I Forgive You

This is a toy Ferrari. Because I am a small person.

This is a toy Ferrari. Because I am a small person.

What do Ferraris, cake, and a Liam Neesen reference have in common you might ask? Nothing, actually. Except me. I happen to bind these unalike things to each other in one strange shaped forgiveness metaphor. Because that’s what it takes to forgive a horrible person sometimes- a certain set of skills, a fast car, and a whole lot of cosmic justice.

So, here’s the thing: I can get angry. When I say angry I mean smoldering rage angry. My emotional scale is basically the speedometer on a Ferrari. Zero to 12,000 and crashed into a tree in under 2 seconds. I’m usually at a low boil… all of the time. It’s my default setting. So, I’m that rich jerk next door that revs his Ferrari’s engine at every stop light. In a suburban neighborhood. Every day. Because I can. Ferrari.

For the record,  I don’t actually like being angry. I’m just really good at it. Blessed and cursed with a high sense of justice, it has always infuriated me when someone lies, misleads, or does wrong for their own gain.

Once, in 2nd grade, a girl stole a slice of cake out of my backpack. My mom and I had baked it, the day before, from a recipe we found at the back of a library book we read together. I was so infuriated that this girl blatantly stole from me that I brought 2nd grade in Mrs. Nachbar’s class to a stand still. I remember my teacher’s tenuous grasp on patience. Couldn’t I just let this go? This one time? This isn’t a fight I have to fight is it?

But it was. It is. I’m a sink my teeth into the neck, shake it until it’s dead justice seeker. And I’ve got a lot of rage for a lady who’s grown up in a loving, middle class suburban home (I think it comes from the chemical mix of my heritage:  Irish- fly off the handle passion and Hispanic – cool, bide your time rage).

So the answer was no, Mrs. Nachbar, I won’t let this go. I didn’t relent until that poor little 2nd grader admitted she lied. I ate my cake smugly over lunch.

Not much has changed about that little cake eating vengeance swearer. I didn’t get much taller and I’m still undeniably angered by things that aren’t fair. I no longer bring immediate situations to a standstill though, even when I want to. Thanks, maturity and adulthood!

Vengeance will find you and kill you. Liam Neesen style.

Vengeance has a certain set of skills Liam Neesen style.

In the past several months I’ve experienced a new to me phenomenon: Grown adults who make horrible, terrible, no good choices and then blame the fallout of their actions on other people. I went through high school and teach middle school so I am well equipped for immaturity. This is next level, though, even for me. Sometimes people just aren’t who you think they are. They make choices and become someone different. Or rather, they show you who they really were all along. They reinvent themselves and tell a different narrative because they can’t accept responsibility for themselves. I’m finding these types of people can’t hide from who they are for very long, which is why, eventually life catches up with and then implodes on them. I’ve been weirdly zen about this pattern even though it infuriates me that these bad choice making adults hurt the people in my life.

I’ve realized something though, as a few lives around me have caved in. As mad as I can get about injustice and as much as I might want to have a personal hand in seeing someone get their comeuppance, the universe just seems to have a way of taking care of things itself. I’ve come to believe that what you send out into the universe you will get back tenfold. I like to convince myself that this is more Buddhist than ‘Liam Neesen in Taken Seeking Revenge’ but, no, let’s be honest- it’s exactly that. Most of the time, people get what’s coming to them (that sounds a little Buddhist, doesn’t it? Maybe? Angry Buddhist?) because if you’re the kind of person who has to lie, rewrite the narrative of your life, pin the blame of your decisions on someone else– Well, you’ve already got your recompense, don’t you?

You have to wake up every day and be you. The kind of person who lies, is the perpetual victim of their own making, hurts others. That is how you spend your life

What a miserable existence.

That understanding -that this is the way some people live their lives (their entire lives!) – helped me figure out the thing/person I was most angry at and squash them, their words and speeches down into something amusing and ridiculous and just plain sad.

So. Now that I (finally) have your attention, I’m going to leave my very last thought on you right here. Maybe someday you’ll read it. Maybe not. In any case, I wrote this for you:

I am truly sorry for you. Some people do not possess the strength or integrity to accept their worst decisions and parts of themselves. I’ve learned a lot about those kinds of people this year and I think I finally understand why you continue to make the choices you do. I know now that you can’t accept yourself and be happy and so, I feel you should know, I’m not angry any more. In fact, I forgive you for the insinuations, for bending the truth, misrepresenting, lying.

I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.

I have already forgiven you. Because really, at the end of the day? The only person you’re lying to is you, and if that’s what you need to do to live with yourself, well, you can have my cake and eat it too.

From the bottom of my little prone to rage heart:  I forgive you. And I wish you luck. You’re going to need it.

 

Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world?

"Friend"Asking for a friend…

 Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? And by world I (think) I mean non believers and maybe people of other  denominations/faiths?

I grew up Catholic. Raised an eyebrow at that whole transubstantiation  thing. Gave a suspicious side eye to other beliefs that seemed just as  magical. Followed that line of thought to, hey, you know, I’ve never agreed that gay people are bad or wrong or shouldn’t fall in love and get married. Which led me to other revelations like: maybe there isn’t a sometimes mad, sometimes kind all being, all-seeing white man chilling in the cosmos watching us like a Sims game on high free will.

In the last 3 years I’ve become horrified? intrigued? both? by the proselytizing christian scene. Especially since learning about my husband’s background as a southern Baptist and hearing stories about his evangelical writer, blogger, speaker ex wife who doesn’t exactly practice what she preaches. I really have no framework for the beliefs and ideas I keep coming across. When I try to read or understand more I feel like I’m watching a bunch toddlers let loose in an empty room. No harm meant with that metaphor, really, it’s just the best way to describe the feeling.

I searched "crowd of toddlers" and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

I searched “crowd of toddlers” and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

Because I keep thinking, what are you doing? Why are you doing that? And now you’re fighting! Why are you fighting? Oh my god, why are you climbing on me now? Why are you forming a circle around me? No, no, don’t grab my nostrils! Please stop trying to choke me with your well-meaning love! HELP HELP HELP-

Sorry. Got carried away.

So, yeah. That’s my question: Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? 

Hole in a Wall: The Confidence Issue

Sassy PantsI took a confidence test online the other day.

At the end of the test a box appeared that declared I had “high confidence”.

I could have told you that, test! I disdained, and then laughed, because really, there’s my answer right there.

I know myself. I’m sassy. I just kind of do things because I know that I will do them well and they’ll pretty much work out. This doesn’t go over so well for me when it involves a hammer and picture hanging. No joke, Chris came home once and I greeted him at the door with this line :

I made a hole in the wall… it’s a little bit big.

Well, I made a lot of holes in the wall because I was sure I could hang this damned shelf. I was wrong. I know now that I shouldn’t be in charge of hanging things unless there is easily removable wall velcro involved. Voila! No holes!

The older I get the less patience I have for self-doubt… both mine and yours. I’d rather swing a hammer and see what happens than sit back and think I can’t do something. This whole attitude has helped me develop a view on life where I think: I want to go to POINT A. And then I do things that will pretty much get me there. Sometimes these things don’t go as planned and I think: THIS WILL WORK OUT IT WILL BE FINE JUST KEEP DOING YOUR THING. And, usually– naw, I’m going to say almost always– things work out the way I planned/wanted them to.

For all the reasons listed above, I  just don’t understand the kind of insecurity that bleeds into someone’s life so much that I can pinpoint it when they walk into the room. This is probably because, since the time I was 5, I just did whatever the hell I wanted to because I knew what was best for me. All of this may make me sound callous, but I don’t mean it to. If you were to meet me beyond the screen you’d see I’m a terribly blunt, call-it-like-it-is, pulls no punches kind of gal. I’m also stubborn and it’s a huge strength and, lately, a flaw as well.

I’ve really struggled this year to find some understanding, compassion, patience, <insert more positive actions here> for people who are highly insecure. Frankly, I’ve come out the other side  of this struggle exhausted. I just don’t get it when someone isn’t comfortable in their own skin, when grown adults wear their insecurities like a coat and it seeps into everything that they do.

I’m going to admit something less than perfect here: there have been times in my life when I have spotted insecurity in someone and immediately lost respect for them. I don’t like weakness. I don’t have the time or patience for it.

I know. It sounds bad. It might be. I can let it be. I try not to. I also don’t think that I should have to put up with someone else’s baggage, especially if they aren’t a friend or family member. I have found that I have no empathy for someone who wastes my time because they are not secure in themselves. I am not a therapist, a best friend, a sister. I do not owe you the luxury of endorsing your insecurity. This may make me out to be a bad person, and if you think that, frankly, I don’t care (see, there’s that sassy thing again), because the best advice I have ever received was this:

The greatest luxury in life is being able to choose your friends.

Yes, yes, yes. What a freedom there is in that choice. I choose to surround myself with people who make me laugh, who are confident in themselves, so much so that they are unapologetically them. I have made these choices unconsciously, but with 100% accuracy every. damn. time. And this year, when railroaded by someone’s (remember: not a friend, not a family member) inability to believe in them self, I just became beyond frustrated and angry that I had to deal with the ramifications of their insecurity.

See? Flaws. I have them. I’m not so assured in myself that I can’t admit to them. And this one is apparently huge, because I asked for a partial work transfer just to get away from someone else’s bleeding insecurity because I couldn’t stand it, it was suffocating me.

I don’t have an answer for someone who wants to have friends, who wants to know how to wear funky on trend- clothes, who wants to get invited to happy hours, and be included in the team, have the most facebook friends, feel good when you look in the mirror, be ok with all the stuff those terrible people in your terrible high school said to you. I don’t know how you figure out your life so that you are happy and confident. I don’t know, I don’t, I really don’t. I’m just as unsure about how to be more compassionate to someone who drives me insane because they can’t figure this exact thing out.

However you do it, you have to eventually be ok with you fat, skinny, pretty, mean, nice, blunt, on-trend, sad, insecure, whatever. At the end of the day always, always, always be ok with yourself no matter what the world is telling you.

Everything else, holes in walls included,  won’t matter at all.

 

Laugh When Your Celling Rains, Your New House Smells Like Cat Urine, and During Other Bad and/or Stressful Situations

It’s been a stressful few months. Today and tomorrow are snow days and it’s been nice to just sit and put off work. Yes, I could be hanging pictures or organizing paperwork, or (shudder) going through the giant stack of mail that has accumulated in the last 3 weeks, but I’m not going to so there.

Phew. I can’t believe it’s February. I feel like I’ve been in a fog since October. First there was Chris’s long and arduous job interview process. There were so many emotional ups and downs that I thought therapy was going to be needed. For me, that is. But, he got the job and is doing awesome work for a school district and is finally, finally, enjoying his employment with a big boy salary too boot.

Because we’re smart people at this time, we decided to start looking for a dog to adopt and when we found a corgi mix named Benny who looked like this: ImageI know, right? We said yes, thank you, we’ll take him please to the adoption program volunteers and two days before Chris started his new job we hopped in the car and drove two hours to get him. I can now say with certainty the following two things :

1. I will never adopt a dog that is 6 months old ever again. I didn’t kill him because his cuteness is overwhelming.

2. I really love my dog now.

Adopting a puppy two days before my husband started his brand new job was really stupid. That said, sleepless nights, stressful puppy behaviors, completely altering our schedules and plans, stressing myself out about being a good dog parent- are quickly fading. I still freak out about being a good dog parent. See “The Scarf Incident”. Dog chews up clothes, I think he eats a whole shirt, crying emergency speeding to the vet. Turns out he just ate pieces of my favorite scarf, threw them up in the middle of the night and is fine. There was still a lot of panicking on my part. This was last week. Aaaaaanyway.

So Chris got a new job and we got a puppy we were not quite equipped to handle. And about two weeks into Benny owning there was “The Time it Rained from the Ceiling”. That, dear reader, is when the tenant three floors above you decides to vacuum their utility closet and break their water heater thus, flooding you.I was sick, tired, stressed about my dog, and suddenly there was water pouring into our cluttered one bedroom apartment. I don’t think I’ve ever sobbed that hard in my life. Chris came home to me, I believe, sitting on a dry patch on the floor weeping into my dog’s neck.

This moment became the moment of “I can’t loud, tiny apartment any more especially not if it will be raining”. So we decided to break our lease and move. And move we did the first week of January. That debacle will have to wait for later story-telling. Let’s just say it was also the most effed up move/event thus far. Good news: my house no longer smells like cat urine and I actually like where I live.

But yes, it’s been a busy few months. Work for me has been stressful. Home has been stressful. And through all this my husband has been steady, wonderful Chris. I can’t say the same for me. I haven’t been the best spouse. I haven’t lost my sense of humor, so I still have a ways to fall, I think, but it hasn’t been my best 4 months.The other day I realized we haven’t even been married a year yet. Shock. Not because we’re unhappy, but just because circumstances have been ridiculous and it feels like I’ve lived 3 years fast forward.

There was a time, about a year before I met my husband, that all the stressful life stuff I detailed above would have sent me over the edge. I sat once in a psychologists office, weepy and depressed and so upset by my absolute lack of control in my circumstances that I just wanted to quit school and sleep in my room forever. I think I felt ebbs and flows of this the last few months, but when you have someone to ground you, to make you laugh, and to let you cry hysterically about the water pouring into your apartment– it helps. A lot. Knowing you have someone in your corner, that if all your stuff is wet and damaged and the house you are going to rent is a hazmat situation and you may just have to sleep on the curb but god damn you sure aren’t going to be sopping wet or curb sleeping on your own- well, that makes you, or me, see it all for what it is. Stupid. Circumstantial. Stress.

Not exactly what you want for your first year of marriage, but then again, that isn’t really our first year of marriage. It’s just stuff that happened. Nobody died. Nobody was hurt. It’s all ok. Took me a awhile to loosen the bone and back away from the metaphorical cliff, but I realize now, it’s ok.

If someone were to ask me my advice on marriage, (Ha! No one ever has. So, I’m just going to tell you because I can.) I would say be sure to find someone who will make you laugh, laugh, laugh no matter what. That, I think, can get you through anything.

Oh, and it helps if he/she is a looker, too. But that’s just me being shallow.

Image

Dammit. We’re cute.

Big Dreams Are What You Make

Hello, self? Are you out there?

I’m going to try to write one meaningful thing on here a day for the next 7 days. So here’s the first one: I used to have a big dream, or what I thought was a big dream, and it went something like this:

Move away from Kansas, Graduate, Move Overseas, Find THE adventure and thus, find my true self.

I wanted to move to Japan. Or someplace equally foreign and exotic and not in the continental United States. I didn’t know what was out there, but I was sure there was something large and important waiting for me. I thought that I had to leave to find whatever that thing was. I thought that adventure would somehow define and shape me, into The Best Version of Nancy.

That was my plan for years and years and years. It’s funny though, how that scheme always seemed so hazy and intangible despite how it cycled through my brain from the ages of 10 to 22. When I would try to think ahead and drop myself on a busy street corner in Tokyo, or along a riverbank in Europe, it felt like I was watching someone else’s movie. To me, that hazy feeling equated doubt. It meant that I doubted myself, I doubted that I could make it happen, I doubted that I could last alone out there in the big world. I’d tell myself, nope! You are small, but you are mighty! It’s just a plane ride! And an entire upheaval of your life structure as you know it, some far away part of me would chime in all sing-songy and innocently.

Shut up, you! I would think at myself and quickly stop thinking about large adventures and plane rides and knowing no one anywhere because that was actually kind of scary, yes, and now that I think about it, it is a giant upheaval of my life and–

So, I graduated college and went right back into graduate school, partially because I had to and partially because I wasn’t ready to pack my bags and say goodbye to everything that I knew. The plan then became, finish school, try for a job, work a few years, and then leave for THE big adventure to find The Best Version of Nancy.

In hindsight, I think it was less of a great wide adventure plan than it was a parachute plan, a this-is-what-I’ll-do-when-I-give-up-plan. If real life rejected me, if I couldn’t find that job, maintain the sturdy structure that years and years of school had instilled in me, then I’d bolt across the ocean and try a new and different life.

I know that there are experiences out there that you can’t get from wherever you call home. There’s too much to see and do and experience out there to think otherwise. I know that there are people and uncomfortable situations in corners of the world that will push you into becoming a new version of yourself. I know that there are whole groups of people who insist when you are young you have to go out and either A) make mistakes or B) Travel some part of the world and possibly combine A and B together. But you see, I don’t think that living that large is for everyone. Experiences that make you grow are for everyone, absolutely, but that  huge adventure that I had planned for all those many years? That is for very few.

I think sometimes people trick themselves into thinking that they are inconsequential if they aren’t doing something just a little bit bigger– I’m not living up to my full potential if I never try to write that book. I’m not making meaning out of my life unless I experience all the art in Europe. I’m going to live a small and unsatisfying life if I don’t make it out of the country before I turn 30. I won’t be free unless I try something new, lower my inhibitions, sail around the world, jump out of an airplane, ride an elephant, throw a spear, play hopscotch with the Dali Lama, stick a flag in a mountain— And so on. I think all those things are great, but I don’t think you have to do them in order to find out who you are, and that’s what I’m really getting at here.

Because what I found out about that hazy feeling when I thought about climbing mountains or living in Tokyo, that creeping thing that I thought was doubt in myself, wasn’t that at all. It was the know-it-all part of me that knew me the best, sitting back and slowly, knowingly shaking her head. What I wanted wasn’t as big as all that. I found out that all I wanted was a place to call my own, the opportunity to teach and live comfortably, a dog, and maybe someone to share those things with. That might seem very small and insignificant to some people, but once I figured out that those were the only things that mattered, life became a whole lot easier and somehow started to fall into place.

I got hired at a school, I paid off a bunch of my loans, I met a converse wearing musician and  we liked and loved each other a whole mess of a lot and got married. And someday soonish, we’ll have a dog, and then a house, and then we’ll be able to travel the world a little bit here and there. Over summer vacations we can stop on the corner in busy Tokyo or stroll down the cobblestone streets in Europe and then come back home, and put our feet up, and pet our dog and go to work and do it all again a little ways down the road. Someday we’ll be  have an adventure or two and then come home, unpack, and reminisce through pictures on a wall.

Do I still want the big adventure, then? Yes and no. We don’t have to exist in an extended meaningful adventure for our lives to have meaning. And we don’t necessarily have to go out and find ourselves in the great wide abyss of the world. Sometimes, we’re already right here, the Best Versions of Ourselves.

I think Big Dreams are what you make of them, and you don’t always need a jet plane to get there.

Part 3: My Brain is a Sniper Rifle

Image

Half of my other half.

When I first met him, I knew in a moment I would have to spend the next few days re-arranging my mind so there’d be room for him to stay. – Brian Andreas

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When I was thirteen I suddenly realized that there were no absolutes in life. I remember the distinct feeling of, wow, I’ve had some sort of real, live adult revelation here and okay, this could potentially suck. At 13, I already knew that the majority of people expected to get married and have families someday. But what happens, I wondered, if you never meet anyone? Or you meet people, but they aren’t at all what you want? What happens then?

I don’t know what happened to other people, but what happened to me was this: I decided that I would find ways to be happy and content without the expectation that someone else could and would make me happy. Because, realistically,  I might never meet that smart musician who could make me laugh like nobody else and understood that I personified my own personality in my head. Maybe it was because I decided this that I was never really interested in anyone who came my way. I might as well, I thought, fully buy into that revelation I’d had at 13. But life is funny and has a way of working out not at all like you plan. In fact, I’ve found, that if you make a desk declaration that you will remain single and devote your life to other things that make you happy like friends and family and teaching, or maybe creating a corgi farm where all the great fatties can frolick (it’s a lifelong dream, ok?), life will, in 7 seconds flat, render that declaration null and void. Just because it can.

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Which brings me back to Other Guitarist and an innocuous October evening. There was never anyone, until right then, that exact moment when Other Guitarist walked in and brain said ‘yep‘. That loud and suddenly distinct part of my brain, sitting in a wingback chair, already had it all figured out.

IF my brain were an inanimate object it would be a sniper rifle with who else but Smoking Jacket Nancy at the trigger. The best way I can describe the sudden shift in my life was this way: Smoking Jacket Nancy (who is an incredibly good shot due to the years she spent in Africa hunting Poachers. That sounds like a C list movie. I should immediately abandon all plans of doing laundry and write that script.) trained her sights on Other Guitarist and those crosshairs were never going to come untrained from that mark.

I’m going to date him, I thought, in very assured way, as if it had a sneak peek into the future and already knew what were to happen. Damn, Smoking Jacket Nancy is good. I’m going to flirt with him all night and I’m going to date him. 

But first, I had to ask him his name again, because it was definitely not Matt, but that’s what my brain heard in the smash up of a moment of our first (real) meet. His name was actually Chris (Chris, Matt. Preeeetty close, brain) and about three seconds after he tried my infamous guacamole and gave me the Fonzi thumbs for a job well done,  Bushwhacking, gun toting, Smoking Jacket Nancy raised her glass in triumph. 

Part 4: Jazz and Broken Glasses

Part 2

Part 1

Purpose and Paycheck

Yes, I realize this is old school.

Yes, I realize this is old school.

How rare is it to really enjoy your job? Your everyday meat and potatoes job?

Today was a fine day, a good day. It could have been better if it were Friday, but a good day nonetheless. In my afternoon classes I made the judgement call to not instruct the entire class on how to format a paper because, hello, 8th hour + 32 6th graders + technology = everyone yelling my name because they missed step two and THE WORLD IS ENDING RIGHT NOW PAY ATTENTION TO ME HELP ME!

So, what happened was this : me running around for two hours saying the same directions 62 times. Which was fine. Again, judgement call, all on me. But still, I found myself getting frustrated and tired. It occurred to me as I said “double click, Times New Roman, size twelve, no, not hot pink font, no, double space, yes, that, no, go back, see that thingy, yes, that, click that, now SAVE. SAVE!” for the umpteenth time that it’s really rare for me to get bothered or frustrated when at work.

Last year? All the time. Last year was also year one of teaching, and I had a whole lot of learning to do about everything. Looking back it feels like everyday there was a part of my brain yelling, pull the chute, pull the chute, PULL THE FREAKING CHUTE AND GET OUT and I’d always be all the way to frazzled on the Nancy Meter. This year? It’s a cakewalk. So much easier. So much, in fact, that hardly anything gets me frazzled.

I’m really lucky to have a paid job that is, without a doubt, the only thing I have ever wanted to do and will likely ever do. A lot of my personal purpose is tied up in my job and I’m fortunate that I always knew what that purpose was and how I could go about getting paid to do what I love. Find college. Check. Apply to School of Ed. Check. Do lots of reading and observing. Check. Student Teach. Check. Big ‘ol portfolio that nearly kills me. Check and teaching license. Find job. Check and BOOM.

I wonder though, how many people actually have that and can really pursue that purposeful employment opportunity? Is it likely for a majority of people to get paid to do what they love?

I’ve also been thinking about this lately, because Chris is starting his own company, which is awesome, and I wonder how many people out there choose to create their own employment opportunities to pursue what they love.

Pressure Kid

Me, but smaller.

I heard that name from a Kevin Drew song called “Farewell to the Pressurekids”. When I was 17 I was introduced to the band Broken Social Scene and, as dramatic as it might sound, yes, the following is true: their music changed my life.

Ok, it changed parts of my life. Like the kinds of music I listened to and how much music really mattered to me, which is to say, a lot.

Besides the fact that the musicians who comprise Broken Social Scene are just absolutely fantastic, I think I fell in love with their sounds because at 17, the world felt so huge and I was filled with hope and a little bit of anger and a little bit (or a lot) of fear about how I couldn’t stay with my friends forever and soon everyone was going leave and I’d have to start figuring the whole life thing out. BSS was a good soundtrack to being 17.

And I remember listening to Kevin Drew’s solo album thinking, we’re pressurekids. I think, anyway. I feel like that’s what I am. I’m going to say that I am.

Even at 17, I was already nostalgic for the years of 5-7. The climbing trees, skinning knees, cutting my hair so I looked like a boy, running through summer, cannonball into the pool years. I was scared about the future and I wanted to run away from Kansas (which I did eventually, actually, and then I was the only one of my gang of ne’er do wells who came back and stayed, but that’s another story). So I was afraid and unafraid and man, was that a weird time in life.

It felt like while the whole world was before us, everything was rushing, scrambling, time was ticking down and our existence was going to wink out. I found out later that was true, in a way. You can’t go back to that mix of naiveté and fearlessness and for me that ended up being a good thing. Each year I’ve lived (25, so not many) is better than the one before, except of course for that fantastic nosedive of a 7 months that was the last part of 2010 and first part of 2011. That sucked. But 2011 was also the start of the best years of my life. 

Anyway. I still use pressurekid as my moniker here and there and everywhere because I think that song and its meaning apply now more than ever. I’m not that indie-kid-who-didn’t-quite-know-what-she-wanted-and-was-just-going-to-hurtle-in-a-direction-that-felt-pretty-safe-but-wasn’t-quite-what-should-happen anymore, but I was once and I spent a lot of time in my own head trying to figure life out, pressuring myself to get through the ages of 17-23.5 and do it all right. But now, those years seems so far away that they’re like a dream.

So I guess it’s just like Kevin Drew sings:

Farewell to the pressurekids.

Part 1: Desk Declarations

It happened like this:

Sitting at my desk on a plan period, grading papers and looking around the room thinking, how could anyone possible have the time or energy for another person? How could anyone have enough leftover to give to someone else?

For the first time in my life when I thought, I want to be alone, I don’t want to date or think about dating or worry about meeting someone, I meant it. Before, there had always been a 1% part that cared about being single or alone or insert some societal expectation about dating. Not this time though. I really and truly didn’t care and couldn’t fathom actually dating or caring about dating. I was busy being a first year teacher. I’d lucked into a full year of subbing after my dream job at my dream school fell through. I was crawling out of a year of depression and worry and I was feeling pretty good about the future. ‘Tie a cape around your neck and stand in super-hero pose’ good. I was content, even edging toward happy.

My best dude friend and I were on parallel paths in the 2010-2011 year. We had become friends, oddly, on our last day as college students. We were in caps and gowns making jokes about middle names and somewhere between dubbing one another ‘cash money’ and ‘bling bling’we became friends. We became close through the stresses of our first year of graduate school, student teaching, and life in general.

Once, we spent a forty-five minute car ride listing nothing but the things that made us happy.

Once, when winter still clung to spring and the trees had yet to bud, we cataloged his comic books under an open window and didn’t speak a word for an hour.

Once, a waiter spilled beer on him the night before his big interview for his first teaching job and I laughed so hard I almost thought I was a bad friend, but no, I’m not, he’d have done the same and after he came back from mopping himself up with cheap brown paper towels we talked about loneliness and dissatisfaction and he said one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me.

He said, you deserve to be doted on, and I almost cried into my unspilled beer because I didn’t always believe those words even though I had said them in one hundred other ways to the young woman who starred back at me in mirrors and glass.

Well, it happened that two days after my ‘I can’t believe busy people my age date and I don’t ever want to date anyone ever’ desk declaration that this friend, more like a brother now after the year and a half we had, called and said, get-together and grilling and beer and conversation and today and I said, ok.

There are evenings that live in infamy in your memory because they are proof of a life well lived. I remember evenings with summer still clinging to the setting sun, long shadows, and open windows, conversation, and laughter in this way. Those moments are the makings of happiness. Those are the moments that if you were the director of your own movie life, you would record and edit into the perfect indie film about 20-somethings, honesty, and truth, and the magical capabilities of being young, and free, and hopeful. Those are the nights you can’t manufacture. They’re just good. It was one of those nights. The backdoor was open and the sun still refused to set too early. I was still in a summer dress and sandals despite the creep of a colder October.

Best Dude Friend and I hung out in the early afternoon before the rest of the mutual friends arrived. We grocery and liquor shopped and I made my infamous guacamole. And some ten minutes before the real shindig was supposed to begin, there was a knock at the door and an early arriver walked in and shifted everything in my brain and life around so easily it was as if it were always meant to happen.

Part 2

(I wrote this last year, March 2012, but read it today and liked it a lot and decided to tell this story over the next bit.)