Monday, November 27, 2006

my invincible ball of fur is having diarrhea

Harold the Bunny has fallen ill, my friends.

I'm not sure whether I've ever mentioned him here before, just because there's really not much to say about a rabbit unless something's wrong. Now something is definitely wrong, and I'm very worried.

My poor little baby seems to have some kind of gastro-intestinal problem that's causing diarrhea. I called the emergency vet line last night and brought him in today. The poor little guy soiled himself in his travel carrier on the way there. I listened carefully to everything the doctor had to say, struggling to understand every word through his thick Latino accent. They're not really sure what's wrong with him, apparently, but they know that he's sick. So he's staying there for at least tonight and tomorrow night so they can monitor him and run tests. I went in there terrified that this was the end for my furry friend, but those three dreaded words, "putting him down," have yet to be spoken, thank God. I'm just really hoping it's something that can be fixed.

I'm almost as worried about him staying there as I am about the illness. Rabbits are really big on routine, and having a major change like that can really stress them out. I know he must be terrified. I almost called their emergency line tonight just to ask how he was doing, but I figured they probably wouldn't appreciate that. The vet student assigned to his case is supposed to call me in the morning. I wish I could go in just to visit him, but since it's the LSU Vet School and they're huge I'm sure they don't really accommodate that sort of thing.

It's weird to see him so vulnerable, usually he's a total smart ass. He's slightly belligerent and thinks he's stealthy. It hasn't occurred to him that hopping doesn't really equal stealth, but I'll give it to him that he does have some speed. I've spent an embarrassing number of hours chasing him from one end of the couch to the other as he runs back and forth behind it, trying to catch his rebellious little ass.

Poor baby.

Friday, November 24, 2006

not quite as peaceful as I'd hoped for

Let me begin by saying that I’m writing about this because that’s what I do—I write about things on my blog. I’m upset, I write. I’m happy, I write. It’s a coping mechanism. I work hard not to censor my blog based on various individuals in my life who may or may not read it. This is my space, and, quite frankly, it’s all about me here. I’m upset, so I will write about it, and that’s that…

My plan to drink lots of wine and not fight with anybody didn’t exactly go as planned.

It seems like everything I know about life just gets turned around at this house; it’s like stepping into an alternative universe. Nothing I know to be true holds up. The things I do to serve my community are a liability, something I have to defend, instead of something to be proud of, and working hard to get an education isn’t hard work at all—I’m not sure what they think it is, but it sure isn’t considered anything special, despite the fact that they never did it. If I were working hard to build a career and support a family at 21, now then they’d be proud. But going to school and working part time, that’s easy stuff, and I’ve no right to comment that I’m busy or broke if I choose to volunteer. That’s a choice that I make and, frankly, one that my parents seem to resent.

What pisses me off is that that’s not even what this fight was about. But it gets brought up, regardless, just like it does every time we argue. And it frustrates me beyond belief.

Sometimes I just don’t know how to get things to work out the way I’d like them to. It seems like I’ve learned so much about communicating: choosing my battles, using “I” language, talking openly and honestly about feelings…none of it works. What do you do when it seems like everything you say is taken as criticism? When people say things to you that hit below the belt? When no matter what, the skills you’ve learned can’t prevent what should be a rather peaceful conversation from turning into a huge blowup?

I tried, I really did. I kept trying to deescalate the situation to no avail. Eventually, I lost my cool, said some things I didn’t mean, and now my dream of being the bigger person is blown all to hell.

Every time this happens, I tell myself, “Ya know, sometimes you just have to give it up. You’re never going to win this fight, so stop trying. Let it go. Realize that, in fact, you are still an intelligent, capable, worthwhile person—and most importantly, a sane person—and that fixing this is beyond your control.” I know that while I’m not always able to control the situation, I am able to control my reaction to it, and I reacted in a way that wasn’t worth the result.

I just want so badly to fix these relationships, and it’s hard for me to realize that I’m not necessarily able to. There’s some dissonance between what they see in me and what I see in myself. It’s so hard to say that the people who raised me don’t know the me that I want them to, or that they want something so much different than what I do out of our relationship.

I’m done for tonight. I’m taking some ibuprofen, smoking a cigarette, and going to bed. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Monday, November 20, 2006

home for the holidays

I've been slacking on my posting lately. My how quickly a week can fly by.

In approximately 18 hours, my 96 hour stretch of leisure will begin. I've decided that time spent with my family will always be more about what I make of it than what actually happens, which has given me a whole new perspective on things like Thanksgiving. Consequently, I've set some ground rules for this week:
  • I will spend the time that I'm at home drinking wine, eating free food, and hanging out with my family.
  • I will not drive anywhere. There is no place important enough for me to go that no one else is going to as well (remember the wine).
  • I will not fight with anybody. Not my mom, not my dad, not my sister, not my boyfriend. Any bit of stress or irritation will roll off of me like water on Rain-X. The wine will help with this.
  • The most strenuous thing I will do is knit. And maybe write a paper.

I'm really excited about this little bit of family bonding/mini-vacation. Since my actual level of compatibility with my family has reached a status previosuly unheard of thus far in my life, it'll be very refreshing, I think, to spend four days at my parents' house and not argue with anybody at all. I actually like my family a lot more now that I'm older (not that I didn't always love them, I'm sure you understand), and so I'm feeling very optimistic about spending time with them.

And my plan for coping with the stress of introducing Nick to my extended family, is to just relax. Whatever happens happens, and I have faith that he can handle it. This week is happy time, and nothing's going to mess with that.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

happy as a pea in a pod

In the Spring of 2005, I found myself in a room of about twenty people sitting in a circle*: We were to take turns introducing ourselves, and then tell a little bit about the supports we had in our lives. Everyone else talked about friends, family, a boyfriend or girlfriend here or there. When my turn came, all I could say was my boyfriend, and I wasn't even sure that he was a support. I knew something was wrong with this picture.

It's not that I didn't have friends and family. I think I just didn't use them the way I was supposed to. I had a lot of acquaintances and a few close friends, but I found myself keeping people at arm's length. And my family was just that--my family. It was rare for me to call my mom or sister just to chat.

I had this boyfriend who just sucked the life out of me. One person refuses to bend and the other ends up breaking. I avoided commiting to new friendships because I didn't want to risk not being there when my schmuck of a boyfriend finally came home. My self-esteem was nonexistent and I rarely pushed myself to believe that I could change my life. The relationship didn't affirm who I was as a person, didn't support me or encourage me--it held me to who I'd been when I was seventeen. It wasn't working for me anymore, but I was too scared to do anything about it.

It's amazing to me how much my life has changed in the last year. I have so many wonderful people around me whom I've let into my life. Not just acquaintances, not just people I know, not even people who consider me a friend but really treat me more like a personal therapist. I've got so many people who truly do care about and respect me for who I am.

I'm closer to the people who were always there, and I've reached out to others with whom I felt a common bond. I've cut the people who were unhealthy for me out. A natural disaster taught me not to take my family for granted, and I now see my mom and sister as friends and allies, not adversaries. I even chat with my dad from time to time, something I never would have predicted. (It turns out we're just a little different, and he's not so bad after all.) I've found myself in a new relationship with somebody who actually listens to me; someone who loves and appreciates me for who I am, not who he wants me to be. I'm surrounded by love and support and respect. It's a very affirming environment.

I promise I will never let my own happiness go for a boy ever again. I feel so much better about life now, and I don't want to ever go back to where I was. I believe in myself, and I know that I control my own destiny. Things can only get better from here.

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." ~Abraham Lincoln

*No, I was not in group therapy, this was a training session to volunteer on the crisis hotline.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

crazy is as crazy says

I won't get on my soapbox and brag about how ecstatic I am over recent political happenings. Past experience has taught me to write about what I know--coincidentally that's fairly limited to boys, recreational substances, and the nonprofit sector--and the world of politics is entirely too volatile, complex, and completely ridiculous for me to risk calling myself knowledgeable whatsoever.

Now onto something I do know about--boys and dysfunctional families. As far as my extended family is concerned, I'm quickly approaching prime age for marriage. My opinion on this matter is as yet unclear, as spending twenty-one years in South Louisiana, combined with being the kind of girl who repeatedly seems to find herself in long term relationships, has a tendency to make one eager to marry fairly young (which in Louisiana, would not be young at all, but perhaps in the rest of the country, might be a little premature.) However, being the liberal-minded, educated young woman that I am, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of getting married in the moderately near future.

There, it's out there, for the entire internet to see, even all you yankees. Please don't think I'm a redneck.

I'm just a little bit terrified of the upcoming holiday season, because it means Nick meeting my extended family, and that makes me nervous. I would say about 75% of my family members will either completely ignore him, scare the shit out of him, or annoy him so much that he moves to sit with the ones who won't talk to him. They're an interesting bunch, without much respect or use for social delicacies. I'm positive somebody is going to ask us if we plan on getting married, which will be entirely awkward not because the idea makes me uncomfortable, but because I'm not sure whether I'm ready to take the plunge of telling aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents. Because I've thought in the past that the answer to that question was most certainly yes. There were plans and talks that were not at all considered abnormal or premature by my family--we'd been together for three years. And there were pointed questions when things got bad and I wasn't ready to admit it--when they started to notice that he never came around anymore.

Telling my family that I think I want to marry this guy is as good as him putting a ring on my finger, because from here on out they'll be watching, waiting, making little notes.

I'm starting to realize that I sound as crazy as they do, so I'll stop there. As good as I've gotten to be at understanding why people think and act the way that they do, I don't understand my family or my reaction to them, and my blog is most certainly not the place to explore latent issues. Perhaps I should have stuck to politics.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today's a big day for me.

StandUp for Kids - Baton Rouge is holding its first volunteer training session this afternoon. This is the last big step toward getting out on the streets and doing Outreach. I'm so excited that everything seems to be coming along so quickly. I've been working so hard, as has the rest of our leadership team, and we've got big dreams for what we'll accomplish in the next year.

Today is Best Friend Roommate's 22nd birthday, the 9th anniversary of our friendship. It's the last of her birthdays we'll be in the same state for, at least for the foreseeable future, so I'm a bit sad. I'm pretty sure she's studying Internal Auditing all day, which is even more sad. That girl needs a vacation.

Coincidentally, today also marks a year since Bryan and I broke up. A week ago, his girlfriend sent me a facebook message telling me she feels really bad about hurting me and she wants me to call her so we can go to lunch and talk about it. She said she just wanted to get everything out in the open. While this is something I would have really liked to do eight months ago or so, I'm not really interested now. I told her I'm pretty much over it, and I've moved on from that part of my life. I'm happier now than I had been for a long time, and I wish them the same kind of happiness. It felt good to say all of that and mean it.

And last but not least, today is Nick and I's four month anniversary. I honestly wish that Bryan and I would have broken up a good two years before we did, just so I could have moved on and found this guy sooner. I spent enough time dating around while I was single to know when I've found one I like. And while he's most certainly not perfect, he comes closer to perfect for me than anyone else ever has. I'm very happy with him.

Aren't we cute?