Puppies, Kittens, Jerks and Jean Gray

Last night I had a dream that was so ridiculously telling, I have no choice but to write about it. I was struggling to get to my apartment door while holding a small puppy in my arms. There was a hawk circling menacingly overhead and I knew puppy was for lunch. When I approached my door, there were two kittens who had gotten out of the apartment building somehow, so I scooped them up into my free arm and began to struggle with  the process of getting my keys out and opening the door while wriggling fluffballs flailed under each arm, the hawk dive-bombing us all the while.

When I finally got into my apartment, an old friend who I no longer speak to due to his constant needy and abusive nature was in my bed, wearing pajamas. I put down the menagerie and asked him if he could move to the couch because Devo (my fiance) would be home soon, and needed to sleep. The old friend refused. At that moment Devo came home and told me it was fine, that the bed was big enough for all of us.

As amusing and stupidly transparent as this dream was,(Devo would have probably drop kicked dude, for instance) I was comforted by it. It reminded me of some things. Yes, I am a class -A- sucker for all of the kittens, puppies, and jerks in the universe, but I also have a guy in my life that not only embraces this part of me, but loves it. Despite the occasional annoyance it causes, he wants to marry me.

I’m getting married next October to this patient, awesome person, and that’s pretty cool.

Married. At a wedding. Dear lord.

Weddings were always a very far away, foreign concept for me. Partly because I was a horribly teased fat kid with 30 years worth of voices in my head telling me I didn’t deserve this holy union, and partly because rebelling against it was easy. To love, honor and obey? Maybe the first two. I didn’t want to feel like a princess. I don’t like poof. The entire industry feeds on proclaiming this to be the most important day of your life, and I thought that was complete crap.

I’m not saying it’s bad for everyone, and if you’ve been dreaming of this moment your whole life, then I wish nothing but happiness for you. I’m jealous, because at least I could have had this crap planned out nice and early.

I’ve also struggled with the concept of what “I” want as an individual, which is making this process extra hard.

When I was younger and I wanted to gain perspective into ego I read Ayn Rand, and that didn’t help. It mostly just made me hate Ayn Rand. To attempt oneness and unity with all I read Heinlein, and I thought he came off as a macho pig. I went back to X-Men and read The Dark Phoenix Saga because being a telekinetic superhero seemed more fun than being a selfish douche or an alien sex slave. I mean come on, what better role model than a kind, intelligent Omega-Level mutant, constantly struggling with duality.

Having “boyish” interests had little to nothing to do with my inability to fantasize about my perfect wedding, in case that’s where you think I’m going. Feeling a general disconnect, a lonely nerdy-ness. You know, back before nerds were okay, I guess. That was the biggest culprit. It was much later in my life that I began forming amazing bonds with people other than members of my family. I wanted to keep them around and never hurt them. This is carrying into my wedding planning in a huge way.

As strange as the concept was, it suddenly became something I wanted more than anything when I got to know Devo. I was 31, and completely unprepared. I am now 35, and still completely unprepared.

Coupled with being a people-pleaser, being out of a job, and being a naturally cheap and non-fluffy individual (who is also quite fluffy on a biological level), planning a wedding is completely out of my comfort zone. Thankfully I have a mother who is a natural party planner, a soon to be mother-in-law that makes amazing wedding cakes, and a ton of family and friends to slap me around when I shut down. My amazing maid of honor who has been my rock since the age of 12 already stated her concern that she’s going to have to drag me kicking and screaming into the world of “what I want.”

I’ve found a lot of extremely helpful websites such as offbeatbride.com, romanticthreads.com and my personal favorite http://www.thebrokeassbride.com/. These sites were a fantastic conformation that there were others out there like me. People who suddenly out of nowhere wanted to marry a person, and had no idea how to practically go about it without going broke or having to haphazardly go along with concepts and expectations they were not comfortable with.

My challenge from now until October 26th of 2013 will not be getting married. That’s the easy part. My challenge will be the same challenge most people who are about to get married have. Being conscious of others while throwing yourself exactly the kind of party you want…

…And not go insane in the process.

I’m willing to tackle this head on because Devo is worth it, and I really do want a big party. That’s the best part of weddings and why I like going to them. I’ve always loved and have thrown big parties. You get to see tons of people, you get to dance. You get to be married because you met someone that made you want to be married.

That is the essence of this union, whatever you want to call it. I want to be with this person, and I want to have a party celebrating it where my friends have fun because I like them a whole lot.

Now If I can muster up the strength to tell them to go to hell midst a chorus of “booing” because I’m not having open bar, that’s a good start.

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Let go? Let it go.

So if you’re anything like me and a heck of a lot of the rest of the world, you’ve suddenly found yourself without a job. Since this only happened to me a few days ago, I’ll try to impart a bit of wisdom in this blog that mostly came from the awesome support system I’ve built up around myself over the years. Somewhat for you, and somewhat for me.

I’d just bought plane tickets for my fiance to go see his family in January. I’m planning my wedding next year. I was one week into having full insurance coverage. None of this matters, because there is no such thing as a “good time to be laid off.” It always sucks, and even the toughest person in the world takes a hit to the ego when they lose their job.

I’ve been through a gambit of emotions in the past two days. This is normal, and I’m allowing myself a mourning period. For some reason, my brain went immediately into break up mode which I’m kind of grateful for due to my ability to bounce back like a spunky…I dunno tiger or something.

It’s actually quite similar to a bad breakup. You’re left trying to wrap your head around fault and reason in order to control the uncontrollable and gain some sort of closure, and usually none of these things happen.

Money is the biggest thing on your mind, and as much as I’d like for the magical correct persons to see this blog and shower me with precious ad space offers so I can do what I love forever and ever because good things always happen to good people, I smack myself in the forehead and remember that bad things happen to AWESOME people every single day, and life can occasionally be exceedingly unfair to everyone.

Whether it was your fault or not, here is the hard truth.

“They were fine without you before, and they’ll be fine without you again. But hey, the same could be said for you.” -My pal Jay

A wonderful, sobering sentiment. As satisfying as it is in your fantasy to think of the entire structure collapsing without your presence, this will not happen. They will move on, and the best way to “show” them, is to carry on as well.

So it happened, you’ve had your mourning period…now what?

Certainly file for unemployment if you’re able, but that’s a no brainer. You need to take all of the networking you’ve done in the past few years (whether at work or in your personal life) and make it work for you. I spent about 2 hours tweaking the heck out of my LinkedIn account because lets be honest, you’re out there. You may as well be out there in the best light possible.

You will be researched, Google stalked, and studied. Do you blame them? Hiring someone  into an established environment is a very delicate dance.

Imagine you’re in the market for a new accountant. You check out a candidate on Google and find his collection of volatile, depressing twitter posts about ex exployers, girlfriends, and various life annoyances. Do you really want this sad-sack playing with your money? Save the vitriol for private conversations with friends, and spare your next employer your heartaches.

This brings me to my next point. Whether you’re burning with hatred or just bubbling slightly with annoyance, don’t talk trash about your last job. Don’t do it online, don’t do it in an interview…just don’t. To resurface the breakup analogy, I’m sure we’ve all gone out with that person who bitched incessantly about their ex once. Once.

Lastly, don’t wait one minute to put yourself back on the market. Tweak your resume, and get it out there as soon as you can. The jobs market is an unstable weirdo and you want to make sure you’re in the game. I’ve had moments where I’ve felt bad for myself (wonderful, ice cream and craft beer filled moments) but I am giving it my all to stay positive. One door closes, millions of others open and all you have to do it get to walking. I’m not sure I subscribe to the belief that everything happens for a reason, but I certainly believe that everything that happens can be reasoned with.

I’ll keep you updated as I enter the world of the job interview. Thankfully I set them up in my most recent position, and it was an important learning tool. I’m sure I’ll deal with some rejection, but everything in life can teach you something if you let it.

So brush off the doubt, put on a snazzy outfit and step on the dance floor with me, fellow former employees. Good luck. We’re all in this together!

Toxic Love

My mother has described me as someone who’d bring home little lost people instead of animals. Through the years, I’ve survived toxic relationship after toxic relationship because of this accursed belief that I can fix people. Make them better. Help them see the good inside them. 

In my current state, I’ve managed to wash my hands of most of those relationships and surround myself with positive people.The most recent relapse into my old ways (and likely last relapse) was a run-in with an old friend who almost everyone had washed their hands of due to his actions. I held out my hand again, and he bit me. Not as hard as he had in the past, but he still bit. This time, the bite did not puncture me. As hard as it was, I turned my back and walked away.

As much as my love for other people defines me, it also puts me in an unwelcome situation. I am easily manipulated, emotional, and have an extraordinarily hard time with appearing as anything but kind and rock-solid. I go internal when I’m having problems, and have no one but myself to blame when no one has any idea how low I’ve sunk. I know I’ve confused friends in the past with this behavior. It’s easier now that I have a man in my life that (unfortunately for him) is the softest place to fall I’ve ever experienced since the support I get from my family.

Writing has helped tremendously with the decisions I’ve made to keep my life chaos free. It started with Livejournal a million years ago (I know, I know…) and now I suppose it’s come to a head with this blog. I’ve been able to see my mistakes and learn from them. Even when I make brand new ones!

My life now is wonderful. I’m basically broke, but who isn’t. I’m 4 years deep in passionate love. My family is amazing. Every friend I have is magical. Yet there is still that want to hold on to old, wounded people. Even when they have no interest in being held. In a way I’m sure this is tied to my ego, as I feel fantastic when someone tells me I’ve had a positive effect on their life. Learning when to let go is a hard process, also likely tied to my ego.  Why couldn’t this one work out? How are they still such broken assholes when they’ve had ME?

Learning about quality over quantity, as cheesy as it sounds, was absolutely key in growing apart from the clutches of Miss Nightingale. I went from having no friends, to having hundreds of acquaintances, to having a few dozen key loved ones. Holding on to the want to be surrounded by admirers is easily diminished when you realize a lot of them are there for the same reasons you are. Because everyone else is.

I cherish the friendships I have now because each of these people give me something.

Does that sound selfish?

It’s not material things, it’s not verbal praise, it’s just company. They give me good company, and good times. I don’t have to pretend and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I don’t have to walk on eggshells. I communicate. I disagree without fear of losing them. I agree without want of pleasing them. I treat them as I would want to be treated, as they do me. I never feel bad in their presence, I trust them with every fiber of my being. I know that no matter what happens, no matter the hardships we all face, they will always have my back. So yes, it’s selfish.

If you are in a relationship where you are missing even one of those elements, you need to re-examine it.

To be your best you, you have to be selfish. You are nothing to anyone if you do not love yourself first. This is vastly different from self-importance. That builds walls around you and it’s nothing but fake, grandiose crap. See the difference.

Sometimes I forgive, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I don’t. When I think back on those no longer in my life I wish them well, and thank them internally for serving a purpose in building me as a human being. Your abuse made me strong. Your lies make me smarter. Your unforgiving, selfish natures made me want nothing more than to be exactly what you were not.

I am a work in progress. Always. I am never perfect. I can not make anyone cease to suck if they don’t think they suck. I can not fix the universe.

Be charitable, be kind, but do not be a doormat.

This is a lot heavier than most of my posts because it means a lot to me. I am surrounded by people who I know exactly where I stand with and it is literally the best feeling in the world. Those few who I question get my co-existence and nothing else.

And thankfully they are very, very few.