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And then…one day… she got on with her life

Once upon a time, a girl newly relinquished from her undergraduate career started a blog in which she rambled about the piteous happenings of her small and empty existence. She had no career, no credit, no future, and very little hope of changing her situation, but goddammit she had a place to bitch about it. And because she had a modicum of humor and a rather wide lexicon, people read her writing. And she would write a lot and then not write at all for months, and then return here and there to comment passionately, albeit shallowly, about some little tidbit of her little world. And people would read it.And she’d think, “gee, why don’t I do this all the time?” But inevitably, she’d fall off the map again.

Well, the last time she fell off the map, it was because she was FINALLY GETTING HER FUCKING SHIT TOGETHER.

Yes, my friends. I, Pamela, have decided I do not wish to stay eternally condemned to a life in limbo and have gotten on with my life. I am no longer a nanny. I am no longer living with my parents hating every moment of my existence. I am no longer dating someone who I feel little to no real connection with. I am thrilled to report that I have–dare I even say it?–the beginnings of a LIFE.

This week, I started law school. For the first time in nearly three years, I am feeding my mind, bettering myself, electing to live up to my potential. Good lord, does it feel good to have a purpose again! To get up early and gogogogogogogogogogogogo until late at night! To feel, at the end of the day, that I have earned a beer or some chocolate or–gasp!–some wonderful, glorious rest!

I feel alive again.

Praise EVERYTHING.

I’m not saying this isn’t limbo. I’m not saying I have everything figured out. Nor am I saying watch-out-world-because-Pamela-is-coming-for-you-and-she’s-got-her-ass-kicking-shoes-on. But I am saying, that things are changing.

Also, I’m done beating myself up for the last few years of aimlessness and depression and spending too much time watching the days pass; I’ve chosen to love myself enough to accept my later-than-I’d-hoped development. I think I needed those years of aimlessness to get me here. I think I was chronologically an adult but mentally still an adolescent. I think we all grow and change and evolve at our own pace, and, maybe, I just evolve in fits and starts, leaps and bounds, rather than gradually and steadily. One day, the sun set and I was afraid of everything and imprisoned by my own inertia, and when the sun rose the next day I was done being afraid and ready to build some momentum.

And now, here I am, gaining speed.

I just might one day get out of Limbo after all. What a feeling.

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“Holy shit, she’s trying this AGAIN?!”

That ^…up there…that’s what I assume you two people who subscribed to this blog months ago thought when you got an email announcing that this post exists.  I’m not going to even bother apologizing for the absence. I’m just…not.

Sooooo, hey there. Hi. I, pathetically, don’t have a purpose for this here blog entry other than to say that, with any luck, I will be doing this regularly. Again. I hope.

I’ve been feeling…slightly overwhelmed the last few weeks. I’ve had a few tragic/tragically comical mood (down)swings–one that caused an ill-timed emotional explosion that left a very sweet boy blinking in the aftermath–and quite a few literally sleepless nights. And though I turned to my old friends Diet and Exercise to balance out the weeble wobble that I had become, and while they helped, I still felt like I was missing something. Like there was a simple solution dancing in front of me wearing nothing but a Dr. Seuss hat and I was just missing it . Finally, it came–first, as a whisper in the back of my mind, then a low drone, and, finally, an air horn–to me: WRITING.

Yeah. It took me a while. I’m a dumbass. I know.

Approximately, oh, 6 minutes ago, as I lay on my bedroom floor feeling rather more alone than usual, and recognizing the familiar tug of sadness, I sat up and said, out loud, “Blog, you spaz.” And thus, here I am. Saying nothing of meaning or use to anyone, but feeling better because of it.

Why, gods, why does it always take me so long to come back to writing?

Here’s the brief lowdown, friends. Last time I wrote, I had just been kicked out of my parents’ house. That was back in…October? (Fuck me, has it been that long?) Since then I have moved into my own place, done a 180 when it comes to my plans for the future (pssst…these plans might actually happen!), lost all love I once had for my job, got my first ever gym membership, and started drinking with a regularity that rivals my undergrad career. And I might have an ulcer. Aaaand I’ve rediscovered my weirdness. You could say we have some catching up to do.

So, I hope I actually keep writing for a while. And I hope I actually have something to say that has worth to someone. But if not, at the very least typing these 400ish words actually made this night a little bit better. And, fuck it all, that has very real worth to me.

 

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I Suspect This is What Real Life Feels Like

When I ended my relationship 5 months ago and chose to “temporarily” move back in with my parents, I complained that I was retreating deeper into my own hellish limbo and ever farther from the “real life” I’m supposed to be living. Well, I suppose that means I should be thankful for the healthy dose of the-shit-just-got-real I received just a couple days ago.

My father, on any given day, is playing one of, say, a dozen characters, and there is no warning signs for which version you’ll be dealing with: dancy-and-goofy-and-creepily-tickly Dean; long-winded-lecture-that-has-no-point Dean; sullen-and-wordless Dean.  Frankly, none of them is pleasant. Or tolerable. Or vaguely mimicking normal human behavior. But when his manic-depressive tendencies take him on a downward trend and he’s had a few too many Budweisers and a very fickle blue moon hangs in the sky, you get irrationally irate Dean, and he is the worst. He is the version that screams with rage at my mother about such earth-shatteringly important topics  as loading the dishwasher and overripe fruit. He is the version that shatters the glass fronts of the china cabinet and breaks the framed wedding photo of himself and his wife over his knee. He is the version that strangled me when I was 17.

This is the Dean that makes me wish I was adopted. I don’t want to believe I share any DNA with a man that psychotic.

Well, that Dean made an appearance Thursday. I knew I should have just gone for a walk when I could almost hear the spit flying out of his mouth as he yelled at my mom about nothing of significance, but I did not. I stayed in my bedroom, stupidly believing that if I just stayed quiet I would be left alone. Alas, I was horrifically wrong.

Dean came into my room to talk to me about the new tires I was going to purchase for my car. And though I knew, I knew he was not going to be capable of an adult conversation, I did my best to stay calm and have a discussion with him. But every time I tried to answer one of his (increasingly aggressive and loud) questions, he’d bellow, “Shut the fuck up and answer my question!” I made the mistake of pointing out that one cannot at once shut up and answer; trying to use logic with Psycho Dean is NEVER wise. This lead to…ugliness. The fine points of what was said are irrelevant, but, basically, he screamed, while red as a wine stain and wild-eyed, that I am a bitch and a mooch and I will never become anything and I will not take responsibility for the pathetic excuse for a human I have become.

And then he said he didn’t care to have me around.

So I left.

And I am not going back.

I am now, for all intents and purposes, homeless.

OK, now, fear not: I am not sleeping in my car. I have been overwhelmed by the willingness of my friends and family (and my ex-boyfriend and his family, even) to take me in for a night, a week, or an extended period. I am clearly, clearly loved, really and truly loved by many, and I am crying just thinking about it. I have some extraordinary people in my life.  As I type, I am sitting on a stool in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen, because before I could even ask for a place to crash, the bunk bed in my cousin’s room was offered to me.  And I know I have shelter for at least two weeks, with many offers of couches and spare beds for the time following. So everything will be fine.

But GOD. I was kicked out of my HOUSE.

This, I believe, is what we call a shitty situation.

And it also feels very very real. Like the sort of “real life” you’d see on TV. Or read about in a women’s magazine. This is a whole new kinda limbo in that I seriously don’t belong anywhere, which makes me feel like it’s at least a legitimate form of limbo, which thus makes it more real. The more fucked up your life is, no matter how lost and aimless you are in the process, the more legitimate your existence. Life is hard, but at least I am legit. Like I have street cred or something.

Haha,  just made a joke. In this midst of this clusterfuck that is my life, I am still laughing. Because even though this pretty much sucks, it could be worse. That’s called perspective. That’s called growth. I must be leaving limbo if I’m acting all adult.

Whoa.

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A Beautiful Disaster

[I know, I don’t write enough. But I won’t start each few and far between post with an apology anymore…after this. Sorry.]

Once upon a time, at a sketchy university health center, a psychologist tried to tell me I was bipolar. The quack was wrong–I was merely going through puberty–but if she tried to diagnose me similarly right now, however, I might not think she got her doctorate from a correspondence school.

I have been a walking rollercoaster as of late. I feel so happy I could just die…and then so sad, and so very very lonely, I could just…die. It’s funny, I have some wonderful people in my life constantly trying to boost me up, but the higher they get me, the farther I fall.

The health nut part of me keeps thinking if I just get enough folate, keep exercising often, go back to yoga, then my mood will even out. The female part of me blames my uterus, my hormones, and my very chromosomes for making my batshit crazy like every other woman that ever lived. But the wise and the realistic part of me just knows that this manic-depressive/riotous laughter vs. heaving sobs/wide smiles and sullen frowns kind of existence is all part of being more myself.

Yeah, it’s an Amp thing.

When you take risks, when you go with gutsy truths over easy falsities, when you decide to actually live instead of merely survive, the stakes are significantly higher. So, naturally, the wins are all the more satisfying, but the losses get you where it really hurts. But no matter how much I hate moments like this–when I feel like I’m playing the fool in my own life, and I just want to become a permanent addition to my mattress–I know this is a much better life than the one I was living half a year ago.

So, yeah, I didn’t feel nearly as lost or confused then as I do now, and I had a certain amount of security in the day to day, and I even occasionally convinced myself I was “content,” if not happy–but I was a zombie. I was a stranger in my own life. Now, though I sometimes still look around and wonder where the hell I am and how I got here (metaphorically and, sometimes, literally), at least I am alive and feeling my way through it all: feeling so stupidly happy with friends I am tremendously lucky to have found; and feeling less than stellar emotions (sometimes with or because of those same friends, sometimes because I had to leave those friends, and sometimes for no reason that I can pinpoint) that bring back memories of an acne and misery riddled adolescence. My emotions are on hyperdrive and it’s exhausting and annoying…and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I look around at my current state of affairs, and it’s just a wonderful kind of chaos. Even when I am feeling down, I still can’t help but realize that I have it alright. There are people–real living, breathing people–who desire my presence in their lives. I have a future ahead of me that might not totally suck (as long as I stay strong and keep fighting for it); a future that will get me out of the suburban hell hole to which I always thought I was doomed. I have perfect teeth. I have parents that are misguided, and tragic, and so very stupid sometimes, but who still manage to make me feel loved (even though I try to hide from them as much as humanly possible). I have a decent sense of humor and an unmatched ability to laugh at myself. I have a brother for whom I would do anything, and who I hope is proud to say he’s related to me. I have the world’s best dog. I have a head of hair that’s finally thickening (thank you, iron supplements). I have more pairs of Converse sneakers than anyone in the world should own. And I have a wee, helium-y little optimistic voice in my head that insists that everything is going to be just fine.

And even sad Pamela knows that foolish little voice is probably right.

OK, most certainly right.

This life is a beautiful disaster…and it’s mine. I find myself so often glancing around at my little slice of the world with a smirk, a deep sigh and an eye roll. It’s absurd and silly and messy and stunning and pathetic and adorable and ridiculous …and I love it.

 

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What do you do when an avian cacophony is keeping you awake?

This.

Or, at least, I do this.

After being a lazy blogger as of late–an incredibly procrastinatorial (not a word at all…but shouldn’t it be?), computer-phobic, sorry excuse for a writer–I am finally attacking the keys because I woke up 45 minutes ago for a drink of water, and now I cannot for the life of me fall back asleep. What with the sun creeping its way over the horizon and the apparently 100,000 birds chirping, twittering, and confabulating outside my window, I had no choice but to give in, open my computer and come to this site to compose a long overdue post.

Resistance is futile.

For the last, oh, two weeks, I have experienced all the symptoms of adult ADHD without the perks of, you know, the drugs: an inability to commit to a task for very long, racing thoughts and the inability to relax, sudden uncharacteristic impulsiveness, a plethora of ideas but no patience or clarity-of-mind to take the time to write them down, etc. On more occasions than I can count, I had great ideas for posts on this here blog, even had 90% of it written in my head…and then I didn’t do squat about it. I had a simply brilliant conversation with my father (rare, but they happen) about regret and catharsis and believing in your own choices, and though in the moment I thought “I am going to go write about this the second he stops talking,” the moment I walked away I couldn’t remember half of what was said or what I even felt. I’ve been meaning to document my trip to Chicago because, frankly, it was so much more than I could have hoped for, but now it’s been a few weeks and the details are growing fuzzy and I no longer can find the words to say how great it was to get the fuck out of Michigan. And for the few people who take inspiration or insight from my struggles with weight loss, well, I’ve truly failed them. I just could not bring myself to dedicate even a moment of my time to say…something. Anything. And I feel very, very bad about that.

But here I am. I’m writing. It’s not an epic poem or a poignant little ditty, it hardly qualifies as coherent, but I am making an effort. I don’t have to time to really do an amazing job here, but I thought I’d just touch base briefly, and update ya’ll on where I am these days, both literally and metaphorically.

I am sick for the first time in months: It seems that, while exceptionally invigorating and fun, travel and I aren’t friends. My little jaunt over to Illinois was so enjoyable and so chock-full of good stuff that I totally forgot to take care of myself for a few days–by, you know, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating at all–and it was a huge blow to my immune system. It’s been two weeks and I still have a very sore throat and a stuffy nose. The last time I can remember having a cold was, what, February? And now I feel like crap and I only have myself to blame. But, what I don’t understand it, why is it taking so goddamn long for my body to get back on track? I’m back to drinking 88oz of water per day, eating quite healthfully, exercising…shouldn’t I be on the mend by now? Grr, immune system, grr to you and yours.

I have applied to take the GRE…again: After allowing a relationship (and a less-than-fulfilling one at that) to derail my life for the last year and a half, I am back on track with the goals I once held near and dear to my optimistic little heart: grad school, career as a professor and/or editor, moving away from Michigan and to a city where people like me can actually breathe. So, for the next two months, I will be studying my ass off so that come the day I sit down at that loathsome computer and attempt to prove that I am a valid candidate for furthering my education, this time, my verbal score won’t totally blow. I have never been all that good at studying, and have rarely needed to in the past, but it’s something I have attempted and succeeded at in times of trouble, so I’m hoping the fact that I’m more than a little rusty with the whole academic process won’t completely sap me of the ability to achieve a stellar score. Maybe I’m two years late, but I want to go back to school so badly, and I hope that I don’t end up standing in my own way.

I have admitted to myself that I condemned myself to limbo: As above-mentioned, for a few shameful years, I acted like a stupid girl and let my love for a boy distract me from all the things I wanted to achieve. I stayed in MI and didn’t apply for schools or out-of-state jobs because I was scared of what would happen (re: breaking up) if I left. This is not at all his doing: he never asked me to shy away from graduate school; he never asked me to abandon my dreams for a life of housewifery and loneliness. That was me…all me. And it’s hard to fess us to that, but, I think, knowing that I’m capable of being my own worst enemy isn’t the worst thing. I know what I’m capable of, and might be able to prevent a future derailment of my life. I also think I can forgive myself for losing sight of…everything…because, maybe, I had to lose myself to find myself. Maybe I had to make those mistakes to finally see that I was right all along (or at least up until I was wrong). Maybe, just maybe, I had to take my sweet old time to see what everyone else seemed to see–that we were a doomed couple and I was a fool–because in the process of fucking up my life, I learned an awful lot about life.

There is no place like home: My parents might make me crazy, and they might have made some questionable parenting choices in the past, but I owe them so much these days. Not only am I saving bank by living for free under their roof, but I’m finding a little respite in this bedroom I slept in as a child. All my friends who know I’ve never had a good relationship with my dad are shocked to hear that, hey, life here isn’t so bad. I’m, dare I say it, happy to be home. It’s still a messy messy house and my dad is still an alcoholic and my mom is still overly religion–dependent, but those things don’t bother me so much right now. I am actually happy to come home every day…and I honestly NEVER thought I’d be happy in this place ever again.

I won’t be a nanny much longer: I had better find writing-related work come fall, because whether I am ready or not, the babies won’t be under my care come September. It turns out preschool is effing pricey, and my employers can’t afford me at my current rate AND school for their daughter at the same time…so the end is near. This is both sad and very, very exciting. I love those children, I love them so much…but I’m ready to be done. I’m ready to work in a place where I have grown-ups to talk to. I’m ready to get the fuck out of limbo. Although…

We are all in limbo: No one–not business owners, not priests, not my parents, not even retired billionaires with everything they could ever ask for–is where they are hoping to be. Once you achieve one goal or all of your goals, you only set yourself new ones. It’s when we stop having goals that we stop living. There is always something to aim for, something to hope for, something to look ahead towards and think, “yeah…that’s where I’m headed.” And it’s not like when you make it there you’ll just…be there. There is no final destination, there are just stops along the way. So, maybe, I can stop saying I want to get out of limbo…because I never will be. And that’s alright.

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Allow me to introduce…Amp

You may recall, if you’ve ever been bored enough to browse this website before, that I have been working very hard to ban fear from my life. My mantra of “Be Brave” has led me to make a myriad of decisions that have proved to have been EXCELLENT choices, because they have made me feel alive  for the first time in years. It’s like I was sleepwalking through my life. I was so afraid of experiencing anything remotely negative that I missed a lot of experiences that could have enriched my life.

Well, no more.

A dear friend of mine said just last night, “If only the Pammy I met could see the person sitting in front of me right now. She’d be like, ‘That’s not me.'” And she is 100% correct. The girl I was when I went away to school in 2006 claimed to want to find herself and have some fun but…that didn’t really happen. I was too fucked up from the less-than-healthy homelife I was leaving to get anywhere close to having fun. I had to play it safe for a while, recuperate for a while, and find a little sanity-come-boredom. But while I know at that time I needed that, now, as I’m finally, finally, bursting free I can’t help but think, “What a waste, what a waste, what a waste.” I think of all the friends I didn’t make, the parties I didn’t crash, the boys I didn’t hook-up with, the recreational drugs I didn’t try, and I just shake my head. Did I even go to college? I may be a logical girl who knows that, just maybe, not experimenting with drugs wasn’t the worst thing, but seriously, I kept myself so sheltered. It’s like I was still living with my parents, afraid to come home late for curfew. I got one hickey in three and a half years, and I was mortified. Now I’m like, “Hey, it was FUN getting that goddamn hickey.” Fuck.

So now, a couple years late, I’m finally wanting to be a little…adventurous. I don’t want to be a slut or a druggie, I just…want to live. But every once in a while I step back from myself and that shy, fearful girl I used to be takes over and I have to ask, “Who IS this woman?” Well, I’ve decided to dub this new brave, fiery person I’m allowing myself to be my alter-ego…and I’ve named her Amp.

My fantastic and inspirational cousin Stef once mistyped her name in an email to me as “Fest,” and it was such a cool moniker that I looked to my own name for a fun anagram. For a split second I thought, “Oh man, all I have is ‘map.’ Boring.” But then I stopped being stupid and saw that my name comes equipped with a rad nickname that embodies everything I am hoping to be. I want to turn the volume up on my life, I want to be and see and do simply more: I want to open-mouth laugh more, dance all the more ridiculously, sing louder and more off-key, and just…ROCK. I want to rock. And thus, Amp was born.

Amp, dancing as if everyone is watching and she DOESN'T GIVE A FUCK

When I start to shrink away from a new experience, I have to ask myself:  What Would Amp Do? During my recent trip to Chicago (so much more on that to follow in future posts), I was considering not venturing into downtown and just hanging out at the hotel. And, you know, I would have enjoyed the peace and solace of time alone in a king-sized bed, but I also would have been very disappointed in myself. So my alter-ego took over, and was all, “Get the fuck up and get the fuck out. You’re in CHICAGO  bitch.” And so I did. And then, when a long long lost friend suggested we meet up, my mousier self sort of hesitated: “I don’t really know him anymore, it could be awkward, and I have to get up early tomorrow.” Lame.  But again, the fearless girl in me came out and I took a leap and got dinner with a guy I haven’t seen in 5 years. And guess what? It ended up being an incredibly fun night; some people, it turns out, still know how to party.

I was beyond pleasantly surprised, but, frankly, I should just start expecting happy surprises around each corner. You take a chance, good things follow. I have to start believing this with my whole heart, because life has been revealing to me that it is so so true.

So, I don’t even need my mantra so much anymore. Now I simply have a split personality: the sorry excuse for a young woman I was before who just won’t die, and the new, vibrant, lively girl I am becoming more and more each day. You can still call me Pam if you wish, but, these days, I prefer Amp.

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I’m bad. I apologize. But I’ll do better, I swear!

To the people who read this here blog and enjoy what they read and were disappointed when there was nothing new for the last week, I’m sorry! I know it’s not really an excuse, but, would you believe, I was busy? Think of it as me experiencing things so that I’d have more to write about.

So, right now, I have to go be a working adult ( ‘_’ ) but soon to come will be a few post about such fabulous and interesting topics as:

  • Starting on my birthday, I stopped craving sugar? How did THAT happen?
  • Chicago Chicago Chicago
  • Introducing Amp: my new alter-ego who might just become my standard, everyday-use ego
  • I’m that girl who experiences a catharsis in yoga class and cries. Embarrassing, yes, but lord, does it feel good.
  • Probably like 6 more posts where I linger too long about my experiences in Chicago
  • In spite of all their flaws, a tribute to my parents (If you’ve read some of my other posts, this may shock you)
  • Style versus Fashion: one boosts your confidence, the other tears it down because conformity sucks the life out of you!
  • And I’ll be cryptic here, but one post shall be entitled: Size Does Matter. Ponder that one.

So come back this evening or tomorrow morning, and I promise you, one of these posts that only currently exist in my mind will exist on the web. OK? OK.

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