Monday, April 16, 2018

Whatever

Toward the end of my mother's life, her favorite response to a great many things was to roll her eyes and snap, "Whatever!"

That's looking like a good utility response to a lot of things in my life these days.

Relationships? Whatever. Personal life? Whatever. Work? Whatever.

Whatever, whatever, whatever.

It's not that I don't care; I care deeply about a lot of stuff. It just doesn't care about me in return. I only have so much time and energy, and I'm weary of throwing it away on things and people that don't give me any joy.

'Joy'; now there's a word- when you're a small child, simple little things like flowers and butterflies and kittens bring you joy. It gets increasingly difficult to find as life moves on and we 'mature', be that emotionally, spiritually, or maybe only physically. 

Joy is something that you have to find for yourself. No one else can give you that. Having that, or being at peace with yourself and your situation, is probably more valuable than being involved in a relationship. I almost think that a lot of breakups happen because one or the other (or both) parties are waiting for the other to make themselves whole, so they can achieve peace. What I question at this point in my life is, "Why do I have to wait for somebody else?"

I don't want to settle for something that doesn't make me happy or a situation where I'm just a bookmark, so to speak. I'm not settling for being alone for the rest of my life, but I'm planning to have a life even if I don't meet Prince Somewhat Charming (or at the very least, Prince I Am a Self-supporting Adult).

Anyway, some gals land on their feet, and some of us land on our faces; I'm the Queen of the Faceplant. I just get tired of picking myself apart like a bad seam and replaying the "what I did wrong" soundtrack over and over in my head. I wonder most days if I'm ever going to come out on the other side of this. I will, but the trip's getting dull in the interim.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Maybe It's the Weather

It's grey and drizzling outside...and I'm kind of wondering what point there is in maintaining the illusion of trying to find someone to date. I really just want to not have to go to the movies alone, or to start out from home with the determination that by gum, I'm going to go eat in a restaurant by myself, only to chicken out and get something at a drive thru.

I've spent a lifetime schooling myself to not worry about things the world won't permit me, as an obese person. A friend once told me that she was afraid of me in high school because I was so aloof, and it wasn't really that I was aloof, it was that I was terrified of getting hurt. There was some degree of exhibitionism in breaking up with me; it had a performative air, like bringing the trained elephant out into the center ring of the circus to entertain people with its tricks, only nastier in spirit- not just a breakup, you see, but a full-out rejection and cleansing from the fact that he'd made the mistake of being *shudder* my boyfriend.

I guess that's why I appreciated the calm, collected, logical manner in which I was dumped the night of my senior prom. I'm still strangely okay with it, and it was honorable, in a sad sort of way, because he wanted to take someone else to his own prom (which I didn't know until a year later when his best friend, who I met in college, told me)... and he broke up with me before he asked her. That's more than I've rated in most of my other relationships before and since. He broke up with me to my face, politely, without any scathing remarks or humiliation beyond the simple one of breaking up, before he moved on. He didn't have to; he went to school seventy miles away and I probably wouldn't have known if he'd inverted the order of events, but he had enough dignity and respect that he did it as well as those things can ever be done. I've dated grown men since who didn't have the kindness or the guts.

There is no White Knight for fat girls, so you learn early on that you have to be the self-rescuing princess. I wish there was some pill that could confer hope, or at least take the edge off being nobody's first choice. At the dead least, I wish I knew how to stop wanting, even in the slightest.

Monday, March 12, 2018

What Does It Feel Like?

Here's the thing. I don't know that I have the ability to fall in love. I've been kicked around so much because of so many things that I just don't know. How do people feel this sort of thing? I'm so tired of treating it like duty, and having it feel like moral obligation to fall on my sword for someone else. There's this giddy thing where they can let go and fall, I think, if I'm reading it right.

There's just a constant sense of unworthiness, and then that overwhelming feeling that I'd make myself look stupid if I were to become vulnerable to something like love. It sucks, and I'm not getting any younger over here.

I used to say that the fireworks and the 10,000 Strings weren't for girls like me...and it was a defensive gesture, because I didn't think anyone would ever give me those things. I don't even have a boring hearth and home. I just have me and a lot of pets to try to fill that void. Oy vey.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Singles' Awareness Day

My plans for the evening? P90X class. Sleep. That's about it. Pizza? Maybe? I don't know. In the spirit of my wretched singleness, I'm listening to Birdeatsbaby's cover of "Sober" by Tool. My ex is a guitarist, and I bet you money he has never even attempted to play this song. Not that I particularly care...

The worst news in recent months is that my friend Wayne died, of heart disease exacerbated by influenza. I'm still angry as hell about the way the hospital in the neighboring town handled it. He should have been shipped out the same night he was seen in their ER, but they blew it off. In consequence, he didn't make it to a teaching hospital, where they probably would have caught it, until AFTER he had been hypoxic too long and was on life support. Wayne was a bonafide genius. He got a shitty start in life (if you really knew him, you know the story). He was too young to die, just short of his 48th birthday. I said I was angry, and I meant it. It was malpractice. Full stop. He died for some doctor's ego.

I lost Sister, my older Airedale, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. I have a new Airedale puppy named Margo, and she's teething. Kevlar martial arts sleeves are wonderful- otherwise my arms would still be full of fresh lacerations from her 28 knife-like baby teeth, and I have proved to myself that I am really too old to deal with a new puppy. We're getting on with it, though, and Hairy has decided she's worth playing with instead of trying to bite her.

Hopkins is also totally off-grid. After the whole "she's just someone I hang out with occasionally" debacle back in the summer, my enthusiasm for spending time with him in any capacity shrank to damn near nothing. I can be lonely all by myself, thanks; I don't need anyone else to make me feel less-than.

My sister is in the midst of a divorce. I'm a little Forrest Gump on the subject: that's all I have to say about that.

Marvel's Black Panther opens on Friday. I wish there was a showing tonight, so I'd have something to do. I did purchase a new copy of Thor on DVD, since my ex took most of my Marvel movies with him when he left (when I pointed this out to him, he said he'd replace them, just like he'd pay me back...that lasted about ten whole seconds). The new copy of Avengers is on the way, and I got myself a new Loki action figure for my office and TIRES (!) for Valentine's Day.

Anyway, y'all enjoy your day, however you celebrate it. This is the only time I remember VDay falling on Ash Wednesday, so that's complicated for the Catholics and other observant folk among us. Seems pretty legit from where I sit.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Biological Imperative, Sex Education, and Social Mores

My grandfather had a habit of stretching his blanket; that is to say, he often concealed things, prevaricated, or confabulated. Truth was not always his thing. As a result of this, my father is brutally invested in truth, often to the exclusion of sparing one's feelings. That's one thing that was ground into us from an early age: tell the truth, because the consequences of being caught in a lie will be serious.

So here we are at the one thing to which Dad ever applied his familial tendency to con-artistry: sex education and contraception. As a general practitioner in rural Appalachia, Dad is a pragmatist about teen sexual habits...his original academic background is as an animal biologist, so he has a pretty good understanding of what makes mammals tick, and guess what, folks? We're mammals. Sorry if that bursts your bubble; however, we're the only mammals who know how to prevent conception of a new life as a result of sexual congress. So why aren't we doing a better job with that?

Denial: it's not just a river in Egypt!

This whole theory that if we tell young people to abstain from sex, keep an aspirin between their knees, pray for temptation to go away, or that they will be social pariahs if they become sexually active has little to no impact on actual abstinence. It really doesn't figure until the back-end: pregnancy and/or STDs, and then the Blame and Shame is trotted out. (That also does exactly ZERO good, so just drop it, okay?) Then the Big Bad Abortion Debate crops up.

LOOK, if we're honest about it and acknowledge that a) we're mammals, b) mammals have sex, c) sex can result in pregnancy, and d) that pregnancy CAN BE PREVENTED, abortion does not have to come up at all. What ever happened to the aphorism that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"? 

Back to Daddy. His tactics were simple.

The Old 'Her Period is Medically Problematic' Tactic: "Mrs. Doe, little Janie is having these brutal, heavy menstrual periods that are keeping her out of school and preventing her from participating in band/sports/etc. . I can write a prescription for something that will make that a little easier on her every month."

The 'Focus on School, Not a Heavy Period': "Mrs. Smith, since we're doing Susie's physical for college, might I recommend a prescription that will reduce her stress and pain at That Time of the Month while she's away at school? Oh, good, it's actually the Pill, but she won't be taking it for contraception, of course."

There was also a rather memorable evening when he came home and announced at the dinner table that if we were even thinking about being sexually active, to see him or some other doctor to get birth control- because a very promising girl from our school had concealed a pregnancy from her parents for so long that she was already nearing the end of the second trimester. There was nothing for it but to have a shotgun wedding, because, after all, it is the South.

Slut-shaming girls for being sexually active, or girls who have been raped/molested, is a problem, so a lot of young women conceal it from their families until it's too late. Calling a girl a whore doesn't help. Getting her appropriate medical care and intervention in a timely manner does.

We need to step back and take a frank, unvarnished look at the consequences of not teaching kids about the consequences of sex and how to prevent pregnancy and disease...and I am totally here to tell you that you can't pray away AIDS. For fifteen years, I have worked with children who got HIV from gestational transmission- which CAN be prevented if the mother knows her HIV status and receives consistent treatment throughout the pregnancy. With heroin use going off the charts again, HELLO, new AIDS epidemic from needle-sharing and infected sex.

Pretending that something isn't a problem won't make it go away.















Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Coffee Meets Disappointment

If it weren't for the other single librarians out there, I'd probably be a total basket case. We all seem to be having a few hiccups getting back into the dating realm. It's not just us ladies, either; the guybrarians are not doing a lot better overall. Maybe we're just so weird and compartmentalized that nobody else gets us...and in my case, I'm fat, so that's a big old negative right up front...just not sure what to do.

Here we are at "cuffing season", the time of year when every woman who wants to get engaged hopes that the person in her life has taken the hint, and I'm the most single-est single person alive, or at least it feels that way.

Two other things: my Airedale girl, Sister, passed away suddenly two weeks ago and I miss her so much; and my childhood friend lost her partner to cancer yesterday. That pretty much sucks, and for the record, I don't think we're really old enough to be widowed. (Hell, I haven't even managed to get married yet.)

One of the stranger aspects of my personality is that I look for intelligence as a marker for compatibility (even my celebrity crush is a cute sort of dude, but he has a double first in Classics from Cambridge- which flies my kite a lot more than the 'cute factor'). My nerdiness/brainyness is a huge turnoff to men, so even if they can get past my size (which is damned infrequent), my 'strong personality' and intellectual bent (though not snobby) are pretty much Kryptonite.

I burrow into my fluffy duvets at night and try to be positive about being single. It eludes me.

What's a nerd girl to do? Read Anno Dracula and endeavor to not panic. I went to the movies by myself recently, which is progress considering that I haven't gone pretty much since my ex walked out.

Last year, I had a meltdown on New Year's Eve because I was overwhelmed by being the third wheel and also because my dining companion was a Korean War vet of approximately my dad's age. I had this blinding flash of 'oh, this is the best it's ever going to get' and 'I'm going to die alone and be eaten by wild dogs'. I went still, closed-off, and motionless. I wouldn't eat. I just wanted to lie down and cry.

I hope this year is better, but I make no promises. There's no light at the end of the tunnel right now unless it's mounted on a train that's about to run me over.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

*cricket, cricket*

My therapist asked me the other day if I'd heard from Hopkins. The short answer is 'no'.

Still laughing at the bitter irony that this is the man over whom my ex ostensibly broke up with me. It was a convenient excuse, anyway.

We were blessed to have Doug Jones, the great creature/SFX actor, on our campus yesterday. His maternal family is originally from Harlan, so this was sort of Old Home Week after a limited fashion. I've been an enormous fan of his since he played Billy Butcherson in Hocus Pocus, but the role in which I absolutely adored his performance was as Abe Sapien in the two Hellboy movies. We were so fortunate that he agreed to come here, and there is already Oscar chatter about his new venture with Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water. I was fangirling all over the place; I rolled out a combo look of Liz-Sherman-meets-Gaiman's-Death-from-Sandman in honor of the day. I was just too worried that I'd have a total meltdown to actually speak to the man myself; as I told the bookstore manager, I was just glad to get to share oxygen in the same room with someone of such talent.

Today I'm back to reality, wearing a British sweater with a striped kitten on it; so from Goth to Twee Librarian, in a single felled swoop.

My brother-in-law rolled in last weekend and basically told my sister to pack her things and get out. She refused, so the standoff continues. He isn't happy, he says; he wants to move out west. I have some editorial comments related to that from which I will refrain, but since he has never had my sister on his insurance policy (which has forced our father to continue working to obtain her $1100/month cash price insulin as samples) and expected any income that she made to be the disposable income of their household, I'm here to tell you that his "Aw, Shucks Good-guy Persona" is bullshit. He recently spent all but about $10 in their bank account on two expensive coffee shop visits and a restaurant meal, came home and offered my sister his leftovers, and then revoked that offer when he realized that there was no food in the house or money to buy any. Did I mention that my sister is a Type I diabetic? This is a form of abuse, by the way, if you haven't clocked it yet.

She's no saint, but how would you feel if your significant other blew $60 you really didn't have, offered you their table scraps, and then decided you (who have an illness that requires you to eat at regular intervals) aren't even worthy of that?

There are worse things than being single, people, and that's one of them, right there. If you spend all the money out of spite and try to starve someone to get what you want, you are an asshole. Period.