Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sarah Jo keeps talking about that damn fire.

I would love to take the time to write about how this all makes me feel. I want to write a detailed description of how you go from chatting to someone on facebook to standing outside in your pajamas with no shoes on watching black smoke pour out of your bedroom window. I want to tell you how easy it is to be okay at work all day when I have routine and demands on my attention and how much easier it is to fall apart when I get into my car and realize I can't go home now. I want to describe all the wonderful things my friends and family are doing for me. Maybe I'll be able to do that in the near future.

Right now, I'm trying my best to take care of one thing at a time. I don't know which things can be saved. I don't know how much money insurance will give us. Or if we will get another unit soon or have to wait for them to finish repairing ours. How do I go out shopping to replace everything in the kitchen? Everything I have fits in the back seat of my car. This sunburn is so bad I can barely sleep. How long till that stops hurting so much?

How long will we have to stay in a hotel? The insurance company is giving us a check to cover the hotel. How long should that last? Should we stay in one room together to make it last long enough? Can I have my own room?

I miss stupid things like my pillow and bed. The way I feel when I'm in my bedroom and the door is closed. My books. Walking around in my pajamas. Having a space that is MINE. Its only been a couple days. This will probably all be over and resolved very quickly, especially in the grand scale of life. And I don't like to focus on the negative.

But please, for now, indulge me. I'm going to complain. And then I'm going to go to work.

Fire FAQ

Sunday morning we had an apartment fire. I made a list of answers to questions everyone was asking and put it on facebook, but I decided it should probably go here too:

I thought I would take a few minutes using my REALLY SMELLY netbook and Java Johnnys free internet to answer some questions everyone seems to have.

Is everyone okay?
Yes! We all made it outside very quickly. And we woke all the neighbors.

What happened?
It was a grease fire in the kitchen. My mom turned on a saucepan with oil in it and then walked away. It didn't take long from there.

How bad was it?
The kitchen is completely gone. The dining room kind of melted from the heat. You can see straight through to the rafters and roof in some areas. The rest of the apartment is smoke damaged. Covered in a black film. And its hard to breathe in there right now.

Are the other apartments okay?
Yes. Ours was the only damaged by the fire. The others in the building are all smoke damaged but are livable.

What can I do to help? What do you need?
Everyone has been so kind. Everyone wants to help. And I really appreciate that. It makes me feel so loved and so grateful to know that I have such caring, generous people in my life. Last night, the Red Cross put us in a hotel room and gave us a prepaid credit card for food. Today, I'll talk to the insurance adjuster because I DO have renters insurance. I'm not sure how much they cover or what comes next.

The apartment complex is putting us into another apartment soon. I'm sure we'll have to replace nearly everything we had. I don't even know where to start. I just don't know what to do. So I'm not sure what you can do to help, you know?

How are you doing?
I just don't know. It's a scary thing to watch everything you own get destroyed. It felt like a dream, standing in the parking lot in my tank top and pajama pants. I didnt have shoes. I wasn't even wearing a bra. And being outside that long gave me the worst sunburn of my life. I have never had that feeling of having absolutely nothing like that before. It was scary.

I know it was just stuff, but I don't know how to operate without stuff. I don't know how to be okay when I can't go home.

Everything is going to be okay. Worse things happen to people all the time. This is just the worst thing that has happened to me. And I don't know what to do now.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I always thought my mom would burn down the house with a cigarette. Turned out to be grease.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I couldn't wait to get to this part.

Remember when I loved you? Oh, it had a violent end, but it was glorious while it lasted.
Remember when you  loved me? You can say it never happened but I still remember the way you held me.

We were beautiful, you and I. We could have been the thing other people always try to be. Such a spark. Such vitality and vivid colors and light. Oh, our love it would have grown roots. And we. We could have been "us". But we never were.

Remember when I loved you? I know it scared you to death. So unready for my love. I understand now. But do you remember? Oh the things I would have told you. The things we would have done. The sheer weight of potential shimmering in the air.

Remember when you loved me? You kept it reined in. Held tight to your chest. You didn't want me to know. But I always saw it there in your eyes. Your accidental words and stray glances. How much might it have cost to just tell me? Don't you remember? Remember how you loved me? You were so selfish, you wouldn't give me the words.

We were standing at the edge of something great. You wouldn't come along with me. You never saw it. The things I saw. The things I see now. We see two different things when we look at the world. Our imaginary futures never quite lined up. We could have been everything I ever wanted. But not what you wanted. Not at all. You tried to tell me that.


Remember when I loved you? Remember when you loved me? It's over now. But it was glorious, wasn't it?

Or maybe it was ordinary. We always did see two different worlds.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Double rainbow all the way across the sky!

This weekend seemed like a blur of activity. Actually, the whole week felt that way.

Friday night I went over to Rachel's after work and we made dinner together with Robbie and then edited some video we shot earlier in the week. We made a music video for Jerimih's "Birthday Sex" for Emily's birthday. It took much longer to edit than we expected, but it was worth it.

Saturday Jeremy was in town long enough to get his things for his new apartment and I got to see him for a short while. He brought his friend Kari from Salem, who I've been hearing a lot about. It was interesting. I'm not sure if  it was good interesting or bad interesting. Then I left and swam for a bit before meeting up with friends to see Inception. We were hungry after the movie and decided to stop at Waffle House for some food. This Waffle House happened to be located near a Hustler store. I suggested we go. No one argued. We went. Fun ensued.

Today I went to Kenwood area with Johnna before going to the gym, swimming, then heading to the comedy club with Johnna, Katy, and Christine. Johnna and Katy came in and we shared our favorite youtube videos with one another and after they left I talked to Jeremy on the phone and drank cider.

That was the what-I've-been-doing portion of this post. Following, you will find the how-I'm-feeling portion. Enjoy.

On the way home from the comedy club Katy and Johnna talked about their respective boyfriends. And I'm going to be honest (because I nearly always am) and say that I'm jealous. I want to be dating someone. Even if it turns out all wrong. Just to do the get-to-know-you dance. To kiss someone. To laugh and dance and feel awkward and feel relieved. To start feeling connected to another person and then get all confused when they don't match the picture I've built of them and then I have to re-assess. And perhaps to get closer to finding the person I'll spend the rest of my life with.

Kari mentioned that she and Jeremy were discussing getting Billy and me to move to Salem. Of course I won't go. That is asking me to leave behind far too much for too little return. With Jeremy, I always feel a little bit like I'm walking through the woods in the dark. I can't see the path and I just might trip over something or step into a hole in the blackness. I need something a little more certain to just up and leave everything and everyone.

I would leave everything and everyone. For someone. For someone that I thought of things in terms of "us". When it was always our life and our apartment and our plans. But not for a friend.

Especially not this particular situation. I love him and want to be near him, but my rational mind knows that I need space. I need to learn to now want things from him that he doesn't want from me. I can say this move was a good thing. And I can say that I know it is better for me that he isn't near. But it doesn't feel that way.

It would be truly awful for me if I followed him there. Changed my life for him. He would be my only friend. My only person. And I would be stuck teetering there on that line between friendship and something more, struggling as he asks me to be one thing but then sometimes treats me like the other.

So it made me a little angry to hear that. Coming from her especially. I should move there, she says. I would be miserable.

I'm so happy here. I have so many friends that I love and they love me. Healthy relationships. People that say they love me when I say that to them. And I would leave it all behind one day. But not like this.

Sometimes I wish things were simpler. But then the complications seem to make life interesting. And it helps me learn and grow. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I'm having fun trying to find them.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This reminds me of creative non-fiction class.

I haven't worked this all out in my head yet. I may get to a point as a write, but if you choose to continue reading know that this is more of an exercise for me than something containing an actual point.

Today I was thinking a lot about how our memories of the past are all wrapped up in stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. We forget the pieces that don't tell the stories. Sometimes we remember wrong things. I'm not entirely sure if we can consciously form these stories or if they just happen, but I think these stories help build the pictures we have of who we really are. And both the self-stories and self-pictures seem incredibly hard to hold onto. Like those puffy white clouds shifting in a summer sky. Always made of the same stuff, but never quite tangible and never the same.

But our stories aren't novels. Mine has no pretty beginning, no ending that ties in all the sub-plots and makes it all make sense. As a reader and writer, I keep waiting for the strands to come together. I keep expecting all these little days to add up to something greater. But then I face the terrible possibility that there is no Great Something at the end. No climax. No satisfying conclusion. How many  people walk into the very last day of their life and have no idea what any of it meant? How many people take time to think about it along the way?

I'm not looking for religion. I went that  way once and found it only made me less happy. But I would like a narrator. Some omniscient voice that sees the reason in all the folly. I don't even need the reason, as long as I know there is one.

I can't not-believe in Purpose. I watch youtube videos and join discussions and just SEE some of the ways people work together to make things better. So many organizations and causes and intentions to help one another, to help the planet, to help strangers and friends and it just inspires me. How can there be so much good in the world for no reason? How can I have these moments when I stop feeling like myself and start feeling like one particle of a larger US, if we aren't something more than just human?

I know there is a flip side. I see small parts of it everyday. People that seem to have no regard for other human beings. Selfishness and cruelty and ignorance. Blind, stupid hate and immaturity. Violence. And accidents. Carelessness and disregard. Some of it makes me feel sick inside. Like that oil leak slowly pouring poison into our ocean and we can only blame BP when we all participate in a system that creates the problem. We are guilty too. And I've been the selfish one. The ignorant one. Even the cruel one.

One day at work I tried to entertain my mind (in the mindlessness of repetitive tasks) by imagining the aura's of my customers. What color would it be? What would it feel like? How big is it? Is it light and transparent in a cloud that floats around them, bobbing as they walk? Perhaps it is an inky sickness, leaving invisible drops on my counter that stick to my fingertips and taint me.

And I eventually realized that my own imagined aura had changed from some warm shade of yellow, like those rays of sun peaking though the clouds, to an institutional beige. I let all those negative people drain the color out of me. I let them. And I asked God or the air around me or no one at all to just please let me have one nice person. One.

And there she was. Hers would probably be pink. Like the color of the pink amoxicillin. To me, it always smelled and tasted delicious and I knew it would make me feel better. Maybe pink amoxicillin mixed with a cool breeze. She infected me with her bubbly, innocent, sincere kindness and I couldn't even thank her properly. Then it became my goal to infect other people with good feelings.

Two things:

First, if people DID have auras, I think they would look different to every person depending on how you saw that person and what colors, textures, flavors meant to you. Because while I find pink amoxicillin to a comforting memory, someone else might think it gross. So how could there be static, definite, definable auras? We are all different people to to different people.

Second, I think I was working towards the idea that we all have the capacity for goodness and badness. And there is so much of both already in the world. We can choose to focus on either when we look at the world as well. Maybe our self-stories can shift back and forth depending on what we focus on when trying to form the story?

I think what brought me to this whole line of thought was this:

I used to have the intention and goal of being the best possible version of me I could be, whatever I decided that was at the time. If being healthier would be better, I would be more that. If being kind and joyful is my best me, I would be more that.

But I got distracted.

For a long time now, and I don't know how long, I've been focusing on filling "wants". And that is okay to do sometimes. But that was all I saw. WANT. And how to get there. How to get more.

And looking back over my self-story for the last I-don't-know-how-long makes me feel guilty. And all I can do  is resolve to be better.

My self-picture used to say "I'm Awesome!" at the bottom in bold print. I'm going to get it back that way. Just  you wait and see. Or better yet, go figure out how to be the kind of you you can fall in love with too!

We only remember things that fit into our self-stories.

Yesterday was one of those days that starts off innocently enough, going along at the mundane pace that some days do, when it completely changed and took me by surprise. In a bad way.

It seemed like all these little bad things kept happening. Not so important. But they kind of piled up on me like canned goods in a grocery bag. And they kept coming. And I just wanted to go home. But I was a trivia with my friends who, though they love me, don't see the upset version of me often enough to know what to do about it. So I texted Jeremy and he promised to call after work to listen.

Not that it is morning, I've decided that I need to focus on the good things about yesterday. Because our memories are only the stories we tell ourselves about our day, our week, our life. And I want the story of yesterday to be a good one.

Those girls at the smoothie place complimented my eyes and my hair. Over and over. And people do that a lot. And I should believe them.

The sun was shining and it was warm and beautiful yesterday.

Rachel's mom said she read my blog and said really nice things to me about it. That was encouraging.

My friends really did try to cheer me up.

Chipotle happened!

Jeremy called and talked to me until I nearly fell asleep.

And even more things too. So it was a good day. Even if I did cry a little.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Attention to detail can be very important for skin health. Trust me.

Today was my day off. I spent the first too many hours lounging around my room reading a dirty romance novel. Once it become clear to me that everything would turn out okay, as it inevitably does in romance novels, it also became clear to me that I needed to GO DO SOMETHING.

So I went.

The something ended up being a bike ride that I embarked on against the wishes of a few people ("It's too hot!" they exclaimed.) and my better judgement. Turns out, riding 20 miles when it is FREAKING HOT OUTSIDE is a considerably more difficult endeavor. So afterwards I got in the pool and just kind of floated around.

Turns out I didn't properly sunscreen the backs of my hands. And they are an angry, angry shade of red. And they hurt, of course.

Sarah came over after the swim and we proceeded to the Hamburger Wagon for her first time. And then Dairy Queen. Unhealthy behavior, I know. The plan after that was to see the Gin Blossoms at The Greene but the storm made us decide that we could make better use of the movie theater during that time. And we did. By seeing Eclipse.

I am more impressed with this Twilight movie than the rest. But the books are still better. And Edward is still all wrong. But Jacob is just perfect.

And then I came home. And talked to people via technology. And it was a great, beautiful, wonderful day.

Thanks for listening.

I want to:

ride a mechanical bull.
go karaoke-ing.
get a new tattoo.
kiss a man.
go canoeing.
sing out loud in a public place with lots of other people singing along.
make-up with broken friendships.
bake a cake.
go to a Reds game.
go someplace I've never been.
hug a stranger.
visit Jeremy.
go to a bonfire.
laugh until it hurts.
hold hands.
tell people just how much I love them.

So I will.
Oh. And you're invited.

Monday, July 05, 2010

I'm kind of mean (because I hope you miss me too.)

I spent most of the day reading. I felt vaguely guilty about ignoring the lovely weather outside. And also about being so inactive. And also about being so unsocial.


I spent several days staying up too late and getting up too early. One day at work was so bad that I cried at the end of the day. And I got to see all kinds of people that I like and love over several days and so today I just felt like hiding in my room.

Now, I can pretend that it doesn't bother me at all. I can stop mentioning it and keep it a secret. But I'm not going to.

Because last year on this day I was with Jeremy. And I don't remember much about the day except that we played with fireworks on the back porch and I heard stories about him hurting himself with fireworks as a child. We lit bottle rockets in our hands and threw them into the air.

But today I spent alone. And he was hours away. And I don't know if he misses me like I miss him. I think it's different for guys. But I would like to hear it all the same. Just to make me feel like I matter enough to miss. Today he texted me to tell me that he misses my intelligence. I told him it didn't go anywhere. I wanted to add, "but you did." to that text but I knew it was cruel. He didn't leave me. He just left. And I want all kinds of good things for him, but I'm selfish. I wish he could be happy and successful and near me all at the same time.

It is all for the best, I suppose. It is what I keep hearing. And what I keep telling myself. Because obviously, no matter how many times I tell myself that he is my best guy-friend and of course I love him for that and THAT is why I miss him so, I know it isn't exactly right. He can be on the other side of Ohio or the other side of town and I will still struggle with the part of me that has always wanted him to be more than just my friend.

And that is never, never what he wants.


He isn't the one for me. He isn't my "person". But he knows how to make my heart race and how to make me feel beautiful and exactly how to take me off-guard. And I'm lonely. And impatient.

But more than all of that. I miss him.

I want to hear him laugh. And I miss the silly little songs he makes up and the way he dances. I want to watch him play a beat on his steering wheel. I miss the way he smells and the way my name sounds when hes says it. I want to watch him smoke his pipe against a curtain of stars while we sit in front of a fire. See his face get all animated as he tells me about something that excites or angers him. Let him say something insensitive or mean just so he can flounder around to fix it. See him smile. I want him to pinch my calves as I walk  up the stairs in front of him. Give me a little push when he walks past. I want a hug. The kind where he pulls me closer till I feel like I'm falling but he has me in his arms.

I want to stop wanting all these things. To go on with my day and my week without worrying if he is happy or if he is forgetting about me. I want to be free of it. Almost as much as I want him here with me. Almost.

He'll be gone long enough that I'll forget how much I enjoy watching movies with him because he always adds his own commentary and occasionally ignores the film to watch me watching it. I'll forget about  the way he opens doors for me. Forget how his compliments seem like treasures to me. Forget how much fun I have arguing with him. And it won't seem sad to me then, the forgetting. Because all things come to an end. To make room for better things. Healthier things.

But I haven't forgotten yet.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Dear his-parents:

Thanks for making him. I know you didn't do it for me. And I know some of the things I don't like about him he probably learned from you. But I love him. And you made him. So thank you for that.

Things that don't matter to anyone but me:

After hanging out with Johnna today, Robbie and I both had headaches and were very sleepy. He said he wanted to come up and sit in my recliner for a few minutes because he was feeling dizzy. I turned a fan on for him and played Regina Specktor and we talked for a few minutes while he leaned back in the recliner and I lounged across my bed. Soon I realized Robbie had fallen asleep. And I liked that.

I got my book out and got comfortable reading about the adventures of Claire and Jaime. He woke up a little while later, looked at me, and went back to sleep. It made me feel like we had reached the kind of comfortable with one another where we could be in the same room doing different things and be okay with it. I liked that he invited himself in, like he really understood how welcome he was. And I especially liked that when he realized he had fallen asleep, he went right back to it.

I don't know how often it happens for other people, but I truly appreciate this level of friendship. We don't have to entertain one another. You can sleep if you're tired. I'll read. And we'll be in the same room. You don't have to go home. We'll keep hanging out when you're done sleeping. I really wanted to read for awhile anyway.

It felt comfortable.

It seems to me that we always point out the things that make us upset but we gloss right over the little moments and details that are truly wonderful. Little things that don't really matter. Little things that make life so very, very nice. Let us pay attention. What great, little things make you happy?

I have a friend that could probably do just about anything. She really could.

I stay up too late. And sometimes I do unhealthy things. And I care way too much for the wrong people sometimes. My life lacks direction and drive. I don't know so many things. And I'm wrong all the time. I can't see past my own life at times and I have a hard time feeling sympathy for others. Sometimes I'm selfish and insensitive and other people can't see it at first because I'm friendly and happy. And get so angry and don't tell the person that should actually hear it. I cry.

But I'm really happy. And people like me for the good things I am. And I have amazing people in my life that make me want to be more of the good things and less of the bad.

Right now I'm feeling appreciation.