A Fool’s Angst

I made the mistake of cracking open my high school journal last night.

Why did I do this?

Well, I saw an ad for a comedy show where you read embarrassing exerts from teenage angst ridden journals.

My reaction was, “Oooh I possibly have comedic material!”

I know I got some material in there, but I had to stop after the first few entries cause they were the embodiment of Smashing Pumpkins’ Melancholy and Infinite Sadness.

Let me give you a prologue.

When I was young I didn’t have a whole lot of friends. My siblings were not close in age to me and neither were my cousins who were also older. I was the baby on both sides of my family.

This forced me to be a bit precocious which made me real popular with adults, but not so much kids my age. I struggled with making friends.

Fast forward to my teen years and that feeling stuck around. I didn’t relate to most girls my age and the boys my age liked me, but because I was a girl…well let’s just say you can’t join the boy scout’s club if you don’t have the right equipment.

Not gonna win any literal pissing contests I’ll tell you that much.

So here I am, this precocious girl of 13 who happens to befriend an older German exchange student. She not only likes me, but thinks I’m awesome. A year or two later, she sets up her little sister to stay with my parents and me.

I was thrilled. I was going to learn so much about Germany and have a cool female friend! I couldn’t wait.

Then the day came to pick her up from the airport. My family and I were anxiously waiting at the German girl’s gate.

Back then you could wait at the gate for people, I know, 1999 was a crazy time.

Now I want you to picture this 15 year old girl who is nerdy and slightly chubby and who has never had a real boyfriend, never been kissed and will never know how much in common she had with Tina Belcher because Bob’s Burgers didn’t exist yet.

See this girl go from a radiant smile to sudden panic as she sees this tall, thin, beautiful blue eyed girl walk into her view.

She instantly feels less than and she tries to brush it off because she already knows she’s just feeling insecure and it wasn’t fair to not give this girl whose older sister she loved a chance just because she felt ugly in her presence.

So, time passed and as much as she fought those insecurities it got worse and worse. It felt like this girl did everything better than her and that everyone liked her more.

Boys seemed to fall instantly in love with her while the chubby girl just felt invisible.

The chubby nerdy girl wanted so much to be seen and to be liked, but she felt only her parents did and even that seemed to be slipping away from her with the seemingly perfect girl staying at her house.

All of that is documented in the first pages of my high school journal.

I can still feel the pain of rejection when I read it. I cried a little. I wanted so much to hug 15 year old version of me.

I’m not ugly anymore. I never was to begin with, but as I grew older I did become more attractive in regards to society’s standards. I’m still not a thin blue eyed girl, but I’ve got other things going for me.

Yet some days I still feel ugly, fat, and unlikable. It’s exhausting to feel that way.

This isn’t my point, though. My point is that as much pain as I felt back then, I’m proud of how it made me stronger and more empathetic to anyone I ever sensed could even possibly be jealous of me.

German girl was not kind about my jealousy. She rubbed it in my face as often as she could and this is a major reason why it matters so much to me to diffuse jealousy when I sense it from others. I know that pain too well.

I wish everyone would extend that same kindness, but not everyone does.

In the end there’s no point in dwelling on my disappointment of others. I can only control myself and remember to be kind.

I urge all of you to do the same.

 

My Never Ending Philosophical Question

I want to get back to writing about my recipes, but I’m working again and haven’t had the chance to cook lately. Working is good, because as you might have read in my last post, I need to keep busy. Unfortunately, my current temp work is, for the most part, just answering the phones. This means I get bored often, which always leads to rumination.

This office is so relaxed, though, and that’s a relief. They don’t really care what I do as long as I’m around to answer the phones. The former receptionist told me she would watch Netflix sometimes when she was bored. I almost feel like I could whip out my PSP provided I stashed it away whenever a client comes in. As much as I love games, though, I still worry that would shed some major light on how truly immature and un-professional I am.

I’m also a bit shy about writing on here when I’m working, not because I think it’s an unacceptable thing to do, but because my computer is fairly visible to people walking by. I don’t mind strangers reading this blog. Writing in anonymity, especially when you’re not a great writer is all fine by me. Having people I know in real life read my crap, is too scary and vulnerable.

It doesn’t matter how old I get, there is still a part of me that gets worried about being made fun of. That’s why I regret letting people in my real life know about this blog. I’ve told some friends, I don’t think most of them read it, so that’s ok. I wouldn’t want anyone here to read it though. I think it’s kind of silly, because in the end you’ve got to be yourself, right? Then again, what if being yourself isn’t a good thing? Then what? You change naturally. What if you’re not the one with the problem and it’s actually everyone else though? How do you determine which is which? These are some of the philosophical discussions I have with myself that I’ve yet to master.

I don’t recommend doing it to yourself either. It leads to feelings of self-doubt and a never ending rabbit hole of wondering if you need to change or continue to be yourself. People want to knock delusion, but delusional people do seem to be the most confident and happy. Ignorance truly is bliss.

You Can Go Now

I’m currently reading House of Leaves and like Johnny Truant does in the book, I feel compelled to rattle off because a passage reminds me of a memory in my own life. What I just read was an entry where a character tells another character they can go now while said character is on their death-bed. I apologize if this counts as a spoiler, but I don’t think it is, because the book is so out there and all over the place. The way it’s written, I could be talking about anyone or anything.

Anyway, this passage reminded me of my grandmother’s own passing. She was on hospice and I had made travel arrangements to go and see her. I was already living in Los Angeles at this point. I only had a couple of days til my flight, but I ended up getting a phone call from my mother while I was shopping at Ikea of all places. My mother explained to me that my grandmother was most likely going to pass that day. She told me she was going to call me in a few minutes so I could say goodbye.

I was shell-shocked. I didn’t know how to react or what to say, so I just said, “Ok.”

I was with the artichoke boyfriend at this point in time. He didn’t know what was going on at all. He just wanted to get a futon for the place we were moving into. I told him I had to step outside, that my grandmother was dying. His response was similar to my own. “Ok.”

So I sat outside, on a bench, in front of the Burbank Ikea. I felt so numb. I learned about death fairly quickly in my life. My other grandmother died when I was six. I had many pets pass over the years. I felt knowledgeable about death. You’re never really prepared for it, though, no matter how well acquainted you get.

I was searching for what to do and say when my phone rang, it was my mother. She explained to me that my grandmother had lost her voice, but she was going to put the phone up to her ear so she could hear me. My grandmother had severe Parkinson’s. Her body slowly fell apart on her over the years to point where she could hardly walk and even eat. I figured her disease had finally affected her voice as well. Despite this, her mind remained quite sharp. I was confident at the very least she’d be able to comprehend who I was.

I could picture my mother placing her phone up to her mother’s ear and I thought of what I wanted to say. I wanted to see her one last time, but I also didn’t want her to suffer anymore. So I told her this, “Hello Grammy. I hear you aren’t doing well. I’m supposed to fly out soon to come to see you and I hope I can. I know you’ll probably try to wait for me too, but if you have to go, it’s ok. I will understand and I love you.”

Telling someone goodbye who can’t talk back is an emotionally deafening experience. Here I am, laying my heart out and I have no means of gaining any response. The silence continued on the other end and suddenly I heard my mom’s voice again. “She heard your message baby. I’ll call you later. Love you.”

When I hung up, I still felt numb, but then a couple of seconds later the tears poured out of me. I found artichoke in the kitchen aisle. He had a dumbfounded look on his face. We quickly got what we needed and headed to our place. A couple of hours later, my grandmother passed.

Mom said the whole family was there, waiting for her to go, but then dinner time was approaching. So everyone left to eat and that’s when she left. She was from Tennessee and a true steel magnolia. She wasn’t going to let her family see her die and so she waited it out as long as possible.

I love that stubborn strength of hers, but I hated that I couldn’t see her one last time. When I got back to Indiana I asked Mom if she thought grandma understood what I had said. She smiled sadly and said, “I know she did, because she had a tear in her eye when you were talking to her. She loved you a lot. She loved all of her grandkids.”

Then we laughed because she was so stubborn that we were a little surprised she didn’t hold out til I got there.

This is why I told her it was ok to let go. I ended up being the only one who didn’t get to say goodbye in person and that’s ok, because I didn’t want her to suffer anymore. She struggled with her Parkinson’s for a decade. It was painful to see her. I regret not spending more time with her when I had the chance more than not making it time to see her one last time.

Life is too short to allow fear to determine your lack of action. I wish I had learned that lesson sooner.