“I often think about
Where I went wrong;
The more I do,
The less I know.
But I know I have a fickle heart,
And a bitterness,
And a wandering eye,
And a heaviness in my head.”

—Adele, “Don’t You Remember?”

Today was yet another extraordinarily stressful day, waiting to see what’s going to happen to me with my apartment/living situation. I was initially quite encouraged, as the lady in the rental office made it seem as if it were a done deal….there just remained the technicality of getting my roommate and The Guy I Am Currently Dating to the leasing office at the same time to sign the paperwork.

The problems started when my roommate, who initially said he’d move out in 2 weeks, decided he wanted to leave in two DAYS. At first, he mentioned the possibility of driving all the way to Jacksonville, and then driving back to take care of the lease and pay me the almost $400 in back rent he owes me. I instinctively know this will not happen; if he leaves without taking care of things, he never will.

Now, of course, I’m terrified that’s precisely what’s going to happen…even though The Guy I Am Currently Dating is willing to put his name on the apartment for me, he can’t do so without my roommate being present to transfer things. They’ve set up an appointment with the lady in the leasing office to do this at 7 PM tomorrow night, but my roommate left nearly 12 hours ago and said “I know you’re stressed, but you need to have faith that I’m not going to leave without this being taken care of.” Of course I don’t, and it isn’t helping that he sent me a text saying he would be home late since he was “going to spend the night with a hottie”. In the many years we’ve lived together, he’s never done that, and either it’s the oddest timing ever…or my intuition is right to be distrustful. I just want this all taken care of so that I can cease feeling anxious about the future each and every day. :(

Yesterday, I mentioned I’d tell you the story of how I met a friend for the first time this past weekend; in fact, a friend who was really a stranger who turned out to be a friend. I’d know of this person and heard many stories about him over the years, as he was the roommate of one of my best friends while they were both at Berkeley. However, this guy and I were never friends; in fact, he advised my friend to kind of move past dealing with me and get over me when we had long periods of time that were filled with a lot of drama and emotion. In turn, I dismissed this guy as exceedingly judgmental, and formed a pretty solid idea, based on our contrasting characters, that we’d never get along. We were all in our early 20′s at this time (though me a bit later than the two of them. *laughs*), and as intelligent people in our early 20′s, thought we knew everything about everything. :P

Of course, when I went through some negative things in my life, my friend went to his roommate to share/vent about things I’d done, things that had happened to me, and his generally troubled emotional state. When this old friend and I would spend time together, and things wouldn’t go as well as planned, it was his roommate who would inevitably be around to listen to the drama. So, it wasn’t unreasonable to expect that said roommate had a certain picture of me that wasn’t altogether flattering, yet was aware that I had some charming and quirky attributes that made me an interesting person to get to know regardless.

On my end, I’d heard (and seen) that the roommate was the kind of person who was not only introverted and academic, but liked a certain amount of solitude, and disliked clingy or emotionally needy people. Meanwhile, I am the sort of person who can’t be alone for too long, but needs a certain amount of personal space, and also to be reminded that I am liked and admired on a regular basis. Logically, there was never any reason to assume we’d have cause to be friends.

Yet, somehow, we started talking, via Facebook and text, in a way that was very infrequent and somewhat impersonal. However, it seemed the more we started to talk to one another, the more I noticed similarities within the differences. 8 years after we’d first been made aware of the other person’s existence, I found out he was planning a tour to some of the Southeastern cities (he attends school in another Southern city, about 7 hours from here, so while it seems on the map we might be close, we’re really not…unless you’re on an airplane.) , and wanted to visit Atlanta.

The visit was interesting, as he changed his plans and abandoned a stay in Macon to meet up with me and some other people at a burlesque show. It was a good time, and he seemed interested in getting to know different people, but I didn’t feel we particularly clicked in any extraordinary way. It was more of the sort of thing that came off as, “You’re interesting enough, but there are people I might have more fascinating conversation with”. It also didn’t hurt that one of the members of the party was an extremely attractive young burlesque dancer; as I told a friend of mine, “Who am I to think most people I’d know would choose to talk to me over taking the opportunity to get to know a highly attractive burlesque dancer?” Yet, I am me, so I do of course think that…and was rather put off by that whole situation. When he left the festivities fairly early, I wasn’t even certain if we’d meet up the next day.

However, we did, and it appeared to be the case that we communicated much better and found one another more entertaining company in a one-on-one scenario. That’s not typically the case for me; I tend to feel less at ease around new people one-on-one, rather than in a group, unless I somehow feel a connection with them in some way. It’s the primary reason I have a horrible history of turning friends into lovers and vice versa; I just really need to feel drawn toward a person to spend any length of one-on-one time with them.

I certainly didn’t expect to feel that bond with my friend after the burlesque show outing, but was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was to talk and laugh with him for hours. In fact, I believe I talked and laughed so much that I delayed his leaving town by several hours; long enough that he had time to meet The Guy I Am Currently Dating, and as expected, the two of them seemed to get on very well almost immediately.

Somewhere, between the hours of talking about everything and laughing at nothing, I realised this person with whom I felt I’d nothing in common and whom I sensed disinterest from upon our initial meeting was actually neither my polar opposite, nor indifferent to my friendship. One of the observations we made was that although we seem to take completely opposite routes to get a certain place, we seem to end up at the same destination. Although the way we live our lives in completely opposite ways and by almost opposing philosophies, much of who we are is fundamentally in sync. It’s a weird sort of synchronicity, that someone who not only doesn’t look at life through the same sort of world view and has opposing personality characteristics and ambitions, and is in fact someone who challenges you in some ways, can also be someone with whom you feel a connection.

Sometimes, I have a sense about people. I know a lot of people, but genuinely trust and connect with a select few, and it’s a largely intuitive process. Sadly, it’s why I don’t always spend as much time calling people up and asking them to dinner or if they want to see a concert or do whatever, and some people mistake me for unapproachable..or as an old friend of mine would term it, “aloof”. I am easy to get to know, but difficult to befriend. Yet, I often have an unmistakable sense when someone is the right kind of friend for me, and is put in my life’s journey for a specific reason.

I do not know the reason, of course, but I am glad for the odd way that life works out sometimes, by putting people in your path you never really saw being there. I have a strong intuitive sense that there will be another 8 years of either connecting, or mis-connecting, or both, in the future. And it makes me happy to have unexpectedly stumbled upon a person with whom I see a genuine friendship developing, either despite, or because of, the fact we continue to live a safe distance apart from one another. *laughs*

I will say, overall, I’ve had some of the most memorable experiences possible with meeting strangers, whether through friends or via the internet or whatnot. They aren’t ever people from across town, they aren’t ever people with whom I’d cross paths if not for synchronicity…and they have all either impacted my life a tremendous amount, are still an important part of my life, or both.

There’s something to be said for taking a risk or two, after all…*laughs*

On a final note, Gotye and Kimbra’s “Somebody I Used To Know” was briefly dislodged from my head for nearly 24 hours by a listen to Adele’s “21″. Today, it was put back, by friends pointing out that I’d gotten it stuck in their heads. :P It was solidified by a friend sharing this uber-funny video, which is a parody of a cover of the song. Even if you’d never seen the cover (I hadn’t, but watched it before the parody.), it’s great and worth a watch.

Parody On “Somebody That I Used To Know”

One of the things I discuss a lot, whether on my blog, in my private journals, or through my poetry and fiction, is the difficulty of struggling with a personality that tends to over-idealise a majority of people, things, events, and relationships, while simultaneously having a high level of distrust that borders on cynicism. It is a tough type of personality to have, one who sees the world as it could be, as it should be, yet is chronically disappointed that it isn’t, while knowing all along that reality is going to be the eventual outcome of a situation.

I have particular difficulty when it comes to friendships, and even acquaintances. The problem takes on a whole new dimension when it comes to relationships, but that’s a different story for a different day.

You see, I always expect other people, if they are a friend, to treat me in the same way I’d treat them…which, a majority of the time, involves a high degree of sensitivity that borders on well-developed intuition. (i.e. “If you really knew me, you’d understand why this is such a big deal.”) Unfortunately, I’m the sort of person who usually goes above and beyond when it comes to the “thinking about what others would feel” situation, thanks to an overly empathetic nature that often causes as many problems as it fixes. I am by no means perfect, and there are plenty of times when I let others down, when I put my own feelings first, where I speak first and think too late. As a former friend told me—and he is absolutely right—I value being right and having the last word over simply keeping the peace, which isn’t an attractive quality. Yet, for the most part, I try to go through life thinking about not only what makes me happy, but what makes others in my life happy. I have a lot of qualities that could use some work, but for the most part, I’m a really good friend.

The older I get, the more I realise I don’t have the time, energy, and interest to invest in someone who really just doesn’t think I’m that awesome. This isn’t just pure narcissism…although a small part of me does believe everyone I meet should think I’m awesome…but because I’ve been hurt by people who just didn’t care as much as they should have, or didn’t express it via actions. That’s a hard lesson, particularly for someone who has spent years running a social group where my job is to make unappreciative strangers happy as much as possible, and the number of “thank yous” and genuine friendships that have come out of that are far smaller than the number of people who complain, blame, treat me with disrespect, or say negative things about me or my group, when, frankly, they didn’t take the time to get to know me and aren’t giving any indication they can do what I do, only better, after offering their criticism. (there is one memorable exception, which, rather than offending me, makes me laugh.) It’s a hard lesson for someone who’s spent a lifetime understanding when so-and-so didn’t call, why a person she generally liked never wanted to see her again, why people aren’t as interested in connecting with others as in “fluff” and fun and not taking things too seriously. It’s a hard lesson for someone who has historically made excuses for people who don’t offer what she deserves, in terms of respect and appreciation and the value in friendship. (It’s been even worse when it comes to relationships…I have a rationalisation for why someone still loves me, even though he did this horribly disrespectful and hurtful thing, and I will use it, over and over again.)

Sadly, that lesson has been presenting itself in my life a great deal over the past year. There are a few people I genuinely liked and considered friends, or felt a connection with and wished I could get to know better, who simply cut off contact with me and made it clear they’d rather not know me. There are people I don’t know and have never behaved rudely toward to who criticise my social skills and call me fat to total strangers, while avoiding confrontation with me.

Every event I hold, there are 1/3 of the people who say they’re coming who simply never show up. It’s a complaint every Meetup organizer with a large group has, and there’s no way around it. It’s one thing that never fails to upset me, because I simply don’t understand it. I get that people are busy, that plans change, that there are people that others would just plain rather hang out with. However, the “no-show” business…the chronic idea that not showing up somewhere you made plans to spend time with someone, even a stranger, without so much as a phone call or an e-mail or a two word text….it makes me feel like giving up the gig altogether. I don’t understand how others can disrespect someone who is putting him or herself out there when it’s not necessary. I just wouldn’t do that, because I don’t believe in taking anyone’s presence, anyone’s friendship, anyone who offers something when they don’t have to, for granted.

It’s even worse when said behaviour becomes from a friend. A few years back, I had a friend who was known for this behaviour. Something would come up on the way to an event, and she’d change her mind and not show up. A day before, she’d inform me her plans had changed, and I’d have to deal with something entirely on my own. I’d make plans with her, only to be abandoned at the last minute, too late for me to make different plans of my own. This friend has changed a good deal over the years, but there was a point where life took us in different directions and I didn’t really reach out (although she didn’t, either), because I remembered all these moments where we really didn’t treat one another the way friends should. Fortunately, we are again friends, and now that we both know how to behave a little more maturely, the “situations” that caused the drama no longer happen. It helps when people are around the same age and go through the same growing-up process together. *laughs*

On the other hand, I also had an acquaintance for a long time who I tried to be friendly with, but we were just never that close. We had mutual friends with whom we were much closer, but she and I together just never really hit it off in that “Let’s hang out and be friends” way. For me, one of the reasons was a reluctance to open up to her, because she’d consistently RSVP for things and not show up, or tell us right before the event started. I generally think if someone is that casual about making plans with their friends, it’s often the case that said person is that casual with the feelings of others, and I’m just not in to that. I don’t need more friends I wonder if I can count on when I really need it, or are the ones talking about me behind my back, and printing out my “friends only” journal entries to read out loud and laugh about with their friends. :P

Tonight, I had flashbacks of this long-term attempted friendship with the flaky girl, while waiting for a friend who was supposed to join us for trivia this evening….one who never showed up. I didn’t get a phone call, or a text, and when I made it home later in the evening, I saw I didn’t even merit a two word e-mail or Facebook message.

Of course, my first thought was to be concerned about his well-being. Once, I had a friend who stood me up on Cinco di Mayo, and I was pissed because he turned his cell off and didn’t bother to get in touch. I resolved that I deserved better, and planned to discontinue the friendship ASAP…until he showed up at my front door needing a drink and someone to talk to. As it turned out, my friend wasn’t an inconsiderate jackass…he’d spent the night in jail after getting pulled over on the way home from my place the previous night.

At the same time, I have this intuition that tells me the non-trivia-playing friend is absolutely fine, and happened to be off drinking with friends, or hanging out with his girlfriend, or had an otherwise exciting change of plans that meant it was cool to ditch joining us…which it would be, if I’d been important enough to get some form of communication telling me so.

And, really, that genuinely hurts me. Frankly, I don’t know this person all that well…it’s one of those situations where I feel like I’ve gotten to know someone pretty quickly via chit-chat and sharing and even some “deep conversations”, without ever spending that much time together. But, for a while, I felt we were genuinely on the road to becoming friends.

Since the holidays, though, this friend has really shown limited interest in communicating with me…a far cry from how we were getting along previously…and when we do speak, it’s not in a very “connected” way. And perhaps that’s just what happens in life, and not everyone’s meant to be the best of friends. Sadly, though, this is what I do, the idealist that I am. I meet people who have qualities I like and admire and gravitate towards, and try to befriend them for that reason. I don’t always remember to take the time out to notice that if that person isn’t that interested in communicating with me or hanging out, it’s probably because they don’t see qualities they like and admire and gravitate towards in me. Friendship, like all other things, is a two-way street. I’ve been told a cardinal rule in life is to never chase after anyone, because if they’re not aware of how fabulous you are, there are plenty of people in the world who are. Somehow, I’ve learned the truth of this in relationships, but when it comes to friendships, I still expect too much of others. I still expect others to treat me the same way I choose to treat my friends. I still have this idealistic view of friendship, thinking favourably of others, and building connections.

One of the biggest has to do with respect. If someone thinks I’m not interesting enough that they’d rather ditch something I invited them to in favour of something better, I kind of get that. That someone is usually right. I’m not the world’s most exciting company. But if they think that it’s cool to just not show up without a word, while I care enough to wonder if that person is OK…that’s just not a lack of friendship, a lack of interest, but a lack of respect.

I am overidealistic and expect too much from people, and therefore, am constantly disappointed when I see others aren’t quite what I imagined them to be…but I know I don’t deserve that lack of respect. Being my friend may not be the most fascinating prospect in the world, and maybe some people will naturally be psyched about the chance to get to know me while others kind of take my openness for granted and think it’s not all that special…but the fact that I care, I think that should always count for something.

It hurts when the world takes that so lightly, and being the busy, self-absorbed, emotionally detached place that it is…well, it so often does. I’ve tried to develop thicker skin over the years, and to make myself less open, less accessible to befriending others. Sometimes, though, I wonder if it’s really me who needs to change how she sees, treats, and thinks of others.

The cynic in me says, after the experiences of 2011, “Whatever, I don’t need new friends. I have some perfectly great people in my life.” But once in awhile, I come across someone that has some rare quality, some rare connection in common with me that says they might be a good addition to that collection of wonderful people in my life. But, when that interest and that level of respect for building a friendship doesn’t run both ways…I have to know when to admit there’s nothing I can do.

It doesn’t keep me from feeling hurt, and disappointed…and wondering why I’m so different, so overly sensitive, because so many people wouldn’t care. Yet I always care, too much, and always end up getting hurt by that. Is it stubbornness, a lesson I refuse to learn, or just emotional masochism?

I heard from the no-show friend today, who apologised and explained a situation came up, he still wanted to be friends, it wasn’t personal, etc., etc. I know those things are probably true and genuine, and that my intuition is right…I’ve been dealing with someone who is a genuinely nice person. I am glad that he is fine and his situation got sorted out, but I also feel extremely distant, as if an important dynamic has changed in said friendship.

I deserve a thought, an e-mail, a phone call when you can’t make it to things. And I’m actually nice enough and have enough positive attributes that I’m worth getting to know; some people who really do know me will agree that in my own special and unique way, I’m pretty awesome. And so, I can’t be the one always reaching out and attempting to be friends with someone who may or may not see that. As I’ve said, I have literally thousands of acquaintances, some of whom I know better than others…and I’m always happy to add more. But if you really and truly wish to be my “friend”, it takes work, it takes interest, it takes respect and consideration, and it takes a willingness to put yourself out there.

Life has taught me not everyone is up for that…it’s not what our society is about. It’s not always fun and easy. It’s not always about the happy-go-lucky image instead of the real person. Actual friendships take work…and that’s why I know I’m blessed with more “true friends” than most people have, because I’ve put in the ups and the downs, the laughter, the tears, and the craziness. Most of my close friends have been an important part of my life from 5-15 years, and I don’t know what I’d do without them. I just celebrated a birthday, and while many of those friends couldn’t be present, virtually all my close Atlanta friends were…as well as a few new ones. And not a single person forgot to show up, or came three hours late. I was really touched that people brought cards and gifts and cake, when their presence would have been enough.

A guy who plays trivia with us on Saturdays, albeit on an opposing team that always beats us, has been having a tough time, as his dad is extremely sick. It seems likely that, barring an unexpected recovery, he may pass away soon. My heart really hurts for this person, and what he is going through…and it also reminds me how short life is. At any time, any person you know could be that person in a hospital bed somewhere, which is why it’s so important to actively appreciate everyone you care about, everyone you love, everyone whose presence you appreciate on a regular basis.

It’s a high ideal to live up to, and we all fall short (I don’t call home nearly as often as I should), but one that’s consistently worth trying for. That’s how I try to live my life, and like to surround myself with people who do the same.

“What a man wants is to believe that a woman can love him so much that no other man can interest her. I know that is not possible. I know that every joy carries its own tragedy. Oh, it is beautiful to love, and to be free at the same time.” ~ Henry Miller

After my last entry, regarding communication and relationships, I’d asked The Guy I Am Currently Dating if he’d read my journal…and in specific, that entry, which mentioned a lot of things I was pondering about relationships.

I was hurt, because he said he didn’t, and also because he said “Why should I have?”

It made me realise that although I’m not creating any great works of art here, either with my online journal or my personal diaries, or—in this day and age— my Facebook and Twitter communiques, I have been spoiled. I have had a number of people in my life absolutely fascinated by my thoughts, people who have not even really known me but become enamoured with me because of my form of self-expression.

I didn’t answer, but I wanted to tell him that that’s why. I don’t know if I can date someone who doesn’t make time to read what I put out there (although he mentioned he was busy at work all day, he also spent time on FB and linked to other articles he found to read elsewhere.)

I think I have been spoiled by learning there are people out there that are fascinated by my mind and my communications with the world, and the realisation that I am—not for the first time—with someone who doesn’t share that fascination because communication is so easy to come by, and to be taken for granted, that’s instilled a feeling of discontentment.

We managed to have a good enough weekend together, but I still couldn’t get out of my mind that his response to not reading my thoughts was “Why should I?”…and the feeling that perhaps I’m still looking for a certain type of connection we do not share.

It is this that often makes me wonder if I need someone in my life with whom to share this type of feeling-based, intellectual, artistic, introspective discourse. It reminds me of the days when I’d send special people in my life books to read, and we’d have great fun discussing them; the days when I had time for long e-mails and very open, personal conversations, and special connections.

I believe I need more of that in my life these days. I love the friends I surround myself with on a regular basis, but by and large, we do not share that same type of connection.

I believe I need people in my life who read this journal simply because it interests them, and by connection, because I myself am of interest to them. Perhaps that doesn’t really exist anymore; we’ve been pared down into a fact-based, text-message-Tweet-and-status-update kind of world. It doesn’t necessarily leave room for the connections that I inevitably value the most.

Some days, you just feel like you’re having the scariest, crappiest day in the history of the world, and then you open your mailbox, and see holiday cards from people you’re really happy to have as a part of your life.

One today was from a long-time friend in Australia, another from a long-time friend who lives much closer, but I don’t see any more frequently than if he lived in Australia. They both contained beautiful and heart-felt messages that made me cry.

My life hasn’t been the most stable this year, and I know I’ve been driving everyone up the wall with my constant issues and neediness and emotional ups and downs. My life and my personality and my relationships and friendships aren’t the most conventional, and not everyone I meet likes me or wishes to be a part of my world, and I’m OK with that….because I know I’m blessed with friends and family that love me and want me to be happy.

My mailbox today made me remember that: that there are people who care, no matter how busy life gets, no matter how hard life gets, no matter how far the distance between old friends and family. Life is bigger than just the here and now, which I tend to forget. There are people who have loved and supported and stood by me through some tough times, and years later, are still there to tell me they’re there for me.

While it might hurt that not everyone is the person you think they are, and you can find yourself abandoned or hurt or betrayed when you put yourself out there, you can also find yourself with some pretty amazing friends.

I hadn’t checked my mail in like three days because I’m lazy, but everything happens for a reason, because today I needed the reminder that I am far from alone in the world…and that was there. In addition, I had some good conversations with people I do get to see on a regular basis, but still reached out and talked to me and cared, without even knowing I was struggling today.

As the Golden Girls would say:

Thank you, all of you who truly have been over the years, for being a friend.

I know, I know…you haven’t seen me much around these parts lately. There are many reasons for this, most of which are good, and some which aren’t quite so positive…but, hey, I’m still alive and kicking. Here’s a quick update on what’s been going on the past two weeks or so, and why it’s rather killed my inspiration to blog about my life:

  • Work.I’m back on a full-time work schedule now, which is wonderful, because it means I am off “probation” and make a somewhat decent amount of money writing again. The bad news is that I’m not making great money, since I only have one project going on right now. Hopefully, as my health improves, I’ll have the energy to take on some new projects.
  • Health stuff The health challenges continue. I finally found a doctor I like, one I consider both smarter and more knowledgeable about medicine than my brain and the power of the Internet. (surprisingly, this was a long and exhaustive search.) She is also the first doctor to take the time to perform a full physical exam, during which, she pointed out she believes I may have fibroids. Not at all related to the ear or the vertigo, but a possible cause of my hypertension, back pain, extreme PMS, and appearance of weight gain in my abdominal area (atypical for me; I carry all my extra weight on my hips and thighs). I thought these were just all signs of aging, but my doctor suggested that I may have had this problem throughout my 20′s, and the fibroids actually are increasing in size due to too much estrogen on my body. Long story short, another potential health worry. I have to undergo an ultrasound on Monday, and of course, I need to pay out-of-pocket. Today, I was sent for another extensive battery of blood tests; this time, they took 16 vials of blood from me. Last visit to the lab, it was 20. That’s not counting the 6-8 taken in the ER, and the countless IV’s. I am exhausted, and have no more blood left to give. While the experience is always anxiety-provoking for me, this is the first I’m feeling the physical effects of blood loss. :( Oh, and I have my super-duper, majorly expensive ear test coming up on the 30th. I am at the point where i don’t care what’s wrong with me; I just want a diagnosis and a normal life. I’m not masochistic enough to enjoy all the pain and discomfort of the “Guess what’s wrong with Alayna?” game.
  • Friendship drama. I’ve really been saddened by a falling out with someone I’d just started to connect with and consider a friend. The falling out seemed inevitable; for whatever reason, we don’t seem to have the ability to discuss anything of a serious nature without conflict arising. It doesn’t necessarily make sense to me; I have plenty of friends with whom I don’t see eye to eye on politics, or personal matters, and the discord is hardly one-sided. Being an overly-sensitive person, I’d find this person would inadvertently hurt my feelings, causing tension. On the other side of the coin, the friend has a habit of arguing things until his point is made, and then, if you continue to defend yourself, to dismiss you; i.e. “If you’re going to say this, I see no need to continue the conversation.” or “You’re much smarter than the argument you’re making and I expect more of you”. I think this particular friend and I just exist in kind of different spheres of being, and don’t understand how to communicate well. I brought this up and provided the opportunity to discuss our communication issues, but we somehow just never got there. While being “dismissed” by someone you actually like and respect and would have desired a friendship with is extremely hurtful for someone like me, I’m not sure we’d ever have gotten past our inability to communicate. A pity, because we actually have a good deal in common. Unfortunately, the things we’ve in common are all the wrong things. In retrospect, the way this friendship played out is very similar to another in my past, which is likely why I kept pursuing it rather than just saying, “C’est la vie”. I never received the closure and validation I needed from that friendship, and it doesn’t look likely to occur here, either. I’ve grown to realise that I’m too valuable to be “dismissed”, and if someone doesn’t see that, of course it hurts…but there are those that do. Sometimes, those you believe have the potential to become great friends turn out to be acquaintances, and that’s just the way of life. Maybe Adele should write a song about that. :P
  • Writing. In addition to working on writing for work, I’ve been devotedly reassembling my collection of lost poems and short stories, most of which I figured were gone for good. I also, after many years of the idea being suggested, have decided to work on writing a novel, and it’s going surprisingly well. I’ve never been able to work on such a large project without losing interest before. What started as a collection of anecdotes and autobiographical diary-type entries has turned into a cohesive story that has transitioned from being about me to being about the lives of these characters I’ve created. I do not know if the manuscript will ever see the light of day; although much of it is fiction, there is also much about it that’s biographical and autobiographical in nature, and perhaps too personal to expose to the world (on the assumption anyone would care to read a book by someone they’ve never heard of, or just because they’re friendly with that person.) But there’s nothing like thinking your health is so fragile that you might die soon to get you motivated to leave behind a piece of art, a piece of your soul that will outlive you. I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that some of the most revered classic writers and poets died at a relatively early age.
  • Swap-Bot! As it turns out, I love making packages, cards, postcards, and writing letters to virtual strangers. I also love receiving them. It makes me feel connected with the world at large through creativity, and because many of my friends in my life here in Atlanta aren’t artistically-inclined and don’t care if I’ve drawn, written, or crafted something, it fills a definite void.Sometimes, I think that’s the thing that’s missing most in my life; someone who truly understands my desire to express myself and make an impact upon the world, and doesn’t dismiss it as “That’s too long for me to bother reading”. For instance, we’re (the boyfriend and I) are going to the opera tonight tomorrow to see Lucia di Lammermoor, and I remarked that I was excited to see a coloratura performance (I was trained as a lyric coloratura), as I hadn’t in ages. I didn’t get any sort of response to that, and it made me feel as if I’m missing something in my life, not having anyone who shares and understands my passions. It isn’t a failing on his end only; I don’t necessarily understand his passion for science fiction, and know little about computer programming. It just often feels that so many people in my life are so opposite from me, it’s hard to feel completely understood, as if I’m really connected.It doesn’t mean I love those people less, it just means I go through life feeling as if about half of me is something even those closest to me “don’t get”.

    I guess, simply put, I miss having a soulmate, platonic or otherwise. I miss connecting with other human beings on a soulful and visceral level. I’ve found terribly little of that since moving to Atlanta, which is one of the main reasons I can’t see myself staying here. It’s as if I’ve sacrificed a lot in order to try to fit in to a culture that doesn’t really reflect me, and never will.

    So, those are the things that have been keeping me away from my blog (another hobby few of my friends really “get” or care about, but is important to me nevertheless.) I’ll have to try harder to have thoughts worthy of sharing more frequently. ;)

This last week wasn’t really the most stable one, at least when it comes to interpersonal dynamics, friendships, health, money, and emotional well-being. Other than that, of course, it’s all been pretty boring.

Rather than writing about the tons of interesting…and mostly personal and off-limits….anecdotes that passed through my life this week, I’ll just fill you in on the list of life lessons I learned that have helped me grow into an older, wiser, and more perceptive person.

1) There’s often a very fine line between friendships and romantic relationships, and that line is not always—not even half the time—defined by whether or not you’re sleeping together. In fact, “defining the relationship” is probably one of the most traumatic experiences that occurs between people. Life is way more complicated than that.
2) When it comes to people you once allowed yourself to care about, merely the passing of time and the changing of the relationship does not result in you caring less. The reasoning behind who emotionally affects you a certain way, and why, defies reason. Life is complicated like that.
3) When it comes to people with whom you shared a connection, and then stopped liking or respecting for a bit, time not only heals many of those issues, it allows you to again see the things you liked about them in the first place. These things typically fall into the “Too little, too late” category. Life is complicated like that.
4) When it comes to people with whom you shared a connection, but probably should have liked a little less than you did, the desire of those individuals to want to sleep with your best friend(s) is an instant cure for any of those uncomfortable feelings. That’s one of those few life lessons that’s totally not complicated at all.
5) When it comes to other people whom you like, but struggle to communicate with in a conflict-free way, there’s always talking about the weather. The untimely arrival of Fall means Atlantians can avoid awkward and conflict-free conversations for at least the next two weeks.
6) When it comes to other people, virtually everyone wants what they can’t have, and when that thing becomes attainable, it’s almost always less interesting. In the rare cases this is not true, you’ve stumbled on to something good. At that point, life gets a little less complicated, with the exception that you will continue to want what you can’t have, and what you don’t really want.
7) Alcohol is a better and more successful treatment for those with mystery House-like diseases and anxiety disorders than are any drugs, prescription or otherwise obtained. I don’t understand it, but martinis and good company heal things.
8) Reality TV is not a contributing factor to any illness, but it won’t be long until doctors start putting it on health questionnaires and psychological inventories.
9) When it comes to knowing how you can expect to get along with others in your life, Meyers-Briggs is right almost without fail…in my not limited personal experience. :) They’ve figured out a reasonable way to navigate the complexity of life and predict which of your friends you will ultimately end up fist-fighting at some point.
10) It doesn’t matter how often you talk to your parents, or how far away they live. They will undoubtedly call you at the most inconvenient time, every time. It’s like they *know*
11) When someone is telling you that you don’t listen and therefore are not as sensitive to the feelings of others as you think, and your mind is already formulating the appropriately indignant rebuttal before that sentence is even finished, they may be right about you.
12) That couple that constantly breaks up and gets back together? It surprises no one when they get back together. If I worked for Hallmark, I’d design a card for that.
13) Overhyped parties where the premise is that everyone should dress kind of the same are, unsurprisingly, the most boring parties in the world.
14) Open mic night at comedy clubs are typically painful experiences. Very few people can ever say their first time was amazing, noteworthy, and memorable. Open mic is no exception.
15) You’d be surprised who doesn’t seem to remember you, or expect you to remember them, when they send you an e-mail. Perhaps I just have a far clearer memory than most.
16) It *is* possible for me to get from PJs to “ready to go out” in 15 minutes. An award should be given.
17) When I am 94, I will be Andy Rooney.
18) Witty sayings should pay more, even if you don’t print them on a T-shirt.

That was my week in a rather large nutshell. This upcoming one won’t be nearly as exciting…the highlight being my dizziness test on Wednesday. Considering I have panic attacks and other unsettling physical and emotional reactions to my unexplained vertigo, 75 minutes of doctors moving you around and saying “Are you dizzy yet?” doesn’t sound like a good time.

Keep your fingers crossed for me. A speedy diagnosis means more good times will be shared, and I’ll have less time to sit around and think about life. :P

It seems like there’s a lot I’d like to sit down and write about, mostly stressful personal situations going on in my life. I’d like to update the world on the ongoing struggles with my health, and also an amazingly upsetting incident a few weeks ago that involved The Mother Of The Guy I Am Currently Dating leaving voicemails on my machine designed to tear me down, and ended with threats to do me harm if I didn’t leave Atlanta (for good measure); confusion about the future of my relationship (and specifically, if there is one there), and my ability to be independent and start all over again, should that need to happen; and the audacity of a girl in my Meetup that was not only incredibly rude to me when I interacted with her, but wrote to The Guy I Am Currently Dating to ask him out to dinner without running it by me first. I’d like to vent about the isolation that’s come with two months of illness, and the disappointment in friendships and infatuations that aren’t what you put into them, specifically when some people simply are the type you can’t get too close to, or they’ll pull a disappearing act.

Perhaps I could talk about Dragon*Con, and the anxiety I’m feeling over going, because my recent struggles with anxiety and medication have left me fighting with odd symptoms of social anxiety disorder, and because the medication I am on caused me to gain 8 pounds and feel less loving toward myself than ever before. (especially given some of the commentary delivered by The Mother Of The Guy I Am Currently Dating.) I could talk about how I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t believe anyone could find me attractive on any level; physically, emotionally, mentally, or just by virtue of being a “nice” person, and how I’m not sure how to interact with a world that doesn’t naturally emphasise my attractive qualities lately.

However, all those things seem stressful, so when I sit down to write, a blank screen stares at me, and I leave to do something else. Instead, I’ll share some of the things I’m infatuated with lately.

*Spotify. A new service that’s part ITunes, part Rhapsody, and one of the best ways I’ve found lately to discover new music, as well as share what I love with others. In theory, it can also help keep your music collection organised, but I’m afraid it takes a lot more to organise me.
*Christina Perri. A tattooed, long-haired native Philadelphian who channels a strange mix of Alanis Morrisette, Tori Amos, and Norah Jones, this girl is one of the more talented and unique voices to show up in the pop world in a long time. Her “Jar Of Hearts” caught my attention, as well as that of the radio stations, a few months ago, and immediately charted impressively on Billboard before Christina even signed with a label, or released a CD. Her first album is out in the UK right now, calledLovestrong, and is available on her website. Oh, and she’s a great supporter of To Write Love On Her Arms, one of my own favourite causes.

*Marie Antoinette One of the women in history that fascinates me to no end, I’m planning my own spin on a modern-day Marie Antoinette costume for Dragon*Con this year. And, just in time, I’m preparing to read Juliet Gray’s “Becoming Marie Antoinette”, the first book in the trilogy about this controversial coquette.

*Big Brother 13 Despite the fact I haven’t put any serious effort into campaigning to get myself on the show since making it to the final auditions way back in 2000, I still love the show just the same. And this year, I have Showtime, which means I can watch 3 hours a day (fortunately, while multitasking life.) It’s trashy, stupid, predictable, and I love it. Still cheering on the women America loves to hate, and waiting to see Rachel Reilly try to win the whole thing for her (and her cheating, controlling man.)

*Swap-Bot.Com I have always loved mail, and confess to an online shopping habit and missing the days when letters came in envelopes with stickers and handwritten love was usually involved. Today’s love letters to the world—and one another—are usually digital, and just not quite the same. (though, every once in a while, I’ll find myself getting excited when I see an e-mail from an old friend.) I also enjoy being crafty, unique, and sending little care packages to my friends…but the problem is, I don’t know many people like me. The last card I received from The Guy I Am Currently Dating basically signed his name, and the last present anyone gave me was tossed in a bag rather than gift-wrapped. Needless to say, I’m delighted to find a new hobby in Swap-Bot, where you can find like-minded pen pals and artsy folks, and even some writers and artists looking to get to know others. I highly recommend signing up and playing along!

I guess that’s all for me…ending on a positive note, so I can save my energy to recount some (if not all) of life’s dramas at a later date. See you over on Facebook! (do follow me if you’re a reader who’s not already a friend.I like to know who’s out there, but not enough to enable comments! ;P )

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been around much lately, and the “Life Less Ordinary” project has found itself on hiatus. Initially, this was a good thing—I spent two and a half weeks traveling to see family and friends in the Northeast, hanging out in NYC, Philly, and spending a week in the sun at the Jersey Shore.

Not unexpectedly, the latter is where things began to go terribly, terribly wrong.

If you know me, you know I love the beach. In fact, most of my “what I want to do one day when I’ve made enough money and am ready to disappear into anonymity” scenarios involve living on a beach somewhere. And, since I’ve been under a rather large amount of stress lately in my everyday life, I figured there was nothing better than spending hours each day on the sand, soaking up the rays.

This provided a fun and relaxing holiday, until the very last day, when I decided to rent a beach chair and sit near/in the ocean, while reading my book and drinking my contraband vodka and clementine Izze soda. It was a great day, and when I got back to the hotel and took a shower, I noticed I’d acquired a killer tan.

Two hours later, I noticed that the tan was actually sunburn, and it was kind of painful. By the end of the evening, I could barely walk without crying, and of course, the next day was the day we were set to travel to Philly.

I made it—barely—but spent the next week largely in bed, with blisters and painful 2nd degree burns over my legs and belly. In addition, I started to have dizzy spells for no reason, often accompanied by a feeling that fainting would soon occur, heart palpitations, and a feeling that my body was out of control. The first time, I thought I was having a heart attack, and was going to die. :(

I can’t tell if these experiences are provoked by heat exhaustion, anxiety, or a totally unrelated medical issue—but let me tell you, nothing is more frightening than the feeling your body is working against you. For nearly two weeks, I’ve been unable to tolerate bright lights, heat, and staring at the computer screen. Even small things have tired me out immensely, which is unlike me, and my typically energetic, vivacious approach to life.

Slowly, things are improving, and over the past few days, I’ve had the physical and mental stamina to return to work, largely through the help of sunglasses. (wearing sunglasses indoors so you can work on your computer looks silly, but if you are intolerant to light, it actually works quite well.) Yesterday, the sun and the 100 degree temperatures decided to disappear, and it was the first day I actually felt like my old self…so I have some level of confidence that I am recovering, although perhaps not as fast as I’d like.

As always, I enjoyed my time in NYC, although I’m always there far too briefly for my tastes. I had the opportunity to catch up with three old friends I’ve known for years, and always miss dearly. It seems like years ago, distance wasn’t such an impediment to friendships, since there was always time for phone calls, IM chats, e-mails, and the like. Nowadays, there’s rarely the time, and when there is, there’s not always the energy. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way, but it’s something that kind of sucks about getting older.

Philly, on the other hand, was a bit of a disaster—with the exception of July 4th. If you’re going to be anywhere on the 4th of July, you want to be in Boston, Philly, or D.C., which is one of the reasons I always plan my trip up there over that timeframe. Unfortunately, being ill really limited my ability to see anyone or do anything, and also reminded me of how difficult it’s always been for me to get along with my family. They’re largely like strangers to me, strangers I find negative and less than supportive, and who don’t really relate to me or anything I have going on in my life. It’s always been that way, of course, but the older I get and the more well-defined my own life becomes, the less they seem like people I know or understand. There are always arguments, always difficulties co-existing, and within two or three days, I begin to miss living in my world instead of theirs.

I think that, all these years, I’ve tried to create a relationship and an understanding with my family that just doesn’t exist. I’ve tried to create a feeling of “home” in this place that should be home to me, and I’m always devastated to remind me that it’s not. I’ve created an ideal in my head that I’ve always wanted, a place that feels like I belong and am loved and understood, and it’s natural to assume that safe place should be with one’s family. For me, it isn’t, and I’ve come to realise that the stability and support and comfort I want from “home” is going to have to be one of my own creation. It’s reminded me why I’d like to focus on finding a place I’d like to live on a permanent basis, and being able to buy property there, so that “home” doesn’t have to be someone else’s, and it doesn’t have to be a transient idea.

I’m glad to be back in Atlanta, though, and to spend time with the people I care about here. Even if I have to spend a chunk of my summer in bed, watching TV and working with sunglasses on, there are still some good times to be had before the summer is over.

And, of course, Big Brother is back, one of my favourite summertime guilty pleasures!:)

This evening, I just happened to stop by my much-neglected page, and decided to check in on my stats program, to see if anyone’s been visiting me lately. (As it turns out, they have, although I really have no idea who or why, for that matter.)

In any case, one of the more interesting features of the tracking program is that it tells me where my visitors come from, how they find me, and the search terms that lead to my page. Some are kind of funny, but my favourite by far is the person who found me by Googling the phrase “Are there any creepy people at Meetup?”.

First of all, it’s of course funny because I’m a pretty active Meetup organizer here in Atlanta, and while I don’t consider myself one of the creepy people this person is worried about meeting, the Internet search gods seem to disagree. In fact, it’s both sad and funny that a Google search relating to creepy people on Meetup leads to my page. :P

Secondly, it’s funny because the answer is most definitely a resounding “Yes!”. There are people who show up to Meetups who are more than a little creepy, lack social skills, use it as a platform to hit on any available single with an interesting picture, or will put your number in their phone and drunk dial you from a bar at 4 AM. In fact, I’d create a regular feature on here about all the interesting…ahem…”characters” I’ve run into over my years as a Meetup organizer, but I’m too afraid said people would find me or this blog.

Fortunately, there are also amazing, super-awesome people to be found at a Meetup. I met my boyfriend, a handful of roommates, and more than a handful of really close friends through the group. There have been more than a few couples that have met and gotten married through Meetups, at least in my city, and when you’re traveling to a new city, you’re never at a loss for new friends.

Creepy people? Of course. But, I think we wouldn’t have it any other way. It keeps the rest of us laughing and telling interesting stories for a long time to come. :P

I’ve been in a rather anxious mood this past week. In fact, that’s a pretty decisive understatement. I’ve been so anxious that not only has my sleep suffered and been filled with scary dreams, but I’ve started chewing the sides of my fingers again, a very bad habit I haven’t engaged in for years.

It all started about two weeks ago, when I received a message on my phone from “Special Agent So-And-So”, requesting an interview with me. Of course, not really knowing what was going on, I freaked out. I then found out that a friend of mine—who is more of a casual social acquaintance that no longer lives in Atlanta—used me as a reference for trying to get her security clearance reinstated.

If she’d simply asked me before submitting my info, I wouldn’t have had a stressful knot in my stomach for the past two weeks. I would have simply said no. I’d rather not interact with law enforcement, investigative agencies, or anyone who has the power to send me to jail or make my life difficult. I’ve gone through my life with a pretty strict no-involvement policy when it comes to authority figures, which served me well in high school, and also living in some less-than-wonderful urban neighbourhoods.

However, when the agent called me, all my attempts to say no were thwarted. I first suggested to her that she find someone else, that I have reasons for not wanting to talk to an investigator, and besides, I don’t know how helpful I’d be. She submitted other references, but the agent kept calling. He said that he couldn’t find anyone who knew this girl well for an extended period of time in ATL. He told me that he didn’t work for the FBI, wasn’t a law enforcement official, and had no interest in investigating me.

Yet, I can’t help but feel like talking to this guy is the last thing in the world I want to do. It doesn’t reassure me that he tells me he’s a background investigator, not an FBI agent. I’m sure those of you who’ve known me well for some time recall the presence of an investigator in my life, and that the results turned my world upside down. The drama that was caused ranks on my list of life’s most painful experiences. I’m clearly not the person who is going to be interested in speaking to an investigator.

I also don’t understand why he won’t take no for an answer, and why we can’t just speak over the phone. I’ve already told him I don’t have that much to offer, and that I don’t see the point, and that I’m hesitant to be interviewed. Yet, he keeps calling, and every day I get a phone call is another day I spend needing to take a Xanax.

I’m also very angry at this acquaintance for putting me in this situation. If she knew me at all, if we really had the type of friendship that meant I’d be a good person to vouch for her, she’d know the stress and anxiety this is causing me, and never would have passed along my information without asking my permission first.

The interview is tomorrow, and I can’t sleep, eating makes my stomach do flip-flops, and I’ve been chewing on the sides of my fingers until they bleed. This has ruined the past week or two of my life, and at this point, I just want it to be over with. I understand this investigator isn’t interested in me, and he’s not the one who tried to destroy my life because someone was paying him to do so. But, emotionally, the anxiety that situation caused me comes back every time my phone rings, or I think about this interview. I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to sit there for 20 minutes and not want to throw up. :(