Category Archives: blogging is cheaper than therapy

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies.It’s compromise that moves us along.

Day 3: “Resources.”

Not to diminish the post below but, my phone was off for less than 24 hours before I encountered a situation that made me rethink the whole ‘I don’t need a phone; it interferes with my potential happiness’ hypothesis.

In summary, I was hungry. And, I needed Jimmy Johns.

Luckily for me I have a roommate, who I asked to place the order on my behalf. I did this feeling absolutely certain that I had outsmarted the system. Of course she responded as any responsible roommate in her 2o-somethings would… She began mocking me. “What happened to I’m stronger than an iPhone/I don’t need it to make me happy,” she whined. “This is different.” I started to explain, “I don’t need my phone; I need your help!”  We both smiled but, I quickly followed it up by shooting her a look which hopefully reflected hunger and impatience.

I’m guessing it worked because she gave in. And like a Jedi mind reader she tossed me her phone adding a quick, “well, technically you’re aren’t cheating.”  In an effort to further justify my innocence and pacify my guilt I chimed in, “yeah, exactly. I’m just using my resources.”

Resources.

They’re something I didn’t fully consider when I made this decision to go wire-less. But, the truth is my iPhone is so much more than a device that allows me to connect to a person with a similar device. It’s my compass, calendar, alarm clock, handheld meteorologist, weight-tracking, little black book reminding, social media guru.

And it’s a hell of a lot less expensive than an assistant and less annoying than a significant other. For over 5 years my phone is what’s been keeping me on track and ready for potential disaster.

So what now…

That’s the question I terrifyingly continued to ask myself as I struggled to fall asleep on night 1. My fear was that I would get fired because I overslept because I didn’t set an alarm because I don’t have an alarm to set because I turned my phone off because I felt overwhelmed.

Then, I just felt stupid.

This thought spooked me so much that I actually considered walking the 3.5 miles to and from Super Target at 2:52 a.m. just so I could buy a clock so that I wouldn’t oversleep and  get fired. But, instead I got so overwhelmed that I fell asleep anyways, completely forgetting about the route to Target I had just mentally mapped out. And guess what? I woke up, without an alarm clock, on time.

And, I didn’t get fired.

Since as long as I can remember, my cellphone has always been my alarm clock. But, it’s only since yesterday that I realized it’s been that way because I allowed it to be that way. Humans are naturally programmed to survive. We adapt when necessary, making changes and adjustments so that we don’t fail. It’s who we are; It’s what we do.

We survive. We keep going.

The problem is we’re human. We want more than just to survive. We want love. We want success. We want to be the best that we can be. We get overly emotional and swear off electronics for a week just to be able to breath again.

We adapt.

So, if turning my phone off for a week meant losing out the on 54 resources that my iPhone provided in order to gain the 1 that it didn’t, I’m glad that resource gained was me.

Tagged

We all want the same thing; we all want love

Day 1: “I hate the way Maury sounds.”

At 12:00 am last night I entered into what was destined to become one of the most intriguing (and maybe a little idiotic) ideas I’ve ever suggested. I promised all of facebook and my roommate that I was going to go on an “iFast” in which I abstained from using my phone, personal twitter account, and facebook for the next week. After the initial laughter subsided an overwhelming and general reaction of annoyance and confusion emerged. The amount of “What the hell, this isn’t cute” text messages that followed were equally unsettling. But,  as the sun begins to set on day 1 I could not stand more firmly by my declaration of electronic abstinence and here’s why…

I had several “best friends” in elementary school. In fact, I think I went through 12 in the 8 months of schooling that was the third grade–but few of these bff’s were as outstanding as freckle-faced Hannah. Freckle-faced Hannah had long blonde hair and a toe touch I would kill for. We cheered for the same squad for two years and played soccer together for four years. Our mothers were on the PTA together and our fathers would barbeque on Sundays as though they were long-lost brothers. For the most part our families were carbon copies of each other, and our lives just seem to fit.

Everything except for Eli.

Eli was Hannah’s  spunky and super inquisitive younger brother. He would hide whenever Daisy’s from our Girl Scouts troop would sleepover and wave at me from time to time. He would also write me LOTS of letters about all kinds of things and, on occasion, gesture for me to come watch “Zoom” with him after school but, I almost never heard him speak.

Turns out Eli was deaf. My parents held this conversation with me about Eli around the same time Hannah’s parents talked to her about Ramadan–but that’s another story. This is the story about the day I went to Hannah’s house and everyone was in tears.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Hannah gripped my hand super tight and instructed me that her family was in a “fragile” place. I whispered, “is everything ok?,” concerned  that I may have been unintentionally involved in making what appeared to be a bad situation worse. Hannah looked at me with her huge almond shaped eyes and explained that today was the day Eli would hear.

I couldn’t have been older than 11 and was completely naive on the process of regaining hearing after years of being deaf and what a monumental moment this was for their family. In summary, I was annoyed and frustrated with Hannah so I threw down her hand exclaiming, “that (Eli getting an implant) is a good thing, duh!”–my vocabulary was clearly as sophisticated as I was at 11 years old. Her mother (and perhaps the whole block) heard the less than satisfactory job we were doing in attempting to whisper on the staircase. We were on the staircase in an equally failed attempt to  hide so we could get a closer look at the process of Eli gaining hearing. Hannah’s mom stormed towards the staircase and grabbed us both by our ears.

She took us into Eli’s room where he sat in a corner clawing at the implant and begging to take it out. “I HATE THE WAY MAURY SOUNDS!..I HATE IT..I HATE IT..I HATE IT!!” is all he kept repeating. With each screeching plea my heart sank lower and lower, shocked and a little afraid. Sensing my confusion Hannah went to hold my hand again and said, “He means morning. He hates the way morning sounds.”

Morning.– It’s a sound I never really considered.

The landscapers lawn mowers must’ve been like being in a giant garbage disposal, the birds chirping must’ve felt like piercing needles pressed into his ear drums and I could only imagine what Hannah and I’s creaking on the staircase felt like. It was in that moment that I realized, we were “morning” and we were painful.

This weekend I experienced my own version of “Maury.”

I woke up Saturday and felt overwhelmed, overstimulated, and generally ill-prepared for the future. I tried pinpointing  when someone metaphorically turned on my implant when I wasn’t ready but, I couldn’t seem to figure it out. I went about my day as usual and nothing superbly out of the ordinary happened but, ‘morning’ seemed to be getting louder and louder.

So then Sunday morning happened. I had hoped to wake up and experience life as it is but, was instead greeted by an obnoxiously vibrant alarm, an equally obnoxiously vibrant roommates’ alarm, apartment maintenance staff vacuuming, dump truck backing up, 12 text messages and 25 snapchats all before 6 am.

I was like Eli. I just wanted for morning to stop.

So last night, before I said my final prayers, I reached over and turned ‘morning’ off.

Tagged ,

I’ve got a right to be wrong.

My grandmother used to do this thing.

Back then I called it getting on my nerves although now I would probably classify it as wisdom. It was simple really; she would ask, “Are you ready yet?” This phrase was almost always heard echoing down the hallways of our summer house in Tyler, Texas where one of us grandchildren wasn’t getting ready when we pinky promised we would.

There are not enough fingers and toes between the 4 of us grandchildren for me to count the number of times I answered, “yes” when I should’ve said, “no.” I would brush my teeth under my bed, sneak breakfast I hadn’t finished into the car, and my mothers’ ultimate pet peeve–continue to exclaim, “Nobody told me I was supposed to be getting ready.” I would do everything within my power to push the responsibility of me getting ready and my lack of such onto everybody else. But, no matter what tactic I employed my grandmother would never play into it. She would always respond with a very level headed, “Alright.”

I hated when she did that.

What I needed in those moments of “I can’t find my socks/I haven’t finished my juice yet/and can I watch the end of Recess?” was an empathetic ear. But, no. No matter how hard I pouted or how many fake tears I mustered all I ever got was an “alright.” And even though I was only about 12 and wasn’t allowed to say the words; I knew that this game she was playing was absolute bullsh*t.

So one day, I did something she hated.

I hid one of her shoes,  turned up the stove so that the biscuits would burn (thus ruining breakfast), and unplugged her perfectly heated curling iron. I destroyed her routine. Meanwhile, I finished my breakfast (which had also burned–something I, for some reason, didn’t consider), brushed my teeth, and put on my perfectly pressed Sunday dress. Then, I stood in the hallway with my hands on my hips and screamed, “GRANDDOT- ARE YOU READY!?”

She came around the corner in her gown, hair still undone, make-up only half completed and said, “No—But, you are.”

I was defeated– and mostly just annoyed that I had missed half of  “One Saturday Morning” trying to sabotage my grandmothers plans. I collapsed in the hallway and crossed my arms.  My grandmother began laughing. She laughed, and laughed, and laughed until eventually she started to cry.

I hated that moment.

She watched me sulk for about 5 minutes before she grew bored with the charade and asked what was wrong. I explained that I just wanted her to feel how I feel when I’m rushed and not ready. I wanted her to know that sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I’m just not ready. Then, like a true grandma, she leaned down and said, “I know. And, that’s alright.”

So for those of you wondering how work has been since “the week from hell” and if I made good and forgave my coworkers the short answer is no. But, that’s because sometimes, you just aren’t ready to make nice.

And that’s alright.

Tagged ,

But they told me a man should be faithful and walk when not able and fight till the end. But I’m only human

Life was a lot easier in my firefly-catching days.

Of course, times were different back then. Success meant winning the Skip-it competition in 4th grade, love was being told you were ‘pretty enough to be a Spice Girl’ and beauty was determined by the number of perfectly positioned badges I had earned at Girl Scout camp in the fall of ’94. Concepts like bills, heartache, and inferiority didn’t exist.

But my favorite thing about elementary school was the purity of everyone’s actions.

When my friends and I argued we’d always say ‘sorry’ and we’d always mean it. Hugs were in no short supply. If you needed something, anything–from a pencil to a slinky–and especially when you forgot your lunch at home, everyone at your table contributed perfect portions of animal crackers and fruit roll-ups, without be asked. It’s what we did.

But these were different times.

Now, I work for an organization that I love beyond what a few characters on a screen will allow me to express. I have amazingly bold, gifted, and talented co-workers who each come with their own set of pros and cons. But, I just finished a week where people weren’t willing to say sorry when it needed to be said and when I metaphorically got hurt on the playground, no one asked  if I was ‘alright.’ The bottom line is, we’re older now and protect our egos over each other. We’ve become more concerned with judgments and insecurities, fearing what we don’t know rather than enjoying what we do have. We think about ‘potential shortcomings’ and assume the worst of one another as opposed to using our strengths to shield others’ weaknesses. It seems like my team has gotten to a place where we operate on the defense forgetting that no points can be scored without an active offense. Part of me wishes I had the strength to describe everything awful that happened this week and just how hurt and offended by the whole series I am, but I don’t. What I do have is the strength to explain the conversation I had with a coworker (from another team) last night and how he corrected what I once saw as weakness.

With tears hanging from my eyelashes in a dimly-lit Chiptole I stared down at the table ashamed to admit I was a part of a team that was hurting. I started off by rationalizing  everything that everyone did that was wrong. I created excuses and hoped for a different outcome to a story I already knew the ending of. And after 12 minutes of talking in circles and avoiding naming names I took a deep breathe and sighed, “I wonder if the problem is me….”  I struggled all week in deciding who was to blame. I only wanted to know where it all went wrong, so that if I was in the wrong I could correct it. Things got quite and no one spoke until I blurted out, “The real problem is I have to go into work everyday to face a group of people who have said they have no problem hurting me. And, I have no choice but to either accept it or reciprocate their emotion.”

In an unexpected twist the co-worker started to smile. He looked at me and said, “But, what if there was a third option?” Annoyed, with his whimsical thinking I rolled my eyes and dropped my head. He said, “Now, hear me out. What if you loved them–whoever they are– in spite of the hate they show?” Intrigued by the concept I cut the melodramatics and opened my heart to the possibility of loving something I knew might hurt me. He continued his theory by explaining that I wouldn’t be the first (or the last)person to have to work with people whose intentions appear impure.  He reminded me of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the fact that he died loving in spite of hate and then finished his lesson by saying to me, “you aren’t sacrificing who you are by loving in spite of hate–you are being who you are by loving in spite of hate.”

I won’t lie; this doesn’t solve all of the harm done on our team. But, this does change things. Because now, when someone metaphorically forgets their lunch at home, loses their Lisa Frank binder, or breaks their pencil I’m going to share mine regardless of whether or not they would do the same for me.

And I’ll do it, because it’s what you’re supposed to do.

Poetic justice, poetic justice, You were so new to this life but damn you got adjusted

In college I had a gay friend. In fact, I had several gay friends–most of which were both open and honest about their sexuality. Others however  were not as comfortable.

There was one friend who excelled at the not-so-out gay lifestyle. We’ll call him Jake. Jake wore Toms and flannel in the fall, drove a super American car, and had a petite girlfriend who he almost constantly and publicly praised as being “fuc*ing hot.” Jake was involved  around campus and great at beer pong so for the most part he was well liked. Most considered Jake  the All-American (heterosexual) boy next door.

But, I had my suspicions. A lot of us who knew him did. We assumed his girlfriend, puppy, and facebook relationship status were all pieces of a well maintained coverup. To us, Jake was –and is–gay. Like most friendships the longer you know a person the more mutual friends you develop. Jake was no exception. Each month we’d add at least 2 people to our list of shared contacts. By the second year of our friendship we had collected so many mutual friends that Ash Ketchum would’ve been jealous. And with each new mutual friend came a new set of questions and poised facial expressions which, in the most polite way possible, asked, ‘is he gay?’

For a long time I didn’t know how to respond to these questions. Sure I had my suspicions but, they were just that…suspicions. I remained torn until I finally confided these concerns to yet another mutual friend, Lisa. Lisa had LOTS of gay friends. I figured if anyone knew how to approach the situation it’d be her. Lisa said she’d ask me one question and if I didn’t know what to do after that then she’d ask him herself. She asked, “has he ever told you he’s gay?” Of course the answer was no. If I knew the answer then it wouldn’t be a suspicion. Duh. Lisa went on to explain,”if you don’t know that he’s gay and he hasn’t told you that he’s gay then really there’s no valid evidence for you to believe that. Who are you to tell someone else who they are or aren’t?” I grew defensive wanting to explain that I wasn’t ‘trying to out him’ I just wanted to ‘help him.’ And that’s when Lisa gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. She said, “it’s a common misconception that you can’t help others unless they are ready to help themselves. But, the truth is, you can’t help put out a fire that doesn’t exist.” Her point was: just because I saw Jake as gay, in the closet and struggling to balance those two worlds doesn’t  mean that any of those statements  are true.

So why share this story now?

Today one of my oldest friends announced her decision to de-hijab. After a few texts and even a DM I couldn’t help but to remember Jake and how I felt every time I was asked, ‘but, is he gay?’  People are about the bottom line. They don’t care about the beginning, middle, or end so long as you give them a happy ever after. And as much as I’d like to just say, “HERE IT IS!” That’s not the way life works. You can’t appreciate the ending to a movie without knowing the beginning. I say this because I have noticed a spike in the amount of girls I know who are de-hijabing and am in many ways concerned. My biggest concern is that it will become a  trend in which Muslim girls everywhere are cutting the metaphorical movie short just to give people the ending they want. And, I don’t believe in compromising identities. My second concern is that people will forget what hijab is and it’s highly subjective meaning for each girl who wears it. Regardless of how hurtful  it is (as a hijabi) to watch this trend emerge it’s more important to me that we remember that hijab is something that is worn just as much on the inside as it is on the outside. That is to say that, like Jake, just because a female decides to remove (or for that matter wear) the hijab it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is struggling or any less firm in her deen (religion) than she was when she was wearing it. Please do not misunderstand this as a justification piece–it is by no means that. But, it is a reminder piece. It’s time to pass on the lesson that meant so much to me a year ago today: unless you have the full story, you will never have the full story. And without the full story you will never appreciate the movie. So who are we to criticize?..Oh right, no one.

written with love and chai in hand, with the purest of intentions for Winnie.

Tagged , ,

I took my turn and I will state my case But I could be wrong

A few weeks ago I was a guest blogger on my company’s website. I wrote about the “best  day of my life.”  [Spoiler alert]: I conclude that there are many ‘best days’ and we have no control over when or how they occur, which is perhaps why they are so beautiful, because they just happen. This is important because I believe that certain days shouldn’t be celebrated just because they have been celebrated before–and with that I’m sure I am at least 25% more attractive to anybody who has ever forgotten an anniversary. But, I digress.

Celebrations should be held out of a genuine desire to congratulate and honor the event/person and if it’s not for that reason, then it shouldn’t be celebrated. Go big or go home. I figure ‘Why fake an emotion to cause a mediocre memory?’

My coworkers, friends, and family however do not agree. “Throw a party!, It’ll be fun!, Why wouldn’t you want to celebrate you?” were all questions/comments posed when I insisted I did not want to celebrate my most recent birthday. But, ‘you have to!’ they persisted . So I gave in and held a party to celebrate a time in my life I don’t think needs to be celebrated on just one day. I celebrate the victories when they happen, as they happen. And I know Hallmark would be disappointed but, I can’t be convinced that you should celebrate being alive 1 out of ever 365 days. I think it’s selfish to all the other days that led up to making you, you.

But, I work with students who mean  the best so I held my “mis quince” balloon bouquet with pride. I  said “thank you” with every wish granted on my birthday and tried my hardest to mean it because punishing the best of intentions is far worse than celebrating a birthday that’s already been celebrated.

Let’s file this under: Fake it til you make it and call it a day.

Tagged , ,

She had found what she’d been looking for. And, I knew it wasn’t me

Today I cried at work. I cried for approximately 22 minutes and 15 seconds in the stairwell that separates my company’s office and the Colorado Democratic party headquarters. I cried from the stairwell to my bus stop, from the bus stop to my door step and then my door step to my bed where I continued to cry for another hour. Unfortunately, this extreme display of emotion captured the attention of several coworkers who began to question both the validity of my tears and the male coworker seen talking to me only 20 minutes earlier. That –the confusion about who to blame and why– I regret.

The conversation should’ve been simple, an agreement to disagree. What the conversation turned into was a blame game between him and I, in which we pointed fingers and cited unrelated incidences as evidence to back us up. Our goals got lost in the emotions of trying to be right and that’s where it all went wrong. We forgot what we were fighting for. The truth is we were both right and we were both wrong. We let our egos guide our mouths and my heart suffered the consequences. He said a few coworkers thought I was arrogant, over-bearing, and disrespectful, that I felt my opinions were more sacred than theirs. The word bit*h came pouring out  and it felt colder than usual. I tried turning to leave the conversation when he turned his body blocking me in to explain that by walking away I was proving everything that everyone thought about me- true or not- correct. That’s when it hit me.

As much as I’d like to write, “haters gone hate” and move on with my life the truth is there is a part of us all that wants so desperately to be both loved and accepted. And at my job I don’t feel that way. I feel liked and respected. This  is nice when it comes to projects and data because it’s black and white. I can quantify the effectiveness of my ideas. People like what I have to offer. But, life isn’t black and white. And, we aren’t always working on projects. And if I am by chance arrogant, over-bearing, and disrespectful to my coworkers, even if it’s only the 5 he mentioned, I humbly apologize. That is never the person I want to be.  I realized that I wasn’t mad at him, I was mad at myself. So I cried.

And, if the sky is falling, just take my hand and hold it

tumblrquote

Today something funny happened and I wanted to tell you in person but, you’re farther then I’d like. So, I told no one realizing  I miss my old friends almost as much as I miss the person I was when I was with them.

Tagged ,