You Called To Ask Me When I Was Coming Home, And When I Reminded You That I Wasn’t Coming Home, You Sounded So Disappointed That I Decided To Come Home
My boss called me into her office the day before yesterday to tell me that my contract would not be extended and that I would be let go.
“Like, fired?” I said.
Amazing how I now have a degree in writing and simple words I am unable to understand.
The boss whose dry silence, wry smiles, and wit I’ve admired and loved since the second I interviewed. The boss whose simple style, and whose kindness, patience, and intelligence are unmatched. The boss who stared through me coldly and said sorry pinching her eyebrows together as if the word had no meaning. The boss who said it had nothing to do with my performance, but rather due to budget cuts in her department. I’ve been in her seat, I know how this goes.
Your friends and family behave like there’s been a funeral when you say you’ve lost your job:
“OoOoo I’m so sorry.”
“This too shall pass.”
“You have been through so much, I’m sure everything will be fine.”
And someone did die a little. And I won’t be. Fine. And although I have a separate writing and fashion description company that I run on nights and weekends complete with interns and quote requests—I still love my day job. Loved. I had a blissful few weeks. I’ve graduated. I gave a wonderful senior lecture, and had a fantastic final reading. My Manuscript Thesis is 201 pages. I am also very apparently unemployed.
So I am available for hire: I have an updated resume and a full suit. I have over ten years experience, and a Master’s degree in writing. I even have a closet helper, although she looks about as sad about this as I am.
Lalanii R. Grant, M.F.A
Title Quote by: David Levithan
So, my real feelings are:
Disappointment and fear.
My face says:
“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”
― F. Burton Howard
When you believe in something in such a big way that words aren’t enough, can you just feel it?
Can it go without saying?
How do you condition yourself to do that?
Isn’t communication the key, hasn’t it always been?
Sometimes you have to choose what to keep and what to leave.
Picture via Sportsandpastime thank you!
Try as I might, I can’t get any relaxation. This is the spa I’ve been dreaming of. MmmMMmm.
Business is good. School is ending. Life is happily full of ruckus. But what am I dreaming of? Relaxation. Kay Redfield Jamison said in“An Unquiet Mind,” “We all move uneasily within our own restraints.” Maybe I cried when David died of a heart attack (her love), but only because the foreshadowing was done in such a subtle way. It’s the subtle things that drive me.
Another favorite of lines was when Jamison quoted an anthology about love:
Thank you for a lovely weekend.
They tell me it rained.
Awww, I want that. I need that.
P.s. On the verge of some really big subtle things. Really big. Spoken like the true oxymoronic extremist I am.
I was about seven when my Mom got me a hamster. I named her Chrissy. Light brown, sorta fat, cute as a little talking chipmunk. Mind you—this is coming from a person that’s terrified of rats, roaches, spiders, and everything creepy. At first, she used to snip at me. Nip my fingertips wildly. Then I got some hamster treats in psychedelic colors and all was well in the world. I know little animals aren’t smart generally, but this one likely had a high IQ level. Seriously. Chrissy was brilliant and organized. Chrissy had bucky white teeth like she brushed them with Colgate. She didn’t muck up her cage like other hamsters I’d seen, and she even twirled her tiny hands around her face to clean herself! [Later I realized all hamsters do this] When she got her hamster snacks, she separated them by kind. Sunflowers, random nuggets, etc. This thing was cute—ity bity and she’d curl up into a ball in the palm of my hand and fall asleep regularly. Like she gained trust in me. Sometimes she fell asleep on her back while I was petting her. I held her all the time. I put her in this clear little medicine ball with a small doorway, and let her run around my room while I studied. I’m sure we had many other good times, but that’s what I can remember.
It was a slow-growing affection. Then, I fell in love with the little thing.
Then one day I loved her so much I gave her a raisin as a treat. (Hey, it looked just like the trail mix she was already eating.) I saw her stomach boil sideways unnaturally, then I saw her keel over. She still moved around a bit but I ran to get Mom. All I remember next was I started crying, then I took a short nap. When I got up Chrissy was running amuck in her cage and when I went to pick her up to apologize for possibly making her sick—she bit my finger—hard! I was bleeding.
When I went to hold her she squiggled out of my hands so determined. When I put her in her exercise ball she wouldn’t move around and explore. She just sat there.
All of the things that made this hamster adorable to me were gone. She wasn’t cuddly. She wasn’t the same little cute face I could play with. I kept trying to make her behave right again, but she just wouldn’t. Then one day I looked at her teeth. They were yellow and big! Immediately I stomped in to my Mom exclaiming
Mom explained to me that it was Chrissy and that all was ok, not to worry.
I didn’t like the New Chrissy, but it didn’t matter because not too soon after New Chrissy escaped and was not ever found.
A couple of years ago I was having wine with my Mother (as an adult) and I asked her what had happened to Chrissy. She looked at me big-eyed and bursty and said
“Gyyyyrl, that hamster had died and I ain’t know what to tell you!”
We laughed about it, but after, I realized how hard it is to tell the truth when you know what you will say will hurt someone you don’t want to hurt. Mom had shot out to the store and grabbed a look-alike of Chrissy and plopped her in Chrissy’s cage to avoid explaining death to me. If a person is prepared, it still hurts, it just hurts a lot less, making it worth it to communicate beforehand. What might have been better? Killing my fairytale. Getting me to accept the reality, the possibility early on of what is to come. Teaching me that the hamster wasn’t going to last forever anyway, and, perhaps teaching me that she needn’t have raisins. Communication is the key, the lock and the Dropbox.
Yes, perhaps some casual and comfortable conversation easing me into the reality that hamsters won’t live forever. I was young, but the blatant lie and confusion? It sets me up to fall down.
Slow and concentrated.
This is the way we should talk to the people we care about. This is the way we should communicate with each other. Slowly, and then all at once. This is the way we prepare someone for what is to come. Slowly, and then all at once. This is the way we teach them how to grow with us. Slowly, and then all at once. This is how we avoid confusion and disappointment, “we man up.” We become responsible for ourselves, our actions, and the presentations and perceptions we’re exposing. Slowly, and then all at once. This is the way we learn how to trust, slowly, then all at once. This is the way we discuss things like adults. Slowly, and then all at once.
This is the way I want to fall in love. Slowly, and then all at once.
The more lessons I’ve learned the hard way, the more lessons I’ve kept. How do I like my information? —Sugar-coated and straightforwardly oxymoronic. Yes. The truth doesn’t set you free, but it helps you sleep—and that’s kindove the same thing.
Photo by JoyHey
Ever heard of “Stop talking about it and just do it” ?!? …Well, this poster is the epitome of what I mean.
I grew up in a household wholesomely committed to cursing. Stump your toe, “fuuuuuuuck!” Left the bath water on… “Goodddddamit~” Walk in and the dishes haven’t been done, “So what the fuck you been doin’ all day when I wasn’t here?” [Southern accent courtesy of my Ma, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana]
So now as I attempt to re-program myself to live the life I’ve always wanted, some of the hardest things have been:
1. Giving up coffee (I am not doing well at this)
2. Finishing the monstrous amount of books I’ve set for myself
3. Curbing my cursing
My Ma is the sweetest curse-a-holic you could ever dream up. She’d curse for no reason—the type of person you want on your reality show. She’d say something like “sit your fine ass down and tell me about it,” or when I tried on make-up for the first time, her exact words were “So you think you fucking cute?” My all-time personal favorite, when something didn’t sound right to her she’d say “You better go sit in a fucking chair about it,” as she urged me to seek the counseling even she never received. The best part was after she said anything with those curse words in it, she’d cock her head back and laughhhhh at herself. This is what I grew up with, every day. My Dad? Well, he is more of a “curse when and only if needed” type. I’m sure he was a cursing sailor behind doors, but that was never for me to know. I’ve heard him say maybe five curse words in my entire life. At one point he was in the military, a professional chef, and an athlete. He’s traveled and owned a graphics company. He was always a profuse reader and he speaks five languages, (he claims they all come back to him when people speak to him in said language). Talk about driven. The only time I’ve ever left my city for longer than a week has been when I’ve had to for work. How many vacations have I taken in my life? 2.
The above poster. I couldn’t refuse.
My favorites are: Learn To Take Some Fucking Criticism and Believe In Your Fucking Self.
Maybe because these have also been the hardest for me.
Here goes I. Back to my attempt at not saying any bad fucking words. Back to reading Kay Redfield Jamison’s “An Unquiet Mind.” Back to refining my last genre submission before I graduate. Holy fuckerninnies. I’m graduating from my masters program in two months. All the nights I’ve been painfully tired and stayed up all fucking night, yes, sometimes the right word really is “fuck.” Appropriately placed, and properly used.
I plan for the worst. Hope for the best. I fret. There’s always a time limit. When the time runs out, I kickbox or I run. When I was a little girl, my Dad used to walk into our family room on Saturday mornings–maybe seven am-ish, and I’d be playing mystery computer games.
I played this one called “The Legend of Kyrandia.” I actually wouldn’t sleep until I figured out the next puzzle, lest I’d sooner fall out across the keyboard. It was a mesh between trying to figure out what it was that unlocked some secret magical door, and what it was that left you worse off than you were before. The trees would grow oversized spiraling roots and tentacles like octupuses—grabbing like flytraps. It was magical realism, animated. I actually wanted to figure out why so-and-so got stoned and how I might be able to un-stone him.
It was almost as if my imagination took over and became the video-story. To this day, I refuse to watch scary movies. Watching scary movies is a surefire preventative measure for me getting any sleep. I suffer from night terrors, not as bad as incessant snoring, yet still horrific. I do not kid, it’s pretty fantastic.
Early on, I learned to keep myself comfortable, busy. I learned how to juggle laundry between basketball practices for my son, spinach onion tomato omelettes, school work, cleaning, conference calls, grocery shopping, making up bed, proposals, quotes, fashion shows, writing deadlines, and masterful ad-libs and emergencies via magicianship galore. No blinking.
I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve realized I have to trust in someone else to reach my fullest potential. It’s called delegating. The concept is the same as my hairstylist hiring help to wash and condition my hair while she styles other clients; then later, she’ll finish by pressing, primping, and styling me. This way she reaches everyone. This works in the same way corporate organizations have hierarchy levels. This is the same way problems often take more than one brainchild to compute.
When I initially started this quick write I felt a twinge of sadness that I’d been programmed in this worrisome way. That my loads of responsibilities and experiences were so heavy and that I was in dire need of a vacation from myself. Would I even know how to take one? I’ve gone to to New York a few times. Mostly for business, once for fun and I didn’t have any. I realized one of the places I most admire I’ve been many times and yet never actually seen. Being this way has always been a survival mechanism for me. Being driven is a way of life and those that have it, have it, and those that don’t—you can sooner expect them to never have it.
I have to juggle the balance between not letting my happiness depend on the things I may lose, and trusting others to represent me well.
Often, I’m hard-pressed to tell people I write nonfiction. Why? Because my writing experience includes fashion writing and editing work. Because publishing work/seeking representation, and re-writing takes time. Time, I tend to not have much of, because I’m busy writing and working. I was at a gig that had a lot of Press folks not too long ago. I was with a friend of mine and I had to say those fatal words.
“I write nonfiction.” Her eyes hit the floor and went wayward.
Obviously she’s only read fiction, that—or writing wasn’t a profession she respected all that much. She turned away nonchalantly and started talking to some other people behind her.
“O, she think I’m soft ’cause I write nonfiction???” I exclaimed to my friend, puffing out my shoulders and poking out my lips. At this point he’s laughing hysterically.
“Just watch, one o’ these days my nonfiction is gonna blow her whole shit up”
“Let’s go before you make any more threats to the innocent via your yet to be published work” he mumbled at me.
She has no idea but her character would definitely be dead if I ever write magical realism. Death by the herculean keyboard and my irritant craving for a red velvet cupcake.
May the odds be ever never in her flavor. Happily better after. The End.
I have a few favorite stores and designers and Anthropologie is one of them. They’re advertising this hanging bed, and I mean seriously. I’d likely never make anything of myself if I owned it. No, not anything. Quotes would go unanswered. Time would flyby nights and daylights wouldn’t matter. Not one bit. The percentage of me doing anything but writing/reading for myself and personal acrobatics (she definitely lols) in this bad boy is about 900%.
You’d see me, then you’d see me, under the covers. You’d wake me, then you’d watch my narcoleptic tail take instantaneous doze-off medicine via trapeze bedding environment and things would just worsen each second my head eased into the pillow-top. Why bother with anything much, I have a swinging, err, hanging bed. Nannie nannuh.
The bed I do own is a canopy and is also one of my most favorite things. It works just fine and well and is all shabby chic and wonderlustrous. Yet and still, even after knowing the things we have only graduate and leave us wanting for more—we soon acquire and find thereafter, once again the newness in every new thing dulls.
The fact is that I don’t have that swinging bed. I want it. But I already have a bed, just like tons of other little treasures. Pivotal moment in this realization is I’m like that with mostly any and everything. In conversation “so n so” (this is what we’ll call the nameless adventurer) said something aligned with “keeping things new.” I envisioned: The crispy-breath of the fresh in the morning. The wet belch of a rainy afternoon. The dreary dankness of the evening drill. See how we’re getting worse here people? Not keeping it new.
The thing that scares me about forever is monotony. All ‘lone me and moi, in a partnership, a creative friendship (hah!), a marriage, etcetera. What I’ve found is what I think is the solution. Be patient:
I am OCDish. No, I know stuff about me. I’m very particular about many many—everythings. Actually diagnosed at one point anal-retentive. I’m recovering. I tend to not like surprises. I prefer control and planned happenstances. Contradiction much? Yes. Controlled environments make me happy, secure, and comfortable. Like cozy feet. I’ve recently re-done the refrigerator in glass Pyrex containers to hold leftovers, clear-bagged pure organic food, and I’m attempting to keep up with the laundry and not let it go beyond 3 loads. Keyword, *attempt.*
And then so n so asked me if I liked surprises. NO, absolutely not, not really, I mean sometimes. Coincidentally no. Well, from you, perhaps, uhmm. And then so he carried along. A few outings later, I’m ok with surprises. And now, voilà—ready at a moments notice to do whatevertheflukeishouldnotbesofreeinglyAuhwellI’mstillaliveIguessit’sok—”I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky, think about it every night and day, spread my wings and flyyyyyy…”
I am in dire need of more because of a drug called “wonder.” At this point I’m actually wondering (aka looking forward) to not knowing what’s going to happen. It’s quite the scary dream to trust another human’s judgement. The best part? I’m actually wild about it. Looking forward to something is what keeps a thing new; the possibility of the unknown is what keeps it intense, … lush. What is the main ingredient of inducing such feelings?
Like coming home to a swinging bed. You already know it can only go up from there.