Sunday, March 28, 2010

What Kind of World Do You Want?

It is a cold Sunday morning here. We went from 60's back to 40's, even though it's supposed to be 70 later this week.

I feel like my cold is back, and it doesn't seem like it ever really left. I dont know what it is--but it seems like I haven't felt completely right in a month. Maybe longer.

I had a great weekend. I really like my softball teammates, well, the ones I met on Friday anyway. We are a team entirely of new people, and I was surprised that most of them have lived here for a long time. I thought it would be maybe all new people to the area too. I was also pleasantly surprised that no one seemed like a hardcore athlete :) It's a good mix of guys and girls, and we're all roughly the same age. Our first practice is Saturday, and I made plans to go throw the ball around with some of them at some point this week.

We drank a few together, and there was a promotional thing going on there at the bar and reps for Sam Adams (the beer) were there and they kept giving it to us for free. It helped to break the ice between us, and we compared stories together and I noticed from reading between the lines that most of us were just simply looking for something to do and more people to meet. It made me think of that line in "Piano Man"--they're sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone.

And it was definitely better than drinking alone, and then I went to meet a friend of mine to continue the night. That turned out to be alot of fun too, and I spent Saturday just around the house. I went out to watch a little basketball, and came home and called it a fairly early night.

This morning, though, I woke up with my old friend--the Sunday Sadness. It's gray, it's cold, so-and-so didn't text me back last night, should I really break up with W (it's better than drinking alone), why am I always sick, and why is my face breaking out again?

I got myself in a really good place - emotionally, mentally, physically - around the fall of last year. Now it's spring, and it's slipping away again...I still have it, but I am not sure what's on the horizon.

For the last several weeks, I've woken up in the middle of the night in panic attacks. I wake up with a pounding heart (around 3:30 or 4), with all my fears and stressors running amok in my mind. I am having strange dreams, nightmares really, but I can't remember them the next day. I lay awake until about 6, and then fall hard back to sleep and sleep through my alarm at 7. I wake up in a panic around 7:45, shower and get ready in 20 hurried minutes, and then sprint to the metro (hey....I'm exercising at least), and make it to work fifteen minutes late where I drag through the day. Then rev up at night, go to sleep late, and do the same thing over again.

This has got to stop, and I don't know what to do to fix it.

I'm re-reading a book by Don Miller (Emily knows where this is going now). It's his first book, and it's about the first time he left home and his journey with his friend across the country.

This book inspires different things in me at different times, and it seems especially poignant now, when I just made a move myself. makes me long for the kind of adventure that I am needing so desperately in my life.  I realized this morning as I sat in a coffee shop with my bagel and tea, that I haven't had a vacation since 2002.  I have constantly worked from the minute I graduated college, and I have never taken any of my vacation time to go do anything fun except go home to Kentucky or visit a friend or something over a long weekend.  I've never taken a week off.  Never.

Now, I know many many people are in the same boat.  And its partly  my fault--because it's like...where would I go?  What would I do?  I have no significant other to run off with, no friends who are really quite as free as I am to just up and take a week at the beach with me. 

I am longing for just a break.  I want to turn off my blackberry and disappear and have adventures and not worry about where I need to be tomorrow. Or what will happen in six months.  I want to stop waking up with panic attacks and I want to stop thinking about certain people, and I want to stop spending money hand over fist just to pay the bills.  

I want to roam around and meet new people and leave the country for awhile.  I have wanted this for SO long.  I want to go to Austrailia, or Africa, or Alaska and just GO. 

I just freakin got here to DC.  I don't want to turn around and leave again.  That's not what I mean, or what I want.  I just want to STOP for a minute.  No--for more than a minute.  I want to not feel sick anymore.  I want my face to stop breaking out again because I KNOW its just a manifest of the stress I feel inside. 

So I am doing what I can today, to be ok.  I went to the farmers market and got potatoes, eggs and homemade organic probiotic yogurt to put in smoothies for my breakfasts this week.  I did my errands early, ate my bagel and read my book, and put clean pajama's back on when I got home (yes, it's only noon....)

I am going to cook chicken and potatoes today, for my dinners this week.  Freeze up veggie soup for my lunches and clean the kitchen, drink tea and do the laundry.  I might turn off my phone and be quiet, or maybe not.

I will turn up the music, and dream of adventures that maybe one day, I will have.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Well, my "relationship," such as it were, is now over. We never officially declared anything, so I guess I can't really officially declare the end, but I'm going to.

Why do I suck so bad at dating? Although in fairness, I am trying to hold on to a shred of dignity here and not run with the self-blame and self-deprivation--I do that enough, and probably way too much.

I scratched his surface, and came up on, well, not much down below that is worth my time. He wants to keep going forward, but I think it's time that this one end.

In happy news, I am going out tomorrow night with my new co-ed softball team. We're a team made up entirely of newbies, so I'm excited to meet more people and also meet people who haven't already been friends for years. And I can't WAIT to play some ball again.

I am having a quiet night, with leftover food and leftover angst from last night quietly trying to sneak back up on me.

But I won't let it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Compassion. Or "What You Wanna Give Me?"


Every single day, I am asked for money.  The reasonings, the excuses, the methods of asking all vary widely, but a day never goes by without this happening.  I live in the middle of a large city that struggles mightily with homelessness, although, the cynic in me knows there are numerous shelters and outreach programs available here.  There is free food all over this city, and the reason I go to the particular farmers market that I do is because at the end, they load up everything that's left and take it to homeless shelters. 

Sometimes I think that it is so much easier to feel more compassion when you are young.   I remember once, when I was here before, I saw an old homeless woman on the metro that looked so much like my grandmother that it took my breath away.  She was sleeping, and on the way out, I tucked a $20 in her coat pocket.  I used to hurt so badly to see them hurt.

I still cry when I see those damn animal shelter commercials on TV--you know the ones?  Set to sad Sarah McLaughlin songs?  I cry when I think about starving children that I somehow can't save yet.  I can't watch movies where people are hit because I wince in pain myself. 

My best friend noticed this about me sometime last year when something really violent was on TV in the background.  No one was really watching it, the kids were all in there but it was not something they were even noticing. But I was getting so agitated that I kept turning the TV down (it was a scene of domestic violence) and I was starting to freak out.  I told her I can't watch things like this because I feel it too deeply.  It's not fiction to me-it brings back awful memories and it's also one of my worst qualities--I take on other people's pains. Even if they're not real.

I say all this as background as to why it concerns me a little bit that I can walk by homeless people every day and not feel a single bit of sadness. 

I think it's because I'm just jaded.  Living in DC, and working by the Capitol, I am constantly being hit up for something.  Protestors set up shop right by where I work, and every single group that is for or against anything on earth, eventually comes to DC bearing pamphlets. 

I have fliers shoved in my hands, posters waved in my face, screams echo (literally) as I get on and off the metro.  Whether its pro-life or pro-choice or pro-war or pro-animals or pro-grass growing, I hear ALL about it. 

Homeless people line the sidewalks as I walk, and I am asked for a dollar, five dollars, spare change, anything at all miss, can you spare some quarters for my breakfast? 

Meanwhile, I'm having problems making my own ends meet.  My co-workers tried to tell me that a bar cover the other day was just $15.  I told them that I feel like I pay $15 around here just to walk down the fucking street.  To buy a $8 turkey sandwich.  To go home to pay thousands each month to live, eat and have heat. 

I know I am lucky that I can afford this.  But, am I obligated to keep giving and giving to those who are not?  Is it even about luck? 

I'm in such a pattern now that I recognize the same people every morning.  There are the ones who are actively trying to get money by hustling; the ones who prop up signs and go to sleep.  The ones who just lay there and don't even try.

The ones who pace and start screaming obsenities at the capitol building every now and then.  Then again, that's most people in this town.  I think I heard my boss doing the same thing from the conference room this morning.

My personal favorite the other day was this cocky young guy sitting on a corner with a cup (perfectly capable of doing anything he felt like doing), and he just said "What you wanna give me?" 

Well holy shit.  I almost turned and told him that I wanted to give him a punch in the face. But things like that? Never end well for young women.  

But its things like this that make me jaded. An old man sits with his stuff outside in the same place every day.  The other day, he was literally laying on the ground with his face in the gravel.  We all kept walking.  It was like no one saw him.  When did I GET this way?  When did people in such need become part of my daily scenery?  It's like sometimes I look up and realize hey!  There's the White House! 

I don't know.  It's such a fine line between who's hurting, who's hustling and who's just trying to make it to the next day.  I feel like half the time, I fall into all three of these categories myself.  I walk wearily beside them, hoping that they don't take my silence or blank looks as hate or contempt.  It's just me, looking out for me.  

It's a big scary world out there sometimes.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Very quick update

She loved the fake nails.  God--isn't she gorgeous?  And just 4 years old.

I did get to hold a newborn for a nice looong time.  Until he cried and then I could hand him off :)  My cousin (his dad) said just before this pic was taken that I look like a natural and I just answered "Maybe someday."  My mother gave me the funniest look when I said that and then looked away.  She looks sometimes like she's going to cry when she sees me with babies.  I had my friends six-month-old in my arms earlier that day and was tossing him up in the air and she had the same look on her face.  I know she would love nothing more than if I were to have kids. 

  Maybe someday.

I'm not sure about the whole dating thing anymore--we haven't seen each other in a week and it feels like a year.  This in-between stage isn't what I'm good at....we've been out enough to take it to certain levels, but we haven't had the 'talk' and it's still awfully soon for all that.  So that's kind of in limbo, and I'm not sure we'll see each other again until next week except for a quick lunch on Thursday.  He's going out of town that night. 

I'm getting sick....and I'm trying to figure out which child to blame this on that I saw last weekend :)  

Oh well.  I wouldn't trade those kisses for anything (even a cold.)  I think this did it too...

We were swinging (and singing) in the rain....and I was happy again.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


We're pretty much officially dating.  Details to come, but that's all I can do now because I'm packing up to head to Kentucky tomorrow for a weekend with the family.  I can't wait to cuddle up my cousins new baby, and grab my other neices and nephews for lots of hugs and kisses. 

My neice turned 4 last week and when I asked her what she'd like for her birthday, she told me she wanted something "purple and sparkly." 

So there were my marching orders!  It was a big improvement though, compared to her Christmas present request which was "A big girl thing--something that moves."  Try asking the people at Wal-Mart where THAT is located ;)

I got her press-on nails with princess images and glitter.  Yeah.  She's so going to be my new BFF.

I may get to see a friend or two this weekend, but I doubt it.  I'll probably focus on the family, which is just fine with me.  I am excited about how excited THEY are to see me, and I'm glad I am making a real effort to get there every couple of months.  It helps make it seem like less of a distance, and I still get all my perks of living in the city while remaining connected to what's happening there.

In the meantime, I have someone here who makes me smile.  And that's enough for me.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Service

I walked all the way to Maryland today.  Doesn't that sound funny to say??  But, when you live in DC, and you set out to walk aimlessly, sometimes you end up in another state entirely.  I walked, and walked, and walked.  These streets really are beautiful.

Sometimes I forget I am living my dream.  A fantastic job, a great city and a family at home that loves me.  Friends here that do too.  Even if none of us are perfect.  I realized this today, as I walked along, and came upon this intersection that lead to this street and I immediately thought of all of you.

If you can't read that, it says "Church of the Epiphany."  Well--I've had a few of those lately.  Epiphanies, that is, not church.  Although I guess I could use more of that in my life these days. 

The epiphany is that my life is pretty good.  I'm not suffering, I have enough food and shelter and I'm doing ten times better than I was at this time last year.  I had a dream, a goal, I set out to do it and I did.  And if I experience loneliness and heartache along the way, well then, that's just the way it is.

I went to the Farmers Market today and there were SO many people around.  So many kids, dogs, toddlers, strollers, and a sense of community that I'd been searching for.  I stretched out on the grass with a dozen other people, and we all stared at the sky and I felt the sun on my face for the first time in so many months.  

I went to the park bench at one point, and laid down there with a book and my head on my backpack.  A man beside me read poems out loud to himself, and to us. 

Today I went to church, I think.  A sunday sermon today was given to me about being grateful, of remembering what I am here for.  And of letting go of expectations and trying to

(And oh yeah, and if you read the post below--we held hands.)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

So there is that.

The windows are open in my apartment for the first time.  Warmish-air is actually flowing in here, and it feels almost surreal.

I wonder how long it's been since they've been truly opened.  I realized I have double-pane glass, and two screens, and all this leads to the bars that are firmly in place outside the window.  It sort of looks like I'm in jail, but I'm not complaining one bit because city life is tough and I need all the bars against the badness that I can get.

My own window has cracked open a little bit too.  I feel better almost every day.  I am dating someone's very, very new but we're going on our third date tonight and we're going to the movies, which makes me think of high school and I seriously wondered today if we would hold hands or not.  Yes, I'm officially back to being 12. ;) 

The beginning of spring is a little unnerving for me, in a way.  It was winter so early this year, and I remember being cold in September.  September is when everything happened for me, and when my journey of making this move began.  It was the beginning of the 7 weeks when I didn't know if I would move here, or to Maine, or anywhere at all.  It was Christmas, and packing the car and packing box after box and unpacking them too.  I have worn my winter coat and gloves through it all, and then through three blizzards.  I watched 3 feet of snow pile on top of my patio furniture--furniture that I can now see outside my window completely clean.

Spring to me feels like not a new beginning this year.  But rather, maybe the end of my new beginning and that it's time for everything else.  For not being afraid to take on new challenges, to keep trying to fall out of love, to be open to falling in love with someone else and making that love to be something that's REAL.  And that could be something.

I also ran today for the first time....I really miss the aboretum in Kentucky where I used to run.  It was the sunshine, the trees, the flowers, etc that combined to make me feel comforted and energized beyond the run itself.  Running the city streets isn't the same, but it's not altogether bad either.  Like everything, it'll take some getting used to.

The job is going pretty well--we had a big meeting yesterday that was a sound success, and we tromped downstairs to the bar to let our boss buy us beers.  I met a friend just afterwards, and was pretty far gone by 8pm ;)  I came home, laid down, and proceeded to sleep 12 hours.  It was wonderful.

So there is that--my world today.  Of fresh dry cleaning and running down city streets, of hot tea and of third dates. 

Farmer's market tomorrow where I will buy flowers.  And I will post them here to show all of you, and to dedicate their colors, their brightness, to all of you and how much you light you bring into my life when it's dim. 

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I go back and forth between ok and not-ok.  I am sometimes happy, most usually early in the mornings when I'm walking through the neighborhood and petting the neighbor's dogs on my way to work.  Most often not in the late afternoons, when things get in that in-between time when it's not quite time to go home, but you're done with work and thinking of supper.

I am feeling...not isolated, necessarily, just alone.  I miss my family--and dealing with how their lives are going on without me.  My friends here are shifting and changing, and maybe not a big part of my life anymore.

I'm getting in that bitter phase..the "I don't need anyone" mentality and that is a scary, dangerous place to be.  Because I know me--I need people.  I need constant interaction and solitude is not my best friend.

I told my best friend once that I didn't feel like I belonged anywhere.  She responded that I belonged with her, and then took my hand and held it until we both fell asleep.  But as all people do, she eventually let go.  Would she say the same today?  I'm not sure.  Would anyone?  That's, I guess, my ultimate struggle these days.

I am truly ok.  I took this picture with my cousin last night, and despite his crazy eyes (we have NO idea what that was about!) and the ultra bright flash, I couldn't stop looking at it because of how happy I look.  I think it's because I had my arms around my "good-as brother" (as he says), and because we were out front of the White House.  I get giddy sometimes, still, even with everything, when I realize where I live and what I'm doing. 

I know what I am doing is right.  I feel so strongly that I'm on the path to....something. 

So I wake up every day, I walk quickly down the sidewalk, and I wonder as I wander.