Each life has its place

April 20th, 2014, 11:35 AM by Goddess

There was a moment on this week’s episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” that will live in my head for quite some time.

Our beloved Miranda Bailey, constantly trapped at her computer to stare at boring research about genomes that kept her out of the operating room she loves so much, got pulled into a surgery she didn’t have time to perform.

(Insert “staring at numbers” and “doing the writing she loves so much,” and guess who we’re talking about.)

Meanwhile I’ve been cursing a writing project in very much the same way.

The surgery gave Bailey a brilliant breakthrough idea that would catapult her research from the point where she was stuck.

I … haven’t quite gotten that inspiration.

Writing has become that thing I used to do. Like a high school football or cheerleading star looks back after 20 or 40 years and fondly recalls when it all seemed so important and yet so effortless with the benefit of youth on our side.

I tried to think about my book characters for the series I started writing 25 years ago. And I wondered if I should just have a mental funeral for them. I have come to hate writing that much.

But I’m not sure how to define myself without it. In fact, I’m not certain how to define myself at all these days.

I think of my mom and what makes her special. She will always say that I was the best thing she ever did with her life. I imagine most parents feel that way. What makes my mom special is that she makes everything more-beautiful.

She’s artistic and creative and kind and caring. She can match a shade of blue bought in a dress in Pittsburgh with the perfect matching blue shoes in Virginia and a blue hair accessory found on a random trip to the Florida Keys.

She can, for under $35, pull together an entire house in lime greens and magentas and purples and turquoises to make it look like an Easter spread from a high-end magazine.

She can, after everyone else has tried to trample my soul, reinflate it with a, “Well, you’re happy inside and they aren’t. And you look skinny, too. Fuck everyone else.”

And so on.

But I’m the only one who sees all that.

And I wonder if, whatever makes me special — whatever that is — will ever be visible to anyone but my mom and my cat. And whether I’ll have my Bailey-like inspiration and finally, finally do something the world is going to appreciate.

Maybe I just need to stop caring about what the world thinks. And that will be the jumping-off point I’ve missed up till now …



NSV

April 19th, 2014, 11:18 AM by Goddess

I live for Saturday mornings.

I generally hit a Weight Watchers meeting, then run a couple of errands on my own, then go home and pick up Mom and have a good late lunch somewhere.

Today I was frustrated by the scale. I already lost five pounds this month so I shouldn’t be annoyed that I saw a slight gain this morning.

But I practically live on vegetables and coffee, and I walk around the office like a damn nomad — anything to increase the number of steps I’ve taken in a day.

I dance down grocery-store aisles and have been caught chair-dancing myriad times at the final stoplight before the office (like 11 miles from it).

Anyway, I don’t get it. But I will keep at it. I just squoze my pudgy butt into a skirt that’s down a size from what I’ve been wearing, so hooray for that. (We call those NSVs, or Non-Scale Victories.)

And that wasn’t the only NSV this morning.

I say all of this to say I parked my pudgy butt at Starbucks for about 15 minutes and played on my phone while I ate the banana I selected for breakfast.

And I realized just how easy it is to meet people when you’re not trapped in the house or in a cube farm out on a prairie somewhere.

I had my sunglasses on because they are “readers” and I can’t read a damn thing without magnification. So I didn’t notice the guy who was watching me right away.

And it wasn’t “Creepy” watching like most who have no goddamned clue how to be subtle. He seemed like he was trying to catch my eye as he went about fixing his coffee.

I of course am Oblivious so I didn’t actually realize that this good-looking thing was looking at ME till he was walking out the door. We did make eye contact finally. I smiled and he did too.

And I was thinking, damn, I should have had the glasses off. And maybe should have been less into renewing my car registration on my phone.

But it literally is that easy to make a connection. Even if only for a moment.

So, screw the scale. I’m awesome regardless of whether or not I’m up 0.2 pounds. Thank you, universe for validating that. Twice.



This is me complaining

April 16th, 2014, 5:00 AM by Goddess

Yeah, the giving up on the complaining? Not so much.

We’ve got so many scam artists down here that I pass about a dozen “It’s OK to Say No to Panhandlers” signs on my way home, since my little beach town seems to be home to more than most.

I met a homeless girl last night. I see her all the time. She hangs out at my 95 off-ramp. I’ve never really had cash on me anyway, but I could never get a feel for whether she was for real or not.

Last night I was the first car at the intersection. And we connected for just a brief second. She’s real, all right. I could feel the hurt, the pride, the gratitude that someone would make eye contact even if they couldn’t help.

My attitude toward the needy is this. I want to help them all. But then I have a mom who needs a helping hand and no one to give it. And is giving that nice lady on the street five bucks going to take away from something that could save my mom’s life?

Because, like I said, I want to help everyone. And it breaks my heart that either A) all thousand people on the corners in my beach town are that desperate or B) maybe only 5% of the people I see actually do need the help and the rest are scam artists?

I type all of this to say yesterday was a day I won’t forget. It’s the day in my head where, if they would have asked me to leave, I would have packed my box and danced out of there.

The thing is, if the hiring process has taught me anything, it’s that everyone is just trying to exchange what they have for something that sucks marginally less.

Case in point, I got a resume from someone at my old company. I friended this person on LinkedIn. Another friend from a competing company noticed the new friendship and said, hey, are you hiring that person? Because I was thinking about applying for their old job.

I’m talking, this all happened in a 20-minute time span.

I keep telling my friend who IS hot to trot to exit, look, stay where you are. I promise, you don’t want these jobs you see posted in the industry. Your job is degrading and demeaning, but don’t jump into something that isn’t a reasonable step up, OK?

And yesterday — after I told everybody please don’t schedule a new launch till I can commit to finishing the launch materials, they scheduled a launch date and yet everyone’s displeased that I can’t deliver the materials without personal hardship — I didn’t even have a yam fit. I envisioned driving out of there, picking up the cat and the mom, and going to the Keys.

And last night, despite being depleted and tired after a Full Day of Managing the Unmanageable, I did get 75% of the way through one of my two deliverables.

That’s what they count on. I hate rewarding it. I attempted to delegate this project three weeks ago to three different people and the only one willing to take it, I was told to never give that person projects again because that person wasn’t “mine.”

Again, it’s not hard. Nothing is hard for me. I guess they’ve “gotten” the concept of asking a busy person to get something done. Because I do … it’s just that I feel the complaints rising more quickly and frequently in the back of my throat, and I’m getting less adept at muzzling them.

Anyway, as I drove home in the pitch dark after being the first arrival at the office in the a.m., I wasn’t sure whether I’d go back. Then I met this girl and realized she’d probably kill for the same opportunity.

And let’s face it, if the money I make can go toward doing some good in the world, just a few dollars at a time, well, that’s what makes it worth it. It has to.



This is me not complaining

April 14th, 2014, 7:51 PM by Goddess

I remember at my early jobs (since I always had to work two to three at a time to make ends meet the way the zippers on my pants two sizes down get into the neighborhood of connecting), I used to get exhausted by 40 hours a week.

Don’t get me wrong, all told I’d still do 80 hours. But there was one job that was an 8-to-4:30 and boy did I want to die by 4:31 when I sprinted for the stairwell.

I had a hard 40 hours last week. The additional hours at the same job weren’t cake either. ;)

This week is a holiday week, which means Even Moar Cramming 10 pounds of poop into a five-pound bag. I thought, I can make it. I will pace myself.

Then I got an impossible request on an all-staff call today and I had to mute myself. Because my reply would have been fairly lethal.

It’s an impossible request because I gave away a Big Project to someone last week only to have it come running back to me today. So in addition to my Crammed Holiday Week, I have this Big Project.

So hearing about an Impossible Project — which really isn’t but I’m pretty much seething at this point being due like RIGHT NOW — not to mention a few residual cleanup items from the last two launches and starting the NEXT TWO launches, well, yams.

Truth be told, I’d rather have the project. I just wanted to have a normal crazy week instead of another batshit one. Silly Goddess.

So, in “This is Me Not Bitching” status, I will say this. There is a group of three of us. It’s always been the three of us. It’s a carryover from our last job where we worked together in ridiculous conditions. We just kind of banded together here and it’s always, always The Three of Us. No matter how many people come and go.

Anyway, I think we all drive each other crazy. But I think our loyalty is unparalleled. We can always count on each other for a few laughs. We never really bitch because we’re in the “grateful to have an income” category.

But honestly, even when I want to throw things at them on occasion, I just want to hug them afterward.

I have a funny feeling that, if this company lasts 50 more years and we are still there, the three of us will still be standing together. Or drunk at a bar together. Yes, that sounds more like it.

Anyway, I received an amazing, amazing gift from one of my boys today. Between him and my two colleagues, I can get up and do this every day.

It’s tougher some days than others, generally when I’m being held accountable for 1,000 things to everybody else’s 250. But, you know, I do it for myself and the people who need me to do it for them.

Those three are as grateful as can be. And that counts for a whole hell of a lot.



An early Mother’s Day ode

April 13th, 2014, 5:43 PM by Goddess

I read a tip in Self magazine that one should try a week without bitching. Which meant mentally slapping my hand every time I fired up my blog dashboard. Because, what are these things for, if not to kvetch on?

It was a hard week. Workwise and otherwise.

I do want to clarify that I’ve really come to enjoy my mom. Sure she drives me crazy, what with living with me for seven-ish years now.

But if I’d instead spent this time married or otherwise shacking up with some possessive or, worse, boring windbag who couldn’t cook/clean or who gave me shit about my work schedule, well, I totally won this last near-decade.

Mom’s health is really at the point of “if a miracle doesn’t happen soon …” We’ve kind of said our goodbyes already. That’s where we’re at.

Don’t worry. I’ll keep working and driving a lot and not missing a beat or any new project, to keep a roof over our heads. Wouldn’t want anyone to worry that I’ll dip into my two months’ vacation or anything like that.

Hell, I canceled one of my doctor’s appointments this week. Not looking for applause or a parade or anything. Just, I wish my dumbass friends would stop posting shit on Facebook like they’re having a boring day or week or that they have plans after work and date nights and shit. Not interested.

Mom commented to me the other day that my Facebook life is everyone’s fantasy, including my own. Check-ins from bars. Photos of beaches. Comments about whatever wine I’m trying this weekend.

All those moments are fleeting. I take the photo and leave for work. Or fire up the computer and work on a friend’s resume or cover letter. Or go worry about something I didn’t have time to do in the 70-something hours I DID devote to my projects.

I found myself shouldering some blame unnecessarily these past two weeks. And to be honest, I’ve done it at my past two jobs, too. Things I had no control over. Things I asked for and didn’t receive. Things that were committed for delivery by a certain date, and me not receiving them meant a slight delay on my end.

I don’t throw people under the bus. I see us all as a team — hell, a FAMILY — and our job is to support each other. Unless someone’s being overtly malicious (and we’ve got one of those, too), I feel it’s best to just not torch a bridge I need to traverse a few thousand more times in my lifetime.

Because, I really really really appreciate it when they have my back, too. And most of them do.

And sometimes I admit I take it upon myself to own it. Not that I want, need or deserve blame. Blame shouldn’t even be in these conversations. But it’s implied sometimes.

I saw myself get ousted from my last job for doing the same thing. Of course, that nutty bitch just fired someone during her first week because the girl wasn’t a fan of the commute. So, using that asylum as a yardstick for what should or shouldn’t work is like telling men that four inches is really 12.

Anyway, so if I bitched last week, the rants would have been along these lines.

So instead I just want to reiterate that while having my mom be 100% dependent on me, and me failing a dozen ways to Sunday to get her health care and the other things she really needed, we’ve had so much fun.

We were at a restaurant yesterday, and a server who wasn’t ours said, “I love walking by your table. You’ve never stopped laughing. You two seem like such pleasant people.”

We were probably laughing AT someone in our lives. But she’s right. We have fun.

And I pray maybe this is the turning point I’ve needed to arrive at, for things to start going our way. That things aren’t easy and not the way I pictured them to be. But they’ve been really good — better than good, in most cases.

So, good for all of you who have your families covered by healthcare, and good for all of you who are working on expanding your families and taking international trips and attending classes and finding time with friends while I am enslaved to *something* (whatever it is).

Like Mom always tells me, everyone is going on with their lives but me.

But this season of stress is going to resolve itself one way or another. Either she gets the help she needs (preferred solution) or she can’t take the pain anymore and I have to let her go (obviously, not the right answer).

But I have to stop being afraid that things AREN’T going to change at all, and to be ready for where my journey leads next.

Because, being terrified all the time and killing myself to hold on to “the way things are” really doesn’t seem like much of a solution, either, when you think about it.

The bigger message for me is to enjoy it while we have it. And that, I promise you, is something I’ve finally, finally learned how to do.