Aging Family Ties

Lately I’ve been pretty consumed by driving back and forth from Winston to Rutherfordton (and a few trips to Auburn in between). I’ve been cleaning out my grandmother’s house for my mom, because my grandmother has gone into a nursing home and will never live there  again. My parents own the house because of legal arrangements made before my grandfather died 11 years ago.

So, the nursing home arrangement has resulted in a family response that is almost like dealing with a death in the family. Simply because my grandmother’s life in that house is over now, and now my parents are left with the reality of processing the remnants physically. And its fate remains undetermined at this point, although we, as a family, bat around a lot of ideas — renting, selling, remodeling, etc.

It’s been very hard on my mom, as it basically means the dissolution of her childhood home. She has cried a lot, seeing a lot of memories vanish out the door into a truck bound for Goodwill, rooms empty out, and her childhood swept clean. She is the first generation in her family to put anyone in a nursing home. When she was growing up, she never had to go through any type of situation like this, because when a great-grandparent or grandparent became infirm, they came to live with their children, in the family home. She grew up with multiple generations living in a house at a time, as did her parents and grandparents. I don’t know if it was because of a lack of facilities at those times, or a lack of money for paying for said facilities, or a deep-rooted idea that family was to care for family until their dying day in whatever way possible. Whichever reason, that’s just the way things were back then.

My parents married during a recessed economy much like the one we have now, and they lived with my grandparents for a time until they were able to purchase a house cheaply from my great-grandfather, Phin. Phin also lived in my grandparents’ house for the last years of his life, after my parents had married and had a child. He died when I was eight, still living with my grandparents. He never lived in a nursing home or facility. He never lost his mind, either.

There has been familial and other opposition to my mother’s decision to seek professional care for my grandmother. But there is no way either of them would have been able to tolerate living in the same house at this point. And what we’ve all seen since she has moved is that she is much better off in terms of personal safety. Before, when she lived alone, she fell twice, and was not able to take care of normal household maintenance in the way she needed to. Since moving, she’s fallen once and reluctantly uses a walker now. She also spends most days staring out the window in her room, going to bed at 2:00 pm, and declining to participate in any of the social activities provided by the home where she lives now.

It’s not a typical nursing home. It doesn’t smell of urine and despondency. It’s more active than most, more upbeat. There is a live-in dog who makes the rounds visiting and getting love. He is a brindle boxer named Sam. My grandmother calls him Sam-Bo. She tries to introduce us to him every time we visit as if we’ve never seen him before. And she calls to her neighbors passing in the hall, as if this is the first visit, the first opportunity to show off her family. Every visit is like the first visit. Her mind doesn’t retain recent events. She lives internally. She often mentions people who died before I was born, as if I ought to know them. She doesn’t care about making friends or taking part in Everybody Wins Bingo or Banana Split Night or painting Christmas stockings. She doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, as far as anyone can tell. Just dementia. But she has forgotten a lot. And it makes me wonder if that is just what happens.

I keep scrapbooks. I save movie ticket stubs, concert programs, pictures, thank you notes, invitations even to events I don’t attend, any kind of physical reminder of the life I have lived. I do this mainly because I envision a time when I will be in a place like where my grandmother lives now, when I will want to reflect on younger, happier times. The times when I was able to go and do and live. I imagine wanting to pore over those albums, touching ticket stubs and remembering wonderful times I had when I was young, boys I kissed, and trips I took. But my grandmother has no desire for those things, because they are happening in her mind all the time, and she doesn’t need the physical reminders. It’s as if, with time, she regresses farther into the past. I’m not sure this is a bad thing. To want to reflect on young, vibrant years. I imagine I will do the same, while fingering my scrapbooks.

What’s concerning about it is her tendency to discard recent years and recent memories for old ones. Her focus on the distant past has clouded her memory of the recent past. She didn’t know one of my cousins at Christmas Eve until after two explanations. This person married into my family when I was nine. But to my grandmother’s physiology, that’s too recent to merit memory cells. She has introduced me to my own cousins I’ve known since birth, as if we were new acquaintances. She has, at least once, questioned my mother’s explanation of how the two of them are related. How does the brain  become so clouded that someone wouldn’t recognize their own child? How is this evolutionarily beneficial? Is it the brain’s method of severing ties to earthly concerns as a person nears death? Is it allowing them to let go, like the first step in the exit-journey, when they have all but forgotten what ties they still have to an earthly existence? Is it the blessing of old age? Because younger people with terminal illness don’t receive the same “luxury.” They know who is at their bedside, and who they are leaving behind.

What concerns me most is that I don’t know which is better. The situation has made my family have a lot of conversations about death and end-of-life experiences. I know now that both my parents would prefer to be cremated, and that they do not want extraordinary life-saving measures performed on them. Even if I don’t have power of attorney over such things yet, because both are still in good health, these are good things to know. Good things to talk about, however unlikely it seems that it will be relevant any time soon.

I know I want to be cremated, although I don’t think I expressed that to them. I’d like my ashes scattered into some body of water. Whether lake, ocean, or creek, it doesn’t matter to me. I feel equally at home at all of those places. But water is where I feel most naturally calm and peaceful. So if y’all don’t want me haunting your asses, you better dump my silt into some beautiful watery place for all eternity! LOL! I think my spirit would feel trapped if interred either bodily or ashily in one permanent spot.

I’m a wanderer, so I’m probably gonna wander between dimensions after death as much as possible. Don’t be surprised if I show up again on this side now and again. And if there is any way to communicate from the other side, you can bet I’m gonna be seeking out John Edward or whoever in hopes of getting a message across. You know how I am about imparting information.

With all the departed spirits who have connections to my grandmother’s house, the only ones I felt strongly while working there were my grandfather and great-grandfather. My great-grandfather, Phin — pretty sure he was looking over my shoulder while I was cleaning out his dresser in the bedroom he lived during the last years of his life. I found his old harmonica, some brass knuckles, and legal papers. Among other things. But I’ve never felt so plainly like someone was in the room with me, standing behind me, watching me. At one point, I said out loud, “Don’t worry, Grandpa, I’m not getting rid of anything good!” After that point, it eased.

I felt my grandfather more when going through household things, like a bottom shelf of tile and primer, or an old china cup full of dusty nails and screws, rather than his cherished belongings. Since he died 11 years ago, there wasn’t that much of his left, but I did save a bottle of his aftershave, which I think is no longer in production, and which is probably why my grandmother had kept it in his shaving cabinet for so many years. It is amazing how one whiff of something like that can absolutely flood your senses with memories that seem so much more concrete than what you had tried to hazily conjure after a length of time. I found one of his favorite belts with buckle that I’ve adopted as my own. A worn brown leather belt with a large brass buckle that reads, “Old truckers never die, they just get a new Peterbilt.” I’m wearing it now. 🙂 That, and his WWII dog tags are all I have from him. But I think of him every time I see a neatly kept red tip bush, or a particularly pretty bird hanging out near me or a hawk gliding overhead like it’s checking me out. He loved birds, particularly hawks. I saw a red-tailed hawk fly over the house the last time I was down there, surveying the domain. Maybe reassuring me that this is all perfectly okay. What is supposed to happen will happen. We are always exactly where we are meant to be in this moment.


Good Song: Beautiful

This song hits home for me in a lot of ways. I feel close to the message, and I know it has meant something to someone I’m close to as well in their personal experiences. Although I’m not depressed right now, I’ve had my share of struggle with that issue, but I’m relating to this song today for the theme of empathy. But in darker days it is also relevant for me. I think a lot of people don’t take the time to listen to Eminem’s lyrics enough to realize that he is not all offensive and crude. His music has a positive message more often than not, and he uses crudity like most people sprinkle their language with obscenities. I know when I am feeling heightened emotionally (good or bad) my potty mouth gets worse, so I getcha, Em. LOL.

by Eminem

Lately I’ve been hard to reach
I’ve been too long on my own
Everybody has their private world
Where they can be alone

Are you calling me?
Are you trying to get through?
Are you reaching out for me?
I’m reaching out for you

I’m just so fucking depressed
I just can’t seem to get out this slump
If I could just get over this hump
But I need something to pull me out this dump

I took my bruises, took my lumps
Fell down and I got right back up
But I need that spark to get psyched back up
And in order for me to pick the mic back up

I don’t know how or why or when
I ended up this position I’m in
I’m starting to feel dissin’ again
So I decided just to pick this pen

Up and try to make an attempt to vent
But I just can’t admit
Or come to grips with the fact that I may be done with rap
I need a new outlet

And I know some shit’s so hard to swallow
But I can’t just sit back and wallow
In my own sorrow but I know one fact
I’ll be one tough act to follow

One tough act to follow
I’ll be one tough act to follow
Here today, gone tomorrow
But you’d have to walk a thousand miles

In my shoes, just to see
What it’s like, to be me
I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes
Just to see what it’d be like

To feel your pain, you feel mine
Go inside each others’ minds
Just to see what we’d find
Look at shit through each others’ eyes

Don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
They can all get fucked, just stay true to you
So don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
They can all get fucked, just stay true to you

I think I’m starting to lose my sense of humor
Everything’s so tense and gloom
I almost feel like I gotta check
The temperature of the room

Just as soon as I walk in, it’s like all eyes on me
And so I try to avoid any eye contact
‘Cause if I do that then it opens the door
For conversation, like I want that

I’m not looking for extra attention
I just wanna be just like you
Blend in with the rest of the room
Maybe just point me to the closest restroom

I don’t need no fucking man servant
Trying to follow me around and wipe my ass
Laugh at every single joke I crack
And half of ’em ain’t even funny like

Ha! Marshall you’re so funny man
You should be a comedian, god damn!”
Unfortunately I am
I just hide behind the tears of a clown

So why don’t you all sit down
Listen to the tale I’m about to tell
Hell, we don’t gotta trade our shoes
And you ain’t gotta walk no thousand miles

In my shoes, just to see
What it’s like, to be me
I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes
Just to see what it’d be like

To feel your pain, you feel mine
Go inside each others minds
Just to see what we’d find
Look at shit through each others eyes

Don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
They can all get fucked, just stay true to you
So don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
They can all get fucked, just stay true to you

Nobody asked for life to deal us
With these bullshit hands we’re dealt
We gotta take these cards ourselves
And flip ’em, don’t expect no help

Now I could’ve either just sat on my ass
And pissed and moaned
Or take this situation in which I’m placed in
And get up and get my own

I was never the type of kid
To wait by the door and pack his bags
I sat on the porch and hoped and prayed
For a dad to show up who never did

I just wanted to fit in
Every single place, every school I went
I dreamed of being that cool kid
Even if it meant acting stupid

And Edna always told me
Keep making that face and it’ll get stuck like that
Meanwhile I’m just standing there
Holding my tongue tryna talk like that

‘Til I stuck my tongue on that frozen stop sign pole
At 8 years old
I learned my lesson then
‘Cause I wasn’t trying to impress my friends no more

But I already told you my whole life story
Not just based on my description
‘Cause where you see it, from where you’re sittin
It’s probably 110% different

I guess we would have to walk a mile
In each others shoes at least
What size you wear? I wear 10’s
Let’s see if you can fit your feet

In my shoes, just to see
What it’s like, to be me
I’ll be you, let’s trade shoes
Just to see what it’d be like

To feel your pain, you feel mine
Go inside each others minds
Just to see what we’d find
Look at shit through each others eyes

Don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
They can all get fucked just stay true to you
So don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
They can all get fucked just stay true to you

So don’t let ’em say you ain’t beautiful
They can all get fucked just stay true to you

Lately I’ve been hard to reach
I’ve been too long on my own
Everybody has their private world
Where they can be alone

Are you calling me?
Are you trying to get through?
Are you reaching out for me?
I’m reaching out for you

Yeah, to my babies
Stay strong, daddy will be home soon

And to the rest of the world
God gave you shoes to fit you
So put ’em on and wear ’em
Be yourself man, be proud of who you are
Even if it sounds corny
Don’t ever let anyone tell you you ain’t beautiful

Random Guilty Pleasure: I-85

I imagine it is a common motherly trait to be overly cautious and paranoid and worrisome. I think my mom takes it to a new level, though. Any time I do anything remotely adventurous — well, what I consider normal adult activities, she considers adventurous — her first response to the mere mention of it is worst-case scenario, what could possibly go wrong, what I should be worried about, and why I should reconsider doing it in the first place.

You should have heard her when I told her I was going to the Amazon. “What if you get malaria? What if you get lost?” What if what if what if? If I tell her I’m going to a party, it’s “Watch your drink — people can drug you.” If I tell her I’m going shopping, it’s “Don’t talk on your phone in the parking lot. That’s what they look for.” If I tell her I think I might like to live in Colorado one day, it’s “But it’s so far away and it snows too much and we would never see you again because we can’t afford to fly out there all the time and you might get there and hate it and it’s so expensive to move!” If I say I’m going for a run, it’s “BY YOURSELF? Don’t go after dark, and be sure to take Birdy and your phone with you.”

I’m convinced she was a guilt-inflicting Jewish mother in a previous life. Actually, a famous holocaust survivor, Rena Kornreich Gelissen, once told her she looked exactly like her mother, who died in a concentration camp. “You have my mother’s eyes,” she said.

I have heard the phrase “Ohhhh, Maegan. You’d better. Be. Careful.” so many times that I have started waiting until after the fact to tell her about things. Like, when I went to Alabama the other weekend, I couldn’t tell her. The Alabama friends said, “You can’t tell your mom you’re driving to Alabama alone? You’re thirty fucking years old!” (I know. Believe me, this is my thought also.)

Obviously my friends knew where I was going, and I told my dad so someone in the family would know where I was in case of emergency, and because I knew I could trust him not to say anything. Because he gets it and he lives with her and he needs to keep his household drama to a minimum. Like a good child, I let her discover it on her own. On Facebook.

I think my mom made an effort when I was a kid to not be too overprotective and to let me experience things. My best friend’s parents were way more overprotective than mine. They wouldn’t even let her go to the beach with my family until we were in college, because, AND I QUOTE, “Something might happen.” But my parents let me do all kinds of cool stuff when I was a teenager. When I was a senior in high school, they even let me go to my college boyfriend’s fraternity formal for the weekend in a city 4 hours away. That’s pretty cool.

In my adulthood, she seems to be more open about expressing her fear at the mere notion of me existing in the world alone. I try to tell her that she should trust in her parenting skills and take comfort in the thought that she (and my dad) taught me how to make good decisions. I mean, I am a pretty level-headed person, generally. I’ve heard her warnings enough that it’s the first thing that pops into my mind as well when I think of doing something. I’m just able to suppress it so I can live my life and have fun without being completely afraid of everything.

Want to know the completely baffling part? She actually wants to go skydiving one day. I do, too, and I think I am going to do it for my birthday this year. Nick and I have the same birthday, so we are trying to do something crazy fun. But part of me thinks I should go with her so she actually does it, and take pictures and put them all over the internet to document her one adventurous, thrill-seeking moment. When she and my dad were in college, they talked about moving to Australia. What happened to that person?? I could have been an Aussie!

When I was younger, I was taught to fear most busy freeways more than most things in life, but I-85 in particular. My grandparents lived in Atlanta for a while, and when we would go down to visit, my nervous-wreck of a mother (I say that with love) would squeal and fake-brake and white-knuckle the oh-shit bar and caution my dad to slow down and watch out for that truck the entire 4 hours it took us to get there. Then, while we were there, she would talk incessantly about how fast everyone in Georgia drives — like they think 85 is the speed limit and not the name of the road. And how it’s no wonder there are so many accidents on it all the time. And how all the cops must be downtown busting up drug dealers because they sure weren’t giving out any speeding tickets.

Back home, where there were no roads more than four lanes wide, she beat into my head which intersections were considered “baaaaaad” way before I could drive myself (as in “That’s a baaaaaaad intersection,” every time we drove through it). Like where my grandparents’ road met the Rock Store in Shiloh before they put in the stop light. Or the intersection of Hwy 221 by George White’s store in Oakland. Or the place where Hudlow intersects Whitesides Road on the way to my cousins’ horse farm in Mount Vernon before they put in the caution light that senses when a car enters the danger zone and flashes to let you know to wait.

Inevitably it was a “bad” intersection because  someone she went to high school with or rode horses with or someone my cousins went to high school with or rode horses with was killed at it…probably because they pulled out in front of someone or were drunk. They were usually places with blind hills. Or blind curves. And when you live in the foothills of the mountains, blind hills and curves are pretty common.

Anyway, I used to be very nervous about driving on I-85 due to said instillation of fear. But on my road trip down to Alabama last weekend, it was mostly I-85 the whole way, and I found myself marveling how odd it was that I wasn’t afraid of it anymore. Not only was I not afraid, but I found myself actually enjoying it. I love how fast everyone drives on that road, because you get to your destination faster, and you don’t worry so much about getting a ticket because there is always SOMEONE going faster than you. Who doesn’t like driving fast? It’s fun. I’m a careful driver — I don’t follow too close (mainly because I perpetually need to have my brake pads replaced and don’t get around to it), I always wear my seat belt, and I stay observant and alert and defensive.

My mom (like most parents) would say, “It’s not you I worry about! It’s everyone else!” Whatareyougonnado. I’m pretty sure that just keeping up with traffic on I-85 shaved about an hour to an hour-and-a-half off my travel time in both directions. And the only accident I saw, both coming and going, was in Alabama on the part of I-85 that is probably the flattest, calmest, and least trafficked, where people actually pretty much do the speed limit.

While I was driving, I kept having to squash this guilt that was rising up my spine at the thought of what my mother would say if she knew I was embracing I-85 instead of being terrified. And I finally just decided, you know what? Screw it. You’re chalking it up to a guilty pleasure. And you’re listening to Eminem’s offensive lyrics on your iPod, and you’re stopping in Braselton, Georgia for gas AFTER DARK. And you’re not getting home til AFTER MIDNIGHT. And it was okay. Because I am “thirty fucking years old.” And I do what I want, yo. Just don’t tell my mama.

What Would Don Draper Do?

The thing I am most excited about at the moment is that one of my all-time favorite shows, Mad Men, just premiered its fourth season. As we all know, I have been lamenting the lack of any TV worth watching during the summer, so this comes as a welcome relief. Actually, I did discover one other show this summer in desperation — BBC’s Robin Hood. The first two seasons were excellent, and then one of the key characters died. So I’m done with it now, but there is a third season. All three are available on Netflix’s Watch Instantly. I recommend checking it out if you’re bored and in need of new TV like me.

Mad Men is ridiculously awesome. For those of you who may not have seen it, it’s a drama on AMC about an advertising agency in Manhattan during the early 1960s. That’s a very basic description that tells you almost nothing about why the show is so great. As a literature aficionado and aspiring writer of some kind, I’m attracted to film and television that is so well-written it would read like a great novel even if there were no pictures to accompany it. Like great literature, Mad Men’s characters are fascinating and well-developed, and the plot contains a lot of cultural subtext. The writer, Matthew Weiner, is notorious for his attention to detail and spares no expense at furnishing the set with authentic vintage furniture, decor, clothing, you name it. You can be sure that if you are watching Mad Men and you see a secretary using a typewriter, it is the same EXACT vintage model of typewriter that a secretary in 1963 would have been using.

Another thing I think draws people to Mad Men is a fascination of how different the time period was socially from today, even though it was not that long ago in the grand scheme of things. It’s pretty fascinating to see a depiction of how real life problems may have been handled (or swept under the rug), instead of the usual idyllic, rosy portrait of the era we are normally fed. Not a single character on that show is perfect, and their flaws are reflective of their environments, circumstances, upbringings, and so on — just like real people.

This is a good recent interview with Matthew Weiner on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Or you can download the podcast for free on iTunes.

Daily Gratitude: Birdy Lou Hooz*

No matter how bad my day has been, when I walk in the back door, I can’t not smile at my girl, who is prancing around and always excited to see me, who jumps (but gently) and licks my face and won’t go outside to pee right away, even after 8 hours in the house, because she would rather give me love first. So selfless. She listens to me talking on the phone and senses when my voice is sad. She puts her head on my lap and gives me kisses to say, “I know you are sad. But I love you!”

She has a more calming and soothing presence than most humans I’ve ever known. She is eternally patient with me. And that doesn’t diminish her love at all. When I need me-time, she hangs out with me quietly, just happy to be with me at all. When I am happy, she dances with me. When I cry, she daintily licks my tears away.

When she rides with me in the car, I like to look back at her head out the window, as she tries to gobble the air and inhale every scent that tickles her nostrils, eyes closed in delight at feeling the wind in her fur and on her face. And I think this is really what love should be like.

*Yet another name I call her because it reminds me of little Cindy Lou Hoo, from one of my all-time favorite movies, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Crafty Love! Sea Turtles

I’ve always had a thing about turtles. Native Americans had animal totems (or guides) to symbolize certain qualities in themselves, so I suppose if I were Native American, mine would be the turtle. Turtles teach us to take things slow and give ourselves time to figure out if we need to protect ourselves or plunge forward. My mom gave me a silver turtle ring when I was very young with movable arms and legs, so maybe she knew about my turtle totem before I did! She always comments on my life-long trait of cautiousness and careful deliberation and says I was even hesitant to be born. I tell her I was probably comfortable in there and didn’t see any reason to move!

Turtles remind us that it’s okay to retreat into your shell for a little while and wait until your thoughts and ideas are ready to be expressed. Anyone who knows me can tell you that as an only-child and an artist, I need a lot of alone time to balance myself emotionally. I retreat into my shell pretty often so that when the time comes to socialize, I can do it successfully and enjoy it instead of daydreaming about what I’d rather be doing in that moment. Other turtle lessons: Be patient in reaching your goals. Be careful in new situations. Be adaptable to your environment so you can find harmony in it. Live at your own pace.

On a side note, now that I’m talking about turtles, I can’t stop thinking about Aesop’s Fables. Was I the only kid on the planet who hated them and found them annoying because the morals were so freaking obvious? Anyhoozer…

What’s your animal totem? (I think I may have more than one…)

Sea Turtle Woodcut, Mono Print
$100 by Brian Taylor

Borosilicate Turtle Pendant
$75 by Jewels by L Designs

Sea Turtle Sushi Tray
$26 by Island Girl Pottery

Batik Turtle T-Shirt
$11.50 by Batik Creations

Baby Steps – 8 x 10 Print
$29 by A2Sea Photography

Anger Management: Kick Boxing

I’m having some anger issues lately. I’ve written about this in the past for humorous reasons. But I’m starting to realize that I have a lot of pent up anger and frustration about people who have disrespected me or treated me shitty. Or who continue to do so in some cases. I used to be the type of person who repressed those feelings, because I didn’t see any good reason to let it out, nor did I know how to appropriately. The people in my life who I have seen express anger in a violent, physical way, only did more harm to themselves, to me, and to the situation by doing so.

I’m still not sure I know how. More recently I’ve tried the tactic of just cutting negative people out of my life. I’ve tried the tactic of burning myself with a lighter to distract myself from the intensity of the anger. That does work, but I don’t really like scars.

I’ve reached the point where I”m going to have to try some other things out so I can release these negative feelings and be done with them. Cussing someone out only takes you so far. But sometimes you need to get in a really good zinger and THEN cut out the negativity.

In that movie “You’ve Got Mail,” Joe Fox tells Kathleen Kelly, “When you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.” I used to find that to be true. Now…not so much. Well, maybe a little. But I can’t cuss out everyone I have the desire to. After a conversation about this with Jen today, we finally figured out what I need.

I need something to which I can affix a picture of someone’s face and then kick box it. I will admit to doing this in the past with a dart board, a la Murphy Brown. But it seems that as I get older, I need something a little more physical. I need to feel like I am destroying something, but I don’t have anything I feel okay about breaking. I think I am having teen angst now that I’m in my thirties. I’m not quite sure why tears used to work, and now venting rage physically seems to be more appealing. I have an intense need to pummel things.

So it’s decided: I’m getting a punching bag. And I’m becoming a kick boxer. I mean…check out the abs on that girl in the photo! I think there are more positive benefits from this activity than I had even considered.

I am not a punching bag, people. I am AWESOME. There are boxing gloves in my future. Just you wait. I WILL KICK ASS! 🙂

Mixed Signals Suck

Today I decided that my eternal dating dilemma is trying to decipher mixed signals. I consider myself to be a pretty good communicator, and I have no idea how to play games. I usually find that the people you encounter who most fervently claim to hate playing games are the ones who do it best. It’s like that’s part of the game. I’m not saying I hate it — I’m saying I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

I’ll be the first to admit I have no game. I’m too honest. I have trouble hiding how I feel, especially if I really like (or dislike) someone, and I don’t see why you should have to. I think my ideal situation would be feeling able to be open about how I feel (even — maybe especially — if it’s awesome) and having the other person be thrilled about that instead of freaking out about it. Especially after they have made you feel like you are “special” to them. Maybe that’s just me being gullible.

Some would say I have a bad habit of being attracted to players. Maybe it’s the whole bad boy thing. Maybe I am just gullible enough to believe the bullshit they spew. Hmm. Maybe I am THAT girl.

But guys, let me tell you something. It’s not a good idea to spend a lot of time professing how wonderful you think someone is and how special they are and how different from other girls in your life they are unless you want them to believe it for real. I have serious trust issues, and I do everything in my power to be skeptical of everything anyone ever says to me. But eventually I can be convinced.

Once I am convinced and act like I am, things start to change. Suddenly if I act appreciative of some special act, he freaks out. “Oh no! Too clingy! Mustn’t let her think there is anything special about her!” SO DON’T DO THINGS TO MAKE ME FEEL SPECIAL. AND DEFINITELY DON’T TELL ME I AM if that is not the desired result. If I am just another girl, or just one of many, PLEASE don’t spend so much time trying to convince me otherwise. I promise it will be better for everyone in the long run if we just don’t go there.

I can be pretty open with my heart once I trust you. And if I finally get to that point and then you make me feel like maybe I’ve made a mistake and fallen for it once again…that sucks. And it makes me not like you very much. And it makes me really not want to date ever again.

So, yeah. If you’re a guy and you’re reading this, please examine your behavior for potentially mixed signals you may be sending out. I don’t have time for the games — I got a life to live, yo.

Dream Journal

Lately I’ve been dreaming a lot of stuff about airplanes. Last night I dreamed I was on a plane with a huge number of Scandinavians, who were blond and bearded and looked like Vikings. Just before we landed, everyone got up and stood in the aisle, like we used to do on the activity bus coming home from away games in high school. We were flying into North Carolina from Europe, and everyone was exhausted like we had been on a really long journey. Instead of landing at an airport, the plane landed in the street of a residential neighborhood. We all got out and started walking in the middle of the street through this neighborhood. And walking. And walking. I sprinted past some people up a hill. I remember one of the Scandinavian guys chatting with someone else about going to Johnson City, Tennessee (like the Old Crow song). He was saying that America now felt like home. They also commented on how short the flight had been — it only took us 2 hours to fly in from Europe. Maybe it was in the future when planes will be a lot faster (and affordable?).

A couple of weeks ago, I dreamed I was sky-diving out of a jet that was going to crash. I jumped off the wing and started zooming towards the ground, face first. But it was a lot higher up than a normal plane would be. It was almost like I was sky-diving from the Space Shuttle. I was flying downwards into an expanse of nothingness, but slowly it started to resemble Earth, and then continents, and then blue sky and eventually trees. I finally pulled the parachute and landed easily on the ground, on my feet, again in a neighborhood. Everyone was standing outside their houses in the street watching the plane to see if it would crash. My parents were there. I said, “Did you see me? I was sky-diving!”

Dream Journal

Last night, I dreamed I was doing this:

The weird thing was that I was actually good at it, which makes no sense at all. I am normally terrible at doing anything physical. I can barely walk without falling down. Yesterday when I was taking Birdy out for her afternoon walk, I tripped over some new pine straw that the landscapers had laid down earlier in the day, and fell on my ass. Pine straw. I know. Well, it can be slick, and I was wearing flip flops. Birdy tried to leave me there on the ground, glancing at me over her shoulder as she kept walking, like, “Oh, good God! Here we go again.” I think I embarrassed her. She is way more athletic than I am.

In part two of the dream, I was on a camping trip with a friend. We saw some of these, which are pretty common in the mountains here in North Carolina:

I used to dream about bears all the time, but more in the context of being lost in a forest and having them chase me. This time it felt exciting and fun to see one in the wild.

My most recurrent dreams involve being part of a resistance movement or a rebellion, being pursued by bad people, doing things that aren’t necessary legal for the benefit of the greater good, being on the run, traveling. Recently I dreamed I was in a guitar class taught by Dave Matthews, and he was also the leader of the resistance. I lived next door to a powerful political figure, and Dave convinced me to get him to come over and then blow the place up. I don’t remember how I was supposed to escape. Dave brought me some gel explosive, but he didn’t tell me how to use it. So I put it inside a cigarette, lit it, and tossed it at the guy (but missed). But instead of blowing up the townhouse we were in, it just created a small fireball that extinguished itself pretty quickly. No one got hurt. My cover was obviously blown. That’s all I remember. Feel free to analyze my delusional subconscious at your leisure. 🙂

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