I was reading a BlogJob forum topic yesterday about people that rant and rave in face-to-face conversation about annoying topics and do so repeatedly. My contribution to the discussion was stating that I like blogging because I can do this as much as I want and my readers can choose whether or not to come along for the ride. I happen to be a person that gets irritated by the same things over and over and need an outlet for working it out. One of the replies was asking if people that are responsible for their own woes and keep griping about the same old things ever learn.
I agree with her to a point because it takes the patience of a saint to listen to the same old same old. We’ll call the same old same old a mistake for the purpose of this writing. While hearing about these mistakes repatedly can be enough to make you want to throttle your conversation partner (not that I recommend following through on that), maybe all the mistakes that people make aren’t really mistakes and are more of an experiment to see if different people react similarly so that maybe eventually you learn why the mistake is a mistake.
My mistake is in being a good friend, or rather that I don’t know how to be a good friend. I’ve often discussed the ins and outs/ poor me here (which is unfortunately relevant to this topic) so I’ll try not to go in-depth on it for this post. The only important part of my life sob story is that I’ve yet to learn how to be an involved but not stalker-y friend. I know there’s a secret to it because many people have friends, but I haven’t learned what it is. That’s the end of the repetitive content. The new part of this is where I consider why I seem to make the same mistakes with different friends. I wouldn’t call it a true experiment because I don’t follow the scientific method and I don’t consider it an experiment to begin with, but the end result of losing people because I don’t know how to be a good friend feels a lot like replication/repetition. I’m wondering if I keep making the same friendship mistakes because I’m trying to learn what makes them mistakes. I should add that even if I am experimenting with people and trying to learn what works from seeing what doesn’t work, it genuinely hurts when it’s over. That’s why I often rant and rage about the same old same old.
I wonder if there are other people in my position where we are experimenting in a sense but it’s still real (unlike a scientific experiment that we can manipulate) and that’s why we go on and on about it when it goes explode-y. Yes, that’s not an example of stellar terminology. No, I won’t choose a more “correct” word. “Explode-y” is one of the best ways to describe when our “mistakes” may not necessarily begin that way but quickly spiral out of control.
Thinking back to the BlogJob forum post, I understand the frustration my fellow bloggers feel being on the receiving end of the same vent over and over. I also see it from a different angle.
Sometimes a picture doesn’t require words to be powerful. I have been searching for the perfect quote about loving my cats (especially my tortoiseshell Sunshine) so much that I miss them before they’re dead. It’s not as morbid as it sounds, but even writing it is a tearjerking activity. Anyway, this picture of a girl sitting near a missing cat-shaped puzzle piece is exactly what I’ve been looking for. How do you describe the loss of your best friend? It’s like when you lost the last piece of a puzzle; the image is mostly complete but there’s an obvious emptiness.
I read something that spoke to me on a deeper level on the cat blog Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows recently. It was this post called “#LoveYourPetEveryDay Because Every Moment Matters” and it was a sponsored post for Chicken Soup for the Soul cat food, but here me out. The blogger, Melissa, wrote about the importance of loving your cat (and other loved ones) all the time. She said:
“One of the greatest lessons I learned in losing Truffles so young is to make time for those you love. How many times did she want to play or cuddle and because I was busy I asked her to wait. I thought we had all the time in the world. Now I’d give anything to have that time back with her. I won’t make that same mistake with Mudpie.”
The background information is that Melissa’s Mochas, Mysteries, and Meows was started in the voice of a “chocolate” tortoiseshell cat named Truffles. Before Truffles was a tortoiseshell-calico (“tortico”) named Tara. Before Tara there were other non-tricolor cats that Melissa occasionally blogs about. Because Truffles was the first cat whose “voice” came to Melissa, she quickly transformed an average cozy mystery book blog into a cozy mystery book blog told from a tortie’s perspective. Truffles died at age three and it was very sad, but not long after a new tortoiseshell named Mudpie found her blogging voice. I hope that we’ll get to hear Mudpie for a long time.
Every time I read a post by Melissa about the cats she loved and lost, I tear up. I think about my own ladies. Right now it’s Sunshine and Muffin, “my” tortie and my mom’s tuxie respectively. They’re really neat. Muffin is a lovebug lapcat who enjoys snoozing in her best friend’s (my mom’s) lap. Sunshine is not a lapcat; she’s more of a by-your-legs cat if she settles in for a rest. More often than not, she’s awake and active in some capacity. She likes following me into my bedroom so that we can snuggle while I watch a movie, blog, or take a nap of my own. I love these cats more than words can express. I hate to think of waking up one day and they’re not there. It may not necessarily be death; when I move out, I can’t take Sunshine with me. While I can visit them, it’s still a type of lost. It might sound weird saying it, but sometimes when I read memoriam blog posts and think of my own ladies, I feel like they’re already gone.
I admit that I’m not well-familiar with normal human interactions, especially among friends, but I do know that you’re supposed to trust your friends all the time, even when they’re participating in activities that don’t involve you. Before I sound like a jealous girlfriend (not that this post is going to convince you otherwise), let me say that you can take this multiple ways based on what kind of relationship you have with your friend(s). If your friend is your partner, you should trust that yes they’re having fun with other crowds of people but they will return to you by the end of the night. If your friend is just your friend, you should trust that they are having fun with other crowds of people but they still have a spot for you. Another admittance: I am thinking about my Never-Was back when we were friends because I wanted our whatever type of relationship to be one of the better ones I had but…Well, I just wasn’t able to trust him. On one hand it’s a fair concern because once a friend starts talking about their crazy ex-girlfriends and even crazier ex-friends (or is it the other way around?), who knows what they could be talking about with others about their crazy current friends such as you? On the other hand, you are supposed to trust your friends all the time.
I chose this quote because it was what my Never-Was told me all along, maybe not in the same words but definitely in the spirit of them. What I should’ve done was trust him, not necessarily all the time because he sometimes wasn’t trust-worthy, but at least trust him more than I did. One thing that still bothers me even though it’s no longer the first ten things on my mind is that what if he was right? One of my concerns was that he cared about me for copying homework answers but nothing beyond that. In the end I was correct, but what if back then I saw something that wasn’t there? This quote says “Worry about why you’re worried about what I’m doing.” Could I have created everything in my mind because I was worried?
The other side is that I was right to worry because I could feel something was off. Having been through friendship fallout many times before, I had gotten better at sensing the beginning of the end. One day I will officially stop making the same mistakes, but until then, one thing I sensed with my Never-Was and now know for sure is that when something doesn’t feel right, I need to trust that feeling. Sometimes instead of always trusting your friend, you should trust yourself.
Today the song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen was playing on a soft rock channel on the living room TV. I’ve always hated this song, even before I heard it for myself and today was no exception. I sat in my bedroom wishing it would just end. For what it’s worth, I don’t hate “Let It Go” as much as certain other popular music, such as that from a former country current pop
twit singer. It still ranks up in my music hate list. Anyway, I was trying to figure out why someone can irrationally hate a song like I hate “Let It Go” and today I realized what it was. “Let It Go” is a song about avoiding adult responsibilities. To be fair, many adults are stressed by, well, being adults and would love to “let it go”. For us older folks listening to the song, it’s the ultimate fantasy of leaving out responsibilities behind and getting back to being ourselves, whatever that means. On the other hand, how responsible is it for us to take the lyrics to heart?
In the lyric snippet I provided, the message is that the speaker has been hiding herself (the person that she would be if she had a choice) out of duty to the mysterious “them”/”they”, which is society. In Frozen it’s a 21-year-old queen who isn’t ready to be the leader of her kingdom, but for any adult it could translate to not being ready to get an education, get a job leading to a career, start a family, be the primary source of economic stability and order, and so forth. This is a fair worry; I am 25 and am living at home because I just know I would crash and burn on my own. Even my friends who are better prepared than I am face struggles of being not quite ready to adult. These lyrics are probably the best part of the song.
Unfortunately, these lyrics also lead to a part of the song saying “No rules for me. I’m freeeee!” Maybe the animate queen has the luxury of running from her duties as a royal and as an adult, but we real adults can’t do this. I’m doing pretty well, honestly. By living at home I can use whatever goodies we have at the house, including shower items and food items. I know I won’t be deprived of water because there will always be bottled water and worse-case scenario faucet water. I won’t go hungry all day because there will at least be one meal available at the house. I really should start kicking in some money towards dinners, whether it’s groceries or carry-out, but all I’ve been paying for at the moment is any of the lunches I get when I go out in the afternoons. That said, I still have expectations to meet. I have to be available for various chores, maybe doing some clean-up in the kitchen or bathroom or vacuuming the carpets through the house. Whenever I start back at my temporary job, I have to get myself there and back unless there’s inclement weather and it’s safer for me to ask for a ride. Any money that I make is my responsible to keep track of and put it into appropriate accounts for rainy day purposes. Right now when I don’t have a “real” job, I blog to accumulate money and I search through employment listings just in case something comes up. It’s relatively easy stuff compared to having an apartment or house and balancing work and a family (although if I have my way, there will be friends and cats but no husbands or offspring), but it’s still responsibilities. I can’t walk away from what I have to do because honestly that would be the exact wrong thing to do.
Something that happened on Monday is still bothering me. My dad and I were in the car, driving around aimlessly, and out of nowhere he said “Sometimes I have these rules in my mind of what people should do and I get frustrated when they ask questions about things they should know. I forget they might not be askimg how to do this easy thing to annoy me. Maybe they genuinely don’t know.” I probably made a non-committal sound because okay, thanks for randomly sharing something, but what am I supposed to do about it? Then he said “You’ve been doing your own thing for school [college] and trying to figure stuff out for yourself. We’ve let you do that, but if you need any help I’ll help you as much as I can.” I asked “Is this in reference to my figuring graduate school out?” because earlier that day I had mentioned I was stuck once again where grad school was concerned. He said “No, it’s something I meant to tell you a long time ago.”
You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t believe I can ask my dad for help. God knows I can’t ask my mom and while there had once been a time I thought I could at least ask my dad for help, he’s made sure I never will unless I’m already prepared with my own solution.
My dad is highly critical of anything that is important to me. The sad thing is, he is considerably less critical now that I have my undergradate degree(s) and have proven that choosing my own path doesn’t always blow up in my face. I think he may have said “I’m proud of you” once during my final semester when I was accepted to the International Eglish Honors Society Sigma Tau Delta and once when I graduated on December 18th 2015. Otherwise, all I hear from him is “You need to do this right now!” or “I’ve never seen you show an interest in that.” When I get frustrated and ask him what the heck I should be doing, he tells me things I used to want before he shot them down.
If my dad ever asks why I have taken my academic and future-related careers into my own hands, I’ll tell him that it’s because nobody else will help me if I asked for it.
Sometimes you have to ignore all the outside voices telling you “Do this!” “No, do that!” “Well that’s not realistic” and trust yourself. As long as I live with my folks, I am going to be nothing but confused if I listen to them about such important things as my future.
My dad is an economically-focused realist. Every time he shoots down something I’m excited about, he says “I just don’t want you making the same money mistakes I made.” Growing up I accepted that he knew what I wanted and needed to do better than I did and even if he was wrong, god knows I wasn’t going to argue with him. It was my sophomore year of college when I was 22 years old that I realized I had to choose my own path, and if that meant sitting him down and telling him step by step how I would make things work, so be it. I remember when I decided to do a dual degree in English and Criminology. I told him “I already figured out what I need to do and that’s what I’m doing.” We were at a hotel in separate rooms, and right before I laid it out I made sure on my laptop that it would work. Since I happened to graduate with said dual degree, I am more confident that education-wise, I know what to do. Even so, my dad dissuades me from following potential interests. If I take it to heart, I will never work and never move out.
My mom is less helpful because she does encourage me to follow my dreams and she knows more about what I’m capable of because she’s been around me more, but when she defends my skills it dissolves into her and my dad arguing about her career as an artist. I am forgotten and that’s not really helpful for me since I’m the one struggling.
Since figuring things out falls to me, the only way I know I’m making a good decision is by making bad decisions first and questioning myself about them. As this quote says, the way you know you’re doing something wrong is by feeling like you have to question yourself.
Call it your conscience, call it your guardian angel, call it your reality check, call it whatever you like. It’s that entity watching out for you that knows how it’s going to end and tells you the things you don’t want to admit. Most people have one, but I think mine got lost somewhere. You see this above quote? I wish I had somebody whispering this in my ear or in my mind three years ago before I had an interest in my Never-Was, because they could’ve saved me a lot of problems. I know mine got lost somewhere because my Never-Was was not the first social mistake I made, just the culmination of all my social mistakes with the added disaster of it involving a man. Before my Never-Was, there was Kristen, Keri, Sarah, and Brittany, all of the friends I held on to so tight I suffocated them. I’m using their names because I know they’ll never read this. Whether my friends were male or female, it ended the same every time. That voice in your head that’s supposed to prevent you from making the same mistake over and over failed me every single time.
What’s it like to have that entity guiding your life? I guess what I’m trying to ask is, does it automatically make your life better for you? When you make a mistake, does that entity learn from it and steer you in the right direction before you have a chance to butcher things again? People say “We’re only human!” to excuse the first screw-up they make. I want to know what happens so that they don’t make the same mistake. Another option: Maybe they still make a mistake, but it’s at least a new one. I feel like even the voice in your head can have an off-day and not completely shield you from being human. It’s probably more like a cushion.
What I really want to know is what that entity sounds like. It’s a type of voice, so I bet just like our own voice it sounds different for everyone. I mean more like the tone it takes. Again it would probably be different for everyone but I feel like it would follow the general principle of being educational but not shaming. Then again, my makeshift voice (in which I write nasty quips to myself) chooses shaming because it seems to be the only way I learn.
Readers, what is the voice in your head like? How does it guide you and have you ever lost it? How might one regain or develop a voice?
Have you ever been so frustrated with someone going on and on about everything you did wrong that you just shut down? It’s a funny coincidence that “shut down” is one word away from “shut up” and “shut up” is our phrase of the night. Unfortunately, this is not a funny moment for me. Usually I try to have a twisted sense of humor or at least something disturbing but clearly sarcastic to say about something I’m bummed out about or stressing over. It’s helped me recover from my Never-Was and all the times I didn’t get something I wanted so badly. I can’t do that tonight with this situation, I just can’t.
I’m referring to something I posted earlier in a BlogJob status update about a conversation with my dad that took a really negative turn. For those not in the know, I made the mistake of telling him that I was stressing once again about graduate school. It’s my fault for not remembering that having these serious conversations with my dad end up with me hating myself for everything, but if you know me then you know that I never learn from a mistake until I make it at least five times. Anyway, I said that I had at least three different grad school programs that I was interested in, but I couldn’t figure out which one I want to follow through on. Somehow this conversation shifted to my dad telling me that I really need to start working and saving up money now so that when I start grad school I won’t have to take out student loans. Okay, fine, that part is true. He kept going on about how I need to work and how I should work for a year+ before deciding whether I like working or if I want to continue my education. I tried explaining that all of the jobs I would be interested in require education and experience that literally only graduate school can provide. If I want to apply to admissions or general student advising I could benefit from majoring in Higher Education Administration and if I want to apply to student retention advising I would have to do a major that involves me graduate student assistantship teaching for at least one year. I know all of this because I have been carefully researching the majors that I would need to take and the job requirements so that I could tailor my classes to fit some of what I would need. I have been using my computer for serious stuff since graduating my undergraduate semester, which is something my dad doesn’t realize I even do. It’s frustrating enough that today I tried to explain to him how I know all this stuff and he kept telling me to get a job and decide on grad school later.
My dad tried to smooth things over by saying that the only reason he wants me to save money and really think about graduate school is that he wants me to be more financially and responsibility prepared at age 25 than he was around the same age. Yes, I get that. He tells me on a semi-regular basis that I’m still young enough to make better decisions and save myself a waste of time and money in the future. Clearly I am making up for mistakes he made and it doesn’t matter what I want. To be fair, sometimes I probably need a good bop with the reality stick. One day I might appreciate his intentions. What I will never appreciate is that at the very end of our conversation when I was ready to shut down, he said “I’m not telling you that you only do bad things. You also do a bunch of good things.” Oh for the love of dog, now you want to tell me?
I am still seething about this conversation.
Once upon a time I liked winter. When I walked around the crunchy white yard in my puffy snowsuit collecting piles of snow for some sort of throne or toilet I never wanted the season to end. The endless snow days were the thing(s) I lived for. If I could go back in time I would throttle Baby Jessica for her stupdity.
You know what winter means for an adult? Well, I don’t get snow days anymore. Even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them. Winter, snow, and all that nonsense combine to make me little better than the walking dead. It starts with a tickle in my throat, so insignificant that it could well be all in my head. The next day I start spitting out liquid mucus in the bathroom sink. If I’m lucky that’s as bad as it gets. More often than not, I am attacked by a full-blown mucus-filled cough and rough, dry throat. During a good round of this I spend a month+ coughing mucus and hard grainy *something*. During the worst case scenario I vomit up all this gunk. In addition, I am dead tired and can’t function like a normal adult. My body wants to collapse in a pile and it takes near-superhuman strength to keep things together. This is sadly a normal thing for me year-round, but it is particularly bad in winter. Besides my normal never-ending sickness, everyone around me gets sick and spreads it to me, making things even worse.
Maybe you’re thinking “But that’s your sucky (lack of) immune system, not winter.” Yes, I basically get sick if someone says anything I associate with being sick. However, let me tell you something about winter sickness. There is an actual medical definition of winter sickness. Sickologists or whatever they’re called monitor people’s colds and flus during winter because it’s a known thing. Did you know that there’s a separate measurement for vomit season as well? It happens to fall around the winter sickness time, which tells me that winter has strong ties to getting sick and vomiting. My sucky (lack of) immune system doesn’t help me and in fact compounds the problem, but it’s not the only reason I get sick.
To make a long story short, I hate winter because it literally makes me sick.
I hate it when I hadn’t thought of my Never-Was for a full week, not even when I was looking up quotes, and then a particular quote brought it all back. Then again, moving on does not equal forgetting. This above quote is different from other venomous quotes (“venomous” according to me obviously) because it’s genuinely funny rather than mourning or “Poor me! Such a victim!” but I think it hurts the most because it’s so true.
Now that I’ve had longer periods of not thinking about my Never-Was, two things have happened. First, there are times when I’ve lived according to what I want intead of what would impress someone and it’s been freeing. I don’t worry if I’m present at the wrong times because there’s nobody holding expectations over me and I’m not dressing myself according to “What outfit is cute but not suspicious for him and his girl?” When I do think of him, I can easily change gears and think about my next day at work or the next blog I want to write. I’m not saying that he doesn’t come up, but he’s not the first thought on my mind. Second, I’ve noticed that there are these frustrating moments when I wonder what would happen if I had the chance to re-meet him and apologize for going overboard with caring. Stupid what ifs having to ruin a good recovery!
A few evenings ago I searched for quotes on “Just friends” because there’s so many ways those quotes can go. My favorite is one that is an image of a happy couple posing for a picture and the quote is “This could’ve been us but I was the one taking the picture.” There are others that show a guy and girl in intimate positions and the quote is simply “Just friends”. I liked this quote I used in my image the most because it illustrates why “just friends” hurts.
I admit that there was a point when I thought my Never-Was might be the first person I would like as more than a normal friend. While I had no thoughts of a sexual relationship because I am not hardwired for it, I thought he was an impressive person. Ugh, never again! Still, it was a thought I had once upon a time. You can imagine the slap in the face when he made it explicitly clear that we were “just friends”
To use the analogy of the quote I chose, his “just friends” was a lot like getting a box but not a present. The difference is that it was like getting a box after I had given him a present. Now he can get all the presents and boxes he wants from his girl and I will save mine for someone who deserves it!