Sunday. 12.22.13 3:13 am
Things I Am Actually Doing and Not a Story
1. I'm volunteering for a semester (for credit) at a local library. Basically, it involves tutoring bilingually, doing Spanish story times (coming up with a Spanish song to match the theme, reading half the book in Spanish, etc.), and translating fliers to Spanish. This library also has lap reading for babies, so in conclusion I am going to read to some random baby on my lap, this semester, for class credit. Neat. The plan, here, is to be so excellent at my job and do so much extra for them that they agree, at the end of the semester, to create a fall internship for me as the hispanohablante volunteerism intern. I'm pulling a Sherlock and creating my own job, basically, and I have a really strong feeling that they will let me get away with it.
2. There's also this internship, this summer, that I'm applying for, because it would get me overseas and working with children's education, which is kind of starting to look like a track I might dig. I was talking with inhuman, today, about how explaining things clearly has always been my forte, and that kids are drawn to me in the most overt manner, so that isn't the worry...the worry is bringing a calm, assertive leadership to the classroom and gaining respect. So, hopefully, this summer, they'll accept my application and let me come see if I can do it.
3. If not, I plan to go overseas, anyway. My friend Steve who isn't the Steve we know has friends in the Dominican Republic who can probably hook me up with something.
4. I learned to knit?? That's something, right? It's much easier than I thought it would be, so I made like three scarves within the first couple of days of knowing how, and now I'm kind of where I never want to see knitting needles ever again (at least for the next few days).
5. Also, a friend of mine used the word "date," recently, to describe something he wanted to take me on, and man I hate when that happens, because I'm flattered, and he's a great friend, but friendships are just never the same, once someone even SUGGESTS dating, so this really sucks hard. Also, I just hate having to reject someone I really love spending time with and cherish as a person.
6. The dentist informed me, recently, that I still don't have any cavities. This track record just won't stop.
7. My New Year's will be spent on a rooftop bar overlooking the city, which is...man. My hometown is a crazy pathetic place, where most people just drink because they live there and there's nothing else to do, so heading back down to campus, a few days early, and really having a memorable new year will be so nice. The past few years, I've liked spending it alone because it's sort of my reflection time, but, this year, there's no need for more reflection. I don't have romantic feelings for anyone, I'm in control of my family life, and this year was just so chock-full of personal development that it's time to celebrate.
8. Being successful and single is my dream life.
9. I am living the dream.
the questioning rock
Thursday. 12.19.13 2:39 am
Monday. 12.9.13 11:26 am
I loosen my grip on his hands and say, "Freestyle," and he gets what that means.
We both let go and start doing what I can only describe as That Dancing Scene in Pulp Fiction on Steroids.
It's around eleven o' clock at night, the night all my exams finally end. Right after my last exam, I went and grabbed myself a sandwich, ate that, then slipped into a dress and tried, fruitlessly, to fix my hair after the downpour I'd been caught in earlier. Around eight, they--Sam, his friend Joey, and Joey's date Megan (sp??)--picked me up in a giant red vehicle; he got out of the car, hugged me, opened my door, and then shut it and got in, himself. We rode to the lights festival, where we drove (then walked) around the park and looked at all the fantastic displays up for the season.
Then, we headed downtown, where we watched a couple episodes of Parks and Recreation while they drank bourbon and ginger ale.
After that was the Christmas party.
I didn't know the people who were throwing the party, and neither did Joey or Megan. Still, Sam wanted to drop by, so here we are, at eleven. The four of us are the only ones dancing, as the rest look on with an expression that I can only describe as "pinched." I look at my dance partner and think, That's okay. In fact, I look at our little brigade and know I wouldn't change this moment for all the approving glances in the world. Megan is a tiny, blonde freshman with bangs, and my most lasting impression of her is when she says, in a perfectly neutral voice, that her "party bitch" texted but that he doesn't know of anything going on. Joey--who looks vaguely British--is sporting a shirt that he himself described as something from the 70s, and his sense of humor is pleasantly parallel to my own. They're dancing together with complete abandon.
Meanwhile, Sam is a bearded redhead with a giant smile and laugh lines, and is dressed like a southerner visiting New York, complete with an expensive-looking overcoat and suspenders. He laughs easily and doesn't worry about much. I instinctively know that he's the type to let others put him into a quiet rage, though, and later will, without a second thought, put my hand on the back of his shoulder when someone throws a glass bottle off the roof of an apartment complex (to which he will reply, sheepishly, "Woosah," confirming my suspicions). I'm dressed date-neutral, but am currently sporting a Bud Light cardboard container crown (not my choice), which I will later hand to Megan, telling her that I can't get Sam to wear it. She will force her hand.
On our way back, Sam mentions that he's a physical therapist, and I almost want to tell him, "Of course you are," because people who currently--or will, someday--work at a hospital are easily the most attractive to me. I wish it were the attraction to big earners, because that would be an easy explanation (although pretty crappy reasoning)...but, even without knowing what they do, there's just something about medical professionals. It's some weird, bidirectional, magnetic pull.
We get back and the night ends. Sam looks me in the eye when he tells me that he wants to see me, when I get back into town after the break. I say Okay. I mean Okay. We hug twice, and then I drive Megan back with me, because we live less than a block away from one another. Then, after making sure she gets home okay, I stroll off to my room and, without another thought, fall deeply asleep.
Saturday. 11.30.13 3:42 am
My friendship with inhuman is one of my more challenging friendships, which doesn't mean at all that it's bad. Sometimes, effort is worth the outcome, when you know your time isn't spent habitually, but rather out of sincere care and interest in another person's life. Even if the moment's sentiment can't be anything more than, "Okay, well, at least we aren't physically strangling each other," that's still something. I think too many people go through their lives without allowing anyone to challenge how they see relationships and their own ability to relate to others effectively. With inhuman, I'm forced to look at my own ability to sympathize, because her experiences are vastly different from my own, and she deals with situations with completely different methods--some of which I might not agree with (and haven't, in the past).
Lately, that hasn't stopped me from weighing in. I might mention a situation in which I've had something similar happen, and how maybe using a certain method she's considering might not work as well as planned, but the focus is on her and what she wants to do.
The basic principle I had to learn is this: When you give advice, you give it for one of two reasons. The first reason is in order to make sure that your "correct" method is taken, and that the person ends up with zero regrets and an ideal outcome. The second reason is in order to make sure this person knows what might happen and can be prepared--to give them support for their wants and needs without ignoring the less fortunate possibilities.
And sometimes, taking the second road drives me nuts. When I see someone careening towards hurt, it frustrates me, because I get this notion that, if they just listened, they wouldn't have to deal with any pain from the situation. But when do you fully win, in a situation where you "can get hurt?" Is there a way to avoid all that pain without avoiding the experience?
I hope she doesn't mind me writing about this, but inhuman just went through a breakup. I'll be brief and vague, and assure everyone that no one cheated on anyone, because...well, vagueness tends to allow for some interpretation, and I don't want that to come out of it. Neither party did anything wrong--it was just the end of a relationship, you know? It hurts, but it's inevitable.
Much more to the point, I found myself--very briefly--getting very frustrated about a choice she was making with this particular romance. I even e-mailed her, later, telling her that I wanted nothing more than to take the reins and do something that would stop her from making a choice that, ultimately, made her hurt.
But, that wouldn't be fair to her. She was going to hurt either way, and it was unfair of me to want to take that experience away from her. After all--and I told her this, too--you don't learn anything if you have the manual. It's great for building furniture...not so much for living, breathing, sentient human beings. We need trial and error to figure out how to react, and we need to do things on our own volition.
When everything went down, she knew I was there to support her decisions, no matter what they were, and that's the most important thing own friendship has taught me to cultivate. Some people still come to me for tough love, because they know I'll tell them straight, no matter what, but I was missing this huge point behind giving advice--that you can say whatever you want, and it won't matter at all, if that isn't what the person truly and honestly wants to do. That advice isn't a gift, but rather that acceptance is the gift. Advice is disposable, and its usefulness is completely dependent on the ultimate free will of another.
What's important is being there to answer the phone, and backing up those decisions, knowing that every decision is a new path to follow.
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