Of Holes & The People Who Fill Them

This is somewhat of a follow up post to the last one.

I found out tonight that one of my best friends is pregnant. She & her husband have been TTC for a while so this is great news. Like bust out the fake champagne & party poppers news. She showed us the first US shot & it actually looked like a fetus & not a blob. I’m thrilled to be Auntie Em for the 8th time. (My first niece is 6. Excuse me while I go take my Geritol). Which brings me to…

She was one of Daddums “core” adopted daughters. He loved all of my friends, but a few of my friends were the Illuminati of his girls. I’ve said it a million times since he died & I’ll probably tell our kids when they’re old enough to understand – the thing that hurt the most about his death was knowing he’d never see our kids. He won’t get to see one of his other daughters’ kids (we’re all rooting for a girl btw). I came home & sobbed. Like battle tested the waterproof mascara sobbed. (It survived. Better Than Sex Waterproof is the way to go for mascara & deep emotional distress). Somehow that process led me to the loss of Little Emily…

For my new readers, I met Little Emily (she was 5’1″ when she got out of bed. I’m 5’9″.) when I was in AA under the mistaken assumption I was an alcoholic & not self medicating PTSD. She was there because she was a heroin addict doing her court appointed meetings. I’ll never know why they sent her to AA & not NA. She was one of my puzzle pieces. We hit it off instantly. Where there was one, the other one wasn’t far. She had her share of trouble while we were friends including getting tossed in jail for 30 days because she violated her rehab terms. She was self medicating bipolar 1. I never blamed her for the choices she made. I never got angry with her. I loved her. I loved her when no one else in her life did. The last time I talked to her (I’d call her when I was stuck in traffic on my way home from work) she told me very clearly “The next time I use, I’ll die.” It was a statement of fact. She committed suicide (by overdosing) on December 8, 2011. She was 24. Her sister called me at work to tell me what happened. I was, of course, a complete mess so my boss sent me home. As I was driving home, I saw a rainbow. There was no reason a rainbow should’ve been in the sky that day. The kicker? It was over where her house was. I’d like to believe it was her telling me that she was okay & I didn’t need to worry about her.

It took 6 years to find a piece to fill the hole she left. I didn’t realize until tonight the magnitude of the hole that she left. Until I realized who she sent me to fill it. She’s not a perfect fit, but she’s damn close. On paper, they’re not even close to the same. As people, they’re both kind, funny, intelligent, loving people who have big hearts & wicked senses of humor. I’ll always miss Emily. One thing my ex never understood was how I would still cry on her birthday (she’d be 32 this year) or her anniversary after the first one. Of course, he was emotionally stunted & probably never loved anyone in his life. You never get over it. You learn to live with the pain.

I have a Daddums sized hole that will probably never get filled. But who knows? Emily’s spot was filled after 6 years. Maybe several people will share his spot. As Mommums said – “Life is long & weird”.

XOXO!

Current Jam: “The Royal We” Silversun Pickups

Stalk Me:

Twitter: retroindiequeen

Instagram: retroindiequeen

AO3: TheHuntsmansBoss

Of concerts and the things we learn

This weekend has been a case of “Let’s hose Emily’s sleep schedule”. I’m okay with that.

Friday night, I went solo to the Butch Walker show. I didn’t try and talk myself out of it at the last minute. I had my hair done, I put together what is definitely one of my favorite outfits now, and hopped in the car just like I would if I were meeting someone there. They’d covered the pit and put seats there, so I ended up being 11 rows back. It was still a really good seat. The show, as with all of his, was amazing. I probably looked like I was having a really shitty time. I was perfectly happy to just sit / stand and take it in. People watching later in the show when the booze started to kick in was equally entertaining. There was a girl about 3 rows in front of me wearing a dress that looked like a lamp shade. She started jumping up and down and all of us behind her got a free show. There were 3 guys in the row in front of me & two were clearly more drunk than the third one. They kept swaying back & forth like drunks do & the third one was giving them the “If you make me spill my beer, I will cut you” look. I didn’t end up getting back until 1a and crawled into bed around 130a. For those keeping score at home, that’s a good 3 hours after when I normally go to sleep, even on a weekend.

He played a bunch of my favorite songs and went easy on the newer stuff. I think someone may have advised him that a lot of the songs sound the same. He ended with the song he wrote for his dad & had everyone crying as we walked out the door. He got me up front with “ATL”, so I was one of the few not pretending to not cry. He got so emotional that he had them kill the stage lights while he was singing.

What did I learn? I’m totally okay with going to something like that by myself. I didn’t need someone standing next to me in order to enjoy the show.

Last night, I went on a last minute date. When I say last minute, I mean I left the house a little before 11p. Again, about an hour past when I normally go to sleep. We’ll call him Not Creepy. After a bit of confusion over where we were meeting, we had a good time. When Taco Mac kicked us out, we moseyed over to Waffle House. Only the best for a first date. We spent a good portion of the time laughing & figuring out we had A LOT of overlap among people we knew. We’re the same age & he went to the public school closest to my high school. He went to Georgia Tech & it turned into “Oh, did you know [person]?” “Yeah I totally knew them!”. For being a major city, Atlanta can be a very small town. I ended up staying out until 3 this morning. It was fun, though. A second date is somewhere in the future. I paid for Waffle House, so he owes me. 😛

What did I learn? First dates don’t have to be awkward. And it’s okay to bring up some things that may not be “first date” topics of conversation.

What did I learn (sidebar)? The recommendation that women should initiate conversation & are more likely to get a reply is total bullshit. Of the few times I’ve started a conversation, I never got a reply. This is only messaging people who also expressed an interest in me. On the flip side, if he opens with a line about my tattoos, then it will devolve very quickly. Not Creepy said he considered it when he first messaged me, but decided against it. Good plan, my man. Good plan.

Today is the bowling event for the MeetUp group. I got an email earlier saying that over 100 people (!!) had signed up. If that’s not a good opportunity to meet people, I don’t know what is. It doesn’t start until 6 & ostensibly goes until 9. I’m going to give myself an hour. If I’m not having fun or falling asleep standing up, then I’ll leave. If I’m having fun, then we’ll see if I end up staying the entire time. I do feel like I need to get my sleep back in line, though. Of course, that’s what Benadryl is for.

What will I learn? Who knows

Another thing that was driven home last night / this morning was that everyone has their burdens. As much as my mom & I don’t get along, she’s been carrying a lot of weight with her. I felt bad for sniping at her over stupid stuff. She drinks because she’d rather do that than cry. I suppose I can relate to that. Except that I was physically incapable of crying. I want to try to remember that when she’s driving me nuts, it’s not personal. She’s got enough worries in there to last all of us a lifetime. Maybe I need to start using my airhorn app for that, too.

On a more superficial note – I got sucked into Urban Decay’s new line. I got one of every new product they have. I normally don’t wear blush, but I think I’ve figured out how to apply with without making myself look like a circus clown. I got a little bit of a darker color than I have currently. I think I like it better, especially when I apply it with my finger rather than a brush. I’m also slowly mastering brow powder. It’s something I didn’t really consider before, but it helps in pictures. I’ve been taking a lot of those lately courtesy of selling myself on various dating sites. 😉 My hair even still looks good from Friday. I’ve found a favorite stylist. Since I’ve got another long weekend next weekend (It’s Memorial Day for those of us in the States), I’ll get myself another blowout. It’s seriously 1000x better than a mani / pedi.

I hope everyone else has had a kickass weekend. If not, you still have a few hours to make up for it. As always, I appreciate you, fair readers.

XOXO!

Of rebels with causes and final farewells

My grandmother, my dad’s mom, officially died on Friday night. On the one hand, it’s sad. She’s the first grandparent to die. On the other hand, it’s a relief. We’d been going back and forth for almost a month. I know it’s been really hard on my dad. I listened to him read and rehearse her eulogy for over a week. I don’t think he knew I could hear him through the door. I sat on the floor and cried, not for me, but for him. As I’ve said, I’m not close to any of my grandparents. But it really hurts to watch someone you love lose someone they love, even if it’s not a surprise.

I won’t be going to the funeral. Originally, I was going to go to support my dad. It would take either a $1500+ round trip plane ticket with a layover each way or an 8 hour drive one way. He told me he didn’t want me to spend that much money and time to travel there and back. I think part of him doesn’t want me to see him upset. If he doesn’t want me to go, then go I won’t.

Friday was difficult for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the announcement of her passing. I’d already planned to take Wednesday off anyway, so I’m going to take tomorrow and Tuesday off as well. I need a little bit of time to regain my bearings after the emotional meat grinder I found myself being fed through repeatedly. It’s one thing to keep getting up and going to work because otherwise I know I’ll just stew. It’s another thing to genuinely need a few extra days to shake myself out of it. A few days to lie on the couch marathoning whatever show is on (Criminal Minds is Mondays and Tuesdays! Woohoo!) and refusing to put on actual pants. It’s better for me to shut my brain down for a few days than trying to keep going and end up sobbing in the bathroom every day just because I can’t take it.

What all of this has done is trigger my rebellious streak. The proverbial cut class, put on clothes my mother wouldn’t approve of, go to the mall, and stand outside smoking. I want to just say “fuck it”, go get another tattoo, ball up all my J.Crew outfits in favor of my old Alexander Hardy dresses (see my profile pic for a reference), and revert back to when I was actually rebelling against everyone and everything, especially in my own head. While that’s all very tempting, it won’t make me feel any better. It’s just like when I would drink myself to the point of falling over. It would feel good at the time, but then the hangover would set in.

No matter how strong a person is, it’s a little difficult to end a 4+ year relationship, be rejected for every single job you’ve applied for in the past year (if you were actually given a formal rejection in the first place), and watch a family member die all in the span of about 6 weeks. It’s hard not to blame myself for two of those three. What could I have done differently to get that job? To make the relationship work? The answer?

Nothing. I can’t control other people (no matter how much I would LOVE to). I did the best I could. I wore the right clothes and gave the right answers in interviews. I put myself out there. I gave what I was able to give. If that wasn’t good enough, that’s not my fault. I know when I’m giving it my best and when I’m not. I half assed something recently and did get called out on it. That was my fault. I knew I wasn’t doing what I’d been told to do to the fullest and best of my abilities. I didn’t want to do it, so I did the bare minimum to get it done. The rebel had already started to sneak out a bit. So we’re all going to take a time out. She can sit there with her feet up on the table, smoking and playing on her phone, then flipping off the camera when someone tries to take a picture. Then it’s time to go home. I guess Hailey has herself a sister now. As if it wasn’t crowded enough in here already. 😛

Now time to finish off my leftover sushi from last night and figure out what to marathon next. Catch you on the flip(ping off) side.

XOXO!

Of death and only the beginning

Big week, big week.

Last Sunday, my parents celebrated their 35th anniversary. That’s the third of the 4 banner year events in 2015. My dad will turn 60 in June to round it out.

On Monday, I passed my Series 51 exam. I am now legally allowed to not only give you stock advice, but I can supervise the people who review your mutual fund trades. Quick! Get excited! I got the bare minimum passing score, but who cares? A pass is a pass, n’est pas? It’s just one more dollop of icing on my resume cupcake.

For the past week, my parents have been up in Virginia. My dad’s mom hasn’t been doing well. They were supposed to come home yesterday, but apparently my grandmother flipped, so they stayed an extra day. In retrospect, yesterday was Good Friday and they’re uber Catholic, so it kind of makes sense. In all honesty, I’m not that close to her. I’m not close to any of my grandparents. That might make me a horrible person, but it’s true. I won’t personally be upset when they die, I’ll be upset because the respective parent is upset. My dad is literally the person I love most in the world, so I’ll lose my shit if I see him do it. He’s not the ‘lose your shit’ kind of guy, but who knows? When my mom texted me yesterday to say they were going to stay an extra day, she said my dad cried. I have literally in my entire memory never seen him cry. Ever. At all. I’d like to keep that streak going. I’m of the mind that if I don’t see it, then it never happened. Him crying, in my world, qualifies as losing his shit.

Death is a funny thing, especially when it’s family. There are so many different family dynamics, family types, and families themselves that influence how they handle death. How did the person die? Old age? Long illness? Suicide? Accident? My office likes to circulate notices when someone’s family member dies. I’ll refuse to let them do that when my grandmother passes. I don’t want people coming up to me and apologizing. I never flat out say “I’m sorry for your loss” when I know someone had a death in the family. It’s simply “I heard about…” and let them take the lead. In the case of one of the other managers, her dad died about a year ago. I told her that I’d heard and her reply was that she really wasn’t upset, the only reason she was even going to the funeral was because she was his only child. One of my other friends had a cousin die in a car accident. He had previously been arrested for drugs and possession of child porn. Needless to say, she wasn’t sorry to see him go.

On the flip side, it doesn’t even have to be a person’s death to hurt. My sister had to put down her beloved kitty a few weeks ago. That broke her heart. When my childhood kitty died of (very) old age, I cried for days even though I knew it was coming. People really don’t understand how much that can hurt, especially in comparison to the death of a person. I got plenty of funny looks when I said I was crying over the loss of a pet. I don’t judge other people for what they do and don’t grieve for. I have no idea what the dynamic was. Yes, I do care about my cat more than my grandmother. Is that your business? No, it isn’t. Your grief and mourning is none of my business.

Emily wasn’t family, but I took her death harder than I know I’ll take a lot of my blood relatives. It wasn’t just that she was young and committed suicide. I, quite frankly, cared more about her than I do various aunts, uncles, and cousins. At her memorial service, her mother told me how much that Emily cared about me. I didn’t see her as a heroin addict. I saw her as a girl who just needed someone to be her friend without judgment. That went a long way for her. I still have the letters she sent me when she was in jail. I still have the program from her memorial service. If she were still alive, she’d be 28 at the end of the month. I’ll always remember her fondly and that my last words to her were kind ones. That’s all anyone can hope for.

On that depressing note, I’m off to take some allergy medication & continue binge watching Criminal Minds. The Atlanta Pollen Snow has set in and my left eye is about to itch right out of my face. Blech.

XOXO!

Of non-confession confessions and wedding dresses

Time for the not-confession confession because everybody knows what I’m going to say anyway.

It’s hilariously easy for me to let my life revolve around a boy.

That said, it has begun to work in my favor. A former fling showed up. We met years and years ago, then lost touch. It was the odd email on my birthday or “Hey! I saw this article and thought it was funny!”. We started talking more over the past few weeks. The possibility of a rebound started to percolate in the back of my mind. Guess what? He’s not single. However, he isn’t the kind of guy where that might slow him down, especially given the relationship status of his current lady. In the past, if he started something, I’d be like “Eh, why not? So what if he has a married…girlfriend…thing?”. No.

I don’t share my toys.

I know open relationships work great for some people. I’m not one of them. I’ve tried, but I’m not the kind of girl who is into that sort of thing. I don’t want a guy who is into that sort of thing. Said fling is a known entity. Been there, done that (teehee!), and there would be no surprises. Except that I’m not the only one and I know I’m not the only one. He may be okay with sampling a few other things from the buffet, but I’ll sit here with my same ol’ cucumbers and ranch dressing thankyouverymuch.

Yes, I do want to get married. Yes, I do want to have babies. No, I don’t want to do it right this second.

In both of my previous long term relationships, the word “marriage” has caused many a hackle to be raised. When I was in college, it was a status symbol to be engaged either right before or right after graduation. There was a small pond next to the dining hall and if you got engaged, you got tossed in it. Almost all of my friends had been tossed in the pond by the time we walked across the stage. I felt horribly left out. It happened again when I reconnected with all my friends from high school (and made a few more). The bulk of that group got married in 2009, so not too far removed from our college years. Again, I felt left out. If they didn’t get married that year, they married their partner at the time later on.

The fact that the guy I was with was pretty vehemently against getting married only made it worse. So I looked at myself, wondered what was wrong with me, and lied. I said I didn’t want to get married either. What’s the point unless you want children or joint bank accounts? The point is I want someone to stand up in front me, my friends, and my family and promise to be my best friend and love me for the rest of our lives. I really, honestly don’t think that’s too much to ask. However, I’m not going to bust my ass to find the future Mr. Emily. Ignoring the fact entirely I’m barely removed from the end of a 4+ year relationship, it’s not worth my time right now. I especially hate online dating. I’ve know people who’ve met their spouses online or seen otherwise successful relationships. I’m thrilled it worked for you. I’ll pass. The future Mr. Emily will come wandering by sooner or later.

The same goes for kids. I want kids. I don’t approach them with the same fear I did before all my friends started to have kids. Being a professional aunt has gotten me warmed up a bit. For as much as I fancy myself iconoclastic, I’m a traditionalist at heart. I’m not going to have babies until I have a husband. Ideally, I’ll have had said husband for a while. I know myself well enough to know that I don’t have the emotional capacity to raise a child. I’m far too selfish right now. I’m pissy when I get woken up at 3a because the cat stepped on my head. I’d be even worse getting woken up at 3a, then having to get out of bed, sit for god knows how long to get the small human back to sleep, then try and get back to sleep myself. Thus, also, why having a husband is damn useful. Babies also aren’t cheap. I like buying pretty outfits or spending money on my hair. I’m not ready for the kind of financial commitment that comes with one of those little buggers. I will, however, love the day where I can watch my father playing on the floor with his grandchild(ren) pulling the same shit he did with me when I was young.

Just by allowing myself to watch the bad habit start to come back, I was able to use it. I don’t want to just be another member of the harem. I don’t want to compromise my own feelings and wants because some boy is either too scared or too assheaded to take the next step. I don’t want to have to lie about any of it because I think that’s what someone else wants to hear. As my BFF has beaten me over the head with for the past month – never settle.

Now Former Boy would always throw a fit whenever I mentioned I preferred to know how a movie was going to end so I didn’t waste my time or money if I didn’t like how it ended. He said you can’t enjoy the ending unless you’ve gone through the story first. For argument’s sake, the above is how my story will end. Now how am I going to get there? I don’t know, but I intend on having a hell of a (good) time getting there. I may not even have to take up alligator wrestling or platform diving.

XOXO!

Of makeovers and parents

I’ve been binge watching What Not to Wear lately.

If it were still on the air, I would nominate my mother. She would kill me if she got picked, but watching the show has brought to light the wild insecurities that most women have. For as much as we butt heads, she did rear me to be the woman I am. She has a very, very hard time of letting go. We lived in Virginia for 7 years, from the time I was 5 until I was 12. She has a Master’s degree in counseling and worked at the high school attached to my elementary school. When we moved to Georgia, she had a very hard time finding a job in a school. She gave up fairly quickly. For a time, she worked at Barnes & Noble. I don’t remember why, but if I had to guess, it was when my sister started high school. She hasn’t had a job at all for years. Frequently, she’ll bring up how much she misses living in Virginia. It was only recently that I realized she doesn’t so much miss the location as she does what she had there. She felt useful.

What baffles me (and I’m sure other members of my family) is why she doesn’t find a part time job or volunteer somewhere. She loves to place blame on her age. She’ll be 60 next year. She certainly doesn’t look it for as much as she gets down on herself for never being a great beauty. She’s plain, but so are a lot of people. Watching the show made me think about how low her self esteem must be. Not having a job came in handy when my dad spent 2 months in the hospital & it certainly gave me no doubt about the state of their relationship. It’s frustrating to not be able to convince her to even try. She can feel useful again, even if it’s selling books for $10 an hour. It’s frustrating to hear the same song and dance which she has complete control over. If she put half the effort into herself that she put into her adult children, she’d be a completely different woman. Maybe someday she’ll see that.

Moral of the story: Getting older is going to happen. Be grateful for every year that comes and goes. A lot of people don’t get to see 30 or 40 or 50 or 60. Put on a nice pair of shoes, some lipstick, and tell the world you aren’t afraid of it.

XOXO!

Motivational Monday: Family

I got the idea for this post in my travels over the past month.

I have one biological sibling, a sister, who is 4 years younger than I am. I have many more surrogate siblings, aunts, uncles, and even parents. Two weeks ago, I was visiting my best friend of 25 years for her daughter’s birthday. She considers me family and I consider her to be the same. I refer to her daughter as my niece even though we don’t (as far as I know) share a lick of DNA. It leads to a lot of confusion for those who don’t know know anything beyond the surface. I get a lot of “I didn’t know your sister had kids” or “Wait, is your sister even married?”. I visited both within the past 2 weeks. My sister up and moved to Minneapolis a little over 3 years ago. I’ve seen her in the flesh twice since then before this past weekend. We went to the Minnesota State Fair (I’ll be detoxing from fried food for days. Oy.), spent time with some of her co-workers, and took the culinary tour of her part of town. The older we get, the more similar we’ve become. We’ve passed the point where the age difference includes large developmental differences. There were several times we said the exact same thing at the exact same time to both our great amusements. I rarely get to see either of them in person and it was nice to get to see both in a short period.

Historically, the term “family” would include slaves or servants in the household in addition to parents, children, and any other blood relatives living in the house. Without getting into the politics of slavery or servitude, the term “family” serves as a relatively simple way to identify a household. It was also used to track inheritance of titles, lands, and other rights that may be conferred upon the death of a matriarch or patriarch. In my mind, families are fluid. You can create your own family in the traditional sense through getting married and / or having children. You can also put together a group of people you love and care for, regardless of origin. You can choose to leave out relatives you don’t get along with or flat out don’t like when describing your family. I know plenty of people, myself included, who leave out certain members of the family tree for any number of reasons. You can add members who aren’t immediate relatives.

Whoever they are, whatever their origins, take good care of your family. Don’t bother yourself with strange looks from others. Who you choose to call family is none of their business. That’s up to you and your family.

Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Blood doesn’t always run thicker than water