Monday, 12 August 2013

a lot to read about me

Literally shoe gazing, with that last picture. But honestly do you ever stop and have a look at yourself and go "this is me"?

This is who I am today.

I am a thirty year old woman with two kids in the house, helping pay off a mortgage off in a nice neighborhood where I know people's pets' names. I do dishes and laundry and grocery shopping. I worry about what the teenager will look at on the internet and whether the littler guy will make friends at his new school this year and bullies and grades. I wave at the neighbors as they drive past.

 I am in the kind of relationship where there is never a need to feel insecure, where we both feel like we're the ones reaching up and the other is out of our league. There is love and communication and fire between us. This is the best relationship I have ever been in. And that is such an understatement. I never knew what trust felt like before this. Or caring. I was so selfish before, and also so blind to how poorly I had been treated in the past. I feel lucky every day and I feel like I do a lot of the things I do for him, somehow.

I'm a pet owner servant. We all go out of our way to make sure Tank gets pets, brushes, nose-fold cleaning, walks, tail cleaning, the right food, nails clipped, ears cleaned, no skin infections, not overheating all the time in the summer ... bulldogs are a lot of work in case you didn't know. 

I'm someone who makes very little money and the bus is my primary means of transportation, with walking as a close second. I cannot afford to eat out very often or go for drinks when my friends come to visit or buy new socks or underwear the same week as they get holes in them. I rely on tax rebates and subsidized health care to get by. My student loan payments are between 1/3 and 1/2 of my monthly earnings depending on the month, and that's the minimum payment they will accept. I cannot afford to get my painful wisdom teeth out. I have two jobs.

I have a credit score and bank accounts and gadgets and a shiny fancy semi-expensive laptop. I sleep in a California King sized bed and live in a house with a shiny new oven and a giant TV. I have been on an airplane numerous times. I have a pure bred Old English Bulldog. According to world living standards I am probably in the top ten (or even less) percent. Our house has two bathrooms. 

I am formally educated with a degree in Hispanic studies. I have had the opportunity to go to university in a foreign country twice. I used to be able to write thoughtful prose in Spanish and speak well enough to have nearly any meaning understood, but lately I have not given any effort to maintaining the language, and have lost a lot of it as a result. I am disappointed in myself for this.

I can't drive a standard transmission car. I have no idea how to shingle a roof or survive in the wilderness or change a car tire. I would probably need the instruction booklet to set up a tent. I am too embarrassed to ask people to teach me this type of life skills because I feel like they will judge me for being "an ignorant woman" or "too old to not know that". I was a city kid with little experience with these things, and then a rich kid who would just pay someone to take care of it. I didn't understand that bigger, easier and more expensive doesn't always mean the same as "better" until my mid-twenties.

I enjoy learning new facts and concepts, watching nature-based documentaries and writing. I wear glasses. I would rather read a book than socialize with people. I'm not afraid to tackle heavy literature or scientific articles, and I can usually understand them. Ninety nine percent of the time I will spot a spelling error immediately. I take pleasure in people underestimating my intellect because of the way I look, I think it's funny.

I watch reality TV and cartoons. I especially love So You Think You Can Dance, Adventure Time, The Simpsons and Master Chef.  I read YA novels and other easy reads before bed, and sometimes get into them more than any gorgeous Hemmingway prose could ever engage me. I feel like people who don't own a TV and only read classics are missing out on a huge part of today's culture.

I am not interested in sports but will watch a hockey game if I have to. In junior high I played on a baseball team* but only because my parents forced us all to pick one sport a year and play it. At sixteen years old the game became way too competitive and I begged them to let me quit. I was already failing at left field, and I think they could see that so they said yes.

I enjoy exercising. I own four sports bras and two pairs of ADIDAS shorts. I have a gym membership but my attendance is spotty. I use working out as a fun activity and sometimes a mood booster. It's something to do when I'm bored or frustrated. I have no specific athletic goals. I do what feels good.

I am a casual beer, cider and wine drinker. I worry about the times when I'm feeling too hot or too stressed out and my immediate reaction is to think "I could use a drink right now".  Addiction scares me. I won't take sleeping pills or let myself enjoy any type of drug, with the exception of caffeine, to the extreme. I have experience dealing with people with addictions and I think I have learned a lot from that. Luckily I never tried heroin like a lot of my friends in high school, but I did learn a lot of lessons from their mistakes. 

Almost all of my favorite music falls in the metal and hard-core based genres. I have around 150 hours worth of tattoos on my body. I like wearing black t-shirts and patches and necklaces that look like teeth but I am an adult lady and only wear things like that occasionally. People frown at me in the streets no matter how much I smile at them unless I'm walking the dog. I dread summertime every year because I have to readjust to the difference in strangers' attitudes when I'm wearing shorts and t-shirts. And to being called "THAT" as opposed to "her". As in "look at THAT".

I have social anxiety and get panic attacks very easily. They are mild but very real. More times than I could count I have had trouble breathing while in a crowded area where I imagine people are looking at me. Public speaking is the worst. I nearly always lose vision, the world turns grey around the edges and I cannot think, for the ringing in my ears drowns out my thoughts. This includes casually talking to a group of three or more friends. I am unsurprisingly very introverted and enjoy long stretches of time completely alone. If I am around people too much I can't collect my thoughts and I act very spaced out and dumb, and I get frustrated easily.

I am good at customer service because I know the key to it. I listen to what the customer is saying. I am very good at reading body language and social cues. I am not pushy and know when to back off and when to do small talk and when to do business talk. I try to keep it light and always moving forward. I say yes, yeah, mmhmm, okay, and nod a lot. Even when delivering disappointing news I will try and spin it positively, like "That won't work but what I can do is ... bla bla bla". That's basically all it takes. Add a well placed smile and a bit of enthusiasm and you're golden.

I live in the world outside wearing a bitchface. I hate talking to people, especially strangers. I will be rude if somebody tries to strike up a conversation with me and won't stop after I make it clear I am not interested. I walk away or place a physical barrier between myself and somebody I'm sure is about to talk to me. 99% of the time it's about my tattoos and believe me, it's a total bore and I don't want to. I believe that a conversation should include two or more equally willing participants. If you're trying to force yourself into my day and I don't want you to, I will leave.

I own a curling iron and makeup. I wear dresses and girly shoes and think about whether or not the waistline looks slimming. I worry about body fat and skin care. I get jealous when internet ladies call my man "sweetheart". I admire other ladies' manicures. Sometimes I wish I felt prettier or had nicer clothes. Sometimes I feel inadequate or unfeminine.

I am gross. I get smelly feet really easily and sweat through any t-shirt with tight arm holes in under ten minutes. I kind of like the smell of wet dog, I like watching spiders as they wrap up their prey. The other day I laughed for like ten minutes while watching An Idiot Abroad because a cobra farted

I am a total germophobe. I have to wash my hands after riding the bus. You better not cough near me without covering your mouth with the crook of your elbow not your hands. The thought of snot makes me want to vomit.

I am an animal loving, tofu eating vegetarian. I feel upset when a vegan kills a spider just for being somewhere they don't want it. I passive aggressively say "baby cow" when someone says veal, and "corpse necklace" when someone drapes a fur over their shoulders. One day I just had a thought that I cannot shake. What makes a human life more important than any animal? What is the difference between that spark behind our eyes and the sparks behind spiders' and lions' and dogs' eyes? I cannot understand how people skinning animals alive can live with themselves.

I haven't found a religion I can believe in. I don't know if I'm agnostic or just searching because a part of me wants to fill that spiritual void with something concrete. Nothing makes sense to me other than "be kind". The whole idea of some dude somewhere creating flawed humans and then punishing them for doing what comes natural just seems ridiculous. Moments after my brother died we went into a chapel in the hospital and listened to a man say prayers like the "yea I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" one and he lit a candle. It did nothing for me. I just thought "hey this is a kind of morbid thing to say to a bunch of kids whose brother just died" and "when will this be over?". He then opened up the floor to us and we were just like "yeah thanks, we're going home now I guess," so I don't know if it really did anything for anybody who was there.

I am bad at making things but I love making things, which is absolutely frustrating. I haven't got the patience for something painstaking, I can hardly get through a friendship bracelet without losing my mind. I have no talent in drawing but don't know if I want to go through the steps to learn. I enjoy painting but suck at it and don't really know how to do it. Writing and photography are the two things I find the easiest, but I still haven't got the foggiest clue how to do either of them at a professional non-mediocre level. It's all about taking the time to learn but maybe I just need a teacher. I can't teach myself shit.

I am harassed in the streets a lot. Shouted at, sexual things said to me, people grabbing me.  I don't know if its because I walk around quite a bit without a chaperone or something, or if it's something to do with the way I look or what. I do fear for my safety at night and in isolated areas. I sometimes carry a big knife although I'm not sure I'd know what to do with it if a situation arose. My heart races when I have to pass any man leaning up against a building or standing in a doorway because of something that happened eight years ago. They don't know they are scaring the shit out of me but they are. I hate that I still have that reaction.

I have a foot injury that prevents me from running and jumping. I also cannot stand still on hard surfaces because of it. Sometimes it hurts to stand at all. This affects my self esteem and productivity. I try to play it off like it's a blessing in disguise, like "now I can sit around all weekend and watch TV" but it's always then that I feel the most antsy. Just knowing I can't do anything is the worst.

I am lazy. I wish I could say I am in firm control of myself and my life but in all honesty I have a caffeine addiction and I don't care enough to create and pursue any specific goals. There are a few vague floaty dreams I have that I could reach out and grasp, flesh out and force into being with a little blood, sweat and tears, but I haven't found the guts or the will. I haven't found the courage either, I suppose. It all feels so big and unattainable that I give up before I start.

I feel ashamed that I write a blog and use social media. It seems very narcissistic at times, this post especially feels that way. I hear people say they don't use twitter because "isn't it just a status update anyway? ___ is watching tv, ___ is walking to the bathroom, ___ is taking a dump, who cares?" And I agree with that, I do not care about those things. Telling the world your every movement is a strange new phenomenon that makes no sense. But I do it. A lot.

I feel proud that I write a blog and use social media. I have made friends all over the world. And it's not in the 1995 internet predator sad nerd friendship that I think some of the more disconnected people may imagine. Online friends are just people who are easier to meet and keep up with for those of us who hate small talk and making acquaintances. If I don't like you I just stop following and its over.

I feel grateful that I write a blog and use social media. I have a record of all the small moments of my life with all the feelings that went with them. All the thoughts that usually disappear, but I have them firmly there, a record of my life with photos to accompany each item.

People are contradictions to say the least. And who are you?

* My baseball team was named "the A&W rootbears", isn't that cute?

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