Saturday, February 23, 2013

"And I Thought I Grew Up Then"

A friend called me broken the other day.

They didn't mean to but the implication was there, just one short skip from words said to words meant.


And you know what? That used to be true. But, like I mentioned back here, I taped myself together. These days, the tape has been replaced with glue. I'm not so much broken anymore.

But since this friend hasn't seen me in person in nearly 300 days and speaks to me these days mostly through text conversations, how are they supposed to know that I'm glued?

When I went back to my dad's during vacations from college, especially that first summer, we fought a lot. Because that's what we were used to doing, how we related to each other. It took my break-up for that to change. My dad's reaction was completely opposite what I expected which completely changed everything for us. Instead of pulling a "I was right", he was there for me entirely and told me how proud he was of me for having the strength to end things and to not fall completely apart and be a total and complete bitch to everyone around me.

In 84 days, I fly stateside. What the hell is going to happen then?

It's been a year. And like this comment from this friend made me realize, even though everyone important back home has seen glimpses of how I've changed on Facebook, on Skype, through this blog, I am no where close to the girl I was when I came here.

My first time in London, I thought I was fairly mature going there. Then I lived for three months without my parents and away from my fiance. I navigated train systems and buses. I lost my debit card and had to solve the problems that presented. I took a trip to a country where I didn't know a soul, spent four days wandering around knowing only the words "Do you speak English?", and made it out not only alive but more confident of myself than ever. The changes that started there made me into a woman. Or so I've said.

I thought I was mature going into my study abroad. Now, I look back and realize how naive I was, how much I've changed since then. I looked back during college and thought, "Well now I'm an adult. I have a house with friends. I cook dinner. We have our own dishes. I make my own schedule, aside from when class times are." I thought I was an adult.

And then I spend a year four thousand miles from home. I manage my own money and deal with the consequences when I fail at it. I take care of children on a regular basis and am responsible for their well-being. Bedtime and waking up falls on my shoulders, not my parents or my roommates. Again, I pay the consequences when I fail at those things. I'm an adult.

But I'm going home soon. And I don't have a job lined up yet. And I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. And how am I going to give up the independence I have here to fit back into my family? How am I going to maintain being a mature, responsible, self-confident, able adult... and live at home?

I don't want to slip into those teenage-d habits from before I came here. I don't want this year of change to be stuffed in the closet until I have my own place. But it's going to be a big adjustment. And I hope I don't have to live at home for long. But I know the realities and the likelihood of me living in my tiny purple bedroom with my stepsister on one side of the wall and my parental units on the other for the next year. Or more. Because of all my priorities, all the places my money is lined up to go, sadly, an apartment is one of the last big things. (Student loans, car, THEN apartment, if you're curious.)

If you're not familiar with the country song "Then" by Brad Paisley, the basic premise of the song is a man singing to his wife about all the times he thought he loved her and how it seemed impossible to love her anymore than he did at that moment. Then a few years later, something new happens, and he loves her even more. He's sure, as he's singing this song, that years from then he'll be able to look back and say, "And I thought I loved you then". He knows his love with grow even more over time and it'll dwarf how he feels now. That's how I feel about being an adult. I thought going to college made me an adult. I thought coming back from London I was an adult. I thought living in a house with friends made me an adult. I thought graduating made me an adult. I thought a year with an ocean between my loved ones and me made me an adult... Looking ahead I'm sure getting my own car, my own apartment, getting married, having a baby...

There will be more milestones. I will grow more and more. I don't know what the future holds and I don't know how I'll change. But I do know I'll look back at this and say, "And I thought I was grown up then."

Friday, February 22, 2013

The first of many, perhaps

I used to have some, shall we say, bad habits? (That's not to say that I have no bad habits anymore. I could do an entire post about my bad habits. In fact, one of these days, I might. Read: next week. That's just to say that this particular bad habit-which again, I'll get into another time-is in my past.)

And one of the things that helped me overcome them before I finally beat this particular habit was something I called "posies". I always pronounce that like the flower but really it's short for "positives" so it should be "pah-zees" not "poh-zees".

Pronunciation based on etymology was not supposed to be the point of this post... (Mary Beth, if you're reading this, I highly doubt you're cheering on my voice. He's kind of missing today I think. Oh voice... Come back...)

So what is the point of this post, you ask? Because rambling for half an hour is probably not it, right?

This post is dedicated to the things that make me feel awesome.

It isn't exhaustive.

But this is both things that make me feel grounded and return to who I really am at my best and things that make me feel kick ass. Without further ado...

I love the way I feel wearing a pair of high heels. Especially with jeans.

Coloring. Yes, coloring.

The way my winter jacket hugs my waist when I tie the sash makes me feel glamourous.

"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" by Kelly Clarkson

The calm that settles over me when I read the Bible or when I journal reminds me of who I can be.

This Five for Fighting Pandora station that I created

Flirting is probably the most amount of fun for the smallest price I've found.


Especially when they have things that you've been craving.

Finding the perfect gift.


Comfort foods (BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn in this case)

Beck's Green Lemon beer

Finding a good movie or TV show to watch (current obsession: Secret Diary of a Call Girl)

Mezzo Mix

Having plans for the week lined up already

Girl's Nights

Going back home, no matter where that is (both Rochester and London in this case)

The fact that I can call London home and mean it

The fact that London being home doesn't diminish the importance of HOME any.

Those are my "posies" for the night. What are some of yours?

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Sweater Metaphor

There's this sweater I have that I love. Or I used to love it. Lately, it seems stretched out, baggy. It's not as sleek as it used to be. I don't feel as attractive in it as I used to.

Once upon a time, I felt confident enough in this sweater that I wore it the night I knew I was getting engaged. I wore the same sweater 11 months later for our engagement pictures. See how happy I look? Well part of that has to do with being ridiculously in love and part of it is that I felt confident.

That sweater? It doesn't fit so well these days. I feel sort of slouchy and not pulled together in it. I wear it only when I'm running out of other clothes. 

So why am I taking the time to write about a sweater? Because I think it's a metaphor. I think there are things in our lives that fit perfectly once. They're just right at that time. But they can shift. And they suddenly don't fit us anymore. That shift can happen without us even noticing. And, like me with this sweater, sometimes we refuse to get rid of it because it used to be perfect.

The night I told my ex I had taken off my ring and that I was willing to let him go, I insisted before we go into Starbucks, before I told him, that he kiss me one more time. After being with him for so long, after loving him so much, I wanted one more kiss. In the words of Ilsa Lund, "Kiss me as if it were the last time". (Newsflash: that kiss? Saddest thing ever. Yes I got my last kiss from him. But tears were streaming down my face. I knew he didn't want to be kissing me. He didn't love me anymore and it was the most soulless kiss I've ever experienced.) As we walked inside, I grabbed his hand like I'd done a million times. I held the hand of the man I loved desperately. One. Last. Time. And do you know what?

It didn't fit.

His hand, which once felt like it was made for mine, didn't fit anymore. I don't know when that changed or how long I clung to the idea that his hand filled the spaces mine left like none other would. But it changed. His hand felt awkward in mine. It felt strange. It did not belong there. I thank G-d for that. Those last moments, that horrible last kiss, the walk from the car inside holding a hand that didn't fit anymore are awful memories. They hurt even now to think of them. (It's been over 14 and a half months since then and I'm still on the verge of tears over these memories.) But remembering how we didn't fit anymore, how the spaces my body leaves are not designed for that man anymore, it reassures me that I did the right thing.

It's so easy to remember the nights our bodies curved together perfectly. To miss the times he held me and my head fit perfectly in "the nook". (For those people who have never watched Sex and the City, "the nook" is that space between a guy's neck/shoulder/chest. That's where my head goes when I sleep-and I mean REM cycles here-with a guy.) This time of year, with Valentine's Day just behind me and my birthday just around the corner, it's really easy to miss having someone special to celebrate with. It's moments like this morning though, when I realize the significance of a stretched out sweater, that remind me why I'm single.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One Word: Seek

I decided against a traditional resolution this year. I have monthly goals and a word that encompasses my hopes for the year. My word is Seek. I'm seeking G-d. Daily. I'm seeking His Will for my life. I'm seeking my path, my next job. I'm praying for my romantic life and that I might see the next step. No matter who it's with. My goal for January was to read the Bible every day. I missed a few days but have been much more consistent than before. This month for February, my goal is to drink 3 bottles of water a day. Other goals include exercise, reducing technology use, etc.

(Made by Melanie at Only A Breath)

So how am I seeking? I'm working my way through Isaiah right now through a YouVersion reading plan since the first of the month with some girls from my lifegroup. I've also been trying to read a Psalm a day. And I've been journalling a bunch. Okay I've journalled 26 pages since the beginning of the year. And it's not difficult for me to write 5 at a time. (I've also realized my journals in the future will be spiral bound. I can't do this book binding style when I get more than halfway in.)

I've been doing a bunch of job searching lately. (Another form of "seek"-ing.) And there are days when it really bugs me. I hate doing it. I don't want to stay here forever. I'm homesick. But I don't want to be doing this job search thing. I feel underqualified for a lot of jobs. My college jobs were in the food service industry. And most of my job working with kids was informal. I've watched my little sister since she was born. I took care of my three month old cousin for a few hours when I was eight years old. On my week of vacation, I stole my five month old niece and took care of her whenever I could. (And the smiles I got out of that baby are priceless. This chick here is one very proud aunt with one adorable niece.) But those aren't things I can put on my resume. My babysitting jobs tended to be one off's. I don't have many references. This year as an au pair and the two summers I took care of a girl in the next town who has autism are my best things. I am capable. I am intelligent. I love to learn and I can do it quickly. But I need someone willing to teach me.

So do you have a word for the year? Do you have a resolution? And have you stuck to it so far? It's only been 41 days afterall.