Bluebird Rising

"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better." -Anne Lamott

Personal. Personified. November 17, 2010

These last two weeks I have been in a horrible mood. One that is so uncommon to me it felt like a foreign language. I didn’t know how to even begin to handle it. I felt disconnected. Unmotivated. Exhausted. Alone. Frustrated. Angry. Angry to the point of evil, nearly. This new personality development was more than far from my proudest moment. It actually scared me.

This is not how I live my life. This is not how I am comfortable beginning each day. When people ask me how I am, 95% of the time I answer that I am fine. And probably 85% of the time I actually am. I can let things roll of my back. I can laugh when things gets messy. I enjoy being around people, and interacting with them, and learning all I can about the world.

Then I became detached. I was not fun to be around. Coworkers asked if I was okay. I know my voice on the phone left some of my friends wondering. Those who saw me face to face saw only a shell of who I usually am.

Many things culminated recently in a way I cannot even begin to explain, not that it would really be of much interest to you anyways. And that’s not exactly what this post is about, anyhow. What I realized from these last two weeks was that maybe I keep way too much inside. Maybe who I portray myself to be is not my true self 100% of the time. Maybe it is okay to show a weakness, and to reach out and ask for help, and to admit to those closest to you that, no, you know what, this week really fucking sucks.

And so I am making strides to being more honest. More open to letting others know when I need something, because as much as I try to be, I am realizing I am not a superhero. And so I’d like to introduce myself to you. Welcome. My name is Amy. Whether you stumbled across this blog for the first time today, or you have known me since birth, you will probably read things below that are new to you. And maybe they will give you more insight into who I really am. If not, welcome to my experience of accepting that I am only human. And that being human is not only more honest, but that it takes more bravery, than being a superhero.

And so with a bit of nervousness, and a few deep breaths, here I am. I’m jumping into this openly, honestly, and without looking back. I am pleased to meet you. Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

#1) I haven’t ever been to your grave because I still can’t forgive the way you died. And you cannot imagine how sorry I am about that. Some days I think I am ready, but then I always end up realizing that I am not. But I think about you every single day, and I hope that maybe, for now, that means enough.

#2) I’m glad that all those days I thought about dying didn’t amount to anything permanent.

#3) I have very specific friends from very specific groups of people for very specific reasons. You were not chosen at random or by coincidence. Do not think that you are a mistake, or here by chance, or a result of good fortune. And please know that, although showing it has never been a strength of mine, I would not be the same without having known you.

#4) I am very slow to let you in, because once you are in, your are in for the long haul. I value loyalty over anything.

#5) That once you are in, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. Trust me. Call me if you ever need to.

#6) I wish I could let my family know exactly how much they mean to me. I tell them all the time, but this just doesn’t ever seem to be sufficient. I owe everything I am to them, in their little independent ways.

#7) I am truly happy, even though some of my family cannot comprehend that, considering my life choices.

#8) I have seen how happy and perfect my parents are for each other, and I grew up knowing what a perfect marriage looks like. I have considered it both a cursing and a blessing. But I am determined to wait for what it is that they have.

#9) I used to bite my nails under stress. Now I’ve graduated to gnawing cuticles. I hate that I do this.

#10) I used to dance when I was little. In my first few years, about six years old, during ballet, I was told that I was too “ungraceful” to ever have promise. And that my baby fat needed to be lost. I danced for years after that, but never again with that company. And to this day, usually while cleaning my house, I dance. And this still makes me happy.

#11) If you can make me smile, you will have my interest. If you make me laugh, you will have my heart.

#12) When I go to the dentist I have to get sedated like a 10-year-old. For a general teeth cleaning. So I don’t throw up. Last year my dentist recommended an automatic toddler sized toothbrush for my molars. (Yes-I’m 28.) But I bought it, and it is working fantastically.

#13) I am more likely to cry out of anger than sadness. Sometimes I have to watch a  sad movie to make me cry, just so I can get out the tears and move on.

#14) The  movie guaranteed to make me cry: The Notebook. Because, without certainty, I know that someday I will be a real life Allie, and I just imagine my life without having found a real life Noah.

#15) The exception to needing a movie to force out the tears is funerals. I can barely function at them. Partly it is for who has died. Mostly it is for seeing other people in so much pain and knowing you are helpless.

#16) I have always wanted to be an organ donor ever since I heard a presentation in 6th grade, which was years before it became a way more personal issue for me than I ever imagined it would. Even so, I had always told my parents to donate everything but my eyes. My thought was that there was so many people I wanted to see in heaven (assuming I would get there.) But then I saw a lot of things the other day; a family celebrating moving into their first “new” home, someone’s daughter taking her first steps, a guy at the coffee shop being the first in his family to study for the ACTs. So take my eyes. Let someone else see how beautiful the world is, too. Those people I want to see in heaven? I remember so well what their hugs felt like anyways, I’ll know them by their touch.

#17) Being an aunt before a mother has renewed my faith in children, and I know I will be a better mother because of it. I now know it really is true that you can love someone who you don’t even know on a personal level.

#18) When I burn candles and take a deep breath alone, I am at home. And I can fully recharge. And I am more grateful for this experience than a lot in my life.

#19) I had a crush in college that I never acted on. He chose someone else. I spent way too much time wondering what was better about her.

#20) When I was involved in everything, I still wanted to do more. Now all I want to do is less. But I still admire that energy I had, and I wonder where it has gone, and how, despite my best efforts, I let the world get my the way. And I fight it, everyday.

#21) I’ve always hated running, even when I was skinny. Yet I ignore this everyday in the name of health.

#22) The best compliment I have ever been told was “You always make me feel like I’m the only person in the room.”

#23) Math DOES NOT make sense to me. The worst grade I ever got in my life was a C- in college algebra, and I was so proud to have passed I nearly peed my pants. Not kidding. Then (I got the grade at my parent’s house over Christmas break at 1 am) I literally jumped on parents bed (with them in it) in excitement.

#24) I took all my finals  of sophomore spring on Monday of Finals Week. Four finals in 18 hours. I could have petitioned to have them separated, but I didn’t. One of these finals was in the evil math class mentioned above, and one was a comprehensive paper, so I really couldn’t neglect any of them. After classes on Friday,  I studied CONSTANTLY Saturday and Sunday with one hour of sleep each night. Went through 1,000 notecards. And no sleep from Sunday into, or during, Monday. I got home Monday at nine pm after the four finals, drank two beers, and slept until Wednesday afternoon. But the rest of the week, being at happy hours, while my roommates studied? Fantastic.

#25) The best job I ever had was at Espresso Royale, a little independent coffee shop, for three of four years during college. It was the first time I ever connected to the thought of truly being myself and making friends in spite of it. I was asked back in March of 2010 at a new store. Same owner. Same boss. And I still love it.

#26) The worst job I ever had was being an alumni donation telemarketer for the U of M. It was a work-study position. (I lasted three days, and the first two were training.) But on the only day I actually called alumni, Darcy Pohland of WCCO was the only person who didn’t hang up on me, and was even kind on top of that. She donated $25, which was all I made of the $500.00 day goal total. I loved her. Still do.

#27) I have many friends who live across the country. I am jealous of this, of their ambition. Because that used to be me, and I wonder where it has gone. I never thought I would be in Minnesota my whole life, but I now know that I will. And while I admire it…that desire???? Pretty much gone. I have too much here that I couldn’t live without. And there is so much peace in that.

#28) As unkind as it may be, because I try to understand their reasoning, apathetic people drive me crazy.

#29) I know I am way too old now, but if I could be “Made” on MTV I would want to be made into a  BMX biker, and then a battle rapper like Eminem.

#30) I stole once. ONCE. It was miserable. I stole a Ms. Piggy plastic character, no more than 2 inches tall (estimated value: 50 cents) from the church basement of Saint Rose of Lima in Roseville. My parents found it, and I had to return it, and explain myself to the nun, and haven’t stolen since. It was the worst, most dishonest moment of my life. Embarrassing. People overcharge me now at Super America and I get paranoid and give the extra cash back.

#31) Dancing in public without requiring 15 beers is my favorite “date” tactic. I don’t care how you look, the fact that you are “doing” something that may be embarrassing and not “talking about” doing something that maybe embarrassing will win every time.

#32) That being said, I am first and foremost attracted to teeth and smiles. Then dancing. It’s very simple.

#33) I will always tip a barista at least one dollar per drink. Please do so also. This tip is not just for you, even if all your drink requires is pushing light roast into a cup. Because they grind that shit. Repetitively. Because they have grounds in places that you would not think grounds could get. Because as much as they thought they loved coffee, they can’t stand the smell of old grounds on their clothes once they leave. Because every third customer has to sample the difference between light, medium and dark roast. Because they have to make conversation with crabby uncaffienated people all day. They have to smile and nod when people ask for dry lattes and extra hot drinks because Starbucks has created monsters of the coffee world (tip-neither dry lattes or extra hot even exist) and master half decaf half skim half the chocolate double the syrup mint mocha with half a shot of sugar-free whip. C’mon. You’d tip a dollar to a bartender who pours a beer from the tap, right? Because you want him to like you. To be responsive to you. Coffee is the same business. Different sedative.

#34) My favorite part of the paper is the obituaries. I read every one. Every day. In what ever sort of weird little respect that is to you.

#35) I need my bed space. Like, 3/4 of it. I can only sleep on my stomach, head buried under the pillows.

#36) I graduated with Honors from grad school. I was proud of that. I was especially proud that I held a full-time job and internship at the same time.

#37) For my undergrad, I was more concerned with the social education than the classroom learning. And I excelled in the social aspect. But, “Honors” slipped under my fingers. Then, it didn’t matter as much. And that haunts me. Not because it really matters in life. But because I know I could have done better.

#38) School comes easy to me. If I could afford to constantly be taking a class or two, I would. The thought that one day I may I lose my desire to learn scares me.

#39) I never intend to be insensitive, but I am notoriously honest and to the point. This has both won and cost me friendships.

#40) I’m not sure how I feel about God, and I haven’t been to church in years, but I still pray on a whim and on a chance. Sometimes I wonder if He still even listens.

#41) If you know me when I die, there are two songs that I can always find pure happiness in, although the reasoning escapes me. Please sing your heart out at the funeral to AC/DC “Living For The Money” and Better Than Ezra’s “Good.” (Dancing in the aisle highly encouraged)

#42) Sometimes I wonder if I throw things away too fast, and why I would do that. If I had one minute to grab everything that means anything to me, I have one box in my living room with a few pictures and a lot of notes and cards from family and friends. Everything that is the most important to me is in this box, and I can’t decide if having only one box to represent 28 years of my life is honorable or just very, very sad.

#43) I have amazing family that would do anything for me, and friends that I love dearly, but I still feel alone sometimes. I often imagine how screwed other people must feel who have even less.

#44) I really want to believe that the perfect person is out there, but I wonder more every day if he is real, especially when I meet the people that I do.

#45) Days that I may not be happy are also days that I realize I also do not have much pain. And I am beginning to wonder “Which hurts more?”

#46) I am crazy about expiration dates. Especially dairy products. I usually throw stuff out a week before the sell date.

#47) I carry my parents engagement picture in my wallet.

#48) I always think of my brother as a high school graduate and just starting college, although he is much farther along in life than that. Farther along than me, in many ways.

#49) I detest overhead lighting. I spend a lot of money on lamps and candles.

#50) I LOVE Halloween. I hate Thanksgiving. In fact, the only part of the Thanksgiving meal I actually like are the “fake” cranberries. (The jellied ones….in a can.)

#51) I have never mowed a lawn in my life. I don’t intend to.That is what boyfriends and boy scouts are for. On the flip side, I can probably change a tire faster than either of them.

#52) I’ve had people have deeply emotional moments in front of me, and I use humor in these situations because I feel uncomfortable. And I regret that.

#53) I’m not fluent in Spanish like I used to be, but I’ll still try. And I want to be, again. Someday.

#54) I wish I was innocent enough again to trust people like I did when I was younger.

#55) I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I hope that makes me interesting. But I think that makes other people think I’m flaky.

#56) I’m a natural blonde, but I would kill for red hair.

#57) When I was younger, I wanted braces so badly I would put rubber bands around my real teeth. Nearly perfect teeth have never been home to such an ungrateful owner.

#58) I say “nearly perfect” because I had two lower teeth pulled when I was younger. Then I had to go to get a numbing prescription with my mom, who walked me through Target with what looked like tampons in the lower front corners of my mouth all the way back to the pharmacy, bleeding and drooling all down my chin and chest. The spit was flowing. I was angry about this for a long time.

#59) One of my biggest regrets will always be not serving in the military. Doing whatever is was that they would have let me do. I would have done it.

#60) I have to rip all the flyers, ads, subscription cards and perfume samples out of a magazine before I can even open it to read.

#61) Once, at Stub and Herbs, I ran into Doug Woog after a Gopher game. I was so impressed, and excited, and went up to talk to him. His hands…..wandered. My witnesses laughed. They laugh about it to this day.

#62) Speaking of Gopher hockey, when my parents  moved and I went through boxes upon boxes of my stuff that they had saved, I found a piece of gum that I had chewed during Brian Bonin’s last game. Circa 1996. Wow. Dedication, people.

#63) Speaking of parent’s boxes, I threw out a lot of stuff because I did not see the point of keeping it. But I’m honored that my parents thought I was that special. I find comfort in the fact that even my preschool cottonball-pasted Easter Bunny made them proud on some level.

#64) There are two quotes that I read every day. They are: “Faith is believing that one of two things will happen: that there will be something solid for you to stand on, or that you will be taught to fly.” Also, “The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” One is on my refrigerator and one is at my front door. Can’t miss them. And, every day, I try. I really do.

#65) The only time I have sworn within earshot of my parents was when I was a toddler. In our apartment where I first lived, we were on the first floor, directly above the garage door out of the underground parking. One morning, I stood on the patio and yelled “have a nice fucking day!!!” at the top of my lungs, while smiling and waving to every car that pulled out. I spent the rest of the morning with Dial bar soap in my mouth. I can count on one hand the number of times I have sworn in front of my parents since.

#67) My mom was dumbfounded for a while about where I heard such awful language. Except she did home daycare at that time. (And being too young for school, I didn’t learn it on the playground either.)

#68) I recently had to describe myself in four phrases. I used the terms “loyal”, “energetic”, “kind-hearted but abrasive at first” and “adventurous.”

#69) I believe in love. Whatever that means to you. Maybe it’s not the “stereotypical” family, but to me, love is always the same. And I believe that everyone should be allowed that. Whether it is with an opposite sex partner, or a same-sex partner, with a child biologically or a child meant to be yours through circumstance. There is so much hate in the world. I will always celebrate love. 

#70) If I was to win the lottery, I would first purchase a decent house. Nothing fancy. Honestly. Just a nice house in the city. But then, I would hire someone to do my laundry. I HATE laundry.

#71) I have always been told I was a good writer. I feel guilty about this, because I just sit down and watch the words come out. I have no training, and really, sometimes not even a lot of effort. It feels like scoring well on a test that only you know you cheated on.

#72) One of the hardest lessons that I have learned in my life is that waiting for what you want and waiting for what should be are not the same thing.

#73) The second hardest lesson I have learned is to not stifle impulses. Impulses are merely the real you trying to get out. I lost a friendship because of this, and while I have no idea where he is now, I still wish him only the best.

#74) When I was younger I wanted to grow up to be the President.

#75) Thank you for reading. Seriously. You readers are my therapy.

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4 Responses to “Personal. Personified.”

  1. Dino Says:

    Love you Amy. Thanks for Sharing.

  2. Nicole Says:

    ❤ xoxo

  3. Jay Says:

    as usual, a good read. nice to get to know you better :).

  4. […] being, I never hardly EVER cry when I am actually sad, as we discussed in this post, if you ever wanted to get really personal. And maybe today I was mostly frustrated, and sick of the feeling of failure, and what not. But I […]


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