There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not obsessed with becoming the person I want to be instead of the person I am. I think that’s a good obsession rather than a bad one, because it drives me forward in order to achieve my version of success. Of course I want to have financial success, but for an INFJ, money is never how success is defined. It’s becoming who they want to be in interpersonal relationships, often leading others to wholeness through “commanding from the back.” I’d like to think that it’s what defines this web site. I lay out all my flaws and failures first, and if others find comfort in knowing they’re not alone, I’ve done my job for that day.
For me, success is defined as looking at my regrets in order to make new mistakes rather than repeating old ones. This is because I can never strive for perfection, but excellence is an achievable goal. I have come a long way with this, because my pattern is to give up on something if I can’t do it perfectly. For me, there has never been such a thing as it’s good enough. Honestly, it wasn’t until I started blogging this time around that I began to change my focus away from everything being perfect, because I realized that if I wanted everything to be perfect, I’d never publish anything. I look at my old entries and see tense changes, typos (which drive me ntus), and any number of grammatical errors because formal writing in blogging is not the goal. If it was, I would have hired an editor long ago. I often read entries after I’ve hit “Publish” because I began to realize that over-focusing on tiny things made it where I didn’t have enough courage to put my writing out there.
I decided to just write like I talk, and that in and of itself was good enough………..
However, even that didn’t dawn on me until I looked at my stats over a year in 2014 and every country in the world was represented. Every. Country. In. The. World.
When I told my friends that, they said “prove it.” So, I used the WordPress app on my phone and showed them the breakdown. There wasn’t a single one of them that didn’t say something to the effect of “holy shit, Batman.” And this was after “you don’t have UAE… oh, there it is.” “You don’t have Angola… oh, there it is.” “You don’t have Liechtenstein…. oh, there it is.” Etc. Etc. Etc.
I am most popular in the US, because that’s where my friends live… but Australia and the UK are catching up fast.
That’s the part that makes me the happiest, because there is nothing better than putting out my words and having so many people read them that have no horse in the race. They can listen objectively because they don’t know anyone I’m talking about, and can’t even guess.
I also really like being a part of the WordPress community, because I read a lot of other writers that are much better than I am, upping my own game. Of course I still read Dooce and The Bloggess and all the other insanely popular blogs because they are insanely popular for a reason. Plus, she’s not exactly a blogger, but Anne Lamott has started writing really long Facebook statuses that sustain me- part humorist, part theologian- all grace.
I’ve actually met Anne- she did a reading at Powell’s Books in Portland and I was so sick I thought I might be dying…. but unless I was actually dead, there was no way I was going to miss it. I had a dumbass attack during the Q & A when I said, “my only question is ‘can I give you a hug?'” She said, “of course!” And afterwards, I thought, “oh my God. I hope I didn’t just kill her, metaphorically speaking.” If I remember right, it was tonsilitis.
So now you know my stories with both of my writing heroes, which are humorous and memorable because I am a master at tripping over my own feet in the presence of greatness…. and cuteness, apparently…. but what lesbian can avoid walking into a closed door in the presence of cuteness? I haven’t met one yet. ;P
Technically, I was opening the door and banged my own face on it. I can laugh about it now, but oh my fuck did it hurt. Dana never would have let me live it down had my nose started bleeding. I miss sharing girl-watching with her, because it was always understood that we could look at the menu, but we couldn’t order.
And we damn near always looked at the same menu. ;P
I don’t do girl-watching these days, because I’d rather put my energy into self-improvement…. with my writing, with my job-hunting, with my hopes and dreams for the future. But they’re funny memories nonetheless.
Although one woman did write to me recently based on my OkCupid profile that said, “your blog reads like the inside of my head.” Good Lord. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone…. same with a friend that said “I’ll live vicariously through you.” I’m sorry, I wouldn’t wish that on a dog I didn’t like…. I actually love dogs, it’s just a NE Texas saying that hasn’t gone away. You can take the girl out of Texas, etc.
My other favorite is, “she can’t help it that she’s ugly, but she could stay home.” Or from Molly Ivins…. “you wouldn’t say he was dumb, but you might want to stop by and water him three times a week, bless his heart.”
It is a trueism in Texas that you can say just about anything mean about anyone as long as you follow it up with “bless their hearts.” I suppose this is because it is meant to convey insincere compassion for their maladies.
It is especially prevalent in a small town where, in the words of the movie Doc Hollywood, “you cain’t take a shit in this town without everybody knowing what color it is.” Everybody knows everything because the grapevine is tall and strong.
It was both a relief and a hardship to get out of Texas all the times that I have, because of course I miss my family, and at the same time, I enjoy finding out who I am outside of who they are. Although part of moving so much is ingrained from being a preacher’s kid. We never stayed anywhere longer than five years, and it instilled wanderlust in me, as opposed to wanting to stay in the same place for once.
I did put down strong roots in Portland, where I’ve lived the longest (so far), but even then I still went back and forth. It’s a strange feeling when no place feels like home. Now that I’m back in DC, though, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. The wanderlust is now internalized to exploring my own city, because I could see a new thing every day for the rest of my life and still not see everything DC has to offer. A few days ago, I downloaded a hiking app that has all the trails in the entire country mapped out and driving directions to the trailheads. There are several right in the city, and even more in Maryland and Virginia.
I need to get on it, because one of the things that’s truly important for people post-PTSD and/or grieving is getting back into your body, because pain settles into the muscles as easily as it settles into the brain.
I go to therapy for my mind, and I need to exercise, even if it’s just walking a beginner trail. It’s also about two miles from my house to the Metro, and that is just enough time to really think while mobile. I just need a bit better weather. Right now it is 63 and cloudy, with rain predicted for later, and I absolutely hate getting caught in the rain as I’m walking when it’s cold out…. or, cold for me, anyway. When it’s 80 or 90, getting caught in the rain is delicious, even when it’s not Portland spitting and Maryland downpour.
I really should rethink the whole umbrella thing, because the reason you don’t have to carry a bumbershoot in Portland is that it hardly EVER rains hard. Here, the skies open up without warning and you can get soaked to the skin in a matter of seconds. But here’s my take on umbrellas in that situation. I tend to get soaked to the skin, anyway, because the rain blows sideways. And in fact, the last time I actually owned an umbrella, it was raining so hard that my umbrella bent backwards and was rendered unusuable about five seconds into my fifteen minute wait for the bus.
Granted, the umbrella was kind of flimsy, but there’s no way in hell I would have been willing to carry a heavy golf umbrella in addition to my loaded down backpack. There were so many days that my back was ripped to shreds because I have a corkscrew scoliosis and my backpack rubbed the skin on top of those vertebrae raw and bleeding…. even with a bandage, because even then, there wasn’t enough padding.
I tried honey, I tried Neosporin, I tried carrying a different bag, and nothing worked. So I just had to grin and bear it, often gnashing my teeth in pain.
Getting a car solved all that, but it has also made me a bit complacent. Walking was good for me, especially home from therapy. I could have taken the bus, but I didn’t unless I got tired. I generally walked everywhere I went. I remember the exact moment I broke down. I was trying to get to SuperCuts out in East Jesus Nowhere because I couldn’t find one closer (didn’t know about local salons yet). When I got there, Google Maps was wrong and it wasn’t there. It was such a long trip with so much walking (about six miles all told) that I just sat down on the pavement and cried until I remembered I could create an Uber account. Just please, God, come and pick me up. Stick a fork in me, I’m friggin’ done.
And then there was the time that I found a SuperCuts on Wisconsin Ave., and the route home was through Rock Creek Park in the pitch black. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life. Until I found a salon in Silver Spring, I wouldn’t drive there. I took the Metro every time, because I didn’t know how to get home without navigation, so there was no way to avoid having to creep along in the park, still blind even with headlights on because the trees are oppressive in those hours. Now I go to the mall in downtown Silver Spring, another place to which I can walk and often don’t.
But I should. Self-improvement comes easier when I am comfortable in my own skin, and walking alone, thinking and listening to music that lifts my mood, is the fastest way I know to get there.
I have a friend who says she doesn’t believe in God, but does believe in running. Now I know what she means. Perhaps my prayer should be that I start running, too… just not away from anything. There is no way out, only through.
Now that I’ve exhausted nearly every topic of which I can think, it’s time to get going. I have a few errands to “run,” but unfortunately, today’s just not the day to take it literally. Perhaps it will be sunny tomorrow. I am sure I can make up an excuse to walk to the Metro, even if I don’t actually get on the train. Sometimes the destination isn’t the important part, anyway.
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