Voice

I can feel it following behind me. It’s a creepy motherfucker and I can feel it’s hot, stale breathe on my ear. It starts small, “You’re not good enough” it whispers. I can easily dismiss this notion. It’s absurdity makes me chuckle and I keep on my merry way. It repeats itself, ad nausem and catches me at just the right moments until it slowly grows louder.

 

It starts as a nothing and grows to a translucent non-thing that grows darker and bigger with every sentence. This voice is starting to take form. It looks a lot like my shadow. I can’t shake it off and it’s growing larger and larger. It grows because I’m not strong enough to stop it. “You really aren’t that smart, look at how you did in school. I mean, you went to college for almost 10 years and you’re not a doctor.” it says.

 

I hear it’s voice come out of my mouth. I’m shocked and realize I didn’t want to say that. I would never think that on my own. That wasn’t me, I didn’t mean that. “STOP TRYING” it shouts to an empty room.

 

It gets in my brain and changes the way I want to think. I think that letting go of everything I thought I cared about would be so fucking easy. This voice, my voice, tells me that I have a good life, and it’s unrealistic to keep going.

 

“Live a contented life.” I say and I think I mean it. This voice reminds me of how simple it would be to stay in the same place, do the same work and live a life that is just okay. “You can make it work.” these words escape my mouth without my brain telling my tongue to stop moving.

 

I’m starting to think that I shouldn’t try because I might fail. I believe that I should be happy I made it this far. I compliment myself for making a good point. I remind myself that many people, my friends and family would be happy with my life and that I’m selfish for wanting more. It is telling me that my idea of an extraordinary life is just a dream and to keep my head down and shut up.

 

I’m talking myself out of trying because I already know that the failure is going to be too much. My voice has changed to one of pity. Now I’m reminiscing and looking back on what I’ve done: I hear my own pep talk: “You gave it your best shot and didn’t succeed. Time to pack it up.” I’m thinking about all the jobs I didn’t get. I berate myself “WHO DOESN’T GET HIRED BY TARGET FOR FUCKS SAKE!” I think about all the tests I didn’t study for in school. All the required readings I didn’t do. All of the hours I didn’t practice… “Why would you be good at anything, when you couldn’t even get into your first choice for colleges.”

 

My voice changes again, now I’m telling myself that I’m not a good writer. “Your sentences are too short. You’ve never been able to string a cohesive paragraph together before, why start now. I mean, really, who puts two e’s in cohesive. Shit, you don’t even know if there is suppose to be an apostrophe in the previous sentence. Did you even use the word cohesive correctly?” I can’t stop. I’m getting louder and louder and I’m on the verge of starting to speak aloud. “Great, now you’re going to be the fucking nutter who talks to herself. Classy. No wonder you have dandruff.” Low blow, self. Low blow. “I’m not the one talking my myself am I?” Fuck, yes I am.

 

“stop” a whisper. It was so quiet, I try to listen for it again but I don’t hear it. Did I imagine that? Great, now I’m imagining two voices. That’s twice as crazy.

 

“You’ll get through this.” is what I want to hear but maybe it was my twice as crazy brain saying “Pundit’s two fish.” I’m not really sure, but it’s enough. It’s enough for my voice to get angry and try to fight this new whisper. “NO YOU WON’T!” I scream “NOT THIS TIME, ASSHOLE! I’M MINE!” The other voice gets louder “Dude, that doesn’t even make sense.”

 

“Shit” I say; I would have sighed that but I think I read somewhere that you can’t sigh words. I ask the new whisper “Can I wallow a little more?”
“No” It’s gotten stronger, It’s not my voice, it’s HHP, it’s the Js, Ns, S & A, Ks and the friends I’m not good at keeping in touch with but I think about all the time. This new voice echoes with so many voices but it’s loud and clear and like a salve protects me.

 

I pick myself up, wipe the non-existent dirt off my ass and before I can start to utter any protests about it being easier to just lay on the floor the new voice beats me to the punch.

 

“Yes, right now it would be easier, but not getting back up is boring. And even I can’t make a good story out of that.” It says. I look behind me and see the shadow growing smaller. “Come back” it whispers, “I was gonna make espresso.”

Leader

I have a job that sucks. It slightly crushes my soul every day I punch-in but that isn’t the point of this post.  This post is about how I am not an animal.  It starts with the fact that California is in a severe drought. No, scratch that, it starts in the 80s. I’m a child of the 80s. I was raised on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. So when I walk in to the kitchen at the job that I hate and see the faucet dripping and no one around, I see red. It’s hard enough to deal with my coworkers on a daily basis but when they cannot literally take one extra second to make sure the faucet is properly turned off, I kind of lose my mind.

A few of my colleagues understand that I’m neurotic. I’ve made this clear by my rants about perpetually abused homonyms, the phrase “that’s not my job” and micro-management. But the point of this entire blog post is that I saw the running faucet and turned it off. It wasn’t that hard, it didn’t take any extra effort or even a second thought. So, why am I writing? Because apparently  in my hyper-focused moment of rage for Mother Earth, my actions were noticed by a muckity muck. This dude is prime middle management. He’s taken every six-sigma course offered, gotten his MBA and makes it a point to learn ever employee’s name. What happened when I turned off the water is going to be one of those things that sticks with me for a long, long while. This muckity-muck saw me turn off the water, and stared me in the eyes and said “Thank you, Stefanie”

The part that strikes me, is that his gratitude was genuine. Not because he is some secret tree-hugger. But because he bleeds middle management. In that moment, he didn’t see me as some hourly employee who was doing a good turn. He saw me as a leader. In my one innocuous moment, this dude saw a life and career path that I never imagined nor wanted for myself. He saw me advancing to a supervisor position, and maybe moving to another start-up to get some much-needed management experience because I wouldn’t find the respect from my peers that I deserved. He’d hope that a short time later, I’d return to this company and be a respected middle manager myself. Maybe even his direct underling. We’d get lunch, and I’d present innovative ideas that he could only dream of. He’d admire my “think outside the box attitude” and my “never takes no for an answer” demeanor. He’d encourage me enough to stay with the company through stagnant years and to never jump ship because we believed in the mission. But there would always be a part of him that would hold me back. He’d want me to be his protegé and never to eclipse him.

I saw his entire vision for me when he said “thank you, Stefanie” and it terrified me. Because I’m not meant for that life. I’m meant for more. Bigger, greater things. I’m meant for opportunities where turning the water off is the norm and not the exception. So I’ll go back to ranting about homonyms, I’ll still suggest big changes that will spur new ideas but I’ll also suggest cake Thursdays to keep the muckity-mucks from dreaming too big.

Reign of TP-error

I’ve been a little silent on the home front lately. These are difficult times in the Wardegus compound. I have no one to blame but myself, this shame rests purely on me. I did it, and my mea culpa is this: I brought the wrong brand of toilet paper.

It was an honest mistake. On one of the rare occurrences where I go grocery shopping without HHP, I picked up a name brand that was on sale but not our preference. I ignorantly assumed that all TP was inherently the same but when I got home that afternoon I saw HHPs face fall. “Oh, it’s fine.” he said, clearly lying. Things between us had been so good for so long. Our communication was stellar. We had intimate conversations about our hopes, dreams and goals. His faith in me was this rock that I had had to hold on to during my own tumultuous times. To know that I had failed him in such a manner, was heartbreaking. For a fleeting moment, I was afraid we had taken too big of a tumble and we would never recover.

It wasn’t until the second week of my TP prison sentence did I really notice a change. Whenever HHP would pass me in the hallway between the bathroom and the living room his eyes darkened. He no longer joked and laughed as easily as he had before. Unlike the Charmin commercial, he no longer “enjoyed the go” and it was all my fault. I was trapped in Dante’s unnamed circle of double-ply hell. There was anger and resentment as well as burgeoning level of distrust. HHP no longer considered me his confidant. He didn’t know that I implicitly had his back at all times. Honestly, how could he? I didn’t have his back. I had let him down and unfortunately all we could was ride this white cotton wave until we hit a softer, more comfortable shore.

I was torn. I wanted to use less TP to serve as a penance for my mistake, but I knew that if I used more we could get through it faster and start to fix our relationship. I wanted to fill the toilet with a wad of toilet paper still attached to the roll and flush it down in one smooth motion but that would be cowardly and frankly, since I’m still unemployed expensive.

I admitted my mistake by week three. I too was suffering but I felt foolish and naive. I wanted to act like inferior toilet paper wasn’t a problem. I could handle the burn, hell give me a pile of newspapers or a pinecone, just as long as it’s not Scotts. As is his truly selfless nature, HHP refuted the dirty looks and the judgement that I thoughtlessly placed on me. He reassured me that we were stronger than toilet paper and that while our relationship is like the Bristol chart. Sometimes, we’re rock solid and unbreakable. Other times, we’re a little looser and free flowing.

Tiny Story

It's s hard for me to remember that this face says different things to different people. I just see unconditional love, hunger and a feistiness that is slowly declining due to age. So when the man yelled “that’s a mean looking dog!” to me from across the street, I was a bit dumbfounded. Is he talking to me? He can’t possibly mean my dogs. Maybe it was a joke. But after looking at him again, I realized he wasn’t joking. That’s when I got upset. I wanted to yell at this man. Tell him about how dogs aren’t genetically mean and it’s only through improper training and abuse do dogs become mean. But my dog, my smart, compassionate wrinkly dog said everything I needed to. She looked the man in the face, audibly farted and proceeded to cross the street. #tinystory

A post shared by Ward Hegedus (@wardegus) on

It’s hard for me to remember that this face says different things to different people. I just see unconditional love, hunger and a feistiness that is slowly declining due to age. So when the man yelled “that’s a mean looking dog!” to me from across the street, I was a bit dumbfounded. Is he talking to me? He can’t possibly mean my dogs. Maybe it was a joke. But after looking at him again, I realized he wasn’t joking. That’s when I got upset. I wanted to yell at this man. Tell him about how dogs aren’t genetically mean and it’s only through improper training and abuse do dogs become mean. But my dog, my smart, compassionate wrinkly dog said everything I needed to. She looked the man in the face, audibly farted and proceeded to cross the street.

hat tip to the lovely Bean for the #tinystory inspiration.

Trying

I’ve been struggling lately. Being unemployed has really taken a toll on me. I’m meeting with a doctor this week to discuss mind-altering medication but I’ve been reading a lot about cognitive therapy. Wil Wheaton’s post made me cry.

“When you feel bad, when you are thinking and feeling that you’re worthless or anything like that, I want you to recognize it, and then make an effort to replace those bad feelings with good ones.”

I was completely incapable of doing this. I couldn’t think of a single good thing I’d done or accomplished. And then I cried some more.

HHP even posted the 7 Things article on TinyBuddha on his Facebook page. He didn’t want to draw attention to my problems (he’s good like that) but he wanted to remember to tell me about it.

“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” ~Lori Deschene

I want to be the first person to do this. And I think I’m almost there. So I’m trying to be nicer to myself. Maybe kick myself a little less when I’m down. I even suggested a healthy dose of self-care (and vitamin D) by going to the beach today.  And that’s when I heard this.

I went to Cal, but I’m not smart enough for that.  

For me, this sentence is on par with this:

Hearing that, everything clicked. Like a light bulb. I’ve never said that. Never even thought that. That phrase is just not in my realm of possibility. I’ve never not been smart enough for anything. Sure, I’m physically unfit, and my willpower is pretty much non-existent, but I’ve never not been smart enough for anything. And as the little voice in Wil Wheaton’s head said “it’s okay to feel a little proud about this.” I listened to it.

My Dog

I think my dog’s biological clock is ticking. It would be so much easier if she was puppy crazy or in heat. I could handle that. This, however isn’t something I had planned on dealing with. My dog wants a baby. Like a human baby, and I think she wants it from me.

It started shortly after we moved to SF. When we go on walks, my dogs have always been interested in smells on the ground, and people walking other dogs. Like recent east coast transplants, my dogs have an attitude and don’t really like other people and if they could talk most of their words would consist of swearing at people and judging the excessive use of outer wear when it is only 60 degrees out. Now toddlers, people with strollers and, god help me if we walk past one, a day care my dog goes out of her way to interact with anyone who still has soft spots in their skull. Pup will stop and sit at a corner if she sees a stroller half a block away. She waits patiently until the stroller comes up and if the stroller pusher doesn’t stop to acknowledge pup, I can physically see her adorable little puppy heart break. She is still indifferent to childfree folks, but she knows a rube  when she sees on and makes sure to turn the cute on to get guaranteed butt scratches but children don’t know the sweet spot, so there is no reason for her to like children.

She LOVES when a child points and says “doggie!” She’s been smacked in the face with tiny grubby kid hands at least 20 times in the past month and never seems to mind. This is the same dog that cowers in the corner if HHP gets the qtips out to clean her ears and almost wets herself if a shopping cart comes too close. She isn’t one for long walks in the park and on more than several occasions has laid down in the middle of the street if we walk too far from home. But she will be at full energy (and best behavior) when a kid is around. The same dog that steps on my bladder, pees on HHP and farts with reckless abandon will be the most gentle and self-aware bulldog on the planet when in the presence of someone who regularly craps their pants. Pup is methodical when facing kids. In all of our child-encounters, she is patient and has never accidentally knocked one of them down when she turns her attention to another kid. She’s never even made a kid cry, hell I’ve done that more times than I can remember. My original theory was that children are dirty and she wanted access to their sticky fingers and secret food stash but that was busted when I saw her completely ignore a kid’s half-eaten banana.

Image

Baby? Where?

I’ve spent enough time with my dogs to know what they are thinking. I’ve learned that when they look at you, look at their food and back at you “feed me” is the only thought passing through her mind. So when I get the same look at the playground. Dog looks at me, looks at see-saw, looks back at me. I see “I want one, make it happen.”  How do I explain to my dog that kids are a lot of work? What’s the Cesar Milan approach to explaining my deep-seeded emotional fear of raising a child who will turn out just like me? When did this blog post go from funny story to existential crisis?

My dog is wicked smart. She knows to breathe through  her nose instead of her mouth when she is doing something bad. She is eerily quiet, and is fully aware of when HHP and I are distracted enough to get in to the kitty litter or eat yet another TV remote. I’ll have to make sure that the next time the dog is in the bathroom she is just going through the trash and not my birth control  supply. This dog is surprised by her own farts and yet could very well be the criminal mastermind to make Wardegus more than a duo.

Facebook Charitable Donations

Facebook, the internets version of ants overlords, just announced their partnership with 20 nonprofits to start accepting donations on facebook.

Ants

It sounds like it should be a knockout for non-profits but I’m skeptical:

  • How soon after a donation is made will the funds go to the NPO?
  • How can the NPO properly thank and acknowledge the donation if made through FB?
  • Wouldn’t you think that if you like the NPO on FB, you’ve already given to that org?
  • Not a lot of NPOs do social right, how are they going to handle this new giving avenue?
  • How could this specifically benefit arts organizations?

This isn’t a game changer, or even an extra life in candy crush (which I could totally use) but a lot of people  use and trust facebook so why wouldn’t this be a viable option?

Let me know in the comments if you’re going to sign up your organization for this?

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