WE’VE MET

Grant has moved out, and I’m getting another roommate soon. I would prefer a man, but at the same time, a woman is also acceptable. Once Nasim got over living next door to a lesbian, she was fine, but it took some convincing. By the time she moved out, I was genuinely sad to see her go, especially because she used to talk loudly to her family and friends in Farsi, which reminded me of Argo (the movie) constantly. I pretended she was the white guy at the end trying to prove to the guards that they indeed were making a movie and explained the story boards. It’s my favorite scene, because he turns out to be the major hero of the movie. If you haven’t read Argo (it’s based on a book by the same name written by the real guy, Tony Mendez), it’s even more full of information that I keep reading over and over because it’s such a creative op. Of course Ben Affleck had to pump up the action to make it an exciting movie, but the real story is no less gripping. Tony is a fantastic writer, and I am sad to know that he is developing Parkinson’s and may not write anything else. So there is only concentrating on Nasim and listening to lilt of her voice, sad because she doesn’t live here anymore.

Eventually we will “get back together,” because I asked Nasim and her best friend Sahar if we could write a book together. I am glad that I am on anti-anxiety medications, because it will keep me from getting rattled when they tell me their story. It is not pretty. Let’s leave it at that. They escaped from Iran. How could it be? There was no film crew for them.

I believe that immigration placed Sahar and Nasim in Albany, and Nasim has moved back. That means we’ll be Skyping and talking on the phone to get the book done, but since we’ve actually met on the ground, that will not be a problem. And Sahar is here, so we’ll be able to Skype together. They have another friend, Leyla, who is also interested in the book, so perhaps she will be in it as well. The possibilities are endless. I am floored that they would trust me with such information, and believe in me to such a degree that I am capable of getting their story right. In fact, it shook me up to the point of tears.

We talked about it right when I moved here, and I felt so broken when Dana said that I would never amount to anything that it was like Nasim invalidated her words right in front of me and I couldn’t help but cry my eyes out. It shook Nasim, but she just held me while I cried. It was one of those moments that you get all the time if you notice them. Even if this book never comes to fruition, that moment healed so much. It was better than a therapy session, because I certainly made a breakthrough.

It took all the pain of feeling worthless after bombing my relationships with Argo (the person) and Dana and turned it into hope for the future. At this point, I am not sure what that future entails, but I at least know what I’ll be doing for side projects. If there’s anything I learned by living in Portland, it’s that you are not defined by what you do for money. Most of the people working at New Seasons (Portland/Vancouver grocery stores) have Master’s degrees and are playwrights, actors, creative types just like me. If you ask them what they do, they’ll tell you who they are, not defined by something as trivial as money.

It’s why I have no fear about working at McDonald’s or a grocery store or Homo Depot or any of those places that seem menial, because I am not defined by my job. I am defined by my ability to make people and stories live forever.

I am getting excited about turning 38. It feels like the right time to have a great year, unencumbered by the past or the future, but taking one step at a time as long as I know it’s in the right direction. So far, I believe I have done very well. When Dana said that she didn’t want to be my wife anymore, I realized there was nothing left for me in Houston and I went back to all the people that loved me in DC.

It killed me that Argo made it all about her, but who could blame her? I was mean to her because I was trying to blow her away to try and save my relationship with Dana, and in a lot of ways, I chose………….. poorly. Dana was going to leave no matter what I did, and if I had been a better friend to Argo, it wouldn’t have become the mess it did when I moved to DC in the first place. I miss being a better friend to her, because I can’t think of anyone more hilarious…. Well, maybe my friend Amy Sco, but she’s 3,000 miles away.

I have to tell you the funniest story EVER about Sco and me. We were laying around on the couch at her place and we saw a local news article about a soldier who’d died in Iraq that was going to have a memorial service at Mall 205. Amy looked at me, completely deadpan, and said, “let us gather in front of the Orange Julius stand, because you know how he would have loved it.” I almost swallowed my tongue I was laughing so hard. Yes, it was evil. But that’s just the way Amy and I roll. She would OWN MY ASS at Cards Against Humanity.

Speaking of which, I have done a lot of things in Cards that would make you look at me like you’d never known I was such a sociopath, but one of the funniest things that happened is that I was playing with my friends and Matt was the judge. I didn’t have anything in my hand that was evil enough, so here’s what I did.

The black card was “here is the church, here is the steeple… Open it up and see…”

I knew that I could play to the judge, so I put down Justin Bieber. I knew I would win when he lost his shit he was laughing so hard.

And that makes me remember just how much I miss his sister, Bryn, and how it would be so cool if I could get her out here, especially on Fourth of July. This year, we had a crab fest at the house in enough time to get downtown, but I didn’t go. I probably should’ve, but crowds are not my thing at all, and I didn’t want to go by myself because crowds aren’t my “host family’s” either. Maybe next year I’ll go with my Meetup group, especially if Leslie is going. She just cracks me up.

I hope I get a roommate like Leslie. It would be good to come home at the end of the day to a roommate in which we really have a connection. I never made a connection with Grant because I was always so mad that I felt like his maid. It also wouldn’t hurt to have one of those roommates that comes in and flops on my bed and says, “what are we watching?”

Because the answer is always going to be “whatever I want. It’s my TV.”

Oh, and just for the record, I’ve found two stations on Spotify that I didn’t even know I needed, but now I use incessently. One is called “Deep Focus” and the other is called “Intense Studying.” Also, I really recommend the Chrome extension Noisli. It has all kinds of noises that you can set in the background, like busy cafe, white snow from a TV, a fan set on high, nature sounds, etc. I know this is seriously off-topic, but when am I known to stay on topic?

WE’VE MET.

My Mood & Behavior

My psychiatrist changed my protocol, and my dad asked me how my mood and behavior were. I’d never been asked that question, and I liked it. It was a doctorly thing to say, and yet, I haven’t had any doctor say that to me at all. Really must send my dad a thank-you card for that one. I owe him several, but this was special. It was a MOMENT, one of those things that sticks out in my brain as something simple that made me feel so much better because it was the question no one was asking and the one I needed to hear.

The answer is that my mood and behavior are great as long as I can stay awake for them. I feel settled in a way I never have, although upping my Lamictal was not the right choice, I don’t think. I don’t see any additional improvement and it makes my coordination even worse. I didn’t think that was possible since I already have a cerebral palsy, but I’ve fallen a lot more and one of them would have been a disaster if I hadn’t had my hands out. My doctor warned me this would happen, and it is not a side effect that I want to live with. Alternatively, adding the Klonopin at night has helped tremendously. I sleep well, and that is an essential part of a good mood.

The only thing that hasn’t put me in a good mood is that someone told me that they were afraid of what was lurking underneath, as if all of these major life changes are just a mask. It is the most untrue thing I’ve heard in weeks. There’s nothing lurking underneath except love, acceptance, and joy. The split personality I’ve been working with since I was a teenager is gone. I feel completely integrated, because the endless ruminations about Diane are gone. I don’t have to think about her anymore, and I haven’t had that peace since I was 12. It’s like all of the sudden, I am the person I used to be, and I’m getting to know her one step at a time. I am investing in myself in a way I’ve never had the ability- as I’ve said in earlier posts, the ability to plan forward instead of thinking about the past and how to bring it into the future with me. It’s just not possible, and I’ve finally learned that lesson. Being happy with the present and future was letting the past be the past and not trying to change it at all…. because I thought it was possible in my own little world, and it’s just not. I can no longer be the teenager stuck in an adult body ruminating on how to fix everything that’s been wrong that’s already happened. I feel healthy and healing instead of battered and broken.

I look forward to starting school, although Howard’s lack of movement has put me in the position that I can’t start in the fall. I’ll have to wait until winter. That’s going to be fun…. trudging through the snow to get to school on time. I don’t think that I will ever have children, but if I did, it would be the ultimate story…. “when I was younger, I had to trudge five miles uphill in the snow to get to school…….” Although I am old enough now that I could also tell them I rode a dinosaur and they might believe me.

I have put my application in to McDonald’s, but no callback yet. I want to work there because they have money. Big money. And they are fond of using it for education. My friend Stacey paid her way through college by working there. Which invariably leads me to old school Kanye:

But why y’all washing watch him
He gone make it into a Benz out of that Datsun
He got that ambition, baby, look in his eyes
This week he mopping floors, next week it’s the fries……

At Mickey D’s, there are scholarships out the wazoo (where is the wazoo, exactly?), so what I’m hoping is that I can use McDonald’s for tuition reimbursement. If I don’t get a job there, I will go to another company that also has tuition reimbursement because I really, really love college.

That reminds me. I haven’t looked on Howard’s web site to see if they have any positions open. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that. It’s been staring me in the face and I missed it. Why did I not think of this before? My background is academic technology. Duh. I think my brain malfunctioned on that one. But to be fair, I’m on new medication that makes me so sleepy that in order to function I have to drink more caffeine than I’m sure my doctor would like. I have hi-caf black tea and those Crystal Light packets with caffeine. They don’t have that much, but they do if you slam three of them like I just did.

I am also looking at director positions in places that work with youth. I have checked out all the churches in the area, and I haven’t found anyone that’s looking for a youth director. Most of the churches around here are looking for pastors, which, honestly, I could probably do in my sleep (luckily, because I am sleepy most of the time), but having that stole and that degree means something. The ordination ceremony means something. Just because I’ve done every job in the church since I was old enough to participate and have learned how to construct a sermon doesn’t mean jack shit until I have the papers to prove that I’m capable, because it means as much to me as it does to my denomination. I can’t wait to stand in front of the bishop and have hands placed upon me. I can picture it as clearly as I can picture the mouse on my desk. This is why school is so important. I need a cohort in grad school with which to mold a clear theology, and to present to my group what I’ve come up with so far. I’m glad that I live in a city with a UCC school, and don’t have to do everything online. You’d think I’d be more comfortable in an online classroom, but it isn’t true. I realized that in my relationship with Argo. Since we were only online friends, we were only seeing a fraction of each other, when in reality, we are both so much more than what we put on the page. It will be a different concept for my cohort to see all of me, not just how I present myself on “paper.”

It’s why I love Tinder so much. People talk about it as a sex app, but not once have I encountered that. I’ve met women that live close to me that actually can meet me for coffee and we can talk in real life instead of typing out responses that may or may not reflect the authenticity of who we are.

In fact, “lawyer chic” and I met for drinks at Afterwords, and then our second date was going to Blues Alley for a jazz concert. OMG did she ever know the way to my heart. All of their entrees had jazz musicians attached to them, even Maynard Ferguson. There’s no pressure with this whole dating thing. It feels right to have someone to go out and do things, without worrying about where we are and where we’re going. I don’t know if it will go anywhere, but I do know that I enjoy her company and that has to count for something. Neither of us are or want to be tied down to one person, and I think that’s appropriate for me considering I cannot think of anyone but Dana when I dream. In my dreams, we are still the hilarious couple we set out to be, and everything is back to normal. When I wake up, reality is not scary… but it does mean that I am not ready for a relationship. I probably won’t be for a long time. Both when Meag and I broke up and when Kathleen and I broke up, I waited three years to be in another relationship. That’s six years total of being by myself and trying to figure out who I am.

And that’s where I am now. Who am I without Dana? Who am I without anyone else?

Stay tuned.

A Little Bit of a Lot

I’m waiting for the second page of an article that “lawyer chic” sent me- nothing is worse than waiting for the second page of something to arrive. Maybe it’s that Starbucks has less bandwidth than I do at home, but I needed to get out of the house and do something, even if that doing something is searching for jobs at Starbucks instead of my bedroom/office. Since I didn’t get the youth director job, I’m focusing my search on both computer jobs and non-profits. Maybe they’ll marry- like IT for poor kids or poor adults. Like the mantra of FreeGeek in Portland, “helping the needy get nerdy.” I could very easily start up Evangelinux again, and that would be perfect because I could set my own schedule. The problem with that is not having a space. I might talk to the church about renting a room. That seems the most obvious place for me since I don’t drive.

However, I’d also like to be a part of the masses again. Not stuck in isolation while everyone else enjoys slamming coffee on the Metro platform as they’re running to work (well, as fast as the Metro goes, anyway). My perfect job would probably be in Takoma Park somewhere, so that Busboys and Poets was within walking distance from work and the No. 14 bus, which as I have said drops me off as close as the school bus.

The other thing is that a lot of the tech jobs are in Fairfax county, closer to my old hood than my new one. I would take a job over there, but my commute on the Metro and the bus would be over 2 hours and the traffic would be just as bad. There is no good way to travel in NoVa except Uber, because then at least you can sit in the back and get some of your work done in the car. It would be nice to arrive at the office and already have my monster of an inbox clear. I could do the same on the Metro if rush hour wasn’t standing in a can of sardines without the room to get out my laptop or my tablet, and I’m not proficient at touchscreens, anyway. As I told “lawyer chick,” typing on my phone went out with the Blackberry Pearl. She still has one. Maybe I should apply where she works. Sometimes being in the dark ages counts for a lot… even a Motorola Sidekick was better than the iPhone for me. If I could just get phone companies to listen to me when I say “don’t put the keyboard on the screen,” I would be very happy indeed.

Plus, who doesn’t miss Brickball?

As technology moves forward, I am finally old enough that I feel like a Luddite, even though I’m not. Between voice dictation and a little correction, I do just fine. However, I am MARRIED to my laptop with its full keyboard including number pad. I’ve also found a way to disable my touchpad so that it never interferes when I’m typing. It has opened up a whole new world of simplicity. I hated it when touching my palm in just the right way would erase a whole paragraph. CTRL-Z became a favorite of mine because I used it at least once every few minutes.

So now that’s solved. I got that goin’ for me.

Now that Argo knows what her present was, I will tell you. It was from Share a Coke, two bottles. One with her real name, and one with Argo. She has a fairly easy name, but with an alternate spelling, kind of like trying to find Katelyn instead of Caitlin, or Rikki instead of Ricky. I got to have a quick e-mail exchange with her and for now, I think we’re good. Peace offering accomplished. I told her I just wanted to get her something in the spirit of giving that said, “sorry I was such a bastard to you.” I don’t know how ok we are, but it was amazing how quick the rumination over the situation stopped cold. My mind freed up so much because everything was out of my control and I felt SO bad.

It feels nice not to have to worry anymore, because two things. The first is that peace is somewhat established. The second is that I carry that peace with me all the time. I do not have the capability to go back to where we were. I do not have the intestinal fortitude nor the want. I don’t know where we will go from here, but if that is the last communication I ever receive, I can wholeheartedly rest in it.

The ball is now in Dana’s court and has been for weeks with no word. If she doesn’t respond to me, honestly, good riddance. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that she told me I would never amount to anything. I do not need or want that temperature in my life, and I also do not need someone in my life that I’ve fought with and sees it as all my fault. She says that she doesn’t, but her eyes say it all. Plus, she still acts like a child in front of her parents and she’s almost 40. When I acted like an adult, it was not received well. If I’d just stayed in my place, we’d probably still be together, with me being unhappy that Dana was willing to forego standing up for herself in favor of trying to fit into the mold her parents made for her. When I stood up for her, it did not end well for me, but ultimately she is closer to her family now than she was when we were together. I can also rest in that. I was able to say clearly to her mother that she needed to get with the program, and she did… to her credit.

The fact that Dana edged me out of the equation is not my deal.

What is my deal is trying to figure out who I am without her. We talk almost every night in my head while I’m dreaming, and then in my dream I try to hand her something or reach out for her and I open my eyes and I am utterly surprised she’s not there. It doesn’t bother me so much as I am annoyed that I still dream as if we are still married, but it’s not about romance, necessarily. Sometimes when my eyes are closed I ask her for a drink of water, and then when it doesn’t appear in my hand, I remember she’s not there. It’s only disheartening for half a second, because I want to move on so much. I want to be with someone like Argo, not because I want to be with her, but because I want someone that has her ambition and drive and her absolute fire and hilarity at the same time. I deserve that in a relationship, and it took meeting her to realize what Dana and I were doing wrong. We were the same personality type in two bodies, neither one of us able to drive the bus.

We were both Type B, and probably still are, although as I recover from my childhood emotional abuse, I realize that my inner Type A is showing more and more because I believe that I am capable of direction and delegation. When I got on the Neurontin and the Klonopin, my “ADD” went away. I mean, I am sure that I will always exhibit those tendencies, but at the same time, all of the things that I attributed to ADD that were actually trauma are being resolved one day at a time.

And on that note, it’s time to plan out the rest of my day. I think I need to go back to Macy’s, and I know I need to go grocery shopping. It’s been interesting how much I’ve avoided it. I don’t like crowds. Today, I think I have the strength, because when I woke up this morning, I pissed excellence.

The Committee

I took a break from blogging because I didn’t want to tell you that I didn’t get the job. The woman from the church that called me said that the meeting went on for a long time, that they thought I was brilliant and that I had a bright future in ministry, but that I was just a little too green. I asked her what might happen if the already ordained ministers got a call for churches of their own and didn’t last very long. She said, “well, we might be having a different conversation.” So I know that I did very well in the interview, and one of the things that they thought was interesting is that I was the only one that interviewed the kids as much as they interviewed me. None of the other candidates thought to ask the kids what they’d like to see in their own youth group. It got me big points with the committee, and lots of fans. She said “you cannot believe how close it came because we liked you so much. We just thought you were a little green.” I could agree with that assessment, and I thanked her for being honest about what went on in the meeting so that I had some context. It’s never happened to me after a job interview before, that someone would actually describe the meeting that happened without me. There were many people on the committee that were sad that I didn’t get the job, because they saw a passion and drive in me that they didn’t see in the other candidates. I have a feeling I will know who those people are, because they’ll come up to me at church and tell me so. Even though I didn’t get the job, I actually feel good about it. I impressed several people, more than I thought I would, and they gushed about me. I think I will volunteer so that if the pastor running the program does get a call to a church of his/her own, I won’t be so green anymore. I’ll have one more thing to put on my resume unless I get a call of my own from another church as well. I am not hesitant about that possibility. To have a committee fighting over me was very cool indeed. I do have the mad skillz. I just need more on my resume to convince people of that.

Matt told me that my resume didn’t have much in the way of youth ministry, and why would I want this job? I told him that I’d been running from a call since I was ten… and then later in the meeting, I said that I’d run from a call since early adulthood. One of the other ministers in the room (it’s a joint youth group with another church) said, “I thought you’d been running from a call since childhood. Speak to that.” I said, “this is the first time I’ve ever put my money where my mouth is. I have been running from a call since childhood, but I didn’t know how to get there from here. For the first time in my life, I’ve actually applied to school with the intention of finishing my MDiv, and the $50 I spent to apply to Howard meant more to me than gold, because it represented a new chance in life, one I knew I would take eventually, but now I’m ready (je suis prest).” He asked me why I chose Howard. I said, “first, it’s a UCC school. Second, I’ve been to majority white schools my whole life and if it is my job to be Christ in the world, then I have to understand race relations and how it affects us nationally and globally.” He said, “I have so many more questions to ask you, but I won’t in the interest of time.” We could have gone on for hours, and I hope we will meet again. If anything, I need him as an ally, because the UCC and the Presbyterians have joint ordination. It would mean a lot to me to follow in the steps of Katie Morrison and Michael Adee, who were the first lesbian and gay candidates to be ordained in the Presbyterian church. I met Katie at the More Light conference in Portland in 1997, and then in 2001, when I took Kathleen to Lambda Rising, we found a book that featured both Susan Leo AND Katie Morrison. Her chapter was called, and I remember this clearly, “Black Leather Bible Dyke.” In 1997, meeting her was one of the great moments of my life, because not only did she have her head on straight theologically, she was, in two words, fucking hot.

I keep up with Michael Adee on Facebook, and he is just a joy. His feed lights up my day, because he always has uplifting quotes and stories that don’t focus on negativity, but how we are all Christ in the world, degreed or not. I found him on Facebook because I remembered his name in all the articles about Katie and Michael getting ordained. He’s like an angel to me, because we haven’t met on the ground, but he blesses me from the cloud.

And now that the interview is over, I want to go on the record as saying I think joint youth groups are a terrible idea. The idea is to feed your own church with growth. What happens if all the youth that are supposed to go to one church end up feeding the other because it’s more “fun?” Then, one church is effectively poaching kids from the other…. and their parents, too. It also skews the relationship between the churches if the events are held at one church more than the other. In the interview, they said that I would have offices at both churches and I’d go to church there as well. The possibility of growing two churches at once floored me with awe, until I came back into my head and realized that this relationship was probably going to end poorly. They say it is working now, and I hope for them that it continues to be true. However, my church has many more programs for kids and it is word perfect (I see what I did there). I could see the poaching happening and it did not make me happy, but of course I did not say anything about that in the interview. It’s just something I saw happening in the long term, rather than right here, right now.

They also missed a chance to mold me exactly how they wanted me… that I would learn more on the job than I would in a million years of Google (from whom all blessings flow). It was a disappointment, to be sure, but not one from which I can’t rebound. I have the confidence I need because there were people on the committee set on hiring me, and in the end, they lost. But the fact that the debate was so long makes me feel incredible. I am blessed beyond all measure, and it is my plan to keep it that way.

Amen.

Just As I Am

As I am starting this, I have exactly two hours before I go in front of the search committee in front of my church. The hymn that keeps going through my head is just as I am, without one plea… I just want to be accepted for exactly who I am, because the things that make me fallible also make me invincible. I am one narrative, and I hope they see it. I also hope they see the light of Christ that they are looking for, because I certainly have stopped hiding it. In fact, my life got a lot better when I did. When I started living simply, the light within me shined as bright as I needed it to be to change my life and heal my pain. With the frenzy of the last two years, I lost my light because I didn’t have the ability to see it. When you feel worthless, you act it.

Getting out of a crazy existence allowed me the time in the desert I needed to find myself in the middle of the mess. My own resurrection, in a manner of speaking. I couldn’t be the person I am now if I hadn’t seen the destruction of which I was capable. I couldn’t see how gigantic my love could be until I got that out of the way. It was the shock of cold water, or perhaps the smelling salts, God saying, “wake up, dumbass. I need you.” I stopped playing with darkness and started drinking tea and sitting still. I started dreaming forward, which I’ve never really been able to do. I have had the ability to endlessly ruminate on the past, but I have not had the ability to see my own future. I clued in, but it took a whole hell of a lot for it to happen, emphasis on the hell.

I am wearing the necklace that Lindsay gave me at her wedding as a maid of honor present, and in some sense, I feel that Diane is here with me, too, because even though we are apart, I know she would be doing gymnastics to hear that I finally accepted my call. Plus, Sandi Patty is playing in my headphones, reminding me of the time she was flipping through my CDs on a road trip, found a Sandi Patty album, and proceeded to sing every single track. I couldn’t help but laugh and remember our time at St. Mark’s. Plus, it was a small car and she has a BIG voice. I think we ended up rolling down the windows so everyone could enjoy the high As. :)

The last track I listened to was Rutter’s For the Beauty of the Earth, which was the last anthem the choir did at Bridgeport and one of the only things I remember singing with her at St. Mark’s. We went out like we began, and as I was singing I remembered her elbow on my shoulder, dressed in her preppy, looking all cute. I was about 13 and she was about 24, and the last Sunday at Bridgeport was 20 years later. No matter what happened, there were parts that were an amazing journey, and the music is one of them. I am getting to the point where I can listen to those songs again without pain, because there are so many reasons to smile when I think of her. There will never be a way to let her back into my life again, but at least our music is sacred to me again.

I need her as the angel on my shoulder, because she’s seen this calling in me since I was in middle school…. a cheerleader of massive proportions. I’m going to take her into the room with me. I’m also going to take my mom, dad, and sister, without whose love I never would have thought I was strong enough to take this interview in the first place. I’m also taking Sash and Bryn, whose love at Bridgeport became action. They both see this dream as clearly as I do, so they’re my angels, too.

And finally, I’m going to take Dana. She knows I’m going to ace it, even if she doesn’t say so. But I’m not taking Argo. She doesn’t do church or organized religion. I’ll see her tomorrow at Pizza Night, where I can dish all the dirt over Jack. My angels are the best, and they take me places I never thought I could go……..

just as I am.

I’m Ready, I’m Ready

A feeling of calm has come over me that I haven’t felt in weeks. I’m going to get this job, or I’m not. All I can do is my best, which I believe is pretty amazing. I gots da mad skillz. I just have to prove it. If nothing else, I get time in a room with power players in the church, getting to know them and how things work. That is invaluable as a member as well, in case I want to be on any committees in the future. Nothing about this interview can go badly, because I am solid about the fact that whether I am an employee, this is my church and I love it. It’s an eight-minute walk to my house, and all of the other churches in the area are quite a bit farther than that. It would take me almost an hour to get to the Episcopal church by public transportation, and as much as I love the idea of using my red BCP every week, I also find that being in close proximity to a church allows me to be involved on a much greater level than just Sunday mornings. I have said that my church needs me. If I believe that is true, then I need to be available for more than one trip per week.

Having drinks with a lawyer next week. God, I love lawyers. I hope she’s a pit bull. She’s definitely a Whovian, I’ll give her that. She knows her shit. We could probably talk about that for hours without moving on to the scales of justice. I doubt she knows I took Con Law in college and thought about reading for law myself, and have a paralegal certificate in the state of Texas, which I’ve never used, but only because every law firm to which I applied wouldn’t take on a newbie. Plus, at this point in my life, I’m pretty set on not reading codes of civil or criminal procedure. It wasn’t boring, by any means, but I have this whole pastor thing going on, and it’s kind of my jam.

In other news, I woke up with a zit just above my lip, because of course I did. God, I can’t wait for this to end. I switched to really harsh soap for my face, some brand of Irish Spring, because dry is key. I use a washcloth for exfoliation, but I am still surprised at the amount of crap the witch hazel still finds. I thought I was done with this in college, but it’s not the acne, it’s the environment. I barely ever had a pimple in Oregon. It’s the South. All the humidity, and I highly doubt the air is as clean.

I’m not the only one with problems in this area. It was a terrible idea to move the federal capital to DC, because the humidity will slowly destroy all of our old documents if we let it. Dry is key. :P

I also have a bit of a cold this morning, because of course I do. It started yesterday, but luckily has not progressed to a cough. I’m just stuffed up in my entire mask. Pseudophed and Afrin are helping mightily. I can almost even like, breathe and stuff. I would say that it’s allergies, except I have been on Zyrtec since I got here, and it’s working. I remember clearly saying to Samantha, “could you take me to the grocery store? Like, right now? I am dying because of all these plants.” She took pity on me and we were on the road within ten minutes. So I got that goin’ for me. I bought two months’ worth, because Zyrtec was on sale and Claritin might as well say “does not work” right on the box. Besides, it takes about two months for Zyrtec to build up in your system to really stop allergies cold. Spot treatment and Zyrtec are not two things that go great together. Also grateful to be in Maryland, where I only have to sign for pseudophed rather than having to get an actual prescription like in Oregon. It’s because the meth problem is so bad. I understand it, but it’s damned inconvenient to go to urgent care for just the sniffles.

Trying to decide what I’m going to wear tonight. All the people I’m interviewing with will be coming from work, so I’m thinking business casual. I can rock it, but not going to lie. I prefer my brown pants and surfer t-shirt. It’s my favorite outfit ever. Plus, the ever-important question. Shoes. Always Shoes.

Speaking of Kelly, I broke the cardinal fucking rule. I text-message broke up with Argo. Linday Lohan is going to kick my ass, as is Margaret Cho. I deserve it. With friends, you don’t usually break it off like that, but I was a deck.

Kumar: You’re worthless.
Roldy: I’m not worthwhile.

Technically, it was an e-mail. But that doesn’t make me feel any better. The Dana equation was getting serious. I didn’t want to hurt Dana anymore, and at the same time, I thought she was making a great play to get me isolated from someone I really loved. In short, it worked masterfully. She said Argo didn’t love me, that I was putting energy into a relationship in which I’d never get anything back.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. I just thought it could be, through Dana’s eyes. We could have been buds for life if Dana had just respected that love comes in many forms, and one it doesn’t is trying to pull me away from my other friends because of petty jealousy.

I was not impressed, which is why I packed up my shit and moved to the East Coast. I knew I wanted to start over in a way that I never had, settling down lifetime roots and trying to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.

And now I’m ready.

#TBT -or- Hymnody

I wrote this for one of my own youth-led worship services- I must have been about 14.
I wrote this for one of my own youth-led worship services- I must have been about 14.

My dad was looking through one of his old sermon boxes this morning and sent me a copy of this hymn I wrote when I was a kid. I must have been about 14 or 15. It was my freshman year at HSPVA. Being almost 38 now, it’s fun to look back at my growth and development, both as a liturgist and as a human being. For instance, I wrote that. Literally wrote it. I don’t write much these days…. too crippled from carpal tunnel syndrome to make that a thing.

I believe that I will plagiarize this from myself someday, updating it with inclusive language because I was a Methodist back then, liberal bastion of theology that it is. Of course, then I’d never heard of inclusive language, so perhaps it’s not really the Methodists’ fault. I give a lot of crap to the church that raised me, but at the same time, I grew, now didn’t I?

I was joking with people at church that DESPITE being a preacher’s kid, I still wanted to be a youth minister. It got a laugh every time.

I laughed out loud that I used imagery for God and Christ in the same verse, and then I was all like, “TRINITY, BITCH.”

There’s hope for me yet.

Ok, I Lied

I thought I was going to read On the Origin of Species next, but I didn’t bother to search my Kindle for it. I was on the Metro and wanted something fast. I chose A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I’m several chapters into it, having had to go from Silver Spring all the way to Tenleytown just for a SuperCuts (worth it- I’m hot again), and I am just gaga over it. The beginning reminds me of Outlander, in a way, because it talks about the absolute genocide of the Native Americans that seems reminiscent of her style. He talked about how if a woman no longer wanted to cohabit with a man, she would simply put his stuff outside the house……… Also, Christopher Columbus was a very, very, very bad man. Write it down.

Now, I’m up to slavery because in the US, white slaves were not being sent at a fast enough rate from Europe and the Americans could not force the Indians (his word, not mine, because Europeans called all brown people “Indians”) into it because they were too rebellious. Enter black people.

Part of slavery’s crack-smoking foolishness was that the white Americans did not know or care about mental illness. They didn’t realize that it wasn’t that black people were inferior. It’s that when you chain people up in a boat where they cannot move- cannot even roll over onto their sides for months at a time- you get a different person on arrival than you did when you left. Of course they seemed inferior. Look at how mental patients are looked upon even today. The white settlers did not realize that if there was any mental inferiority, they were the cause. Because why would they?

Fucktards.

I have heard people in the South talk about how slavery wasn’t wrong because Africans enslaved each other. Zinn posits that while this is true, it wasn’t anywhere near the level of cruelty that Americans bestowed on black people, because black is dark and brooding. White is pure and clean. Africans used more of a feudal system where “serfs” could get married, own property, and even inherit.

We didn’t even count them as people.

So, this book is fascinating and one of the reasons I chose it is that there’s a movie version narrated by Matt Damon, which, if you’ve been reading this web site for a while, you know that he is one of my favorite people of all time and space. Two reasons: first and foremost, he’s a writer. Good Will Hunting was a play for one of his English classes at Harvard. Ben Affleck helped adapt the play to screen, but the original idea was all Matt, all the time. Therefore, he has my respect. Second of all, how can one human be that smart and that hot all at the same time? #gaynotblind

Ok, there’s also a third thing. I love his voice. I would pay money just to listen to him read the phone book. Start with the As my friend. Jason Bourne is magnificent, and he can make shivers run down my back with two lines….. “Get some rest, Pam. You look tired.”

So, anyway, reading this book is fascinating and I have a documentary narrated by an American God to look forward to. That doesn’t suck. It’s probably better that I’m reading this now. I don’t know if I could read another evolution book so closely after Signature. It is surprisingly scientifically dense, but the story is fascinating.

I need to take a shower because the little hairs on the back of my neck are driving me crazy. Then I’m going to get back to reading, because seriously. This book will rock your world.

Also, Diana, I miss your words. Could you please put out another Outlander book soon? I am really missing being lost in that world, and I FREAKED OUT when I realized that Paul, Jerry, and Frank all knew each other. You’re the bomb, sister. Sorry it took me so long to figure that out. Also, Jerry. Heartbreaking.

Get a Haircut, Hippy

You should never get a haircut the day before a job interview, but I’ve been putting it off and putting it off and now I feel shaggy. I’ve been wearing it in a crew cut with it a little longer on top because I have a bald spot on my right side from an EKG contact when I was a baby, so I have to have my layers a little longer…. or perhaps I will go the asymetric route, which Auna calls “sex.” So many comments, so little time. I mean, Jesus. I love Auna. She just says whatever is on her mind and most of the time it makes me fall over with laughter. But if she thinks I look hot, I do. I just can’t decide what I want, although my hair is long enough now that I could do the David Tennent or the Matt Smith, depending on how I feel when I get there. Right now, when I put it into a crew cut, I look like “Syndrome” from The Incredibles.

I met a soldier a couple years ago that I just dug the fuck out of, and we kind of have the same facial structure, so I tried a crew cut and I liked it. Technically, I took a picture of her to my stylist and said, “can you do that, except all punked out and bedhead like she’s been doing heroin for three days?” Mission accomplished. That same soldier appeared in a picture with Dana in one of my Facebook albums, and when Samantha was flipping through it, she said, “oh, is that your ex-wife?” I blushed to the tip of my hair and said, “no, the other one.” Samantha said, “hmmm… I just thought your wife would look more like you.” I still haven’t stopped blushing to the ends of my hair over that one, and as you know, I’m blushing more right now because my hair is longer.

I said something to the effect of, “well, I think her husband would get mad.” She just gave me a dumb look and said, “that girl is straight?” I said something to the effect of, “yes, and she probably has a string of disappointed women everywhere.” Samantha laughed. But I told her what I told Argo in a letter after I met her, that “it made me root for her even more because the world has to know there’s more than one kind of straight girl. I call her the hottest dyke that never was.” Samantha laughed even harder at that one, and then we moved on to other topics, such as how we were going to get me married off to someone rich so that I could just be a writer. I love Samantha. She requires references and a W-2.

It isn’t her, exactly. For YEARS I have loved soldiers. Every single one. It wouldn’t hurt if my next girlfriend was a soldier, because every time she put on her Class A’s I wouldn’t be able to breathe without wanting to rip them back off. :P

I don’t think it would work out, ultimately. When I am with military people, I am just lost in a world of acronyms that I have no idea what they mean. When her soldier friends came over to the house, I think I would just hug them all and excuse myself to go write. I love it when soldiers tell old stories, but not so fond of how quickly I can’t understand them. Because they had to go the PCA to get to the SOB to get to the PX to get to the LOW to get to the CTP to make AOB…. I just made those up. I’m just sayin.’ I probably just ordered a strike on Montana. Get ready.

I also think a haircut would make me feel better. I have been in a funk lately and I think it’s due to all of my isolation crap. I haven’t left the house since Sunday morning for church. I am nervous about this interview because I want and need the job so much, and when I get nervous, I isolate to prepare. But that comes with a bit of keeping my head down that doesn’t allow for fun. Perhaps I will walk to the grocery store so that at least my endorphins are up. Or, I might Uber just to have conversation along the way. I love Uber for that. I never go anywhere far, so it’s a nice relationship. I see them once, I learn their stories, and then the relationship is over.

I also got a match on Tinder, a sweet Finnish or Swedish or Danish girl. I can’t tell. I just know that one of the languages on her profile looks suspiciously like Scandinavian voodoo shit. Of course, I didn’t look at her profile before I swiped right, so I didn’t know that she was Scandinavian when she matched me. From her profile, I’m not even sure she speaks English. But that’s probably prejudiced because I think all Scandinavians speak English to some degree, and she lives here, so there’s that. I definitely want to meet her, if only to see what she’s like on the ground instead of in the cloud. But I think tea or coffee would be fine. I’m not ready to date anyone. I’m really not. When I swipe on Tinder, I am hoping for friends, not hot and heavy. If it comes later, then maybe. But right now I am content with my books and my tea. I want to know if there’s a spark of friendship before anything else, because I know for sure that romance doesn’t last long. It comes in waves. Winters and summers for the rest of a couple’s life. If there’s no friendship spark, I’m not interested.

Plus, no one likes that girl who still talks about her exes, and I’m not finished processing what happened with Dana. Her words make me furious and I love her beyond all measure. It just isn’t fair, the way this relationship ended, and that includes owning my part. We had such great love and mutual respect until we started hiding things from each other. For instance, Dana read everything going in and coming out of my e-mail in terms of Argo, but she was loathe to tell me what she thought unless we were in a rip-roaring fight because it was an easy win. I’d just fold. She claimed that it wasn’t really Argo, that Argo could be any woman.

No. It couldn’t. Argo was special and unique and we needed our space, but not because we were in love. Friendship deserves space. It also deserves a little bit of secrecy because friends are sounding boards for each other. There were things I could tell Argo about Dana that she could look at and say, “you’re being a jackass,” and it would change my mind on how I interacted with Dana for the better. But that didn’t mean that I wanted Dana to see those jackass moments, and she did, because I couldn’t let her think that I was having an affair. I wasn’t. I was just struggling with old patterns that needed to be addressed because every single time it came up, it was unwelcome and scary for Argo in a way that I didn’t want to scare her until I, in my infinite wisdom, thought “if I drove her away, then Dana won’t have to worry anymore.” It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. The worst. I pushed away someone I loved to the fucking ends of the earth. There wasn’t anything I wouldn’t have done for her, and I am still in pain over my own behavior in all of this. That’s why I don’t want a relationship that consists of more than talking and tea. I just can’t handle the thought of being with someone else until I can truly say I have forgiven myself for what I have done and what I have left undone.

I got a notice that Argo’s present will be delivered on Friday. I expect nothing in return, but I do expect to feel better about myself… that I thought about her and found something that she wouldn’t buy for herself, necessarily, but is very cool indeed. It would make me feel better to think about my own generosity and selflessness when I have been such a right bastard to her in the past. I want to continue to be selfless and generous, because I see how I have been so wrapped up in myself that I lost the ability to see anyone else. I lashed out in fear and anger when it wasn’t necessary. She is part of my heart, and in my grief, I cannot help but want to atone for my sins. But it doesn’t matter if she responds. It matters that I am a better person to her than I used to be, not because it matters to her, but because it matters to me.

I finished The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert, and if you know the story, you’ll know why I am moving on to On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin next. It is amazing that in science, I have found God yet again.

Thanks, Elizabeth. Maybe one day I’ll get your haircut, too.

Grumpy and Grateful

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Technically, it wasn’t even morning. It was closer to 11:30 AM, the moment at which I’d planned to be at Starbucks in Columbia Heights, drinking tea and working on my interview for Thursday. The reason I wasn’t is that I stayed up nearly half the night reading. I had to put down Ulysses for a while, because it is thick, hard reading and I am finding that it is so theologically heavy for me that I need to read it in short bursts. Last night I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and got about 25% (according to my Kindle) through The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read very, very fast, and I was engrossed in both books, although I must say that of the two books, I am enjoying Signature much more. Handmaid gave me the absolute heebie jeebies and I just wanted to prepare a bug out bag the whole time. Plus, I’ve read everything Elizabeth Gilbert has ever put to paper and she is just one of my favorite personalities on God’s green earth. I worship the ground she walks on, because I read Eat, Pray, Love and like every woman in the nation at that time, I developed a girl crush on her.

Because it wasn’t just the book. It was her. Every interview was just personality all over the place. Bright and bubbly that underneath goes as deep as I do. I would love to spend an afternoon with her drinking tea, just trying to get into her mind to see how it works. I want to know if she is in “show mode” or if her personality is integrated. I do not know, but I believe it to be true that she is actually an introvert, because all writers have that drive to be alone with their thoughts. And then there is another layer to her that just exudes the love of God. I don’t know that she would put it that way, but she is just namaste and weirdmaste all rolled into one. Honestly, I was disappointed that she did not play herself in the movie version of Eat, because I think she is even more cute and bubbly than Julia Roberts, but don’t tell Julia I said that.

But back to my morning. I was really grumpy and decided that a bath would take it out of me. I shaved with Dove and just luxuriated in it. I have other soap, but Dove is better than shaving cream, in my humble opinion. Incidentally, when I am not shaving, I use an African Black soap I found at Whole Foods. It is $3.50 a bar and worth every penny. I bought it because it had what looked like bark in it for exfoliation, and said non-comedogenic right on the package- important because as you know, the heat is making my face break out like a pizza. I just make sure to keep it dry so that it lasts a long time. It smells delicious, and you can use it all over, even as shampoo. Between my two soaps I feel like the richest woman in the world.

Except for this morning. When I got out of the bathtub, I smelled delicious, and went through the routine of waging war on my face. I use a cream cleanser in the shower if I’m not using the African Black soap, and then I use pads with witch hazel and rub a great amount of acne cream mixed with non-comedogenic lotion on my face. I’m trying to make it as dry as it used to be with Accutane, and I am brutal because I know it works. I don’t care how dry my face gets. Again, this is war. I do it again in the evening, because if I am not diligent, even for a night, I will wake up with another battle.

So after I put down my weapons, I’m grumpy again. Waging war on acne is not for the faint of heart, but I do it because when I was in college, I had systemic acne that was so bad I am glad there are no pictures of it. Accutane literally saved my skin, but my dermatologist told me that eventually I’d probably need to do it again. Now that I’m on Medicaid, this will be possible. If I get the job at CCC, it will come with benefits from the UCC, making it even easier for me to take care of myself.

It’s the reason I wake up grumpy. I have been ignoring myself for a long time, and now I ache in places unusual for someone as young as me. The only person I want to see in the world is Meagan, because I believe that she could unlock me from my back pain. Now that I live on the East Coast, I may try to hit her up, because a road trip to Ottawa might become possible. It’s about the same distance from DC to Ottawa that it is from Portland to Sacramento, a drive I’ve made many times. I just have to get a car first.

Or maybe there’s a train. Flying to Ottawa, even though it’s a short flight, is damned expensive because it’s international. It is infinitely cheaper to drive. I wonder how much Uber would charge? :P I guarantee that it would be less than flying.

So in my grumpiness the thought of letting Meag get her hands on me is comforting, which is exactly what she said when I sent her a picture of my back. I have a corkscrew scoliosis and my spine sticks out in the worst place possible- I have literally bruised my spine over and over from sitting in hard chairs. The only time I’ve ever had any relief from it was when I was working at ExxonMobil, and again when I was working at Alert Logic. At XOM, I had an Aeron chair, and at Alert Logic, I had a fabulous knockoff. In fact, I think I liked the knockoff better.

So this is what I am thinking in all my grumpiness when I go downstairs and see a package on the table from one of my best friends on this earth. It’s lumpy, and I think I know what’s in it, but there’s also a surprise- a large paperback called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It’s only the second paperback I own because I am so Kindle-driven.

But the thing that I did know was in there made me cry because it was so beautiful. It’s a set of shams like the ones I saw at Jonathan Adler, the ones with punctuation marks on them. My favorite is the ampersand. I need to go to a fabric store to get the filler, but I assure you that I will sleep on that ampersand until it wears out, it is so me.

My grumpiness melted into gratefulness for the beauty of my pillow shams and the hands that made them. I don’t know who is The Doctor and who is the Companion in this equation, but our relationship is like that. Deeper than friendship, the kind of relationship I’ve wanted my whole life but have never had. It is the type of relationship that I tried to cultivate with Argo, but failed miserably when I realized my feelings had gone too deep.

I am out of that hole, and I sincerely hope that she will return to be my Doctor one day (hey, The Doctor needs to be a woman once in a while). But my relationship with my current companion is one that started long ago because we saw ourselves in each other’s mirrors and loved the reflection.

She is my straight girl, the one that lets me lose myself in dancing with her, the one that literally holds my hand when I feel things aren’t going that well. It doesn’t matter that she is 3,000 miles away. I feel her hand in mine regardless. It is the one relationship in my life that I can say we are truly equally yoked. Not in marriage, but in loyalty and passion for life and self-improvement. I’ve talked to her about the mess I’ve made in my life and she just listened. I talked to her about the breakdown with Diane that came over years and years and suddenly exploded with Dana and Argo’s words.

The one person in the world that I wanted to love me for all that I am I now encourage to run as far as she can, and my companion listened to that anger. I begged her to say out loud “I believe you.” She sent me a voice message that said clearly, “I believe you.” I still have it.

I listen to her stories and they are not mine to tell, but as I said, we are equally yoked. We each have those rough places in our lives that need attention, and we are finding them together, even when it gets scary. Because when it gets scary, we each have a hand to hold. I remember the best Christmas Eve sermon that Susan Leo ever preached by saying that on Christmas Eve, the membrane between heaven and earth gets so thin that we can touch it. I feel that way about my companion, that at night the time and space between us evaporates so clearly that our fingers touch. It is the first relationship I’ve ever had where I can truly say that she is worthy of me and I am worthy of her. We deserve this relationship. We deserve the space to explore life for all its worth.

When her heart is next to mine, I feel God working through us to make us better than we could have been on our own.

Grumpiness over.