Black Cloud

2 Aug

I’ve been sleeping a lot.

I know – you thought I was off, maybe jet setting somewhere glamorous and totally awesome. But I’m not. I’m sleeping. You can dial down your jealousy now. (Don’t burst my bubble and tell me you just thought I was off watching Friends marathons and eating Doritos. Which would be true. You know me well.)

I come home. I eat a snack. I play with the dogs. Then I pretend I’ve accidentally fallen asleep until Husband gets home, but really it was my plan all along. Then I eat dinner and I go back to bed and I wake up for work too late to do anything with myself – not that I’ve bothered doing anything with myself for some time. Then I exist at work and count down the hours until I can hide with a puppy under my covers again.

Other than some general discontent with my job, I can’t even exactly tell you what’s wrong. And even the job stuff isn’t that bad, because I have a job, and mama knows it could be worse, child. Mama knows.

It’s just been one long stretch of time where I feel like the universe is moving against me in small ways, ways possibly only noticeable to me. You know how it goes. The ten thousand little things that go wrong, that you know are just random but you can’t shake the idea that maybe you’re being punished for something you don’t remember doing. Being personally attacked for wrongs in a past life.

I slept through my alarm this morning.

I picked up my coffee before screwing the lid on, and I spilled it all over my kitchen.

I’d been avoiding Olympic women’s gymnastics spoilers all day, only to have a coworker shout the gold-medal winner to another coworker. Literally no one has said anything about the Olympics the entire time it’s been on until this one thing I was waiting for.

I got stuck at work late and had to run, literally run, to catch my train on time.

I know I’m prone to catastrophe and why-me-ing, darkness and pessimism. I can see ill will in every benign action. I can turn a small blip into an anxious nightmare. However, I have gotten pretty good at handling myself over the years. Developing ways to deal with the crazy. So, since I was by a window on the train, I tried to calm myself down by sort of meditating on the train tracks running parallel. Something to focus on that was a consistent movement. Something to shut my mind down and slow my heart rate. And for no reason whatsoever, we switched to the other train tracks, so they were no longer on my side.

Small things pile up, each stupid burden adding pounds of woe until you find yourself crying in the kitchen because the butter to make your chocolate chip cookies isn’t soft enough yet, like, my God, will you ever catch a break. And then you hate yourself, because are you really crying about cookies? And all you want to do is say fuck the cookies and take the bag of chocolate chips under the covers with the puppy. But you don’t.

You wait for the butter and you make the stupid cookies because eventually you have to pull yourself out of it.

And cookies really help with that.

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“I’m hopeless and awkward and desperate for love”

23 Jul

I’m starting to feel… isolated. A touch lonely, maybe? I need to make some friends here, but it’s really frustrating how awkward and difficult it is to make friends past the age of 13.

There’s probably a reason most of the friends I have are from middle or high school. I’m just not sure how people get to know people outside of school settings. I made friends at my old office by tagging along on happy hours, but I never saw those people outside of work or happy hours. So, work friends. In my new office, there are far fewer people. And they all seem pretty compartmentalized. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone being friends with anyone.

I have two sister-in-laws here, who are both fun people. One has two kids, one sort of intimidates me. None of us are on the level where I would dial one of them up to head to the mall. Possibly only because I am so awkward that I can’t imagine calling anyone up to hang out other than friends who I’ve known nearly 15 years. What do you say? It feels like asking them out on a date. I don’t handle rejection well. Ask anyone who knew me from 8th through 10th grade.

It’s part over-thinking it, part shyness, and part just knowing that I am a semi-offensive personality and easily come off wrong to a lot of people. I make fun of everything, and I have a wicked mean sense of humor. Lots of people don’t “get me,” which is fine, because I’ve tried stamping down that part of my personality and it only leaves me with a bunch of people I don’t want to hang out with because I feel fake and it’s exhausting being around them.

I run into the same girl on the train nearly every day, she gets off and on the same stops I do. She dresses cute, we have a few friendly words. I’ve become so desperate for human interaction I actually thought about trying to strike up purposeful conversations/a friendship with her. Probably she’d think I was hitting on her. Which is why I won’t be doing that any time soon.

Chatting up the girl on the train clearly isn’t the way to friendship (more like the way to a restraining order), but what is?

*Bonus points to whoever can tell me where the quote for the title to this post comes from.

Performance Anxiety

11 Jul

I come to my computer with the best intentions. I don’t need to check Facebook, I know I have no email. I’m up to date on any news story that happened in the past day. I am here for a purpose, on a mission. Job search. Write cover letters. Apply. Find the next step. I bring up the web browser and all of a sudden two hours have passed and I don’t have anything to show for it except a greater knowledge of Scientology or great white sharks or cattle farming. Whatever topic I’ve managed to stumble across and distract myself with.

When I graduated, I put in over 150 applications for employment. That led to two interviews, which led to my one job. All in all, I was unemployed for four months. I know this isn’t a lot, and that some people go through a lot worse. This was a dark time for me, however. I felt so useless. They could have used me in commercials for antidepressants for how typical it all was.

I’m afraid of revisiting those feelings of uselessness and rejection, though the circumstances are different. I’m not unemployed, so I can do the whole thing at a slower pace. I can only apply for things I’m interested in, as opposed to the madcap scatter of applying to anything that remotely sounded in any way like a job I could do that was hiring. People don’t have to know about it so they won’t be asking me about my progress, forcing me to say something vague about the job market and change the subject.

Conversely, though, there’s no pressure, no impending sense of doom and destruction if I don’t get a new position. And with no external motivation, I’m unsure if my internal motivation is up to snuff. It’s just so much more comfortable to pull the blanket over my head and tell myself I’ll try again tomorrow.

Adventures in Floor Tile Gazing

9 Jul

One of the best things about being a kid, to me, was you could say anything, absolutely anything – no matter how ridiculous – and people just passed it off as you bring a kid. If I were seven I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you this, but because I’m 27 I fear a little judgement.

Our computers went down at work today, and because I can do anything without the computer, and because the thing I am worst in the world at is sitting quietly, I wandered around. The office isn’t that big, so I spent a fair amount of my time in the bathroom, futzing in the mirror, hair, makeup, whatever. And like the game where you look for shapes in the clouds, I began to see shapes in the floor tiles. I have illustrated them in case you don’t have as much imagination (read: are as drunk as) me.

This one looks like a girl with some super curly hair. I picture her as a redhead.

I know, I know. My art skillz. They astound you. I am available for hire to find the fine art in the bathroom tiles in your life, as well.

This one looks like a bear, perhaps wearing a hat, resting comfortable in the woods.

Picture his arms behind his head, all kicked back and possibly napping. You can also picture him in whatever color shirt you prefer in a bear. That’s why I didn’t color in a shirt. (Though I would have chosen yellow, because he looks like a happy bear.)

Or , the same tile could be our saucy redheaded friend making out with her beau.

I imagine him as a brunette, probably a skateboarder even though that’s cool in no way anymore. He never makes fun of her for being a soulless ginger (to her face) though, that’s why she forgives him being stuck in the 90s.

This is Italy.

Or maybe Italy if I tried to draw Europe from memory and got it all wrong.

That’s when I realized that most of the tiles were the same exact pattern, and I was just looking at them from different angles. So, I went back to banging my head on sitting quietly at my desk.

And no, I could not find any patterns in the carpet in my office. Bummer.

Cal is a boy’s name, anyway.

2 Jul

There’s a woman at work. She’s a nick-namer. Kimberly is Kimmie, Joseph is Joey, though I’ve never heard these people introduce themselves as one of the short versions of their names. The other day, she called me… Cal.

And I… I answered.

And now I’m doomed.

I had to answer, because she was asking a question and it was oh so apparent she was talking to me. Also, when people get my name wrong, I’ve never been sure how to correct them. If I let it go, the pronunciation becomes entrenched and it’s too awkward to change later. If I correct them, it seems like they over-pronounce, make it fancy, like I’ve done something hoity by having a way to say my name. (This is more of a problem with my last name, because it’s pretty hard to pronounce Cally any way other than how it should be.)

I don’t know what these name-choppers are thinking.

I knew a girl in high school who was a name-extender. A rarer problem, sure, but a problem nonetheless. You thought you were Chris? No, you were Christopher. Often, she didn’t say my name- I think it’s because she couldn’t make it any longer than it was. It’s the same side of the coin, though, because in both cases you’re just ignoring what I have told you I should be called. To me, it smacks of arrogance, that you know what’s better for me than I do. That you’re going to stomp on my wishes and change my name, one of the very essences of my identity, to suit your preferences. You override me.

Am I blowing it all out of proportion? I don’t know. I don’t think so. If I told you my name was Cally and you decided to call me Jerk Face, then I’d be perfectly allowed to have an issue. I see this as almost the same. It’s a subtle dig, like a back-handed compliment.

What I do know, is I’d rather chew on rocks than have anyone ever call me Cal every again.

Ah, irony. My good friend. Welcome back.

29 Jun

I know ten minutes isn’t a lot of time, but when you’re waiting for your ride (train) home, in 95 degree heat and no shade, it seems like an eternity. I’m so easily bored. I take out my phone, realize there’s nothing there. Put it back in my purse. Shuffle my feet. Take out my phone. Put it back. Pace. Try to people watch without letting people know I’m people watching. Fantasize about the car I’d buy when I win the lottery so I don’t have to take the stupid train anymore.

Realize it’s only been two minutes. Repeat, ad nauseam.

Yesterday, because of all the rain, the train platform was crawling with worms. I think they were worms? They seem a little more… prehistoric and sturdy than the earth worms I’m used to, but “worm” is the word that comes to mind when I look at them. So I was watching them, because what else did I have to do. Making their way across the platform, avoiding people’s legs, twisting and turning through the obstacles. I was watching one in particular when I noticed a woman on a phone shuffling back and forth, not paying attention. About to step on the worm I was watching.

I had a second or two to think about it. I really thought I was going to warn her, but I didn’t want to come off as a nutterbutter and then have to listen to her tell whoever she was on the phone with about the tree-hugging worm-loving hippie. I didn’t act, and she stepped on it. I was instantly upset I didn’t do anything to prevent this massacre. If I said something though, and she reacted poorly, what would I do? What if I told her and she was the super cruel type and stepped on it anyway? I might cry.

What would I do if someone had warned me I was about to step on a worm? I think I would thank them. But I also thinkĀ  I’m a smidgen crazy, and my reactions are not exactly the best to gauge what normal society will do in a situation.

As I was contemplating the possible actions and reactions, I felt something crunch under my foot.

I think I’m pretty much never going to get over the guilt, with the blood of two of them on my hands.

The ties that bind

27 Jun

We recently bought our plane tickets to go home to Michigan in October. Mostly for a friend’s wedding, but also to visit family and friends. I’m looking forward to our visit because I’m missing everyone like crazy recently, with one exception.

My mother.

I don’t even think I want to tell her I’m going to be in town.

I don’t know if this is possible? Our last meeting wasn’t a total disaster, but it also wasn’t a resounding vote for a repaired mother-daughter relationship either. Our contact since then has consisted of her writing “happy birthday” on my wall on Facebook. I said thank you. Two months and one Facebook wall post. Prior to their separation (I can’t even call it a divorce, because it’s not and I almost think it never will be) we’d talk two to three times a week. I just don’t want to bother with her right now.

Can I do that? Can I slip in, visit everyone else, pretend she doesn’t exist? I feel like no. I feel it’s fundamentally wrong. Conversely, though, should I have to go out of my way to try to include someone who’s shown time and time again they’re not interested? I have less than a week on this trip, and really less than half a week because we have to split between my and Husband’s hometowns. Is it really fair to me to have to section of a part of my time home to be miserable, when I could be spending more time with my father or friends?

I’m just so exhausted with the whole situation. It was hard enough for us to relate when things were well, now I find it harder and harder to forge a connection when I feel like I’m being thrown away at every turn. Maybe I would be more likely to include her if I had any indication that our situation, that the way things are between us now passed through her mind at all? I’m spinning my wheels on it on a near daily basis, and I have a sneaking suspicion the same can’t be said about her.

At this point, I think if I hear from her, I’ll tell her. If I don’t…. then I don’t.

At least it’s a decision and I can remove the idea from my mind for now. October is pretty far away, anyway.