Solo Dolo

I'm an only child.

Now, I have a few...issues... around this fact and how I'm perceived because of it. Namely people think I'm selfish and incapable of working with others or sharing. That's actually completely wrong. I'm excellent in group situations -- always able to see other's strengths, hear all the voices and draw a consensus, and get in where I fit in. And further, my mother has 13 brothers and sisters and is the WORST at sharing, meanwhile I share freely... too freely.

One thing I don't share too freely, though, is me. It's terrible and I need to work on it. One thing I'm noticing lately, though, is how I get triggered to hold back when I start to feel like somebody wants too much of me.

Trigger -- an interesting word. In this counseling profession I'm entering, "triggers" are usually references to things that make a person go back to a "bad place." Like veterans who may hear a car backfire and duck. Or women who have been raped who respond negatively to individuals who remind them of their rapist somehow. These things are triggers and when you're counseling someone who's had a traumatic experience you want to help them identify triggers because a lot of times people don't recognize them or the damage they can do in their life.

One thing I hated was how I felt like J took all my time as his own. When he called he expected me to answer, often expected me to be all alone and able to give him all of my attention. In fact, if he did call and I was with people, he had no problem losing his mind on me or being upset with me for being with people. On the flip side, though, that wasn't a returned situation. In other words, he didn't always pick up when I called (or bother to call back) and if he was with his friends, he fully expected me to let him be with them. It was one of the ways he tried to control me. He was successful in some ways -- I worried that if I didn't pick up, I'd have to deal with his anger later and that, worse, he wouldn't pick up later when I did call (as punishment, I felt).

Now I have triggers around this. People who call me too frequently or people who call me too infrequently set off triggers and I start to think crazy things. For awhile I attributed it to my only childness. That is, I appreciate my alone time. I revel in it, actually. One of the reasons I've always said my BFF and I get along so well is that we're both only children and we really are ok with the other one needing space (this mattered when we lived together for 5 months). I couldn't wait to move from DC so I could finally live on my own and be myself when I wanted to. When I think about being in a serious relationship, I anticipate the conversation I'll need to have with him about how I like to be by myself sometimes and how he'll need to respect that. Don't even get me started on marriage -- just recently someone I follow tweeted something in regards to marriage about being prepared to wake up next to someone and wish they weren't there this morning or, walking into the house disappointed that they're there because you had hoped to have a few moments alone. Both things I've thought about for myself...

So it was very easy for me to add my anxiety around frequency of telephone communication to this growing list of things I need/dislike because I grew up an only child. But then I got to thinking about it... See, it wasn't like I could just ignore the call or call them myself -- I had anxiety around it. I see a person's name on my caller ID for the 3rd time this week and I'm thinking "oh goodness. What now? What will they ask of me that I don't want to do?" and even if I ignore the call, I'm still wondering what it was they needed and thinking of when I will call them back, which is usually quickly so I can quit thinking about it, only to find they just called to talk and then I get irritated because I didn't want to be on the phone. Or if it's a friend I haven't spoken to in a while -- I've called, they've not answered or called back -- I begin wondering if they just don't care. If I've become disposable to them in the way I feel disposable to others. And for both these cases, in the back of my mind, I wonder if they're trying to control me. Is this person calling me again to force me to pick up? Is this person not picking up to remind me of my place? No. Seriously. This happens in my mind.

And actually, as I write this, I'm becoming aware of some other situations that this is a trigger for (namely that "disposable" bit) but the big one that I've been aware of is the control bit. Not sure where to move from this. I should probably bring this up at my counseling appointment on Tuesday, but I doubt he'll do too much to make me explore this and more importantly what to do about it (um, my counseling situation is interesting and I need to blog about it).

Anyway, I would encourage you to think about triggers you have and how they might be attributed to something they're not at all related to... might give you some perspective. :)



Ok, I'm muddling some details of what actually happened in order to protect the guilty... But all the important facts remain.

So not too long ago, one of my friends broke up with his boopiece. It was a long time coming, at least on his end. That being the case, it was still sudden and so he had to begin the process of searching for a new place to live and as we all know, when you're not necessarily expecting something like that, that can take time.

About a week later, he myself and a third friend had plans to go to a concert. We decided to have dinner, hit up a hookah bar and then attend the concert. Prior to the breakup, he'd asked his significant other if they wanted to go and the answer was "I have to think about it." They never spoke about it again.

As far as I could tell, everything was ok. There was obviously tension, but it sounded like everything was cool. The night of the concert, I swung by to pick him up, he hollered out that we were leaving and the three of us headed out for a great night. Before we could even arrive to our place of dinner and libations, he had an argument with the ex on the phone about us leaving. No one knew that the ex decided to go with us (made most evident by the fact that there was no extra ticket). He tried to explain that it was a simple misunderstanding, but things got out of hand and the conversation ended abruptly.

As we walked to the restaurant he asked to use my phone to call back. Another argument ensued. Same thing, all over again. Another abrupt end to the conversation.

The ex attempted to call him back on my phone, but my phone was on silent so we missed the call. 20 minutes later, there was a text to me to tell him that his stuff would be sitting outside when he got back. The whole mood at our table changed instantly. It's one thing to argue and fight, it's another to have the threat of nowhere to stay on your back.

And so began a long night of back and forth texting, phone calls and so forth. I even had to (I offered to, though) take him back so he could sit and talk face to face (to most likely repeat things that had already been said). This meant our dinner was even worse than it had to be (service and the food was subpar anyway), no hookah bar and we were late for the concert. So as I and our other friend sat in the parking lot of his complex watching the minutes tick away, I tweeted the following:
In other news, when you decide to beef with your sig o/ex, that's cool, but when your beef messes with their friends' night, u suck.
And I stand by that statement. I understand how it is in a breakup. Especially when you're hurt and it feels like the other person could give 3 shits -- you want to hurt them back, but you can't just recklessly hurt other people in the process. That's lame and you suck for that.

So last night, I'm out with some friends when homeboy calls me. He tells me he has something that will make me laugh. Turns out the ex saw that tweet, clearly knew what it was about and decided I was no longer welcomed in their home. All I could really do is laugh. For one, my homeboy is moving eventually so it's whatever and for two, I don't take back what I said nor am I all that sorry, for the aforementioned reasons. It's worth saying that I wasn't aware the ex was following me, but he doesn't think that's it -- he thinks I was being twitter stalked.

Twitter's just not that serious. And even if it were there's nothing non-factual or hurtful about what I said. In fact, I believe I'm owed an apology. My evening was ruined just like my friend's and even though we did make it to the concert and did go to the hookah bar afterwards, it wasn't what we planned and our ability to make our own choices went out the window as soon as the ex had a fit. You know, I was and am empathetic to the ex. My friend is very up front about the role he played and what a bad boyfriend he was, but at the end of the day we are all adults and still have to take responsibility for what we do.

In any case, let this serve as a reminder to you all of a few things: 1)Twitter is really NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT that serious -- not in an interpersonal manner anyway. 2) Hit dogs holler and 3) One of the most important things you can learn in a relationship is that you will never, ever, be able to make someone who did you wrong feel as badly as you do. You can try, but it won't work, so don't try. Just go off and be happy elsewhere.



Tonight, I remembered with a lot of clarity what it's like to be in a relationship -- interesting because I think I had forgotten.

Also, interestingly, I saw two ends of a relationship play out for me. The beginning: the lovey dovey, call you 50-11 times part and the end: the hanging up on, calling back and hanging up on again part. And in both cases, I found myself automatically annoyed that these non-present others were interfering with the type of evening I wanted to have but then, out of nowhere, came this really... I don't even know how to explain this without sounding cheeky and crazy... deep understanding of what that person was going through.

One of my friends is ending a relationship with someone he lives with. Tonight the process of him moving out got serious when he was threatened with having his stuff put out and/or having someone come get it. I was so frustrated by the way he was obviously being manipulated. This wasn't about being wronged, this was about getting revenge. His former lover wanted him to hurt in the same manner they had and was pulling out all the stops. I was frustrated with the way he sat on the phone and repeated himself over and over. Said things he probably didn't really believe just to appease the other. But for the most part I was upset with how this was interfering with my night. How instead of having a good time we were all... not.

And I immediately was able to call up several times I was that person. I had such empathy for his situation because I remembered being in that position. Wanting to have fun with my friends but knowing I couldn't not have this conversation because I was being forced to. It was have the convo right then -- which was my then significant other's way of controlling me -- or face consequences I wasn't ready for. It was crazy how I went right back to that spot in my feelings. The embarrassment, the frustration, the anger, the fear...

Later in the night, I found myself frustrated by the other one. I thought "are you really on the phone with this person right now? While we're in the car with the music blasting? Can they really not let you have one night with your friends? Sheesh. It's 2am!" But again, I went back to those times where I didn't care who I was with. I was fine being on the phone with my person of interest whenever they called, whenever they were free -- whether I was free or not. It was a simple sacrifice (and I surely didn't think of it as a sacrifice for anyone else...)

I felt like I was supposed to see these situations and that I went back to those feelings so quickly so that I could remember and be empathetic (huge for me in terms of really paying attention to how empathy works and where it comes from -- counselors need that) but also to check my expectations, ask myself some hard questions about what I want and what I'm looking for and what I'm truly willing to risk.


What Came Out

I'm forcing myself to write this. Been doing a lot over on the tumblr, but nothing of substance has come up for me to write about here and... well... that's cool for a little while, but the way my life goes? That's impossible. Things have to have been coming up and I've just been ignoring them (which I'm epic at doing). Lemme run down a few things that I come up for me right now as I ponder the last few weeks...

Right. I haven't known what to do with men in years. Well, actually, I came to that realization at some point and I've not left it (don't plan to) but it seems in the last month, they've managed to get even MORE complicated. Whatever happened to men who aren't interested in you acting the part and the ones who are doing the same? I mean I got dudes I KNOW aren't interested blowing me up and the ones (ok, one) I think does... he won't even make eye contact with me without being forced. I'm talmbout walk right past a sista... ::eye roll::

This is always. I'm proud of myself for not going "there" in my feelings around them over the last month. Really living this "let folks be who they are, and bounce if you can't" mantra I keep spouting. It's been a few things that folks have been doing that are really not awesome, but I've decided I literally don't have time around that. I'ma just do what I want, same as they are.

By the same token, I've also had some awesome folks stepping up to the plate and I'm so excited for the future of several new budding friendships.

Um... talk about busy as a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest... but you know, I wouldn't have it any other way. Just today a classmate asked me if I was like this (this being that over-involved girl) in undergrad. I told her no -- I was burned out from being this kid in high school and I'm just recuperating enough to want to jump back in. Real talk, almost any question along the lines of "why didn't you participate in ___________" can be answered with some form of "I was burned out from high school..." Hopefully I learned a few lessons and the same won't happen to me next year, but even if it does, in a lot of ways this is when I do my best work. Idle time, while I crave it, is really not that good for me. Kinda like pizza.

My life is school and all that comes with it. On the one hand, thank God it's not "friends" which is often the case, but on the other hand is that sad? No, right? I am in a 2-yr professional program and I have a leadership position. I won't sweat it. I also see myself making time for non-school things with non-school people and I'm proud of myself for that. At the same time, I've been thinking about making a facebook status around how I'm actually not here for the sole purpose of beck and call. There are some folks in my life who still don't get that I'm busy pretty much all the time and when I'm not busy, I'm tryna sleep or eat and both of those things I'd rather not do while on the phone.

Ok, here we are. We've found the thing I need to you... ::clears throat::

I've had to put my phone on silent semi-permanently. Used to be, back when I was in high school, that my phone was NEVER (except MAYBE in a movie) on silent. Vibrate, or Ringer On -- Ringer On whenever possible. I moved to a good moderation of the two. Vibrate at work, Ringer On when I got home and then I went to Vibrate only. In the last 6 months tho? We don't wanna hear nary a ringtone around here. I pretty much never answer the phone, I'm ALWAYS returning phone calls.

Why? The phone rings too daggone much. People call me all the time. If I left my phone on, even vibrate, I'd never sleep. Folks have no concept of time or when it is no longer appropriate to call someone. My mama always told me after 9pm was rude unless you were good good friends and then it was after 10pm. Of course, you're not, at 15, good good friends with your good good friends' parents so you don't call after 9pm. Period. But by 16 we all had cell phones so it was whatever. Even then, we all knew after 11 was stupid. We all had to be in the bed or at least pretending to be.

So at 24, I'm in a generation of people who are between these two worlds of no technology and all technology all the time and we vacillate on the spectrum of knowing how to use this stuff appropriately. My response is to do what I can to unplug, even a little bit. So silent phone it is.

And you know, I'm also reaching a point where I'm almost screening calls. This is unfortunate because most people don't leave voicemail anymore because there are folks out there who don't check it. When I worked a job that was 65% phone, I hated checking that voicemail. It always meant more work, but my personal phone? I mean is it that hard? Anyway, this has made screening calls harder, but I still figure if you don't follow up a missed call with SOME message, it must not be important and my unofficial research says 98% of the calls I get are unimportant.

Folks literally want to sit on the phone with me talking about absolutely nothing while they have conversations with other people in the background, and go about their day. Along with not being available just whenever, I'm not a good entertainment backup plan, so miss me with ALL OF THAT. Call me to catch up, please, but don't call me every day for no reason. That's just... send me an email, b.

I have a slight fear that I'm becoming anti-social. But then again no. I'm getting back to a place of valuing, truly valuing, face-to-face interaction. Come see me. Let's set up a lunch date. Let's go see a movie. But unless we live in different cities, all this calling unnecessarily just can't work. Hell, even if we DO live in different cities... I miss my BFF like no other, but I bet you we don't be on the phone ad nauseum. Why? Cause we both have a life that each operates counter to the other's and we just make plans to see each other because it's that important.

All of this is a bit ironic because a)if you ask my friends, especially the new ones, they all say I'm on the phone all the time (not true, AT ALL) and b)I love a good social media/way to connect electronically. I LOVE twitter, appreciate gchat's convenience, mess around on facebook and even gave in and joined LinkedIn (I really just can't express how much I've been trying to avoid doing that).

For another rant on another day: I HATE how people try to regulate how I use my phone. I'm sorry no one texts or calls you, but they do me and I can't just ignore them. I really thought about this: if I practiced this idea of NEVER using my phone when I'm with people, I'd never talk to folks. By the time I get home by myself, I'm drained. I've given all I have and being on the phone is NOT an option. You want me after about 9pm, you better get on Twitter. Seriously. So all this being down in your feelings because during a conversation you were having with OTHER people, I chose to respond to a text... nah... that's gonna have to end.

But as much as I stand by all that, I still need my space to be recognized. I used to NEVER let a missed call go unreturned, but bay-bay... that ish happened to me enough. Folks is out here doing precisely what they please as they please... why am I busting my chops to get back to you when the same courtesy isn't returned? The first time I didn't bend over backwards to respond to a "contact request" (a broad term we shall use to refer to all the ways to reach out to someone) was SO liberating. ::sigh:: so here I am.

I'm overdue for an unplug, but this whole "silent phone, I'll talk to who I please" thing I'm doing will work until I can get to a place where a complete unplug isn't irresponsible on my end.

See. Told y'all I had something... I just needed to try. :)


Me and Purple Fury

This is my car, Purple Fury (also known as Purple Thunder)

Me and this car have been through some THANGS. It's my 2nd car since I started driving. My mother had it painted purple for me for my birthday in 2004 (belated graduation gift + birthday gift). Unfortunately, after-market paint jobs can be a bit tricky so it's long since lost it's luster. I <3 it, but I've known for some time that I needed to lay it on down -- however life just hasn't put me in a position yet to be able to afford a car note. Despite having had to replace most major parts of the "under the hood" stuff, sans the entire engine, Purple Fury and I have been rolling together these last 150,000 miles or so. From random road trips to my move to DC and back to TN, we've been getting it. Then in December, I was in a small accident. No one was injured but the PF took the brunt of the accident. The passenger door was all caved in and through some unfortunate luck, the window also down about midway and won't come back up. So for the last few months, we've been riding with a bit of a hood look to us -- but the 4 wheels go and babygirl is back in school so paying for major car repairs (a la a new door) just ain't in the budget. Then last night, PF let me know she's feeling a bit unloved. She ran hot, she smoked her engine and she refused, during the night and all the rain, to defrost the windows so I could see adequately. Needless to say it was a steering wheel gripping situation over the course of several hours. I just replaced her radiator, feels like not too long ago, but my memory's bad and I may or may not have the paperwork to prove when I did it. And so now I'm looking down the barrel of any number of too expensive options. Replace at least the radiator to get it back "home" to my preferred mechanic to work out the other issues; have everything done (which... Lord, let's don't talk about that), get it running well enough to take it back to my mama's house where I take her 2nd car -- a van that get's terrible city mileage and also is in need of repair: I'd have to at least go half on that...

There's just not a good answer because at the root of it all is a lack of funds.


I really don't want to be rich, I Just want to be un-poor, ya dig?


In My Feelings

I don't suppose I've really talked very much about my feelings around J's suicide since it happened 7 months ago. Not here, anyway. I've had some really cerebral discussions around it with new people in my life who, one way or another, find out about it. Sitting at a table full of counselors, as I frequently find myself doing these days, will make you assess your feelings on the matter, as well. But on the whole, even then, I think I've been pretty good (too good probably) at having an abstract conversation about my feelings.

I mean the reality of it is this isn't my first rodeo. I dealt with suicide in high school. Not to suggest that makes it easier, but the last 7 yrs have been lesson after lesson on what it's like to be a survivor of suicide (just learned that I'm a 2-time survivor of suicide... interesting...). So dealing with the after effects of this is... well it's different for me this time and I feel like I almost have to deal with it cerebrally instead of all down in my feelings because... well... I did that once already.

I don't believe I'm making sense on that part, so let me get to why I'm thinking about all this.

The reality of counseling -- being in a counseling program, learning to counsel people, always thinking about best practices -- is preparation for the worst case scenario and for us, I think especially school counselors, suicide is the worst case scenario. Even moreso than child abuse, a student coming into your office and expressing that they are thinking of suicide as a way out is. absolutely. petrifying.

So it was quite the treat (ironic choice of words, probably) to have a professional counselor come talk to us about the nuts and bolts of what you do when someone expresses they have thought about and are seriously considering suicide. I mean what do you do after they say that? And this isn't my first time in this rodeo, either. I've had people come talk to us about suicide, what the warning signs are, who's at most risk, what the after effects can be, etc... this time was different though. I was really all down in my feelings. I tried and I tried and I tried to surface and take notes and be professional and think about this from any angle other than my own "what could I have done differently..." place that I go to sometimes.

Confession Station: Yes. Sometimes, despite my best efforts and the fact that I know better and I know otherwise, I ponder the consequences of not responding to J's random text apologizing, one last time, for all he put me through. Why couldn't I have just gotten over myself and called him, as I had a half a mind to do, and pick his brain on where that was coming from? Might that not have changed things?

Of course not. I know that, y'all know that, we know it together but it's still true, despite this I go there and Thursday afternoon I was there, brought my lunch and camped all the way out. A couple of times during the presentation I thought about stepping out of the room. Wasn't sure if I was about to cry or spaz or what. I've got all kinds of techniques to use around "not feeling" and none of them were working. It was the absolute oddest thing I've ever had happened.

I suppose I need to bring it up in my own counseling session on Tuesday, huh? Yeah. I should. This needs to be handled.


25 Songs

Y'all know I live for a good series, right?

Well, I'm dong 25 Days, 25 Songs on the ol' tumblr. Started it off today with "A Song From Your Childhood." Join me over there for that.