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The worst part sometimes is that there’s no reason

I have depression and anxiety.   It’s not really a secret, I just don’t really talk about it.  Which I guess kind of makes it a secret, just not one I never fully intended to keep.  I was diagnosed a little over 4 years ago when I made an appointment with a neuropsychologist to determine if I had ADD, desperately hoping there was a reason for how I felt, but not a real serious reason, you know? 

Because of my lack of “official” school records, I could not be diagnosed with ADD.  However, I could be diagnosed with depression and anxiety.   Not severe.  Not even terribly bad.  The doctor did not recommend medication, but he did recommend cognitive behavioral therapy, which I have yet to commit to.

I can remember being sad for no reason as early as 11 or 12.  I would have a few periods of that every now and then and basically I’d just give in to it, cry my eyes out, and move on.  I made that work for me without questioning it or thinking too much about it.  Eventually, it manifested in other ways that were seriously affecting my life… which is what led me to the doctor, someone my friend knew from guitar class (thank God I had good health insurance at the time). 

As soon as the doctor told me he was diagnosing me with depression and anxiety, I thought, “OF COURSE”.  I felt this huge weight come off me.  I almost cried I was so relieved. 

That seems weird, right?  That I’d be happy to be diagnosed with depression?  But let me tell you… I thought I was just terrible at life.  I’d get overwhelmed by housework and just shut the door on it.  Literally.  I’d ignore it because I couldn’t deal with it.  I’d forget to pay my bills on time and then being late with them would stress me out so much that I would ignore them further.  I know.  It makes NO SENSE.  But it did to me at the time; it’s how I got through the day.  I’m STILL dealing with the fact that I was unable to complete my tax forms four years in a row.  I also perseverate.  That’s how I like to refer to it.  That one foolish or awkward thing I said?  That moment I accidently insulted someone?  I hold onto it and revisit it over and over and over again.  If I did one stupid thing, I would revisit all the other stupid things that I had ever done.  I also perseverate on all the things that can possibly go wrong in my life.  It sounds like a joke, but I worry a lot about having left appliances on when I leave the apartment, or did I leave the car doors unlocked?  I worry that something’s happened to my husband if he’s home late from work (that this patient man continues to lovingly deal with my anxiety is one of the greatest gifts in my life).  I worry about why a family member is calling me in the middle of the day.  Did I check to make sure the cat wasn’t in the spare room before I shut the door and left the apartment?  I perseverate.   About everything that could possibly go wrong, which apparently leads to a need to control everything. 

Amazingly, I was still mostly managing to be good at my jobs over the years.  Helping people complete the same activities I could not do on my own, like housecleaning, bill paying, grocery shopping, meal planning, etc.  Helping to coordinate massive city-wide grant processes.   Renewing millions of dollars of grants for housing for people dealing with homelessness.  I ended up losing a job the week before my first appointment with the doctor who would end up diagnosing me.  I made the appointment because I knew I was slipping… and I didn’t know how to reach out for help, so I went looking for an ADD diagnosis because that one seemed okay to me.   I’m an alpha personality.  I’m a superhero.  I help others – I don’t need any help myself because I can do it all.  At least that’s what I thought.  And I hid the fact that I was drowning from everyone. 

It didn’t take me long to come to grips with having these things, especially since it was kind of a relief to find out that I don’t suck at life and there’s a reason that some things are really hard for me to do.  But it’s taken me about 4 years to come to grips that I actually need to do something about it and get better at taking care of myself so I can keep functioning in the world. 

I accepted the diagnosis.  I figured I knew what was wrong with me and now I’d just move on.

HA.

What happened was that I ignored it.  I refused to let it get me down.  But I didn’t do anything to stop it, I just refused.  That’s not really effective, FYI. 

Let me say this: I am extraordinarily lucky in that I do not need to take medication.  I’m able to control it primarily with exercise and strategically scheduled downtime.   I’m not against medication at all; I’ve witnessed how it can appear to be nearly miraculous in helping people with severe depression.  I know that I am lucky that my depression is not that severe. 

So back to the beginning of the post… sometimes the worst thing is that there’s no reason.  If I tell someone that I’m having a really crappy week, their first response is to ask me why.  I don’t want to sound flippant and say, “I have depression, that’s why”.  Because I don’t want to be snarky at that time.  I don’t want to be anything, actually.  I pretty much have no desires at all.  I feel blank.  Why is my week crappy?  Because it’s crappy.  Why am I sad?  Because I’m sad and there’s no reason and that’s making me even sadder, because I can’t explain it.  I’m just… blank.  I don’t care about anything.  I don’t enjoy anything.  I want to, and the wanting to enjoy things without being able to makes me feel even crappier.  It’s a vicious circle.   And the thing is… I can fake it.  I can go out and I might even briefly feel good.  But it’s for a moment and then it comes crashing down again.  I don’t always feel like this.  It comes in waves.  And I’m beginning to get pretty good at actually coping with the triggers that I learned to recognize a long time ago.  It gets worse in the winter when there’s less sunlight.  It gets worse if I stop exercising.  Seriously, the improvement to my mood if I go for even a 15 minute run before work is nothing short of miraculous in my mind.  It gets worse when I don’t eat healthily. 

I’m currently clawing my way out of one of these waves now.  It was building for quite some time; I saw all the signs and I completely ignored them, hoping they’d go away (they never do).  I couldn’t keep track of everything I needed to do – including a friend’s baby shower I’d known about for weeks, which I ended up flaking on.  I was planning a wedding in the middle of all of this and told myself I just didn’t have time to not be well right now.  And I was angry at myself for not always being able to feel happy when I knew I was happy. A couple months after the wedding, it just became overwhelming.  I dragged my ass out of bed every morning and forced myself to go to work.  Then I would come home and sit on the couch until my husband got home.  I would sit next to him for an hour or so and go to bed.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  The breaking point came a couple months ago.  I had a pretty bad tension headache from clenching my jaw all week (a thing I do when I’m stressed out or anxious), and it hurt bad enough to give me an excuse to leave a social event early.   And even though it didn’t hurt at all the next day, I used it as an excuse again to get out of brunch with some friends.  Because what do you say?  That I can’t come today because I just can’t deal?  That I can’t deal with one more day of pretending I’m fine when I am not?  That the thought of having to fake it one more day made me burst into tears before I even got out of bed?  Because saying those things makes me feel incompetent.  A headache is a much better excuse.  Of course, all the people who I bailed on read this blog.  So now they know.  Now everyone knows.  And that is extremely scary.  It’s one thing to say, “I have depression”.  It’s another to say, “This is what depression looks like for me and all the ways I have difficulty navigating the world sometimes”.  I’m not ashamed of having depression…. But I do feel shame at not being able to deal with it.  I’m not saying that’s right.  I’m just saying I do.   

I’m struggling to climb out of this hole.  I was trying to run every day until I was sidelined by shin splints, so now I’m trying to get up every morning and do a lower-stress workout routine.   I vowed to buy a huge calendar so I could remember all my promises to go places with people…. But unfortunately not before I flaked on a really good friend’s wedding shower.  The calendar now sits right next to the couch so I see it every night and remember all my appointments and plans.  I’ve added additional doses of vitamins B-12 and D to my morning multivitamin.  I’m trying to cook dinner each night instead of eating chips and salsa for dinner before my husband comes home.  And although I’m mostly a social drinker, I’m still trying to cut back on how much alcohol I drink.  And I’m looking into therapy.   I’m still only at the “looking into” stage with that one, because it’s the hardest.  It’s hard for me to admit that I need help with something. 

I feel terrible for my new husband… since I fell into this hole just a couple months after we got married.  And he has been nothing but wonderful.  We’ve had a few talks about how I need time alone each weekend to recharge myself; I’m so glad he understands this need and will encourage me to take time for myself.    Because he is pretty great like that. 

So why am I writing this now?  Because I’ve spent 11 years fiercely fighting stigma against people  with mental illnesses and can’t seem to fight it for myself.   Because I am currently a mental health outreach worker who has a mental illness that it looks like I’m hiding.  Because I feel shame about a thing that I firmly believe people should not have to feel shame about.  Because I am embarrassed by a thing that I routinely normalize for others.  I don’t think it’s a thing that people necessarily have to know about me, but it shouldn’t be a thing that I am afraid of asking for the space to deal with.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

Apologies for the extended hiatus…. I’ve been giving some thought to this blog for a while and possible revisions I want to make to it.

I’ve had fun with the entertaining posts; I’ve enjoyed making you laugh and sharing my foibles and ridiculous thoughts… but I also want a place to talk about the more serious opinions I have.  And I have a lot pf them.

So, in the coming months, there will be content here that you’re not used to seeing (although, if you know me at all in real life, most of it won’t be a surprise).  I’ll still have funny stuff… it’s not like my life gets less ridiculous when I’m having Very Serious Thoughts. 

Thanks for your patience with me in my absence.  🙂

Oh the shame…

When I was in kindergarten (before the homeschool years), Thursdays were music days for us and the preschoolers.  We had a music teacher (or just some woman who could play the piano well enough to impress a bunch of 3- to 5-year-olds) come in and play the piano and lead us in song.  One of those songs was something about peanut butter and we had to snap our fingers when we got to the bit about “crunchy peanut butter”.

Friends, I could not snap my fingers.  Oh the secret shame of a 5-year-old!  That song is actually burned in my brain because I remember trying desperately to mimic my classmates while praying that they could not tell that my fingers made no sound at all.  My older sister and brother tried to teach me at home, in preparation for music day every week (we sang that song a lot), but it felt like a lost cause.  I was doomed to be the girl who couldn’t snap her fingers for the rest of her life.  It was my cross to bear.

I’m happy to report that, years later (no joke, I was probably around 11) I did finally learn to snap my fingers.  But tonight I’m going to share with you a couple other things that nearly everyone else I know picked up real easily and I could simply never do.

Swim
Yup.  Can’t swim.  My parents enrolled us in swim lessons at a local university (the only place with a semi-public pool)… it was one of those set-ups where your level was the name of a fish: polliwog, guppy, minnow, etc… I never graduated from polliwog.  😦  My brothers surpassed me easily, leaping off the diving board and swimming out in the deep end, while my teachers were getting more and more frustrated with my lack of buoyancy.  That was what held me back – an inability to float.  I’d lay on my back, with the instructor holding me up… I’d be totally relaxed, totally zen.  And then she’d take her hands away and…. glub glub glub.  I’d sink like a stone and have to be hauled, flailing, out of the water.  After being held back 3 times in a row, I begged off swim lessons and my parents agreed.  I can doggie paddle enough that I’m certain if I get knocked into the river or something one day, I’ll be able to make it to something solid to hold onto.

I actually spent a while dating a guy who had been a really serious swimmer most of his life, breaking national records and whatnot.  He always offered to teach me, and I always found a reason to put it off.  I felt like seeing me panic and thrash about once my head went under the water would not be good for our relationship.

Whistle
No joke, I can’t whistle.  When I attempt it, some sound comes out, but calling it a whistle would be mighty generous delusional.  And it’s weird, but I make no noise at all when exhaling, but am able to make more whistle-like sounds when inhaling.   (Incidentally, there was song that involved whistling in kindergarten too.  It was terrible).  Is there a way that someone can learn how to whistle?  Or is that something that comes naturally to people?  How do I learn this elusive skill?

I feel like sharing 2 of my inadequacies with you is probably enough for one night.  If you want to share anything that you don’t know how to do, I promise you’ll hear no judgment from me 🙂

Grownup Sicky

This week, I got sick.  And, living by myself like a grown-up, it means I had to take care of myself.  Since many of you are aware of how well I take care of myself when I am healthy, I’m sure you know how great this went.

I try really hard not to whine when I’m sick because whining is always annoying, but it’s seriously one of my least favorite parts of being an adult (along with paying rent every damn month, but what’re you gonna do?).  Because when you’re an adult, living on your own, you have to take care of your own self when you’re sick.

Now, I love living by myself.  I really do.  But the times it really, really sucks is when you can’t text your roommate and ask him/her to pick you up some tea and a couple cans of soup on their way home from work.  You have to pull it together to get your own soup and tea and Kleenexes.  And I will freely admit that while I get these things done, I hate doing them.  HATE.

I should’ve seen it coming.  I was scheduled to work an overnight shift (from which I can’t call off unless I can find someone else to work for me), the weather forecast was for a nearly perfect fall day, and I only had two bags of Echinacea tea left.  It was like the perfect storm of events conspiring to make me feel even lousier.

Day 1:
Wake up with sore throat, coughing, and so much tired.  Set alarm for later to call in to work and go back to sleep.

Wake up feeling and sounding like shit.  Call in to work.  Go back to sleep

Wake up a few hours later to demon cat running laps in the kitchen.  Shit.  She’s probably hungry and annoyed that breakfast is 5 hours later than usual.  Better get up to feed the little princess.  Punk.

Check tea supply.  Awesome.  Two bags.  <whine> I just wanna go to back to bed! </whine>

Force self into shower and into clothes suitable for being in public.  The best I can muster are workout clothes.  Go to grocery around the corner, which, of course, doesn’t carry the tea I need.

Get on bus to further away grocery.   I really just want to be in my jammies and lying on the couch, begging my new cat (the punk) to come cuddle on the blanket with me.  Why does life hate me?!!?  😦

Enter drama.

<whine>  I’m miserable.  I want to be warm and cozy and instead I’m now walking a mile home with 3 boxes of tea.  And soymilk, because I remembered that I was almost out when I was at the store.  Everyone else is out enjoying the beautiful weather and I’ve decided I have strep.  Or tonsillitis (minus the tonsils, whoops).  Or meningitis.  OMG can I touch my chin to my chest?!!!?  Whew!  I’m good.  It’s not meningitis (I have no idea what that little test means.  All I know is that’s what my mom would have us do when our glands were really swollen).  It’s probably bronchitis.  Or the plague.  Shit. I totally have the plague.

You know what I really want to do when I’m sick?  I want to take a hot shower, and put my pajamas back on.  I want to sit on my couch, with my cozy fleece blanket on me, cuddling with my adorable kitty.   I want someone to bring me tea and make me soup, and then sit under the blanket with me and watch zombie movies and terrible natural disaster movies (Volcanoes in LA!  Night of the Tornadoes!  The cheesier, the better) and play video games with me.  </whine>

Accept that being a responsible adult blows.

Text every sub at overnight job and ask if they can take my shifts.  No one can.

Spend rest of day pumping myself full of Echinacea and Vitamin C, nap, and then head off to overnight job.

Survive, barely, and disinfect entire workspace before leaving in the morning.  Because that’s what kind of awesome coworker I am.  Text in sick to day job, since losing the ability to speak overnight, despite copious amounts of tea and cough drops.

Day 2:
Sleep on the bus on the way home.  Gradually become more and more sick of being sick… spiral of self-pity begins….

Put jammies on and watch alien movies on Netflix.  Drink a glass of juice.  Start brewing tea.  Decide to spend rest of life wearing leggings and oversized t-shirts because nothing is more comfortable.

Fall asleep on couch while silently cursing formerly stray kitty’s trust issues and wishing she’d just cuddle instead of sitting just out of reach staring at me.

Wake up hungry and throat-hurty.  Dump out cold cup of tea that’s still brewing and start heating more water.  Make lentil soup.  Take multivitamins because I’m really going to start being healthy now, I swear!

Drink more tea and more juice.  Have now exceeded 1000% of daily recommended value Vitamin C.  Take THAT, you virus bastard!

Watch first quarter of Season 1 of Party Down.  This show was made for people who have to stay home sick.

Sick of soup.  Make beans and rice, adding lots of onions and salsa because that can only be good, right?

Fall asleep on couch during The Big Bang Theory.

Drink more tea.

Force myself to post something on Facebook that’s not about the weird cat antics going on around me, even though I’ve barely had any contact with humans in the past 24 hours.

Have conversation with cat, since no one else would be able to understand scratchy, mumbly words.

Shit.  I’m having a conversation with the cat.

Do the dishes, even though I’m dying, because I’m an effing grownup, yo.

Go to bed.

Day 3
Wake up to the sound of bricks falling outside my window (WTF?!!?) just in time to text my ride and tell her not to pick me up.  Am too tired to check on possible building demolition.  Go back to sleep.

Wake 40 minutes later.  Text in to work due to inability to speak above a whisper upon waking.  Bricks are still being knocked around.  Some level of concern, but feel no unusual drafts, so go back to sleep.

Finally wake for real.  Construction seems to be happening across the gangway.

Feed the tiny demon that’s been running windsprints in my apartment all night long.

Take a shower and force self into regular clothes.

Consider today a victory already since it involves wearing real pants.

Realize I probably should take my temperature.  Slight fever.  Hm.  First time that’s happened in a years.  I’m probably dying.

Go to store to buy more Kleenex.  And oranges because Vitamin C.  Upon leaving apartment, discover that sidewalk in front of building is surrounded in caution tape.  Almost get hit by an I-beam while trying to exit the building.  Decide walking in the street is safer than the 4 feet to outside the caution tape.

Return from store.  Enter building from back.  Seems like the landlord just picked up 3 random dudes on the street and possibly paid them in beer to do major construction on the building.  Sounds about right.

Feel like it’s been about 6 years since meaningful human contact.

Watch terrible movie about a new Ice Age.  “Day After Tomorrow” this was not.

Take a nap.

Listen to 5 Gotye songs on repeat.  It’s probably really annoying the “workers” 4 feet outside my window, but I don’t particularly care.

Look for cat.  Where the hell does she go?

Keep turning on electric kettle and then forgetting about it.  Really wishing for some tea.

Practice talking to see if I still can.

I can’t.  😦

Finally remember to make tea.

Write blog post about being sick (whoa.  Meta, yo)

 

Fin.

 

(yes, I’m delirious.  I hate being sick.  I need human contact!  I need to drink something that’s not tea and doesn’t have 200% of my recommended value Vitamin C in it!)

My Life Is Like a Romantic Comedy…. Except for the romance part. Really, it’s just mostly awkward.

Disclaimer: unless someone is truly a d-bag, or if there’s really no chance I’m ever going to see or talk to them again, I will try my hardest to not cast anyone but myself in anything but a positive (or possibly neutral)  light.  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  And the d-bags.  Because I’m not a total asshole.

Once upon a time, a small-town girl moved to the big city to make a new life for herself.  Wait, I’ve seen this before… don’t her quirky ways win over her worldly, pensive, and handsome neighbor/dog walker/barista/fellow commuter? 

HAHAHAH!  No.  Maybe that happens if you have a stylist so you don’t constantly look homeless and/or unemployed, and someone to write lines for you so you don’t say nerdy or uncomfortable things… I enjoy the benefit of none of those.

I’ve  already mentioned my most awesome online dating adventure ever (https://grownuplivin.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/worst-first-date/) with “Derek” the almost-40-year-old, former full-time pot dealer who lived with his mom and older brother two hours from Chicago…. that’s the kind of guy it takes for me to actually come out looking like the cooler one.

We’ll come back to my brief foray into online dating in a bit.  For now, let’s take a look at a few examples from Mairin’s Cluelessness: A Brief History.

High School (or: the times I’m unwittingly an asshole): We had this thing called TDT in high school – “Teacher’s Discretionary Time” – which was essentially 20 random minutes around 4th period that they used to balance out the lunch timing.  Junior year, I was lucky enough to end up in the Psych class that was mostly seniors, so our teacher didn’t care what we did as long as we weren’t loud.  Two guys, Adam and Steve, came up to me while we were all just hanging out one day.  I was probably studying, because that’s how cool I was:
Adam: Hey Mairin, we were just wondering what you thought of Jacob
(Note: Jacob is standing approximately ten feet away watching this exchange intently)
Mairin: Ummmmm
(It should also be noted that seated right next to me, and listening in with interest, is Pat, a guy I have the major hots for)
Steve: He’s kind of waiting for an answer
Mairin:  I don’t think much of him
(Pro Tip, boys and girls.  WORD ORDER MATTERS)
Adam and Steve: BURN!!!!  (Or the 1997 version of “BURN!!!! Whatever that was.)
(Jacob is still watching.  The poor dude.)
Mairin:  NONONONO!  I mean, I don’t think of him much (Mairin.  This is not helping.  Sooo… it’s not that you dislike him, but that he’s invisible?  Close your mouth and stop talking.  Forever.)
Steve:  So… you’re not gonna go out with him?
Mairin: (there’s no hole for you to crawl into, kiddo.  You’re going to have to answer)  Um.  No.  Sorry.
At this time, Adam and Steve walk back over to Jacob and in the sensitive way that only 17 -year-old boys can do, break the news to him.   He just lowered his head and walked away.  I’m a terrible human being.

There’s also the time I got asked to Prom.  But didn’t realize that was happening, so just appeared to brush the dude off.  My friend explained it to me later.  I was shy and awkward and sorta weird back then (hahaha, “back then”)…. and it simply didn’t occur to me that anyone would ask me out.  So I either didn’t accept that was happening, or was so shocked I could only stammer out sentence fragments or loose collections of words in the wrong order.

College:
I studied in college… and did not go out on one date.  Yeah, that’s right.  Not. One.  I spent a lot of time working on mathematical theory.  Or composing late at night in the music lab.  I did join some clubs after I had to quit track due to injuries:  I was in the Mathematics Club (if you think high school math club kids are dorky, you REALLY need to meet the college ones!) which was led by my academic advisor/linear algebra professor, and was an inaugural member of the Atlatl Club, started by my archeology professor.  I know, I know, there’s nothing hotter than a mathematical-theory-loving girl who knows how to throw (and make!) a Paleolithic hunting spear, so it’s pretty surprising that I stayed single all through college, but there it is.

The Working World:
We had this sorta cute college intern once when I was a mental health case manager… Burt.  He spent a lot of time doing visits with me (he went into the field with all of us, but I feel like I got him most often in his last week).  On his very last day we had the following exchange in our office, after having been out all day driving around the city.
Burt:  So, do you think the Shrek sequel is something you’d like to see?
(The Shrek Sequel, you guys)
Mairin:  Oh, probably, I kind of want to.
Burt: Yeah, I’d really like to go see it too.
(Awkward, 3-minute pause.  Seriously.  EXCEPT, I didn’t know it was awkward… I rarely know it’s awkward.)
Mairin:  Well, I hope you get a chance to see it!
(and then I went on my way finishing up paperwork.  Burt left forever about 5 minutes later.  I probably said goodbye.  I hope I was normal enough for that, at least)
Coworkers (who had been witness to this entire exchange):  WHY ARE YOU SUCH AN IDIOT?!!?  (or something similar).

Didn’t see it.  At all.  In my defense, I think he should’ve just asked me to the movie, if that’s what was going on there…. I just thought he really liked Shrek.  WHAT?  That could happen.  Sigh.  I couldn’t even be normal enough to say, “Maybe you should wait 20 minutes until you’re not an intern at my work anymore, and then ask me again”.  And then I’d be all charming… you know, how people do.

And then there’s the online dating.  Which took place when I was re-reading my copy of “Chaos: Making a New Science” (which is fascinating, by the way, and you should totally read it).  So I would get to my meeting places early, after I let the guys know I’d be the redhead already seated, reading a book about Chaos Theory.  Yeah.  Yeaaaaah.  Why I’m still single remains a complete and utter mystery to me. 

While I was doing the online dating, I was an intern, working in an office with only two other coworkers.  They were all about this process, from helping to decide who I should meet, to critiquing my clothing choices (I maintain that jeans and a nice shirt are PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE for a mid-week, after-work, casual dinner, first date, especially if my work is such that I am allowed to wear jeans every day.  Hell, I even wore shoes that weren’t sneakers.  Maybe.  I at least thought about it), to giving me options for restaurants that would make me look in-the-know (I was an intern.  I had zero dollars and couldn’t afford to go anywhere, so I had no suggestions).  “Finding Mairin a date and helping her pass as a less-nerdy version of herself” became a group project…. I think they were more into than I was actually.  Which makes sense, because they didn’t have to actually spend time talking with these dudes.   🙂  I’ve since given up on online dating…

One of those online dates did turn into a relationship for a couple of years… which leads me into my current “ripe-for-a-romantic-comedy-happy-ending” situation:  I finished grad school, got a decent job in the Loop, and moved out of the apartment I shared with a roommate.  I wanted to live on my own, closer to work and closer to the expressway so my suburban boyfriend could come and visit me more easily.  And then my job broke up with me.  Three months later, my boyfriend broke up with me.  A month-and-a-half later, I got a new job six blocks from my old apartment and now commute over an hour each way on public transit to get there.  Also?  The handsome, employed-appearing guy who lived in the apartment behind me moved out shortly after my relationship ended and 6 22-year-old hipster kids moved in.  What. The. Hell. Universe?   (note: I’m not totally hating on all aspects of hipster-dom.  I can have hipster tendencies myself.  But these kids were such hipsters, it was as if hipsters were smugly dressing and acting as hipsters to be ironic).   Seriously.  What the hell.

So, aside from one failed, awkward “surprise” set-up at a party (P – I love you, I really do.  And the gesture/effort was more than I could ask of a friend), that’s where I am now.  The Universe appears to conspire against me at times…. And when it’s not, I do a pretty good job of effing it all up myself.   If someone from Hollywood were writing my life, I’d meet my soulmate on the bus, when we both ask people to keep moving all the way to the back at the same time.  Or at the grocery store, both buying an odd mixture of health food and beer.  Or wandering the empty streets of downtown when I’m on my “lunch break” for my second job at 5 am.  Ok, maybe not that last one.  That could be sorta creepy.

Until then, I’ll be the redhead at the corner table, reading “After Capitalism”.  That’s sure to be great hook! 🙂

PRIDE

This post has been a while coming… it’s take some time to marinate, for me to figure out how I wanted to write this.  Most of my posts here are funny…  because my life is kind of funny and I need to remind myself sometimes that I’m really not a big deal and most people don’t really care about my VERY SERIOUS THOUGHTS.  Because people are grown-ups and have their own thoughts….

But I think I’m going the serious route with this one.  I think I have to.

I moved to the city about 5 years ago and every year since, I’ve been either working or out of town for the Pride Parade.  This year, I finally got to go… and not only did I get to go, but I got to walk in it with my Alderman and other volunteers.  WHich is awesome because 1) my alderman is the kind of politician that I wish I could be, if I could be a politician (which I am pretty sure I couldn’t) and 2) because I hate hate HATE huge crowds.  They make me really anxious and I last about 20 minutes before I start wanting to whine and go home.  Actually being in the parade eliminates a lot of those crowd issues.

So we walked, however many miles it is, past hundreds of thousands of people.  People in various stages of dress.  Smiling people.  Screaming people.  Kissing people.  Hugging people.  Laughing people.   I threw beads (because that’s what the people want, apparently), making sure to hand one strand to every kid I saw along the way (kids are cute and yay parents for bringing your kids!), gave out a few hugs, and in general marveled at the mass of humanity on Chicago’s streets and sidewalks.

There were haters.  Of course there were haters.  Toward the end of the route, they were set up with huge signs and I thought it odd that they weren’t saying anything.  You know how much the haters love to tell you you’re a sinner.   And when I ran up to get a hug from a girl holding a “Free Hugs” sign, I was close enough to actually hear the haters… what they were saying isn’t important.  It never is, because they’re wrong.  What was important was the crowd of people surrounding them, holding signs with words of love instead of hate written on them were cheering so loudly that they drowned the haters’ megaphone out.  Take that, assholes.  Love wins today.

Confession

I’m an intelligent, educated, confident, professional, socially-conscious woman… and I watch crap tv.

Well really, I watch one crap tv show.  The Bachelor/Bachelorette.  Yes, it’s a trainwreck.  Yes, it’s terrible.  It’s a terrible, terrible trainwreck and I watch the damn thing every week.  Other, intelligent, educated, confident, professional, socially-conscious women I know watch it too.  And then we all talk about how terrible it is.

Maybe I watch it because it kind of reminds me that no matter how awkward I am, no matter how many times I’m completely oblivious to someone flirting with me or trying to pick me up, I’m not that bad.  That at least I’m not on some television show, displaying all my insecurities for the entire world to see, as I pretend to date a bunch of dudes in the hopes that one will still like me in the end, before our relationship meets its inevitable end and we just stay together as long as we are contractually obligated.  I’m not that bad.

Or maybe it’s just a hugely entertaining trainwreck and I’m a huge fan of Schadenfreude.  Perhaps we’ll never know. 

Sorry this is so short.  I work tonight, so it’s off to bed for a little nap for me.

I guess I really am that short

I went to the Green Music Festival here in Chicago last night.  Great bands, overly expensive beer, and more fedoras than I could count.

Now, I’m not usually the kind of person who needs to see the band who’s playing.  I just need to be close enough to hear, and I usually find a place out of the way off to the side where I won’t get run into if I happen to close my eyes (usually, at some point, I will close my eyes).  Last night, at the headliner (Yo La Tengo), all those spots were filled with people who appeared to come just to get drunk and talk to each other.  Here’s a tip for those people:  the beer is a lot cheaper at the grocery store, and you can just as easily talk someplace else where everyone around you isn’t trying to listen.  Maybe you should go there.  (Overheard: “I don’t really care about this next band, Tango Sur”.)

So last night I had to move up a little closer to the front than I usually do, and get right in the crowd… where I discovered I really am that short.

A little background:  I am 5’4.25″ inches tall.  In college, a group of my friends started a private club for short people, I was actually too tall (by that quarter-inch) to be a member.  Many of my friends today are actually shorter than me, so I frequently am tricked into thinking I’m on the tall side.

Last night was my rude awakening.  I swear I was surrounded by the tallest people in the world.  Like I said, I don’t mind not seeing the band, necessarily, but when I’m below armpit level of every person around me and all I see are torsos, it can be a little overwhelming. 

I finally asked the 8-foot tall dude and his 7-foot tall girlfriend in front of me if we could switch places… at which point they actually apologized for being tall and in front of me.  After I got the dude’s attention of course, since he couldn’t hear me from way up where he was.

Lesson: get there early enough to be close and not have to feel like an 8-year-old surrounded by grown-ups.

Apparently, I’m lazier than I thought…

Remember that 7 posts in 7 days thing?  Yeah, that’s workin’ out really well, isn’t it?  Looks like I’ll have to double post one of these days. 

On to other things:

A list (because I’m writing this in about 15 minutes before I head out to more live music that I’m paying for instead of groceries (it’s my new thing this summer).

1. I heart new music… not even brand new, necessarily, but new to me.  I bought a few new albums this week and I’m probably garnering my share of stares on the bus because I listen with my eyes closed and probably bob my head a lot. 

2. I spent all day with my nieces today… not even all day, like 5 hours.  A is about a month old and C is 2.5.  I’m exhausted…. I don’t even know how parents do this all day every day.  Also, I love those little red-headed girls more than I though it was even possible to love another person.  At one point today, I was sitting in an easy chair, under a pile of nieces, and I thought my heart might burst.

3. No matter what time I plan on taking the Metra down to the homestead, I will inevitably be late enough that I am sprinting down the street to the station.  Today I was lucky enough that the conductor opened the doors for me.  Maybe because I was having a mini cussing fit outside the door when I realized I didn’t make it.

4. I love summer in Chicago… there’s so much music and street fests and awesome stuff going on.  It’s already made up for that nasty blizzard that shut most of the city down for a day this winter.

5.  This might be the most boring blog post I’ve ever written.  Probably no one is even reading it at this point.

6. I am also writing the whole thing without wearing my glasses.  Things are pretty fuzzy right now.

7. Did you go listen to my former classmate’s music yet?  Because you should.

8.  I probably could’ve stopped at 4 or even 3.  Well.  Now there’s 8.  I’ll go out and try to do something socially awkward tonight to tell you about.  Don’t worry, I’m sure it will happen.

9.  I’m so sorry for this crappy post.  I’m tired, apparently blind, and haven’t eaten in a really long time.  Time to carb up for some festival-going!

7 posts… 7 days

So this one time, I was like, “Hey, really ridiculous things happen to me on a regular basis.  What if I write them all down in a web-log-type format so other people can read it and laugh, thus bringing me fame and prestige?!!?”  And so I wrote some posts… some were funny, some were not.  One was REALLY popular because it was about the CTA and everyone loves to hate public transit.

And then, inexplicably, I stopped writing.  And I’m sure my fan was all, “WHAT?!!?”  And the truth is, there’s no real reason except 1) I am sometimes kind of lazy and 2) no, there’s really no #2.  I’m just sort of lazy sometimes.

So.  Here we are.  And you’re reading this and probably thinking, “Dammit, can’t she at least draw us a poorly assembled stick figure?”  And the truth is, no.  Not today I can’t.  But good news!  My dad (who is awesome) got me a little mini mouse for my laptop (it is seriously adorable) and I think that will make for much easier picture drawing.  Not better, mind you, just easier for me.

But you get no pictures today… today is my first of 7 posts in 7 days.  Because it’s been so long since I’ve written anything, I’m going to write something every day for a week.  Mostly it will probably suck and you can feel free to skim it.  Just don’t leave mean comments.  I’ll just delete them.  Free speech doesn’t exist here.

And now, for your reading pleasure:
What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Writing a Blog

1)  I went on vacation.  WOOOO!  At the end of May, I drove up to visit college friends in the Twin Cities, MN.  It was lovely and I’d love to share pictures with you, but I’m the kind of person who always has a camera and forgets to use it… so I literally have less than 10 pictures of my entire 3 days there.  And most of them are of weird stuff I saw on the way up from Chicago.  I was lucky enough to show up the day a former classmate of mine, Adam Svec, was having a show for the release of his 3rd album.  Adam and I took a music composition class together 10 years ago in college… obviously he’s doing way better than I am now.  Anyway, I highly recommend you go here: http://www.myspace.com/389706157 and listen to his latest album and then go here: http://drawfirerecords.com/store.php and buy his music.  (except that 2nd link doesn’t work… but he’s on iTunes, I’ve heard). 

2. I worked.  A lot.  At both jobs.  And am super tired all the time.

3.  I met my newest niece, A.  She is about a month old, beautiful and I can already tell she’s very intelligent.  🙂  And of course, I also played with little C, who loves her auntie and just might be a genius.

4.  I decided tickets for music festivals were more important than groceries this summer.

And…. that’s about it.  Hopefully something fun will happen to me tonight so I have something to talk about.