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

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

One time, at band camp

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You know how when someone tells a really boring story, and about 30 seconds in, you’re simultaneously thinking about what you’re going to eat next and how you can make an escape? Only you totally don’t. Instead, you nod along since you don’t want to be the rude son-of-a-B that you are inside. Am I right?

Well, I live in perpetual fear of invoking the afore-mentioned reaction in others. When I see it — distracted glances around the room, soulless eyes, ill-timed “uh huhs” — I immediately kill my story. “Once upon a time — oh yup, there’s a yawn, okay. The end.”

I’ve become more and more aware of this phenomenon. Not because my own anecdotes are getting more boring (certainly not!), but because now that I’m looking out for it I realize just how often I listen to other people’s crap stories. Noteworthy observations:

  1. The older a person is, the more likely they’ll bore (It’s ageist, but true). Typically it’s because it’s the same story being retold for the umpteenth time.
  2. The more I like you, the less likely you are to lose my interest, even if in relative terms whatever you’re saying is actually really boring.
  3. If you’re just talking to toot your own horn, I won’t care. End of story.
  4. If what you’re saying involves a. pain b. humiliation c. a tragedy, it’s far more likely to intrigue than something happy. Suffering is just more interesting.
  5. But if you start complaining about stuff that’s totally not whine-worthy, eyes will glazeth over.
  6. Okay, fine, the happy stuff can be good, but please see point 3.
  7. Finally: Everything is more interesting with alcohol.

What bores the crap out of you?


Written by ditheringmiss

March 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Thoughts

Doing what I wanna do

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I don’t if you’ve heard, but blogs are supposed to do one thing really well. ie. talk about how rockin’ awesome and exhausting it is to be a mom (in case you didn’t know!) or feature photos of drool-worthy food that you’ll probably never cook or keep readers abreast of all the latest and greatest in fashion, politics, Charlie Sheen’s mad ramblings, fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve never been good at defining my blogging interests like that, and it’s made me feel sort of bad about myself.

But then I was like, screw this. Why do I care if my blog fits into a mold? Who the hell made the rules and why am I following them? I mean I’m lucky if my own mom even reads the darn thing.  Why can’t I just do what I want to do? (Watch 40 second video below for apt visual representation.)

So that’s what I’m doing. Kick me off the plane if you must, but I’m not letting go of my bag.

Consider yourself warned.

Written by ditheringmiss

March 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Thoughts

Taking the long way

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Right now, I should be writing the proposal for what could be my last-ever academic paper. And yet. I suppose I’ve been hoping that a topic idea would come to me, but alas, I’ve now managed to leave things undone until the bitter end without so much as a drop of inspiration. Art mimics life, no?

When you do nothing, just waiting for that nameless thing to happen to you, well, nothing happens. At least not to me. Here’s what I know: It’s all too easy to float along. It’s all too easy to be swallowed by the minutiae of each day. It’s all too easy to forget what your point is. It’s all too easy to be mean, uninformed, selfish, hate-filled.

Yesterday my mom said, “A good life is not necessarily an easy one.” So what’s my point? It’s time to a. start taking risks and b. stop worrying so much about what other people think. I hope I don’t offend you.

What’s your point?

photo via The Infamous Gdub

Written by ditheringmiss

March 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Posted in Changes, Thoughts

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.

Written by ditheringmiss

June 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Life, Thoughts

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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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Everybody’s a writer

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One of the strangest things about publicly admitting that you “write” is that other people who write start coming out of the woodwork, flooding underneath your doors and banging on your windows. When I first started my creative writing MFA back in fall of 2007 (yikes), I felt quite silly telling people that I had the rather grandiose idea of fancying myself a could-be, would-be writer. I do not come from an artsy parentage; math, English and hardwork were what mattered, so for me announcing my post-undergrad venture felt a lot like telling people I wanted to be a musician or an actress or any of those artistic, one-in-a-million-chance-to-actually-be-successful jobs that people scoff at. But of course, as often happens in life, my fears were (mostly) unfounded. In fact, I have induced far more jealous cries than bitter scoffs.  Because: everyone wants to be a writer.

Often I find this comforting. I am so thankful to have other people who I can talk to, who get what a painful and exhausting undertaking all of this is. But sometimes, if I’m going to be completely honest, it bothers me. Not in a competetive way; after three years taking classes with a multitude of talented people I’ve pretty much nipped that issue in the bud. No, it’s irksome in a much more personal way.  Imagine if all your life you had had this secret inside you. Not a bad secret, but a special one. And maybe one day you got brave enough to own your secret, only every time you told someone, they said they had the same secret, too. You feel silly, like a fraud or, I suppose, just like everyone else.

Still, for every time I feel bothered, there are five more times I feel hopeful and inspired by one of these writerly-types. And amused. To think that there are all these people dying to write, to publish, to be read, while the publishing world is drowning and day after day news reports come out warning us that it’s only a matter time before books are obsolete. It’s a such a strange phenomenon and seems to illuminate the fact that far more people want to be writers than actually sit down, open up a legitimate book and read, page after page, word after word.

So I’ll say this: If you think of yourself (or would like to think of yourself) as a writer or there’s a writer out there that you love, please go out and read something, many somethings, if you can. Don’t just write. READ. Like your life depends on it. Certainly your not-so-secret dream does.

Written by ditheringmiss

February 1, 2010 at 8:06 pm

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