the water got high and she never got dry

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

perspective lines converge

The wedding countdown, courtesy of the ticker above, has been a source of stress, rather than excitement. It is a continual reminder of everything that must be done in the coming months for the future, rather than “Yay, it’s that much sooner that I get to marry this man!” And that’s just wrong.

What I sometimes forget is just how big a deal this whole getting married thing is to me. I grew up with a strict, domineering, alcoholic, verging on bipolar father and a loving but passive mother. I grew to fear and hate the banging sound of the cupboard door behind which he kept his beer. Some memories are so ugly that I think they’ve been quietly forgotten, out of sheer self-preservation.

The hurt, the anger, the embarrassment of such a dysfunctional home all left their mark on me. And even worse was the fear of how much I took after him, not even so much the drinking part, although for years I wouldn’t touch alcohol, but in temperament. How emotional and moody I can be, just like him. With no model of a functional family, would I ever be able to have one myself?

My most serious relationship started out great and then deteriorated ever so slowly and almost imperceptibly at first. I blinded myself to how bad it got and stuck with it even when it became dysfunctional. It’s hard to separate reality from perception, but according to how I was perceived, treated, and sometimes even felt, I was moody, overly emotional and “difficult.” I really fucking hate that word, by the way. I’ve promised myself to never tell someone they’re being difficult, because it’s just so belittling.

I took pride in dating guys who were nothing like my dad, who were affectionate and sweet, and yet to one day find myself curled up on the floor in my bathroom with a boyfriend pounding on the door yelling for me to come out and talk to him, and only later realizing how disturbingly it recalled very similar experiences with my dad, was unsettling to say the least.

And you know, it’s not as if I’m a fundamentally different person now or have multiple personalities, but with Husband to Be I have never once felt or been treated as a difficult person. I’m just me. The best me possible and one who is loved and wholly accepted, warts and all. We disagree sometimes but we almost never fight and there’s no screaming and no door slamming. Even in the midst of wedding stress, home is an oasis of calm. And when HTB tells me, unprompted and apropos of nothing, that I’m so easy to live with, he has no idea just how much that means to me.

Being with HTB helps to heal old hurts but you know, it’s not that I was broken and he fixed me. I fixed myself and by the time he came along, I was ready for him. To some degree, my last ex may comfort himself by thinking of me as an overemotional bitch, but this bitch, this drama queen, has taken everything she’s learned and let it lead her to happily ever after.

The love that I have is both a blessing and an accomplishment. I got damn lucky but I also worked my ass off for it.

Perspective is everything. I’m still hella stressed about school and wedding. But there is a hell of a difference between wondering if it’s safe to go home and where I’ll sleep if it’s not and wondering if I’ll leave with “just” a master’s instead of a Ph.D or wondering whether to go with a DJ or use an iPod. I should be so lucky to have these be my problems.

In 4 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days I will be burying my toes in the sand on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and HTB will take my hand and we will sail away into the mystic. And it will be amazing.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

when you can't find the hours

days keep on slipping through
avenues under construction
blocking out your sky blues…

oh these days, seem dark
darkest i've seen
darling you send me through the hours
days keep on sifting through

Maybe I need a blog macro along the lines of “Busy and stressed” because it seems like that covers just about most of my life these days. I was telling Husband to Be the other day that it surprises me how high the divorce rate is when you would think the wedding planning process would weed out anyone who’s not really serious about getting married.

Even though I should be inured to it by now, I still feel shock at expensive every tiny thing is. Worrying about our budget, worrying about logistics and if various important people will be able to make it, dealing with vendors who all operate on “island time”, and doing and worry about everything from such a great distance – it’s enough to drive anyone bonkers.

If it were just wedding planning going on, I might bitch about it but we could deal with it. But combined with the stress of dealing with school and wondering how the hell I’m going to graduate and how we’re both needing to find jobs and be ready to move by the end of June (two days after we get back from our honeymoon), when our lease is up, I feel a nearly intolerable weight pushing down on me. We’d really like to have more time here but because we were so impatient to move in together last summer, we unknowingly screwed our future selves.

I feel like I’m swimming in glue. I keep hoping the stress will get dialed down a bit and I’ll just suck it up and deal, but it’s really damn hard. I know how incredibly happy we’ll be when we get married and when I graduate and when we take off for parts unknown for new adventures, but somehow it feels unfair to have this several month long trial by fire first. How about a damn happy medium?

In the meantime, HTB and I make sure to keep our senses of humor intact and to appreciate the occasional things that go smoothly, like finding HTB’s suit for the wedding at a really great price at a Banana Republic outlet store. I take every bit of pleasure I can in good times with friends, because I am going to miss the absurdist humor, the shared jokes, and the stories I’ve heard so many times.

And lunch from the new Sonic (chicken club toaster sandwich, cheese tots, and a large lemon berry slush)? Good for the soul.


Monday, January 15, 2007

nothing in my head but cats and rocking chairs

My first session with our personal trainer did indeed kick my ass, but in a really satisfying way. I worked some muscles I didn’t even know I had.

We were planning on getting the hell outta town for a daytrip this weekend but snow put the kibosh on that. We holed up at home, made a big yummy pot of chili, and managed to watch all eleven episodes of Heroes. We’re totally hooked.

Not a big fan of winter. Before the snow hit, it was just day after day of grey and cold, which brings me down like hearing the same damn minor chord over and over again.

Between school and wedding and the uncertainty of the future and people disappointing me, I feel stretched too tight and spread too thin. I stayed home all day and watched the snow fall and listened to a lot of Aimee Mann. (If you haven’t listened to The Forgotten Arm, I highly recommend it. It’s solidly good from start to finish.)

I’m now seriously considering finally buying a guitar. It’s been one of a million things on my list to do “in the future” and “when I have time” and “when school’s over”, along with learning to play the drums and taking back up the piano and buying a really good camera. I played piano for twelve years and violin for seven and then stopped and I really miss having music in my life. I think about how much listening to music heals me and how much more so making music did and out of drums, piano, and guitar, the guitar is the best choice for these Few Remaining Months of Doom.

anyone can learn to play guitar
and they won’t be a nothing anymore

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

my better self

I don’t really make resolutions, but if I were to make some I’d want to:

Take more pictures. And find the time to organize them and upload them to my completely neglected Flickr account.

Improve my cooking skills. Husband to Be and I are pretty good about trying lots of new recipes, but I’d like to be even more adventurous still. Would you believe that the other day was the first time I’d made bulgogi? What kind of Korean am I? We also made some bean sprouts to go with and it just wasn’t quite right, I guess we need practice. My mom always said I should pay more attention in the kitchen, which I always blew off, and of course she was right. Moms are annoying that way. I want to be able to make Korean food with HTB and with future kids and sometimes I just crave it. It’s the taste of home.

Get into the best shape I’ve ever been in. HTB and I had been working out at a university gym because it’s dirt cheap, but always crowded with undergrads. We finally, happily upgraded to a Gold’s Gym, thanks to HTB’s awesome parents buying us memberships. So much more room, less intrusive music, and a women’s room which is often empty or near empty so it’s like having my own personal workout room. We’ve been going three times a week, which is great, but we’ve definitely been in a rut and needed to kick things up a notch. So yesterday we signed up for personal training! *Cue Rocky music*

Even beyond the goal of looking great at the wedding and wanting to wear a bikini for the first time in a decade, I really do want to feel fit and strong and healthy for the long term. But I also want to finally feel really great about my body, instead of just being okay with it. I really admire and envy women, who regardless of weight or shape, really strut their stuff because they feel good about themselves. I am not a strutter.

HTB and I have been joking about how he should bring our trainer a picture of Jamie Bamber and tell him he wants Bamceps. (Props to fangirl Miss A for introducing this term into our vocabulary.)

My first session is on Saturday and I’m nervous, I think it promises to kick my ass.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

sweetness follows

Yesterday I clicked over to Sarcasmo’s Corner because I hadn’t visited it in quite a while, even though I’m a big fan of mooching fun/geeky links from there. And then I found out Star Foster, aka Sarcasmo, had passed away suddenly last month. I spent a good half hour tracking down more information because it seemed so unreal.

How is it that the death of a complete stranger can affect me as much as it did? I don’t know, but I didn’t have to know her in person to be shocked at the loss of someone young, funny, talented, and vibrant, who clearly had lived a fun, interesting, colorful life and was missed by many. It was incredibly sobering news.

Her blog was one of the first I started reading about the time I started blogging. I think I had googled something like “breakup blog” and found her personal blog (which isn’t there anymore) detailing her experiences of her divorce. Reading it made me realize that of course, people all over the world were going through similar experience of sadness and loss after the death of a relationship, and that they can do it with grace and humor. It inspired me to start my old blog.

After I felt sadness and sympathy for her family and friends, the pretty normal process kicked in and it became all about me and that universal, jolting awareness of the fragility of life and one of those “am I living my life to the fullest” conversations that went on inside my head for the rest of the day. I think of all the new and fun things I want to do but feel I have to wait until I’m done serving my time in school first and how it’s hard to put up with school dominating my life when I know there’s so much to life and so much I’d rather be doing.

But I realized that I can still make the most out of every day even as I toil away at school. Life is too precious to just feel like I’m killing some time until life gets more interesting.

And I thought of how unbearably awful it would be to lose Husband to Be or a family member or friend. I had a crazy impulse to call/email everyone I love just to say “Just in case something were to happen to either one of us, I want you to know how important you are to me!” Why does it always take something terrible happening for us to feel that impulse?

It's the beginning of a new year and I aspire to live my life a little more like Star did, with a little more zaniness and color, and to live and write more meaningfully.


Monday, January 01, 2007

so this is the new year

Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve was perhaps a little too much fun this year. I got housed, had a blast, kissed a girl, and then got spectacularly sick and have been trying to recover all day. Oog.

Every year I repeat to myself that I’m getting too old for this drinking and debauchery thing. Why do we do this to ourselves? I don’t like starting off a new year hung over, so I think next year for a change, Husband to Be and I should ring in the new year quietly and cosily at home and not have to pay for it the next day.

2007 is going to be one hell of a year with big changes ahead – new job, new city, new role as someone’s wife. I can’t wait to see it unfold.