Month: January 2015

Another G.D. Questionnaire!

I had so much ding-dang-dong fun doing the Proust Questionnaire from last week, and a friend of mine mentioned the one from the really old movie “Harold and Maude,” which is not to be confused with “Harold and Kumar,” I wanted to have a go at that one, as well.

Here we go! Yay!

The Questions

1. Are you uncomfortable meeting new people?

Emphatically, no, but it’s a necessary evil. It makes the introvert in me pucker my butthole at the thought of meeting new people. Plus, when I do meet new folks, I clam up and don’t speak, which doesn’t give a very good impression of me. For example, when I used online dating sites, I came off as super chatty and charismatic because hello, introvert and being able to discuss myself from the privacy of my own home is like, an introvert’s wet dream and then when I actually met the fellows face-to-face, their idea of me was completely shattered. I was recently told by a friend of mine, “You’re so talkative and opinionated online, but in person, you’re very quiet.” Yeah. I know. Sucks, don’t it? Sorry.

2. Should sex education be taught outside the home?

Considering sex education wasn’t taught inside my home, yes, it should be. Fun story: when I first heard the Salt N’ Pepa song “Let’s Talk About Sex” when I was the tender age of 10, I was horrified. OHEMGEE, THEY’RE SAYING SEX ON THE RADIO.

3. Should women run for President of the United States?

Of course they should, dummy. And having said that, I announce my candidacy for President of these United States in 2016. My running mate will be a Mr. Margarita Machine and together, we will party into world peace.

4. Do you remember jokes and take pleasure in relating them to others?

I do not remember jokes and when I do try to retell one, I always fuck up the punchline. I do remember these two jokes, though: 1) Q: Why does a panda have such big nostrils? A: Because they have big fingers, and 2) Q: What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor? A: “Where’s my tractor?” (ba dum ching!)

5. Do you often get the feeling that perhaps life isn’t worth living?

Absolutely. With all the grief and strife, it seems pointless. Unnecessary wars, loves lost, the cancelling of “Arrested Development”…it makes it difficult to get up in the morning and be grateful for your life. But then, I can also be annoyingly optimistic and swear the sun is shining brighter and birds are singing sweeter than the day before and I totally rock those rose-colored glasses of mine like a goddamn champion. Being kinda bipolar is fun; I never know what side I’ll take on any given day.

6. Is the subject of sex being over-exploited by our mass media?

Sex isn’t as much as the objectification of women for the sole intention of sex. Scantily clad women in adverts trying to hawk a watch. Just once, I’d like to open a magazine and see a guy with a watch wrapped around his cock, you know? Let’s make it squaresies, shall we? But inversely, Europeans have great success using sex to drive consumerism. The reason for that is they are much more comfortable with their sexuality than Americans are and have no qualms about flashing tits or a naked man ass (mmm…naked man ass…) to sell a product. Until Americans remove the stick firmly wedged in their rears, it will continue to be an issue…which is an issue I and Mr. Margarita Machine will tackle when you vote for us in 2016!

7. Is it difficult for you to accept criticism?

Heck no. I take criticism well, mainly because I generally think of myself as always needing room for improvement. Constructive criticism is your friend. When it becomes an issue is when someone is just being a dick about it. Then y’all can go fuck yourselves.

8. Do you sometimes have headaches or backaches after a difficult day?

Sometimes.

9. Do you go to sleep easily?

Usually, unless I feel compelled to try to solve all the world’s troubles, then it’s a bit rough.

10. Do you believe in capital punishment for murder?

Eye for an eye, right? Right? Admittedly, back in my younger, Republican-based days, I did agree with capital punishment, but then I saw the movie “Dead Man Walking” at the precocious age of 15 and it was the first movie I ever openly cried at and it ultimately changed my opinion about it, but I do waver on it still. Our legal system in inherently flawed, though. Innocent people are wrongly convicted all the time and ultimately end up dying because the appeals process can take years.

11. In your opinion, are social affairs usually a waste of time?

Oh, yes and no. My social anxiety begs me to stay home, but when I do go out, I usually end up having a good time.

12. Can God influence our lives?

Nope, trick question. There is no god. We are solely responsible for our lives.

13. Does your personal religion or philosophy include a life after death?

Double nope. This life is the only one we have.

14. Did you enjoy life when you were a child?

Sure? Up until puberty, it was great, if I recall. After puberty, my body staged an elaborate rebellion against me and life became miserable, but that’s true of everyone.

15. Do you think the sexual revolution has gone too far?

It hasn’t gone far enough.

16. Do you find the ideas of wife swapping distasteful?

In what context? Like the ABC reality series where two moms are switched to different families and everyone goes through a heart-smart journey of self-realization that “hey, this bitch really is a-okay” kind of swapping? Or like, key parties of the 70’s kind of swapping? Because that’s ew.

17. Do you have ups and downs without obvious reason?

All ups and downs are obvious when you take the time to think about the reason why you’re behaving the way you are. Unless, you’re a woman who has a hormonal imbalance and you cry at dumb shit for no reason other than your body hates you.

Fin! End!

That was fun. I hope you had fun, too. Okay, bye!

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The Cancer In His Bones

There are some known facts in life: the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Coca-Cola is far superior to Pepsi, it will always rain after you mow your lawn or wash your car, and cancer is a motherfucker.

For May’s father, what started out as “just a stomach bug” turned into him having half of his large colon removed and being faced with the possibility of having stage 4 colon cancer. Perhaps “motherfucker” is too lacking of a word to fully describe the magnitude of how dastardly the disease is. If anyone can come up with a better adjective, please speak up.

May, for the most part, expected the diagnosis to an extent; colon cancer runs rampant on her father’s side and has taken many relatives over the course of their family history. Well, cancer and suicides, but that’s a different story altogether. If the cancer doesn’t kill ya, ya kill yourself.

Even though the news wasn’t shocking and filled her with “why, God, why?!” platitudes, it was jarring nonetheless. To be faced with the sudden mortality of a loved one is never an easy pill to try to swallow, and yes, one could argue that we are faced daily with this very realization, if you want to get philosophical about things, but the difference is while some may cheat death and live to ripe old ages, May’s father’s number of lives are running out. There is no “start over” option here, no “whew, that was a close call!”  As Bill Paxton says, “game over, man. Game over.”

So, in short, May’s dad is dying and May can only sit back and watch. It’s already grievous seeing him as he is. The tall, strong man of her childhood has shrunk an inch or two over the years, and lost thirty pounds so far. She shudders to think of what is to come and welcomes any distractions from pondering the future, which is why May finds herself at her favorite coffee shop, tucked away at her usual table in the corner, headphones on and listening to music and trying to write. “Try” is the key word there. Between fits of people-watching and checking her phone every few minutes, it’s slow going. She silently berates herself for setting herself up for failure by coming here to do something she does best in the solitude of her bedroom, and for perpetuating a cliché: oh, look at the writer, writing in a coffee shop! How unique and different! But here she is, pecking away at the keyboard and eyeballing a woman sitting directly in front of her who is switching between messing around with her iMac, iPad, iPod, and iPhone. iConsumer.

May also chastises herself for how she left the house and presented herself in public. Ratty, old Converse sneakers with a hole near her right little toe that provides unwanted ventilation from the chilly January wind; faded jeans, also with a hole in the right knee; a sweatshirt she bought recently but decided she hated the constriction of the collar, so she cut it away and now looks like Jennifer Beals from Flashdance. She’s a maniac, maniac… But perhaps her biggest regret is forgetting to put on a bra in her haste to exit the house. Her nipples are rubbing against the flocking on the inside of the sweatshirt and are sensitive to any subtle movement. It’s annoying and arousing all at once and makes her mind wander to carnal things. She makes a mental note to pencil in some special time later. But for now, she slumps slightly forward over the small table in a vain effort to hide her breasts, which causes the fabric to rub again, which brings the thoughts on again. What a vicious cycle.

Thinking it will help her regain focus, she steps outside to smoke a cigarette. The wind blasts her face when she opens the door and inhales sharply as the cold air hits her lungs. You idiot, she says to herself. Before she took up the habit five years ago, when she’d see someone outside in the winter smoking, she would shake her head at how silly they were. Bundled up in winter coats, scarves, and stocking hats and still shivering while they took quick drags off their smokes, alternating hands between holding their cigarette and jamming them into their coat pocket to warm them up. Dummies.

But here she is, doing the same damn thing. She repeats in her mind, I gotta quit this shit, I gotta quit this shit and thinks of all the times she’s said that, tried, quit for a week or two–the longest span was six months–and then goes right back to the filthy habit. She’s also acutely aware of how it looks to have her father having cancer and she’s still smoking. Even more horrible is the fact that when she goes with him to get his chemotherapy, she sheepishly walks to the parking garage across the street from the cancer center and smokes while her dad is getting poison pumped through his body. If that isn’t a giant “fuck you,” she doesn’t know what is. She did decide again last week to try to kick the habit. This will make attempt 11 or 12; she’s lost count. She’s tried the patch, the gum, a vaporizer, pills…each brought with them a small amount of success, but nothing has really helped her stay quit so far, which is why she decided to seek the counsel of a health coach from work. Their first appointment is this coming week and May is cautiously optimistic. She tries to remind herself of the money she’ll save by not smoking, how much better she’ll feel and smell, how her hair won’t have a dullness to it anymore, how many years she’ll gain back to her life…but admittedly, that last point doesn’t really matter a lot to her at the moment. Ah, depression, you ignorant slut. It’s hard to give a shit about your life when someone you love is dying.

May feels eyes watching her and looks up from her laptop screen to look at the window a few feet in front of her. The drive-thru to the coffee shop is right outside and an older woman driving a black BMW is staring at May while the woman waits for her latte or frappe or whatever the hell she ordered is made. May stares back. The woman quickly turns her head to face forward again, visibly embarrassed May caught her looking back. She reaches up to fiddle with the rear view mirror as if it’s suddenly extremely important she be able to see traffic behind her while driving, then her car lurches forward when her drink is ready.

May returns her attention to the laptop and manages to type out several paragraphs, but ultimately decides to quit while she is ahead. The distractions are just too much and she forgot to eat breakfast this morning, so in addition to her nipples threatening to poke through her shirt, her stomach is rumbling something awful, as well.

With a quick save of her work and a gentle slamming shut of her laptop, she leaves her words behind.

A simple action she wishes she could apply to real life; close it up and get back to it when you’re ready.

 

 

January 6, 2015

Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

Rachel must have read my first post and has since texted me her WiFi password, so my laptop is out and ready to go for another scathing blog post.

As I often tend to do, I have spent the last 48 hours thinking about my first post from Sunday and what I wrote. I have worked myself up into a classic tizzy, also as I tend to do.

I feel super dumb for writing about what I want to write about because it’s basically lambasting my constant writing about things that I should probably share by speaking out loud. How contradictory of me! Honestly, I enrage myself, so I seriously do not understand how anyone close to me has managed to deal with my crap for so long.

I get poked fun of for my incredible lack of talking all the time. All the time. Alllll the time. Spending so much time with my dad recently, he has taken to pointing this tidbit out to me. I swear, if he didn’t have cancer, I’d kick his ass (KIDDING. THAT’S A JOKE). No, but seriously, I’m not afraid to slap my own father across his face. I actually did it once, but it was with a slice of cheese. If you ever want to confuse the hell out of someone, slap their face with cheese. They’re all like, “did you just slap me with a piece of cheese?” I sure did.

Anyway, talking. I suck at it. Oh sure, there are occasions when I have been known to ramble and actually engage in conversation, but the thing is, given my lack of talking, I have become a supreme listener. Listening is a lost art. By simply listening to people talk, you pick up on so many things you may have missed had you been fighting for your turn to speak, which let me tell you something: that is one of my biggest pet peeves in the world. I have been part of many conversations where the other person’s sole purpose is to talk, giving no regard to the person to whom they are speaking. If I were asked to give advice on a topic, I’d choose “shutting the fuck up and actually listen to people when they talk.” It’s especially true when that person is like me and aren’t totally comfortable with conversing, so when we do decide to engage, take notice and let us speak. Also, please do not interrupt. I/we tend to think extra long and hard about what I/we want to say, so when you sabotage the conversation, it makes me/us not want to talk because what’s the damn point if I’m/we’re going to get talked over?

I read an article about dealing with introverts and little tips and tricks to help make us feel comfortable. All are good and valid, like starting a conversation while driving or walking, which my mother learned that trick ages ago and knows that if she wants to talk to me, get me in the car. I tried that same trick with my ex-husband due to our spectacularly poor communication skills and that son of a bitch just learned to not go anywhere in a car with me. He became…aware.

I think the most important point of the article and one I embrace most is resort to writing. “Introverts tend to be very strong writers…if they are not sure how to talk about something with you, ask them if they would be interested in writing it out.” Oh sweet, fancy Moses. Yes, please. For gosh sake, one of the reasons I started this goddamn blog was for that very reason! Dios mio! Let me write! I can do that!

Inversely, I certainly do understand how annoying/frustrating it is to be someone who likes to talk to have to deal with me who doesn’t. I’m not oblivious to the struggle you all face. I wish I was graced with the gift of conversation, I really do. I know some people view it as a point of intimacy within relationships: “we can sit and talk for hours…” “I can talk to him/her so easily!” (side note: when the ex and I split, he told me he was seeing another woman and said that she’s “so easy to talk to.” Talk about a slap in the fucking face–not with cheese. I tried to get him to talk to me. Ironic, no? It’s totally fucking ironic.)

And that brings me to my point. Given the events of the last month and a half, “normal” people would want to talk about what’s going on. I do too, kinda, to an extent, but not really. My point of view with that is I’m not the first person in the world who has had a relative diagnosed with cancer. I’m not the first child on earth who is being confronted with the care of an ailing parent. I’m not the first human to deal with stress or feeling overwhelmed by everything. Therefore, I keep my mouth shut.

Serious question time: honestly, what’s wrong with not talking? Back in my younger, more stupid days when I moved to Texas and Asshat 5000 (one of my ultra-mature nicknames for the guy) and I got into the fight that (thankfully) ended the relationship. He said to me, “I don’t understand why you can’t talk. I hope you find someone you can talk to.” I despise when people treat my lack of verbal skills as a huge flaw. I have a rebuttal for that, nearly two years later: I hope you find someone who doesn’t mind your alcoholism which exacerbates your severe depression which then turns you into a verbally abusive asshole. Take that, fucker!

Have I mentioned I’m ultra mature? Because I am.

The problem there (aside from damn near everything) and the problem so many other people have is that they misconstrue my silence and are uncomfortable with it. Why isn’t she talking? Did I do something wrong? God, she’s being such a bitch. Just open your yap hole for once and speak, goddamn you! 

I would like to say, however, I damn near talked to someone on the phone last night. I know, right? I made the decision yesterday morning: I’m going to call and talk about something. I even thought out what to say and replayed how I hoped the conversation would go over and over and over in my mind. I was going to call at 7pm and we will talk and the planets will align and lions and lambs and whatnot. But then, I started thinking about what if the person saw me calling and thought it was an accidental dial, which I tend to do, since on my phone, I sometimes hit the little phone icon on mistake because clumsy fingers. The phone would ring and then I’d have to leave an awkward voice mail explaining, oh ha ha ha, no, I did really mean to call you. Then, I started thinking that what if the person was preoccupied and didn’t answer because they were busy and got annoyed I called? By the time 7pm rolled around, I had successfully talked (heh) myself out of calling and resorted to my usual texting. I’m ridiculous, I know. At least I thought about it! That’s something, right?

My point to all this is please be gentle with me, as god knows I’m not with myself. I do try, I really do. Just look at it as an adorable quirk and not a debilitating flaw of mine, okay? Okay.

That’s all. And as usual, reading: thanks for doing it.

E

The Proust Questionnaire

A two-fer today! Oh, you lucky people!

I was reading an article about David Bowie earlier this morning and he was asked to answer the Proust Questionnaire, which dates back to the 1880s when Marcel Proust was given it by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, as part of her “confession album” — a Victorian version of today’s popular personality tests, designed to reveal the answerer’s tastes, aspirations, and sensibility in a series of simple questions. MySpace survey origins can be traced back 135 years!

The Questions

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Attending concerts with my sidekick. Nothing like good music and even better company.

What is your most marked characteristic?
Being difficult to get to talk. Or if I put a positive spin on that, my mad listening skills.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having some of my writing published in an anthology.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing my eyesight and being rejected.

What historical figure do you most identify with?
F. Scott Fitzgerald. I swear that man writes of love like I would write about it if I weren’t such a bumbling fool with poor grammar and improper syntax.

Which living person do you most admire?
My grandmother. She’s a tough old broad.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Those who keep their senses of humor in situations that would otherwise destroy it.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Oh sweet Jesus… probably my lack of confidence. Close second is constant self-deprecation.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Arrogance.

What is your favorite journey?
Learning.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Moderation.

Which word or phrases do you most overuse?
Fuck and any variation of it.

What is your greatest regret?
Marrying too young.

What is your current state of mind?
Embarrassed for certain behaviors and apprehensive I’ve caused damage in a certain relationship because of it.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
The petty fights that always seem to be a constant.

What is your most treasured possession?
Concert ticket stubs from all the concerts I’ve been to over the years.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Making yourself a victim of your circumstances.

Where would you like to live?
In a house with a large library.

What is your favorite occupation?
Writing, be it ever so mediocre at times.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Wit.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Sass.

What are your favorite names?
I know of the name “Roqueha” (pronounced roh-kay-ah). I just think that’s a gorgeous name.

And there you have it! And to make it feel even more MySpace-y, I’ll add that I have grey eyes, I prefer Coke to Pepsi/vanilla to chocolate ice cream, I’m 33, I have an older brother, I lost my virginity at age 20, and if I were to admit to a celebrity crush, it’d be Edward Norton.

The end! Yay!

What is your motto?
“What” is my motto.

January 4, 2015

Hello.

I write this from my futuristic 2015 device as prophesied in the film Back To The Future!

J/k, I’m writing on my phone because I can’t find the WiFi password to connect my laptop. If that isn’t a first world problem, I don’t know what is.

I’m writing today for a few reasons. One, to offer a lame excuse to try to reconcile my behavior over the last week or so, and two, to just write. It’s a blustery, winter morning and truth be told, the only way I’m leaving the confines of the place I’m staying is for Indian food and even that’s iffy at this point. So, I’m going to peck out words and sip hot coffee for now.

I want to start off with my apology, then explain myself.

I’m sincerely sorry to those whom I have been ignoring lately. Aside from work, I haven’t had much human interaction for over a week. I have gone into full introvert mode, withdrawing myself from people.

My friend Rachel has been away from her apartment due to holiday travels and offered her place to me to do a combination of keep the place lived in and look after her cat while she’s been away. I obliged. Being here has given me a brief look at how I’d handle living alone, if that time ever comes.

I’ve learned a few things about myself since I’ve been here: I listen to a tremendous amount of music. I can still cook for myself… I make far too much food for one person, but by golly, at least I’m cooking for myself like a dang adult. And finally, I like to be left alone, but I don’t much care for feeling lonely, which is ironic as eff considering I’ve been keeping myself away from people lately. I’m the worst!

I digress.

So, what’s the deal, then? Why the intentional reclusion? If you know a thing or two about introverted people–well, people in general–it’s that they need time to decompress after a stressful situation. Introverts, however, need a bit longer and this is where I’m at for the moment. I’ve always been that way; I need alone time (not that kind…although, that kind helps, too) to de-clutter my brain or whatever.

As I have mentioned in my last post a few weeks ago, my father was recently diagnosed with cancer and it is at a fairly advanced stage. He had a CT and PET scan done last week to get an idea of the cancer and what its been doing since his surgery in November. At that time, it was felt the most intrusive of it had been successfully removed with surgery. The two of us traveled to Omaha Tuesday to discuss the findings and determine if he should undergo his first treatment of chemotherapy that day.

The results were not good. The scans showed many areas of concern. It looks like this shit has metastasized to his lungs and chest, which means he’s potentially dealing with having stage 4 (read: terminal) colon cancer. He’s to have a biopsy done at the end of this week to help make that decision.

What does that mean? Well, his current stage is 3B which isn’t great, but it’s still highly treatable with hopes of eradicating most cancerous cells. Stage 4 is treatable too, to an extent, but it’s kind of a life extending sort of thing. Dad asked his oncologist about life expectancy with chemo versus without chemo and her answer was jarring: 6 months to a year without, 3-4 years with. I feel I can safely divulge that upon hearing that prognosis, I lost my composure and wept.

I didn’t want to do that there and then, not because I would be embarrassed by a human reaction to some pretty goddamn shitty news, but because I didn’t want Dad to get upset. I’ve been trying to explain everything to him calmly and simply because while his doctor does a decent job of using easy-to-understand terms and takes time to explain everything, inevitably, as we drive back to his home after appointments, he asks me several questions to gain further understanding. He’s obviously scared and confused and to have his daughter lose her shit as his doctor is talking only increases his already tremendous anxiety. I just didn’t want to do that at that moment.

He did end up having his first chemo that day and as far as I can tell, he’s doing okay with it, I think. If this biopsy shows cancer as well, the drugs used for therapy will have to be adjusted and possibly the frequency of treatment from twice a month to more, but for now, his next go is on the 15th.

Again, as I said before, I’m fine. I’m scared, of course, but this isn’t about me or how I’m doing. Any and all concern is to be directed at my father.

But this is also why I’ve been “hiding.” Being alone the last few days has given me a chance to process and do my own grieving, if you will. I realize how backwards this all seems; normal people would want to be around others for support and I do want that to an extent, but I’m also of the opinion that the people in my life are dealing with their own issues and shit. I don’t want to add to any burdens. So, here I sit. But I do understand how some could view this as rude and how it hurts feelings. I certainly do not want that, hence my feeble apology to those I have hurt.

I found a picture the other day that made me chuckle:

image

Debatable, yes? Yes.

I know I’m awful in the emotions department. I know it. I am truly sorry for being so difficult. It’s not you, it’s me. It means more than words can say that there are those who get this infuriating aspect and still put up with me.

That’s all I have for now.

As always, thanks for reading.
E