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Thursday, August 28, 2014

In The Tide of Emotional Comeback

I've been without much emotion for a long time. I felt sad, but it always was bland, simple, mindless. I had little interest in anything, in people, in playing. It's probably depression, actually that's what it has to be, but it didn't impede on my going about my day so it didn't really matter to me.

Recently, I got really sick. After months of stomach pain seeming to ebb and then swell up again with a vengeance, I went to a clinic. Then the ER, when the clinic couldn't help. Then a doctor, and the doctor recommended me to a GI specialist. They did an endoscopy, and discovered I have H.Pylori (a bacterial in the stomach) and moderate gastritis (an irritation of the stomach lining). This is the first sickness I've ever had where it was serious, where I was really sick. And even though the doctors seemed to think I should be fine, that the treatment was a "tough regimen" but something that I should be able to get through, it was horrible. It felt like it was getting worse, and I've since clawed my way back to something somewhat normal. But even now, when I'm getting well again, I'm in constant worry that I'll slip back to the agony and I'll be shut up and missing out on everything again. Missing out on seeing my son, on talking to people about anything but being sick, on playing a game I just made, on all of it.

But mostly, what this sickness has brought about, is emotion. Specifically, crying. I know, crying isn't exactly an emotion, but it is accompanied by an overwhelming something- something I can't even name- that hits me too hard to handle. It started with just the sickness, the amount of pain I was in and for how long it lasted. And it was made worse by how the doctors said there was nothing they could do for me, that I'd have to suffer through the medication and just be strong. It was made worse still how, although I was unable to function, I couldn't go to work, I wasn't qualified for TDI. Stress of money, pain, being an absent mother... it's hard. And it's scary, and guilt causing and horrible, and it made me feel so pathetic that I'd just start crying. And I couldn't stop. It all felt like a culmination of everything I'd been missing for the past few years, the ability to actually experience sadness, happiness, misery, frustration, regret, longing, it all came in. And even though I'm recovering from the sick, the emotions aren't stopping. Watching movies while I sit alone all day, I'm crying for fictional problems, for their mishaps and touching moments, for their happiness that isn't mine, that I don't even care about. A wedding brought me to tears, a groom singing to his new bride. A mother and daughter exposing their hurt, their apologies. I've been spending time with my mother, and my mother in law, because I'm so sick of being alone in this unhappiness, of being lonely.  I've never been one to need someone to comfort me, to just be there with me, but I needed it.

What I really want is for me to come back. I want myself back. I want my indifference, I want to feel strong, independent, capable. I want to come back to my life. I want to go to work, manage bills, not feel as though I can't handle anything anymore. I feel so delicate, like I'll break, and all the pain and misery of being sick will come back.

Even now, I'm crying because I remember feeling so helpless, so out of control, and I'm angry with myself for feeling it. I'm sick of all of it. I don't want to start crying just because my son started school, or because I think about him growing up, or how the world will be different when my mother dies. I don't want to be touched by tender moments, or well up at a sad story. I've never been one to cry much, and now I can't seem to stop.

I want it to stop. All of it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Spooky Boobs

So it's 8am and it's already another lousy day but here's a funny story in spite of it:

I get to work very early on Fridays so I'm alone, it's quiet, no risk of people coming in to donate things. If I were getting paid, it would be the ideal job, but anyway! I'm in the bathroom washing my hands when I hear low, faint creaking, like someone walking on an old staircase below me, or in one of the other units. Since our building has no second floor, and there is no one going into the basement, this is a bit unnerving. I rinse my hands, the creaking continues. It took me a minute, but I finally realized that the creaking was my bra. My bra is creaking and my chest sounds like a haunted house.



Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summertime in the DC

As the weather warms up, people are stopping in more and more to donate their used household goods. This is good for the organization, and my job security. This is bad for me directly because people give me a lot of dirty, useless junk that I have to sort through. In the past two days I have found the following in boxes and purses:

- a prescription bottle of penicillin (unfinished)
- a lanyard with a key on it (here's hoping you're not locking up your work tonight, donor)
- coffee beans
-  two handfuls of pennies
- 3 cigarette lighters (all full)
- oodles of Cheerios. Honestly, in 4 different purses I found Cheerios.

As business gets steadier, I find myself with less slacking off time to accomplish the things I want to, but I'm also more active and therefore I feel less sluggish, bored and sleepy throughout the day. Plus I'm finding pennies by the pound, so by the end of the summer I'll easily have at least $10 just in pennies. Which is pretty sweet.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Custom Shoes - Steampunk World's Faire

In May, I am going to the Steampunk World's Faire in Piscataway, NJ. For the most part when I go to places like this, where costuming is encouraged, I rely a lot on my exsting costume collection for pieces. This year, though, I wanted to make a few new things, and since my job offers me a lot of time, I thought I might get a bit elaborate in them. The first thing I have finished are my custom suede boots.

I started out with a pair of simple suede ankle boots (by Steve Madden, not that the brand will affect the project any, but if you were wondering where to acquire such a pair as this).

  Next, I cut out the gear shape templates that I'm going to use to design the boots. Gears are very steampunk, and it's easy to find templates to trace online. I didn't pick anything fancy because, as you'll see in upcoming steps, I have to do everything by hand. I don't have the patience for meticulous activity.

The gears are laid out over top of the boots and I traced around them onto the suede with a fine tipped Sharpie pen. I did each gear one at a time for better alignment and variety. As you can see, I only wanted to design the toe and the heel, aka the parts of the shoe that won't bend as much and therefore won't crack the paint so easily. 

Once the gears are traced on, I stuff the shoes with newspaper to keep them filled out during painting, so I can have an idea what it will look like while it's on my foot. Plus, the paint would dry better that way, since it's flatter.

The gears are all hand painted, very carefully. I used poster paints (part cheap store brand black, mixed in with Martha Stewart brand gunmetal gray). While I painted, I kind of smooshed the paint into the suede with the brush, if that makes sense. It took about two coats. 

As a finishing touch, I glued feathers to an old button (which had been glued to a piece of metal I found in my mom's button tin) and then I affixed that whole contraption to the boots with Liquid Fusion clear urethane adhesive. I didn't want to use regular glue because, since I'd be walking around in them and the suede would move and bend and bunch, I wanted something a bit more flexible that wouldn't crack and let the decorative fall off. 

Ta Da!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Self Destruction is Self Improvement

There are times in life, and I'm sure many people have had them, where I will get an urge for something. It's not a specific something, just a change, just a push in some direction to break up the monotony. The most common and easiest to appease is the destruction of my hair, be it by chemical warfare or a simple hack and slash. I very rarely visit a salon for this battle. No, I'm one of those types who does it all herself- I cut my own hair (with a surprisingly high success rate), I color at home. I bleach it, make it neon, dye it black, chop it off, gel it, flat iron it, hack it again, bleach it, neon, black and neon, hack and slash. I would not be surprised if one day I were to go bald out of sheer protest from my hair. It has come to the point where my friends and family do not immediately notice when my hair has shifted from orange to pink, or when I come to Christmas with a mohawk, because bright colors and bold styles are the norm for me.

I can't say for certain whether or not there is correlation between a drastic change in my hair and a stagnation in my life, but I'm sure that there is. When you feel stuck, listless, trapped within yourself, you look in the mirror to try and figure out what's wrong, to ask the reflection why you're not happy. This makes a physical change the most obvious. The person in the mirror doesn't hold the answers you want, so if you change the person you're talking to, maybe the answer will change. Sometimes it's the only factor you can control. You can't afford to go to school (and you might not even want to), your job has no upward mobility, you're stuck in the shitty apartment until the end of the lease (or longer if you can't afford to go anywhere else). You're broke. You're stuck. Your creative capacity has dried up. You can't even afford a new tattoo or piercing, some of the more satisfying self destruction. You don't hate yourself enough to drink or cut, so what else is there? The hair. You change your hair, and if you're really tight on cash, you do it yourself.

When I get the urge to change something, when I come home with a new bottle of dye, or I hang the mirror on the bathroom door so I can see the back of my head while I chop off my locks, when I complain that I wish my hair were longer but also that I want to get rid of all of it, my husband rolls his eyes. Of course he does. People without impulse control problems can't understand the impulsive. How am I supposed to wait for change when every minute of my day reeks of dissatisfaction, and in my head the only way to cure that boredom is to take scissors to the tresses? The patient people don't have irritated voices in their heads making demands, taking over their thoughts. When you bore yourself, but you don't know how to change, you don't know what it is inside you exactly that can't sit still, what else is there to do? It is the only way I can fight my own mediocrity.

When you don't know what you want, I mean really don't know, how are you supposed to change it? How are you supposed to fix the invisible nothingness? You can't fill in nothing, you can't make nothing prettier, you can't send nothing in a proper direction. It just is, just a vacant black hole that does, wants, and is nothing. All I can do it make the room where the nothing exists more appealing, make it less depressing. Self destructive tendencies- piercings, tattoos, new hair, weight loss, weight gain- it's all in the name of self improvement. 'Improvement' is a loose term. It means to make something better. Maybe by hack-and-slashing my hair I'm not upgrading it, but I am staving off internal boredom for a while, and that's better, isn't it?

When there's nothing to focus on, people get bored, and we create our own entertainment. We find something to hone in on to keep our attention.  But when you're like me, when you don't have any idea what you want in your life, all you have to look at is yourself. So your self is what you change. You self destruct for improvement.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dilated Driving

A customer drove up to the donation center today, got out of her car and walked over to the door where I was waiting. (We are supposed to greet the customers at their cars.) She was wearing large sunglasses. She said to me (thinking, for some reason, I might care) "I've just had my pupils dilated, I can't see a thing!" and then she goes on to ask the kind of items we accept. Typical questions.

Let me reiterate the part where she drove up to the donation center.

Thank fucking fuck fuck that the people I care about are not on the road right now.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Judging Books by Covers

Although today is Christmas Day, you don't need yet another form of media to tell you about Christmasy things. That's not to say I don't love Christmas- I do- but one can only take so much of anything. So instead, I'll share a thought I had this morning, when my husband mentioned Kronk to my son, and said "If you'd seen The Emperor's New Groove, you'd know who Kronk is." To which I, in the next room, rolled my eyes and thought to myself That's something we won't be watching anytime soon.

I know. I can already hear the gasps from some of you, in disbelief that I don't like this movie. I know your reactions because these are the reactions of my friends. I don't know anyone (aside from myself) who doesn't like this movie. But I haaaaaaate this movie. Just hearing the name of the film for the first time I thought wow, this will be stupid. I don't even want to see it because I don't ever want to like a movie with such an obnoxiously stupid title. And it involves a llama, which made it all the more stupid. They tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but from the cover only did I judge this film.

And you know what? I was right.

I watched it, I tuned out half of it while I was watching it, and I still don't like it. I'll admit there are movies that I disliked initially and learned to love- The Road to El Dorado is a fine example, and much in the same vein as TENG in that it's animated, it's silly, and it came out in the same relative time frame. I didn't think I would like RTED, but  was wrong. I love that film. But I still hate the stupid llama.

Perhaps as a child, it's important to try something you think you might not like, because you're young and you haven't experienced enough of the world.  Even as an adult, try things you might not be sure about. But I'd like to think that, at this stage in my life, I can look at something and say you know, I'm not going to like that, and people might shut up and have faith that maybe, having known myself quite intimately for literally my entire life, I might have some idea as to what I will and will not enjoy. And even if I'm being a stubborn old curmudgeon, what difference does it make to you? So I don't want to watch your horrible llama movie. Leave me alone.

The point is, you very much can judge a book by its cover. The point of the cover is to draw you in, appeal to your senses. If your senses are repulsed, maybe it isn't the book for you. Maybe the publisher ought to have done a better job being more appealing. Or maybe I'm just a killjoy who hates to try anything new.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ugh, My Husband

My husband is clever. Damned clever. Clever to the point where I loathe him.

One of our cats has stopped using the litter box. Perhaps because she is old, perhaps because she's a bitch, I don't know. We have pee pads in front of the litter box where she goes pee, but she poops on the hardwood floor for some unknown reason. We call the area where the cat boxes are, "Poo Corner".

As I walk to the kitchen, I spy a poo on the floor and I groan, "Augh, there's a turd in poo corner!"

My husband: "Sounds like a real... *pause* poodunnit."

The Life of No Regrets

Inspirational books and Facebook posts would have you believe that it is the decisions you never made, the actions not taken, that bring you the most regret when you grow old. I don't know the kind of life these people assume we're leading- perhaps they feel we are all trapped in  our own personal Nicholas Sparks novel- but I've found the opposite to be true for myself. It's always the actions that I did do, the decisions that I already made, that I end up regretting. I've never had a case of "I wish I had talked to that girl", or "I should have gone on that trip". Usually it is "Ugh why did I fuck that guy?" and "I wasn't really into that person, why did we date?" or, most commonly, "I wish I had never said a word throughout my entire high school and college life".

Maybe it has to be tailored to yourself. I'm not the kind of person who shies away from doing something if I want to do it, so I've never really had a circumstance that seemed important where I missed out. I'm too impulsive for that. Rather, my impulsiveness had made me do plenty of things that I wish I hadn't. Maybe a better saying for those books and blurred pictures of trees with contrasting words over them would be "You will regret not having done the opposite of what you do, so... enjoy your regrets."

Also, if I were to have my life written by someone, Nicholas Sparks is the last person I'd want. That sounds like glorious raging Hell. I'd fare better in a Chuck Palaniuk novel. I can understand those people, regardless of their warped personalities. I simply cannot understand, get behind or appreciate the 'love conquers all' mentality.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas in the Lower Income Bracket

Christmas is coming and I am partly very excited about it, and partly exhausted already. People in the lower income bracket can appreciate how the holidays seem bleaker than usual, especially when you have a child that you want to make a special holiday for. Already I've had to make some changes to our usual holiday festivities, including a decided lack of a tree, as we have no floor space for one and the cats will eat the fake one we could put on the table. But mama is nothing if not resourceful.

That is wreath garland in a zig-zag tree shape on the wall of mommy's "office", or rather the corner of the living room where her desk is. Only a few of our ornaments were hung on it, with thumb tacks and 3M hooks. Those are our stockings, hanging in the hallway between the living room and the kitchen. 

There is something sad, but also kind of lovely, about where we are now. We have no space and most of our things haven't been unpacked and quite frankly the apartment sucks, but it allows me creativity I couldn't have before. In our previous place, we weren't allowed to paint the walls, put up shelves, or even screws to hang pictures. We weren't even allowed to use 3M hooks, though I did it anyway.  But here, in this place, I can pretty much do whatever I like. I don't even ask permission, because I don't care at all about the space and the landlord is all but absent from our lives, and he does the bare minimum to sustain our living. I feel I owe him nothing. 

This isn't meant to be a depressing post. It just is what it is, and those who will be having a thin Christmas this year will appreciate how, sometimes, just making do with what you can is enough not to give up. So on a happier note, here are my wintry nails and my husband repellant hand lotion. (He hates the smell of the cinnamon pine cones in craft stores, and this is what it smells like. I love it.)