He is sitting on the edge of my couch and I am watching the way he talks. Someone else is spraying Windex into my eyes, and ketchup globs around spinning in circles—splush all over the kitchen and I am screaming through my bones that I love, that I love. He is sitting on a comma, I am wishing for an exclamation. Someone else is having a tantrum because I stopped believing in Valentine’s day. He is showing off in front of his friends like he’s thirteen and four months. Someone else is not paying me no mind. He is surprising me. Someone else has let me sink, three days before zero hours, deadpan and a-lonely. He is talking to me—closing into my face, I am treating his words like rhyming sunshine. Someone else is soliciting muddy tears from each place I make up. He is causing an utterly obsessed set of recollections. Look what it has done. Someone else is afraid I’ve gone missing; an unattractive disinterest. He is keeping me up at odd hours of the night, I am eeking of him. Someone else is sleeping with other women, someone else is flyfailing, falling in lust with withdrawal. He has borderline “I’m not sure disorder,” takes unreliables-anonymous classes, and subscribes to ringing phone disease. Someone else is making me put my hand over the bible and promise I haven’t made tacos or had patron shots with strangers. In plain sight of anger. He is likely rotten, I ask please peacefully for the ache if in hindsight, if then it matters. Someone else is losing grips. He is understanding. I must like understanding. Someone else is quiet like a light switch—only I don’t know which.
And now I can’t tell the difference between any of this. So now he‘ll have to whisper loud enough to infiltrate my imagination.
I have ordered yet another tea pot, from For Life. Because most of my life has been built on the things I think I need. In my defense, I’ve wanted this color, style, and stainless steel tea infusing mechanism for quite some time, but still, it was not a need.
On my quest to better myself, I’ve found the things I cannot stop thinking of inadvertently always have to do with a quest for something higher. The promise to make me better. I refuse to become this person that isn’t inspired. So much as so when someone asks what I’ve been up to I shrug and say “o just remodeling the inner beings of my kitchen cabinets, re-purposing notations on a new essay about why names matter more than cleverness, accomplishments, and confidence, while fitting in a new transformation of self, feeding my puppy treats and teaching her not to have anxiety attacks while I’m on the phone with a new **like interest** and having a contemplative discussion with my imagination about how I might get eleven loads of laundry folded up before Saturday morning, you know usual stuff.”
I’m in my head a little. I’m in my head a lot. See? Quests for more. Must divy up collective thoughts. Piece together new algorithms to have better timing. I get tired of things too easily. I’ve written a few things away. I’m a talk-a-holic, and collectively a good listener
if I value what you’re saying if you’re making good sense. I want to hand a few people a Shut The Fuck Up pencil. Tell them to go write it all down. List life.
So, what do I think about you don’t ask? Well…
- Time management opportunities/worries and harps on failures and rejections—another essay? Shout out to Yuvi Zalkow, <3
- Finishing the six writing jobs I have in queue
- Memoir revisions, err, draft three, might as well be draft 3,245
- All these expectations. What happened to my jumbo dreamscape—backdrop the glass windows and book-covered wall décor? Please don’t tell me I’ve subconsciously given up? (cue more worry)
Perhaps one might make their lists on some WTF post-its. I dunno. Just a thought. I’m still having nightmares. This time, they involve excessive amounts of exercise, this scary lady I used to know when I was a kid—and her murdering her husband in a bathtub (too much SVU, maybe?) and me sans Julia, as her character living the movie “Runaway Bride.”
Must force myself to annotate book, re-wire my thinking, and love how far I’ve come.
Must take my time, delight in the fascinations and intrigues of humanity, the entertainment and multitudes I’ve yet to find of my experiences, and the temporary vagueness of this post for lack of what I call nonfictionary-braveness.
Must compete with spellbinding originals to be myself in all walks and waylays. Must figure out how to have more belief in things again. Think with me.
And now for my usual awful and sentimental ending that makes you feel like you read something that was worth wasting a few minutes of your life… this is what I’m striving for, why I’m bettering myself, why individuals who don’t contribute to the betterment of my own economy-(lol)-need to take a shut the fuck up pencil and a WTF post it, and go think about something.
I sure do.
“It is possible to be honest every day. It is possible to live so that others can trust us-can trust our words, our motives, and our actions. Our examples are vital to those who sit at our feet as well as those who watch from a distance. Our own constant self-improvement will become as a polar star to those within our individual spheres of influence. They will remember longer what they saw in us than what they heard from us. Our attitude, our point of view, can make a tremendous difference.”—Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something
I am the woman who would put this on her man’s dash.
I am also the woman who will cook him lemon chicken with rosemary in red high heels, and might I add that they may not come off throughout the night, if you know what I mean. But I am also a woman who needs things to get done. I like reminders.
These are the top five reasons I am an absolute f*&%$#@* nag.
- It’s innate, my Mama did it, sister did it, and my entire childhood was polluted with naggerific tendencies. It’s not an excuse, it’s just why.
- I want the best for you baby, for us, don’t you see it?
- Perhaps because I’ve only ever had experiences with people in which I have to nag or nothing will ever get done.
- I’m a mother and that came as a package deal.
- And finally, because it’s one of the few things I can do that will incite an immediate reaction. I like immediate reactions.
I’m going to generalize here, which I don’t like to do—but for the sake of the topic, I don’t mean everyone, but some and possibly even most.
What’s the worst thing a woman can do you ask? I answer. Nag. Yes, we know it is annoying, and I can even venture to say, until we nag (a repeatedly whiny asking over and over of the same thing)— or get louder, you’re generally going to ignore us until it gets… urgent for you.
It’s like something else large has to be at stake. I like things at stake.
I feel like there’s this misconception, this misconception that a woman’s perfect man needs to be half-naked washing dishes. I’m here to tell you, as desirable as that might be, that isn’t what (and if I can speak for the women that I know) we want.
I, coupled with the few power women spoke on THIS topic all too recently, and it all falls in line with what I’ve always known.
Nagging has more to do with feeling alone with regards to responsibility, while a significant other should share the heaviness of my load. Teamwork, go teamwork. Nagging has more to do with attention span, or lack thereof, and acknowledging when something has been asked, (even in a sensual way) and still no concerted efforts have been made.
I can remember the feeling of utter helplessness, the hindrance. The resentment and frustration, like I’m gonna “crawl up the wallside,” because I’ve asked and been disregarded for things that are (at the top of my list as) less important—ie: workouts, playing basketball, drinking beer, watching Lakers or Raiders, or my own personal favorite—feet kicked up in the lazy chair.
I want my feet kicked up in the lazy chair? But what am I doing instead? Refilling the puppy bowl, helping revamp his personal statement or CV, sorting laundry yet again, matching up his missing socks, replacing the toilet tissue and the paper towels back on the roll—because none of y’all see that sh*t is empty. All I’d like is for a man who notices things, acknowledges what I’ve said, and is present in the relationship he is in.
Since I’m currently single, I stand to warn a potential that, yes, I nag—with the most tender care and in the most yielding and loving way possible. I nag.
Don’t worry, I use positive reinforcement, too. Very positive. I like positive.
What about you?
Silence says so much, sometimes too much.
So many times have I walked into places and said hello in my “spunky-chipper-I-just-raged-up-all-my energy-for-this-very-moment—and I’m not sure why they haven’t said a damn thing back to me—voice, and then in return I’ve gotten, silence.
At that point I can tell this is gonna be fun. You see, I was raised by an introvert, and an extrovert.
My mother—a wildly popular extrovert from Baton Rouge, Louisiana threw big parties and in the midst of them raised me on common southern and sometimes just plain ole “old folks” rules. What were they:
- Speak when spoken to
- Stay outta “grown folks business” (“grown folks business” being any words the people taller than you were saying)
- No talkin’ back
The rules were so real to me, that just last year (I’m now almost 29 years old-mind you) when she visited me, I snappily responded to something she said and she flashed an eye at me, and my reply was,
“Ouh, sorry, I forgot who I was talking to,” yes, like that. Respect your elders. Respect people, period.
And my Dad, o my Daddie (the introvert) he spoiled me rotten with conversation and attention (when he could manage to escape work) and because as a young girl, I craved it, I find it odd when people don’t say shit. Because when we had our quiet time, it was very quiet. He’d go hours not speaking sitting next to me. He taught me to value my time to myself. If I tried to interrupt him, he didn’t shoot off at the mouth like my Mom, he just simply ignored me until he got good n’ ready. From that point forward I’ve always taken silence when you’ve spoken to someone, or non-responsive behavior, very seriously. Like, no response, seriously? That is very intentional. For me, at least.
I don’t see a person’s non-response as accidental. I mean sure, there’s a head space a person can be zoned into, but when they come up for air, (I’m an artist I know) they remember those they need to reach out to, and they do so. Those that do not, well it’s a blatant ignore.
Words are like sugar for me—just a bit sweetens, too much causes cavities, but right in the middle… it’s like mixing warm sunshine with a bubble bath… It’s like speaking magic “Let’s stay up all night discussing Didion? Rap music’s influence on society? Care Bears or Smurfs? Legos or Transformers?” MmMm yummy sweet conversation.
My Dad read books and newspapers every morning when I was a child, by his lonesome, before the birds woke, at the round kitchen island table—and still to this very day, clips out things he thinks I have time to read, and I do, at least I try. But what I find most respectable about him is his careful attention to the words he uses when he speaks to me. I attribute this to him having lived in different countries and that he speaks different languages, but still. He’s careful what he says, and also, what he does not say.
It’s often that because I’m a communicator (and usually an over-[shameful downward head]-communicator) that silence blares violently loud to me. Because so many times it’s been that small effort to explain, or the few seconds it takes to say “this is why this happened”— that has changed not just perspectives for me, but changed my mind entirely and caused me to take action.
I thought an old boss of mine hated me for four years simply because she didn’t speak to me in the mornings. She spoke to everyone else that passed, but me, despite my “heys!” or “good mornings!” she stared off disregarding my presence. There is a difference between someone who ignores someone, but this girl, would altogether NOT see me. The afternoons she was fine, seemingly unphased by me, and strongly and rather completely indifferent toward me. Finally, she gave me a very high review at the end of a quarter once and I commented, (I was young)
“All this time I’d thought you didn’t “like” me, you never speak in the mornings when I say hello.” Her response was simple:
“Liking you is not my job, you do good work, and I don’t speak to anyone I don’t have to speak to before I have my second cup of coffee.”
That bitch got me two (very tiny) raises and I learned a lot from her. I was just apparently not on her priority list of people she had to speak to on any morning.
A simple “hello,” navigates differently reaching the more ridiculous synapses in my brain and it says to me a whole lot more than silence does. Just like a look can say more than hello, an ity gesture can shout crescendos.
Few people have reduced me to silence. Being a writer I’ve always found more luck in sharing my stance, than the abysmal whist. The huff n puff never got me anywhere, but a professional letter—I turn into Wonder Woman! If I am ever quiet there are a few things going on, please allow me:
Because I’ve probably realized that When We Talk, Nothing Changes, So I Have Chosen Silence. Which is again, very intentional.
My old friend used to have a problem shopping in places where when you walked into their store, the workers didn’t speak to you. A while back I was in Visuals (I did lights, aesthetics, and dressed mannequins) at Abercrombie & Fitch and know first hand how that store wasn’t always peppy, at least not my location. Basically the models stood there and didn’t speak. I don’t think I’d fully realized the affect silence had until I was standing around with them—not speaking, it’s like the environment follows suit.
Today, I second my friend. If I walk into a store and the employees don’t speak—or worse, I speak and get no response, they will get extra negative zero dollars from my pocketbook, I promise. Matter fact, I’m turning around and shopping somewhere around friendly people who will acknowledge me. I’m a human, I deserve human interactions.
If words are rock candy for me, good conversation is an excuse to get a stomach ache. It’s the subtleties that matter. I don’t need any grandiose gallivanting or enormous bouquets, but a nod or a text hello every now and now (!) … is the sweetest thing a person can do.
Picture of Rock Candy from my favorite gal XOXO Jessica XOXO over at SuchPrettyThings
I Did It, All Me, Can’t Blame Anyone Else or I Can’t Cry Over Spilled Coffee ‘Cause There Are Worse Things To Cry Over
My new job is great, great, great. The people, the experience, the everything. Lunch at the job is great, great too. I’m no big shot by far, but I get to see all of ‘em. I get to succumb to being lost in thoughtlessness, the Studio backlot is a very interesting place. There’s the new age execs that pair blazers with jeans and carry briefcases. The fuzzy haired blonde or dull cherry business women that look busier than I can imagine, the café woman who I could swear un-intentionally (is that a word?) gives me non-fat milk when I insistently ask for soy in my coffee. You know. A regular work-lunch place.
Yesterday was a day. I’m getting the hang of things, acclimation is steady. I’ve officially allowed myself to stop staring at a screen even when it is doing nothing. [I wouldn't leave my seat even during lunch a few days ago, and if I did the worry that I would miss something was so great, my anxiety would send me back upstairs to learn the next trick or whistle that'll hopefully keep me there] But now, now that I’m feeling better about what I understand, I leave for lunch. I wander. I stopped in the cafeteria for a coffee.
Since my new 6 a.m workouts began I’ve started to realize a few things I cannot live without. There’s tea I cannot give up. I like sweet red wines and sweet subtle whites—but those are optional during crunch time. What time is it you ask? CRUNCH. There’s avocados, shrimp Pho (when I’m sad, cold, angry, or need comfort) there’s the salad and fruit munster I am—no trainer will say no to those much, there’s breads and pastas which (less the three pizza slices I scarfed down last night to my own painful surmise—I’ve heard you can’t eat that *%#@ once you start eating right, but yikes) and then there’s thu, thu, thu, thhhhhhhhu… COFFEE.
They say you can tell who has graduated from school by one simple question.
“Do you drink coffee?”
The premise is, coffee is a pusher. It forces you to press through, sleepy, irritated, exhausted, overworked—whatever. You get that paper in. Same for mattés. Lately, I’m juggling so much I have to press through. 25 lbs. I want to lose. My trainer says 15 is fine, but 25 for me. Overachiever. Big stupid smile. I’m 140 and 4″11 and 3 quarters tall. “Thick in all the hula places,” my ex used to say. Anyway, coffee I cannot live without, although I’ve been advised that if I want to eventually reach the aforementioned goals—I’ll have to.
Yesterday was not one of those—let’s start giving up shit days.
So I head across the lush Fall-y looking courtyard and into our cafeteria for my fix. Wha? Might as well have been, it is. I even got a Keurig machine to no avail. It’s too big to leave my house, aye. I pass our inner café because like I said, either that girl gives me non-fat instead of soy, or that coffee—my body—is rejecting that coffee. I figure simpler is better. I go inside the cafeteria where they have the large black coffee juglike containers against the wall and you can put your own goodies in there. I opt for the straight black with 1/4 soy and one sugar. I waltz on over to pay.
Because it was only a quick break, I didn’t grab my purse from my office. I grabbed my wallet, and my cell. I had to grab a white to-go bag to put my sugar and stir stick and I might as well throw my phone and wallet in the baggie too. A tall familiar man stands behind me in line as I do this.
The line is growing down the walkway because the lady in front of me can’t find her wallet to pay for her salad or some other issue is happening but that’s the one I made up in my mind to justify how long her ass is taking to get out of my way somysleepyselfcangetthiscoffeeINme. I reach over for a napkin across the sliding tray table and knock-over-the-coffee-into nice guy’s pants.
O. My. Shit. The guy jumps back.
You can tell a lot about a person by how they react to certain things. The cliché examples are: tangled Christmas lights, forgettable waitresses, and spilled drinks.
Of course I apologized profusely—which I promised I wouldn’t overdo on this job, given my so pleasey-to-please nature. But this was different. The look of general—it’s ok shot back from his eyes. I’m pretty sure coffee had wet through this man’s pants legs, socks, and probably unmentionables. I scrambled to clean it all up. I heard sighs, shrieks, and an “o, how embarrassing” behind me. Just the look I was, going for, really.
The man (who if I weren’t extremely interested in the likes of someone else) I could’ve fallen in love with. His face was round, his features bold and warm, his striped blue and white tucked smartly in his Banana Republics, a dark brown belt, and I thought I saw glasses. He winks. Then he jokes.
“As long as you don’t try to clean it up” he says, as he steps back and I notice his bejewels are likely more soaked than I’d imagined. I was patting around the counter like a poor maid.
“I’m so so sooooo, so sorry,” The counter gal had disappeared to grab more towels. The coffee went unendingly drizzling down the sliding table, the sides, the floor, the creases and cracks. So glad for the 1/4 soy. It would’ve been hotter, usually.
There are few things I can hope for in this instance. Empathetic understanding, and that this all goes quick. The line is pretty long now.
Tail between legs—covering face I head back to the coffee station to make another round. I promptly scurry to the back of the now more than eight-person line. I figure, my anxiety would tell me I have to explain diarrhea to my boss or a three-car pile-up in the cafeteria—neither being the case. Having an awesomely unique prior work experience in which you have the most micro-managing impossibles overlooking you, will change the way you view everything else coming after that experience. I’d taken a few longer minutes than I should have. This made me more frazzled. I waited in line and when I got back to the front I calmly said,
“Two coffees please,” blatantly holding up my one coffee.
“No, one,” The cafeteria lady smiles pity at me, and says
“It is ok, it happens to everyone.”
But no, no, it doesn’t. As I am walking back to my office, down the hallway I see Mr. Incredible (obviously returning from the bathroom) and I smile. It was a smile that hurt and I felt shame.
He gestured an it’s ok with hands pushing away the air with a sly smirk. Aw, my goodness. I LOVE THIS PLACE.
When I got back to the office, I sat at my desk with an I can’t believe that just happened face—staring at my now lukewarm coffee.
One of the ladies in my office passes and stares and asks if I’m ok. I love her too for the way she just read my face. Everyone is so—cognizant of their surroundings.
I shake my head “I just spilled my coffee all over this man in the cafeteria,” her eyes widen.
I leave out the fact that said man apparently works down the hall from us.
Soon, I think, I’m giving up coffee.
When I am writing, I loathe, detest, and absolutely cannot stand, interruption. The nanosecond I’m done, however, I want someone to hear it. Immediately. Don’t care what or where the person is; he or she has to hear it. If you happen to be in the shower. Be prepared for me to draw back the shower curtain and begin reading. Without looking up of course, except to gauge your reaction to my masterpiece. I only have this fearlessness the second I finish. After I am finished, and it’s been a few moments—hours, days, or weeks, my confidence levels dwindle into crumblets and I’m not sure my topic was any good, or that I correctly portrayed the perspective, or the dialogue—uh-uh-uh, just not right. But that moment I’m done, it’s pivotal. If it’s three a.m. and you’re sound asleep. If I wake you stumbling over my words because it’s so fresh and twinkling with it’s newness, don’t startle. The inner critic in me hasn’t had enough time to rip it down from the wall like “tweenage posters.” I won’t begin to tell you that there’s a person that understands this. But I will tell you, there’s definitely a person whose reaction was worth recording. This is the story of:
I have bedhair. The just woke up or never-went-to-sleep-kind. Groggily jumpy at 6:54 a.m. I parade into the room. The room, I’ve delicately taken over with subtle hues of pinks and pales. The furthest I could get him to go to yellow, was pale. But, the sheets? No one sees the sheets. Pastel, it was. I’d nearly passed out in the library-den because I’m in love with the lighting and the closeness it is to the kitchen. The teapot is large, unlike the pots at my house, the ones that whistle pretty—the comfortable usual. This, this strange foreign pot is never-ending copper and looks like a golden version of something out of Willy Wonka meets the Jetsons. This tea, goes on forever, and is never lukewarm. I don’t want to leave the massage chair because it rocks. How long have I wanted my own rocking chair? Long. How long have I wanted my own rocking chair that will swallow me. Never. But, that’s the point.
I’ve been here three nights. No need for a change of clothes, leave them on the heated patio and they will miraculously appear on the bedside clean and folded like spoiled rotten you oughta be ashamed of yourself. Mom, didn’t teach me how to relax. Dad sure passed on the panic gene, Mom passed on the worry, and I cultivated a culmination of the two against “worry more cause you can’t do shit about it.”But, I’d finished a story. My own little short story. A story that I’ve been told has a possibility of being published later this year. It’s a tough piece and in my excitement of pushing out a draft, I forgot that.
I run to him. An hour prior to this, I’d been offered more tea in the dim light, but I vaguely remember not looking up at all, not even for a thank you. This is what I call the lost stage. Everything is lost on me. It’s likely anyone would say my name several times and I’d fail to recognize it. I jump atop the pillows sloppily. I can see by his face, this is not his idea of fun.
He snatches the paper from my almost-ready-to-read-to-him hands. And pulls me over closer. I’m grabbing at the paper, but while I’m sitting I’m unable to reach—my arms are too short. He clears his throat.
And he reads my first draft to me slowly. By the third paragraph his left hand is shaking. By the second page he has forgotten I’m there and that I can hear his response to what he’s reading by the way he is reading it.
At the end of the draft he is not only speechless, he grabs for me, his eyes are wide.
“I feel like I was there with you.” I nod and lean back, and yawn.
“I don’t know if I want it in the world.” I tell him.
“I don’t think the world should be without it.” He adds.
I fall asleep on the corner of his pillow, I feel him looking at me but I don’t open.
In the morning he is quiet throughout egg whites, cheese, onions, tomatoes, and avocados. It’s a Saturday and my plans don’t involve brown leather briefcases and a cleanly shaven face.
“So, that was nonfiction?” The first words out of his mouth.
I stare at the black cracked design in the grey marble table and look to him with a yea smirk.
It was the first time he read any of my prose.
“The writer must be in it; he can’t be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.” —Arthur Miller
Packed up lots of items from our closets to give away to a shelter. Bought a puppy toothbrush and toothpaste at Petsmart today. Re-reading about Why The Caged Bird Sings. Revising so bad it hurts. Waking up answering to. Eating live butter lettuce and baby yellow tomatoes. My Christmas tree is still up, I don’t know what I feel about Christmas. Arranged the books neatly in the bookcase.
Picture by 79ideas