Thursday, January 29, 2009


Rachel made an appearance yesterday, briefly. I haven’t been doing very much to be guilty about lately. Work is slow, so I’ve been surfing blogs. I found a few bloggers with similar struggles to mine, and maybe that’s why Rachel has come creeping back. I give her just a little nibble and she springs to life again. All I have to do is let my thoughts wander…

I’m convinced that the Showtime network is run by the devil. I’m a fan of Australian Toni Collette—I think she’s an amazing and very versatile actress. I saw an ad for a new show she’s doing on Showtime, so I went to check it out. (It actually looks pretty interesting). Well, Showtime just happens to also be the home of the L Word (my former vice), so there all the girls were, on the home page, naked and wanton as usual. (Showtime has this hook—you can watch the season premieres of their programs for free online. So that you can get unreasonably addicted and subscribe to their network.) And there was the plug for this season’s L Word premiere: that my (former) favorite character Jenny Schecter is dead—possibly murdered by one of the girls! NO! But seriously, that’s actually a perfect reason to never be interested in a show again, when they kill off your favorite character. I haven’t watched it since season 2, so I have no idea what’s even going on. But I just thought how clever that little devil is. All I had to do was click the play button and there I was, transformed right back into the lesbian drama I used to secretly enjoy. And I may or may not have done that. But the first minute of it was enough to help me remember why I stopped watching. However, I will post a picture of my psychotic little Jenny, because I'm sentimental that way. Here's to her demise!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

gender puzzle

MJ’s parents are interesting. Her mother terrified me at one time, because she thought I was a predator. I had anxiety sometimes, about her reporting me to someone—the bishop?—and having charges filed against me for associating with her 17 year-old daughter. But that was before I knew what she knew—that MJ has had “crushes” on older females before, and that aside from being cruel to her, there was no way I was going to shake her off. She knew what she wanted and no one was getting in her way.

But that’s beside the point. My point is, when I’m getting to know someone and I’m interested in how that person works, it’s like I’m putting together a puzzle. But these puzzles have millions of pieces, and the task is not so much to fit them together to see the entire picture as it is to group a clump together, just to get an idea what the picture looks like. If I can see a shape here and a color there, I can pretty much see what it’s going to become even if I’m missing some pieces. When I wondered about MJ and why she was the way she was, I looked at her family. They appear to be a typical LDS family. There are two parents and five children. The parents married in the temple and they have family home evening every Sunday night. Everybody is active in the church. All of the older ones have temple marriages too. The boys went on missions. It’s just all very normal.

Except for one thing: MJ’s mom has some masculine qualities, and her dad is somewhat feminine. It’s not unusual for a wife to “wear the pants” in the family, and that’s the case here, but it seems unusual to me for the wife to like watching sports when the husband doesn’t really care. His favorite movie is Steel Magnolias. She works, which is also not that strange, but she has a management position at her place of business and he does not. He uses his vacation days to decorate the house. He actually takes a day off of work the day after Thanksgiving to decorate the house for Christmas. He also decorates for Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and Halloween. And I’m not just talking about a knick-knack or two on the mantel. It takes him all day to put it up, and all day to take it down. He enjoys it. She is the disciplinarian; he keeps quiet. She likes to play softball; and he’s a singer.

In the church, their roles are traditionally defined. He’s the priesthood holder; she’s the relief society president. He’s been a bishop. It’s just funny to me. And it makes me wonder if they each struggled with their orientation at all when they were young. Or if it was simply their opposite characteristics that attracted them to each other.

It also makes me wonder who I will end up with. Some unmarried girls in the church talk about being able to marry in the next life, hooking up with soldiers who died in battle or whatever. Maybe I'll get a guy who thought he was gay.

Friday, January 23, 2009

plans and wishes

When I turn 40, I’m going to make an appointment with my doctor to get a complete physical, including my first ever pelvic exam.

When I turn 45, I’m going to stop coloring my hair, get it cut really short and let it grow out its natural color, which is gray.

When I turn 50, if I am still unmarried, I am going to plan a “consolation” shower, and invite everyone whose bridal and baby showers I ever attended, and rack in the gifts (hopefully mostly monetary).

Before I die, I would like to…

ride in a hot air balloon,
vacation in Hawaii and the Bahamas,
own a home,
drive a Jaguar,
hang glide,
take a nap in a hammock,
kiss someone I'm wildly attracted to,
shake hands with a gorilla,
and there are probably more but that’s all I can think of right now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

expecting and daydreaming

MJ sent a text this morning, wishing me a happy day, but I kind of expected to see her. I didn’t really expect a present—that would have surprised me. But an appearance would have been nice. But I guess she has a late class on Thursdays, and she has a bad cold. So I suppose I didn’t want to see her anyway. But who am I kidding, of course I would have liked to see her—cold or no cold. I’d still want a hug. On my birthday.

Oh well.

Last night it rained. Or maybe it was early this morning. But afterwards it got very cold and the water froze on the ground, making the roads a little slippery. I like to drive the back roads to work. There’s less traffic and it’s more peaceful. But there are some hilly areas, and some steep drops. I imagined myself, for a moment, going too fast around a bend, hitting black ice and sliding off the road. I imagined my car rolling to the bottom, like in the movies. I imagined me not surviving. Wouldn’t that be cool? To die on your birthday? To leave the world the same day you came into it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I’ve become enamored with a voice before. But it’s been a long time. Most mornings, in the car on the way to work, I listen to National Public Radio (NPR). It’s partially because as I’ve grown older I care more about what’s going on in the world. And it’s partially because of Renee Montagne, one of the hosts of Morning Edition. I like Steve Inskeep too. They’re a good team, and what’s amazing is that they run the show from opposite sides of the country. Renee is in Los Angeles and Steve is in Washington DC, but they sound like they’re sitting together in the same room.

Radio personalities have to have an attractive voice—that’s just part of qualifying for the job in the first place. And for me there is something vulnerable and soft about the voice of Renee Montagne. Television newscasters in particular have this monotone with timed emphasis that I assume they learn in communications school, but Renee talks like you’re chatting on the phone with her. I appreciate her inflections, her question tone, and especially her giggle, which you can catch every once in a while. I can tell when she has a cold, and I’m a bit disappointed when someone else fills in for her. In essence, she has a voice to be enamored by. Feel free to listen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

and a light comes on

Remember that grief process I wrote about once? I think I may have finally reached that stage called acceptance. I was in a pretty good mood on Friday, which was surprising in itself after being a basket case the day before, and then a text from MJ comes in the evening, wanting to know if I wanted to do something that night. It’s hard to decipher a mood through a text, but she seemed…bored and like she might want some attention. It ended up that she rented a movie and brought it over and we all (with my sister and brother-in-law) watched it. I enjoyed the movie. It made me laugh and I was just happy to have MJ there and not really feeling needy about her. But I did kind of hope that she would hang around afterwards so that we could talk. It had just been so long and I really wanted to know what was going on with her.

She was a little hard to read, but she talked. I couldn’t tell if she really wanted to tell me all of the things she told me and was just acting like she didn’t and that she had said too much, or if she really regretted telling me. I kind of lean toward the idea that she wanted to talk to me, and that she had missed it as much as I had, but she wasn’t thrilled about feeling that way and was still trying to remain aloof. Based on little hints, little things that she said and maybe didn’t mean to say, that was my impression.

But here’s the thing that kind of makes me think I’ve reached acceptance. I think she may have found a new sun for her solar system. In other words, I think she may have found a replacement for the me in her life, which would explain why she’s more detached from me than I am from her. If you’ve decided to move on from your old attachment and you find someone new to be interested in, it’s quite easy to feel differently about the previous person. She’s found a new “mentor,” an older female, married with children, working in her field of interest, practicing the profession she’s decided on (who actually may be the very reason for her decision), who’s “helping” her through this time in her life, as she’s pulling away from me, finding her path and dealing with mood swings and depression. What better friend to have than a health care professional who can prescribe you an anti-depressant? I’m not being flippant, even though it sounds that way. All of this just came to me as she was talking, and I did not feel what I expected to feel: jealousy. Not jealous of my replacement? How can this be? My only explanation is acceptance. Maybe after all of my tantrums and self-disgust and self-pity and whatever else I’ve been doing the last few months, I’ve finally reached acceptance that things have changed and they are not going back to the way they were.

As we talked I still felt all of those codependent characteristics I’m so familiar with, like wanting to “help,” wanting to take care of her, wanted to counsel her against making some of the choices she’s making, like hanging out with work friends who like to drink, but I refrained. I just listened. I asked questions. I digested it all. And I was finally somewhat satisfied that I kind of know what’s going on in her head.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Lately I feel like I’m walking through a snowstorm. (Forgive the winter analogy, but I’m cold a lot of the time.) The snow keeps falling and the sun is hidden, and the snow is deep and progress is slow. I keep plodding even though it takes forever, because if I stop I’ll freeze to death, but I don’t have the energy to run. Sometimes I do—I get a burst of it and I take off, hoping to find sunlight, but then I get tired and I slow down again. But it’s not walking, really, it’s more like wading. It’s hard work. But the key is to keep going, because I believe in the sunlight. I won’t feel it on my face if I stop, and I want desperately to feel it.

I have been wanting for a few days to talk to MJ. She appeared online this morning when I logged into my instant messenger at work. I considered leaving her alone, knowing she would probably not talk to me. But I couldn’t stand it. Following is the bulk of the conversation that ensued:

me: hi
MJ: hello
me: you're not usually online at this hour. did you forget to make yourself appear offline? :)
MJ: actually yes
[I knew I wasn’t the only one who did that.]
MJ: my stomach didnt want to sleep anymore
me: how's school? keeping busy?
MJ: trying to. there isnt enough homework
me: oh, that's unfortunate. especially for you
MJ: i dont know what to do with myself
me: is that why you're melancholy? because you have too much time?
MJ: could be the cause. i'm more depressed than melancholy
me: same thing, to me. just a nicer word
MJ: i'm moving out in april
me: where are you moving?
MJ: carriage cove
me: with?

[At this point we talked about AK briefly.]
me: are you ready?
MJ: i moved up the date
me: so yes
MJ: so yes
[We typed this at the same time.]
MJ: i cant be here anymore. theres no reason anymore
me: what do you mean?

[long pause]
me: no reason to stay in town?
MJ: besides work
me: I have no hold on you anymore?
[another pause]
me: you can say it. if it's true. if it isn't, you can say it until it's true
MJ: why did you ask?
me: because I want to know where you are
MJ: no you dont
me: why not?
MJ: what are you doing?
me: I can't stand it, not knowing what's going on. it's driving me insane. I think about it all the time
MJ: isnt that what your medication is for?
[What the crap is that supposed to mean?]
me: I can't seem to let it go
MJ: i dont know why you dont have a hold on me anymore, i guess i've just moved on
me: ok, that's what I wanted to know
[At this point I found myself crying. Again.]
MJ: i'm sorry
me: no, it helps
MJ: really? cuz i would be freaking if i was in your place
[Oh, I am.] it helps to know where you are, instead of just imagining. that gets me in trouble. I need the truth
MJ: i guess my mom was right
me: about what
MJ: i need to have a "college experience"
me: oh yes, I agree. you know I loved mine. it was so hard and so much fun
MJ: yes but you got into trouble
me: during college?
MJ: with roommates
me: oh. well, that's me. not you
MJ: hope so
me: I don't consider that "trouble"
MJ: i do
me: I consider that part of my growing experience. part of my maturing
MJ: are you mature yet? ;)
me: :) more than I was then. you're stronger than I was. you have a handle on what's going on with you. I had no clue. I was just grasping for anyone who would love me back
MJ: thats because you really didnt have anyone
me: exactly. it's different for you. you have a choice
MJ: i wouldnt call that stronger. a choice?
me: ok, you're in a better position. knowing what's going on gives you the opportunity to choose. I was reacting out of instinct a lot of the time
MJ: doesnt make it any easier
me: no, I guess it's not easier, but having the choice gives you power
MJ: i think its harder in a way because you know when you didnt choose the right
me: but then you can fix it. I kept repeating my mistakes because I didn't understand what I was doing
MJ: sometimes i still dont know. but i know enough
me: you do. and you'll keep learning. don't get so down on yourself when you fall. that's what teaches you
MJ: i think theres a lot more than just that going on
me: than just what? connecting with older girls?
MJ: yes
me: is that what you were talking about when you said you had other stuff going on that you couldn't talk to me about yet?
MJ: yes
me: is there still a "yet" or am I pretty much out of the picture?
MJ: you'll never be out of the picture
MJ: but right now i am only willing to talk to professionals
me: do you have one?
MJ: i have to call one soon, just need gonads first. but i am getting help already
[I have to assume she means the bishop…who else? Unless she’s just talking about prayer. She doesn’t talk to her parents about problems. When I suggest it she always scoffs at me.]
me: good
MJ: have to go to work now
me: ok

That was it. No goodbye, see you later, have a nice day, thanks for the chat. She just went offline. I must say it left me disheartened. This relationship is a true test of my ability to have charity for another person—to continue to love and care for someone even when I can’t have what I want.

The most frustrating thing at this point is that I don’t know where I fit in her life. Sure, I’m a friend, but friends talk to each other, and she has shut the door on me. At least that’s the way it feels. I understand why, I just don’t know how to act, how to be, what to say. All I can do is keep trudging through the snow.

And now she plans to move away, which is good. Don’t misunderstand; I want her to have the “college experience” despite her fears. Her fears are legitimate, but I believe in trial and error. How else do we learn? But again, where do I fit once she’s gone? Does she just go the way of all of my other friends, and turn into someone I talk to once in a while?

Why is the soundtrack of my life based on the status of my relationships? When I am struggling with someone my general mood is labored. When I am happy with someone, all is well with the world. Despite whatever else is going on in my life. Why can’t that relationship portion be smaller than it is? Instead it’s 75% of my thoughts, behavior and state of mind. I wish it could be like 25%, and let other things have a turn to preoccupy me.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I have a new dilemma. My mother called the other day and wanted to know if I would be willing to do some deep cleaning for her. Apparently she is able to keep her apartment generally clean, but moving couches to vacuum underneath and emptying the refrigerator and heavy duty stuff like that is too much for her. I have two immediate objections to this: 1) time and 2) dog. The only time I could really help her are weeknights or Saturday afternoons. Evenings during the week it’s so blasted dark, and the weather’s been bad, making getting back and forth a challenge. And Saturday afternoons I’m so tired. That’s usually when I try to get things done at home. I would have to drive to the temple, complete my shift, drive home, take my nap, change clothes and drive back to help her out. It just doesn’t sound like a relaxing day off.

And most of the reason she needs said deep cleaning is because she has a dog. He’s a stinky, hairy, overweight English bulldog mess and I dislike him immensely.

I already spend a lot of time cleaning my sister's house, and it seems she needs more help now that she’s reached the last few weeks of her pregnancy. And it’s more important to me to keep the place I live clean than to go clean someone else’s mess.

I thought that maybe I could enlist my nieces to help, with money as motivation, but even if I could get that to happen, I’d still have to drive them to there, so I might as well do the work myself.

When it comes right down to it, I don’t want to help her. I do enough for her already. I manage her money and pay her bills, I do her laundry, I take her garbage out, I let her use my credit card for larger expenses like taking the dog to the vet or auto maintenance, and I let her pay me back in payments. I do not deny that she needs this additional deep cleaning, and I don’t know who else could help her. She certainly doesn’t have the money to pay for a cleaning service, and though she offered to pay me to do it, I really don’t know how she could afford that either. How could I take her money anyway when I am intimately familiar with her income and expenses?

When I ask her how she will pay for it, she says she will “go without food,” which is ridiculous. Not that it’s ridiculous to go without food, but it’s ridiculous for my mother to go without food. She cannot. It is her lifeline. She goes to Wal-Mart and can spend $200 for her and her dog in one trip! And then she hits the dollar store and the pharmacy for everything she didn’t get at Wal-Mart. She can spend her entire monthly income in a single day. I try and tell her how much she can spend in a week to make it last the whole month, but she sometimes chooses to completely disregard that information. If she spends more that she has in her checking account, she simply tells me to transfer some from her savings, because she knows I put some money in there each month.

So I’m not sure how to get out of this. If I tell her I don’t want to do it, I don’t know what she will do instead. But I know I will feel guilty.