My Shoes

Posts will be very light for the next few months.

I'm actually supposed to shut my blog down while I'm on this job, but I was also supposed to have shut the blog down on the last job (US Senate) and I didn't.

Anyway -- this will be temporary, and after it's over, I'll go back to my not posting posting... :)

On my mind right now is what it would be like if I could let folks spend a few days in my shoes.

My most recent choice of employment seems counterintuitive to what I've said. It's actually yet another motif. I'm always saying what I'm not going to do anymore or won't ever do or am not interested in and I end up right in the midst of those things. I've almost learned my lesson to stop talking about what I won't do, but not yet.

In any case, whenever this happens, I shrug my shoulders, chuckle a little and roll with it. Usually it's these situations that lead me to bigger and better things and I've been told for a large portion of my life that I'm "going to do great things..." Since I have no idea what those things are, I suspect I should check every nook and cranny I'm afforded.

However, to people on the outside, I seem like a sell-out in some ways. Others have taken these things that they don't know anything about and used them to judge who I am. They make large and leaping assumptions about who I am as a person and it pisses me off.

I always want to tell these people that they're so sure right now that if they were in my shoes they'd make different decisions, but that the truth is they have no idea what they would do. In fact, they'd probably make the very same choices.

Our lives are not the same, we have different needs and goals and wants. I'm not sure if what I'm doing right now will get me to my end goals, but I know it can't hurt. I know I'm gaining experience most folks wish for, and in that I know that whether they admit it, realize it or accept it or not, those folks with so much to say about what I'm doing know that and are a little jealous. That's understandable.

I tire of people trying to force me in a box. I'm so incredibly tired of it. I want to be allowed to be complex, because I am. I don't fit in boxes and it's a waste of time to try to put me in one.

Fact is, these folks don't know anyone else like me and they've wasted a lot of time they could've spent getting to know me, on trying to find out who they already know just like me.

Ultimately what's bothering me, I think, is that it's taken me almost 24 years to figure out who I am and what I've mostly figured out is that I have a lot yet to learn about myself. But what I do know to be true has taken some time for me to accept and be comfortable with. I'm really close to being to that point completely and as I step out and try to share with those around me who I am, it's defeating to find that they'd rather tell me who I am instead of let me show them. But, I can't be anyone other than me so I suppose I'll keep at it.

Ok. I just needed a mini-vent session. Thank ya kindly.



The last 2 weeks for me have been proof of a few things: 1) God will answer requests 2) Life can change at the drop of a hat, so be careful with those long-term plans.

Tomorrow is my last day in an office I've spent a lot of time in. I did an internship here in 2007 and with the exception of the last 4 months of my senior year in undergrad, I've not left. I've seen a lot and I've learned a lot. I'm so ready to leave but I will miss some of these people.

Anyway, as I've begun cleaning out my desk, I'm finding things that got buried way at the bottom of endless "to read" piles. Below is something I wrote and dated for almost 2 years ago. I must've been feeling awfully introspective, but I'm unsure of what exactly the catalyst for this was. It's handwritten, which is also interesting. I usually type up most everything so I can always have a copy. I typically handwrite things that I want to throw away, but I didn't throw this away.

I haven't decided yet how much of this still applies...

Originally written 12/26/08 - not edited

There's something there on the tip of my tongue. It's at the front of my brain. It's ready to come out. I'm not ready to let it out. I fear it'll cause damage or make me be honest in a way I've never been before. For people I don't trust. It's raining outside and there's this total calm that the insanity and unpredictability of the rain that's just... very hard to explain except to say it's a lot like my life and how I see the world.

My life is just one intense calamity after another and yet I'm so calm in the middle of it. It's like the unpredictability of it all keeps me sane. Like knowing what's next would freak me out. But even in the middle of all that calm, I'm scared and confused and lonely and I just want one person to step up and reach through the insanity into the calm and around the fear and hold me. Tight.

Vulnerability is a four-letter word in my world. It makes me have to lose all control. Control over stuff I don't really have control over -- which makes my inability to let go that much more difficult to understand. I want to open up. I want to be free. I want to know that if I did that you, whoever you are, would still love me. So I guess that's the one thing I need to know. The corner I don't want to round - the one unpredictable thing I want to be very predictable.

I don't feel like anything is missing -- as if there's a hole in my heart. But there's this feeling I used to have that I haven't felt in a very long time. I want to feel it again. When I had the feeling it made me believe I was normal and that sometimes I could knock the wall down and just F-E-E-L. So one more time and then again for the rest of my life, I want to feel that feeling. For someone who feels it back.

Wonder why it is some people meet these amazing people so early on in their live sand everything falls into place and then others never meet anyone else or take a very long time or whatever it is that happens.

I'm not desperate I'm...ready-ish. I'm ready to get ready. That's it. Ready to function and feel.
These flaws I've got, they're a part of who I am. Take me or not, but I finally understand. I'm so done trying to be everything you want. I have to stop, cause baby you aint worth it, if I gotta camouflage.

- "Camouflage" - Brandy
What if I'm camouflaging myself for myself? I want to be palatable to myself. Not that I don't love myself. No not at all - just... maybe I'm scared of what all of me is like. Would it be too much for people to understand? To accept? To love?


What I Needed To Hear

I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about my friends -- sometimes, I think I do it too much. I also feel like it's the ones who aren't being the stellar superstars I know they can be who get a lot of shine on the blog.

However, when my friends do excel, I like to point it out.

I spoke about a friend who forgot my birthday. It wasn't her forgetting my birthday so much as it was me knowing that remembering it just wasn't important to her. I've been feeling like this relationship was neglected and I was tired of the lip service I was getting. When we did talk -- and it wasn't very often -- she would spend a lot of time telling me how much she missed me. Ya'll know me, though, I'm an actions person. So I quit paying attention to all that long ago. It was getting annoying -- this idea that she thought it was ok to say one thing but do another.

For 2 years I've lived in DC. For 1 year, since she graduated from college and moved back home, she's been a little less than 4 hrs north of me on I-95. I've been to see her twice since I moved here and up until this past weekend, she'd not made much effort at all to come see me (though I know it goes without saying that she talked a lot about doing it). I was beginning to be a little hurt by it, actually. I'd thought we were better than that.

Finally, after a mutual friend suggested the plan she bought a ticket and she and the mutual friend came down to visit me for the weekend. Good timing on their part as on Friday it became official that this weekend was my last weekend in DC.

At one point shortly after her arrival she told me she thought it was really awesome that we'd been friends for so long. She was glad, she told me, that the sequence of events that occurred that led to our friendship had happened and she hoped I felt the same. I didn't really respond.

I mentioned to her, when she arrived Friday night, that maybe it was a sign of good things to come that we'd be spending my last weekend together. She chuckled and seemed not to pay much attention to what I said.

Saturday afternoon the three of us, plus another mutual friend made our way to a rooftop party. As we sat around talking, Yvonne and I found ourselves in a private conversation.
Yvonne: I have something I need to tell you. I need to get it off my chest.

Me: Ok. What's that?

Yvonne: I don't know if you know this or not, but I recently went back to my ex. We're not together anymore, but I definitely spent way too much time focused on him. I feel bad that this is the first time I made the effort to come down to see you. My mom told me that this is the time of my life where I should be spending my money on these types of mini-trips and hanging out with my friends. I'm sorry that I neglected you.
I was shocked. Partly that she admitted to me that she'd been neglectful at least in part because of her slightly skewed priorities but also that she even recognized it. I felt like she didn't see it and it was that -- the feeling like she didn't get that she couldn't just say things and not back them up -- that really got me.

I smiled a little. Told her it was all good as long as she was willing to try and then I said something that I think I may only later fully know the effects of...
I recently had a long conversation with an old friend about my history with J. I told her that a lot of the stuff I did with him, I would never do again but I had to do it to know not to do it.
Ever since I found out that she was seeing her ex again and realized she was purposefully not telling me about it, I'd hoped to have an opportunity to let her know that I would not have judged her for it, that I got why she felt she had to do it and that she should always know she can come to me. Her face made me think she understood, but we'll see. Sometimes stuff has to have some time to sink in.

That 5 minute portion of our conversation really made my whole weekend. It showed a lot of maturity for her to understand she was wrong and feel like she needed to express that to me. It served as a reminder for me that even though I prioritize actions over everything else, sometimes there are things that need to be said (and backed up by actions) for the benefit of the other person. A sincere apology goes a long way.


Playing Games

Like 73.2% of my posts come about because of incidents that point me back to a recurring theme. I told ya'll -- Motif is the literary term for my life.

So today's motif topic is playing games. Clearly I don't mean fun ones like kickball or keep away or 4 square or any of the other warm fuzzy games of our youth. I mean the kinds adults play with each other that too often involve manipulation.

Twice in the last week I've recounted the "true" end of my relationship with J:

Right after J came out of the closet, my personal life, understandably, went a little topsy turvy. One thing he kept saying in the intial conversation was "nothing I've ever said to you about how I feel about you was a lie."

But the truth was, I felt like the preceding 3 years of my life had been one big lie. It was really quite the existential crisis and I went into crisis mode. In fact, the next day I called his mom to tell her that I would be calling J to tell him that we couldn't talk anymore (which had more to do with the argument that ensued after he came out) and she should be prepared. When she called me back, it was to inform me that he'd been in a car accident that'd nearly taken his life.

J was sent to CA for rehab -- physically and mentally. He went to a drug facility on a beautiful beach for 60 days. He called me for the first time about 2 weeks after his accident. I'd promised his mom and myself that I wouldn't talk to him for a while because we needed the space. However, he called me from an unrecognized number. We spoke. I told him how I felt and that while I wanted so badly to be there for him through rehab, he had to find someone else. He'd taken it all from me.

Fast forward about 3 months. I'm in DC for the first time on an internship and I'm stretching my "adult and on my own" legs. One thing I have nagging at me is unresolved issues with J. Over the summer, we talked a lot. Some conversations were good, others were hard. He admitted to me that he wasn't sure of his sexuality but that he wanted to try again with me. He was sorry, he would do better, he was -- well all the things I'd wanted before.

And I'm believing him. Too much and too fast for myself. Though I cautioned him early on that I wouldn't tell him not to try but I wasn't sold that he could win me back, he was winning and I was not in control. I felt like I was right back where we had been before, but he wasn't. Which, honestly, was just as things had always been.

I threw the brakes on. One night after he promised to call but didn't, I text him then called him and I told him that I didn't want to speak to him anymore. We were over. It was best that way. I wanted him to fight me on that. I wanted him to fight me and prove to me that he really DID want me back. I wanted reassurance that I wasn't falling by myself as I had done before.

I could've gotten reassurance if I'd just asked him. Maybe he would've lied, sure. But at least I wouldn't have been playing games. It took me 2 months to realize he really wasn't going to call me -- even though he told me (when he found out 2 days later I had the chicken pox; yes, I was 20 yrs old and had the chicken pox for the first time) that he missed me and every day without me was more painful than the last. At the time I thought it was bullsh*t, but now I know that he was trying to respect my wishes. By the time I got my sh*t together, he had a new boo and it wasn't me.

Never, ever, would I do now what I did then. I'd rather put myself out there than to play games. Manipulation like that may yield you an answer you want (it didn't in my case) but there's always a price to pay. If I had shared with J my fears (that I was falling and he wasn't) my concerns (that I would wake up one day right back where I'd been with him before) then maybe we could've had an honest convo. Yes, maybe that convo would've hurt me but all the game playing that happened caused way more pain than necessary to both him and me.

Earlier today I had a gchat status that said,
You know, I think the best advice I've ever given can be summed up in this fashion: Don't play games. If you want something, just go for it. The game playing only leads to more issues. Less games, more...real. Yeah. More real.
And that's the point of this post. I wish we would just be real with people instead of trying to trick them into the answers we want. Ignoring his phone calls because he pissed us off. Not calling her back to make her sweat so she'll be extra nice when you do call. Saying you don't want to see them again when all you ever want is to see them. Game playing gets you nowhere but played and that lesson I learned the hard way.


Re-Post: Inappropriate Relationships

This pseudo-vacay (these days, I'm counting any time I don't spend in DC as vacay time) has been everything I needed. It's also meant that posting new stuff has been far, far, far from my mind. I got some ideas to work with when I get back, though. In the meantime, here's another re-post.

This was originally posted on 6.20.2008

Oh -- and the "dialing back" I mention at the end? Didn't do that. Things definitely dialed up. ::shrug::

At 21, I think the most important thing I have learned about relationships of all kind is the following:
Never, ever, under any circumstances, become close friends with either your friend's significant others or your significant others' friends.

I think that rule sucks. I think it sucks in the same way I think the "you can't date your friend's exes" rule sucks. Not so much that it's a bad rule of thumb, but it sucks that life's gotta be that way. I mean what if your friend's significant other (s.o.) is awesome; someone you would have been friends with, without your mutual friendship. Or what if your significant other has amazing taste in friends and you like what they bring to the table. It sucks, but the reality is, where relationships are concerned, people are VERY territorial.

I lost a friend (though, to be honest, she probably did me a favor by ceasing our friendship when she did) because she didn't like that I was friends with her ex AND friends with his new girl. Looking back on it, though his new girl (now his ex as well) and I are still close, and quite frankly, I'd choose her over the other girl any day, the drama that resulted wasn't really worth it. To have someone I considered a best friend second guess my actions, hurt. I wasn't trying to replace her with the new girl, I wasn't choosing sides and I didn't want her man either. In my mind, it wasn't about loyalty, it was about helping a girl who had walked into a minefield through a difficult issue.

I've also been in a situation where two of my friends (in this case, they both were friends of mine before they were together) broke up and having them both call me for advice was rough. As a female, I sided with my female friend more, but I still felt for my guy friend and wanted him to be ok. You can't reveal personal conversations to one about the other, but how else do you make the case for your suggestions?

And for as much as I hold on to that rule of thumb, I violate it on a regular basis. I mean, I love my friends. If I call you friend (and everybody in my world is NOT my friend) I love you and only want the best for you. And so, sometimes, I get a little over-invested in their lives and if you introduce me to your new person, and I like them, that shows. Too, we've all been introduced to our s.o.'s friends and hoped they like us and when they do... you want to foster that relationship, and sometimes it may go a little too far.

What prompted this post is a text conversation I recently had. Up until now, my friend has been the catalyst for any communication between me and this other person... but things changed today and it reminded me of my rule. So now, I have to find a way to dial it back -- keep our boundaries clear. Our relationship has to always been contingent upon the mutual friend. Our contact should always be because of the mutual friend. This keeps everything open and on the up and up, and then my friend won't have to worry that I'm sneaking around doing anything appropriate.

Just food for thought... mostly my own...