Only Partly Uncensored

Archive for the ‘Mouthy Broad’ Category

Cocoon

In Mouthy Broad on October 28, 2014 at 10:03 am

It’s strange to go back through my old posts (as I’m reading and editing and password-protecting and unlocking) and see how smart-mouthed and sassy and out-there I used to be. Like reading the innermost personal thoughts of an almost-stranger. That girl you went to school with in fourth grade, and then suddenly bumped into, years later and miles away, in a completely different city. You remember a few details about her, like the way she usually dressed, or a particular dorky laugh that she had. Talking to her gives you back a few more memories. And then, the brief exchange layers new memories on to those old ones, but you can’t quite grasp the whole picture of who she is versus who she was.

Maybe it’s getting older. Solidifying into my own quirks. Maybe age is an exponential curve: you slough off the unnecessary habits and bits and pieces of your youth, and the resulting freed-up resources get channeled more deeply into the remaining bits of who you are.

In case you couldn’t tell, this is a multiple-cups-of-coffee kind of morning. I’m hazy; it was a very late night. Speaking of getting older, I’ve ratcheted back my coffee consumption (the one habit I truly believed I’d never want/need to break) to just two cups, most mornings. From a daily whole pot habit, this is a big thing. I’ve even gone entirely without coffee some mornings, drinking nothing but Irish Breakfast tea. Although it’s a toss-up as to which is really a bigger kick, the blackest of black teas or black coffee!

When I first started blogging, I was semi-muzzled about pieces of my life. WB, the exH: they were cryptic notes and character references in a blur of words and attitude. That was my choice; I was trying to tell my stories in a vacuum. I’ve learned, since, that’s pretty impossible to do. Context, especially in writing, is everything. These days, there’s practically nothing to say about WB, so that recurring subject has gone to whatever layer of the ether old stories retire. Rhett’s still around; he doesn’t blog anymore, being much too busy keeping our lives together in some kind of forward trajectory. Every so often, something will happen that makes him laugh and say, “It’s too bad I don’t blog anymore!” Those moments always give me a little nostalgic stab in the side. I could write them, I guess, but our voices are so different that I don’t think I could do them justice. I’m not allowed to write about the exH anymore. That’s okay, too. It’s like I’ve been forced to move on, beyond those daily conflicts of a post-divorce life. Maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe it wasn’t fair, but you know, it is what it is. Sometimes you take these abrupt left turns in life. And then the last of the old cast of characters, the ex-best-friend, the Florida spin-off. All gone, all part of another life now.

Sometimes it seems like my early adulthood was defined not so much by my own choices, but by the conflicts, trials, and tribulations between me and these other players. Like I was somehow cast as a supporting actress in my own screenplay. What an odd feeling, being an almost-spectator in one’s own life.

Writing, these past few mornings, with my coffee and my NPR and my dog sleeping next to/under my feet, has been a little like it was when I first moved back home. Familiar and completely different and a little strobe-effect-ish.

Online society is such a fast-forward, Darwinian process. The groups I belonged to, the people I associated with, the writers I checked out daily, so many of them are gone by the wayside. A lot of them seemed to just outgrow their pages. We aren’t Gen Y or millenials, who can’t imagine moving through a world without an online persona. Then, too, I’ve come to grips with a lot of the issues that kept me digging and looking for context of my own when I first started. I came to peace with my own identity in these pages. I learned more about myself through the lens of others, here, than I ever expected to. (Which reminds me, I need to validate and update allofthe bookmarks.)

This blog, now, is like the house I grew up in. It’s oddly bigger than I remembered, but there are hidden nooks and crannies that I don’t remember seeing or using as a kid. Hallways that connect differently than what I thought. Windows that are bigger, doorways that aren’t.

What a crazy world, where four years is an almost complete turnover of people and places and things.

It leaves me wondering what I possibly have left to write about, even as I’m drawn to the keyboard again today.

Maybe writing has always been my peephole out of the shell I inhabit so comfortably in my daily life. Maybe I was so connected to the world around me before because I wanted something to write about. And nothing happens in a vacuum.

Maybe I really just didn’t get enough sleep last night, and the coffee isn’t cutting through the haze yet. Who knows?

Parachute

In Mouthy Broad, Surviving on October 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

If you could do your whole life over again, what color parachute would you pick?

This is my question lately. Since I don’t know if my job is actually going to be protected (a whole FMLA administration mess at work, plus not necessarily reliable administrators), I’m trying to decide what to do with myself. I’ve applied for about a zillion jobs locally, but I’m having trouble with the pay scales. (They think I’m too expensive; I think they’re insane. And then I remember that the majority of their talent pool is barely high*school educated.)

If I could freelance, editing or writing or whatever, I would, but I have zero network or contacts for the kind of work I’m qualified for (or can stand doing without running a red pen through my eardrum).

I’ve spent my entire morning creating a freelancing profile, applying for about a dozen more jobs, and generally just trying to figure out what comes next. Which makes a nice change from just whining that I don’t want to go back to my actual, current job.

No closer to an actual answer, but at least I’m DOING something.

…Several hours later…

I’ve updated my Monster profile, taken a career aptitude test, and a personality test (INTJ – who knew?) and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

The funniest recommendation so far? HUMAN RESOURCES!!!

Yuck, I say. This is one of those jobs like sales, for me. I’m really good at it, and really loathe it. I dislike being the office mom, the universal bartender. I don’t want to know all these inappropriate personal details about the people I work with. Plus this field is where the General Office of Repetitive Redundancies was invented.

Maybe HR from a MUCH bigger-picture perspective, like developing training or writing policies, but the actual, line-work, implementation, touchy-feely stuff? Ick!

Unfortunately, I don’t live in a big-picture kind of place.

Let’s see what else I can scrounge up. It can only go up from here, right?

 

 

Lost Time

In Mouthy Broad on October 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

It’s so strange, this world of blogging. One day, you’re a writer. The next, you’re not.

Nothing else in my life, save these obscured online pages, reflects my obsessive love of words and sentences and context. The only other clue in existence is the corkboard full of post-its in my office. Each one holds a single quote, carefully handwritten, piled one on top of the other until they are absolutely meaningless. All of my old posts here have been hidden, waiting for me to go through them, one at a time, to make sure they’re fit for public consumption. All of the ugly edited carefully away, so as not to offend or traumatize the innocent.

Is it possible for the word “innocent” to be ironic?

Here I sit, on this lovely fall-for-New-Mexico morning, with my coffee and my rationed cigarettes (I’m on yet another quit smoking jag, with varying degrees of success to report), and listening to the silence that is four dogs and a spouse sleeping, and a grounded twelve year old doing science homework in his bedroom.

A little over two weeks ago, I had knee surgery to repair a lifetime’s worth of abuse to my right patella. It was a minor surgery that ended up being a major undertaking: one of those modern-day horror stories of specialists and insurance and FMLA. The actual injury (meaning the day my knee finally gave out, after thirtysomething years and dozens, if not hundreds, of minor tweaks and aches and pains) was in early August. It’s healing nicely, thank you, no need to inquire. Physical therapy and my own hard-headedness are bringing me right along, back into the world of the bipedal and mobile.

But it’s become a neat analogy for the rest of me. Thirtysomething cumulative years of life on this planet, one moment after another, until they are all a blur whose only distinguishing characteristic is the common thread of hazel eyes and a penchant for over-analysis. Like the cracks in the cartilage. You can’t tell which one came first, only that they compounded, one on the next, until the whole joint cried “Uncle!”

Does anyone else experience this dysphoria between who they think they are, and the evidence in their life to the contrary?

Age of Majority

In Mouthy Broad on March 8, 2014 at 1:52 pm

It’s almost like learning a different language, going to work in retail after the age of 30.

I never bagged groceries or stocked shelves, as a kid. My best friend did – he grew up in a retail household. His mom ran a bakery in the local independent grocer. He went to work there at 16: pumping gas, sacking celery, shopping for neckties to meet the dress code. But I didn’t have the first clue what he did while he was on the clock.

Before I started this job, I had a vague, almost condescending respect for the people who worked in the service industries I frequented. It’s shameful to me now, but it’s a common attitude for those who have never done it. “There, but for the grace of God,” for those who have gone from a comfortable upbringing to a comfortable education to a comfortable career. It’s seen as some kind of lesser option, a last resort.

It was that for me. A last resort, to feed my family. Now, it’s what I do every day. Well, kind of. The people I work with would tell you that I still don’t work in retail. As a senior manager, I’m the “them” in the age-old “us versus them” struggle of shelf stockers versus suits. I’m not an h0urly employee, clocking in to serve my time, and then clocking out again to escape. I know how to run a cash register and an inventory scanner, but I don’t have to. It’s not in my job description to spend eight hours a day defusing cranky soccer moms with screaming toddlers who need someone to scream at themselves.

Not a day passes that I’m not deeply grateful for that.

Working here has taught me, though, that I used to see the world through a very sheltered lens. It never occurred to me, when I used to shop at the neighborhood store of a national chain, that the people who were ringing up my cart were whole individuals with their own back story. I never wondered if the guy loading my trunk had another job, had ever lost a child, had done time and turned his life around. The woman who answered my questions about the availability of a product might have gone to college, become a teacher, and then found out that retail paid better. The teenage kid pushing the pallet was saving for a first car, but half of his paycheck was going to his parents to help pay the electric bill because dad had been out of work for a year.

The stories are breathtaking. A cross-section of a world that I barely knew existed until 2011.

Now, I see it from the other side of the lens. I see the friends from high school, and the family members, who look at me differently now that I work for a major big box chain. It doesn’t matter to them what my job actually is – all they see is the corporate logo and that girl who “ended up” in retail, when she had such a promising future. It would be funny if it weren’t so insulting. And it embarrasses me, because I used to look at it that way, too.

I didn’t expect to grow up and go to work in retail. But I’m not sorry I did – it’s given me the opportunity to do a whole different kind of growing up. Maybe more people should try it.

Terms

In Mouthy Broad on February 24, 2014 at 4:41 am

Is there any feeling worse than waking, in the middle of the night, from a nightmare?

I don’t know about you, but that gasping, frozen-inside feeling is hard for me to shake. It follows me out of bed, through the house to the coffee  pot, into the shower. I jump at small noises; I bump into normal things, like door frames, and think that they’re the boogey-man, finally come to collect his due from under my childhood bed. No matter how hot the water or how sudsy the soap, I can’t wash it away.

Two cups of coffee (and an illicit, forbidden cigarette) later, my heart rate is more normal. My eyes feel less gritty. But my day feels dirtied, tainted by the brush with whatever it was that I was dreaming and couldn’t escape.

Psychologically, I know all about nightmares. Don’t let’s forget the quantities of counseling I’ve undergone! I know that they are your mind’s way of processing information that didn’t get sifted, cataloged, and stored in the appropriate box during the day, as are all dreams. I know that anxiety dreams are precisely that, and commonly, the nightmares of adults are some variation on anxiety dreams. As if, once we reach a certain age, we somehow are too intelligent or mature for “nightmare” to be the appropriate term.

Bois and grrls, ladies and gents, I have nightmares. Sometimes terrors. I’m neither too old nor too proud to admit it. I woke at 3:08 AM today from the grips of a doozy, and it took me approximately seven seconds to decide that additional sleep was beyond my grasp.

From the distance of my third cup of coffee, I can think back to what I remember of the dream. (And why is it I remember the nightmares much better than I do the pretty pink and blue dreams? Seems unfair.) I can identify the moving parts that came together in that horrible symbiosis of the things I fear and the things I can’t control – and aren’t they so very often the same things – and I can pull them apart and deal with them individually. That doesn’t cure the ick clinging to my heart from the images my brain put me through, but it helps.

I can tell that the part of my dream where Sharkman got shot in the left wrist, and I had to pull out the bullet and stitch him back together was probably driven by the fact that he slept away from home last night, on a school night. That’s only happened a handful of times in his entire eleven-and-a-half years on this planet, and I don’t like him being outside of our routine and someplace where I can’t personally keep him safe.

I can tell that the part of my dream where Rhett and I were hiding, unable to get away from The Big Bad, was probably driven by nerves about buying a new vehicle this week – two long months before we were planning to start that particular process – and the fact that we’re relying on a rental car until that happens. Nothing like being literally stranded to force your brain into scenarios where you’re unable to get away!

I can tell that the part of my dream where all I could do was react to all the horrible things happening around me was triggered from the lack of control I’m feeling.

All that means, kittens, is that the dream sucked.

So I got up, and out of the dream, and scrubbed my skin raw in a too-hot shower. I’m purging with caffeine, and waiting for the last tentacles to unwind.

I think nightmares are the night version of bad days. Somewhere, in this contract we have with life, there’s fine print that includes the terms and conditions of getting the good days (or dreams), but you have to pay the fee. Call it the fates, the universe, the gods, God, or karma, but there’s a price tag attached to everything. I don’t mind paying the toll, but I do wish it were spelled out a little more clearly somewhere.

Strange for a breaking-the-silence post, maybe, but if I’ve learned anything in my months of being muzzled, it’s that life goes on. Whether or not you’re ready for it, braced for the twists and turns, it drags you along for the ride. This is where I am today, and who on earth knows where I’ll be tomorrow? For now, I have to blow out my hair, get dressed, drive 90 miles to pick up my Momma for surgery (outpatient, nothing too serious, thanks for asking), call to find out if I can keep my rental car for another few days without having to stop for arm-and-leg-amputation, and make some feeble attempt at being a civilized human being on five hours of sleep and far too much coffee and stress.

Happy Monday, dahlings. xoxoxo

Lonesome

In Mouthy Broad on September 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

So I miss writing.

I miss it a lot. I’m so busy right now, being mom and Scout mom and school mom, and senior management and career counselor, and money manager and daughter and breadwinner, and wife, that I have no time to be a blogger.

Plus there was that whole implosion where I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be a blogger again.

But I miss it. I look around at all the good in my life right now, and then I wonder why I’m still so dissatisfied, so itchy for more and bigger and… Well… Just more. It’s because I don’t have this anymore.

Where we live, where we are in life, what we have going on now, it’s all great. Sharkman is happy in school. Rhett’s the love of my life. My job pays the bills and keeps us going. But there’s no me in any of it. There’s no sassy femme snark, or spark, for that matter.

I miss the queer femmes who blew up the blogosphere and the battles for recognition and talks about things like gender and identity and transwifery. I miss debating invisibility and the merits of stealth life and the drawbacks of being femme in a still-too-mysogynist society.

I love my life, but I miss myself while I’m living it. So maybe I’ll work on that, sometime soon.

xoxoxo
~J

Recall

In Mouthy Broad on June 14, 2013 at 10:16 am

We just moved back to my hometown.

It’s about a half hour drive to where I work (yay! commuting again! and I’m totally not being sarcastic, for realsies!), and about a million light-years away from what I expected.

In a lot of very strange ways, it’s nice to be back. In a lot of very not strange at all ways, it’s a screaming pain in the ass!

Take the total lack of anonymity, for one. Both my hometown (about 10,000 people, unless you count when college is in session) and the town I work in (about 40,000 people, give or take) are pretty small. We’ve been living in WorkTown for the last three years, and coaching Little League that entire time. Rhett’s identity aside, the pre-op stuff makes him still publicly a chick. So we’re the chick coaches, which makes us pretty recognizable. Then there’s the fact that I work for a major employer, with a high turnover rate, so I do a lot of face time with applicants – adds to the recognizability quotient significantly. Add in the fact that I worked previously with contractors and their customers, and that my father was born and raised in and around WorkTown, and his entire family (10 aunts and uncles) settled around here…

A lot of people know who I am.

A lot more, in fact, than I actually know!

I realized that this morning, when an employee knocked on my office door to ask if I’m okay.

Baffled, I responded that there wasn’t anything wrong with me that a little more coffee wouldn’t cure.

He smiled, and nodded, and said, “Ok, well, I just wanted to check. My mom is a receptionist at the women’s health place in WorkTown, and she said she’d seen you quite a few times recently.”

I’m sorry, what?

I’m currently sitting in the waiting room, ready for my fourth appointment in a month. I have been in and out of here a lot lately, but as far as I knew, the only people aware of that fact were my husband and my boss!

So on the one hand, it’s sweet that he (and his mother) was concerned. On the other, I miss the days of big-city anonymity! Doctor patient privilege seems a little more fragile from here, I must say.

Apparently, the biggest thing I have to get used to is going to be that my notoriety as a kid seems to have morphed into recognizability as an adult. There are eyes everywhere, people, and these small towns never really sleep.

Wish me luck and watch my back, won’t you?

Hush

In Mouthy Broad, Relationships on May 16, 2013 at 9:09 pm

It’s awfully quiet around here, isn’t it?

I spend my life looking for a little quiet these days. But it seems sad that the only place I can find it is here.

Call it a trial balloon, call it a second chance, call it doubling down on the first bad hand.

Maybe I should reconsider, and make a little noise. We’ll see.

Closed for Renovations

In Mouthy Broad on February 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm

If you look around a minute, you might notice a thing or two missing.

Or, well, about 544 things.

Every post I’ve ever written – poof. Gone. Vanished into the ether.

Not deleted. Just set to private.

Because it came to my attention today, in a very forceful fashion, that I’m not safe here. Just like I’m not safe at work, or at home, or at the grocery store, or at a Cub Scout meeting.

A restraining order is just a piece of paper, after all. A flimsy remnant of a dead tree, that tells one specific person how to behave, or not to behave. It doesn’t mention their family, or their friends, that get sucked into the whole sordid story with what pass for good intentions.

I was told today, in a very forceful fashion, that this blog is harmful. To me, to my son, to other people in our lives. I was told that it was unnecessary; that I shouldn’t want or need it.

I was told, officially and officiously, to sit down and shut up.

This is my temporary concession to that instruction, but I never have been very good at doing as I am told.

I’ll be reviewing each post I have ever written, individually. Every word I’ve ever archived here under my little illusion of anonymity. Those that seem innocuous, safe enough, superficial enough, will get reposted publicly. You know, the ones that can’t possibly misconstrued to have been about you, or you, or even you.

The rest will just have to stay buried beneath the rubble that is all that I’ve left of my privacy and my dignity.

Watch this space, kittens. I never did know when to just lay down and die.

Oh, and P.S?

No one would have ever known that they were about you, until you started screaming it out loud, in public.

Well done.

Broadway

In Mouthy Broad on February 6, 2013 at 8:31 am

Oh, Wednesday morning that only comes every other week, how I love my midweek day off.

Getting to it sucks – six day stretches of 12 hour days aren’t for sissies. But this Wednesday, and the one two weeks ago, and the one two weeks from now? They’re totally worth it.

I always stay up too late the night before, because I’ve been working my butt off and I’m married to a night owl. So we stay up, and spend time together, and then I drag ass the next morning, but it’s the next Wednesday morning, so it’s worth it.

I’m sitting on my couch, with my feet up, watching the two hour premiere of my favorite springtime show in utter quiet, not having to hit pause to navigate mom stuff, not having to get up and down to let dogs in or out (they’re all unconscious around me), no conversations or discussions or logistics. It’s heaven.

Or Broadway, which is the same thing if you ask me.

I’ve got a million things to do today, but it all seems possible when I’m sitting here, being a lazy lump, and with the whole day stretched out in front of me.

Realistically, I’m completely aware that I am not going to get to it all. Something will fall by the wayside. At some point tonight, I’ll remember something I meant to do today, and swear a blue streak. But whatever. That’s later tonight.

For now, I’m going to wallow in silence that bears no demands on my emotions or mind.

Have a happy Wednesday, y’all.

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