four-letter words

July 31, 2009

so, i've been trying for years to write a book. a love story. the cheesy shit most chicks write because, well, that's what most chicks read. and underneath all the sarcasm and crassness and occasional tomboyishness, i happen to be a sucker for that cheesy shit.

i am soft. i blame this on my father. my mother says i'm just like him. when i was younger and having trouble making friends, my father would often suggest to me that i emulate my mother. oh, how easy my world would be if that were possible. every time he said that, my heart would break a little because i could never be like her. always, always, i was told of how i should be ... by my parents, my peers, my educators and employers. i am a four-letter word.

anyway, so the past few days, i've been tanking ... badly. today i woke up, and all i wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep all day. it's a good day for it, after all. rainy and gloomy. but i've bills to pay and whatnot ...

and five hundred days of summer came out in wide release today. yay! i've been waiting for this movie for months. i might see it a dozen times. it's just that good. probably the best movie to come out this year.

so i went to work to collect my check and get a cup of hot cocoa (because that always makes me feel better), and then i went to the banks to transfer money so that i could pay those bills, and then i went back to work to get a jug of water (because while hot chocolate makes me feel better mentally, physically it makes me hot -- yes, i know -- and jittery). and then i went to the movie.

there's a scene in which joseph gordon-levitt's character's sister is telling him that maybe when he looks back on his relationship, he should look not only on what was good about it but also on what was bad about it.

do people really think this doesn't happen?

one of the guys i'd dated suggested, basically, that i'd colored my memories with emotion and that made those memories different for me than for him.

okay. fine. i can see how one might think that. it makes sense.

i can remember that he emailed me on st. patrick's day. that i hadn't been looking. i'd gotten up at ten or so, played spades on the computer for a while and gone to work. that it was a glorious day, the first glorious day we'd had in some time. that work went well for a change, that a group of coworkers and i went to friday's afterward and chatted and drank for an hour or so. that i took the long way home. that i'd checked my email accounts (all three of them, the last of which was one i'd not checked in several weeks), and there in the last, sent that day, was his letter.

and it was a damned fine letter. i've a thing for guys who can communicate well.

i remember telling him, later, of this coincidence. he told me that he'd considered writing me the week before but had decided against it. i'd asked him if he had written me on the tenth and i'd replied on the seventeenth, if he would've replied to my email. he'd said no.

after a fight with the clothes in my closet because i could no longer fit in most of them, i showed up at his apartment and he'd had a lone, long-stem rose waiting for me. because i'd been late, he'd said. that was the first time i'd ever gotten flowers from a guy who was not a relative, and it couldn't have been a better occasion.

that the first time he kissed me was horrible, so much so that i worried over it for hours afterward. that the second time was awesome, so much so that i was wound up for hours afterward.

i remember him taking me to first friday at the blue star art complex in the king william's district of san antonio. i'd never been. he lead me up a narrow flight of stairs, my hand in his. i asked where we were going. an elderly woman on her way down looked at me, smiled, pointed and said, up. indeed. i was going up. it was marvelous. i don't think i've been that happy since.

bolting from his apartment because i didn't want to, couldn't let him see me cry. i made it to the phillips sixty-six gas station across the street, to the attendant, who sold me a carton of marlboro lights in a box and a bic lighter, to halfway between the door of the station and the door of my truck before i broke. right there, on the concrete, hunched next to the rocks that were the station's shell, for all the world to see. i ended up cruising loop 1604 -- twice -- chain smoking and crying until i couldn't anymore. i don't think i've been that miserable since.

i remember the way he'd smile at me. the way he said my name when he was happy with me. the way he said it when he wasn't. the way he smelled.

i remember everything. everything. and that is how it should be.

a friend of mine asked me the other day why i'd not finished my book. i'd told her that i can't pretend everybody gets to have happy. that it makes me sad to try to write it. and then i saw this movie, and was reminded of how much i love fate and coincidence and how much i should believe in them. i remembered how much i used to do so and that i missed doing that.

i'd made myself focus more on the bad things about love. i'd let it become a four-letter word.

my friend recommends...

July 27, 2009

...and i shall post it here so i do not forget the wisdom:

psalm forty
1 i waited patiently for the lord
he turned to me and heard my cry

2 he lifted me out of the slimy pit
out of the mud and mire
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand

3 he put a new song in my mouth
a hymn of praise to our god
many will see and fear
and put their trust in the lord

4 blessed is the man
who makes the lord his trust
who does not look to the proud
to those who turn aside to false gods

5 many, o lord, my god
are the wonders you have done
the things you planned for us

no one can recount to you
were i to speak and tell of them
they would be too many to declare

6 sacrifice and offering you did not desire
but my ears you have pierced
burnt offerings and sin offerings
you did not require

7 then i said, "here i am, i have come
it is written about me in the scroll

8 i desire to do your will, o my god
your law is within my heart

9 i proclaim righteousness in the great assembly
i do not seal my lips,
as you know, o lord.

10 i do not hide your righteousness in my heart
i speak of your faithfulness and salvation
i do not conceal your love and your truth
from the great assembly

11 do not withhold your mercy from me, o lord
may your love and your truth always protect me

12 for troubles without number surround me
my sins have overtaken me, and i cannot see
they are more than the hairs of my head
and my heart fails within me

13 be pleased, o lord, to save me
o lord, come quickly to help me.

14 may all who seek to take my life
be put to shame and confusion
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace

15 may those who say to me, "aha! aha!"
be appalled at their own shame

16 but may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you
may those who love your salvation always say
"the lord be exalted!"

17 yet i am poor and needy
may the lord think of me
you are my help and my deliverer
o my god, do not delay

sunday's mass

since the mass the sunday before last had affected me so, i guess i kind of hoped that this past sunday's would do so as well. this one was about nourishment -- that the good lord would provide all that the body, heart and soul required. the mass included, of course, the parable of the miracle of the five loaves and two fishes.

it's a great parable.

it's one i've heard so often that i hold little fascination for it now.

and as i headed home, my heart was full of cynicism.

so that mass, i'd thought, had been like most of the others which i'd attended -- an hour of monotonous drivel paired with the required, expected and meaningless responses to that drivel. we are like robots. i've a hard time believing god would want us to worship him in that way.

but today, i was watching miss pettigrew lives for a day, and i was reminded of the nourishment my body, heart and soul lack.

i am not an expert on love. i am an expert on the lack of love ... and that is a fate from which i wish more fervently to save you (guinevere pettigrew)."

to quote miss pettigrew, i've not eaten in a very long time.

not literally. i had oven-baked chicken, salad, corn freshly cut from the cob and a cheesy roll about twenty minutes ago.

metaphorically...metaphorically, i'm starving.

let me believe. let me forget.

July 20, 2009

so yesterday, while i was on that miserable date at the zoo, it started sprinkling. i yelled at the heavens to do more than that. i bargained with god, and yeah i know that i shouldn't do that, but i did it anyway. i said that if he would let it rain, really rain, i'd go to church for the next four sundays.

it really rained. not as long as i would've liked, but a deal's a deal.

i'm not so fond of my church, so i went to a different one. today, it was a better one. (i'm kind of the mind that all church is the same...boring.)

but today's mass seemed to be tailored for me.

it was about the sheep who stray from the shepherd.

when i was a little girl and my family would take vacations to the other parts of the country, the moment we'd checked in and unloaded our baggage into our hotel rooms, i'd take off. i'm not sure i'd tell my folks where i was going, just that i was. it would never be too far, but i was young enough that it must've worried them a little bit. i've a habit of wandering off. still do.


they left me in a gallery in santa fe once. i'd found a print i liked. it wasn't a great print, but something about it appealed to me. it was of a girl standing in a field, holding a candle, with one hand cupped around the flame to keep the wind from extinguishing it. the colors were sort of muted -- not pastel, just softer, like everything had been cast in shadow. there were mountains and a house and a sunset in the distance. not an exemplary print, by any means. but for some reason, my interest had been so captured that i'd knelt on the floor in front of it and gawked. my parents and my brothers called to me a number of times that they were leaving. i'd call back, like i was getting ready to get going, but i wouldn't move. could only sit there. and sit i did, for a very long time.

finally i got up, and they were gone.

so used to wandering on my own was i, though, that i thought nothing of it. i was quite confident that they'd realize they'd left me and would come back for me.

i'm not sure how long it took them to come to that realization. i vaguely remember chatting with the gallery owner while scoping out the rest of the pictures she'd had on display.

my mom came in and got me. she thanked the owner for the trouble. we went on about our vacation.

a week or so later, my parents got a package in the mail. i stood with my mother at the kitchen table in the breakfast room, looking over her shoulder as she unfurled the roll of prints that they'd purchased at that gallery. and there, amidst the pictures my parents had chosen, was the print i'd admired. the woman had included it at no charge because she'd enjoyed watching me study it. i'd been eleven or so at the time. i remember being in awe of the woman's generosity. people didn't normally do nice things for me then.

i'm still in awe of that generosity, actually. i still have the print.

the point of that diatribe is this: if a sheep's got a habit of wandering, isn't the shepherd somewhat responsible for keeping an eye on the sheep and making sure she doesn't get lost?

i feel so lost right now. i've felt that way for twenty-eight years, and the older i get, the more lost i become.

one of my friends has a song, come on get higher, by matt nathanson on her blog. it's kind of country. i'm not so much a fan of country music, but every now and then some song will strike a chord. this one's got something in it about make you believe; make you forget.

oh, how i wish i could.

i almost cried during mass twice today. i couldn't sing because the lyrics kept choking me up. and the singing's my favorite part of mass.

i make it a point not to cry in public. i used to do it all the time as a child when i was in school. and then i learned to hide.

we sang the prayer of st. francis:

where there's despair in life, let me bring hope
where there is darkness only light
and where there's sadness ever joy

and, later, the gift of finest wheat:
you satisfy the hungry heart

and as i write this...

the fray's vienna:
there's really no way to reach me

depeche mode's blasphemous rumors:
but i think that god's got a sick sense of humor
and when i die, i expect to find him laughing

train's when i look to the sky:
when i feel like there's no one
that will ever know me
there you are to show me

keane's somewhere only we know:
simple thing, where have you gone
i'm getting old, and i need something to rely on
so tell me when, you're gonna let me in
i'm getting tired, and i need somewhere to begin

indigo girls' closer to fine:
darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
and lightness has a call that's hard to hear
i wrapped my fear around me like a blanket

and rachel yamagata's elephants:
all i want is to just forget you

i am destined to remember, and the memories make me wary. how'm i supposed to find my way back when i've wandered off so far? how could he have let me wander off that much? and why does it feel like there's no one there?

because my world could use some color

July 10, 2009

these were taken at the abbey of our lady of the holy trinity monastery in huntsville, utah, where my great-uncle resides. the green-gold photos were taken three years ago, i think, and the violet ones were taken one month ago.

you wanna see more of it? go here.

it's featured in a book! read it.

the mirror has two faces

my second summer vacation has started. this week, i'm staying within texas' state lines. tomorrow, i will do all those responsible things i've been neglecting, like getting the rear license plate's light fixed (which will most likely mean some circuitry or something in phineas' rear will have to be repaired because he's got water in one of the taillights, which is probably shorting the license plate light. assuming of course that it's necessary to fix all this, i can't see the repairs coming cheaply. i had to buy an acura, after all.) then there's the matter of getting him inspected (which is why i'll be fixing the light and any other problem phin may have that pertains to said light) and registered.

i've been neglecting the inspection for eleven months and the registration for seventeen.

i also have to find a current copy of phin's insurance.

all this so that i can drive him to austin on saturday and beaumont on tuesday and wherever else i may care to go.

and then i have to buy a new swimsuit for sunday, because one of my friends and i are going to schlitterbahn galveston, and i can't very well go there wearing my tyr workout suit. not sexy. not that i'm trying to be...but i'd rather not go looking like i was on my way to a swim meet.

as if the flabbiness of my thighs wouldn't make any attempt to appear that way pathetic.

that was a clumsy construct. i'm tired. hopefully you know what i meant.

there's good news for today.

my store manager complimented me today. he said he enjoyed working with me this week and that i'd done well. that was really nice to hear. probably one of the better compliments i'd received from management in some time.

then there's bad news.

one of my favorite films is the family stone. i love how perfectly it depicts the myriad of emotions that swirls within a family's dynamic and the war between that family's joy for the holiday and the stress of everyone being in one house together and dealing with each others' idiosyncrasies.

i really shouldn't write when i'm this tired.


i feel like a bad combination of meredith and amy. take meredith's anxiety and awkwardness and pair them with amy's irritableness and judgmentalness and there's me.

and that scene when meredith's crying, isn't there anybody that loves me?

i cry every time i watch that.

i know. it's just a movie. i shouldn't be so affected by it. and plenty of people do love me.

but most of those people have someone on whom to lean when they're weary.

and i know. this appears to be a recurring motif. contrary to what it might seem, i'm not looking for pity. i've said that before, too.

she may be weary. women do get weary...

when my older brother passed away, at the memorial service we held for his friends, and for the next few weeks following his death, i was so concerned with making sure everyone else was okay that i didn't take much time for myself. so i put on this brave front, like i'm fine. and then, when i'd gotten back to san antonio and settled in, i fell apart. and there was no one there to help me get back up.

self-reliancy's a bitch.

why do i watch these movies when they do this?

it's like that stupid carrot dangling before my face, but always just out of reach.

just before meredith's moment of despair, she confronts this family. she knows how they see her. she nails it. to them, she is a spoiled, crazy, racist, bigot bitch from bedford.

i wonder how the world sees me. i can never tell. sometimes i don't care because, inevitably, it doesn't matter. but sometimes, i forget whom i've become and have to rely on who i was to define my current sense of self. and because whom i used to be was so unlikable, i'd rather look to others to remind me of who i am now.

i've days, like today while i was on my way to work, during which i feel pretty. and because i want to be able to see that reflected in the mirror as opposed to the hideous sight i presented as a child (or because i think somehow that feeling pretty will be enough of a transformation to make my plain features presentable), i'll pause as i pass a surface that provides a glimpse of my reflection or i'll flip the visor down and look. and on days like today, i'll be greeted with that plainness, and i'll grimace and quickly flip the visor up or hurry past the glass because who i think i am and who i am are two totally different things.

oh, how i'd love it if they were the same.

and, though there's the occasional moment while watching the film that my heart is satisfied with seeing others get their happy endings -- and i'm not naive enough to think those happy endings are actual endings and everybody's hunky dory from then on...i've spent my life observing others, so i'm well aware of how things really are. anyway, while my heart is temporarily satisfied and my spirits are lifted a bit, the satisfaction and the soaring are always so shortlived.

as soon as the movie stops, i'm reminded of my reality.

why do i do this to myself?

on a slightly brighter note, i suppose if my life and my emotions were as placid as the waters of my parents' often unoccupied swimming pool, i would be as unhappy as i am with their tempestuousness. i imagine this is rather like prefering the grass of others' pastures. someone's is always greener.