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I don't know which way to go. Any advice?

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Some days I sit and wish I was a kid again

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It’s Thursday night, and I’m drinking an absolutely not-classy large pour of wine with a plump golden retriever at my feet gnawing on a bone while watching the The Babysitters’ Club. In other words, I’m housesitting (dogsitting) and therefore I have access to channels like Encore WAM, which apparently plays the 80s and 90s flicks that no one ever thinks about anymore (Mannequin is on next).

The funny thing about watching these movies (the ones that shaped my childhood and adolescence, which is no exaggeration)  is that I always expect them to disappoint me, and instead I end up loving them all over again. 

The other day I told Mike that I wished I was the age I am now back in the 80’s. And while it’s easy to say I’m doing what every generation does — glamorizing the “good ‘ol days”  — I think it’s that I’m starting to realize just how much more suited I am for life 20 years ago than life today.

This is the era of extroverts, ‘winners’, and being as similar to everyone else as possible. Cool is cool. Back in my day (joking, but really), uncool was cool. It was the age of the underdog. Think: Clarissa Explains it All, Goonies, My Girl, Karate Kid, The Sandlot, My So-Called Life, Sixteen Candles, Flight of the Navigator. I could go on. Watch these again – they’re even better than you remember them. The weird kids were cool, and they were nice, too. Nice! Remember when nice was cool?!? And in the end, they always banded together to fight some greater evil (grown ups!), instead of, you know, each other. And if you’re friends with anyone on Facebook under the age of 20, then you know Mean Girls isn’t just a movie (and ‘slut’ is a compliment).  

And don’t even get me started on technology. I’ll take Tron, the original, over texting any day.

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Written by ditheringmiss

June 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Life, Thoughts

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Oh, the Whismy

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Coinciding rather aptly with the release of Tim Burton’s version, I just read Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland  for school. The book is even more insane than Disney’s animated movie — the version that I grew up on — but awe-inspriring imagery aside, I found myself increasingly annoyed with Alice.  I’m sure it has much to do with my adult perspective — though I don’t remember thinking Alice was all that great when I as a child either, not in the way I related to Ariel of The Little Mermaid who actually had to make hard decisions* — but in reading, Alice struck me as pretty dim. Of course, Alice is a child, and she’s supposed to be naive and trusting and accepting and confused all at once, which is why I am so concerned that so many women seem to worship her. 

Alice is a child; if she weren’t a child, she’d be an idiot. So why oh why are grown women so enchanted by her?  The desire for fantasy, to be able to traipse, or at least dream so, through a wonderland where cats smile wildly and decks of card play croquet with flamingo mallets, I get. It’s the obsession with being the naive, whimsical, girl-woman, I can’t grasp. And I’m sick of it. I am tired of grown women being showcased and marketing themselves as lithe fairies with nothing to impart on the world but a sense of wonder and sweet giggles.

Take Garden State. In college this was one of my favorites — I actually own the DVD — but Natalie Portman’s character is just ridiculous. She’s just so darn interesting and crazy, but in a totally innocent way. Her flaws are so sickeningly sweet, she might as well be perfect. Except, you know, she’s not (if you count an unhealthy obsession with hamsters), which somehow makes her even more endearing. She never gets angry or irrational; she only gets sad and thoughtful. She collects tears in Dixie cups and perpetually lies, but for some reason, that’s cute, too. She’s just so damn adorable.

There is no grown woman that I know like this. Thank god.

Real women are complex. They live in the real world, which like Alice’s wonderland is filled with inexplicable characters and moments, yet unlike wonderland, the strangeness of real-life requires rational thought and a range of emotional responses, some of which are pretty ugly.  There are very few actual princesses. For the rest of us, it’s our imperfections that make us extraordinary, so can we stop pretending that they don’t exist now?

 Even Alice (whom Carroll based on the daughter of a neighbor with the same name) grew into an adult woman with adult problems.

*At six years old I cried my way through the end of that particular Disney movie because I was so disappointed that Ariel chose the Prince over her dad and her sea friends. Later, when I read the Hans Christian Andersen version, I felt secretly satisfied that she turned into sea foam.

Written by ditheringmiss

February 12, 2010 at 1:36 pm

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Caution: Unstable Moods Ahead

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Oh dear. I think the instability of my current circumstances may be rubbing off on my emotions.  

Exhibit a. Tuesday I woke up with what’ll I’ll gently call an “easily-irked disposition.” It was one of those moods when pretty much no matter what anyone says you’ll find it offensive, irritating or just down-right dull. Mike might say, “You look pretty today.” And I’ll think, “What’s that supposed to mean?” (The key is to think it, not say it. Saying things like that leads to arguments — the kind that go no where fast.)

Thankfully, I was alone in the apartment all day so most of my frustration was directed at inanimate objects. Until my mom called and asked me about my weekend. Then I was reminded of the Saturday night meal with my dad and my step-mom, in which she continuously went on about how my younger sister “is a real writer, and she reads all the time; isn’t that special?”  Gee, that is. And it reminds me of someone. Oh yea, ME. Do you even remember me as a child, Step-mom?!? And by the way, do you get that I’m actually in school for writing? DO EITHER OF YOU EVEN KNOW ME AT ALL?

My poor Mom took the brunt of the tirade, but she was a real trooper and said something nice like, “It sounds like you’re having a hard time dealing with the world today.” Too true.

Exhibit b. On Wednesday I wrote a thousand words, and I worked, and I ran errands, and I was given some very kind words from one of the people I work with, and I went for a lovely night run with a good friend, and the world was my oyster.

Exhibit c.  Today I woke up at 9:30 am and considered staying awake. Oh look, it’s raining, I thought. I can sit in the window and read. But the bed beckoned. Look how snuggly and warm I am, it said. So I climbed back into bed and slept until the embarrassingly late hour of noon, and now I’m considering a cat nap for good measure. I feel a little guilty, but not particularly sad. Maybe even content? But also still guilty, and lazy, too.

Who can say what tomorrow will bring?  Here’s hoping for a little peace of mind.

Written by ditheringmiss

February 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Posted in Life, Me, Thoughts

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How to be a stay-at-home girlfriend

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The past week has brought on a shift in mine and Mike’s relationship. This is how the last three years have gone down:

We both had jobs.

He became a stay-at-home boyfriend, while I continued working.

We both entered the dismal world of unemployment.

I got a contract job; he went back to being the stay-at-home boyfriend.

He’s working, and I am now (*shudder*) a stay-at-home girlfriend.

I know that there is at least one person reading this who’s thinking, “Gee, that actually sounds nice.” But the thing about being the one at home while your other half is out in the world is that a. you are bored and b. you are expected to do stuff, like domestic stuff.

Let’s look at this a bit more closely: One might suppose that if you’re bored, the natural thing would be to keep yourself busy with said “domestic stuff.”  It’s completely logical. Only it doesn’t work that way (at least not for me). Instead, you consciously avoid cleaning, cooking, errands, and then, then the guilt sets in. Now you’re not only bored, you’re lazy and guilt-ridden. And it’s really dawning on you why your parents always told you how important it is to establish your independence, particularly as a woman.  And you’re thinking that you never thought you’d be here at 26, but you’re like, “Where did I think I’d be?” And the truth is you have no idea, because you never really thought this far ahead. And then you might, if you’re in a particularly sad mood, start wondering if you’ll ever be able to get married or have children, because right now it doesn’t seem like your life will ever provide you with the stability, financial or otherwise, to make either of those things logistically possible.

It’s a classic case of the I-Suck-Spiral .

Only this particular spiral is a tad schizophrenic, because in the next minute you decide to blast your iTunes and have a solo dance party in your living room just because you can. And you think, I am alive.  And you think, what does stability provide me anyways? A false sense of security? And you’re reminded of the Madeline L’Engle quote you heard last night:

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability . . . To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

So maybe you already are the grown up you’re simultaneously terrified of becoming and not becoming. And maybe you need to get off your ass, get dressed and go through the motions of living until you get it down. And while you’re at it, try forgiving yourself because at least you are aspiring, which is more than you can say for most people, and remind yourself that you are loved. You are lucky.

There is still hope for you, yet.

Written by ditheringmiss

January 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm

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A year ago at this time things did not seem so good. Any illusions I’d had of having my life together had completely vanished. I  made a vow to myself then that if things weren’t different in a year I would do something drastic. But then a month went by and two and three and now it’s a year later and it seems nothing has changed. But of course, something has because I feel different, completely so and not different at all, too.

Sometimes I feel like every door has been slammed shut in my face, while others seem to find endless doors to walk through. Wide-open windows they jump through without looking, only they don’t fall. They fly. I see them from my spot on the ground, where there are only windows you can’t open and doors with great big dead bolts.

Sometimes I find a crack in the door. If I take a chisel and hammer to it I can bust it open, make a hole just wide enough to look through, to see what’s on the other side. It’s the best view I could ask for, even if it is only a view.

And sometimes, when the air is just so, and the right song is playing, and my chest feels full in a way I can’t put into words, I feel like the luckiest person I know. And that’s why I won’t be any making drastic changes this year–life makes enough of those without my help anyways.

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living ev’ry day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

from Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now

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Written by ditheringmiss

December 10, 2009 at 6:00 am

My life as of late

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I’ve been a bad, bad blogger.  My excuses are only the usuals, and do they matter, really?

For a brief period I was (shamefully) thinking of throwing in the towel — Is that the right saying? I never know — but then my pal Heather convinced me that instead of giving up, I should throw myself back in completely and totally. Together we’ll be blogging for the “25 days of Christmas,” kind of like a blogging advent calendar, though I can’t promise all or even most of my posts will have anything to do with the holidays.

The goal is just to get writing again. (My life story!!)

A short recap so we’re all on the same page:

Internship, school, reading, book club, Mike’s blog, cleaning, car problems, ants, puppy daydreams . . .

And everything in between.

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Written by ditheringmiss

November 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Metaphorically speaking . . .

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I took a stumble today. It seems to always happen just after I find my footing. I send my mom an email on Friday gloating about the happies of my little life, only to follow it up with a teary phone call on Sunday.

Me: Why does the world hate me so?

Mom: It’s nothing personal.

Me: So it does hate me?!?

This time it was about my car (if it’s not employment related, it’s the car, always). The long and short: I was towed. If you live in San Francisco with a car, then you know the terror that is getting towed. Not only is the fine obscene — you have to pay for both the ticket and a towing fee that at a minimum is probably around $400 — but the entire process is a total bitch. This lovely city is not known for her convenience.

Anyways, the whole thing was made more terrible by the fact that I knew it was coming. I woke up this morning with a feeling of utter dread, which always means something not-good is lurking. Sure enough, the car. Gone. I’d already been moping around and tearing up during a Fox Family showing of When Harry Met Sally, so when my mood was realized with the absence of the car, I sort of had a freak out moment. Mostly I cried; there were also expletives. And I may have said some ugly things about the Avon Walk for Life ladies whose event had led to the towing. Then I proceeded to feel sorry for myself. Hence, the phone call with my mom.

She says, you’ve had a bad run of things. But it’s the kind of stuff that goes in the “nuisance” category. No illnesses, deaths, major losses. Nothing you can’t recover from.

Nothing I can’t recover from.

It’s true. But that’s just it. I feel like I’ve been recovering. I’ve been shut down. I’ve had to reboot. And now . . . I’m at the point where you hear the machine whirring, but the screen’s blank, and it’s been blank just long enough that you’re not sure if your desktop will ever appear. And you’re wondering, did I lose everything? Why didn’t I backup?

Written by ditheringmiss

October 4, 2009 at 9:30 pm