A Singular Sensation (Encore)

The holiday season is an interesting time of year to be acutely aware of my status as a single lady in her late twenties.

Then again, the holiday season is an interesting time of year to reflect on what it was like to not be single at this time last year.

We did all the expected things: I had Thanksgiving with his family; we went out to dinner and a concert on my birthday; we visited my friends in Seattle and did some shopping; we exchanged gifts before I left town.

And then, naturally, I decided we had to end things right before New Year’s–even though I would still end up spending it with all of our mutual friends. The book was completely closed several days after New Year’s, though, without a lingering, messy break-up. It was a clean break, with me telling him bluntly, “We are no longer together. Now go do what you need to do.”

It was calm, unapologetic, to the point, and completely necessary. The line was drawn. And in a way, it set the tone for the rest of 2013. I had several moments in which I later laid my emotions on the line, moments in which I could say, “I forgive you,” and, “You are still my friend despite everything; our friendship means so much.” These things were tough for me, someone who loves those annoying cryptic posts on Facebook and Twitter, along with passive-aggressive jabs.

I’ve never been fantastic at relationships. I used to spend a lot of time on my blog whining about being lonely. I also used to grasp desperately to whatever relationship did come my way. Being single for this year has been tough at times, but it has also brought me much more in terms of growth.

Yes, I still have many feelings. I still melt down often, and transitions always exacerbate both aspects. But even in times where I had to let people go, I knew it was what I needed– and even more so what they needed. I am getting over my manic pixie dream girl complex, the idea that I need to save those emotionally-burned men I fall for. I fall back on a different narrative–much to the dismay of my irrational side–of telling myself they need to learn and make mistakes and hopefully get their lives together without me. And in doing so, even though it still hurts my heart, I am taking the right steps forward in being a better-adjusted single lady.

I read something the other day which, as a whole, was not my cup of tea. I won’t bother linking it here because I found it condescending to single ladies of my type. But there was one part that stood out and that I could at least thank the author for, which I’ll paraphrase as:

Being single may be part of my identity, part of my status, but it is not my identity. It does not define who I am. It is an important part of me, and it is to be celebrated in this moment. Especially in what it can teach me about the rest of who I am.

I’m still hopeful that he’s out there, but I’m more hopeful that he’s learning great things, too. We will have many stories to share, I think, so I suppose I can create many more before we connect.

That would be a fine way to spend this holiday season, I think.

(And if an interested party happens to be reading this… first of all, thanks for making it this far, and maybe we should plan to make mulled wine and watch a holiday movie. Or go to a shooting range. Same difference.)

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Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for…

The laughter in my life.
The people who can turn an ordinary day into anything but ordinary.
The hopes I have to see the world, even though the immediate future is full of paying down debt from previous adventures.
The sunrises and sunsets I’ve been privy to.
The conversations had with special people before my eyes grew too heavy and I fell asleep in the curvature of their arm.
The belief that maybe my purpose is just to make others smile.
The hope that I don’t just do well, but that I do good in this world (to borrow a phrase from a good friend).
The family I was born into–the best family for me, that’s for certain.
The family I have chosen, as well–friends with wide and varied stories of their own.
The friends who have come and gone, for even they challenged my perspectives and enriched my life in many ways.

Thank you.

Home for the Holidays

It took me fifteen hours to get home on Friday. My train left Portland at 12:15PM, and I didn’t get in to Wenatchee until 3AM. Fallen trees, snow slides, mudslides, etc. and so forth kept the inbound train running behind schedule; it didn’t help that my eastbound train stopped on the tracks for 45 minutes. When I realized at about 12:15AM that we were at a stand-still, I panicked. Were we going to be stuck all night? I didn’t even have a snack to comfort me at that point. No reception on the phone, and it was much too late for the PA system to keep me updated on our status. All in all, it was the worst trip.

However, here’s the thing: I made it home, and I made it home in one piece.

I am safe and sound at my mother’s house, and I have a full belly and a warm bed. I already saw my close friends yesterday, and I spent tonight watching a movie with Mom and her partner.

Some people didn’t make it home soundly, and that’s awful. Some people don’t have a home to which they can return. Some people don’t have a home to which they want to return.

So, I’m lucky. I’m lucky for the love I have. I’m lucky, even though my present didn’t arrive in time and traveling in the wintertime is awful.

I’m lucky to be here.

Count your blessings this holiday season. And love, love, love, love, love.

 

Veterans’ Day

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Thank you, Vets. The circumstances under which you all made a decision to sacrifice your lives and livelihoods for a country are all varied, all too different for me to understand. Your lives were changed, maybe for the worse, maybe for the better. You gave up everything in many cases.

In return, I benefited. I try to give back but I know it pales in comparison. Today, I simply give thanks as the daughter of a veteran. So, thank you, all. (And thank you, Dad.)

Lessons from Wednesday

I learned a few more lessons today.

First, I am not above throwing a tantrum when something goes wrong. Let me explain.

The other day, the hot water went out in our kitchen sink. There was no hot water pressure at all. The hot water in the bathroom, however, was unaffected, so it was more of an inconvenience than anything else. When I got home from work, though, the hot water pressure suddenly came back on– and then the water started running reddish-brown. Yuck.

So, the next day, I got a hold of our landlord. He went over to our apartment and seemingly fixed the problem. The rest of the night, we had hot water in the kitchen.

This morning, the hot water pressure was off again. But when I got back to the apartment after work, the sink was running and the water was running warm.

Hooray!I thought to myself. Our landlord followed up on the problem!

I decided I would get a glass of water, make dinner, and maybe do the dishes. So, I turned the sink on all the way, got my glass of water, and shut off the sink.

But the water was still running at full blast.

No matter which position the handle was in, the water was at full pressure, and it was either hot or warm. Great.

Called our landlord. Left a message. Freaked out. Stomped around, and even jumped up and down several times, whining, “Whyyyyy are you doing this?!”

Called Roto-Rooter. They’re completely booked because all the pipes are freezing in western Washington. Stomp stomp stomp. Whine whine whine.

Tried the emergency valve under the sink. It was stuck. Called our landlord again. No answer. Freak out more.

I finally got the valve to turn, after maybe 10 minutes of nearly ripping my hand apart. Even now, the water’s still running about half power. (Or whatever you want to call it.)

The only reason I believe I didn’t start crying with panic was because I bawled on the way home from shopping, listening to the stupid Christmas music station. They played a really great song, about a girl named Maria and a bird with a broken wing, okay?

Okay, so I throw tantrums and cry during random Christmas songs.

What else did I learn today?

I learned that I am much more of a methodical shopper than I was even a few months ago. Even with a list of what I wanted to get my friends and family, I still spent a great deal of time evaluating each choice.

I started out at Barnes & Noble, and I honestly could buy thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stuff from there. There was a book on how to tie knots, mini penguin bowling sets, a book about Filipinos in the Puget Sound region, classics on sale, and tons of new fiction. I wasn’t shopping for myself, though, so that ruled out most of those items. Instead, I thought about what kind of present I could get for my dad, my godson, and several friends. I came away with some quality items, but that was only after I picked up a bunch of different things, walked around with them, then decided they weren’t right for the recipients.

I spent about 30 minutes in a store as big as my living room. It was the shop where I had planned on buying cute and funny gifts for several of my friends. But there was nothing in the shop that meant anything. Sure, the items would be cute and funny for a few days, but then they would probably end up on a shelf or in a closet somewhere, taking up space. That’s not how my friendship should be represented, right? I came away with nothing during that round.

Taking just those two situations into account, I can tell I’ve grown in some ways. I’m trying to unclutter my own life while making sure I don’t clutter others’ with plain old stuff. I want whatever I give my friends and family to be meaningful.

And you know what?

I think it’s entirely possible this year.