Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Smaller Things In Life (or how I outsmarted the universe, and how it got me back)

I have, for the majority of my life, been known as a variety of things. Looking back, I’ve started to notice a pattern:

-Perfectionist

-Stress-wad

-Uptight

-Anxious

-Twitchy…

My College House Shirt. “Twitch?” Yep, that’s my nickname.

…you see my point. In fact, my fourth grade teacher gave me the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” for an end-of-the-year gift. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an insane stress-case who doesn’t know how to loosen up and have a good time- I just save my stressing for afterwards in situations like that.

I have never been good at letting things go, putting things out of my mind, or redirecting my thoughts when they are hell-bent on worrying about how I’ll be able to [fill in the blank here with problem that is at least three years away]. I’ve never had the ability to change that. Then, this past weekend, the universe stepped in and made it abundantly clear that I must, must, change my ways.

1. Saturday morning, I awake at 7:00 AM, on my day off, to go to breakfast with my sister and her friend. And, due to a series of random and unfortunate events, end up paying. This is fine, I don’t mind footing the bill at all. A minor thing, truly.

2. Go downstairs to take care of my 16-year old cat, who has decided to mark, vomit, or otherwise make himself known on every inch of my basement floor during the night. Surrender myself to an hour of clean-up. Psh, oh well. You can’t really blame the cat. I mean he’s sixteen years old. The fact that he’s still traversing this earth should be enough.

3. Decide to clean my car out. Finally. Start sorting through all of the random junk, and find the Valentine’s Day CD I made for my ex (Don’t judge me. It’s a thoughtful, budget-friendly gift. And it has awesome music on it.) Ooookay then. It’s fine. Everything is fine. So-ho-hooo over that, anyway. The sun is shining, I’m alive, and I just found a really good mix CD.

4. Get asked out via text message by a close friend. Have to kindly decline. There is no silver lining to that one- now I just feel like an asshole.

5. After insisting that I wash my car myself (instead of taking it to the $5 car wash down the street, as my parents suggested to me. All afternoon.), and spending the better part of the afternoon making it shine, a random and overpowering gust of wind suddenly rises out of fucking nowhere and blows pine needles and other debris all over my still-wet, white car. It sticks. Well, i mean, gotta laugh at that, right? What a horrible, heinous, hilarious coincidence…right? RIGHT?!

6. Decide to make mac & cheese for dinner (I mean, I am trying to eat healthier these days). Finish the pasta and realize that there is no milk in the house.

Now, here is the point where my entire day comes crashing down on my head. All of the tiny, small annoyances begin to add up, swirling about in my brain until I begin sobbing over my plain, just-cooked and quickly drying-out noodles, begging the universe to explain to me what in the hell the lesson is, so I can just learn it already and go about with my life! Okay, not one of my more glamourous moments, I admit. But as I walked to the corner store on my street, racking my brain for what I was missing from all of this (because there had to be some sort of lesson), I remembered that gift from my 4th grade teacher. And I realized that all day, I had been letting all of these little, insignificant annoyances kill my mood. I had let these fleeting moments of anger or sadness or stress affect the rest of my day. And that was really…well…stupid. And I started to laugh. Right there, on the sidewalk. Full blown, maniacal belly-laughter. And I got honked at. A few times. But I didn’t care! Because I had unraveled the mysteries of the universe. I once again had control of my destiny. I was the master of my own life.

And, later, as I ate my mac & cheese, still feeling smug about the whole outsmarting the universe thing, I lost on a scratch ticket. Well…can’t win them all, right? RIGHT?!

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Dear [insert name here],

I have a folder on my computer named “Letters.” It’s been on my desktop for about three months now. It’s become this strange sort of diary that I’ve ending up writing in whenever I became overwhelmed by what I call “the big split.”   You see, I have found that whenever I have something to say to someone that I’m not quite ready to/cannot/will not say to them, I write them a letter. It gets it out of my head, moves it onto somewhere I can just leave it for a while. (I highly suggest this, especially if you’re an over-thinker like I am. Many a 4 am letter has been written, believe you me.) Anyway, there’s been a lot of times in this split where I’ve wanted to call my ex, but due to a combination of intelligence, friends, and an all-women’s college background, I resisted. (Thank you, feminist professors.) Instead, I wrote him letters. And now, well… now I think it’s time to let them go.

Yes, we’ve all been there. That strange moment where you realize that the person who once took up a ton of space in your world was A) far from perfect and B), more importantly, is no longer worth the time or amount of space he’s been occupying. And, quite honestly, it’s about time I got there.

Something clicked for me tonight.

I was hanging out at my sister and brother-in-law’s apartment, just watching a movie and drinking some wine. It’s no secret that I’ve had my reservations about the two of them since they announced their engagement. They’re too young, they bicker, they got engaged so quickly, etc, etc. But watching them tonight, I felt how invested they were in each other, how accepting, how entirely present they were. It was like an electric shock.

I drove home and pulled up the letters file, looked at the discoveries, admissions, laments, and just plain bullshit that I had written in the past few months. I looked at the amount of time I had spent trying to sort through the confusing mess that was the past three years of my life, and I finally exhaled. Three years of holding my breath.

So, I guess this sort of counts as my last letter.

I’ll end it with this:

Thank you. Be well.

K.

Dead Like George.

Have you ever seen the fantastic show, “Dead Like Me” ? It follows Georgia “George” Lass, a 20-something college drop-out who dies suddenly (killed by an airborne toilet. Yup.) After she dies, she is recruited to become a Grim Reaper, one of many. In this particular version of the legend, Grim Reapers still have all of the responsibilities of the living, they just have a second, unpaid and unchosen job. The show’s been off the air for a few years, but is free on Hulu if I’ve peaked your interest. (Meaning- Go. Now. Watch the first two episodes. Get addicted. Stop sleeping until you’ve finished the entire series. I mean, it was only on for a couple seasons, and you can function on much less than 8 hours of sleep. You have no excuse.)

Anyway, Georgie’s day job is at a temp agency, where she is a file clerk. And after about a week of my own temping, I have to say this show gets it. Right on the nose. My trainer, much like Mrs. Herbig, is overly nice, and loves to make my duties seem much more dire than they actually are (although I am funding people’s retail and lease contracts for their cars, so I guess it’s a little important. But still, the world will not end.) The job is just as dull and full of sifting through mountains of paper as Georgie’s own, and it definitely makes me wish I had a side job as a kick-ass Grim Reaper. At least it would spice things up (and my blog would be so much more exciting).

Although I will say I’ve begun to fall into a comfortable sort of schedule for my workday, complete with break buddies (mainly Temp Guy. Fifteen minutes of making each other crack up in the break room? I’ll take it.), a lunch group (hah. I’m back in high school. But these girls are hilarious.), and a 3 pm realization that there’s still two hours to go, quickly followed by a silent but emphatic plea to the universe to free me from this paper prison. Finally, I’ve gotten the nickname “Team Awesome, Member #1” to stick (I don’t understand it either, but check that off the bucket list), and I have the best cubicle neighbors a girl could ask for.

Along with this happy little bubble of conformity and complacency, there is this need to not lose sight of why I’m working in the first place. Luckily, I haven’t gone so far down the rabbit hole that I am forgetting. Yet. I still smile like a drunkard when I think about NYC, and I can still feel the purpose behind the drive that makes me get up and go to work every morning-the promise that it’ll all be worth it in a few months. Because, after all, George Lass and I do have one pretty important thing separating us-I’ve managed to avoid free-falling plumbing…

…for now.

The Ever-Glowing, Deadly Dull, Temp Agency Turned Dating Service

There are so many guys here. Yes, this is my first thought as I enter the building where I will be working for the next two months. (Hey. Don’t judge me.  That is exactly what any single, twenty-something girl who hasn’t been on a good date in a while would think when faced with the sheer number of attractive men in one place that I, myself, faced upon entering that prison…I mean fine place of business.) That, and what the hell did I get myself into?

Working at a financial corporation was not something I ever saw in my future, but there I was, sitting in a conference room with two other newly graduated employees, waiting to learn exactly what we were going to be asked to do.

Which brings me to my new friend. We’ll call him temp guy. He graduated with an English degree, can recite Shakespearean sonnets on command, and sky-dives on the weekends for fun. Oh, and he has a fondness for Spongebob Squarepants ice cream pops. Temp guy and I have been hanging out since training started at the beginning of this week, and the more I get to know him, the more intrigued I become. He is insanely good at brain teasers, can make me laugh in .2 seconds, and somehow has the built-in ability to follow my circular speaking patterns with ease. And did I mention he’s got killer eyes and this really dazzling smile that crops up whenever he sees me (quickly matched by my own..)? uh oh…

Yesterday was free jeans/free ice cream truck day at work. (I think they have to bribe their employees to stay. The job is insanely dull. I can literally feel any creative spark or will to live I ever housed within me seeping out of my fingertips and into the computer at my desk. I think that’s how they can afford to have so many lights on. God-awful florescent lights.) This means that we were able to wear jeans without having to pay for the privilege, and an ice cream truck would be parked outside of our building, serving up free ice cream for two hours. I won’t go into how much of a poor choice this is for a company in which most of its’ employees are already forced to live sedentary lifestyles due to the nature of their work, mostly because I am still excited that I got free ice cream.

I was outside, weighing my free ice cream options, when I heard a teasing voice from behind me. “Still deciding?” I turned around to find temp guy, proudly wearing his free jeans and smirking at me. “Hey, it’s a big choice. I don’t want to get the spiderman pop only to realize that I wanted the ice cream sandwich.”

Temp guy chuckled as he confidently went up the window, and returned seconds later with a Spongebob Squarepants pop. “I always get these. Ever since I was a kid.” He was smiling so freely, and standing so contentedly on the sidewalk with his pop that I couldn’t help smiling. This is going to be one interesting summer.

The End of an Era…and the Beginning of a Dramatic Eulogy.

I’m a talker. I love to talk. I enjoy talking. I like it so much that sometimes, when I’m alone, I say my thoughts aloud. I’ve dealt with this my whole life-from the first time I had to write my name on Mrs. Stolgitis’ blackboard in first grade for talking during class until now. I choose to confidently blame this on my Italian heritage (although I probably get it from my mom, who talks more than I do and is, in fact, French).

Regardless of why I talk so much, the fact of the matter is this: all of that talking has finally caught up to me. I’ve noticed over the past year that if I talk as much as I am used to, my voice gets insanely tired. Very quickly. This has become a problem, as I’m an actor. And a singer. Both of these things require quite a lot of my favorite pastime. And to preserve this future, I have been forced into a false, taciturn existence.  My silver tongue has been silenced, after 20+ years. Lovers of quiet, rejoice.

This might sound a tad dramatic (something I also have a knack for), especially for those of you who have an aptitude for silence. (And if any of you reading this fall into that category, please– Share your secret.) For me, it’s sort of like having my right hand chopped off: I can still write and type and brush my teeth using my left hand, but it’s gonna take a lot longer and not turn out as nicely.

So, as I continue the search for ways to get my voice in shape, I will suffer through hours of silence. I will think my thoughts, instead of say them. I will listen to others spin their stories, and offer no complementary tale. I will- okay, this is actually getting too dramatic for even me.

I will shut up for a while. And maybe do some yoga? That seems to jive well with silence. Any other ideas on things to do while being forced to stay silent?