I’m sorry, am I making you uncomfortable?

I mean…I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

Part of the Girls on the Run curriculum is a lesson about emotions and how they are not good or bad, but some – like excitement and happiness – are more comfortable, and some – like jealousy and loneliness – are more uncomfortable to feel.

I really like that. Since I learned it as a sophomore in college, I’ve been a big proponent of “feel your feelings” and this adds a new step to it…to acknowledge that feelings are not always comfortable, but that they’re okay.

As uncomfortable as they are to feel, sometimes they’re even more uncomfortable to express, but I’m getting better at that and this weekend I tried. A few times.  To family members and a friend.  I told them I was lonely, I told them I was unhappy.  And I kind of got ignored.  I guess my uncomfortable emotions make other people uncomfortable too?

While there’s a lot of talk of how blogging can place a lot of pressure to be happy and perfect and wonderful all the time, I think blogging has a lot to do with my increasing ability to be real.  Granted, I keep two blogs, this naked one and one more public and perhaps more shiny and happy, but I’m saying what I need to say in so many spaces in my life and I think it’s because I’m now used to just laying it all out there.

Or I’m getting old and I just don’t give a fuck anymore.  One of the two.

With the exception of me attempting to discuss my feelings (ew), my family was very comfortable on Sunday. My mom forced a dinner and I had to talk myself into it all week long.  They all were pretending like nothing had gone wrong, like nothing was wrong and everything was back to “normal.”  Funny the way family totally redefines that word.

I took the pup, so he was a big focus, but since it was the first get-together since my sister and her husband returned from their honeymoon, there was recap wedding talk. Just when I thought it was over.  Everyone ignored the fact that it’s not a happy memory for me.

I bit my tongue when snarky comments wanted to come out, respecting that my dad hadn’t wanted to discuss the issues in front of my mom before and with the way everyone was acting, I knew no one else wanted the faux-happy Sunday to be brought down either.

My dad asked me questions about the dog and I answered politely, but didn’t really feel the need to say goodbye to him when I left.  Then the pup slept all the way home while I cried.  I’m so hurt that my family could just ignore the situation.  I don’t want to harp on it, I don’t want to talk about it all the time, but literally there’s been no resolve and everyone else is okay with that.

So, yesterday, I wrote down everything I wanted to say to my dad – essentially that I’m offended that he hasn’t taken responsibility for his actions thus far and I’m hurt that he’s been treating me poorly for a while now.

So, then I was faced with the question…did I write it for therapeutic reasons or did I write it to send it?  I felt better after I wrote it, but I realized I felt better knowing that my dad would read it and truly know how I feel about everything.

So I clicked send.  I’m glad he didn’t fire off something back, but now I’m reaching the “how long do I wait until I take his silence as acceptance of my statement that I don’t need a forced, circumstantial relationship if he doesn’t want to get real and be involved in my life?” point.

After I sent it, I felt a little apprehension.  Nervousness that I traded his comfort for my own.  He was settling back into a comfort zone when I saw him on Sunday, assuming things were swept under the rug.  But, I was quite uncomfortable and it’s not fair for me to hold it all in. My family might be number two (although I’m not sure that’s a position they deserve right now), but I’ve got to look out for number one and I’m going to keep talking about my feelings until someone listens, darn it!

Oh yeah, and sorry I’m not sorry for the emo brain dump you just read.

A Small Picture

I’ve had moments since graduating college where I’m like, wow, I’m an adult, but nothing hits you harder than owning a home…well, owning a mortgage on a home and having the blessing of paying a bank every month for the next thirty years of your life.

In discussing the home and the whole process I’ve been going through with my mom, she had one of those “I can’t believe my baby’s buying a house” moments. To her, I’m 12. To my dad, I’m about 8 so he’s having an even tougher time with it.

All my apologies to feminism, but I was susceptible to the Prince Charming and happily ever after influences of my childhood and never really imagined I’d buy a house on my own. It wasn’t even on my radar until maybe about a year ago and sadly, even at that point, my thought process was like, “with my luck, I’ll give in and buy a house and a week later meet Prince Charming and he’ll have his own place and we’ll just be a mess of real estate.”

Lucky has a place, but I decided to buy after meeting him and before knowing where our relationship is going because that’s the best I could do. 

As Oprah says and as I’ve named my blog:

“Doing the best in this moment puts you in the best place for the next.”

I made the decision that was right for me right now and as I read recently:

“It will all add up to something, even if it’s disconnected now.”

You can’t know the big picture, you just piece together the little ones until you see it. When I was in the mess of the first house I put an offer on, my feeling was that I just wanted to fast forward a few months to get through the stressful bits of the loan process, escrow, the renovations and be there already. That was probably my first sign that something was off. I’m excited about this big event in my life now and the journey that I imagine it’s starting me on.

Timelines

Let it be noted that Saturday was the official day that my mom expressed that her biological (grandma) clock is ticking.

It was a birthday dinner for both my future bro-in-law and me. Sis and FBIL were discussing how his sister is eager for them to have kids since she just had her first and she wants the baby to have a close-in-age (hopefully girl) cousin. They said they will have one in about a year at the very earliest because they’re basically gonna start trying two months after the wedding.

Mom: “I’m just happy you’re talking about having kids so soon.” And there it was.

In all honesty, talking babies two months after being married seems crazy to me, but it works for them (and apparently for my mother as well).  Timelines are so personal and I don’t think we should look at or judge others’ nor do I think others should look at or judge mine, but perhaps that’s the bigger concern about them…that other people will judge. 

Like weddings and babies, everyone thinks they did/will do it right.  And they did/will…if they do what’s right for them.

So you know what?  F “other people.” I’m looking to, in fact, live my life…as I was meant to, as I want to, as it happens.

As it happens is a big one for me. I’m a planner and think ahead quite a bit and I’m not sure how to change that, but I’m trying. It’s hard not to think in terms of timelines – timelines as I always thought they’d be, timelines as compared to others’ – but I’m working on being grateful for the now. 

So, where does my mom’s revelation + my desire to do what’s right for me leave me?  Yes, it’s nice being the younger sister; the weight for getting married and having babies is a little lifted, but I still feel it. 

My girl Oprah says:

God can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself.

The timeline I’m meant to have and the NOW that happens in it is better than the timeline I spend so much time and energy trying to control and it’s better than the timeline that family pressure tries to impose.  Letting that roll off my back and giving up a little control is good.  Repeat.

Quotes like that seem to make their way into my life when I need them. Sometimes through blogs, movies or yoga instructors. I think on them, I write them down, I go back and connect the dots.

Today I collected my thoughts and created one of my own. It’s a good thing I’m not famous because this is probably not cohesive, let alone helpful, but it’s what I’m focusing on today:

If you want to do something, then really do it. In the moment, without what might have beens or what might bes.

I think that the life that comes from that will be better than any timeline.

Wishing and Hoping

I thought I was tired at about 9:15 last night, so I went to bed and turned off the light, but my brain would not STFU. 

Within the first hour, I had to get up to check when my passport expired – July 2012, leaving it 50/50 as to whether I should renew now or later – and I decided to add a cute guy I met almost a month ago as a friend on Facebook, wrote him a cute message from my phone, then decided not to add him.

Mostly, it was my knack for trying to plot every second of my life that got the better of me.  It had me moving to Minnesota, deciding I hate the weather and taking it out on the Scandanavian-bred boyfriend there.  Then it had me knocked up by/in an open relationship with my fallback guy and realizing that it surprisingly worked.  Then it had me meeting and falling for a local boy and then resenting him because his close family ties keep us here.

Um, brain?  STFU!

This was all despite my aha moment I had yesterday.  It was the last day of my FFF vacation in Arizona’s beautiful White Mountains.  Before my sis, her fiance and I took off back to the desert, we went for a family walk.

Do you ever have one of those moments where you look around and think, “wow, this is my life” … good or bad?  Or one of those moments – again, good or bad – when you’re like, “how did I get here?”

Growing up in the Phoenix area and vacaying three hours northeast of there isn’t much of a stretch, but then I started thinking of it from my mom’s perspective. 

Did she plan for a holiday weekend with her hubby and daughters in Show Low?  When she was my age, my parents were married, but having trouble conceiving.  Did she imagine she’d be living in Arizona when she was a freshman in college in Ohio and had just met a guy from Pittsburgh? 

I’m guessing not, but my mom has a wonderful joie de vivre.  She loves where she ended up, but she didn’t plot and plan every second of her life to get there.  The way the story goes, the move to Arizona from the midwest was such a random, spur-of-the-moment decision.

So this is what people mean when they’re all, “live in the moment, man.”  I don’t think I can dream as big as my life is going to end up, so why am I worrying about the details of it?  How can I possibly try to control it and contain it?

This planning thing is not really working out for me.  So tell me WHY it’s keeping me up at night?!

I blame the five-, ten-, fifteen-year plans they made us do in school. Goals are good.  I love goals and think it’s important to teach kids that they have to pursue the goals instead of just thinking they’ll happen, but giving kids the idea that they can plot, plan and predict every moment of their life is just a little boring! 

I uploaded some of the FFF pics to Facebook last night and ended up going through some of my older ones.  I realized that a lot of the great periods of my life, the great memories, kind of happened unexpectedly.  They were things I jumped into without thinking about it too much.

The unexpected is unexpectedly worth it.  Dream big took on a whole new meaning for me yesterday. 

And in the end, I watched four episodes of The Office on Hulu before I could fall asleep.

War of Words

I happen to be adorable and innocent.  I use words like lovely and delight and precious.  I don’t interrupt.  Sometimes I’m too polite shy to even ask for the restroom.  I wear dresses. I wear cardigans.  I’d say it’s all a farce, meant to throw people off.  But it’s not.  That’s who I am. 

And so is this:

I wrote a friend an email the other day and I used the word bang.  Actually, it was in the subject and she wrote her response and then wrote me again to say, “PS, I loved the subject of that message, haha.”  Don’tjudgeus.

Anyway, I think it’s catching on.  Please enjoy:

My last two boyfriends used the word bang a lot (among other things to describe the act, not all of which were completely crude) and at first I was a little put off.  The sheltered princess in me came out, my eyes widened and I thought, “hmm, he just said THAT.”

Then I kinda started to like it and I have apparently added it to my list of words I like simply because they’re a little crude. 

I would now like to teach you how to be crude and still be cute.  It’s all in the delivery.  Say the crude words like you own them and you will.  Say them and laugh like you did when you were nine and anyone said, “do it” or look around for your mom to scold you and you don’t own it and your crude word privileges will be taken away.  Also, it helps if you’re wearing a cardigan.

My mom’s favorite thing to say when she heard her 13- and 14-year-old students swear was, “why would you let something so ugly come out of such a pretty face?”  As an English teacher, she thought there were plenty of other words to express yourself without having to use swear words, curse words, BAD words or words that are just kinda crude. 

Her dad (my grandpa, come on, keep up, here) was named Richard and went by Dick.  I’m not sure when I discussed peni (yes, the plural for penis) with her, but she was not a fan of that slang word either.  And pissed.  She hated when we used pissed.  To be honest, I think it kinda pissed her off – not that she would have said so.

But even she has even learned to accept my inclination toward a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush. I’m more a believer in that words are just words.  Yes, there’s a time and place and I do have a censor button, but I don’t think saying bang or even singing and finding humor in The Bang Bang Song changes who I am and my mom realizes that if an occassional f-bomb is the worst thing about me, she did a pretty good job.

What do you do that people don’t necessarily expect?

What do you call that “special hug that two adults who love each other very much” share?

I’m a Big Kid Now

Last summer when I made my 101 list, I felt silly putting “pay for my own cell phone” on the list. For goodness sake, I was 25 and saying that SOMETIME before I turned 28 I wanted to pay for my cell phone myself? Spoiled. Brat.

It’s just something my mom has always done because we were on the same plan and contract lengths and unemployment and underpaying jobs and blah blah blah. I’ve told her many times I was going to do it, but never got around to it.

Today, I finally made myself an account owner to basically separate our phone bills and got my own login info and…drumroll please…paid my own cell phone bill like a big girl.

It’s silly to be so excited, but it was like when I made my last car payment and was jumping around saying, “somebody hug me!”

Except today is the opposite. A first payment and, seeing as how I could never imagine going without a cell phone,  these will never end. As much as I hate spending money, I love that I’m spending money on this.

I’m also going to redo my budget tonight to include this new monthly expense and allow myself more flex room. It’s pretty much bare bones right now and it’s based off the fact that I spent about $2000 a month when that’s about what I was making, so now even though I’m making more, I should still spend that amount.

Change of plans.

I’ve earned the freedom to spend more. I have a good job and make more money now. I paid off my car and credit card.  I overpay on my student loans while still building my savings. Everything left is MINE.

I don’t want to spend money for the sake of spending it, but I want to be okay with going out for happy hours and buying some cute new date clothes.  Going from super-saver mode to okay-to-spend mode is difficult, but having a budget to tell me it’s okay without letting me go overboard is a good way to start.

On How Panicked Shopping Kinda Worked Out

As I JUST discussed in my post about how appreciative I am of my family, I had SUCH a hard time with Christmas gifts for them this year (and I’m actually not completely done either).  I prefer to do my shopping online, so today was pretty much crunch time (because I’m cheap with shipping and all…not sure if I can totally call it panicked shopping).  I did pick out a few good ideas from my blog crushes, so I figured I would pay it forward and share my picks too in case anyone else is struggling!

For my dad, I wanted these booties from Eddie Bauer, but I saw them on the Today Show and Matt Lauer is just about as awesome as Oprah, so they were all sold out.  I got a  less expensive version from Cabela’s, that he’s probably more likely to wear anyway since under pants, they will look like regular shoes.

For my mom, I was surprised by this necklace while checking out Eddie Bauer, but I think it’s something I’d want to see in person and she might be concerned it was too young for her, but still I like it, so I wanted to share.  I usually get her a big purse, but the last time I was at their house she showed me one she just bought herself (the nerve)!  Kenneth Cole is a friend to all women with his beautiful bags, like this one that is out of my price range, but since she doesn’t need a new purse anyway, let’s just enjoy its beauty.

I’m also giving my parents this sign, which is an Apache blessing. (It reads: May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries. May the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.) I’m into the history and culture of the Southwest, but not the cheesy design often associated with it and this is a nice way to pay homage to the influence without reverting to turquoise and kokopelli.

I got my sister a pink tank top with a Hindi-inspired design WAY back in September, which gave me the false sense that I might actually do my shopping early this year.  She may also get some fun jewelry.  She’s not afraid of statement pieces, so I accessorize vicariously through her (more so-not-in-my-price-range Kenneth Cole love).

My future brother-in-law is getting this grill toy as I’ve been referring to it because I’m not entirely sure what it is or does, but I know he likes his meat.  (This set was full-priced when I bought it just a few days ago and when I went back for this post, they had knocked $10 off.  I asked for a refund of the difference and they happily obliged…go Sur la Table!)

Beyond liking to grill, my sister and her fiance love to entertain, so I got them this cute serving display, which I am going to fill with chocolate-covered pretzels and cookies to take to their Christmas party.

My grandmother is often the hardest to shop for because she’s not one of those grandmas that loves crap.  But, she does love to read and I heard that this year’s Best American Short Stories is very good, so I hope she’ll enjoy it.  I also would like to find something else for her, maybe a pin, since jewelry seems to be my go-to for my female family members.

This led me down a very dangerous path.  I went to Barnes & Noble and realized I could have completed all my shopping there.  And that I’m a big, book-loving nerd.  I orgasmed in half of the aisles and my “Books” note in my phone grew by at least ten.

I wasn’t really planning on getting anything for Rebel, but I saw a section on Arizona and since he recently moved here and is interested in exploring his new home (love that), I just wanted to get him this book and a subscription to Phoenix Magazine.  They’ll be fun resources for him and perhaps we can get lost exploring together! I’m definitely feeling more affectionate (and still no oxytocin)! 

Other books on my list…
Paddling Arizona for my dad (saving it for his upcoming birthday)
We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier or anything by Celia Rivenbark for my sister (and then me!)
My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space by Lisa Scottoline for my mom (and then me!)
Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things for the perpetual 12-year-old (bro-in-law)

And finally, items I may or may not have bought for myself while attempting to shop for others and/or items on my wishlist:
Cuisinart Grind and Brew Coffee Maker
Cuisinart Food Processor

nightgown (aka dress) from H&M and knee socks from Target
a pretty, little, brand-new Toshiba laptop
running gear, including a Garmin
Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald
girly Steelers gear
a spin bike
a hybrid bike

Okay, I only bought myself the two things in bold and one was with a gift card and the other was to qualify for free shipping!  I’m still doing great with my December budget and will get around to another update on that soon. 

I’m trying to remove myself from all these things that I WANT, WANT, WANT because I don’t WANT to be a materialistic person (and, for the most part, I don’t think I am). 

I decided today that I kind of give up on the holiday season this year, but that next year, I’m totally going to do it right…early shopping and no other obligations around this time of year so I can focus on actually spending time with family and friends, baking, decorating and Christmas movie marathons!  But, then again, isn’t this always the BIG idea that NEVER really seems to happen?

Oh and here’s hoping this blog hasn’t been discovered by any of my loved ones or else there goes the element of surprise!

Family Appreciation Night

Reverb 10, Day 14 Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

Family.

In 2009, I moved back to Arizona to be close to my family again.  I moved back into my small, childhood home with my parents for the first three months and constantly questioned that motivation and my sanity (but, I was well-fed and handed a hot cup of coffee every morning). 

A little distance (first 3 miles, now 30) and some lower lows and higher highs than we’ve dealt with as long as I can remember in 2010 has made me truly appreciate them. 

Being an adult child is a strange thing, but we seem to have a dynamic that works at this point in our lives.  Part of that, for me, is accepting these people I love for who they are – obnoxious habits and all.  I know our relationships will continue to change over time, but we’re in a really good spot right now!

Hopefully I express gratitude for them enough. I think I have such a hard time picking Christmas gifts because they mean so much to me and I want to show them, but this year, I’ve realized that gratitude for those you love is expressed in the little moments – manicures with my mom, wedding planning time with my sister, talking Steelers or finance with my dad. 

I’m not sure if my story ends in Phoenix, like I always thought it would, which puts me in a tough spot because my family KNOWS they’re the reason I moved back and I feel like if I moved away again, they would take it personally – especially my mom.  But I think the appreciation I’ve gained in the last year will help me show my gratitude even if I’m a few hundred miles away again.

Day 19

I’ve posted every day since the 5th and am suddenly feeling a lot of pressure to keep this thing going. 

A lot has changed since the 5th.  Even as I wrote that post, I knew something wasn’t right with TGISWOTSDAKHEFAWBOAKHFTD.  Maybe I thought if I wrote a lighthearted post about my non-boyfriend things would turn out okay. 

That asshole, who’s not really an asshole at all, broke my heart on the 5th.  Luckily I had not given him too much of it.  I hadn’t been seeing him for that long and feel a little silly that I was so affected by it, but I was really disappointed, mostly about the loss of what I thought we could have been, but the truth is, it was just not meant to be and when I feel a little sad I remind myself of that. 

The other day I was looking at my calendar and felt relieved that it’s almost December.  In December, I can throw out November.  I don’t have to be reminded of a party we went to together, the date we had the night he told me it wasn’t going to work out and the date we had a week later that we tried to pretend wasn’t a date that mostly just went up in flames.  I can get away from the Saturdays after those dates, which I spent in fogs.

Truthfully though, I hate to be one of those who’s perpetually wishing for time to go faster.  Yes, everyone loves weekends, but the majority of life is spent in weeks, so there have to be ways to enjoy the in-between too.

So, what else have I done since the 5th?

I found a spin class I enjoy going to on a regular basis.  I ran a 10K (mostly).  I gave my body over to a personal trainer who has me walking around like an arthritic 78-year-old but showing me that my body is capable of amazing things.  I learned to foam roll my poor, poor muscles.

I went to San Diego on my first business trip with my new company.  I gave my first presentation and did a really good job.  

I rejoined the wonderful world of online dating.  I flirted and got an extra month and a half on my free gym membership.  I explored a music museum and had wine and easy, uninterrupted conversation with Rebel, the friend/flower guy.

I went to my first opera.    I visited with my mom on her birthday and forgave her for finding my last blog (not literally because I never told her that was why I took it down, but I hadn’t been being fair to her because of it and now I’m over it).  I got upset with my sister and got over that too.  I caught up with an old friend at a casino at 5pm on a Saturday like (arthritic) 78-year-olds bussed in from the retirement communities.  I made holiday plans with college friends.

I’m going to enjoy the rest of November.  I’m going to slow down.  It’s not about rushing to the next phase.  I’m going to let myself feel the hurt if it comes up AND remember to enjoy the good things that make up the in-between time.

Thanksgiving Traditions

[I shared this Thanksgiving post on The Coupon Project’s Thanksgiving Mr. Linky…did you share yours?]

We’re shaking up our Thanksgiving traditions a bit this year in the Jaye household, but not too much.  Mostly it just means welcoming more people to our usually very small celebration…my parents, my sister, her fiance, his parents and potentially his sister + potentially her boyfriend. Surprise, surprise, Em is the seventh or ninth wheel. What else is new?

We’ve actually been shaking up our traditions ever since my sister and I moved out of the house because growing up means more responsibilities, obligations and other distractions.  I’ve had to work on Thanksgiving, my sister has had to work on Thanksgiving, our parents have traveled and we’ve had Thanksgiving on a Sunday, one wonderful Thanksgiving, we had a three-course meal at a lovely little trattoria in Italy.

But, traditions are traditions damn it and when I think of our Thanksgiving traditions I think of: 

Cranberry Orange Bread.   My parents are of the mindset that on Thanksgiving you eat the Thanksgiving meal, usually around two or three o’clock and that’s it.  Maybe around seven or eight it might be time for more dessert or a mini-plate.  Little ones can’t NOT eat all day until two or three, so we would always wake up to freshly made cranberry orange bread.  Yes, it was from a box (obviously, there were much more important things to be making from scratch) so it’s not anything special, but any other time, it would be blueberry muffins, but COB is for Thanksgiving.

Please excuse the diatribe on healthy eating + Thanksgiving that follows…

I realize now this is actually pretty unhealthy.  It sets the precedent that it’s okay to starve yourself if you’re going to binge later. And that it’s okay to binge.  Thanksgiving is a meal of relatively healthy, at least more natural and wholesome foods than most of America eats on a daily basis.  That will not do for Americans.  They find a way to make this wholesome food unhealthy – marshmallows in sweet potatoes, deep-fried turkey, and A LOT of EVERYTHING. 

Even if the food is delicious, who really likes to feel STUFFED afterward? No one. That’s who.

Eat like a normal person, eat a normal breakfast, eat enough at “the big meal” to taste everything and feel satisfied and have leftovers to enjoy again. They’re just as good the next time around. Enjoy the people you are with.

Forced Family Fun.  Everything about Thanksgiving screams forced family fun, which sounds worse than it actually is.  I love my family and enjoy spending time with them, but during requisite events, I have no choice but to enjoy it.

Hiking.  We used to hike every Thanksgiving morning. I hated it. Now I’d love to get my family out there. My mom will be too concerned with making everything perfect, even though our guests are just as relaxed as we are, like us and are mostly stuck with us at this point. My dad might not be healthy enough for it and I don’t want to be the one responsible for trotting him around a mountain trail to find out. Oh, and my sister will no doubt have popped the champagne upon waking up, okay, maybe she’ll wait until she’s at least showered, but drinking and hiking just don’t mix.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I love it.  I don’t think anyone else in my family does.  I sneak it on the TV.

Ignoring football.  Hate the Cowboys.  Enough said. (I find it funny that I managed to work in my distaste for America’s football team in back-to-back posts.  Go me.)

Being banished from the kitchen.  I’m the baby of the family and I’m just not as into food as the rest of my family is, so generally I get designated as the table setter.  I think last year I got to put the rolls in the oven.  This year we’re doing a quasi-potluck and I’ve been put in charge of appetizers.  I’m pretty sure they’re expecting a cheese tray and a bag of baby carrots.  Little do they know I’ll actually be busting out a smoked salmon and creme fraiche hors d’oeuvre and stuffed mushrooms!

Board Games.  Again, this might be just a me thing, but with even more participants this year, I am so making this part of the forced family fun.

T-minus four days.  Can’t wait!