August 12, 2013

The Calm After the Storm

That’s what life feels like right about now.  A calm place I’ve reached after getting a transfer, living with my grandparents for better part of a month, moving, studying, unpacking, studying, going to Jamaica, more studying, and taking the bar. 

As I sit here at work, it’s amazing to think all the changes that have happened in less than 6 months.  I live in a new city, not just that in an actual city.  I gave up my “living alone” policy and moved in with not just one, but two roommates, and a third dog.  I no longer work crazy hours, I have a set work schedule, and normal sleep schedule.  I have weekly dinner plans with family.  I have people to watch Shark Week with.  I have impromptu trips to Target and the beach. 

Don’t get me wrong it’s not all sunshine and roses, there are disagreements over current events, disobedient dogs, crazy coworkers, but that’s all a part of living as well.  When I lived in the Burg, my main source of entertainment was shopping.  I acquired a bit of credit card debt making friends with store employees, and falling in love with new shoes.  Since I’ve lived in Richmond, my spending habits have been curbed.  My money is now spent on dinner and drinks out with people, experiences rather than material possessions. 

I have been out playing on school nights, drinking and dancing.  I have been spending weekends at home rather than constantly feeling the urge to runaway, and that is a great feeling. 

March 6, 2013

Purgatory

I took the bar last week, and as my father would say, “it’s all over but the cursing and the crying” and the waiting…  Two long dreaded months of waiting that is.  During the test the proctor announced the results are projected to be posted around April 25th, which is 8 weeks away, but he might as well have said it was going to be 8 months.  I am stuck in a ‘no man zone’ unable to move forward (apply for new positions) or backwards (start studying for the July test).  

This time taking preparing for and taking the bar, I gained a new appreciation for just how much power this test holds, most importantly income potential.  Without passing this test, I am paying for a fruitless degree.  There are few advantages to be had from having a juris doctorate without a bar license (aside from having a second degree to even out your mantle) in today’s society even the prestige of going to law school is gone, everyone does it.  

So I wait, with bated breath (well, not really since it’s two months, and I would probably die from lack of oxygen to my brain before the results come out) but I wait nonetheless, and can only hope all my preparation and efforts yield a passing score.    

In the meantime, I return to my regularly scheduled life, which in and of itself feel a bit like purgatory.  All around people seem to be moving in fast forward, proposals, promotions, weddings, babies, houses, and here I sit watching it all whirl by, making diaper cakes and mailing congratulatory cards, as my life sits stagnant (usually literally on my couch watching Law & Order marathons).  It has been nice not having to worry that I am not studying, and my stagnant sitting is no longer a reason to reprimand myself.  

Since I finished the bar, I had a lot of reading to catch up on, namely my subscriptions to Glamour, Self, and O Magazine.  I finished most of my fluff readings on the graveyard weekend I have, and set about to find motivation and wisdom within the pages of O (something that happens with every issue).   I love O’s existentialist take on the world, I’m pretty sure Kierkegaard himself would have a subscription if he was alive today.  This idea that I am solely and completely responsible for my own happiness, is terrifying (enter existentialist angst I suppose) however, if I’m going to trust someone with my happiness, I suppose I am a good candidate, so I tend to buy into this philosophy hook, line, and sinker. 

My birthday is approaching, and as of now, I have no plans, I do have a super cute outfit, just nowhere to wear it.   All of my local friends either have newborns (as in my baby is ___ weeks old) or are incredibly (I mean about to pop any day) pregnant, none of which really goes with my outfit. All of my friends it would be feasible to travel to have plans.  Everyone else lives a plane ticket away, and that’s not in the budget this month (especially not after buying the super cute outfit).  So I thought, after reading Martha Beck and other inspirational writers, I will put together my own party, and it will be grand.  After all, I already have a fabulous outfit, and pink champagne all I need is a decadent cake and some decor right?  Then reality set in.  Who wants to sit alone on their birthday?  I at least need people to see my outfit right?  So I started thinking of what plans I could make with my parents, but nothing seems good enough, fun enough, ‘what I want’ enough.  And I reverted back to my old whining about why someone else didn’t throw me a party (that is proper etiquette after all).  

So, I was forced to ask myself (seeing as how I was being existentialist and all) where do I get these great expectations for life?  Was I born predisposed to grandiose visions?  What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess?  Nothing comes to mind in my upbringing that would have indoctrinated me with some sense of entitlement, quite the opposite actually.  Is it the media?  I always have watched a lot of television.  What is it that creates these fantastical expectations in my head that life has no choice but to fall lacking to?  If Kieerkegard and Martha Beck and everyone else is right, that I am completely responsible for my happiness, perhaps part of that is realizing what realistic expectations are, and accepting things how they come, and finding happiness in that.  Maybe my expectations are what is holding me back from being my authentic self.  

Yet, I find I am reluctant to turn away from these grand expectations, they are so lovely when they dance through my head, and although they may always end in heartbreak, don’t they always say it’s better to have loved and lost?  After all, I have to find something to do while I pass the time in purgatory. 

January 10, 2013

Resolved

I haven’t written in a while because I have been consumed with work, holidays, family drama, and most importantly studying for the bar.  In fact, that is what I am supposed to be doing now, and will continue doing after my brain gets a quick rest.  Anytime I am not studying and doing something else, I feel guilty, so I haven’t been doing much else.  But, let me take this minute to publicly announce my New Years Resolutions.  I’m usually not one to make resolutions, most likely because I am unlikely to follow through with any of them (same premise for why I claim my Baptist roots during Lent).  Anyhow, this year I thought perhaps by setting some goals for my year, I can move out of this stagnant feeling I have been having.   I even bought a day journal to keep track of my life, hoping to recapture that part of my college experience, where everything was organized and I was motivated, as well as a place to track my thoughts  (advice, never watch Bridget Jones’ Diary on New Year’s Eve).   So here are my resolutions for 2013 (which yes, I did make before New Year’s) as recorded in the front of my journal:

  1. Pass the Virginia Bar
  2. Pay off all Credit Cards
  3. Use My Passport
  4. Make New Friends
  5. Get in Shape (this is obligatory and must be put, or this would not be a list of resolutions)
  6. Have New Years Eve plans for 2014

So far 2013 has not been spectacular.  It began with a night in and alone with only my dogs and Remy Martin to keep me company.  It has been primarily spent studying, and attempting not to stress out about studying.  And most recently was most recently marked by one of the worst fights I have ever had with my parents.  While apologies have been said, flowers have been sent, it still isn’t a good look for 2013.  But as it is only January 9th, with 95% of the year to go, I’m thinking 2013 has time to make it up to me.

Belated Best Wishes for your 2013!

November 8, 2012

Conundrum

I texted my friend J today “I’m having a moment where I can’t figure out how I feel about anything, which makes me sleepy.”  After having this thought, I began mulling over a blog entry, but refrained from writing it concerned that this may be a sign of some underlying mental illness.  There seems to me something innately odd about not being able to decipher whether one is happy, sad, anxious, angry etc.

However, as I sat here studying, my mind wandering as it tends to do to subjects unrelated, I was brought back to this conundrum.  The professionals always say you have to learn to sit with your emotions, to feel them rather than just run away, but what if you can’t figure out how you feel?  Am I supposed to sit with the question?

While I have not figured out yet how I feel about anything tonight, I did feel compelled to write this to see perhaps if anyone else ever felt this way.

November 2, 2012

Home is Where the Heart Is

They say “home is where the heart is,” but it is not until this past few months that I actually knew what they meant.  I have spent the last few months on the go making it a point to visit and vacation as much as possible when I have weekends off work.  I have realized I am at this place in my life where I have no husband, no kids, and great parents who are willing to watch my dogs, and I need to take advantage of it (not to mention it’s pretty dull here in the Burg, and therefore I am not missing much when I abscond for the weekend).  This summer and fall I have been to Fairfax, VA, Myrtle Beach, SC, Charlotte, NC, San Diego, CA, Columbia, SC, Richmond, VA and spend a large amount of time in Crozet, VA.  Every time I travel and spend time with friends and family, I realize it is true, home is where the heart is, or the way I see it, home is where the love is.

I thought of this when I returned from my latest trip to visit family and stopped on my way back to stay with a friend, I was sitting alone on my couch exhausted from the big trip, and I realized while I really like my house, this just doesn’t feel like home.  I swore myself to living alone after my last roommate debacle, and I have to say that I do enjoy it.  There is magic in being the master of my DVR, not having to worry about dishes in the sink, and never having to be considerate in my comings and goings.  Instead of a living room, I have an alumni room decked out in Vol orange and instead of a guest room, I have a shoe room for no other purpose than to get ready in, neither of these would be likely to happen if I lived with someone else and I absolutely love them. But while these are all great perks in my life, I find that I feel more at home sitting on my person’s condo floor reading tarot cards, or on my cousin’s floor playing with ogres and dragons.  I have complete control of my schedule here, I can say what I want to do and when (other than work), but there is something fun about being asked to run to Target with someone or to run out for a bite, even if it is just fast food.   Simply watching television and having someone to ask about the line you missed rather than hitting the rewind button.  Jumping into the passenger’s seat to ride somewhere rather than always being the driver.  Don’t get me wrong, I know my views of these places are skewed.  The planned fun that occurs when I go to these places is not an everyday occurrence, everyday is not a trip to Disneyland or a football game, but even without those things, the sitting around and just talking is part of what I enjoy the most.

While I am not ready to disavow living alone (at least not until there is a ring on my hand) , it does make me appreciate the times I am away with family and friends more.  And while I am not actively planning any trips in the next few months because of bar studying, there will be plenty of Holiday festivities to keep me on the go.  And when I am done with the bar, I shall make an effort to resume my travels, to go into the homes of as many friends and family as possible, because for now I believe that is where my heart is.

October 23, 2012

The Phenomenon of “Checking In”

This morning, I was nearing the end of my shift at work banging away at the fax machine that would not send, my frustration magnified by my lack of sleep.  As I awaited the happy sound of the dial tone on the hospital’s end, my cell phone vibrated on the counter.  It is not altogether unheard of for me to receive a text at that time in the morning, but it is rare, and I simply assumed it was my Mother.  Rather than Mom, the phone showed simply a number, the contact was no longer saved in my phone, but I knew by the area code it was Mr. Jones.  I’ll admit my stomach may have fluttered a bit, but I blame that on a lack of sleep, and intense amount of caffeine.  The text was simple, asking me how I was doing, nothing out of the ordinary, except I hadn’t heard from him in months.  I responded I was fine, and asked how he was (after all polite conversation is necessary to life.)  Then it happened he said he had to ask me “a random question” this is the point where I knew this conversation wasn’t going anywhere good.  Then he hit  me with it “Was wondering if you ever still thought about me?”.  There was no point in me lying so I stated the truth “Now and again,” after all we are still friends on multiple social media sites, his name comes up, I don’t spend my nights pining away for him, or wasted afternoons lost in thought, but like anyone who has had any impact on my life certain things trigger memories, and now and again I do think of him.  However, I was compelled to ask him what was up and point out that we have this conversation about the same time every year.

(Quick Catchup: year, on Halloween, while I was busy passing out candy to neighborhood kids, and crocheting a blanket for my friend’s baby, we engaged in a conversation about his upcoming move back to Tennessee, and how he wanted me to wait for him.  Foolishly, last year, I bought into this idea, despite my better judgement.  However, a few weeks of one-sided conversations, and disinterest on his part, I knew it had been a fluke. )

Fast forward to this morning, and seeing as how Halloween is a week away, I am forced to wonder what it is about this time of year.  Is it that cuffing season is upon us?  I don’t live close enough to keep anyone warm at night.  He responded that he was simply confused, so I assured him one day his prince princess would come and sweep him off his feet, and even he wouldn’t be able to over think it.  (I think this is true of all men courtesy of He’s Just Not That Into You.)  That was it, those were the only texts I got.  I’ll admit I checked my phone a few more times before going to sleep, and again when I awoke after my nap, (the Hallmark channel, hopeless romantic inside me wouldn’t allow anything less) but nothing.

Last year, my E-Beth explained to me that guys do this.  They text you to check in, to make sure you’re still available, or you’re still thinking of them, or that in someway they still have an influence in your life.  This proposition baffled me, as I would never take the time to seek out someone and engage with them if I had no actual intentions.   I tend to be skeptical of any conspiracy plans which generalize people engaging in behavior that to me seems irrational as well as manipulative, but perhaps I am wrong.  I texted My Person, to tell her to keep her life to herself, seeing as how something similar happened to her just last night.   The culmination of all this, is what makes me believe that this phenomenon of “checking in” is real.  Which leaves me with even more questions:  Is it simply a male activity?  What is the real purpose of  asking if someone thinks about you?  Is it about ego?  Is there a certain time that one is to wait between said ‘check ins’?  When does the checking in  end? Is it when one person is in a relationship?  both?  when one is married? Will I will hear from Mr. Jones again next Halloween if he hasn’t found his princess?

I suppose these are questions I may never have the answer to.  

October 22, 2012

The Mean Reds

Thursday October 18, 2012.

“The blues are because you’re getting fat or because it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?” –Holly Go-Lightly

Today, I had a bad case of the mean reds. I got home from work at 8 this morning and went to sleep cold. When I awoke, I had chills. Chills  not from the cold, I was quite warm under my blankets, it wasn’t a fever, I physically felt fine, it was just the chills. A feeling that something is wrong, or something is about to go wrong, or perhaps everything is wrong? I dragged myself out of bed knowing I had plenty to do, and hoping to improve my mood. I hate mornings, even when they are at 3:00 in the afternoon, and figured perhaps it was just a lack of caffeine. So, I bribed myself out of bed with caramel popcorn for breakfast and set about my planned day of Fall Fun carving pumpkins, singing along to the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, making mummy votives and preparing cake pops for the tailgate this weekend.

Alas, it was not fall fun. While carving pumpkins is usually one of my favorite fall activities, all I could think was how much more fun it would be if someone else were there with me. Even serenading my dogs, singing Taylor Swift into my pink marabou microphone didn’t cheer me up. Every time my phone rang, I expected bad news. My cake pops falling upset me more than it should.  After the second batch was ruined, I was angry to the point of tears.   I was annoyed, as I always am when I fear my dreams of being Martha Stewart may never come true, but it was something more than that.  Behind the fear of never being a domestic goddess, is the fear of never having a home to be a domestic goddess of.  Fear of always being alone in the kitchen while baking or carving pumpkins.  The fear of never having kid’s birthday parties to plan, or a group of friends to tailgate with every Saturday.  The fear that nothing is going to change, that life will always be like this.

This was a day when I needed Tiffany’s, but alas, I was not going to let myself shop away my feelings or self medicate myself on the broken remains of cake pops.  I simply carried on about my day, told myself fear was a waste of energy, that all of the good things I want, family, friends, parties, trips, holidays, all of the good things in life, are just around the corner.

Moon River, wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style someday…

October 11, 2012

First Check Up

After writing my last blog, in which I set out to trailblaze through life, I proceeded to do nothing, but sit and watch television.  Granted my bar studying book was open in front of me, and I did have to do a few hearings, but nonetheless, I accomplished nothing, but writing that blog.  When I told CleoSunshine about my night, she responded “progress is a slow process?” Hopefully she is right and this slump is just a warm up.

Yesterday, I set a reasonable time for myself to be up, and I was.  I had a few errands to accomplish in the morning and I jumped right to them, I was even at the gym before the mall opened (my gym is in the mall), and felt great after my workout, which I had to force myself to finish, when it was over.  I hit a slight hitch when walking through the mall to get back to my car, I saw the nail polish I have been wanting, so what did I do? I bought it.  It’s the perfect pink AND proceeds went to help Breast Cancer Research, clearly it was a necessary purchase right?  Alright, I still need to work on this impulse control/shopping addiction problem, especially since I had to dip into my other bank account (the one I’m not supposed to use) in order to afford it.  I should have learned my lesson after my cable bill hit my bank account and practically over-drafted me a week before my next pay day, of course I had to pull from my other bank account in order to set that right *hangs head*.  Last night, I went to work, which is productive in and of itself, and though I was not busy, I did not get much studying done, just some reading.  I was preoccupied with a bit of family drama, as well as the premiere of Nashville (I’m a stan for Hayden Panetierre, I had to watch).  Family drama also led to a bit of stress eating, cheese balls and caramels are my weakness, and just happen to be right on the counter at work, but I didn’t empty the canisters or anything chewing just helps me deal with anxiety.

So I’m giving my first day a 5, mainly for getting out of bed on time, and getting in a good workout.  I really do need to do better about studying with the MPRE only 23 days away.  This morning I woke up not so early, but I also forgot to set my alarm last night, and I don’t rise early naturally, and started on my online MPRE course, and I should probably get back to now.

Until next time,

Jennie

October 10, 2012

Under Construction

Every few weeks, I tell myself the same thing: I am going to do better. After declaring this, I set about making lists of goals and ways to accomplish these goals, everything from getting up earlier, to spending fasts, to reorganizing my closet.  Usually I’m passionate about these changes for a few days, I work out, I spend less, I eat healthy, but then inevitably I lose that passion. I begin justifying sleeping in, telling myself how I NEED that nail polish, and I don’t need the gym if I eat a healthy dinner.  This is my cycle. I make plans with the best of intentions, then I end up sleeping till noon on a Tuesday and overdraft my bank account. They say the path to hell is paved with good intentions, I for one feel like I’m on one hell of a treadmill.

I have to get off this treadmill, and I have to do it now. At this time, it is especially important, because I am starting preparations to take the Bar exam.  I need to get it together so I can focus and pass this time.  I’m not sure could afford it financially or emotionally to fail again.  But in order to be successful, I need to make my life conducive to productivity.

First, I must identity what it is that has kept me from being successful with my past attempts. I’ve had goals, specific, written out goals, and steps to achieve them, so what’s gone wrong? There are three main flaws I believe have prevented success: 1) Lack of structure to my schedule as a whole 2) Lack of accountability 3) and Lack of motivation.

Second, I need to find ways to get around these problems.  Schedule is hard for me because of the ever changing nature of my work schedule.  Solution: Create a realistic schedule to be productive for each shift I work, taking into account how draining midnights are, and how I want to crash when on day shift. Accountability is hard to come by as I live and work alone.  People are a motivator for me, I’m not saying it’s right, but I’m more likely to be productive when others are watching.  Solution: Blogging. By writing here how I’ve either succeeded or failed at working towards my goals, hopefully, I will feel a sense of responsibility I have been lacking.  As for motivation, which is an internal struggle, I am hoping by combining more structured schedule with the accountability of this space, as well as setting small attainable goals which I can take pride in accomplishing, my motivation will build over time. At the end of the day, all I can do is hope to do better tomorrow, and do the work it’ll take to get me there.

Wish me luck!
Jennie

October 4, 2012

Happiness is a Mat that Sits on Her Doorway

I’m walking on sunshine, woooah
and don’t it feel good!!
Hey , alright now
and don’t it feel good!

Today, I was in Wal-Mart, which was playing an especially entertaining selection from the lite rock station, killing time while my prescription was filled.  As I wandered through the aisles, Katrina and the Waves, Walking on Sunshine began to play.  My wandering led me to the pet section, which was running a special on pet costumes (what’s not to love?)  so I took a moment to peruse the selection.  Anyone who has ever heard Walking on Sunshine knows it is an especially catchy tune, and while I was already in a singing mood given the good tunes that had been playing, I began singing along in my head, and nodding my head to the music.  The song provided a soundtrack to my decision of which dog to buy the pumpkin sweater for and which dog to buy the ghost sweater for, and so I stood comparing sizes when I felt someone staring at me.  Given my profession, I tend to not pay attention when people stare at me, as I most likely do not want to talk to them.  But this went on for so long, that I was forced to glance over my shoulder at a middle-aged woman shopping looking at the cat food.  I did not recognize the woman or make eye contact so I simply turned back to my decision-making.  A moment later the woman was next to me and said, no, more like she scowled at me “It must be nice not to have a care  in the world.”  I was taken back by the statement and did not know what to say so I simply said”it is” (which was probably rude), quickly made my decision (aka went with what was in my hand) and headed off to find pumpkin scented candles as the woman huffed at me and walked the other way.  Needless to say, I was confused, and looked around to see if anyone else had seen the encounter, so we could share the obligatory commiserating nods that occur when crazy people act crazy in public, but there was no one, so I turned to texting and tweeting, because something like this has to be shared.

Thinking back my encounter with this woman, the first feeling I have is sadness, border lining pity.  I’m sad for this woman whose life is so hard that she is burdened by the weight of her problems.  My second feeling, is a bit of embarrassment for being caught, which quickly segues into anger.  Anger at being judged for being care free.  This woman did not know me, she does not know what problems I have (granted there aren’t that many compared to other people), she simply judged me for nodding my head along to an awesome song.  But rather than anger, I think what is most important is to take a lesson from this.  It’s important to remember the old adage about walking a mile in someone’s shoes.  And my final emotion is gratitude, gratitude at the fact that whatever problems I do have in my life, I am able to find the joy in simple things.  Even when I haven’t always been feeling my best, the hard times, the sad times, I was always able to laugh when there was a joke, I was always able to sing when the song on the radio was one I loved, and I send up a silent prayer that life never gets so hard, I can’t enjoy the little things. I plan for years to come to bob my head in a store when a good song is playing and don’t it feel good!

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