31 August 2009

Lost My Faith in My Darkest Day

current mood: irritable

She got the call today, one out of the grey
And when the smoke cleared, it took her breath away
She said she didn’t believe 'it could happen to me'
I guess we're all one phone call from our knees
We're gonna get there soon
~ “Closer to Love” by Mat Kearney

I have been up all night coughing. I have some sort of bronchial irritant. I refuse to acknowledge that it could be anything germ-related, as I am not in a position to be sick. I have too much work and not enough hours in the day to allow my body time for recovery. Therefore, I am drowning my cough in suppressants. All will be well. I checked the CDC website and my symptoms do not mirror H1N1. So those of you ready to accuse me of having “swine flu” please keep your comments to yourself. First off, I refuse to get any infections which utilize the name of an animal in their title. That means no Mad Cow, no Swine Flue, and no Monkey Ebola Virus. I also refuse to have Cat Scratch fever or Avian flu.

Such refusals have kept me quite healthy throughout the years.

Unfortunately, peeps, that’s all I have for today! Such a disappointment!

PERSONAL NOTE: Nicely done on your recent “editing” skills. Some people do not deserve to know what is going on with you!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Thank you for the serial killer DVDs. :)

27 August 2009

Y – O – Y – O – Y

current mood: stressed

Don't push me cause i'm close to the edge
I'm trying not to lose my head
Sometime I sit alone
And look deep into my soul
And I’m starin’ down at something
That's very out of control
~ “The Stress Factor” by Andre Nickatina

I am a person who generally thrives on stress. I enjoy being pushed to the limit. It serves as encouragement and motivation. Unfortunately, the line between “the edge” and “falling into oblivion” is growing thinner by the day. I am by no means a martyr and I certainly have an easier life than many people I know. Still, I do work 2 jobs, volunteer, and am applying to law School. If anyone had truly wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday – it would have been “someone to clean my room and organize my stuff” or “someone to help me move all my belongings from one storage unit to my new storage unit”. My work week is filled with “WORK” and my weekends are spent trying to catch up on sleep that I didn’t get during the week. I even had to hire maids to come in and clean the “common” rooms in the house because I just didn’t have time to do it.

On my birthday, I spent time with NBF, which was nice. I dragged him to The Loft (Ann Taylor) so that I could look at clearance items. I bought a cute short-sleeve cardigan for 10 bucks. I have worn it three times this week. Today, I finally noticed the “M” sticker that was stuck to it, indicating ‘medium’. Nice! Who doesn’t love walking around with tags still stuck to my clothes??

I have actually accomplished some things this week, however, besides work. I have formally requested all of my transcripts for my law School applications, as well as my LORs. I still need to write my Personal Letter and begin studying to re-take the LSAT in December. There is no way I have the ‘bandwidth’ to attempt the September LSAT. Thankfully, NBF is going to help me study – which is a huge plus!

This weekend I intend on mailing ‘new baby’ presents to the Merlos and the Dalys, as well as wrap the baby present I bought for the Duartes. I also am moving all of my belongings from one storage unit to another – which includes towing a UHAUL trailer. I have no idea how to tow a trailer – so this should be an interesting event. Anyone want to help me? I just sent a text request to 8 people. I hope one of you say ‘YES’.

On a separate topic, my tummy aches. I hate it when my stomach hurts. Yuckers!

PERSONAL NOTE: Vegas in 3 weeks!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: People are crazy!

26 August 2009

The Mix Tape

current mood: insatiable

Though I do wish you’d come over
But I'm warning you if you do
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have designs on you
I'd be lying if I said I didn't have designs on you
~ “Designs on You” by the Old 97s

The other day someone posted a facebook blurb regarding the lost art of the mix tape. While it is true that making someone a Cd now has become a high tech process, with a gorgeous, pristine end-product, there is something to be said about the time and thought which went into creating a mixetape for someone. The process was painstakingly meticulous.
Step 1: Lay all cassette tapes out on the floor so that the appropriate songs are within reach.
Step 2: Make a list of the songs so that an estimate can be made as to whether or not they will all fit on the cassette tape.
Step 3: Verify that each cassette tape is cued to the correct song.
Step 4: Record an audio opening that introduces the music (very similar to being your own DJ)
Step 5: Start the blank tape recording then hit ‘Play’ on the first tape.
Step 6: Listen to the song in its entirety (because everyone knows that high-speed dubbing gives the mixed tape a high pitched tone in the background which ruins the quality).
Step 7: When the song is over, hot Pause on the recording side and eject the original tape.
Step 8: Insert next cassette tape to record from.
Step 9: Repeat these steps until one side of the mix tape is full. If the last song did not record in its entirety, rewind to the beginning of that song on the mix tape and replace partial song with more audio chat, telling the person how great they are, etc.
Step 10: Flip mix tape and begin again on Side 2/B.
Once the mix tape is recorded, grab another blank tape and record the entire mix tape for your personal use; because it’s a damn good mix.

Grab a pen and write down each song and artist for the Cassette insert. Draw pretty pictures or add stickers, etc, for decoration purposes.

There you have it, the perfect gift for your BFF; BF; GF; even a non-boyfriend, if you happen to have one of those instead.

Making a CD Mix on the computer comes nowhere close to the purity of a true ‘mix tape’. Clicking and dragging music, followed by pressing “record CD’, does not even touch the emotional investment of creating a mix tape.

I will admit that there are exceptions to this generalization. There are some people who invest a ton of time and energy into making a CD for someone. They record their own voice, add fun little excerpts between songs, and design the inserts themselves. Those people are exempt from feeling the sting of this commentary.

People who should feel the sting even more intensely, however, are those who just make an iTunes playlist for someone and throw it on a flashdrive or a zip file for someone else’s use. Those people suck!

PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you for the birthday wishes!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: We should get together. Soon.

20 August 2009

Lay Down Your Arms; Gather Your Friends

When you feel the world is crashing all around your feet,
come running headlong into my arms,
breathless. I’ll never judge you,
I can only love you.
Come now, running headlong
into my arms, breathless
~ “Breathless” by Better than Ezra

verb (used with object)
1. to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of: I expect to read it. I expect him later. She expects that they will come.
2. to look for with reason or justification: We expect obedience.
3. Informal. to suppose or surmise; guess: I expect that you are tired from the trip.

In Noun form, the word most recognized would be ‘expectation’. Expectations are dangerous things when they are not agreed upon by all parties involved. We have all seen relationships dissolve due to misaligned expectations. I am not merely referencing romantic relationships. Jobs have been lost due to unstated expectations. Companies have gone bankrupt. Friendships have dissolved. And yes, Marriages have ended. All because no one took the time to formalize their expectations.

When I was going through divorce counseling, we spent a lot of hours discussing and clarifying our unstated expectations. Through these discussions we discovered that all of our expectations differed from one another’s. Some of us even had opposing expectations for a successful marriage. One woman said she had the expectation that her husband should call or text her frequently throughout the day, while he was at work. Another woman said that one of the reasons she and her husband were getting divorced is that he never gave her any ‘away time’. He texted and called her during the work day and it made her feel trapped and harassed. Neither of these women ever asked their respective husbands if it was something he would agree to. In fact, neither one even mentioned that she had this expectation at all.

I was forced to look at my own relationships with family, friends, and my spouse. I realized that half of my disappointment in life was due to unstated expectations not being met. I spent the rest of divorce counseling learning how to clarify and state my expectations so that the other person was cognizant of what I expected and we could both make an informed decision as to whether or not a successful relationship can be accomplished.

I will admit that this process is not always so black and white, as sometimes we don’t know what our expectations are until they are not being met. I have an expectation that men should hold doors for women. I think it is a courtesy that is due to the fairer gender. Consider it old-fashioned or even archaic. I have this expectation every day. While living in Texas, this expectation was met 95% of the time. Even men with their hands full would step ahead of me to hold the door. In Nebraska, I sometimes find myself stopping at a door and waiting to allow the male to ‘catch up’ and open it. It has led to some awkward situations, where we both just stand there looking at the door. These situations cannot be prevented with strangers. I understand that we are going to be disappointed sometimes.

I have an unstated expectation that people won’t run me over with their car or steal my checkbook -- but I don’t HAVE to state those expectations, the law does it for me. One would think that “respectful communication” would be another expectation that should not have to be stated aloud – yet, people are disrespectful all day long to one another. If a person would speak up and say, “My expectation of you is that you will speak to me respectfully. If you cannot meet that expectation, then I will no longer do business with you.” perhaps they wouldn’t feel like a doormat every time they are confronted by a rude customer service agent.

Yesterday, NBF and I sat down and actually discussed the concept of unstated expectations. We both clarified what we expected in our very non-traditional relationship. We acknowledged that one of the reasons we are so non-traditional is because we both have set very clear expectations and agreed to meet each other on them. I know very few dating couples who have done the same. Generally these types of discussions are initiated in relationship counseling prior to a break-up.

Here is a cute example of why acting on unstated expectations is not a good idea. The following situation could have gone much smoother than it did for poor, little Jonathan, Age 10.
Mid afternoon the Mom receives a call on her cell phone from a ‘Sarah’.....calling for Jonathan.

Mom: He's not here, Sarah. Did you want me to have him call you later?”
Sarah: Yes, have him call me at 4:30
Mom: He'll still be at soccer practice; I will let him know you called.
Then, an awkward silence commences. The mom is waiting for the girl to respond.
Sarah: I go to school with Jonathan.
Mom: Right, well, I’ll tell him you called.

When the message is given to Jonathan, he denies any knowledge of how this girl could have possibly obtained the phone number. After 20 minutes of intense interrogation, he admits that he “thinks he actually may have given her his phone number”. which was actually his Mom’s cell phone number. He should have stopped there – but instead he decided this was the opportune time to lobby for a cell phone.

“"Well Mom, I don't HAVE a cell phone so I can't give her MY number"

She none-so-gently reminded her son that they have a HOME phone. She also reviewed his diminishing prospects of ever getting a cell phone.

Just like with Jonathan, Sarah, and J’s mom, there are relationships where expectations cannot or will not be met; but they cannot be severed. Think about all the times your family or your co-workers have not met your expectations. It is a part of life. Still, things go so much smoother if expectations are established and agreed upon. Next time, perhaps Jonathan will let his mother know that he gave her cell phone number out and that he would like her to handle the phone call with decorum. And, I am pretty damn sure that his mom has set the expectation that Jonathan will not be getting a cell phone of his own, any time soon!

SHOUT OUT: to the Merlos who will have baby Izabella tomorrow!

PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you for being honest and open.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Thank you for reading my mind so that even the unstated expectations cannot come between us.

17 August 2009

All I Need Is Just To Hear A Song I Know

Current mood: envious

And you can trust me not to think
And not to sleep around
If you don't expect too much from me
You might not be let down
~ “Hey, Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms

Pragmatic – (adjective) of or pertaining to a practical point of view or practical considerations.
I like to think that I am pragmatic about most aspects of life. I am a strong believer in logic and rational thought; without muddying the waters with emotion. That isn’t to say that I don’t get very emotional and make brash decisions based on emotional stimuli. I am just as guilty as the next person in behaving irrationally due to hurt feelings or fear. Recently, however, I have been doing my best to ignore the emotional impulses and behave according to strict logic.

Unfortunately, my human impulses are sometimes stronger than my logic. Here are some examples:

I love raisins – by themselves. BUT – if they are mixed or cooked in anything I refuse to eat them. In fact, I gag if they slip by unnoticed before I take a bite. Case in point: the other day I ordered fried ice cream at a local Mexican restaurant. I took a few bites and was enjoying the crispy texture of the ‘fried’ coating on the ice cream until a raisin found its way in my mouth. Sure enough, I gagged. Then, using my detective skills, I ascertained that the coating on the ice cream was RAISIN BRAN! WTF!?!?! Who wants raisings in their fried ice cream? My sister found the whole thing funny and did nothing to hide her mirth. So, I left the uneaten ice cream in the bowl and paid my bill, disappointed and a little disgusted. And just this morning, as I was getting granola for my oatmeal, I had to pick out every raisin BEFORE adding it to the bowl. It is an inconvenience at best.

I hate flying. I am well aware that commercial flying is one of the safest means of travel. I understand that turbulence in the sky is just the plane reacting to changes in air flow and air pressure. I realize that it takes an unusual combination of very bad conditions to bring a plane down (minus a flock of birds getting sucked into the engine). Some flights, I am fine, even with the turbulence. Other flights, you’d think I was a first time flyer with no idea how an airplane works. On the way home from Chicago, even after taking 2 anti-anxiety pills, I was lying in my sister’s lap, trying not to scream in panic. It makes no sense and can be quite embarrassing when it happens.

I hate dance music. In fact, it tends to annoy me to the point of anger. Yet, when I drink, I LOVE dance music. I go from a Birkenstock-wearing fan of singer-songwriters to a wanna-be stripper without a pole. I don’t understand how the transformation happens. The problem is, I really cannot dance; which may explain the hatred for music which makes me want to do so. My friend, ‘NYC Princess‘, has suggested that I may just feel more confident when people are throwing dollar bills at me. Maybe when I lose 30 lbs and learn to dance on 4 inch heels, I’ll take that leap of faith. Maybe.

Claustrophobia – (noun) an abnormal fear of being in enclosed or narrow places
I have serious claustrophobia. It stems from reading too many Edgar Allen Poe stories growing up. I also dislike crowds immensely. So, tell me why I can go to concerts, general admission, and wade through a sea of people to be in the front, where I am confined by thousands of bodies and a barricade, all without freaking out in the least bit. Is it the distraction of the music? I truly have no idea. I wish I could project that same feeling of calm when I am on a plane, or in a tight spot.

Lastly, there is very little I love doing more than reading and writing. I love to throw my ideas down on paper. Nothing would make me happier than being able to write for a living. Yet, I don’t even try to get published. I write short stories and anecdotal observations – and cannot bring myself to let anyone read them. I don’t even read them once I have written them. I don’t understand this dichotomy. I am not quite sure what I am so afraid of.

I have shared some of these concerns with a friend of mine, and he encourages me to ignore the fear, step out of my comfort zone, and do what makes me happy. Hell, it worked when I rode a roller coaster for the first time this past January – why shouldn’t it work with other aspects of my life? Perhaps turning 33 next week has me being reflective, as I always imagined that by this point in my life, I’d have a graduate degree in something and would be working and living abroad.

These thoughts make me wonder, ‘Why did I ever get on that return flight when he asked me to stay?’ One decision changed everything. Somewhere, in some other dimension, I wonder if that 19 year old girl made a different choice. . . and is sitting there wondering what would have happened had she gotten on the plane. Logic dictated my actions then . . . perhaps I should have listened to my heart instead.

A lesson learned? Perhaps some day.

SHOUT OUT: Congratulations to Michael and Brooke on their marital vows!!!!

PERSONAL NOTE: You can fake it at work. You can fake it for friends. . . It’s your decision now to give love or to just get out. ~Glen Phillips


14 August 2009

How Did I Turn My Shirt Inside Out?

current mood: ringing ears

'Cause I wanna be the minority
I don't need you, authority
Down with the moral majority
'Cause I wanna be the minority
~ “Minority” by Green Day

I am pretty sure that Billie Joe Armstrong spit on me while singing. Yeah, I was that close. And yeah, I was wearing heels. The crowd was my bith! Hard to believe that in ten days I will be 33 years old. I don’t feel ‘old’ though I do get tired faster than I did when I was 23. And sometimes I say the wrong word while speaking. My brain has these little misfires, similar to the toy crane that grabs the teddy bear when you were aiming for the football. I may mean to say “Watch my purse” when it comes out as “Watch my pizza.” (That one I didn’t actually say . . . but I know someone who did and she knows who she is. LOL

Anyway, off track! I went to the Green Day show last night and it was definitely in my top shows that I have ever, ever seen. Billie Joe Armstrong has more energy than ANY human that has ever existed. The audience ages ranged from 8 to 80. Seriously, I have never seen such a huge age disparity at a show. Moms (my age) had their 8 and 9 year olds on the floor. And these kids knew the lyrics! I was stunned. It makes me happy that my music is cross-generational. Yes, I say “my music” but it really belongs to everyone, I suppose. I’ll share.

In 1995, Green Day performed at Ranch Bowl, here in Omaha. I was supposed to go to the show. The guy who asked me was ‘unavailable’ per se, and at the last minute, I backed out due to some moral agenda that had taken root in my brain. I regretted it immensely BEFORE last night’s show. Now, I want to curl into a ball and cry for losing that opportunity. And now, Ranch Bowl is a Devil-Mart. So unfair. Dr. John’s still exists and Ranch Bowl is GONE!

I saw some great shows at Ranch Bowl. I have never seen a good show at Wal-mart. Not even one. In fact, I wasn’t even impressed with the LIVE Jonas Brothers concert that Wal-Mart televised in their stores only. There is nothing like screaming pre-pubescent girls in the express lane when I am trying to buy a Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper and some tampons.

COMING SOON: an invitation to join the Dustin McLean Fan Club on Facebook. If you haven’t seen anything produced by DustFilms, please visit DustFilms.com and you will see what all the hype is about.

PERSONAL NOTE: I need better posture . . . and a kiss from you.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: You intrigue me.

13 August 2009

So sublime when the stars are aligned

current mood: content

All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don't ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
~ “More than Words” by Extreme

Last night, NBF and I went to see the Sema ritual of the Whirling Dervishes of Rumi. Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to witness the turning of these followers of Rumi. It is a beautiful and spiritual ritual which can only be truly appreciated in person.
“The Sema ceremony represents the human being's spiritual journey, an ascent by means of intelligence and love to Perfection (Kemal). Turning toward the truth, he grows through love, transcends the ego, meets the truth, and arrives at Perfection. Then he returns from this spiritual journey as one who has reached maturity and completion, able to love and serve the whole of creation and all creatures without discriminating in regard to belief, class, or race.” ~www.whirlingdervishes.org
I was entranced by the music being played, the singing of prayer, and of course the physical manifestation of worship through the whirling and bowing of the dervishes. I have to admit that I am well-aware of my tendency to gravitate toward activities which others may interpret as ‘dorky’. I was more excited to see the Whirling Dervishes than I am to go to Green Day tonight – and that is coming from the point of view of a seventeen year Green Day fan.

I am currently reading a fascinating book called ‘Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe’. It is a non-fiction account of the lives of the 4 sisters from Provence who became 4 of the most powerful women in 13th Century Europe. The most famous of the sisters was Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France AND of England, Mother of King Richard the Lionheart. She was great at ruling, poor at staying on good terms with her husband. If you want to read a fantastic biography about her, I strongly suggest “Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life” by Alison Weir.

See? That is exactly what I was referencing before. I get so excited about stuff that many would consider academic and dull. But I am telling you, there is nothing dull about the past. It is compelling and filled with adventure and intrigue and nefarious plots. It’s better than anything a modern fiction writer could create.

All of that being said, I am looking forward to seeing Billie Joe Armstrong belt out some tunes tonight while Ali-Son and I push our way through a sea of rabid concert-goers. I will NOT be wearing flip-flops this time! As an added note, I wish he would go back to blue hair. The black just doesn’t do it for me. ;)

PERSONAL NOTE: Thank you so much for embracing my inner-dorkiness and liking me for me. You bring me joy.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Destroyed any more barns lately? Ha ha ha ha ha ha

11 August 2009

Mazel Tov

current mood: celebratory

Let’s paint the town
We’ll shut it down
Let’s burn a roof
Then we’ll do it again
~ “I Got A Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas

Two days ago, my sister and I, holding hands, crossed the finish line of the Chicago Breast Cancer 3-Day. For three days we walked alongside 2,000 other men and women through the city of Chicago. 60 grueling miles in pouring rain and blistering heat. We literally braved the elements, and they were not kind! We did our best to step over puddles and avoid the mud. After 20+ miles of walking in adverse weather conditions, we set up our pink tents in the rain. Our bags were wet. Our clothes were soaked. Our cheers were loud as that final walker entered camp. Rain is nothing compared to what a woman goes through in her fight against breast cancer. Blisters don’t require chemo or radiation.

Still, we were exhausted, and after a spaghetti dinner, we stumbled into our tents and slept soundly as the rain pelted our tents. In the morning, the rain was still falling. We donned our ponchos and sneakers. With breakfast in our tummies, we set off down the road, a sea of pink splashing onward. By mid-day the sun came out and was relentless. The heat index was over 100 degrees. At every pit stop, the 3-Day crew and staff reminded everyone to drink lots of water. The medical tent was filled with walkers needing ice and blister care. Walkers were being red carded and sidelined for the remainder of the day due to dehydration and exhaustion.

Camp that night was HOT; but at least it was dry! We removed the tarps from our tents and angled the doors to catch the light breeze. Our shoes were finally permitted to dry out. Sunday morning, we awakened before dawn to take down our tents, pack our gear, and eat breakfast. We boarded busses to be shuttled away from camp and to our starting point for the day. We walked through the northern part of Chicago and along the Lake Michigan shore. There was little shade. Medical ran out of ice due to all the injuries and heat exhaustion. We stopped whenever possible to refill our water bottles and to soak our bandanas in ice cold water. The last pit stop was 2.5 miles from Soldier Field; where our journey was to end.

Those last few miles were filled with anticipation and exhaustion. Our bodies went on when they should have collapsed. Teammates were encouraging their fellow-walkers to take ‘just a few more steps’. We made it to Soldier Field and soaked our heads in the water fall wall before walking through the tunnel. The wave of applause and cheering was overwhelming. We were finished. The staff scanned our ID cards and offered their congratulations. My sister and I hugged and took our picture by the Day 3 banner.

We completed the 2009 Breast Cancer 3-Day. In closing ceremonies, we held our shoes up to salute and honor the survivors who walked with us.

You can go here to see our route: http://www.the3day.org/site/DocServer/3Day_2009JourneyMap_CH_fp.pdf?docID=3081

Our steps made a difference; a 5 million dollar difference in the fight against breast cancer. More importantly, we were part of something so much larger than ourselves that we cannot even begin to fathom the effects. If a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a typhoon across the world, think what 2,000 men and women walking 60 miles can accomplish! Here is an excerpt from the closing ceremony speech

“We widen our bonds to include all of the loved ones and friends and even strangers whose lives will be spared because we cared. . . We salute them for sharing their light with us, these past 3 days. We thank our survivors for their commitment to and belief in the cure; for their optimism and patience in the face of sadness and setbacks; for the love that they have shown us and reawakened inside of us by their example; the healing and the hope that they sustain and the courage that will sustain us in the days ahead . . . proof that we were here, living, breathing, shouting with every step. We will never give up. We will never give up. We will never give up. May the future follow in your brave, brave footsteps. . . BECAUSE EVERYONE DESERVES A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFETIME! It may feel like an ending; but the difference you have made has only begun to be known. Can you feel it?”

With those inspiring words, I will close this message. Please consider joining our team to walk or volunteering your time to crew the 2010 Susan G. Komen Cleveland 3-Day for the Cure with us! Your life will be changed. Your world will be changed. YOU will be changed, for the better!

In gratitude to all those who supported me in this year’s fundraising efforts and walk. With all of my heart, thank you!

xoxo ~jillian

05 August 2009

Hit the Light Switch

current mood: apprehensive

I wanna watch you sleeping peaceful
Resting your heart and your soul
We should never awake without the other
Lying by our side
~ “Watch You Sleeping” by Blue Foundations

I overheard a parent tell their school-age child that they had nothing to fear in the dark and that big kids shouldn’t need a nightlight. Now, I don’t know if the kid wanted the nightlight because it was from his favourite cartoon or if he wanted it because he didn’t like being alone in the dark. Either way, his mom didn’t buy him the nightlight and he left the store with the belief that only “little kids” are afraid of the dark.

It took a lot of self-control on my part not to run up to that child and tell him that lots of people are afraid of the dark and that if a nightlight makes him feel better, I’ll buy it for him myself. Now, I don’t believe in ‘catering to a child’s fears’; however, I do believe in acknowledging and respecting them. I also believe that if any person, child or adult, is able to dispel a fear with something as easy as a nightlight or a security blanket, then they ought to do so.

I have been scared of the dark for as long as I can remember. In fact, there have been nights where I have turned on every light in the house just so I could fall asleep. I refuse to walk into a dark room ALONE without turning the light on. If I am walking up a set of stairs and the lights are off behind me, I will SPRINT up the stairs as fast as I possibly can. I have to have a lamp next to my bed because otherwise I am terrified to turn off the light switch, then walk into my dark bedroom to lie down in bed. At night, if I am home alone, I close the curtains and blinds so that I never have to look out a window into the nighttime.

I am well aware that in 99% of cases, there is nothing in the dark to fear. That rational thought doesn’t stop me from looking under the bed and in the closet before I turn the lamp out. Bad things happen in the dark. It’s that simple. Yes, bad things happen during the day too – but I can see those things coming. I suppose it is the fear of the unknown which has me petrified when I cannot see what is going on around me.

Three things keep my fear at bay – the presence of another living creature, a confined environment, or a light source.

1. Whether the creature is a cat or a human doesn’t matter, as long as it is alive, my fear is almost completely abated.
2. If I am in a closed room, such as a bathroom; a bedroom; or a vehicle, the dark doesn’t bother me, as long as the windows are covered.
3. Any light source, even a child’s nightlight, offers enough comfort that my heart rate remains steady.

Close friends and family know my fear. One sister even goes out of her way to make sure I am never left alone in the dark. There are probably a few friends who think my fear is ridiculous; but, they elect not to tell me. I appreciate that. When people tell me they are afraid of snakes or blood or water, 3 things that I have never feared, I think to myself, “there is nothing to be scared of”; but I respect their feelings. Perhaps they had a parent tell them when they were little that their fear was childish, which only heightened their sensitivity to the issue.

Fear is a learned response, and no rational justification will eliminate it instantly.

Anyway, now that I have advertised the fact that I am a total fraidy cat in the dark, it won’t surprise me if there are comments you wish to make. Go on, don’t be afraid!

Loved painting with you yesterday. It’s always nice to spend a day chatting with a long-time friend.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I wouldn’t be scared at night, if you were with me. Soon.

03 August 2009

Blush: Not Just a Fashion Accessory

current mood: inept

Cuz you leave me speechless
When you talk to me
You leave me breathless
The way you look at me
~ “Speechless” by the Veronicas

When I was in high school, I was constantly rendered incoherent and speechless by one of the assistant football coaches. He was a student teacher and ever so cute. I was a sports trainer and ever so adoring. I don’t know if it was common knowledge that my powers of eloquence were completely disarmed by this aspiring history teach/football coach. Most likely, it was. Though, I don’t recall being teased about it by anyone other than those people on the training staff. Compared to my obsession with freshmen boys, I suppose crushing on a coach was pretty minor. At the end of my senior year, I approached this particular and managed not to stutter or blush. It was an accomplishment which left me hopeful for the future.

Moving onto college, I felt secure that my days of blushing in the presence of a male authority figure were over. Apparently, I celebrated prematurely. Sure enough, one of the assistant football coaches had the exact same effect on me. I would attempt to speak to him and end up sounding like a blathering eejit. This time, though, I know for a fact that I was transparent in my inability to form a sentence. This is why I was constantly assigned to follow him (and the quarterback) up and down the sidelines as their personal water girl. The training staff found it amusing that I would turn bright red and remain that way until Coach Els was no longer in my presence. I ended up taking a class from him my junior year. BY that point in my college career, the entire athletic department had grown used to my bizarre behavior around him. You’d think that 3 years of exposure would have helped the situation. Not so much! I spent an entire semester in a class where I couldn’t speak without blushing. Mortifying – yet highly amusing to those around me. And a shout-out to Molly and Autumn, who used to write me fake letters from Coach Els – completely mocking my situation.

Oddly enough, I don’t know what trait it is that transforms me from wordsmith to shy violet. It isn’t merely handsome looks, as I hold conversations with attractive people on a daily basis. I also talk to authority figures, male and female, with no difficulties in word formation. And it definitely is not unfamiliarity, which was proven today by my inarticulate conversation with someone I have known and worked with for over 10 years. Yet, today, just like every conversation before this one, I blushed bright pink, could not maintain eye contact, and had to use every ounce of self-control not to giggle like a schoolgirl as he spoke to me. Dear Lord, how he has any respect for me professionally, I will never know. Yet he does, which is why I am hopeful that he does not realize the profoundly embarrassing effect he has on me.

Unrelated comment: This weekend I will be walking 60 miles in the Chicago Breast Cancer 3-Day! Wish me luck!

I miss your kisses! Hurry home!

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: I enjoyed our conversation(s). Thank you for being you.

Eidetic Vision

Main Entry: ei·det·ic Pronunciation: I-'det-ik Function: adjective : marked by or involving extraordinarily accurate and vivid recall especially of visual images - an eidetic memory Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.