But when I would come home after a 15-hour day and find her in bed, defeated, and crying, I wasn't sure where our road would take us at all.  I would sit at my desk at work and weep for her.  Knowing that from two cities away I couldn't rescue her on demand or save her from one of the worst rites of passage.  If I remember anything from Junior High at all, it was that it was one of the worst times I ever had.  And this, for me, was the whole of 7th grade.  Friends abandoned me, new friends came and went, I had to drop classes due to bullying, I stopped showering for a few months (uhm, ew!). Junior High was a disaster!  Yet here I am doing it all over again. You want to know what my sage advice was? I'm sorry, but "we all have to go through the horrible to not only find respect for ourselves but respect for the things we want most."
I can't go into school and beat children up for you.
I can't kick down every mother's door and tell them to parent better.  Maybe they work and go to school, too?
We only have 6 months left and then it is off to high school *barf* where the bullying and judgement from friends is on steroids, but I am sure after all this we will be fine.
My girl has a thickness to her skin now, that she will use going forward.  She sees people differently.  She understands more clearly that a lot of people are rotten, but the good ones are worth holding tighter.

3)  I graduated.
When I was pregnant with my daughter and about a year after I had her, I had been taking a class here and a class there.  Never with any real intention to go on and become a scientist or a sonographer or a journalist.  In 2004, I chose work over school.  For the next nine years, I would choose raising a well-rounded child who wanted for nothing over going to school. I would always say "When she needs me less, I will go back."  Getting fired from Lowes gave me that gift.  I suddenly had a surplus of time on my hands and was able to enroll back in school full time for two semesters, which got a large portion of my credits out of the way.  When my year of unemployment was over, I went back to working full-time, being a parent 365 days a year, coached softball, and also went to school 2 or 3 nights a week.  My kid could finally stay home alone, where necessary, and I was in a place in my life where I was able to juggle many tasks at once.  It all just worked.  3 years later, I graduated with honors.  Role model? Check.
Oh and with no tutor, pulled off an A and then a B+ in Algebra.

4) My big brother got married and I was his best man?
Toes in the sand and one beautiful sunrise.
After a half a dozen Xanex, one book, and two boxes of Good N' Plentys, we finally settled into our ocean-front resort hotel in beautiful Virginia Beach.  My brother, at 39 years old finally was able to say his vows to the woman of his dreams and the whole family got to be there for it.  I had been asked to be the best man and I loved every minute of it (with the exception of the Bachelors Party; being the only girl kinda sucked!)!  Either way, I prepared a wonderful speech, we took lots of freezing cold pictures on the beach, and we celebrated with total strangers the way families do. 

Guys and girls on both sides.  Beautiful new family and friends. <3

 Everything was right out of a fairy tale.  The dress was to die for, the food was wonderful, the people were fantastic, the DJ wasn't awful. The weather was crappy that day and we had to shiver outside, but amidst the cold I got to witness two people who make each other incandescently happy. 

We went to Jamestown and Washington DC afterward.  I rode the subway for my first time. I ate at a food truck for my first time.  I went to Arlington for my first time.  I got lost on the DC Highway system for the first... and then second time.  My 6th trip to Virginia Beach (and elsewhere) proved to be a lovely adventure.

5) My Bird and I went on some new adventures.

I don't have a spouse or even a significant other.  I haven't actually been in a relationship in many years now, but what I have been missing in companionship with a spouse, I find (for the most part) with my Bird.  We coexist in perfect harmony.  We don't often yell, we do what the other expects, we like most of the same things, we use a lot of the same products, and we share this innate longing for adventure.  I live and breath for taking in new sights and sounds; my girl shares my affinity for life in that same special way.  I don't have to explain to her why things are the way they are, why we just went to this new place, or why I am silent or why I am crying - she just gets it.  13 years of someone every single day will get you that way I suppose. 
My girl and my man!
This year, we adventured to Traverse City, Glenn Arbor, Ann Arbor, Virginia Beach, Arlington, and Sarnia, Ontario.  Each adventure was different and each adventure left us with unmistakable and unforgettable memories.
To my Bird, I dedicate a song that is as beautiful as you are.  Songbird

6) I found forgiveness.
I am not a fan of forgiveness or any of the feelings that come along with it.  I find it stressfull and my breath quickens just thinking about having to forgive someone when they were wrong. Hell, even if I was wrong.  I don't believe you should be "let off the hook" for a great many things, but then I guess I should decide whether I would like to be the pot or the kettle. 
This year, I forgave one of my biggest offenders for their past transgressions.
I even thanked them for being a part of my life and contributing what they did while they were in it.
As cliché as it sounds, I slept better that night.  I think I will always sleep a little better knowing that weight is gone forever.

7) I fell in love with some music.
For whatever reason I never fell in love with The Lumineers at the start; however, in 2015, they became a part of my soul.  Yes, The Lumineers are a horcrux.
The song She Used to Be Mine by Sara Bareilles was like opening a window into my own soul.  I know it is from the musical, The Waitress, but it is so MaryAnne and it moves me.  I hear it and I have to sing, but then my voice cracks and my eyes water. Ugh. Love.

If you care, here are my favorites from this year (whether they are actually from this year, I don't care):
Sara Bareilles - She Used to Be Mine
Gregory Alan Isakov - That Moon Song
The Lumineers - Slow It Down
Sam Smith - The Writing's On the Wall
James Bay - Let It Go
Hello - Adele
Like Real People Do - Hozier

2015 was really quiet in all the ways that matter.  There was loss and heartache like every year before, but there was also growth and understanding.  There were moments where I went a wee bit crazy, but there were moments where I found peace, too. 

I am hoping 2016 can exhibit more growth and solace.  I am looking forward to learning more and going on even cooler adventures than before.  I am looking to get out of my comfort-zone a little (high school, wahhhhh!), and I am anticipating finding out more about what I want and need from life. So bring it on 2016.  Universe, I am ready for you.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Slightly less...

Over not any one in particular, but everyone as a whole.  And not for any one particular reason, but maybe for every reason combined.

I used to have some pretty selfish friends, then I had some boyfriends who cheated, and then it was feeling ostracized from my friends whom I had little-to-nothing in common with.  While my friends hung out at bars and met people, found new friends, went new places, I stayed home, alone, with my child.  While my friends moved forward in life, got married, began to have their own children, I continued to push myself further and further away from the human race.  After all, pushing away is what I do best.

After a while I realized that when I am in a relationship, I am toxic anyway.  And not just my significant other, but even, sometimes, with friends.  Perhaps it is a great number of years of my "friends" using me, betraying me, or leaving; same as my significant other.  I never devote myself to anyone anymore.  I used to be that friend that came running for any reason, but now you can't rely using me in that way.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, "I'm broken."  It is so much further beyond that now.  Whereas I once was broken, now I am conditioned to have no feelings at all.  Still being betrayed and hurt by the people I love, yet no longer standing up for myself and pushing you away, just letting it happen and being abused. All the while, my attitude is quite callous.

In the past month, I have seen some kind of... reflection... of myself.  Like an out of body experience?  I have been hearing people talk about things of concern and where others console and are "there for people."  I am not.  I even think, "I should say something nice, but I really really don't care."  When people talk about their newest whatever, I feel more inclined to leave the room than I do to stay and listen.  And I know this is so wrong.

This is not to say I do not do kind things.  That I do not hold the door for people, because I do.  That I do not feed the homeless, because I do.  That I do not donate money to the abandoned pet center in my area, because I do.  Or even have two cats that I'd prefer not to have whom one of has been ill for the better part of 3 years, but I keep him and pet him and love him. Even though I say I don't. This is not to say that I don't do kind, nice, thoughtful, and considerate things, because I do.
But somewhere deep inside. Somewhere in my heart of hearts, I am not sure if I can be repaired anymore.  I am not sure if my too-rational thinking and unfailing ability to reason everything can ever overcome what is in going on inside of me.

So instead of making a bunch of New Years Resolutions about how I am going to get in shape or use Facebook less (which I fully intend to do as a part of a new life resolution), I plan to work more on MaryAnne.  Learning to stand up for myself in appropriate ways, trying not to use my words as a scare tactic that really works well, attempting to say the kind things I think, but can't bring myself to utter.

Does this mean I am changing? No. Not yet.
What it does mean is that I would like to be slightly less broken than I am currently.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Slip Through Your Fingers

I find it hard to believe that destiny is carved out for us.  That each decision we make was predetermined and our fate was decided before we even make those choices. Doesn't that quite ruin the notion of free will and the entirety of the decision-making process?

I would like to think that the decisions I have made for myself were my own and not charted out somewhere in the stars while some deity sits back and says "Yep, she is par for the course."

I was supposed to go to college straight out of high school.
I was supposed to be 19, wild, and free.  I was supposed to be 21 and go to bars and have little-to-no responsibility.
I was supposed to be married after my 2, then 3, then 4 year engagement.
I was supposed to live and die in retail.
I was supposed to write children's literature professionally.
I was supposed to move to California.
I was supposed to go see Europe and never come back.
I was supposed to have between two and four children, because I always imagined myself with a nice-sized family.

None of my plans have happened.  A lot of other people's plans happened.  But my plans took a shit.

I have now been a student since January 2013 consistently.
Three non-stop years of a life of total chaos.
The plan wasn't to work for 15 years after high school, then go to college.
The plan wasn't to have a child at 19 by myself.
The plan was not to be single for a decade.
The plan was not to buy a house and live in it alone (okay, minus the dog and cats).
So is this the real plan?  Is this what "destiny" set out for me?
A general malaise of real plans and hey, you get what's left over?

I am feeling quite whiny and pathetic right now.  It is finals week so perhaps it is my disdain for all things having to do with a thought process.
The gears are whirring and I am pretty sure you can see smoke.

I am tired of being tested. I am tired of my ideas not even being taken into consideration.