Gingers and Math Professors and Bhagavad Gita, Oh My.

Y’all. Something is up with Oregon. I mean aside from triple-decker man buns, obsessions with microbrews and whiskey, and wannabe hipster bro-boys. I’m talking about the ridiculously high ratio of gingers to the rest of the population. At least, I mean that’s at least a thing in the dating pool. Not that I’m complaining; some of these gingers are smokin’ fuckin’ hot. (Uhm. Maybe most of them. Which is weird, because as an aesthetic, I was never interested in gingers. I mean, I’ve always been a fan of ginger flavor – ginger beer, ginger snaps. But ginger boys? Too…pale. Oregon is changing my mind.)

If you stacked all of my dates up on a weirdass live human bar chart, the tallest bar would be gingers, by far. (This is not intentional.) At one point, I may or may not have been casually dating three gingers at once. One of them was pretty simple, but funny and wild as hell. Another of them was a super country libertarian boy (yeah, I passed pretty hard and fast on that one). The third was fucking brilliant – this weird dichotomy of former military and current anarcho-philosopher turned psychotherapist with a fucking PhD. Oh…was he yummy. Lemme tell ya… Too bad he was emotionally inaccessible and a bit of a sociopath.

Last night, I had a date with yet another ginger. A math professor. Yep. Another weilder of a PhD. (No, stop picturing a 65 year old in a tweed blazer with elbow patches. Fuck, I just planted that image, didn’t I? Stop picturing it!) Shy and awkward over text. Funny, witty, and deep in person. In between covertly checking him out (holy shit – since when do nerdy geek boys lift??) and getting coached on how to play pool, I was alternately laughing my ass off and diving off into deep conversations about math, the universe, string theory, self, other, the Bhagavad Gita, and Eastern Philosophy. With wild fucking abandon. Yeah, that’s the kind of thing that rocks my socks.

We did a bar crawl – my first ever, I think – and drank. A lot. Well, my a lot is just a little compared to seasoned drinkers. I don’t drink often. So, the two jumbo-sized ciders and the sangria had me in orbit. (Oregon makes sangria with wine AND tequila, y’all, at least at rooftop bars in college towns. My name is Stephanie, and I approve this message. (That fucker also came in an oversized, don’t think you can call that a pint glass anymore, pint glass.)) I wasn’t wasted – those three drinks were spread over about three hours – but boy, I got spirited and (only slightly) wobbly.

We walked it off, then looked at the stars. Man, there’s so much less light pollution in that little town than where I live. It was glorious. We listened to Irish folk music and Ravi Shankar and had the deepest conversation I’ve had in ages, punctuated with sass and smartassery, crude jokes, and ribald laughter.

It was incredible.

That charming, brilliant, Irish bastard.

And it’s almost a 100% certainty that I’ll never see him again.

Why? Because out of this abundance of gingers, only one of them has been interested in more than a single date (see simple but wild boy – and he’s not in it to win it, either). And it seems the smarter and more philosophically inclined they are – ginger or not, but especially the gingers – the less likely they are to be interested in anything even remotely serious.

Unfortunately, what dating is teaching me is that my interests border on the fucking unattainable. If the guy isn’t a deep thinker, I’m not interested. If the guy can’t banter, I’m not interested. If we can’t talk until 4 in the morning (yep, last night was a late one) about anything and everything, with no filter, I’m not interested. If we can’t enjoy comfortable silences, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about him, I’m not interested. If all conversation is all about me, I’m not interested. If conversations are about things or people, I’m not interested. If conversations aren’t about ideas and thoughts and philosophies and weird little eccentricities of self and universe, I’m not interested. If I’m not laughing until I’m doubled over in pain, I’m not interested. If he isn’t a little….wild, rough around the edges, I’m not interested. And every. Single. Motherfucker. That I’ve met that has those qualities – the ones I AM interested in, are “ethically non-monogamous” or “polyamorous” (welcome to fucking Oregon) or strictly interested in an “FWB” or “NSA” situation (yeah, I’m learning a lot of fucking acronyms lately).

And it feels strangely like the longer this carries on, the less interested *I* am in something long-term and serious. Sometimes I think I’m *too* fucking adaptable, because I don’t want to compromise my personal convictions, the ones I have just for me. But at the same time, I don’t want to go back to being a complete and utter hermit, either, afraid of the opposite sex and what they do or don’t want from me.

Dating is nice. But it’s also terrible and unpredictable and scary. And I’m fucking sick of it. And also wish I had one tonight. (Oh wait, I did. But after the stellar night with the Jacked and Ginger Buddha, there’s no way I could meet this other guy. It would have been a soul-sucking exercise in tedium. So I canceled.)

See. If I don’t even know what the fuck I want, how can I expect others to know what they want? I mean. Every time someone does want something serious with me, I’m the one that’s not interested. I “don’t feel a connection,” or something on that laundry list of elusive but critical qualities is missing. I’ve totally ditched boys for lack of banter. And I just ditched one for lack of depth/connection. I don’t wanna talk about tv shows and YouTube political commentators all the damn time. I wanna talk about Plato and Buddhism and Experiencers/Enlightenment. Fuck those fucking gingers for dangling that fucking carrot and running off because they wanna be deep…with a shallow girl.

Fuck those fuckers for making me think it’s possible, because there’s no way in fuck I can settle now. I know what’s out there. I’ve known it for a long time, and I’m just getting it reinforced now and then. (Don’t get me wrong, most of the people I’ve been on dates with are horrible. I have some horror stories to share with you people! But sometimes…the veil is parted, and I get a glimpse of what could be. And I know…fucking. I know, I’m not digging too deep or searching for something imfuckingpossible.) So fuck those guys…and thank those guys.

Fucking gingers.

If I Were Bipolar

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d be a rapid cycler.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d exit a two-month depression and launch right into an extended mixed episode.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d make some dangerous decisions that would, ya know, put me in danger.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d justify said dangerous decisions with shit like, “this is just what it looks like to live after stifling yourself for the better part of thirty-seven years.”

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d recover from heartbreak by meeting up with a never-ending string of dudes who give less than a shit about me.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d only find pleasure in the kind of job that makes me pull my hair out.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d leave that job on some random Tuesday night, meet up with some stranger, and stay up until 4 AM.

If I were bipolar, I bet I’d return to work the next day and alternate between bouncing off the walls and wanting to shoot myself in the face.

It’s a good thing I’m not bipolar.

It’s All About the Hustle

I’ve been hustling. And I do mean hustling hard. I’ve got two side hustles going on, on top of the full-time job (which I’m actively seeking to replace with a different full-time job elsewhere – never satisfied anymore, it seems).

One is the tutoring gig, which is frankly more trouble than it’s worth at this point because of an extended commute and a low cut of the pay. But I’m committed to seeing the school year through. They’ve got another month in these parts.

Second hustle is a writing thing I’ve been doing. Fluffy SEO padding shit to trick google. (They probably think I don’t know what’s up, but it’s fairly obvious it’s all bogus to do some hardcore SEO driving. You know, bolding keywords here and there. Burying a “moneylink” in a sea of non-competing, vaguely related links. Appending exactly three license-free stock photos and one embedded YouTube video. Yeah. Fun stuff.) But you know what? I’ve decided that I don’t care. I’m not screwing over any people with the BS articles and blog posts. I’m helping to trick a search engine that tricks people anyway. And while it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, at $15 a post…I can’t afford to linger too long on my reservations. I figure…keep this up a couple of months, and I’ll be back to salient. Quite frankly, that outweighs ethics at this point (to a reasonable extent, anyway).

What does bug me is that the hustle further stymies my own words, because damnit I’m churning out four to eight of those suckers a day on top of my day job. But I don’t know how long the little gig will last, so I’m gonna milk it for all it’s worth.

I think…I just needed to vent that. And say that, no…I’m not trying to disappear. Again. Doesn’t mean I won’t. But it’s not my intent.

One day at a time.

One day at a time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some hustling to do.

Noose

There it dangles, the tiny skeleton,
dancing on its tiny noose, haunting me.

It hangs from your rear view mirror,
reflecting the past into the present.

Skeletons are meant to remain hidden
under layers of skin and despair and false hopes.

But you drag them out,
grinning, heckling, getting off on reactions.

Getting off on pain,
you brag about your conquests of physical and psychological and sexual

abuse.

There it dangles, the tiny skeleton
dancing on its tiny noose, haunting me.

Bobbing in front of the mirror,
dragging the horrors of the past, screaming back into the forefront of my mind.

You are the noose,
wrapped around my neck.

Can you see the scars? They linger still,
finger-shaped bruises in a pretty purple painting on my ghost-white neck.

You are the noose,
wrapped around my heart, my mind, my soul,

my past.

You are the noose from which I dangle,
kicking, jerking, clawing at the frayed edges.

I’ll cut this fucker down, one of these days;
I’ll cut you down.

And then I’ll take those frayed bits and fashion the noose anew,
giving it a new home around your splotchy, bloated, corpse-like neck,

fathermine.

~

P.S. A big fat thank you to everyone who offered up ideas and made banners for me. I’m saving all of them and may rotate them out from time to time. Y’all rock my socks. All the damn time.

A Request and a PSA

Two quick things before I run away from work and drive downtown for Flogging Molly. I’m pumped, aside from a niggling fear that mystery pain will get worse and force an early exit from the show. Fingers crossed.

  1. Request: Does anyone know how and feel like making a new blog banner for me? The one I have now and have had for ages was made for me by The Aussie. It was to be temporary while he worked on something special. But he must have died and taken the banner with him, because that was months (well over a year) ago. I’d love to have something new, but I have no idea how to go about it myself.
  2. PSA: Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day! Get out there, grab some free comic books and don’t forget to buy something to support your local geekhaven!

Happy Friday. Or something.

Désolée (an un-poem)

I’m sorry, but…
I’m giving up on you.

Waiting for your call, your text, your email.
No more.

When you finally come to your senses,
I won’t be there, waiting as I always do.

Ardently, perpetually, relentlessly waiting.
No.

Je ne renoncerai plus à moi.
Je m’abandonne à nous.
Je renonce à toi.

Désolée.
Je suis très désolée.

Settling In

Work is an asshole. Not as big of an asshole as previous work, with Queen Bitch Extraordinaire. But Queen Bitch Lite still makes for an asshole environment. And since we share a cube wall, I have far more asshole contact than a proctologist. Settling in here looks like: scouring the job boards between writing assignments and interviewing managerial candidates as a side thing I’ve been doing for a different department.

Words are hard. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be: writing for a living. No, the job isn’t particularly difficult. But it’s tough as hell to write well and consistently about businessy stuff, especially while immersed in cubeland with several chicks all on the phone at once. And then, when it’s all said and done…personal words fail me more and more, and I’m left feeling empty and quiet. I need to figure out how to work through that. But so far, I’m still settling in.

Relationships are harder. Though I’ve been “putting myself out there” more, I find myself actually isolating a great deal. I’ve pushed a lot of people away (you here, my WordPress family, were the first…), including people that I know I really hurt in doing so. Depression, anxiety, blahblah, etc. makes us do things that aren’t good for us. Or others. And I’m not even gonna bother saying I’ll try harder. I’ll just take each day as it comes. And dating. I’ve been dating. Some dates have been stellar. Most have been less than. Far less than. Far. Far. Less than. Okay, borderline lock those motherfuckers up less than. And now there’s this nice boy. Really…nice. But there’s no fire. In the belly. In the mind. In the anything. I’ve never been treated so nicely. Or felt less fire. What does it mean? What do I do with that? The fires never stay. They leave, usually with a trail of destruction in their wake. But damn do they keep you warm while they stick around. And damned if I can’t stop thinking about those fires. Longing for them, even. Why can’t there be a nice fire? Anyway. I’m settling in. With myself. My thoughts. My goals, that I still haven’t figured out. But I’m settling in with them, stewing over them, nursing them, weighing them.

Apartment life is sad. I’m so glad I got out of the psychohouse. Those people seriously need some special kinda help. But now I’m in this mostly-empty apartment. A free couch I found on craigslist, and a mattress. It makes me a bit sad and uncomfortable to be there, so I try to stay out as much as I can. At least on the weekends when I’m not working or tutoring. Parks. Gardens. Concerts. Comedy shows. Poetry stuffs. Spoken word. Pubs. Pinball. Markets. Tulip festivals. This one is more of a trying to settle in. But it’s gonna take a while.

This post sounds mostly kinda pathetic. Probably because I’ve been dealing with Queen Bitch Lite all day. She’s totally PMSing or something, and Stephellaneous is ready to cut a bitch.

So..this is me..peeking my head out. Wanting to write, but feeling drained of words from writing all day at work.

I don’t show it…but I miss y’all. And shit is actually a fuckton better than it was in Louisiana. But I’ve still got a lot of settling in to do.

Adulting 101

  • Move across the country, leaving behind (nearly) everything you’ve ever known. Oh wait, that totally doesn’t count as adulting.
  • Job hunt for three months, because you refuse to settle (at least until your shekels run out).
  • Land a job from your shortlist of “dream” jobs…then promptly find the negatives (even though you actually kinda love the work – don’t worry. I anticipate rants aplenty.).
  • Commuting an hour each way, in good traffic – only taking one week to get sick to death of that aspect. To death.
  • Keeping your after-hours tutoring gigs because bills. Because money. Because adulting. Because your “dream job” is highly underpaid.
  • Become a slightly better-functioning night-owl/pseudo-insomniac and running on four hours of heavily medicated sleep-aid sleep at best.
  • Start adding a shot of espresso to your usual vanilla chai latte because tired as fuck, even though the taste makes you want to spew chunks.
  • Neglect the things you like, again, but this time with legitimate excuses (such as the schedule that has me running from 5 AM to 8-9 PM (which is usually when I finally make it back to basement)).
  • Get used to being abandoned by those whom once claimed they’d be by your side forever. Grow just callused enough to make it through the day, but sometimes still cry yourself to sleep at night. Whoops, that got dark. My bad.
  • What I meant to say was something along the lines of: being lonely as fuck. And also something else to do with that “fuck” word. I want a buddy, a companion, a partner-in-crime, a lover. I’m sick of waiting around for things that I thought were something they weren’t. And I refuse to join some dating service. So that leaves me…right here, bitching!

Hmm. I know there’s more, but I have to get back to work. I took a brief lunch break…a break from writing to write. Heh. Fuck, I’m braindead. I’ve written roughly fifty pages this week – stuff like newsletters, newspaper articles, ad blurbs, radio scripts, and now I’m about to start on blogging. I’ve helped perform interviews. I’ve assisted in ad-buying decisions and helped negotiate contract prices. I’ve improved departmental organization. And I’ve been here a week! I’m fucking tired! And pleased – with my job.

So yeah. Break’s over. Enough writing. I have writing to do!

Oh. And. HI!

That Time I was Adopted

In September.

Of 2016.

As in, four months ago. At the tender age of 36.

Back in August, when I was mainlining xanax to get through the immense stress I was going through trying to get the fuck out of Louisiana, one of my buddies from work came to chill in my office for a while. I’ll call him “Habanero,” since he’s the biggest RHCP fan I know (besides LE MOI. DUH.).

So we’re listening to the chili peppers and chatting about random shit, and finally we get into Oregon and Portland. Finally landing somewhere around this paraphrased bit…

Habanero: Dude, so I heard you don’t know anyone up there. I laughed when P. Whipped told me that.

Me: arches an eyebrow

Habs: No fucking way. Friends? Family?

Me: Nah. I don’t have anyone up there. I don’t know why everyone is making such a big deal out of it. shrugs

Habs: laughs and leans back. The whole Pacific Northwest? You know…nada? Maaaaan, P. Whipped thinks you’re nuts. Hell, everyone does. But me? I envy you. You got some serious balls. What’s your plan?

I give him the gist of what I intended – which was to spend a week in an extended stay, during which time I’d find a place to rent and take whatever job I could find.

Habs: Listen, I know a guy.

Me: If this is gonna end with me dead in the desert or in a Mexican prison, I’m not interested.

Habs: Dude, I think I saw that one! ANYWAY. I know a guy: Jalapeño. Jalapeño and I grew up together, and he has family in Oregon. I’m gonna hit ’em up. They’ll let you crash for a couple weeks, while you get settled. I’m tellin’ you. They will.

Me: My eyes must have been big as saucers. This is something I normally would have put the kibosh on I-FUCKING-MMEDIATELY. Really, Habs? You think so?

Habs: I fucking know it. I’ll talk to Jala. We’ll sort it out; you’ll see.

Me: Dude, even if this doesn’t work out – you’re fucking awesome for even suggesting it. For thinking of me. Thank you.

Habs: Nah, you my homegirl. I can’t stand the idea of you going up there like that, with nobody at all. These people are cool. I mean, nice. Like. Nice as fuck. You’ll see.

~

Habanero didn’t contact them until around the last week of August…as in right at the last minute. But he wasn’t kidding. They took me in, showed me around, and now I’m renting a room from them.

It’s weird. And uncomfortable. Awkward as fuck.

And I’m tellin’ you, these people straight up act like they’re my folks. They’ve even introduced me that way once or twice, “This is Stephanie, the daughter we just met in September.”

They text me when they think I’m out too late.

They text me when they think I’ve been gone longer than whatever errand I’m on should require.

I do their laundry for them (sometimes).

I dogsit for them (often).

They drag me to family functions (after promising my presence and tricking me into going by telling me we’re doing SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY THEN WE SHOW UP TO A FUNCTION WITH SEVENTY PEOPLE).

And…

They’re nice. And what I’m paying them in rent has enabled me to drag out the little bit I got back from the sale of the house…so that I can look for a job I actually want to pursue instead of settling for the first thing some agency could dig up for me. I had only been here a week when they approached me and asked me to stay. “The angels sent you to us. It was meant to be. We talked to our medium about you. She thinks you ARE an angel. Will you meet her with us?”

Yeah.

It’s interesting, alright.

And it’s a strange feeling. Being parented. At 36. After a lifetime of little to none of that.

They’ve taken me to the beach. They’ve taken me to restaurants my budget would definitely not allow. They gave me gifts at Christmas and cry and tell me they love me.

So I have to deal with some overbearing shit. So I have to deal with someone who may be at the beginning stages of dementia. So I have to deal with hugs and hovering and manipulation to spend time with them. So I have to listen to them repeat the same life stories over and over and over again for hours on end. So I have to deal with parents. Family.

I’ve also been given this two-fold gift of being able to take my time and pursue something better than “just a job.” And…as strange and uncomfortable as it is…it feels good, sometimes. To be depended on. To be…loved.

As grateful as I am, you’ll most assuredly get plenty of rants about how manipulative they can be. And how downright fucking mean-as-a-snake the man can be. But when I’m being fair, those times are few compared to how fortunate I’ve been and am right now. This is temporary – they both know that, though they’ve both also said they want me to stay for good. (Yeah, I’m serious. There’s obviously more I haven’t told in this little post: like how I think my very presence has acted as a balm for them and their loneliness, health problems they’re both dealing with, etc.) But I agreed to their rent proposition “for up to a year.” I’m not sure I can deal with the smothering that long, but hell. The way things are going, don’t ask me what comes next. I sure as hell don’t know.

Life is weird. And this new chapter book my life is writing is certainly no exception.

Fuck You, Jiminy Cricket

So I get back to basement after a grueling (read: not grueling at all) day of tutoring (one whopping student). I flip on the gas fireplace and bundle up, because it’s snowing and the basement is cold as fuck. Ask my nipples. (Don’t. That’s creepy as fuck. Pretend I didn’t say that.) I go into the bedroom, flop myself down onto the bed and greet first the boys, then Lucien.

I named my iPad after the librarian in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. And then I promptly filled him with books, anime and games. I’ll give you one guess as to what Lucien and I get up to the most. You guessed it: I wile away the hours playing mindless games. This. Is what I’ve been doing instead of Reading. Writing. Watching. Observing. Hiking. I’ve been sleeping. Fiddling on the iPad. Facebook. Sleeping some more. Sleeping. iPad. Facebook. Sleep. Work in progress. I’m a work in progress.

After the boys abandon me to go wrestle in front of the fireplace, I cuddle up under the blankets. With Lucien. Will he fill my mind with obscure ideas and scintillating wit, as I intended him to? Oh no. Definitely not. You’ve forgotten we paired Lucien with The Stephanie. The Stephanie abuses Lucien and dims his mind with trite rounds of knock-off candy-blasting and time-management games (because she’s oh so fucking skilled at that). The idea is always: 15 minutes to wind down like this. Heh. We all know damn well it never ends up that way. The Stephanie is a work in progress.

Ahem.

So this fucking piece of candy didn’t go where I swear to fucking crackerjacks I told it to, and it ruined everything. My last damn turn for twenty minutes. And I blurt out into the quiet (aside from the insane racket coming from the televisions upstairs),

FUCK YOU, JIMINY CRICKET!

That is what it took to snap me out of my mindless daze. I actually sat up and shook my head. What the actual fuck? First of all, how do I come up with this shit? Second…what the fuck did Jiminy Cricket ever do to me? Or anyone, for that matter?

He goes around teaching that splintered, lying piece of driftwood about manners and morals and shit. He’s like the ultimate good guy. Pinocchio’s a lying little twatmonkey, but Jiminy Cricket?! He’s the adorable little crickety conscience, hopping about, tapping his little cane, and talking about how it’s wrong to steal and lie and cheat and gamble and all that good-for-nothin’-scoundrel, now turn-your-life-around-and-make-your-creator-proud shit.

And here I am, all FUCK YOU, JIMINY CRICKET, because I mismatched a piece of candy and my little witch can’t concoct her fakeass potion on a fakeass game that means nothing. Yeah. Take that, Jiminy Cricket! It’s a double rainbow! What does it mean!

~

I’ve been thinking on this a lot lately: I’m kinda disappointed that I never got detention. Okay, maybe even a bit pissed off at myself.

Part of me says I should be proud that I was covert. I mean, I did smoke cigarettes and pot at school and on campus, albeit extremely rarely. Seriously, through all schooling, college, post-grad, blah blah…definitely fewer than a dozen times. I was too afraid of being caught. (Smokes were different in college, obviously, but even that I kept to a minimum. I never wanted to be perceived as that girl. Even though, I kinda fucking was…kinda.)

The other part of me is (and always has been) sick to death of convention. And sick to Jiminy.jpgdeath of myself for not bucking convention as much as I feel compelled to. Pot at school? No. I would have gotten a fuckton worse than detention. But there were times that I wanted to speak up in class. Stand up for something I believed in (or didn’t). I felt compelled to say something. Do something. But I forced myself to conform. I’m a non-conformist at heart (and I’m not talking about the twats who call themselves non-conformists, then gather in a group and commence to conform to their own set of rules and norms), but I force myself to adhere – often to things I don’t want to or feel I shouldn’t.

I’ve been so fucking well-trained at conformity. So fucking well-trained at tucking my head and saying “Yes, Ma’am,” and “I’m sorry, Sir.” That sometimes I fear I can’t break out of it and even tell the difference anymore: which ones are my own personal guidelines, and which ones are the ones I’ve been inculcated with? Which ones do I want to keep, and which ones do I want to dash?

A work in progress indeed.

~

So perhaps this sudden, “Fuck you, Jiminy Cricket!” makes a lot more sense given the things I’ve been contemplating lately.

Perhaps I’m saying “fuck you” to my own enforced pseudo-conscience and searching for my own.

Or perhaps I’m fucking insane.

Either way, at least my musings separated me from Lucien for a bit.