Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Until today. Sorta.
Inspired by my fabulous friend's blog post about how fantastic she is, I thought I'd follow suit and talk about myself. Haven't done that in awhile. And why not put my quirks out for the few followers I have left to see? This is how I roll.
I love to step on dry, "crunchy" leaves. I will literally go out of my way to step on one. I love the sound. I love the feeling.
I think that toned calves on a man are ridiculously sexy. It's one of the first things I check out if a guy is wearing shorts.
It drives me crazy when people speak with poor grammar. The teacher in me wants to correct them, but the adult in me realizes it's rude.
It drives me crazy when people spell incorrectly. In fact, when I see that I make a spelling mistake, I am embarrassed and 9 times out of 10 will correct myself in a follow-up text or email.
I love NeNe on Real Housewives of Atlanta. Not in THAT way.
I love Blake Lively on Gossip Girl. TOTALLY in that way.
Celery and peanut butter have been my favorite snack lately.
I call my friends "whores" because I love them.
I got unfriended on Facebook because I called someone a whore. Whoopsies.
It drives me crazy when things aren't lined up straight. Pictures, papers on my desk, things hanging in my classroom.
I think I have OCD.
My heart melts every time my niece calls me "Aunt Brandi."
I've learned many things about the mistakes I've made, especially in the last 10 years.
I think I would have been jealous if I had a sister. I'm glad I'm the only girl in my immediate family.
I have curly hair and I straighten it. I have straight eyelashes and I curl them.
I would rather eat a bag of chips than any candy, any day.
I cannot keep a secret, am a horrible liar, and wear every single emotion I feel on my sleeve. And I'm proud of that.
I have forgotten what it feels like to have physical contact with a guy, it's been so long.
I keep my phone next to me at night because I'm afraid something's going to happen to one of my family members.
I honestly feel like I'm never going to find "the one." I'm afraid I'll never get to experience that part of my life.
I think way too much about things that are out of my control.
I have a ridiculous amount of respect for my best friend for a number of different reasons. I think she is an amazing woman, and amazing mother, and an amazing person.
I have arm muscles and can do 8 pull ups (as of today). I've never been able to do a pull up in my life until about a month ago.
I love to dance, but have difficulties with choreographed dance. I want to take a class but am scared I'll be the only inexperienced one in there.
I secretly wanted to be a cheerleader in high school.
I could honestly go on and on...
Monday, September 13, 2010
My summer was jammed with awesomeness and I didn't even post about it because I've literally been busy since summer started. I'll try and post about my Peru trip at some point. Yeah, spent 13 days in southern Peru, got to see Machu Picchu, and got eaten alive by mosquitoes (or bed bugs? or fleas?). The trip was fantastic, to say the least.
Started work again. It's kicking my ass. Quite literally. I feel like a first-year teacher, for whatever reason. Probably because I wanted to amp my teaching up this year and probably because our planning time has been cut. Either way, I'm stressed and trying to find a new routine.
Started a new workout this month. It's amazing. Amazingly painful and hard and pushes me to my limits. Everything I could ever ask for in a workout. Here's a preview of the awesomeness that is CrossFit.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I was just thinking today how fortunate I am and how I seem to be coming across such genuine people lately. I've had friends (and strangers) extend their kindness to me in the form of rooms overnight, moving services, lunch, my birthday celebration, glasses of wine, and support in stressful situations. And the majority of these people are either people I haven't seen in a very long time, but keep in touch with on Facebook, or people I've literally just met.
I just feel so very fortunate lately.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Though, to me, that means that I no longer have that fear, which is completely untrue. I am still paralyzingly afraid of being up high. But not in all cases. Traveling up and being on the top level of the Eiffel Tower? Yes! Being on the top level of the Empire State Building? No. Climbing Half Dome? Yes! Para sailing? No. Am I just being selective? Do I psyche myself out? Am I height bipolar? I don't know.
What I do know is that when I first heard about this challenge from my friend R, I was like, sure, let's do it. Why? Because I really had no idea what it was. Sure, she showed me pictures. Sure, it looked kinda intense. But, whatever. Let's do it! So we did. We got a few other girls to do it with us and we planned, like 5 months in advance, to hike to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite.
There were a few things I was psyched about. One, I had never been to Yosemite. Two, I love a challenge. Three, road trip! There were also a few things I paid little attention to. One, this hike is 17 miles with a 4000+ elevation gain in the first 8-10 miles. That's roughly a 500 ft. climb per mile. That's roughly 20 flights of stairs per mile. That's roughly 160-2000 flights of stairs JUST to get to the top of Half Dome. Then you have to climb down. Did I do this math in my head beforehand? Of course not. What did I do instead? Nothing. I hardly trained. I hiked an intermediate 5-mile trail a few times. I hiked Mt. Baldy once a couple of weeks before. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, I have to honestly admit that I really looked at this hike as "just another hike with my friends," only a lot longer and some cables that we had to climb at the end.
It was probably better that I didn't know what I was in for.
First, let me tell you that Yosemite is beautiful. I have never seen anything like it. Sure, I've been to other countries and the things that I see are in fact amazing, but they are man-made. I've never seen true beauty in nature. When we rounded the bend and I saw my first glimpse of all that Yosemite had to offer (and literally heard voices singing, "ahhhhhhhhh...."), I got a little teary-eyed. I'm not joking. This shit can't be described in pictures. You have to see this to believe that it actually does exist in all of its glory.
So this is where I start to panic. Because, do you see that dome-shaped rock in the distance that is high-fiving the heavens? Yeah, I was going to be climbing that in less than 24 hours. I knew this was no laughing matter anymore. I got nervous, but I still blew it off.
So me and my four crazy friends wake up at 4am the next day, gear up, and set off for what will be the most intense 14 hours of my life. Within a mile, we lose two of our girls. And by lose, I mean me and two others (R & C) were moving too fast for them.* We climbed the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Fall (ah-may-zing).
We hiked to the top of Nevada Fall (indescribable).
And this was only two hours in. The next 4-5 miles were difficult for me. Probably because I wasn't hiking next to some glorious waterfall, and instead just climbing in a forest. But I was still blissfully ignorant about what lie ahead of me.
And then, about 5.5 hours into our hike, we rounded the bend and there she was. The infamous Half Dome. I was in awe. The view of Yosemite in and of itself at that point was amazing. We were so high. Here was this rock that was so surreal less than 24 hours before this moment. I was taking it all in.
And then... it all went downhill (no pun intended). R describes to me something that is new and not-so-exciting. If you look at the top of that rock in the above picture, you will see Half Dome. Looking at it, you'll notice that the rock is divided into two parts. If you look really closely, you might even be able to see a small ant-like line of people hiking, with the help of cables, to the top of this beast on the higher part. What you might also see are people hiking, without the help of cables, on that first roundish dome that begins at the ground level to where it seemingly flattens out (aka, the lower part). This lower part is called the Subdome (enter the 'dun dun duuuuuun' sound effect, here). R tells me that not only do we have to hike the cables when we get to the second level, we have to first hike a shit ton of steep-ass switchbacks on the side of a rock, going what looks like almost vertical BEFORE we get to the cables. Looking at that rock from the above-pictured view, I thought, there is no gravitational way that humans can climb at that angle without having something to hold them up. (The picture below is not mine. No one took a picture of the Subdome climb because, I later found out, we were all pretty skeeved out by the climb. I stole this view looking up the Subdome off of some other schmuck.)
I was going to die. I had decided right then and there. I was going to climb and the forces of gravity were going to pull me backwards, off the rock, and I would plummet to my death.
Here began the series of panic attacks that would last me approximately the next 1.5-2 hours. My stomach was turning, my palms were sweating, tears were flowing... that shit was f-ing high and I was about to climb it.
No I wasn't. There was no way. I couldn't do it. R and C were going to have to do it alone and I would wait for them at the foot of the rock. I was scared out of my mind. I was scared out of my body. I was walking, but I wasn't really walking. I could feel my legs moving toward that rock, but my mind had already turned back.
R and C are beginning to see that I'm in a heap of trouble here. They could see my change in demeanor, they could see the tears coming out from the bottom of my sunglasses, they could probably see the whitish/greenish color on my face. So what did they do? They stayed calm. And they talked me all the way up that freakin rock. Sure, there were many instances were I almost lost my shit. There were a few, in fact, where I literally made the motion to turn around and head down. But those bitches stayed calm and literally talked me though each and every step up that rock. And I am not exaggerating when I say "each and every step." I owe them everything. I would NEVER have done this without them. I would have turned around right then and there and hated myself for not attempting that climb.
Yeah.... f me, I'm going to die. And my mom's going to be pissed at me for being so stupid and dying this way. It was intense. I honestly don't know why I proceeded toward the cables. I was so insanely afraid that I couldn't think clearly and the only thing I could do was follow my friends.
I finally made it to the top 45 minutes later... 30 minutes longer than it should have taken us because some poor girl was having a full-blown panic attack toward the top and apparently didn't have friends like R and C to calm her down... which, if you think about it, that meant that I stood and waited, clinging to braided steel cables, at about a 55 degree incline, on the side of an f-ing rock, for some long-ass periods of time. When I got there, I broke down and cried. Happy, relieved, accomplished, thankful tears of freakin joy.
So we ate and took a few pictures (ok, R and C took a few pictures... I still couldn't move around much because I was still being clutched by my insane fear of how high we were). The one below is one of my favorites because it shows just how high we are and just how insane people are. Please notice the gentleman (because no lady would be that stupid) perched on the SIDE of the rock down below.
I'm starting to relax... and then it hits me. I have to climb back down.
If I could put this height/angle/death-defying/stupid adventure into one picture, it would be the picture G took (she was one of the girls we left behind, but who made it to the cables as we came down) as she was descending this rock.
That's the jist of it. The end. This is what my friends and I like to call, "an adventure." I need new friends.
So the rest of the story is completely irrelevant to this adventure. We made it down the rock alive (duh, I'm typing this now), we painfully made it back to camp, blah blah blah. The moral of my story is that I'm a crazy whore who gets herself into stupid circumstances and can only regret it at the climax of each of those moments.
But I guess these wouldn't be called adventures if they weren't challenging me to my core.
Cheers to Half Dome. I owned that bitch! Sorta.
*It should be noted that the five of us made an agreement before we left that if anyone couldn't make the entire hike for whatever reason, they would have to turn back alone. It was kinda assumed that we could break our group apart if the pacing wasn't the same, as well.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Talking about myself is just no fun, so I'll leave you with my favorite quote:
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.
Yes, I want to marry him.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I've complained numerous times about dogs barking and whining because their selfish owners keep them locked up in a bedroom or on a balcony while they are at work. I think I actually got someone kicked out because of my complaints. Either that or they gave their dog to someone who lived somewhere with an actual yard, like dog owners should do, unless they're taking their dog out for walks on their work breaks. I'm just saying. I'm not hating on my dog-owning readers... I'm just hating on my selfish dog owning readers.
I've complained about noise in the wee early hours (or late hours, depending on how you look at it) of the morning/night. It's like, I get it, you want to have friends over and smoke weed and drink on your balcony. I have no problem with that (really, I don't). But see, some of us have this thing called a job (maybe you've heard the term before?) and actually need sleep so that their students don't walk all over them the next morning. Sure, party... whatever. But make the cut-off at like 10 or 11pm on weekdays, will ya? I'll even give you until 12am on weekends. But seriously, have a little respect after that.
I've complained (and this was my favorite) on some residents (or perhaps not?) playing an actual game of BB guns at 11pm one weeknight. I kid you not, I heard little gun shooting noises and thought for a second that perhaps it was an airsoft gun. So I looked out my window to check it out. And what I saw could only make me laugh. There were two people hiding behind what looked to be an electrical breaker or something of that nature with guns in their hands and padding/guards on. And then I listened... and I heard them talking about their game plans on how they were going to shoot their BB gun. Yeah. I'm not kidding. There must have been another team across the courtyard because I kept hearing, "Are you ready?!" in a shouting whisper.
I've complained about the incessant dog piss that "trickles" down from the balcony above me. I remember one day I heard the noise of water dripping. Well, it wasn't so much dripping as it was flushing down. I actually thought my neighbors were cleaning their balcony. I think I actually smiled at the thought of clean neighbors. I heard it a few times after that and starting thinking, wow, these people are really clean. And then one day (and I have a friend who was staying over that can attest to this moment), I opened my slider (because I don't have central air) and WHOOSH! The smell of dog piss flooded my nostrils. So, being the mathematician that I am, I put 2 and 2 together and realized that my neighbors weren't clean at all. In fact, their asshole dog was pissing on their balcony and it had been trickling down and landing on mine for weeks!! I immediately called management and after two complaints (yes, 2), it was taken care of. For a few months. And then it happened again today. I fucking hate this place.
I have not complained about the guy (and chick? still not sure) who live above me whom I have had the joy of hearing have sex more than once. Please, if you live in an apartment and want to get it on, close your windows. That precious dilemma led me to wearing ear plugs at night. Oh yeah, and I still wear them nightly.
I have not complained about my upstairs neighbor, who, I swear to god, wears anvils on his feet when he walks around. And sometimes, I think he jumps off his couch and lands so hard that I have to stop for a second to make sure we're not having (another) earthquake. And he's up all hours of the night. Squeak, pound, crack... this is what I hear at 3am. The earplugs have helped, I admit, but there are some nights that I still hear it.
I have not complained about the couple (oh wait, I think I hear them right now...weird) who (oh my god, I think he just beat her because she screamed so loud) argue so loudly that I feel like I'm sitting in their apartment listening to it. One day the argument lasted more than an hour and then continued on later that evening. It was pleasant. From what I gather, she's "fucking" tired of him doing "fucking" nothing. Actually, it was great entertainment and I wasn't the only one looking out of my window trying to figure out which apartment it was coming from. I oftentimes text my friends throughout these ordeals and keep them updated.
Oh, and who can forget about the little old Mexican couple/family who lived next door to me and had one of the worst and loudest arguments I've ever heard. From what I gathered, the family was together, having a few drinks (probably celebrating a Tuesday or something). And by a few drinks, I mean an entire bottle of tequila+. By the time I got home, the festivities were loud. If you've ever seen the movie, "A Walk in the Clouds" with Keanu Reeves and you remember the girl's dad who was old school Mexican and total machismo... that was my neighbor dad.
See, now that I've written about that last story, all of my tension has been put to ease remembering the awesomeness of that night. But that still doesn't take away the fact that I ran into their office this morning (after I had marked it on my calendar) to give them my 60-day notice to mutha fuckin vacate, bitches!! I shall begin my countdown.... now.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Apparently that was a bad decision. My mom tried to get ahold of me more than once throughout the day and that turned into my dad texting me (my parents don't text, but know very well that I live my life texting) and that turned into my brother and sister-in-law texting and emailing me and THAT turned into my parents driving out to my place, 25 miles away, and searching my apartment, hoping to not find me dead. None of these things bother me in the least bit, in terms of invasion of privacy. I gave my parents my apartment key for a number of reasons. I honestly have nothing to hide from them. And they don't abuse it.
I finally got to an area with reception 8 hours later. Yeah. You can imagine the noises my phone was making once there was clearance. But I was driving, so I let it all go. And then my phone rang. For some reason, I knew the only people that might call were my parents and I knew I had been gone all day so I answered. My mom had a melt-down.
After I got off the phone, I wasn't sure if I should be really angry or feel really bad. After all, I am a grown adult and I shouldn't have to check in with my parents when I go places. And believe me, I don't and they don't expect me to. But what could I have done to ensure that nothing like this happened again? I had to take into consideration that my mom just lost her mom and she is in high-stress mode. I don't blame her for that. And I understand it makes my parents reasonably uncomfortable that their daughter lives by herself, 25 miles from them. I realize that they trust that I make good decisions about dating guys and watching my surroundings at all times and locking my doors and so on and so forth. But I also realize that it's not my decision that they worry about so much, it's everyone else's around me.
So, although I've always realized this on the surface, it hit me that I'll always be their little girl. And this made me feel safe and emotional all at the same time. I had people who were honest-to-god worried about me. Sure, some might think they crossed the line and need to let me be independent. But I get it. I get why they worried. With my family, we have a basic process for communication. Some days we talk. Some days we don't. But when one of us calls the other, we expect a call back. And when we try again and again and again and there's no response, a warning sign goes off. I'm not angry with my parents. Instead, I feel horribly guilty. I'm not about to change how I live my life with no one to answer to, but I also feel a responsibility to let others know when I'm doing something out of the ordinary. No parent should have to drive to their daughter's apartment and unlock the door, hoping to god they don't find her lifeless body. That's ultimately what happened to them yesterday.
The only reasonable solution we could come up with is me giving them some of my closest friends' numbers so that, in cases such as yesterday's, they have some form of communication with people who might know where I am. And sure, none of my friends know where I am at all moments of any given day, but they have ways to find me. Luckily, all of my friends on my contact list were more than willing to help out and understood completely.
So today I am grateful to have a family who cares so much about me and friends who are so understanding about this.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
hey [insert what my students call me here], i just wanted to say thanks again for coming to my graduation and my party. i know you don't believe me when i say 6th grade was my favorite year of school and you are undoubtably the best teacher i've ever had. you were a teacher that let us have fun, but never let us walk all over you. you taught us math and how to read where the red fern grows but you also taught us how to solve our problems and how to listen to people. you gave us responsibilities and made all of us feel important. you pushed us to do our best but never made us feel bad for messing up ( in my case drawing ugly pictures ) you gave us influences from roman and egyptian rules to the beatles. you made fun of us but we also made fun of you. you let us come back to your classroom and almost destroy it and go in your drawers and throw stuff and try and lock you out of your own classroom. you listened to our jr high and high school stories and laughed at our lives and plugged your ears at our actions! i think 6th grade is an important year. it's kind of a turning point when we're getting ready to go to jr high and decide what kind of person you're going to be. this is going to sound so lame and you're probably going to make fun of me but the kind of person i wanted to be was you. i wanted to play adult soccer, have a career, be funny, be nice, and not to mention be cute. all this to say, thank you. a lot. you were a huge influence in my life and you still are. i'm really thankful you were my teacher and now you're my friend.
love you [insert what my students call me here].
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
So here goes...
I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful a man he is. It's weird that I've always known this, but I've never really known this. I guess growing up in a family where the parents are still together and they're both very supportive of their children is something I didn't realize was rare. It wasn't until I probably hit college when I realized that I was lucky. And that's when I was more aware of how my relationship with my mom was something I appreciated. But I never really thought about my dad.
But now, after going through these last two years of dating, I've come to realize (through the guys' perspectives) that a girl who has issues in relationships (I'm talking serious issues in relationships) is almost always directly correlated to her relationship with her dad. She's too clingy? Daddy left when she was 8. She's kind of a whore? Daddy left when she was 12. She's a party girl? Daddy was never around. She's always looking for validation from men? Daddy wanted a boy and got her. And it makes sense. It makes sooooo much sense.
Now my daddy was an awesome dad. Sure, he worked a lot as I was growing up, but he always had Saturdays off. And Saturdays for my family were all about soccer. Everyone knew us. Everyone knew my dad. He coached. He refereed (he still does, in fact). He was on the board. I didn't know any different. It was the only life I knew. I thought everyone's dad was cool like mine.
My dad will still make time to come out and support me in any event that I'm in. When I was playing soccer in the adult recreation league these past few years, he was almost always at my games. He isn't as critical of my playing as he used to be when I was a real soccer player, but just having him there was and is always awesome.
But this is what I've noticed about him recently. My grandma (my mom's mom) is living her final days here in this thing we call life. She's been sick for about 3 years now. My parents have been taking care of her here and there (every weekend for awhile) for the time she's been sick. Sure, she's my mom's mom, but my dad has stepped up to the plate for her more times than I can count. And not for small things. I'm talking things that you may not even want to do for your own parent, but know you'll probably have to one day. And he's never complained once. My grandma was recently put into the care of hospice. My mom suggested that they bring my grandma to my parents' home so that they could take care of her. My dad had it all planned out: he would take a leave of absence from his (after-retirement-and-I'm-too-bored-to-stay-at-home) job and take care of my grandma so that my mom wouldn't have to quit her job. Seriously? That's my dad. My grandma coming to my parents' house for care ultimately didn't end up happening because her wishes were to be at her own home. So my dad drives my mom out to see her mom (about 35 miles one way) almost everyday. And when he's there, he'll help with things. He'll clean up the backyard or replace a broken something-or-other. He never complains.
My dad has also voluntarily stepped up and asked to babysit both of my nieces in their early years. My brother and his wife were really hoping to not put either of them in daycare, so my dad said that he would help out 2 days a week. I can't even tell you how awesome it is to see him with both of the girls. He's developed such a strong relationship with the 4-year old (he's watched her since she was months old) and is now developing that same relationship with the 8-month old. And he does it all... without any complaint. He changes diapers. He rocks them to sleep. He feeds them. He dances with them. He reads to them. He takes them outside so that he can teach them to love kicking a soccer ball.
Someone said to me the other day that my dad was awesome. I've heard it many times before, but it kinda stuck with me this time around. Everyone loves my dad. They always have. I'm used to people saying it. But it hit me the other day that he's my dad. My dad is the cool dad. My dad is the guy who everyone loves. I'm so freakin lucky. I really am.
So now I've decided that I need to meet a guy like my dad. It's always been in the back of my mind (because I think it's just something that most girls who have good relationships with their dads think about), but it really sticks out to me now. He sacrifices, he is great with kids, he is loved and respected by everyone, he has great relationships... that's the kind of man I want to be with. So that's the kind of man I shall look for.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Today I am thankful for my job.
Sure, some people may teach because they get summers off. Some people may teach because they think it's 'easy.' Why do I teach? I hope it's why most teachers teach. I teach because I seriously have a passion for what I do. Although the kids can drive me crazy, the make me laugh at least once a day.
I have a relationship with the class as a whole. They know when they can push me and when I'm about to lose my mind. They can tell by the tone of my voice or by a look on my face when I'm going to be funny, be serious, or be pissed off. A few will warn the others with a simple, "Shhhhhh..." One of the class clowns might throw in a quick joke that they know will make me laugh. They can tell. They know me.
And I know them. Each one of them. I can tell when they haven't eaten breakfast, or when they are at Dad's place instead of Mom's. I can tell when a parent completely embarrasses them in a conference. I can tell when they just need a positive comment or a quick conversation to let them know that I'm rooting for them. I can tell when they're about to do something they're not supposed to, or if they just did. I can tell when they're lying (most of the time), or when not turning in their homework really wasn't their fault. I develop relationships with all of my students.
I teach because I make a difference. The thing is, I can't often tell that this is taking place. My end result isn't necessarily tangible. I don't see the final sale of a product or the look on a satisfied customer's face. These kids don't come up to me at the end of the year and tell me, "Gee, I sure did learn a lot from you this year. Let me count the ways..." I get something even better. They show me that I made a difference by begging one of their parents to drive them back to their elementary school just so they can visit me. Year after year. And when they can drive themselves, they do. Sure, this doesn't happen with every kid; it doesn't even happen with most. But I've been doing this for 8 years and I have students that come back, year after year, even when they're in college.
I know I make a difference.
I look at what the state is doing to education in these difficult times. I see friends of mine losing their jobs; friends who have the same feelings that I do about why they do what they do. I find it disturbing that the cuts go directly to the classroom. I see how the cuts are affecting students and I can only imagine the long-term negative effects they will have on students. With all of this, I am still thankful that I do what I do.
The reality is that I'm lucky. I'm lucky because I've found a career that I love and that challenges me daily. I'm lucky because I love what I teach, who I teach, and where I teach. I have administrators who back me up and respect that I know what I'm doing. I have parents of students who pull for me when they hear I might be displaced to another school. I am well-respected and I've worked hard for it. Which is great, because I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Today I am thankful for my independence.
Yeah, I know that sounds crazy because I'm always talking about how I want to be in relationship and all, but I really am happy that I am free and independent. This is the thing... I want to share my free-spirited experiences with my partner. I want to be able to be with someone who loves to just make plans and go whenever and where ever.
But for now, I don't have that person, and I'm ok with that.
What I'm talking about in this post is my independence where I am able to do whatever I want (like last minute plans or big trips), whenever I want. For example, a few friends and I are planning on hiking Half Dome this summer. I love that I can get the invite, not really think too much about it, and just go. The thing I love most about it is that I'm up for any new challenge, pretty much whenever. And I have a group of friends that are willing to do pretty much anything.
But let's talk about this Half Dome trip... A) I've never been to Yosemite, but have always wanted to go. B) This hike is about 16 miles (8-10 hours). I love to hike, but my hikes these days consist of about 5 miles, max. So I'm a bit scared, but I am excited for this challenge (and we know how I love me some challenges).
Just to give you an idea... this is Half Dome (the "half dome" on the right).
We will not be hiking up this particular side of it. We will be hiking up the side that you can't see, which looks like this (below) on the ascent up.
Those are actual cables that help you get up that last part to get to the top. No, you don't have to be harnessed in or anything (though you can), but still. And this is what is looks like from the top.
I can't necessarily guarantee that I'll be the one getting this close to the edge (as I'm pretty afraid of heights), but I will be on the summit, which we've been told is about 700-800 yards across. So I'm sure I'll find plenty of open space to maneuver around on (or perhaps throw a football around on). No need to get close to the edge.
So anyway, this hike will be in the beginning of July and I look forward to the adventure. I am thankful that I am willing and able (hopefully) to do these kinds of things.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Today I am thankful for Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I know, this sounds odd that I am thankful for a book, but I am. If anyone hasn't read this book, it's a memoir about a woman who goes through a horrible divorce and finds herself in a yearlong journey out of the country. She goes to Italy because she loves the language (and the food), then to India to find spirituality, and then in Indonesia she finds love.
I read the book when I was in my last relationship and automatically fell in love with it. There was something about her witty, unapologetic writing that I got me hooked within the first few pages. I remember going to Borders looking for a new read and picking up that book, having no idea what it was about... I just loved the cover. I sat down to read a few pages and literally read almost 100 pages in the store that night. It just hooked me in. I related to the story at that point in my life because she talked about how she fell right into a relationship after she left her husband. This new relationship was a guy that she was obsessed with and the way she was describing it was exactly how I felt with my "1st love."
And then she takes the leap to leave everything she knows and travel for a year by herself. All for a chance at self discovery. Of course at that time in my life, this idea was only a dream for me. Something that women like her did, not girls like me. But how whimsical and brave it would be to fly overseas by myself to explore.
This book was my inspiration to take my trip. THE trip that I took the day after I turned 30. My first time out of the country. By myself. It was the stepping stone to my self discovery back in the day.
So there's an Eat Pray Love movie coming out and I'm soooooo excited. Not only because I adore this book, but because Julia Roberts is playing Elizabeth Gilbert's character. What a great casting choice. And because of this movie, I've decided to read the book again. So much has happened to me since I read the book (before the last relationship ended) and because I read the book. I'm about halfway done, but it's interesting to see it through a new set of eyes, so to speak. I hope to gain something new from it.
So, thank you to Eat Pray Love, and to Elizabeth Gilbert. Your book made me see things about myself that I wanted, but didn't think I was even capable of. Now I know I am.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Today I am thankful for ability to feel, since I seem to feel things more deeply than most; or more deeply than most appear to.
The only way I can describe this is to tell you about when I ran into "love #2," a year after we broke up (a year since we had last spoken to each other) in the middle of a Vegas club (mind you, at that time, we lived 3 miles from each other and I saw him once in an entire year, driving). I was with a group of friends (the main one, who I've recently broken up with), celebrating a divorce.* It was our second night in Vegas, our second night of meeting random guys that would buy our drinks and let us be their arm candy for the night. It's Vegas, that's how it happens.
So anyway, we're all dressed up, having just met up with a group of guys that we had met at the pool earlier in the day (none of which I had the slightest interest in - but I'm a team player). I was wearing a dress that I had spent a day shopping for (I hate short Vegasy type dresses, but knew I had to get one because it was Vegas), and I actually felt like I looked pretty hot. We're on the dance floor and one of the girls in our group walks up with a guy. I look at her and I'm like, "Ummm... where'd you find him and can you introduce me to his friends?" So she obliges and we walk across the club to meet up with her new friend's friends. As soon as I turn the corner, I see 'love #2" and I say, "Oh my god, that's my ex boyfriend," whereupon he spots me and probably has the same "oh shit" thought cross his mind. Instead of running away (like I probably should have done), I walk over to him and we give each other a hug.
I spent the next hour talking to him. The talking started out with an awkward, "Hey, how have you been," and evolved into me telling him everything I had learned about us and me since we had parted and him (I felt like) trying to one-up me on my revelations and experiences. I wasn't bitching, I was just word vomiting. Ok, maybe I was a little sarcastic and patronizing, but I blame that on the alcohol and lack of food. I also blame the apparent anxiety/panic attack that was slowly creeping up on me on the alcohol and lack of food. I was beginning to get fidgety and shaky and dizzy midway into our conversation. In fact, we were standing right next to a pool and I literally had to reach out and grab onto him at one point because I was losing my balance.
I don't know if it's just me, but standing there in front of an ex-boyfriend that has seen you naked numerous times, seen you be the happiest and saddest you've ever been, shared 2+ years with you, had numerous experiences and inside jokes and nicknames, who you once loved and thought you'd spend the rest of your life with ... it's an odd experience. They know you, but they don't really know you now. He didn't know who I was, a year after we had broken up... but he still knew who I was. We shared so many things for such a long period of time, and yet we stood there talking, like we were old friends who hadn't seen each other in a long time and were trying to catch up. It was too much for me to handle, yet it was everything that I had hoped for (to tell him everything that I had learned about us and me), all at the same time.
I finally got to the point where I was becoming increasingly anxious and uncomfortable with the situation. My friends were nowhere in sight and I was not strong enough at that point to just say goodbye and walk away unscathed. So I pulled out my phone and as quickly (and inconspicuously) as possible, texted one of my friends, who was in the club. I think the text said something like, "I need you NOW at the bar by the pool." Within 5 minutes she was there. I wish I could explain the reaction on her face when she saw why I needed her so badly. The save was brief and smooth. She walked up, said hello very coolly and calmly. Within 30 seconds, she asked me if I needed to go to bathroom and we were gone. He told me he'd email me and I said, "I won't hold my breath," and my friend whisked me away.
As soon as I was out of his view, I felt myself slowly falling apart. The tears were streaming and I began shaking uncontrollably. We somehow passed by my other friend (the now broken-up with one; but who had experienced the last year of healing with me) who caught wind of what was going on and literally lost her shit. She somehow found the ex, spit a few choice words at him (that I now think was more because of the fact that her night was possibly ruined and less about the fact that I was having a crisis) and walked away. I managed to get myself to a concrete bench, whereupon I literally fell apart. I spent the night awake, lying in bed with the feeling that I was having a heart attack. I even called my old roommate the next morning (who's a nurse) to describe my symptoms to her, asking if I should see a doctor. Turns out it was just an anxiety attack. I finally calmed down, right after I called my mom and cried it out. (Thank god for my mom... she's the best person in the world and always knows how to calm me down and slap me back into reality.)
It's hard to describe why I was so affected by him more than a year later. I wasn't emotional because I missed him, I was certain of that. But it was the first time I had seen him since the day we broke up, the first time I talked to him since the day after we broke up. I had gone through a lot of shit in that year. A lot of shit that I was proud of and that only he might be able to understand, because he was in the relationship with me. I think I pissed off the friends I was with because I was so affected. We actually had a conversation about it later the next day and one of them said, "It's difficult for me to understand why you are so emotionally affected by this a year later. I think it's because you're just one of those people who love so deeply that it's difficult for you to just bounce back from a long term relationship." Which was true. She was the one whose divorce was being finalized that weekend; the one we were on the trip celebrating. She wasn't devastated, she was actually happy. Maybe she was just a very guarded person. Maybe I was just too emotional and attached. Who's to judge?
But this ability to feel deeply is something that I've always had. When my heart is broken, it affects me very deeply. When I see a sad or moving commercial or event on TV, I cry. I get the fact that some women are affected by these things as well, but I just feel like I have a ton of emotion stored up in me. And I'm ok with that. I've just come to the conclusion that I am a crier and it doesn't mean that I'm a PMSing bitch, it just means that I cry a lot. Whoever I marry will just have to be ok with that because I can't hold that shit in. It's impossible.
So, in summary, I'm an emotional
*Is it odd that nowadays women (and probably men) celebrate the end of a relationship that they, at one time, vowed to be in for the rest of their lives?
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Today I will begin by being thankful for my ability to write.
I remember being in my 10th grade English class and my teacher was going over how to make writing "flow." She was showing examples of writing that "flowed" and to my surprise (and delight), my paper (on who knows what) went up on the overhead. From that moment on, I was convinced that I was a writer. I joined the high school [excuse for a] newspaper and went on to become the sports' editor my senior year. Granted, I didn't do a fantastic job of getting the 'hard stuff' (I didn't even go to games), but the honor was there. I even went into college with Journalism as my major, but soon realized that real, journalistic-style writing was not my thing. I'm all about throwing my opinion in there, and couldn't be confined to just writing about facts. Boring.
So since that day in high school, I've kinda had this "I'm a good writer" mentality, whether it's true or not.
And whether you know me or not, my mind works at a very rapid pace. I'm an over-analyzer and a very deep thinker. I'm always thinking. However, I can't always communicate things verbally very well because my mind is so ADHD and I go off topic a lot. I will literally be telling a story and forget why I was telling the story in the first place. It's a problem. Oftentimes I will have to write out my feelings before talking about a problem with another person so that I can remember to stick to what I wanted to say.
So I write. When I have a pressing issue, I write it out. Most of the time it doesn't make sense on the first round of writing it, but just getting my thoughts out is the release I'm looking for. It's like word vomit. I feel like I'm going to explode before I get in front of a computer, but once it's all out, I feel so much better. And then I edit it.
So when I started this blog, I realized that although it might be entertaining for others to read (if anyone ever read it), it was more of a release for me. And that especially became true when I went through the breakup and therapy. One of the things on my "what do I want to do before I die" list is to write a book about my relationships. I don't for any reason think that my problems are any more "bookworthy" than many other women out there, but I think that if women got to read about other women who have/have had the same problems as them, it might make them feel less like a freak of nature. Some of my favorite books are about women who have had relationship issues or who have found enlightenment through their journey of self discovery. And that will be my purpose when I finally feel it's the right time to write my book. So this blog also serves as an electronic diary of the events to fuel my book in the future. Along with the many pen-and-paper diaries and other things I've written that I've kept. I like to prepare for these things.
So, in summary, today I am thankful for my ability to write clearly and "flowingly," while (hopefully) keeping others entertained/enlightened though my emotional releases.
Then I went to yoga (reluctantly) this morning and was scrutinizing myself over my body and my lack of flexibility in comparison to others in the class. It kills me how I can change so quickly. One of the final poses in yoga is the relaxation part where you just lie there and focus on your breathing or the music... and my mind starting wandering.
I thought of the practice. I thought of religions that might surround this practice. I thought of how we're studying Buddhism in class right now. I started thinking about what the main ideas of Buddhism are and how we suffer because we want. I started thinking about what I wanted. I want my job to be safe. I want more money so that I can travel whenever I want and not be in debt. I thought, yeah, sure these are things that I want, but have trained myself to believe that in the end, I can live without these things and still be content (yes, even without my job).
So I pushed myself to go even further. What is it that I want so badly that I literally make myself suffer because I think I'll be miserable if I ultimately end up not getting it? And then it hit me. A relationship. To be in love again. Someone to ultimately share my life with. I'm struggling with this issue in my life so badly right now. I wake up trying to live my days not being consumed by it. I try to keep an open, patient mind, but literally beat myself up daily because I don't have it. I've even thought about going back to therapy to help me with this overwhelming need. My biggest fear right now is being single and alone for the rest of my life. No one to share my life with; no kids, no husband... nothing. Sure, my family will always be there and I love them dearly, but it's just not the same. I yearn so badly to have someone to share my life with right now.
And it's because of this that I feel like I'm not getting it. I feel like I'm falling back into needing someone else to complete me. It's a different feeling this time around, as I'm more aware that I really don't need it and am, in fact, capable of being alone. But it's still there. This time around it's more of a need for partner to share my life with, rather than a guy to validate how I feel about myself. I'm alone. I'm lonely. I'm not depressed, but I do get sad and frustrated a lot. When everything happened after the last relationship and I learned all of those valuable lessons about myself in therapy, I started to think that this was what I needed to make things happen for me. I needed to find out who I was without a relationship. I'm an independent strong woman that doesn't need a man to make her feel whole. And sure, I feel that way, but just because I know I don't need a man to take care of me doesn't mean that I don't want it.
It's been almost 2 years since my last relationship. Since the last time I was in love. It's odd because in therapy, I discovered that since I was 18, I had been in love with someone. I fell in love with the '1st love' at 18. And I literally didn't stop loving him until I was well into my '2nd love.' Sounds odd, I know. When the 'first love' and I finally stopped our 8+ year torrid off-and-on relationship, I was in a new relationship with my '2nd love' within 3 months. When the 2+ year '2nd love' relationship ended, I was turning 30. What a revelation to make at 30. I had been in love for over 10 years. So this feeling of having no one to love is difficult.
What makes it even more difficult is that because I don't have it, I'm beginning to really scrutinize myself over it. There have been guys in the last 2 years, don't get me wrong. Just no one that's lasted. And I think, why does this one not want me? Am I too picky to not want that one? I'm starting to hate my body. I'm the heaviest I've ever been at this point in my life. I get it, most people look at me and think, but you're not heavy. But I feel like I am. And I'm trying to stay active and either lose the weight or tone up, but I feel like it's just not happening.
So needless to say, I'm focusing on a lot of negatives in my life right now. And I'm sick of it.
It's amazing how things in my life connect at this point. Yoga is part of the Buddhist religion. I'm teaching about early India and Buddhism right now. Maybe I should apply the beliefs of Buddhism (a religion that I find so fascinating) in my own life.
Please excuse the Social Studies religion lesson, but it's so pertinent. These are the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism:
The first truth is that life is suffering. Life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness, frustration, boredom, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger.
The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and the needing to control things. It can take many forms: the desire for fame; the desire to avoid unpleasant sensations like fear, anger or jealousy.
The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. If we let go of our craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.
My intention here is to not become a Buddhist. My problem with being confined to a certain religion prohibits that. My intention instead is to internalize this and apply what I need to my life at this present moment.
I need to stop living for the future. I think I've done a much better job (through therapy) to not live in the past. I've let go of a lot of demons and am standing much taller than I was 2 years ago. But I still struggle with living for the future. I am not a fortune teller, I cannot tell the furture. Nor can I dwell on the what ifs of my life, specifically in the future. I need to instead live for today. I need to not take for granted what I have in the here and now. I need to stop complaining about what I don't have yet and start being thankful for what I have now.
So this is my new focus, and I'm going to use this blog for it. I've felt like I've needed a new focus on this blog for a very long time. In the beginning, it was mostly about working through my issues with the breakup and with therapy. And it helped. I felt like what I said mattered and that if it wasn't therapeutic for anyone else reading it, it was at least therapeutic for me. But, as many of those who read this blog frequently may have noticed (whoever you are out there), I haven't had much to say lately. Call it a writer's block, call it not feeling like there was anything important going on in my life at the moment... I was at a standstill. But that is no longer the truth for me. I have things that are going on in my life that are worthwhile, I have just chose to focus on the negatives (what wasn't happening).
So from here on until who knows when, I am going to focus my posts on what I am thankful for; what I have in my life that I have obviously taken for granted in the last year or so. In doing this, I hope to take my focus away from the negativity that my mind's become so accustomed to pushing me toward, and push it toward more positive, appreciate-the-now thoughts. I encourage anyone who reads this to post comments on things you're thankful for or appreciaitve of. Who knows, maybe I'll start a revolution with the 3 followers that I have... (shout-out to those ladies!)
I'm finally feeling like this blog (and I) have a purpose again! Ahhh, the freedom of it all...
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
I just need something. I need something soon. I need something I can throw myself into and bathe in the gloriousness of how it's continuing my change of making me into a better person. I need a challenge. And I almost don't want it to be a new guy... because I'm at the point where I feel like I'm so desperate for something exciting, I would throw myself too much into it.
Someone please tell me what this is supposed to be? Someone send me a sign? What is the next chapter of my life supposed to be and when it is going to begin?
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Moving on to the next one.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
The Buried Life.
This show follows four guys on a quest to cross items off a list of 100 things that they would like to do before they die. They live in a bus that they drive around the nation, accomplishing these goals. Sometimes they are successful, sometimes they aren't. But for every one thing they try and cross off, they do one thing for someone else. Strangers. Literally. They meet these people in the cities they travel through, ask them what they want to do before they die, and pick people to help. People of all ages, with all types of dreams.
They've raised money to buy a computer for a 5th grade class at an underpriviledged charter school. They've helped a father contact his son that he hadn't seen or spoken to in 17 years. They've helped an 11-year old girl conquer her fear of riding roller coasters. They've helped a young woman, whose mom died because of Hurricane Katrina and was buried in another state because of the chaos, get to her mom's grave site. They've helped four old friends reunite and go back to their old hang out. They've helped a young guy, whose life is surrounded by drugs and gangs, get his song on the radio so that his grandmother could be proud of him for taking a positive step in his life.
These guys are amazing. And they're for real. You can just tell. They do these things. They make the phone calls and talk to strangers and raise the money for plane fares or computers.
This show brings me hope. Hope that there are still young people in this nation that aren't out for their own selfish pleasures. Hope that there are still men out there that really care about helping others. Hope that you can, in fact, do anything.
This small tidbit from the show's bio explains why I love this show so much:
This series explores the exciting wonders of human potential and the exhilaration of going after one's dreams-those dreams too often buried by everyday life. This is the incredible and hard to believe true story of a journey called The Buried Life.
Who woulda thought that a show on MTV would have evoked so many emotions from me? I cry and smile every time I watch this show. I kid you not. If you haven't checked out this show, you must. Now.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Ok, maybe I'm a little afraid of you. But I think I'm doing a great job of acting like I'm not. Maybe I've actually done such a fabulous job of convincing myself that I'm not afraid, I might actually not be afraid.
And really, why are you so scary again? Because you ooze red and pink and hearts and love and candy and flowers? Seems kinda cheesy, to me. And yet, somehow, your meaning has been pounded into me since I was a little lad. Is it odd that now that I teach, the only three parties we're allowed to have during the school year are the Winter (Christmas) party, the end of the year party, and the Valentine's Day party. (If you're wondering why our parties are actually limited, it's because it would be a sin for the district to let us party any more than that, as we'd be doing more partying than learning.)
So as you approach, Valentine's Day, I don't feel a heavy heart. I actually don't feel anything, accept the fear that I might feel alone this weekend. It hasn't happened yet, but it might, and I'm scared of that. Which is like fearing everyday that I might die. I know, complete and total waste of time. (For the record, I don't fear dying everyday.)
So you take your pinks and reds and hearts and ooze and you cast your spell on someone else. I am loved. It may not be by a fancy gentleman, but I am loved. I have a ton of friends that would do anything for me and a family that is awesome.
Best wishes on your day,
Brandi (who's not going to feel alone this weekend)
Monday, February 1, 2010
So, this is a bit out of the blue...but do you enjoy reading erotica...? I have been writing some on my downtime, and I would like to share it with someone for feedback...
I totally understand if you're not into it...most aren't...
Yeah, no. But thanks. I wonder who says yes..... I wonder if I should say yes.
Should I say yes??? (Did you see the thought process come into fruition there?)
I'll keep his email handy in case I get an overwhelming urge to test the waters.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
That comment was probably the most epic of the week. A friend of mine, who just got out of a relationship of 13 years, said this to me at dinner the other night. I could tell she felt alone and lost. All I could tell her was that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, even if she didn't see it right now.
But all I could think was, "I don't either."
I spent so much of my life with a plan for my future. I don't have a plan right now. I've accomplished all of my earlier goals and don't know what to shoot for right now. I've been in this holding pattern for almost 2 years.
I don't know what I'm doing either.
Right now, I'm just living. And I enjoy it, don't get me wrong. But I need something. I need a goal. I need a challenge. I feel like it's just going to come to me at some point, maybe fall from the sky and land with a thud in my lap.... but I've been waiting for almost 2 years.
When will I know what the next chapter of my life will be?