Deep Thoughts…of a Fragmented Nature

just another day in the life

OK.  I lied.  I said I was back, but I wasn’t really.  And I may not be this time.  This Capricorn’s life is in a huge swing of transition.  Like HUGE.  But instead of the tedious job of lamenting all these changes on my blog, I want to write about the things that I have grown grateful for since beginning this metamorphosis.

1) Sun rises – Who knew, but the sun rising is just as spectacular an event as the sun setting.  Huh.  Only took me 31 years to figure that out.  Being graced by morning’s first spectral rays is a fantastic way to start the day, very similar to meditation.  Now that I wake up at 4am to embark on my drive across the state to work, I actually see the sun rise, and it lays a happy protective arm over the rest of my day.  I dig it.

2) Audio books – I’ve always been a big nerdy reader.  I was quite literally reading novels in first grade.  Reading was and still is my passion.  But it’s time-consuming and when you don’t have a place to call home, or to put your feet up while you enjoy a good book, reading becomes almost impossible.  Enter audio books and their never-ending convenience.  Right now I’m commuting a minimum of 12 hours to/from work each week.  Filling this time with book narratives has greatly reduced my suicidal tendencies in traffic.

3) Coffee – OK.  This one isn’t new.  Surely almost everyone in America understands and enjoys the splendors of coffee by now.  I’ve been partaking in the joy juice since 7th grade, where I learned that it could help me stay awake while catching up on a years worth of incomplete math homework.  Coffee takes on a completely new meaning when you have to wake at 4am to drive 3 hours to work.  I’m pretty sure I no longer have blood, I survive on coffee.  And thank the heavens for it, or else this chaotic journey would be that much less successful!

4) My Counselor – I was on anti-anxiety and anti-depression pills for the past year and a half.  I felt great, but I also felt nothing.  My passion was gone and I couldn’t write.  I was eternally satisfied, no matter what the situation, but my skin also started breaking out like a 14-year-old boy.  I decided to get off them.  My skin is better.  My brain on the other hand, well it’s still there, being mean to me, doubting my every move, causing panic attacks at inopportune times, feeling things.  Thank the good lord I met my anger management counselor a few years ago.  I’ve started going to her a few times a month to help sort out my thoughts and feelings.  She’s great, clearly helps me define my own boundaries and teaches me to self talk myself out of a crazy spell.  It’s nice.  Yay counselors.

5) My best friend Jim   – Did I tell you that I no longer have an apartment and that I bought a house on the other side of the state for my sisters, but still work in the Metro Detroit area and thus can not afford a place of my own?  Yeah, that’s happening.  I’m beyond grateful that my best friend Jim is letting me sleep on his couch during the work week.  I feel like a loser.  I feel lost and scared.  But at least I have a place to rest my weary head, store my almond milk, and work on my resume.

I know everything will work out.  I fear that it may work out differently than I want, but I’m becoming more prepared to deal with anything that comes my way.  Growing up.  Man.  Welcome to the unknown.

One thing at a time…

I need a new job before I can get a new apartment.  Repeat.

I need a new job before I can get a new apartment and move my stuff into one place.  Repeat.

I need a new job before I can get a new apartment, move my stuff into one place, and stop sleeping on my friend’s couch.  Repeat.

I need a new job before I can get a new apartment, move my stuff into one place, stop sleeping on my friend’s couch and be closer to my boyfriend.  Repeat.

I need a new job before I can get a new apartment, move my stuff into one place, stop sleeping on my friend’s couch, be closer to my boyfriend and see my family on a regular basis.  Repeat.

 

I believe I know what my next course of action is supposed to be.  Let’s make this happen some how.

Reflection

Sometimes you just need to take a quick moment to reflect.  At this exciting time in my life there are so many unknown variables that it could be easy to get overwhelmed or to become a slave to fear.  

I am not that kind of person.

I am having the time of my life.  Being single suits me very well.  I’m a flirt.  I’m social.  I’m free.  I have the best friends on the planet.  I’m full of love for my fellow mankind.  I’m still working hard but at my own pace to accomplish all the goals I’ve set for myself.  Every morning is a new opportunity, a new challenge and I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up on top.

Sure there are bad days.  Sad days.  Overwhelming days.  But they don’t last if you don’t dwell on them.

I’m looking forward.  I’m content and filled with anticipation at the same time.

I’m proud of the people I’ve chosen to surround myself with.  I’m proud that even after all the things I’ve been through, I’ve managed to turn into a pretty rockin’ chick.  I’m proud that I never settle for less than I deserve, at least not for too long.  I’m proud that I don’t let fear drive me.  I’m proud that I’m continuously growing and becoming the person I want to be.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me, because no matter what part you play, or for how long you’ve played it, you have helped me become who I am and I cherish you.

Operator…just because that’s what I’m listening to right now

Sometimes, when you’re growing up, you want something so bad you think you’ll die.  You wish for it, and you dream about it, and you cry about it, and you write about it in your journal.  Maybe you make phone calls that make you sound and/or feel like a total loser in efforts to make it happen.

Then, like magic, you grow up into a determined 31 year old with a plate full of potential and scores of hard work running through your veins. Say one miraculous day as you’re calmly going about your business, you open your eyes and there in front of you is the very thing you wanted so bad 16 years ago.  And it wants you too.  Now what do you do?  I say go with it.  What’s the worst that can happen?

I can honestly say that there have been a number of events in my life that have been particularly good fodder for the motion picture association, and what is happening right now may top that list. I can not say I understand it.  I can not say it will work out.  But I can say it’s thrilling and scary and beautiful and everyday I wake up wondering what will happen next.  I wish I could harness the energy in my life and bottle it for future reserves, but alas this blog will probably have to be my record of these incidents.  Luckily you get to take the ride with me!

To be continued…

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

While I’m going through a break up right now, I’m suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to write.  I can not guarantee that it will be interesting or anything other than depressed fodder for my sad mind, but write I must.

I’ll tell you what the hardest part of this is for me.  Dealing with it.  By nature I’m an escape artist.  This goes back to my younger drug and alcohol addled self.  Run away, don’t deal with it!  I’m having a hard time staying present for the dissolution of this relationship which has lasted four of the best years of my life.  I don’t want to deal with it.  I want to lunge past the hurt and dive headlong into a new relationship that feels all fuzzy and warm.  I want to feel loved and adored, not resented because I can’t commit via marriage or children like a “normal” grown up should at this age.  I also want to drink.  Lots of white wine.  Because I’m sad, and a little scared.

That is where I am today.  There are lots of other things going on, but this is the most important on my mind right now.  Hopefully I’ll get a little more poetic and interesting now that I feel like writing again.  Nothing like a little Poe-ish depression to get the artistic juices flowing right? 

the bane of my existence

As a disclaimer before I begin, I do not fully know the definition of “bane”.  I know that this term is used frequently to describe things that irritate people, things that maybe ruin their day or a large portion of their lives even.  I’m assuming it’s a general term used to invoke a mental picture somewhat like being chased across a thin fiery bridge toward a steep stone wall with no  ladder to escape by with an angry pack of rabid dogs at your heels.  That is how I envision “the bane”.  It’s something you can’t get away from and that continuously puts you in a position of personal compromise.  At least to me.

The bane of my existence is smoking.  Cigarettes.  While I was busy wasting brain cells and hours, hell years even, of my life, I started smoking.  This was actually the first habit that I picked up at the ripe old age of 14, and (un)fortunately it’s the only habit that stuck.  I started quitting in 2006.  I tried quitting 15 times before it worked, which happened to be on my birthday in 2009.  I did not smoke for 1.5 years.  At all.  Not one cigarette.  I had two puffs at various times and was disgusted.  When I was really craving one, usually while drinking, I would buy a Black & Mild and a couple of puffs off that would cure me for months.

Then I started taking a medication.  This medication has all sorts of weird side effects, like random heart palpitations, muscle pain, for the first two weeks I yawned constantly.  For real.  I yawned all day, uncontrollably and had to take naps at lunch time.  There’s more – it causes my hair to fall out in clumps.  I grind my teeth horrendously while sleeping.  I bleed uncontrollably – after popping a zit I bled for 15 minutes (cured me of that bad habit).  And it also made me start craving cigarettes.  Out of the clear blue sky I would have the strongest cravings which would render me inconsolable.  I bought a pack.  Then another.  And another.  I am smoking again, only about 4-5 cigarettes a day – but that’s 4-5 more than zero.

Smoking cigarettes is the bane of my existence.

When I quit, I was so proud.  The last time I quit, it was so painless, so easy.  I was sure it was the end of my nicotine addiction.  I had no cravings.  I had almost no mood swings.  I gained weight but whatever, I’ve been pudgy for years now.  Better to be pudgy for a while and smoke free then the alternative.  I told people I’d never start again because it took me literally 15 times of quitting before it stuck.  I said things like “I’ll never start again because I could never quit again, quitting is so HARD!”  I am now a liar.  And a hypocrite.  And a smoker.

The absolute worst part is that I’m enjoying it.  It gives me excuse to go outside and sit on my stoop to enjoy our unusually mild fall weather.  I’ve gotten to know my neighbors quite well, if not by name then for sure by schedule.  I’m climbing the stairs 5 times more than I was before.  I get a little buzz and it’s legal.

My boyfriend hates it.  I am the only person in my firm who smokes.  My clothes and hair reek constantly.  I have to go outside to smoke everywhere, no matter what the weather.  My teeth are already yellow.  My breath is killer.  My complexion is reaping the awesome benefits of smoking.  I have more zits now than I did when I was 18.  I have stopped going to yoga because I feel like an unhealthy, stinky outcast.

Oh smoking.  The bane of my existence.  Please put me in your thoughts because I could sure use some good vibes to get out of this pickle.

20111011-180627.jpg

condescension

I know it’s my fault.  You may get an idea of how I speak from these blogs, but even they hide the true harsh reality.  I talk like an idiot.  My verbal vocabulary is much smaller and far more valley girlish than my written vocabulary.  My ability to convey ideas is far more succinct and effective in writing.  I sound like a babbling moron when I talk.

What I’m dealing with now, is that people treat me like I’m much younger and less intelligent because of my eternally vivacious personality and ludicrous spoken ability.  I am having a hard time transitioning into a much more mature persona.  As an almost architect I feel like I need to be taken seriously because the truth is, I’m fairly intellectual and really do have ideas and perspectives to share.

I meet people often and find that I don’t really like “mature” ones.  There’s a difference between being smart and being condescending.  I’ve found that most people are cool and can hold interesting conversations with you, but there are some people who want to view you a certain way and dismiss all of your contributions to the conversation.  I absolutely hate that.  I mean, I can’t even explain how irate it makes me to be dismissed.  Have you ever met that person who talks down to you.  The one who talks louder than you and who has a contradictory stance on everything you say.  Someone who purposely takes what you say and twists it to make it wrong, even if you’re just restating part of what they said earlier to tie the two thoughts together?  WTF is that?

I’m not seasoned enough to know how to deal with it yet.  I’d really love some perspective because right now I’m just disgusted.  Flat out nauseated.  I don’t understand it.  My first instinct is to psychologically analyze him.  I feel like maybe he has problems with his wife.  Could it be possible that she emasculates him to the point where he feels the need to exert power over other women?  I don’t know, I’m just trying to make sense of it all.  I guarantee you that I’m not threatening professionally.  So what could it be?  I don’t think he’s just a jerk.  It appears that he’s just a jerk to me.  And I’m pretty easy-going and fun to talk to.  The other people in this group seem to enjoy my company.  It’s frustrating, people really wear me out.

I can tell you one thing, I’m not going to sit there every few weeks and be treated like I’m less important or stupid.  I can’t deal with that.  Maybe joining this group was a mistake but I’m sure he’s not the only jerkface in the universe.  I’m going to have to learn to correct the situation without beating him up.  If only there was a manual to read to guide me through situations like this.

cereal

I grew up near Battle Creek, Michigan.  When I moved to college and began telling people their first response was always “Do you eat a lot of cereal?”.  The answer is yes.  Yes I do eat a lot of cereal, but it’s not because of my proximity to the cereal capital of the U.S.  I eat a lot of cereal because it’s the most convenient and delicious food group in the universe.

Tonight I came home from work and was starving.  I’ve been trying to eat smaller lunches, and stop eating out as much, but my 230 calorie Lean Cuisine left me very hungry by dinner time.  What was the first thing I went for?  A bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats.  Since finding out that my triglycerides were high 2 years ago, I’ve been pretty careful about watching what I eat.  One of my habits is making sure that I get enough fiber in my diet.  Have you ever tried to get your 35 grams in in one day?  It’s hard, it’s like a full-time job!  That being said, my cereal choices are pretty healthy.  I prefer Mini-Wheats, Honey Nut Cheerios and Great Grains-Raisins, Dates and Pecans.

Considering the vast ocean of children’s cereal, I’m proud that I gravitate toward the higher fiber, less  sugar kinds. Still, like many people I have a weakness.  My favorite cereal is Count Chocula.  I am feeling short of words to describe how much I love that cereal.  A few years ago, General Mills, who makes this delectable treat, decided to suspend production of the “monster” cereals.  For those not in the know, there are two flavors besides Count Chocula which are Boo Berry and Franken Berry.  They are all awesome.  I mean, quite possibly the best things on earth.

I can eat a box of this in one sitting...it's probably good that it's only available for a month.

When I found out that I couldn’t get my cereal anymore, I can not pretend that I didn’t suffer a serious depression.  That single happening forced me to move into adult cereals, and though it was hard at first, I didn’t look back.

Last year in early October, K and I were leaving Target when lo and behold, to my utter disbelief and delight, the “monster” cereals were on sale at the end of the checkout counter.  General Mills has smartened up and begun producing the cereals for the Halloween season.

This is the greatest single thing that could happen for me!  I would just like to note that it is almost October.  One of us is (not so)patiently waiting for their calendar to turn over!  This year I will be purchasing cases of the cereal so that I can savor the deliciousness for the whole year.  Oh my goodness I can’t wait!  For someone who’s household eats 2-3 boxes a week, I think you can envision what an awesome event this is!

 

 

looking forward

I know you’re supposed to live one day at a time.  I know you’re supposed to do the next right thing.  But I’m a goal oriented person and I must have a 5 year plan.  Working at my firm is fine for now, but I’ve got ambitions that are making it difficult for me to feel satisfied in a regular nine to five.

I’ve been fleshing out my plans for the future over the last few months and I finally know what I want to do. I am going to start a design/build non-profit focusing on rehabilitation/preservation of buildings.  I would like to focus on helping low-income people renovate their homes in order to preserve the unique and vital housing stock in Detroit which is fast disappearing into a sea of blight.  There are plenty of homes that just need simple maintenance that their owners can’t afford.  For many, those homes house multiple generations of people from the same family, and that house is the only thing keeping them from living on the street.

I could go on and on about how important it is to preserve the homes in Detroit.  The construction techniques used and the design of these homes are unique to this area and to lose the vocabulary to the cookie-cutter development that defines our suburbs and modern construction would be a travesty.   These buildings are irreplaceable.  The character that they possess can not be reproduced today.  It would be hard enough trying to preserve them while maintaining their originality.  My goal though, is to do just that.

I love new construction.  I love modernity.  Yet there is something tangible about maintaining a place’s historic roots.  Usually this is demonstrated in wealthy historic neighborhoods or in downtown regions, but I argue that the common home has just as much, and potentially more, importance to the fabric of a city.  The current administration is doing something that has been a need in the city of Detroit for quite some time.  They are raising the abandoned decayed structures that litter the landscape and pose threat to safety and quality of living.  My argument is not against this action.  I merely think that now is the time to step in and save the homes that teeter on the brink of collapse, homes that still function but that are not being maintained.

There is a vital step missing in our urban plan.  We are not addressing the fact that many of the residents of the city are aging and have minimal to zero income with which to keep their homes stable and livable.  In order to eliminate the number of homes that ultimately become abandoned after their owner leaves or dies, we need to offer support to the homeowners.  A new roof can be put on in a matter of hours.  A solid roof prevents structural damage and mitigates serious threats such as mold.  Exterior paint does more than make a home look nice, it also protects the structure from moisture damage.  The list goes on.  Porches and stairs, especially wooden stairs, often take the brunt of our Michigan winters, as well as the spring and fall rainy seasons.  It takes a few hours to build a new set of stairs, eliminating serious safety hazards and providing legally required access for postal workers.

These are the things I want to do.  I want to provide these services for low-income residents.  I also want to provide these services for new/young business owners, because renovating commercial properties is an obvious necessity to the health of a city.

These ideas lend themselves nicely to my final plan which is to provide pre-fabricated design/build structures for infill on city lots.  I intend to complement the existing vernacular of the neighborhoods, whereas many new buildings, especially pre-fabricated structures tend to reflect only the modernity of their materiality.

When will I begin doing this you may ask.  I need to finish getting my license and figure out how to fund this grand scheme of mine.  After those pieces fall into place, with a little hard work and dedication, I believe I can truly make a difference in my city.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.