musings of a malcontent

seattle native, teacher w/out a classroom, bookkeeper, drinker of coffee and red wine, a constant work in progress

Archive for the category “self-realizations”

things once loved

being nostalgic is so fun. it’s like instant time-travel. it happens when you least expect it. you’re walking through the grocery store, you see a sale for fruit loops and you think back to when you mom used to let you string fruit loops on yarn and then drape them around you little Christmas tree. you probably ate more than you strung up, but the memory of starting the holidays, the memory of the sticky fingers you had because you licked them after you snuck one, and the smell of the sugary fruit goodness that only that one little silly tree had. or… nostalgia can hit you as you use that gift card you got for your birthday but forgot you had a balance on. so you browse the aisles of your favorite used book store, smelling in the smells that only those moldy oldy books can have, and then you see it, a kids book you used to love reading! you pick it up, you think about buying it, then you set it down, but maybe you should read it. and… there’s the tricky part! do you simply keep the nostalgia and memories of yore locked up safely in your memory? or d0 you revisit the tangible ones if you can? i flipped through that book. Dr. Seuss is still great! but… sometimes, you’re disappointed. i used to LOVE the movie “The Brave Little Toaster.” love LOVE love. so when i saw it in Netflix, i added it to my queue and shot it to the top of the list, and 2 days ago, i watched it. maybe it was the cold meds i was on, or perhaps my hopes were just too high, but i was left sad. it didn’t have that gravitas that it once did in the memory of my childhood joy. i think i like the idea of my enjoyment of it better than the movie itself. and… i don’t know, maybe it was a little bittersweet for me. so it’s a crapshoot then. do we dare to glance back at the things-once-loved? it’s a risk!

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expiration dates

i’m not a germ-a-phobe. i don’t wear latex gloves unless i have to.  yes i have a bottle of hand sanitizer at my desk but that’s because i handle money in my job and, well, money is filthy. expiration dates however, are the bane of my existence.  i can’t not check them. i don’t know what started this fixation. i never used to be like this i don’t think. usually you can pin-point some weird quirk back to some event or climactic moment in your life, but this one eludes me. my mom has always said, as have most other people, that expiration dates are mostly guidelines for enjoying a food item while it’s at it’s peek flavor-wise and are more like guidelines really, with the exception of meat (unless frozen after buying it.) something goes on in my brain tho that makes it very difficult to enjoy something if i know it’s expired.  i won’t eat it. i throw it away.  there are the exceptions of course, like the baby carrots i ate for lunch today.  they expired yesterday. i did note the date and pushed aside the less desireable ones and then when i was full, threw the bag out.  there’s weren’t very many in there, relax. but what gets me, is that i feel like such a waster of food. the food bank i work at, along with the fresh produce and bread and frozen things, there is also a section of canned goods and dry goods.  if i know that a can of something is expired i struggle with handing it out.  but rationally i know in my head that that can of soup that expired a couple months ago won’t in all likelihood kill this person and that when you have so little, it doesn’t matter.  because probably completely fine food with a date that’s slightly past due, is far better to eat than no food at all.  so i say nothing and let them take it. before you go and accuse the food bank of handing out rotten food, they do not.  they have very strict cleanliness and safety guidelines in place.  but they realize as i do in the back of my head, that some expiration dates are ‘best by’ dates and that the food is fine. so what’s my deal? i can’t not look. so i go around and around in my head trying to figure out what happened.  was i traumatized by some great sickness spurred on by eating tainted and expired food? no. every food sickness that i got was due to either something dumb that i did, or because i was already sick and the food was just the last thing i ate before i upchucked. i think that this is the closest to obsessive-compulsive i’ll get so i’m probably ok.  but consider yourself warned, if i’m dining at your place, i’ll probably check the date on that bottle of salad dressing. it’s not a reflection on your host/hostess skills and it’s not a reflection on how i feel your food is.  it’s just my thing and i’ll try not to offend and i’ll try to not do it. and i’ll try to find a support group for other crazies like myself.

‘at hope’

i guess it depends on the perspective that someone comes from, but yesterday as we listened to talk radio here at work, the topic of “hope” came up.  and, this could be chalked up to a game of semantics and both parties could be right, it was just an interesting comparison about how this word ought to be used and whether or not the concept of having “hope” is good or not.  i’m inclined to think that without hope, there is not much else.  it encompasses so much! this may be due to my religious upbringing, my affiliation with an organization called “the hope project” that acts a lot like World Vision and supplies orphans in Tanzania with food, shelter, meds etc… anyhow, i’ve always thought hope to be a very positive thing in the world.  but yesterday’s radio topic challenged that a bit.  and again, this is probably just a thing of semantics and both perspectives are fair.  it’s still, interesting just the same.  the show host, a professed christian man, whom i agree with on most things, was saying that he hates the world ‘hope.’ and he explained why: to him, hope is being passive.  he coaches girls basketball and he never wants to hear his girls say “we hope we make it to the playoffs.” he wants to hear them say “we will make it to the playoffs.” he talked about how he grew up pretty poor and he remembered hearing his mom always say “oh i hope things get better,” or “i hope that works out.” he wishes she had taken a more pro-active approach to her thinking.  to him, saying ‘we hope’ is not taking on personal responsibility to make situations better.  and i agree to an extent.  i also think that if there is no hope that things will improve, no hope that there is a God who loves us beyond all reason, and no hope in the general goodness in humanity, then what is there? so maybe the concept of hope in a non-tangible form, is good, but as soon as we turn it into a passive non-utilized verb, then it becomes toxic to our way of thinking? this discussion was definitely good food for thought and still has me going.

skeletons vs. respect

i had an interesting conversation earlier this week with a friend regarding respect.  she used it in a way i never really had considered. 

we were talking about our families and what’s going on in our lives right now, the basic girl catch-up type conversation.  you know, the ones that must take place before the real important stuff can be discussed, such as will the bridesmaid dress still fit or why must men behave the way they do sometimes or does it hurt cats when they have sex.  i kid you not, this was actually discussed. anyhow, as we were talking, she was talking about her husband TJ, who has been my friend since we were in pre-school together, and she mentioned his reaction to something.  a reaction that i’ve often felt but thought it was just me being strange or something so i’ve kept it to myself for the most part.

perhaps it’s us being the oldest siblings or perhaps it’s just our personalities being what they are (we’re pretty alike), but there seems to be this strange phenomenon that happens around us.  to us it feels like we’re being kept out of the loop, left out, not trusted.  and it conjures up frustration on our part and a confused state of mind.  basically, there are times when those close to us keep things from us.  i’ve had friends and family members who have had major stuff happen in their lives and tell others, but not tell me.  so has TJ.  so why don’t we get told?  from the perspective of the ‘injured’ party, it seems like we’re not ‘inside the circle of trust,’ or we are just kind of after-thoughts or that we’re perceived as being super judgemental.  which is frustrating and at times hurtful.  as i was sitting on the couch with my her, she was telling me that she thinks it’s a respect issue.  not that they don’t respect us, but more that they respect us so much that they’d rather not disappoint us so they don’t tell us.   i honestly had never looked at it like that.  to me, i want to know what’s going on in the lives of those i care about.  if they’re in trouble or struggling with something or need help i want to know about it.  i might not be able to do anything but at least i can offer a hug or a support or say “I love you” and then have a discussion about the issue at hand.  i want to be able to live honestly and realistically with my friends.  if they do things that i’m not into i don’t want to be left out of the their lives simply because of that.  a month or so ago i was hanging out with a couple friends.  we ended up after dinner going back to one friend’s apartment.  i was told to wait in the hallway until they cleaned some stuff up.  when i entered i was thrilled they’d done that because even still, it was most definitely a bachelor pad and i was clearly in man land.  but that’s not what bothered me.  it was the drug paraphernalia that they cleaned up.  i appreciate the gesture i suppose.  but i’m not stupid.  i know this one friend smokes weed.  i’ve known for some time.  and they did a poor job of hiding the evidence.  so why bother hiding the stuff?  it made me irritated all evening.  i tried to get over it.  were they hiding it because they were trying to girl-ify the place?  did he not want me to know?  was he embarrassed?  was i not trusted with this information?  do i come off as a prude and he was just trying to avoid a lecture he thought would come?  my frustration quickly turned to being hurt.  and i’m not sure why.  i think it was partially because they couldn’t be themselves, wholly who they are in front of me and i’ve long thought that i was a comfortable person to be around.  with some friends, our lives are open books but with others, not so much.  so i’m at a loss for words as to what this all means.

everyone has ‘skeletons in their closets’ and everyone has things they are not to proud of.  but i’ve always been one that wants to live life how it is.  why sugar coat things?  right?  so when my friend brought up that maybe the reason this kind of thing happens to me and to TJ, it truly is an issue of they don’t want to lose our respect.  so if that’s the case, is it something we are to get over or is it something that those who leave us out, need to be more mindful of?  i’m not sure.  i do know that it’s given me something to think about for sure.

the art of boy tipping

yesterday i got called out for “tipping over” the boys i work with.  basically this means, from what i gathered, is that when they dish it out, i dish right back, and that i’m feisty which leads to them being ‘tipped over’ and have no clue how to respond.  love it! 

i’ve long been accused of these things and a lot of the time, i’m completely oblivious to it.  however, i’ve begun to work on honing this craft into a fine art.  i love ‘tipping the boys’ over.  my personality naturally leads to feistiness and outspoken-ness, which may be different from the girls they are used to dealing with, but it’s who i am and i can’t change it.  i will say, i quite enjoy when on purpose, i can tip them over and leave them wondering what on earth happened. 

i’m careful to not commit too many random acts of flirtation with those whom i have no intention of having anything reciprocated.  i used to say that i was pretty forward and that you knew if i liked someone.  i might have been lying.  i’m a pretty transparent person but ‘liking’ someone, well honestly it confuses me and i have no idea what on earth to do with myself and these crazy things called valid emotions.  so, i do nothing in hopes that subliminally i can send them ‘i dig you’ brainwaves and then miraculously they will absorb them and then the wooing can begin.  this rarely happens though, hence my current situation.  sadly.  but the one thing i CAN do on purpose, is completely fluster and completely disorent the boys.  and it doesn’t even matter the age.  it’s like my sick sad game.  sad indeed.  and i quite enjoy it!

i think overall, i’m just an instigator of mischief. 😉

the problem with negativity

the problem with negativity is that it’s consuming.  it seeps into every aspect of your life and begins taking over before you’re even aware of it, and when you do realize it, it’s a very unsettling feeling.  i’ve been unable to identify my moods and how i’ve been feeling lately, all i knew was it wasn’t what it once was.  i went to bed last night in that bad mood.  my sleep was restless, i was irritated and my heart just felt heavy.  i woke up this morning at 5:00 and was still in that mood.  i thought about getting up and going for a walk or something but the rain was pretty persistant so i decided to forget that idea.  i laid there and had a good conversation with myself, something that’s been in order for a while.  i started thinking of the reasons for my discontent.  and as i began mentally going over that list, it struck me just how selfish and self-absorbed i’d become recently.  the things that were bothering me were not unreasonable for someone to become some-what upset over initially, but to continue in it or to not do anything about it or to not just choose to get over things or to not confront the people who i felt certain ways about… that was entirely my fault.  not having a teaching job for the fall threw me for a loop and i began to sulk.  feeling like an odd-man-out at church made me feel unliked and i fell into a whoa-is-me mentality. and i got really frustrated with a family situation.  these things aren’t all really that horrible to feel from time to time.  but to let them go on and on unchecked, isn’t.  i realized how infantile i was sounding and had to do some rationalizing in with myself.  ok, so the teaching thing isn’t my fault.  many many teachers are not going to have a job either so i’m not alone and the state, contrary to how i may feel, is not out to purposefully deny me specifically a classroom.  and regarding church, my feelings weren’t valid.  while it may be taking longer for me to adjust than i thought it should, that is not the fault of those who have done nothing but welcome me with open arms.  there will be personality clashes in any environment so why i thought this would be different is beyond me.  and i felt that certain people who had switched to this church with me were fitting in better, and i began to feel jealousy filling me up.  this is not ok either.  he’s not “more popular,” they don’t “like him better,” he’s not becoming any less my friend just because he’s made new ones. quite contrary actually. what he did was offer his skills and gifts and is being utilized.  i have not done that.  i have remained in part on the sidelines.  which isn’t a bad place, it’s just not fair for me to be jealous and begrudge him any good will simply because i have not stepped up my game and he has.  this is something i intend on remedying very soon.  although i will not over-commit… i tend to do that.  and on the family front, my frustrations are valid.  i am just trying to go about fixing how i feel by myself which isn’t working.  so i just need to re-adjust my tactics.  the other thing is my home life.  my roommate has been in a moody and grumpy phase on and off for a while.  i love her but lately it’s been a little rough for me.  she’s processing some things which have led her to some discoveries about herself which is hard for her to handle, and she tends to get moody anyhow, but lately it’s been amplified and has made me feel like i’ve been living in perpetual negativity.  work offers some break from that but lately not so much.  our ongoing audit, the kick up of business for summer, some personnel issues… it’s just been a day to day deal as to whether work will be a happy place or not. 

all of these things are in and of themselves justifiable ways to feel from time to time.  compressed into this exact moment in my life they just fed off of each other and by my allowing them to fester into MY being negative and not dealing with it, my entire demeanor and mood and heart became heavier and darker.  my conversation with myself was HUGE.  self-realization, prayer, and deciding to kick negativity in the caboose literally changed me.  i went back to sleep about an hour and a half later and that was the most restful sleep i’ve had in a week.  i know this will take some on going self-maintenance but i feel lighter.  my shower felt like it was doing more than cleaning my physical body.  it felt like it was washing off the layers of grime inside, which may sound dramatic but that’s exactly what it felt like.  negativity is part of life.  it’s up to us what we do with it and how often we engage with it.  i’ve also noticed that lately, when asked my preference on things, that it’s been far more easy for me to list the things i DON’T like rather than the things i do. happiness is going to make a comeback in my life.  IT WILL.  the other day i made a list of things i loved.  we tend to focus on our irritations over our joys sometimes so making this was a good for me.  i’d encourage anyone to try it. 

i love inside jokes of the mischivious kind.

i love the glow of soft light, of candles, of fireplaces and little Christmas lights.

i love romance.  the thought of being wanted like that makes me smile. and i hold onto the belief that it will soon find me. however cheesy that may sound.

i love words.  with them you can create and express and reveal and inspire.

i love how writing can use those words to create song and poetry and reveal the emotion and life that courses through us.

i love having a meal of crackers, cheese, fruit, and red wine.

i love studying people; examining why they behave how they do.  everyone has a back story to share and they do, whether verbally or not.

i love books.  they teach, they take us into a world unlike our own, they hold endless potential for adventure.

i love blueberry picking.

i love working with clay. the moist and form able goo at my beck and call.

i love Christmas time at my parent’s house.  it’s over the top.  it’s inviting.  it’s familiar and it’s ever-reminding of what what Christmas is all about.

i love food magazines.  i pour over them, read recipes and articles over and over.

i love the idea of being a deviant but my conscience gets the better of me and i end up in the mild-mannered mouthy malcontent category instead.

i love dangerous things.  volcanoes, sharks, tornadoes, the idea of dragons and dinosaurs and of course, the idea that i would stand firm and brave in the face of all that.

i love beaches. sand between my toes. the warm surface and cool damp underneath.  the smells, sounds, and small and almost hidden treasures.

i love hugs and snuggling.

i love to have my fingernails painted, however girly that may be.

i love old beautiful things like old houses, wine goblets, books, chapels and castles, and little old people.

i love mustard. it’s the superior condiment.

i love smoking cigars, the occasional whiskey and swearing every now and then just for shock value.

i love history.  learning it, visiting significant places and absorbing it, both the good and the bad.

i love tattoos, flip-flops, funky jewlery, most things potato and cheesy natural disaster movies.

i love my family and God and my cherished friendships with every fiber of my being.

i love…

inside on the outside looking in

do you ever feel like you’re on the outside looking in only to realize that you are actually in fact on the inside?  there is detachment from the situation or group that you’re in and you feel as though your on the fringe looking down on it.  it manifests itself in all sorts of ways such as unsettled feelings, hurt, resentment, indifference or sometimes anger.  you want to feel as though you belong but don’t know how to go about breaking through that invisible but ever-present barrier.  your feeling outside could be due to your own insecurities or self-imposed and unresolved issues but also could be the group that you want so badly to feel loved in, not doing their part either.  so what do you do?  if you knew how to break in you would.  if you knew how to move forward and be proactive you would.  if you knew how to verbalize and confront them about how you feel, you would.  so what do you do?  do you remain silent but tense or do you brave it and speak up?  i’m in this boat at the moment.  i’m inclined to think that i need to speak up but have thisfear that i’ll come across as some sort of hormonal lunatic who has dependency and needy issues.  but my voice is important so i need to get past that and risk the repercussions of speaking up on it right?  easier said than done.  especially since they are my friends and have no idea that i’ve begun to feel left out.  no one intentionally has made me feel this way.  no one has a clue i feel like this.  so bringing it up will catch them off guard and then one of two things will happen:  change will happen or i’ll be treated with kid gloves and tip-toed around because i’m “super sensitive.”  i’m afraid the latter will happen.  but then i re-think this, they are my friends… it will be fine.  so why am i so worried?  i don’t like feeling this way at all.

the wrong vibes?

i was recently made aware that perhaps the way i think i’m viewed by other people isn’t quite accurate.  it’s always exciting when we’re feeling bad about ourselves and are told we’re great or that we’ve been too hard on ourselves. but when we’re thinking we’ve been representing one thing to the public and then find out that that’s not exactly how we’re seen, it’s kind of alarming.  generally i’m pretty good natured and upbeat.  i’m not always high energy but my attitude and persona arefor the most part, pleasant.  or so i thought.  i made a poor impression on someone it would seem, and they left feeling like i didn’t like them.  on the one hand i’m sad they felt i didn’t like them.  i hate when people think that, especially if it’s the farthest thing from the truth.  i’m getting better at not being a people pleaser to the point where it’s debilitating, but i don’t like it when people don’t like me or don’t like them.  it bothers me.  it’s not that i’m collecting friends or feel everyone must like me, because to be perfectly honest, i don’t like everyone either.  but i’m torn a little here.  i was having an off day.  we all have off days right?  so my demeanor wasn’t peppy and i wasn’t super chatty and i gave off vibes to a new person that i didn’t like them.  while i do feel really bad about that and will do my darnedest to make sure she knows otherwise, i’m not going to be fake.  if i’m feeling happy i’ll appear happy.  if i’m feeling not up to par, i’m not going to fake it.  what you see is what you get with me.   there are a few rare occasions when i put on my happy face even when i’m not feeling it.  teaching, youth ministry, and local outreach stuff.  

it would appear that i need to work on my portrayal to others a bit.  the trick is to not be fake but be aware of my audience so i don’t make anyone feel bad or give off any false vibes.  this is sounding a bit like a new-year’s resolution… i usually scoff at the resolution people but maybe it’s my time!? we shall see.

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