Monday, September 25, 2006

Dark Night of the Soul

I am tired. Tired of the up and down, the happy and sad. Wanting to be with people, then wanting to avoid them. Hungry for life, wanting life to be over. Waiting for life to be over. It's the constant glowing and fading...the brilliance and the shadow...that wears me out. My heart is tired. My mind is tired. My body is tired.

I feel alive...and not. It is a moment by moment kind of living. Some moments, I feel like I'm least, more alive than I've felt in a long time. I can feel the wind on my face, appreciate the sunshine, find the humor in the everyday. Other moments, I am just going through the motions, living anything but an abundant life, unable to keep up the facade any more. Those moments happen more and more lately.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Finally, some time off. After what seems like months with next to no time off, I have a four day stretch of nothing but rest and relaxation. I worked 48 hours this week, and that feels like a short week. I've grown accustomed (though not comfortable with) working sixty or so hours. This "short" week feels like a vacation.

I had envisioned this morning would be one of sleeping in HOURS past the dreadful moment when my alarm clock would usually sound, but it turned out I could only swing an hour and a half of sleep-in time. That's okay, though. It honestly felt good to just get up, relax with a cup of coffee and some good TV, then get on with my day running errands. It just felt good to be doing something besides working, at an hour of the day that is closer to normal.

I am starting to feel more "normal", although "normal" is a relative term. Anyway, I am feeling more alive than I have the last few weeks. I don't feel like I am among the living dead, and I am hoping to be able to spend some time with a couple of friends this weekend.

It's a beautiful day.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Go Dark

That's a phrase I heard on "24" once. Perhaps more memorable because it was uttered by Jack Bauer, but nonetheless, it has stayed with me.

To "go dark" means to cut off all contact...become untraceable. As though you do not exist anymore.

Lately, this is what I feel like doing. Of course, it's not exactly possible, but I do not feel like putting much into life outside of the work-a-day week, and what I need to do for school. I do not feel depressed or...however it is I usually feel when I start to isolate...I just have not felt the need over the last few days to live outside of the comfortable box of my own world. I am very happy and comfortable right where I am.

It's strange. Perhaps a bit alarming. I have spent a bit of time lately looking over my relationships the last few years. Not strictly romantic relationships, but relationships in general. I realized that it did not matter what I was experiencing...whether it was all out rejection or unconditional acceptance...I was remarkably uncomfortable, feeling very out of place, not really knowing where I fit in. I have concluded, for better or worse, that this is the norm for me. For others, it's a signal of something wrong, something out of whack with their emotions or mental processes. For me, it's normal. It's the way things have always been. And lately, I just do not have the energy or the desire to go against the current on this.

I do have friends who would advise against my becoming comfortable in my solitude. I have one friend in particular who has advised me to consider therapy so I can get over these uncomfortable feelings and learn to mesh with other people, particularly those of my own sex. I suppose there may be some merit in that suggestion, but I do not care enough at this point to consider it. I am making friends with solitude. I am very comfortable in my cocoon. It is safe, it is not threatening, and my only critic is myself. There is no pressure here, and I am liking that.

In looking back on my relationships, and seeing that the same pattern repeats itself over and over again no matter what I may do to change, I've just concluded that--at least for now--I'm not going to attemt to reinvent the wheel. I think some people were meant for a more solitary life, and I am beginning to think that I am one of those people. As much as I may yearn for things like marriage, an active social life, etc...I am not sure those things were meant for me.

And how are things going in my coccon?

Well, I am loving my apartment. It is gradually feeling more and more like home. In fact, I stayed at my parents' house last night, and I could not wait to get back to my own place. I haven't been out of my parents' house for very long, but I was very much ready to leave. I think it's amazing, how quickly I made the transition from living with them to living comfortably on my own.

Work is going well. I think we will be settling into some kind of normal very soon, and I will have more time to focus on school and, if I feel like it, friends. Also, I got a raise, which is very nice. A great stress reliever.

All in all, things are going well. Life is good. God is good.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Where were you when it happened?

I remember where I was when it happened...

I was working part time at CMH when it happened, and Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was my day off. I slept in, and was awakened by a phone call.

"Can you believe what is happening? Are you seeing this?"

"What are you talking about? Seeing what?"

"The World Trade Center! Somebody attacked the World Trade Center! Somebody bombed it!"

It took a moment for the statement to register. Somebody bombed it? Attacked it? What??

I don't remember hanging up the phone, but I do remember turning on CNN, and feeling a sick, stunned feeling when I realized what I was seeing.

The second tower had just been hit. I could not fathom what I was seeing. How did this happen? Who would do this? Why would they do it? Who could be so cruel and hateful? I remember thinking...But, we're the United States of America! This just can't be happening! How did this happen? HOW did this happen?

I called a friend of mine. He was still sleeping when I called. I told him he needed to get up and turn on the news. I called him to hear his voice, to know he was okay. I called him for comfort, as though somehow it would all make more sense if he was seeing the same things I was seeing.

I could not look away. My mind and my heart tried to make sense of this. I watched the coverage all day, as if somehow CNN could tell me something that would put the pieces together, that would neatly package it and perhaps make everything turn out right by the end of the day. But there was no making sense of it. There still isn't.

The first tower began to fall, and I felt sick. I could not believe what I was seeing.

As I watched, I realized that nobody had bombed the WTC. Instead, planes had been hijacked, innocent people were sacrificed so more innocent people could be sacrificed. As the story unfolded throughout the day, we learned that the WTC was not the only site where this sickening scenario would play out, and many would die for the purpose of someone else's hateful and cruel agenda. An agenda without remorse. It is still mind boggling for me. I cannot conceive of that kind of hatred.

My dad came home from work later that day. Somewhere in the day, I had managed to shower and get dressed, then resumed watching the coverage. I was still stunned. I asked my dad if he had seen the news or heard about what was going on. I remember he told me he had seen it, and he was very quiet.

Five years later, I think the wound is still so raw for so many of us. It is still difficult to comprehend just what took place on September 11, 2001. When we let our minds go there, we realize just how vulnerable we really are. We realize there are no guarantees, nothing anyone can offer us that can assure us that this sort of horrible tragedy will never visit American soil again.

More than that, we realize we need to move forward, and I think there is some guilt associated with that. Nothing that has happened can be undone, and it is almost as if we expect to remain in mourning forever. I think that, as a nation, we have not yet given ourselves permission to move forward. We keep the wound raw, as though we fear that moving forward means we are forgetting. I can only speak for myself...but I will never forget.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday la la

It's been a good day. I feel like I've actually accomplished something today, in that I got my laundry done, spent a lot of good one on one time with my niece, started on my Psych homework...all in all, a productive day.

I realized today that there have been some changes going on within the odyssey of Stephanie over the last few weeks.

Only a few weeks ago, it was very important to me to have my makeup on and my hair presentable before I left the house for any reason. I would not allow myself to be seen by anyone without having the protective shield of hair and makeup in place.

These days, I rarely wear makeup, and when I do, I cannot wait until the event I am wearing it to is concluded so I can go home and wash the goop off. It just feels heavy on my skin, and I don't like it. And as for my hair...well, since I practically live in a hairnet, it matters little to me how my hair looks anymore. I wash it and comb it, but gone are the days when I care enough to use the hair dryer or styling aid in an effort to make it look good.

If nothing else, I think my job has rid me of some of my vanity. The place where I work is by no means a beauty contest, and it has purged me of some of my overwhelming concern with physical appearance. Everyone looks the same in a hairnet, lab coat, and rubber gloves.

I think this shift is good. I'm not sure if others would agree, as they are the ones being greeted with my pale face and bland hair, but...I don't think it's ever a bad thing to feel more comfortable in your own skin.

My heart is doing leaps today. I think there are some people you just can't help loving, even if you know better. But do I know better? I only know that I enjoy every moment with the one who makes my heart smile, and I always walk away wishing we had more time to spend together. I know I should probably reign this in, but at the same time, some feelings are worth savoring.

Monday, September 04, 2006

One of those days

Today is nearly over, but it's been a difficult day, and I needed to spend some time writing before going to bed.

I had the mean reds today. For those not in the know, "the mean reds" is a term from "Breakfast at Tiffany's", and Holly Golightly describes perfectly how I felt today:

"You know those days when you get the mean reds?...The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid, and you don't know what you're afraid of. Don't you ever get that feeling?"

Yes, Holly, I do. All day today, as a matter of fact. There was so much I wanted to do today, but the mean reds kept me confined to my apartment most of the day. In fact, I slept much of the day away. Worrying was my primary activity of the day, along with dodging a nameless fear. I don't get this way often...I get more depressed than I do anxious. But when I do get anxious, there is nothing to be done about it but wait it out. It usually passes within a day.

I did manage to put together a new resume today. I've decided I don't like being worked to the point of exhaustion, all the while receiving a wage that is hardly liveable. So, I'm in the market for a new job. This is getting old.

I hated putting together my resume. It felt like a list of failures. A black and white synopsis of all the things I could not do. It is one thing to feel like a failure, but it is another to have to put it down on paper, and face the questions that will surely come. "Why did you leave AFLAC? Why did you leave Northpointe Motors?", and so on. Why? Because I pretty much sucked at the job, that's why.

Oh well...there is nothing to be done about it but move on, I suppose. I'm working on that. I think I'm making some progress.

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