Sunday, December 30, 2012

let the quest begin

The 2nd to last day of 2012. I slept in. I learned a new stretch from an exercise video. I went to the gym (many attractive gay men there today). I took a hot shower and it felt good. I decided to apply to 5 PhD programs (been flipping back and forth on it for months). I stumbled across an old Boyz II Men song on my laptop called "Doin Just Fine." It's unmistakably 90s, but when I used to listen to it, I was too young to know about relationships. Today it was like hearing the song for the first time. 2013 mini-goal: to get to the point of view the song expresses.

It's resolution time. Usually I'm like everyone else - I vow to work out more. But (for the first time since high school) I already work out. I even dress well; I get clothing compliments from strangers. I like that women compliment each other - it's unifying. Anyway, this year I resolve to find out what I want.
Let the quest begin.
Back story: I was shy in grade school. Part of the reason was that as the oldest kid, I was used to taking care of other kids and bossing them around. That doesn't make you many friends, so I did the opposite and shut-up all the time. Another part of the reason was that I was raised on military bases, which aren't conducive to lasting friendships. I also hated confrontation. Kids are all about confronting something or another - other kids, bugs, dirt, you know. And when we moved to mostly white Rhode Island, that's when the shyness from being different started. We moved again and my high school was more diverse, but I was in honors classes, which meant I was usually the only black kid. If you're not an outspoken only black kid, there you are - your own circle of quiet in the middle of the room.

So with one exception, I didn't make any real friends until college. I credit the boy in the dorm next door for helping me open up. He was the first person who said, "You're so loud!" I haven't seen him in years, but I can still see his face when he said it. He was leaning away from me a little and laughing. I love that kid.

Now that I'm adultish, I'm still your stereotypical Libra. I want balance everywhere. In social situations, I want everyone else to be happy and then I think about myself. This makes me a great party planner. This often results in me not even knowing what I want because I've never thought much about it. So in 2013, I'll explore. What's my favorite drink when I go to a bar? Do I have enough patience to waitress part-time? Baby steps.

Happy new year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

mirror mirror

(Today anyway) I accept the fact that I'm in an in-between stage of life when I'm more unemployed than employed, more sad than happy, and apparently inclined to write poetry. I used to be more of a novel girl, which evolved to short stories, and now I keep fiddling with this poem. It's based on an image I see while running, and inspired by Jack Gilbert's "Rain." Some of the most fun shit I've written has been inspired by my experiences alone in nature, but I don't know anything about the act of writing poetry. I mean, I've studied writing it and reading it on an intellectual level, and I've done it before, but it felt like pretending to be a poet. This also feels like pretending, but I'll write the same poem until it feels like something else. I don't need to identify as a poet to write a poem.

I'm sipping on coconut chai tea and reveling in the new exercise clothes I got today. For Christmas, Mom got me four pairs of workout pants, but 2 were yoga pants, so I exchanged them for running tights and a teal sports bra. I also got gas (went up 10¢ - ouch!), and covertly stared at myself in the store's floor length mirrors. Tell me I'm not the only one who does that. Why was the active wear section full of yoga pants? I don't know one woman who does yoga.
Mirror mirror, on the wall, watch me strut up and down the hall.
I ran yesterday in the cold, but fully bundled up. Still forgot to bring a tissue. I wound up blowing my nose on  a biodegradable doggie pooper-scooper bag from a stand in the park (My finest hour?).  Running in the cold is demoralizing because I'm so freaking slow. It now takes me 50 minutes to go 4 miles. I think I need to go to the gym instead tomorrow. I like when the machines lie to me and tell me I've burned 700 calories in one hour.

A low-ish day on the roller coaster. I may have teared up at an old Avril Lavigne song on the radio, but it might have been Michelle Branch. I shake my head at me. Still having unsettling dreams about being in grade school or about lots of (various) bugs, all of them after me.

Monday, December 24, 2012

saw clouds, saw the moon

Well I'm calmer than yesterday. I'm still upset. Why can't I just get over it? That's what I'm most upset about. Why can't I just get over it? People get over things all the time, so why can't I? This is ridiculous. How much longer do I have to go on keeping busy in order to not think, only to immediately start thinking the second I get some downtime? I don't talk about this, because I think that makes it worse and I'd be sick of me if I was my friend. I'm abstract today.

Trekked around in fresh snow with sissy and the dog. Saw clouds, saw the moon. I love how light the night is when the land is coated in snow. I tracked deer prints. Everyone's home for Christmas.

When I run outside, it's like I'm made of snot. I usually forget to bring tissues. I keep cussing because the wind hurts. I think it tries to kill me. My pace slows as I hunch my shoulders to fight off the cold - bad form.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

text conversation

I'm weak. Saturday morning before a run, I texted Bud about carpooling with B to a Christmas party, and he had to work and couldn't go, which I expected. But we actually had a conversation. Well, a text conversation. And I remembered (again) that I like him as a person; for the first time in months, I actually laughed because of something that he said. The only laughing I've done about him has been slightly bitter. But this just surprised me, a genuine laugh. At the time I was like, cool, this is good, this is closure.

The previous Friday night and Saturday night I went out and the conversation eventually turned to relationships and dating, and everyone else has so much more experience, and seems so confident. It made me think, hey, I can handle a texting conversation with an ex. So the above texting conversation happened. But now all day I keep thinking about him, even though I know nothing - absolutely nothing - will happen.

The only good thing is that all this relationship saturation (starting from when I was in San Francisco) has told me a lot about what I can take and leave in a man. I'm going to have to go with the Adele song "Someone Like You," because Bud is the type of man that works for me. I don't have to dumb myself down or talk myself up. I'm not too smart. Let me tell you, I have scared many a man off because I'm "too smart." It's stupid. I also happen to be black, but raised on military bases, so I'm not black enough for the average black person. Yes, that so-called AAVE (African-American Vernacular English), I can't speak it. I understand it, but I can't say it back. Just like Spanish. That creates an immediate distance between me and black men. Yet the fact that I'm black creates a distance between me and men of other races.

Last night, my friend's brother was saying, don't even go looking for a man. One will find you. I didn't go looking for Bud- we got to talking and he asked me out. I wasn't sure about him, but I trusted him, so I said yes and it went on from there. But that doesn't happen often. Since we broke up, I get tired of waiting, but at the same time I apparently can't handle dealing with some other guy if texting Bud breeds tears, angst-inspired running, and weird dreams about still being in school. God, help.
In the meantime, I'm cleaning the bathroom. The shelves were cluttered with all this crap no one's used in years. So many spider webs. Floor scrubbing is next.

Friday, December 21, 2012

something i have never done before

The world didn't end; there was no longer any way I could avoid Christmas shopping. I went to 6 stores, 1 mall, and the post office, but it's done, it's done, it's really done. I also finally donated two bags of clothes to the Goodwill that sat in my car for 2 weeks, waiting for me to deliver them to their new home. I thank you clothes, for your patience.

I am now off to do something I have never done before in my entire life - eat at Olive Garden. Chain restaurants aren't as fun as little family-owned ones, but it's fricking cold outside and all the family-owned ones force me to walk far. I will gladly run around in the woods in 30 degree weather, but don't ask me to walk.

I'm still alive. That's the chorus of the below song by Big Bang, aka the only k-pop group I actually like.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

the cold

I saw a newscaster on television who got the lucky task of covering the festivities celebrating the end of the Mayan calendar in sunny Mexico. He said about 70-80% of the tourists were there to party. Hope he enjoys himself, because I would. Sun and warm weather sounds so good. I'm so ready for the winter solstice. These short days are hard, the nights too long. Some nights I try to pick out constellations like Orion and Cassiopeia, but the cold mostly keeps me inside.
when I see stars, that's all they are (fun.)
Tomorrow I'm going to go out early and finish Christmas shopping. I don't want to stand in lines this weekend. Speaking of giving, I love sending out cards. I'm a card snob. Last year I bought fabulous Winnie the Pooh ones and wrote little messages. No money for expensive cards, so this year my sissy gave me some. Beggars can't be choosers, but low card scores for me this year. Maybe not as low as the one that appeared on our garbage cans, which was signed from the thrashman (last year it was the tashman). I really should forgive that, because what point is there in holding someone's spelling mistakes against them?

I love my blue drop waist dress from Urban Outfitters; I only wish it had long-sleeves. Not sure if I can winterize it without suffering. I'll experiment tomorrow. The weather forecast for Saturday is windy. Wind in the winter is no wind in the willows; it makes me cry.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


You  know how when it's close to sunset and you look out across a lake and you're blinded by the glare of the light on the water? And how all along the lake, you have to shade your eyes and the sun creates a sheet of white that hurts your eyes? 

Well the thing is that the blinding light must actually go across the whole surface of the water, but you only catch the one angle. Imagine if you could stand on the shore and see the whole lake shining all at once. You wouldn't be able to really look at it b/c it's so bright, but it bugs me that I can't see what's really there. I think there's a story in here somewhere.

Yesterday, I met an amateur historian. He lives in a 240+ year old house that's haunted and he's seen ghosts all around the township where my parents live. One of his daughters saw the ghost of a man who died in a hunting accident near the township building. I asked him if he's seen a ghost in my park, but he said not on the trails, only in the historic mansion. Since I never go inside there, I'm fine with it. But of course today as I was running, I thought about ghosts popping up on the trail in front of me and what I would do if that happened. Of course I saw nothing but trees, leaves, horse shit, and park employees - I didn't even see any deer. I also don't want to see a ghost or hear a ghost or feel a ghost, and I think if you don't want something or believe in it, a lot of times, you don't get it. Think The Skeleton Key - voodoo can't affect you unless you believe it can.
This could be me, not that I jog in a dress.
While running, I thought about the above-mentioned shining lake, how I need to stop eating Fiber One brownies, how Bud won't go to that mutual friend's Christmas party (which saves me a lot of trouble), how 3 out of 4 of my close friends from undergrad are going to be Dr.s, how I keep secrets by spilling only to people totally unconnected to the secret (or to my mom), and about whether I can justify buying new shoes to go with the dress I'm wearing to Christmas parties this year, despite the fact that I still have a dozen Christmas presents to buy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

if i want anything

If I want anything these days, it's peace. Not world peace, I'm talking me peace. A lot of what turned me into a runner this year is the fact that running does more for my mind than my body. And while I have an unhealthy obsession with weighing myself, I don't run because I want to drop another pants size. I run to feel the determination that goes through me when I get out of the car and walk towards the hill at the start of my park run. I run to hit that wall so I can keep going until my whole body settles into an easy rhythm. I run so I can be alone in the woods in the winter and the spring and the summer and the fall. Then, I know the world and myself like I don't anywhere else these days. I depend on it.

If I'd had these worries before, I would have started running earlier. But there are only so many hours I can spend running through the woods. This is the first time in life I've lacked peace. It startles me every day. I keep waiting for it to go away, or come back. I keep reading novels and short stories and giving myself tasks and applying for school and applying for work and making lists. But there's always some moment when my mind isn't occupied and then all those tasks were for nothing. And here I thought the melo teenage years were behind me.
Is anyone else ever terrified of finding a body? TV has ruined  me.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

today's dusk is an odd blue light

When I went to San Francisco, I forgot my contacts. It's a relief to put them in and see my face again. Don't know what it says about me that I feels like glasses block my face more than makeup ever could. Now when I look in the mirror, there I am. I'm relieved. Contacts are a miracle.

Went to my grandmother's church this morning. I don't usually, but she wanted the family to light the advent candles. We are the slackers who show up a half hour late. It bothered me when I was younger, but now I'm more c'est la vie. And now church is calming. It's a relief to think about something other than myself.

Revelation: There's a reason church choirs repeat the same line over and over during a song. The first few times, I concentrate on knowing the words. Then, I get comfortable. The next few times, I'm so bored that I begin to evaluate whether I mean the phrase I'm singing. The (hopefully) last few times I either mean it, or descend into a half-conscious haze. Without the monotony of repetition, I'd never think about the lyrics.

Ran in the park. The woods are beautiful in the winter with no leaves. It was an overcast day when the light at 11am is the same as the light at 2pm and at 4pm. And dusk is an odd blue light that lasts mere minutes.
Looks like magic.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

firsts, it's good to be back

Back from Oakland. Spent 12 hours traveling:
First red-eye flight.
First delayed flight (we sat, plane fully loaded, on the runway for an hour and 45mins).
First mad dash though ATL to make a connecting flight.
First time truly not minding landing/taking off.
I'm glad I always tie a ribbon around the handle of the luggage case, because they all look the same.

It's good to be back.
My photo of the twisty street in SanFran, aka Lombard St.
People actually live on it.
Going to see the midnight premiere of The Hobbit with both my sissies, even if it's freezing and I'm jet-lagged, because we're all LOTR nerds. Can I get an Elijah Wood sighting?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

yellow a terrible amber

I took the GREs. So glad that's done. I was worried about getting lost on the way, but when I got off at the Conshohocken exit, I realized I'd been there before- summer 2011. I channeled my Frodo voice to mock his statement from the first LOTR movie- We've been here before! Yes, I have an irrational love for Elijah Wood. Fates that be, can we hang out one day (soon)?
I promise, he's tiny and interesting. Taller than me, so we're good. IMDb says he's 5'6 people.
Last post, I admitted that I'm petty. So of course I have a burning desire to know what Bud's scores were so I can be sure that I beat them. I'm pretty smart (but so is he), and I tutored SATs for 2 years (secret - same test), so there's a good chance I beat him. Why am I so petty? Ergh.

Here's a poem that I love:

Suddenly this defeat.
This rain.
The blues gone gray
and yellow
a terrible amber.
In the cold streets
your warm body.
Among all the people
your absence.
The people who are always
not you.

I have been easy with trees
too long.
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
this rain.

--Jack Gilbert, Rain

That last stanza is me. For the past ... 3 years I was lalala life and nature; I hugged trees, I hiked, walks in the woods proved God to me again and again. Granted, I still do all those things, but the Bud thing made me refocus. Or made me realize that I was here with the rest of ya'll all along, that I have no hope of escape from all the bad and the mediocre, that joy comes from other people too, not just nature and solitude. So yeah, I can't be a writer yet, because I only know how to write and retreat. I'm so bad at multi-tasking because I forget I'm doing it, sinking into one passion to the exclusion of my other selves.

And how fantastic is poetry? I'm pretty sure Jack Gilbert is an old white guy who wrote this in the 1980s, but he knew how I'd feel decades later, because he felt it then. Miracle.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

waiting for outlier status

I was so frustrated at my part-time job today that I wanted to cry. The only thing that stopped me from dissolving into spiteful self-pitying tears was the fact that I was surrounded by middle-aged men in cubicles. Luckily, right at the moment when I started whining and swearing at the computer, I solved the problem. Yay me?  Sissy says I should ask for some Midol and a Snickers. <--White Chicks reference. Now there's a movie that's so bad I watched it over and over again. My siblings and I now know the actor's lines better than the scriptwriter ever did. Other movies I enjoy include Major Payne, The Mummy Returns, Pride & Prejudice (2005), and the first LOTR. Judge away.
No one will admit to being this person.
I tried to force myself to crush on the temp job guy. Alas, I merely think he's funny and that we should be friends. Why is there no one I'm interested in? I also tried to force myself to crush on this guy who works at my gym, but I run outside mostly so I barely see him. At this point, I'm still more interested in Bud than anyone else, although that's just because I'm not interested in anyone. Don't worry - I accept the fact that Bud won't get over his ex for at least the next 2 years, ironically she is over him and won't take him back. (I think she's stuck on some other guy from before/during him.) That's not even a love polygon. It's just a line. A line I want out of. Waiting for outlier status. It's gotten better, so as long as time keeps doing it's job, I'm set. I confess that I'm super-siked for my friend's Christmas party b/c I'm going to look hot. I don't know if Bud's going, but I want him to so I can look better than him. The dude has no fashion sense; if he would only buy clothes that fit, he could go up like 2 points on the 1-10 hotness scale. Anyway, I'm petty, like that. But I'm trying not to build up this party in my head b/c I won't enjoy it for all the great people who'll be there.
Party, party, party, let's all get...
Does anyone else find themselves defending their ex to other people? Yes, I want other people to criticize any ex of mine because I'm awesome, so obviously there's something wrong with them, but I always feel like if I jump on the negativity bandwagon it could spiral out of control. So I defend.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

rabbits, rabbits, rabbits

I forgot to say rabbits, rabbits, rabbits this morning. I usually forget, but today is the first time I stepped in (cleverly) hidden horse poop on my run. I blame the leaves. Today I ran with my phone and used an app to see how far I really go- 3.5 miles. If I add on the extra hill challenge in the end, then 4.0 miles. To save my knees, I walk the downhills (I'm such a granny). Poop aside, I love trail running. I've run in that park over 100 times since April and never once did I step in horse poo until today.
Because animals kissing doubles the cute.
Ask and thou shalt receive. I'm now losing 2 games in that word game you play with your friends. One game, I have no hope of winning. The second, I could still come back.

I take the GREs on Wednesday. Mleh. I'm flying to visit friends in Oakland for about a week on Thursday. What clothes do I pack? I must run once while there to stay in shape. They're foodies.