The Ender and Her Game

Life is so wildly unpredictable in 2017.  This is the year of bonkers and inexplicable ends to eras.  The year of hairpin turns.  A year of growing up taking place in a month and a half.

I don’t know how I suddenly am shifting into a new job that I am not terrified enough about and yet, here I am, googling resignation letter samples and deciding that

Somehow, I know that they are really going to demand a sharpness of me that right now is oatmeal.  But while other people can look sharp as a blade and don’t want to do the work, I want to get in there and take on tasks.  I want to try.  Which is something, I suppose.  I was surprised with my ability to express that and convince the boss and her boss that I could do it with what I think was more earnestness than bullshit.

When I have a comfort level, I can rattle off a list of to-dos like a gatling gun.  I can move when I feel trusted and I’m hoping I can get to that point and not get shifted by personalities and demands.  Strength in myself is going to be key.  Being willing to say things are key and use adultspeak will also be key.

The parents are over the moon.  They’re crazy.  They don’t seem to question that I can handle it.  That’s nice.  They’re willing to help me if I need it through this transition (I will) and we’re having celebratory pizza next weekend.  The all-holy benefits.  I mean, life has given me this shot, I don’t want to fuck it up, I am just freaked out about my shitty habits and laziness in a job where organization and promptness is so essential.  So.  Being thoughtful, learning, reading, getting some support about it, and then…letting it go.

One way in which I can be distracted is the guy.  J.

I don’t know what I am supposed to do.  I adore him, really.  Acknowledging our imperfections, the alterations we’ve made in our lives to get by, what is not easily resolved, I think he’s wonderful. But I haven’t found the way in to the conversation I want to have.  It will happen, I know it will…

The thought in my head right now is that we have to meet.  I’ve thought that since early on, but out of the blue, that becomes financially feasible.  It becomes possible for me to buy one or both of us airfare and a hotel room and food somewhere – here or there or just somewhere in this universe – for a long weekend.  Before, it was this frustrating impossibility.  Neither of us can afford leisure travel. But, with the new job, supposing I don’t get sacked or thrown out on my ear, will mean that I can make it happen, at least once.

And I feel like we have to meet because this is so much fumbling and messing around and weirdness that has no organizing principle.  And that’s fine, that’s okay, I am completely tolerant of having an intense flirtation on the internet.  I know that land very well.  But there’s this piece of it where it’s also this other…real life component where it’s mutually agreed that it would totally be happening if we didn’t live in way disparate parts of the country.  It is utterly bizarre to me that I can send a current picture of myself standing in front of a mirror and that doesn’t make the whole thing dry up.  Instead, quite the opposite.

But I don’t have the money yet and this whole gaming project I’ve helped him with isn’t off the ground and so I don’t know if I should even throw out a test balloon and say, do you want to do this…you know, at some point, somewhere?  My Valentine essentially just acknowledged that something was even happening and he hasn’t argued that.

It’s both happening and not happening for us at the same time.

Break for 20 minute call.

…yeah, so that call was the perfect encapsulation of my thing right now.   I want to be understood when I say that I don’t want to stop talking about any of the things we’re talking about – gaming, language, food, jobs, all the endless things he  (and I) know about.  I don’t want to lose this intimacy of connection, the kindness he shares with me, the intensity at times of his feelings, the way we feel…close, the beginnings of trust, but at the same time…the distance exists.  So I draft in my mind how I would write the character’s return to the RP’er and then feel guilty I can’t let that go.   I would let it go, if I could just feel like that part of it isn’t locked away to us for some unspoken reason.  Like, it was okay for a while, and now…no?

Just have a conversation? HAH.  Why do that when I can whinge on the internet?

I am just in such a different, demanding place than I ever have been.  I feel tired and achey and the dancing around things I want is wearing me down.  I will figure it out, I just sometimes need to put words to it so that it has a home someplace other than battering about in my skull.

The tagline holds true.  “I will change.”  I have and I did and I am and I will.

 

 

My Stars

The hits, do, actually keep on coming.  Somehow, after doubting it was possible, and thinking I had to wait until after the weekend, I have been offered a job.  It is a job where I would be making 26% more than I was supposed to be making, and technically, accurately, 182% of what I am actually being paid right now. Which I think cannot be right and yet, somehow, it is.  This does not count in the benefits which will save me at the very least $2400 a year.

I mean, it is, in so many respects, an opportunity for a resurrection.  To get back on the path of having a life where I can have some control over my own wants and needs again.  Where I won’t be hoping that I will get paid, where I won’t have to be 100% aware that my income won’t cover my expenses.  It means that I can pay off debt in a big way so that my money will be mine again and not going towards a credit card.  It means I can have regular dental appointments.   I can make sure my sister’s okay or at least, I never have to lean on her.

It means that J and I could…I don’t know…meet? It means that I could visit my friends again.  It means I could help contribute towards a vacation gift for my parents.  It means I could go to a random Sunday afternoon yoga class.  It means I can bring a gym bag to work and spend 30 minutes on a bike or something. I can keep my Netflix.  It means I can buy a book when I want to, pay for a full tank of gas without scraping through the coin jar.  It means I can buy groceries in a sensible, complete way and not just a meal’s worth of really unhealthy things.  I can buy ingredients for recipes.  I can get BLUE APRON.  Oh, my god. I can get that light in my car fixed.  I can buy random, one-off presents for people because I think they’re appropriate.

I can get my hair done, have a massage, play Mass Effect! Get a new laptop that I can unplug and close and take to a coffee shop to work on writing with. I could figure out being a part of a writing group again.  I can upgrade my foundation.  Go have a fancy bra fitting.  Do that end of year project I wanted to do.  I could buy forks! Get my eyebrows plucked.

Of course, I am fixated on all that the money could do.  All that it could allow my life to do.

Can I do this job?  Can I do it…based solely on the person who I will be working for and the job description? I think so.  Can I do it as well as I want to?  Can I do it without stress and anxiety and shame and negativity and posts six months from now where I walk back all of these claims and repudiate the money and just say I want to go live in a shack in the woods?  That, I am less sure of.  If one person gets frustrated with me, can I deal?  If I really screw up royal, I’m really…

It means that I am going from 2 phone calls a day (both of them my boss) to urgent, pressing phone calls throughout.  It means hundreds of strident, demanding emails that want my time rather than ten or twelve that can mostly be deleted. It means hundreds of new faces I will need to recall.  It means shaking hands and learning protocol and what should be done, rather than sitting back and observing.  It means putting on work face.  Showing up and showing up with the goods.  Sincerely registering every issue.  Taking notes and asking questions and preparing in a rolling fashion one task to the next. It means that I can’t text off and on to the guy, or check out the in internet. It means eight hours of all-in, focused behavior in an environment of stressed-out, dramatic people.  They told me this was what to expect. (I saw someone stressed out and weepy when I visited there in October.)   It means figuring things out and thinking ahead.  It means organization, letting go of criticism that’s unwarranted, making friends, being a political creature, thinking tactically, breaking through these day long anxiety jags, taking pride in the work.  It means going to sleep earlier.   Getting up earlier.  Being flexible and willing when I don’t want to be.

I think the company has so much to recommend it, there’s so many benefits to being there.  It’s great for my resume.  It’s great for my future.  I want to experience it even as I’m concerned I don’t have what’s emotionally required.  It does not require me to deal with the strain of making organizational ends meet.  People will want me to learn and be that source of information, Janie-on-the-spot, rather than a third wheel as I so often feel.  The questions will be logistical, linguistic, questions of etiquette and protocol, clerical, social and not…financial, mathematical, budgetary.  Not in such a full-bore sort of way as I experience now.  I will need to host and be a part of meetings, get questions answered, assert myself constantly.

My personality will need to twist that bit further.

It is not running off to go be a writer in a garret.  It is not the creatively kind direction for myself.  It is not going to be a path of least resistance to honor these parts of me, I am going to have to give a shit here, too.

But if I can build skills to keep this house in order, I can find ways to make time, to do something relaxing so that I can handle it, I can be hungry for it.

Just bless us, everyone.  I am so bizarrely happy this is happening.

 

 

Creative Non-Fiction

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I did not buy the shiny necklace.  Even though I get a special and impressive discount on jewelry.  Even though it shines at least five colors depending on what direction you tilt it.  Even though I could hardly pull my eyes away from it.

The thing I didn’t count on about working at a woman’s clothing boutique – even casually, even as I am attempting to work and not absorb anything –  is how fiercely and immediately it would force me to confront my own body issues.

It is, apparently, a staff activity to peruse the racks and try things on and model for the rest.   These are all supportive, experienced women who know how to provide gentle and helpful feedback and not just nod their heads and say great.  Or the  alternative…a hyper and upsetting “Take that off right now!”  They’re good at this and I want to play along.  I don’t want to be a tall poppy.  I thought I looked tolerable in what I was wearing, but I got five or six things and put them on and thought…oh, dear.  Like.  I am unhappy and if I think about this, I will get real unhappy and the whole goal of this is to get women in this satin curtained dressing room to feel relaxed and positive so they’ll buy $400 dollars worth of clothing, as one woman did today.

But already I can’t be spending as much as I make in a day to buy things right now.  The other women who work there are married.  Some with children my age.  They have discretionary funds to keep themselves in kit and keep up with trends.  They can giddily assess each shipment and take home treasures as soon as they’re put on sale. If things had progressed as I had intended, well, I’d be much more able to shop freely.  Though, if things had progressed as intended, I probably wouldn’t have thought about coming back to this town to shop.

Suddenly, inside that dressing room, nothing looked right.  My body, the body of defeat, in that full-length mirror seemed to justify every frustration, every piece of that of outsider identity I’ve ever clung to.  I’ve had minor meltdowns in dressing rooms before.  I’ve felt physical torture in them.  And I could certainly fit into the clothes I picked out.  I can only imagine if that wasn’t always possible.  Not that I think my complaints are unique or particularly worthy of explicating in long form, I just…felt like real gross, real hot shit.

Still.  I strolled out, finally, at their request in a couple skirts, feeling like this bloated, monstrous version of myself.  I went a mile a minute in my brain about how fraudulent this whole caper had become.  I…me…am supposed to advise stylish women on what to put on their body.  I who have never felt confident for a full day in my own skin?  They were, as expected, kind about it.  Unbothered.  They look at and now I, too, look at bodies all day long.  I started blabbing about foundational garments.  Silly, but I wanted to somehow reflect what I assumed they were thinking, to say, in some way, I know, I know…and I wouldn’t just walk around thinking I was okay.  Which, sheesh.  It’s an exhausting way to exist in the world.  Constantly self-abnegating before anyone can even have a negative breath in your direction.

But then, I tried some dresses and even me being me, I thought that they looked nice.  They were really comfortable.  I only wore one out.  I can’t buy them just yet, but maybe I will eventually. It just doesn’t…delight me to try on clothes.  I’ve owned barbie dolls, and dressing them up was a chore.  I don’t, though my earnest heart has tried to convince me otherwise, really give all that much of a shit what people choose to wear.

It’s only a single summer.  It’s just a stopgap measure.  I am writing.  I am starting again.  This is the story I tell.  This is the story that has to be true.

Agita

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We have no internet at the moment. I want to write in verse, if at all. That’s not going to happen. I do need to write a poem, I’m starting to ache in just that way. I’m…yeah, I just need to journal this today if only to get it all on the record. One of those transitional days. A day where something began, maybe something began to end, ended its beginning. Some piece of something has transmuted into something else.

My legs hurt at the joints with a dull throb (bad enough I think I should soak them in a bit), but I have to say, I think today was pretty successful for my first day at my part-time retail job. I got there on time, I got all the paperwork done, and they threw me out there to just…sell things. Pretty skirts and shorts and hats and jewelry. I know many of the artists, I know the store, the people who shop there. I think I’ve got a fingernail on the POS system. The fellow employees are older women, relatively drama-free (as far as one can tell on one day, I have a sneaking suspicion that age issues are the real issues, but it’s hard to know. I got one teaspoon full of the gossip, as well as the admonition not to engage in gossip so I am not about to step into any briar patches.) The woman I worked with and apparently mostly will work with was a high school English teacher. One of those people who is deeply gregarious and wants to keep busy, someone who can chat with anyone and find out their story, but at the same time, I really appreciate her desire to leave exactly at 6, so if it’s quiet at 5:45, she has a subtle plan of slowly closing the door and turning off lights so that we’re out of there at 6 on the dot.

I had a brief moment, of, oh, my god, I’m sorting sizing clothes racks, what’s going on with my life? A brief moment, of, oh, wow, this is a commitment, too. A brief moment of fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck, I’m back in the old mucky, stomping grounds and this time around there’s zero parking. A moment of, oh, even if I could be here 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, that isn’t enough to get by on so I can’t fall too deeply in love with this. And there’s sort of a safe harbor full of employees who come in now and again to help because nobody leaves completely and they don’t need me there 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. A feeling of how do I go back to job A feeling this way?

But mostly, I was just suffused with this odd sense of peace. I could greet people energetically, call across the sales floor to see how the ladies were, I could handle the duties as described without feeling less than or that my extroversion was embarrassing or forced. I could be me doing this even if I had a bad headache and felt hot and tired (a bit of coffee and a sandwich helped). I didn’t fear having to talk to anyone or trying what they asked me to do. I didn’t sink into myself – my big assumption and fear – but instead just leaned in and tried my best. Being around people, of service, was something I’d talked about needing to do and have, but I didn’t really realize how much it satisfies me until today.

I also met a county western, blues singer of about 11 years old who had a touring bus about the size of half a city block who bought a couple of the funkiest looking hats you have ever countenanced.

This piece of this particular puzzle…it’s okay. It’s alright.pills-tablets-3-1524565-640x480

A Woman of Negotiable Virtue

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Oh, Fallen London, you are really the swell and dandiest, particularly with your free and easy gifts of the titles for posts.

I have about ten tabs open and I am feeling more than a bit overwhelmed, digitally, and in the good old analog braincase.  Let’s do this, please.

Thoughts and feelings, thoughts and feelings!  I now, essentially, have a second job.  With the caveat that I have to explain to my current boss tomorrow that halving my hours means I need a second job and that I’ve got one, at least for the summer and I need to shift things around to accommodate it.   I think this is fine.  I can just work full days there 3 days a week and work a day and a half at the new one.  It’s stressful, I suppose, for all of us, and I’m half afraid that she’d say, oh, I intended to put you back on full-time June 1, but I don’t financially get that as even being possible, at all, so…I am looking after me. She could also say, well, that’s too much of an inconvenience for me, so goodbye you, which is not really likely, but everything feels within the realm of possibility these days.

It’s only retail, it’s only about 25 hours a week with about what you’d expect to make doing retail.  It’s a stopgap measure to keep me in food and drink and health insurance.  This is not the excitement about it.  The excitement is it’s working in my mentor’s boutique clothing store, they trust me enough that it’s was about 10 minutes of chatter before we started laying out schedules.  They also want to talk about me helping with social media/copywriting…some things that I’m interested in doing anyway.  I know these ladies and I know their vibe, I know the town, and they care about me and my life, the role writing plays, and even the fact that I’m kind of at a mental crossroads.  They get that this is rough.   I feel immediately like, oh, wow, I can’t break this.  I can just be carried by it until I get a clue.

It’s also rough because once this all gets conferred and confirmed, I can’t tell my parents.  I can’t because we’ve agreed in the great High Council of this house that they don’t need to know, the little sister, the aunt, either.  This would only lead to histrionics and heaving sighs and phone calls about if we’re going to die in the gutter and other things I am starting to believe are not exactly likely. It is, in fact, our lives rather than anyone else’s and their freak-out doesn’t change the bank balance and perhaps, it would be good to be able to say, yes, this happened, but we got it covered.

But for now, no telling, no facebooking, certainly not until the current boss is made to know the plans as I see them.  I feel shitty because I’m enforcing this boundary of addressing my needs rather than martyring myself – the usual act of comfort.  I also feel shitty because this is a new schedule change I have to adjust to, a new place I need to make sure I’m giving energy and attention.

Overall, though.  This is good.

As A Painted Ship On A Painted Ocean: Day Two Hundred Seventy-Two

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Oh, well, somehow, someone told the new editor to get itself a word counter at the bottom and with that I’m perfectly happy to use it.

Here we are, it’s Saturday, doing our damndest just to stay calm despite all the caffeine I’ve drunk. Today has really thrown me.   After an odd dream, a dream that verged on lucidity and featured one of the recent cache of lovelies, I woke up in a daze. The dream boy is a boy who’s at least talked to me, and has been mentioned in this blog before, even (going back a year) and who has been around recently, not promising at all by rational folk, but those of us who traffic in dream speak and dream plans, found a great deal in our interactions to generate an imaginary passion. Is that a polite way of putting it?  Or am I too vague?  On the way to work, a panic, intense, but then corrected, ignored.

Once I arrived at work, sunglasses on and coffee in hand, there he was, enlisted by current boss to rearrange her office.  My. Community Service and another volunteer were engaging in the strenuous pursuits of hauling desks and chairs and filing cabinets cheerfully and they worked around me while I listened and tried to both reinvent and stay well away from the activity the dream described.

It did, of course, completely fuck up my attempt to organize my own workspace, to focus on anything at all.

I hurried back to fix my makeup in the restroom (to little avail) and then I slid in the small space left for me to reach my desk.  And again, without a moment to plan or premeditate, there was a moment of brief, but intense eye contact.  Just a bit longer than I could acceptably allow myself to question whether or not it was anything, just enough for everything to flutter like we both felt a cool breeze at the same moment, and start to smile, sheepishly, before I realized I couldn’t possibly let him believe I thought it was acceptable for me to try and flirt with him.  Me, such as I am.  He said my name, lightheartedly without having to be reminded of it, and said I was next. For rearrangement.  I said, oh, sure, eventually…and turned back to my computer. and back to watching and listening and not doing anything about anything.  Feeling oddly envious of my pretty, good-natured boss who could ask these men to do this work and talk to them without feeling as though anything gilded the words, to get to be with him and just be.  To be able to spend long enough in waking life to justify last night’s activity in Queen Mab’s realm.

But the laundry is getting done, even if it means that I’m getting home late and I have a huge swathe of work to do and if I can get my mind in order, the capacity to do it.   A little sleep, a little pain, and straight back up to start again.

Miao: Day Two Hundred Sixty-Six

301949_4414Did you think I died?  I think at various points today I was sure I would, or had, and what existence followed was merely an aftereffect as the brain processed out its final synaptic flashes.  But, I think I must be fair and say that I did survive telling my boss I was quitting.

I was calm enough on the way in.  Not quite sure of how or what, but I knew this is the day that all of this pent-up worry and emotion would be released.   But that was the problem.  Boss asked if we wanted to meet right away, so I grabbed my letter and went into her office and shut the door.  I stood, if not tearfully, than obviously with great emotion, at her desk and told her that I hadn’t had to do this before so if it was possible, could she just read the letter?  I sat down as she read it, and as is the nature with over-worriers, she confounded me by telling me first that she was just glad I wasn’t sick and that she was so proud of me.   She was, as is her way, so capable of effusing this warmth that you want to question or find saccharine or about putting a front, but you realize, as it washes over you, is completely genuine.  She insisted there would be a party.  She talked about the calendar and let me know that I mattered enough to her that this wasn’t perfunctory.  It was a really positive experience.

But then, she asked me to keep this under my hat until the board could be notified and with her schedule, that meant, I couldn’t tell the co-workers or post on facebook or tell the volunteers out front.  So it, essentially, didn’t feel real.  I went to lunch with the coworker and her husband and groused about work angst as would be usual, but it remained lodged in my gorge.

Finally, afterwards, the drink I setup with two colleagues (scheduled when I thought I would be free to discuss my departure with the whole world) turned into dinner and I told them what was going to happen and again, they responded with a kind, unselfish desire to see me do well.  I love them so terribly much.  There were hugs and memories passed around, and still, it feels private, impossible, unreal.  That moment before the Wile E. Coyote realizes he’s going to fall extended indefinitely.  I keep waiting for a meltdown.  A sobbing episode.  I mean, to me, this is a moment that warrants it.   But I just….I can’t.  I can’t believe it.  I can’t feel it fully even though my heart and spine and soul are starting to itch for want of acknowledgement of this breakup, this loss, this ending.

I have been too cool.  I must be feeling something because when it gets profoundly quiet, on the ride home in the dark with a sky flashing erratically with heat lightning, despite no cars being behind me, I feel my heart start to race and panic and I smite my forehead and guide the car through the intersection and wait in the nearby gas station parking lot until it passes, the tremulous feeling leaves my hands. Not worried, per se, because it does and my sister’s offered to get me frozen yogurt at the other end in celebration of what feels so damn anti-climactic.  I drive off, ignoring the interruption because I have a strength which supercedes it.

You really are the only person that can glorify your own life.  Steer the boat, whatever the fuck you want to call it.  Tomorrow, we’ll tap the glass with the hammer once again.