Monday, September 25, 2006

a good thing

In TV life, dark and twisty always wins out. It's good for ratings. Soonish isn't good enough, "a good thing" just doesn't stack up to McDreamy, and no one ever really ends up happy (except for Cristina, apparently, which seems ironic). Nobody tunes into Grey's Anatomy for warm and fuzzy time. They gotta keep the heartbreak rollin.

In real life, however, soonish is an option worth pursuing. I've done dark and twisty and the butterflies that come with a challenge. I've also done the heartache that comes with failing. I've said before that assholes condition you to be easily pleased, but I had it all wrong. Assholes condition you to be an implacable bitch. Nothing is ever good enough, because nothing ever has been before. It takes courage to realize there's nothing wrong with this one.

I took a bet on soonish this time--"I think I could love you. I think you might be good for me. What the hell?"

It worked.

Because in real life, the currency isn't ratings--it's laughs, smiles, hugs and kisses. It's generosity and kindness and consideration. It's companionship and teamwork. And I think I've got it.

I took a bet on soonish this time, crossing my fingers I wouldn't break any hearts, and I made it. I'm smitten, and it's wonderful.

so much more than an MRS degree

There are times when I wish that I'd gone to college to find a husband, when I wish that my resume and my GPA didn't matter, when I wish that my parents paid my rent. This is one of those times.

Sometimes I just wish so badly that I could be a different person, who doesn't concern herself with things like independent security or self-respect, so that instead of being up at 1 am with no hope of finding sleep tonight I'd be cuddling under a duvet with my future husband, who of course I trust completely to love and support me forever, and thus a plan of my own is irrelevant. I wouldn't really give a fuck about my papers and tests and meetings and work, because as long as I don't flunk out I get my degree. I'd get out of class tomorrow, well-rested, maybe play some tennis and then hit up a bar to watch the Saints' return to the Dome on Monday Night Football. Not that I won't do that anyway, I probably will. But I'll be cranky after staying up all night and, at the back of my mind, I won't be able to shake the nagging worries of emails and electric bills and, let's not forget, paychecks.

This isn't even a feminist thing, because I know plenty of guys who are skating through college on their parents' support and the ill-advised belief that a degree alone will get you a job. This is a grown-up thing. This is an excellence thing. There are days when I want to me a lazy, mediocre, child, content in my sloth and ignorance.

A girl I know has listed under Activities in her facebook profile, "I am a lady of leisure." WTF. Must be nice. And do you plan on being a lady of leisure eternally, or just until a huge job market opens up for double majors in English and WGS* with no work experience whatsoever? Are you planning on somebody taking care of you for the rest of your life? What kind of feminist are you?

But that's not me. So I'm up all night waiting for the phone to ring, signaling someone in need of my crisis-counseling expertise. There's a couch here in case I get a chance to nap. I've got a paper on Narcissus behind me and another one on Wilde due in about nine hours. A test and two meetings this week, grad school applications due right around the corner. I just want to sleep.

But ya know, when I type up that resume before even making it out of undergrad and can barely cram it down to an appropritate length, and I can graduate with the satisfaction of being in the top 15% of my class, and I know that if a man ever leaves me standing, I'll be devastated because I loved him and not because I built my life around him and him alone, it seems worth it.

One more semester, I can make it. I'll be walking across that stage with a man, a plan, and a fucking degree. A veritable success in all areas. But can I take two more years of this? I just want to rest for a bit, with a cushy day job that doesn't require overtime. Does that make me a quitter?

*Womens & Gender Studies

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

finding my niche, bleeding my heart out

When I was a kid, my dad once told me I had a big heart because I was friends with a girl with cerebral palsy. Then one day we were playing and I pushed her wheelchair too fast and she fell out. She didn't want to be my friend anymore after that.

As I grew older, "big heart" turned into "bleeding heart" and I began to realize a lot of people perceived my concern for others as a result of naivete. If it was, so be it. Not my problem.

I came to college, and joined AmeriCorps, and learned that I didn't just have to care, I could act. I ran for office in a campus organization, and was shocked to discover that I could lead. The combination was potent.

I don't talk about this aspect of my life often in my blog, because it just doesn't seem relevant, but I'm involved almost excessively. Don't get me wrong, I know how to prioritize, but it seems there are just so many things I can do. I work for a nonprofit, and although I'm hesitant to share with you exactly what I do there, suffice it to say I'm involved in suicide intervention. Additionally, I just took on a (volunteer=unpaid) position as the Executive Director of a brand spankin' new outreach program of STANDUP FOR KIDS. The blood, sweat, and tears I can see looming in the immediate future in order to get this program off the ground are almost overwhelming. I'm applying to MSW (social work) programs this semester in the hopes of someday being a counselor for at-risk or troubled youth, and I don't have the money to pay for it. I'm hoping the gods of assistantships will smile upon me and make it possible. I care about what I do, I love what I do, and I can't imagine doing anything with my life outside of helping others.

There are a lot of people, particularly in my extended family, who don't really "get" my bleeding heart thing (or maybe it's my politics, but I think they're one and the same). They rarely comment, but I sense that they think I'm idealistic and foolish. But through my work in the nonprofit industry, I have found so many competent, intelligent, and hilarious people who share my passion for helping others, for seeing both the big picture and the small tasks, for making a difference. Sometimes I think about it, and I'm just so happy to be where I am. It's after 1 a.m. on a school night, and I've been up printing, emailing, and brainstorming for my newest project. I've got homework to do in the morning and class at 9:30, but I couldn't be happier. I feel like I've found a field I could work in forever and have it never feel like work, and that's something some people spend their whole lives looking for. If I were a religious gal, I'd consider myself blessed.

"The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others."
-Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, September 18, 2006

Geaux to Hell War Eagle

This weekend marks the second time in my college career I have gone all the way to Auburn fucking Alabama to watch us lose. Laura is our (Best Friend Roommate and I) third amigo, the sugar to our coffee and cream, the charm to our trio. And she had the nerve, after spending her entire life rooting for LSU, to move off to Alabama after high school and call herself an Auburn Tiger. We forgive her because it's awfully convenient for us to have the luxury of a tour guide and free place to crash whenever we drive out there, and because we know that they suck anyway.

One of these teams has won the Western Division title in the SEC for the last five out of six years. This game was intense. Auburn is our biggest rival, and we were ranked 2 and 6 going into it, with them favored. I was worried, but now I'm pissed. We played well, really well. Take two amazing teams, factor in homefield advantage, and throw a few bad calls into the mix (or lack of calls altogether), and it seems ridiculous to come out of it saying that a game that ended 3-7 can prove either team superior.

On the other hand, we still had a great time. Laura's parents, whom I love, brought beer and boiled shrimp, and Laura cooked all kinds of delicious stuff. Her little sister was there from LSU too with some of her friends, and thus we were all one big happy mixed-allegiance family. Aside from the drive and the losing it was really a very relaxing weekend. The losing pretty much sucked though.

Friday, September 15, 2006

the huge dork in me thinks this is fucking hilarious

pluto is bitter

Thursday, September 14, 2006

my sister and the Mormons

Word spread quickly that some guys in dress slacks were walking around my sister's apartment complex spreading the good news. Everyone drew their blinds and turned off the tv's, hoping to evade any obligation to accept pamphlets. My sister, brazen heathen that she is, grabbed her cigarettes and planted herself on the front porch, ready to wage ideological warfare. I never thought she was big on analyzing organized religion--it always seemed like she was much more into things like clothes and makeup and redneck bars. It turns out I underestimated her.

"Why do you keep reading to me? Do you believe everything you read in books?"
"God wrote this," they responded.
"God didn't write that."
"The prophets wrote it."
"I dated a guy who thought he was a prophet once. He spent six months in a mental institution. You don't see me reading his scripture."

She then continued to detail every beef she's ever had with organized religion, including prescriptions against premarital sex, and to tell them they shouldn't knock the bar scene till they've tried it.

"Do you know anyone who might be interested in hearing what we have to say?"
"Yes, my sister. She lives right down the street. I'll give you her address."

Unfortunately, I was, uh, indisposed at the time (engaging in an afternoon sampling of an activity I'm sure they most certainly would not approve of) and didn't answer the door. Snap. I would have loved to chat with them.

Sorry if I offended anybody. I renounced my Christianity some time ago.

Monday, September 11, 2006

rest in peace

A guy I know was murdered this weekend.

It's interesting how we tend to sanctify the dead. No matter how casual the acquaintanceship, everybody's devastated. It's awkward to have not been close with the dead--to know them just well enough to have a sinking feeling in your stomach as you pick up the paper and see the familiar face, but not well enough to stop eating that granola bar. What's the socially acceptable way to react? How do I honor the dead without being inauthentic?

Maybe I didn't always like him. Maybe he grew up in a tiny Louisiana town and his opinions on race and politics went against everything I stood for. It's hard to be honest about that now. He was a nice guy, a great guy...I'll purge the rest from my memories.

He didn't deserve to be robbed by a stranger, shot in the head outside of work for the maybe eighty bucks he'd made that night in tips. He died in an area that's generally considered to be very safe. I used to work over there my freshman year. I was never scared. He was my age.

It shouldn't have happened. He should have been safe there. I would have felt safe there. It was a random act of violence, and it scares the shit out of me. It challenges the fearless sense of purpose I have when charging into much worse neighborhoods for random do-gooder purposes. There, in the bad parts of town, I keep my eye out for a cop, for someone else in my group, but what does that mean? He wasn't alone. A witness didn't save him. If it can happen to him outside of Olive Garden, why can't it happen to me while hanging out at the bus station handing out hygiene packs to homeless kids?

Can I live my entire life running scared like that? What's the point of living if I'm constantly afraid of dying?

Friday, September 08, 2006

feeling the burn

I'm all about getting out of my comfort zone this week.

Spinning class began on Wednesday. My instructor turned out the lights and cranked up the music. It was very "just you and the bike." She warned us about "saddle soreness," but why in God's name they fit those bikes with the most uncomfortable seats known to man is beyond me. Some very sensitive areas have been bruised. My muscles aren't sore, but I wince every time I sit. You get the idea.

Continuing on my commitment to physical fitness, today is the first day of tennis. I've got my racket, my shoes (yes, I had to buy sneakers. I haven't bought shoes with laces in a good three years), and my die-hard determination. As the tennis skirt is a very important purchase in the life of Charlotte (appearance while playing tennis is of the utmost importance) and Academy didn't have a satisfactory selection of apparel, the much-anticipated tennis skirt has not yet been purchased. When I buy a tennis skirt it will be beautiful and perfect, the stuff dreams are made of. The skirt is the rock my tennis church is built on, my main motivation for picking up the sport. I refuse to settle on any lesser garment.

And finally, here we go...(take a deep breath)...I'm quitting smoking. I haven't had more than three in a day at all this week (that's down from a minimum average of ten a day). I'm gradually cutting back, protecting myself from temptation by leaving them at home while at work or school. I'm a total bitch by midafternoon, itching for oral fixation and a nicotine fix like it's heroin, but hopefully it's a temporary side effect.

I've never been healthy or athletic in any sense. I'm the most uncoordinated person I know, the kid who always got picked last for kickball. I drink, I smoke various substances, I eat Jack In The Box like it's my job. I sit while I brush my teeth because I'm too lazy to stand. If it requires physical exertion and doesn't involved hedonistic pleasure, I usually don't want anything to do with it. But here I am, drinking Slim Fast, riding a fucking bike in a darkened room with an overly energetic stranger urging me on, letting my boyfriend teach me to run around hitting a ball with an oddly shaped stick, and giving up my beloved cigarettes...And all for what? Because I weigh 125 and would rather weigh 110? Because my boyfriend wants me to quit smoking? Or is it just because I'm sick of being lazy?

I can't treat my body like shit and stay reasonably healthy forever. One of these days, I'm going to get fat. And one of these days, I'm going to get cancer. I might as well stop being such a hedonistic fuck while I'm ahead.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

shake gently, serve chilled

I've decided to finally stop bitching about the twenty pounds I've gained since sophomore year and start actually doing something about it. I've been making excuses for way too long now about not having time or money to eat healthy or go the rec, which is mostly true. Eating healthy means going to the store more often, spending more money on what I buy, actually having to invest time in cooking, and avoiding the temptation and convenience of fast food. And I hate the fucking rec, it's always way too crowded in the evenings. I hate having to fight my way through hordes of sorority girls who get all hottified to go work out while I'm rockin the sweaty look. It's not great for my body image.

But suddenly, I'm feeling motivated, and I'm going to take advantage of it. I'm generally a huge pig, I eat way too much. So it's a slim-fast for breakfast, another one with a granola bar for lunch, and a small early dinner. No more eating huge meals at 10 pm. I don't have to cook all of the time, I can eat on my way to class, it's perfect.

I'm even trying to con various others into helping me maintain a fitness routine. Best Friend Rooommate and I are taking a spinning class together, which is gonna kick my ass. Nick, the boyfriend, claims that he's going to teach me tennis, but I'll believe it when I see it. I think he's underestimating just how annoying I can be when I suck at something. I'm gonna spend about five minutes actually trying to learn, and then declare that I am hopelessly uncoordinated and will never be able to even hit the fucking ball, and commence to be as irritating as possible until he lets me quit.

What will be nice, though, is to be able to slip into some of those size 2 jeans I've been refusing to give away for two years. I just hope my ass doesn't get any smaller, I'm rockin an A-cup here so the junk in the trunk is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I bet you were a bitch in high school

Yesterday I received my first comment that really pissed me off, perhaps a milestone in my blogging career. It's been deleted now, because things that piss me off have no place in my blog, but I have a few things to say about it nevertheless.

First of all, this is my space. If you don't like it, please move right along to one of the other five billion blogs out there. Nobody's perfect; we all have faults. I acknowledge this. I do not need strangers to point mine out to me on my blog. Most of my readers are awesome people who leave me thoughtful comments and whose own blogs I enjoy reading immensely. I even love my lurkers (I'm into the quiet type). Thank you very much, all of you, for coming to read and for generally being very cool. The few shall not taint the masses.

Second, if you're going to leave nasty comments, learn how to fucking spell. The word "add," when used in the context you placed it in, has two d's, dumbass. Now go to hell, Calli from Ohio.