Foolish Kings and Heartbroken Queens

My last few days at work have been stressful. So stressful that I’ve come to the point of considering a change in employment. Though admittedly I was discouraged to find anything else I qualified for in the area. Unless I was a crane operator or a healthcare professional, like a C.N.A. Which I am not.

I’ve been slacking on my scripture reading again these past few weeks now. I’ve been feeling it too. My spirit feels it. Resentment and anger along with an intense depression have been crushing me. I’m stressed. In my very selfish and prideful nature I have not been very good at presenting my cares to God. I’ve sucked at it actually. I always do. My verbal skills feel lacking and I’m wondering if I need to go back to writing letters to God just to get through to Him. I feel so distant. So isolated. Of course, by my own doing.

I got to go to the Museum and print out all my feelings. To be in an uplifting atmosphere again. My only sanity these days. The only place that I feel I actually do something that matters. Preserving history and design. My forte. It’s what I want and love to do. I feel like I’m doing what I’ve been made to do all my life. I just can’t seem to find out how to make it all work and where to go from here. I can’t seem to ask God enough, while simultaneously wishing I could ask God at all. It’s like my heart is in conflict with it’s self. I desire something. Something that feels right to desire. I just feel so small and helpless. I just want it all to work out somehow. I just wish I knew what to do to make it work.

My scripture today was in 2 Chronicles. It was about King Uzziah, who became so powerful that he turned away from God. I can resonate with that. I get it so clearly. I get that corruption. Entitlement. Wanting to play God. What I understand more though is pretty much the opposite. I feel small and discouraged. So much so that I want to ignore God for a little while. To put Him aside and ask for a little time to breath. To not have to hold all the responsibility of acting Christ-like and having to have some kind of integrity. Wanting Him to still be there. Just not so close as to make your heartbreak at everything. Because you feel heartbroken enough.

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Windstorm

The wind caused the roof to shudder and creak. I could feel the draft from the door cut like a razor across my exposed shoulders. I pulled the blanket tighter around me, knowing full well I would be a casualty. A victim to the war as mother nature allowed the warmth and the cold to wage for the territory of the season. The trees bent outside under the pressure of the winds. My mind felt as tattered and jostled as the branches must have felt. I got up and lit my candles in hopes of casting a bit more warmth and light. I was merely being hopeful. I knew all I would manage to do was have an apartment that smelled sweet.

It felt like the metaphor of my life. There I was, amidst the chaos of the whirling world. A wind storm, unrelenting and cold. Constantly threatening to come into my small sanctuary and knowing I’d eventually have to step out of it and face it all. I was lonely and barely holding on. Trying to brighten and warm the bits of moments I treasured with small flames of joy in my life. I felt strained and stretched that day. Overwhelmed. Restless. Tender. I could go on, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to curl up in my blanket and fall asleep…for a very very long time.

Poster Child

“I just got my Newsletter from Hamilton. I saw your picture in it. I didn’t know you were still in the area! I though you had moved out to Cali or something and were living the dream.” I had completely forgotten that I was asked for my photo to be used in the Newsletter at the museum, but the connecting was a very recent and wonderful surprise. I hadn’t spoken to him since college, and even then we all mostly talked about design work because we were always in the Mac Lab sipping coffee and trying to figure out how to get Photoshop to work with us at 2 am. It was nice to hear from him. I was glad for the familiar mannerisms. For the connection from my past. It was so welcomed. Even a bit moving. I missed many of my college buddies. I missed the fellowship we had been, even if our relationships hadn’t been that deep.

As if reading my mind he messaged me again. “A sad thought: Isn’t it weird how in school we flattened the dimentionality of every person in our design classes and missed making actual friends with each-other? I kind of wish I could rewind time and fix that..”

“I totally feel you on that. I wish I had broken down some walls a bit more. We can take this as a ‘it’s not too late yet.’”

“Yeah, if I have an oportunity to speak into any of the current designers lives back in school, its always to say, go be with eachother, set your work aside and get to know your fellow designers, ’cause they are going to help you.”

“I keep telling my mom that in my adulthood I’m terrified that from here on out all I’m building is a network…and I’m not going to have anyone who is just a friend anymore. You and I see very much the same in that regard.”

“Yeah totally! Like every person you are in contact with will just be a means to an end…ick. Not what I want.”

I extended the invitation for him to stay with me if he was ever in the area. He said he’d call if he was going to be around here and told me that if I was ever in his area to give him a call too. It felt good to know someone out there had tried and wanted desperately to reconnect. It gave me hope for my adult life. It reminded me people genuinely took notice of me for something outside of what I could do for them…and just wanted to be friends again. Wanted to get to know me and be involved in my life.

We chatted a bit more. Asking the questions of what the other was up to and eventually we got back to my time at the Museum.

“What do you love most about working at Hamilton?” He had asked, curiously.

I feel like I don’t have the words for it. I feel like there is almost too much to say about what I love about that place. Too much to say about what I have learned there. So many emotions and feeling about everything. So many deep connections. Just…so much.

I had began typing a response back.

“What I love about Hamilton the most is getting back with my people. With fellow creatives and working on a common goal. Being passionate together and building those friendships. Of course I love the designing too! I love how kinetic the design is in letterpress. It’s so unlike working on a computer screen. It’s more personal. Has more character. My hands have touched each piece of type and that type has been touched by hundreds of hands before me. Including the people I work with now and have come to love. There is such….at risk of sounding a bit New Age…a very pertinent and pivotal vibe of love with those people and in that place. I cant even begin to describe it. It cured so many emotional aliments for me. What I do there matters for greater and more meaningful reasons.

I hope that makes sense.”

What to Write?

The fire crackled in the fireplace as we relaxed in the living room. It was day two of my mission to finish up the laundry I had left unfinished the past two and a half weeks. I didn’t feel like a very successful adult because of it, but I had to admit, I had been very sick the same amount of time, and was unable to do much but go to work so I could pay bills, and come home to sleep. Barely eating in between activities of course. I was finally feeling good enough to actually get out to my parents, and after two weeks of living within the same two blocks because of fevers and still needing to work to make ends meet, I was ready to venture out a little further than my neighborhood.

The afternoon had taken a very sleepy turn. My mother read her Kindle in her wing back green chair while my father fell asleep watching TV in the next room. He snored loudly. I decided I’d rather be busy than simply scrolling lazily on my phone in between laundry loads. So I pulled out my laptop to type. Something I don’t often do because of my lack of wifi at my apartment. My laptop is a pretty neglected Mac Book Pro. The trackpad sticks obnoxiously, making a 15 min change on a design an hour and a half. The memory so full that even with a terabyte of external hard drive space, my computer will still flash the “Memory Almost Full” warning on the screen at least once per use. It’s been well loved, and perhaps overly so. To the point I began to wonder if some of my design projects and music were really worth keeping, and if I shouldn’t do the design don’t of deleting some of my least favorite projects and unappreciated music selections. Then I remember what an overwhelmingly tedious task that would be and I quit that foolish thought immediately.

I didn’t know what I would type. I don’t often type something that I hadn’t hand written first. It was unlike me. I enjoyed hand writing much of what I post on my blog, and I wasn’t even sure going to write something worth putting on the blog. What did I have to say this week that even felt like it was worth typing? Yes, things had happened. Some petty dramas easily resolved. My sickness. An argument with my boyfriend. Nothing that seemed worth publishing or posting. Small events that may have had big impacts, but had happened during a time when I’m not sure I was physically well enough to really process their impact, nor did I feel like I needed to. If the moment of meaning had passed, I was not going to spend what small amount of energy I had regained to try to process it. I was going to leave it lost…and that was that.

I considered the possibility of writing a book review of one of my recently finished reads by my favorite author. It was a prequel to a series I had fallen in love with in middle school, though it was far above the reading level of some of my peers and had a great deal of adult situations in it. Still I enjoyed a good fantasy with an original world rendered almost effortlessly. The author hadn’t out done himself but rather complimented the world he had already created and told the story of an unexplained family dynamic for an obscure and mysterious historical character mentioned later in the series. He had also announced in an author’s note at the end of the book that a sequel to the last book in the series was going to be produced soon, and that excited me very much. My mind swirling with the possibilities of the potential, I found myself lulled into a bigger and bigger book hangover. So much so that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to start a new book for a few days…even if I tried. Much less would I be able to effectively order my thoughts on the review, and so I left it be for another to write.

Instead, I decided to write of the potential of writing other things. Mixed with memories I would probably never share with anyone else, and decided never to publish the post.

Synthetic Summers

I’m no longer satisfied

With synthetic summers

Produced by overhead lights

And car heating systems

Haste the day when my lungs

No longer feel the sharp stab

Of cold as I breath in

This already putrid 

Midwest American air

I desire the heavy weight

Of humid heat 

Crashing down on me

Melting my hardened spirit in

Devastating desert like starvation

I want to be parched

Scorched

Burned alive and revived

Not like the Phoenix 

But like the heat given off

From a campfire

Surrounded by the modern sages

At the expense of the souls

Of the trees who once shaded them

My Boyfriend’s Facebook Status: A Conversation 

Him: “Anyone who knows me, knows I’m smart or rather I would say I know too much or try to be. It kind of annoys me that more often then not the only way I can utilize it it either occasionally good Facebook status.”

Me:”Make the statuses longer…write a book.”

Him:”Perhaps I should.”

Me:”No perhaps about it. Now you complained about it, so you have to do something about it. Only you can.” 

We privately messaged later: 

Me: “Seriously what is with your fb status?” 

Him: “Just a moment of over thinking. I really do that too much. I’m sorry.”

Me: “I’m not calling you out on it baby no need to apologize, but I just wanted to point out to you how if you are dissatisfied with your life circumstances then you need to make the change. 

Why is knowing you’re smart and wanting to do more with it over thinking? 

You need to think bigger if your mind is as big as you claim. If you think you are more then you have to put forth the effort to be more. It’s not just going to be handed to you.”

Shallower and Shallower

She was loud. Clearly wanting people to hear her protest. Which made her an instant joke in our retail world. We all turned and rolled out eyes trying to act like we were working but what we were really doing was listening in to the obnoxious conversation between our HR manager and the customer. 

“HE NEEDS TO GET A HAIRCUT! HE LOOKS UNPROFESSIONAL! I TOLD HIM SO TO HIS FACE!” 

I whispered to my sales manager “I have half a mind to go cough on her and get her sick.” She whispered back “Don’t be passing your fever on to our customers.”  though her tone indicated she was very amused at the idea. “What would she say if she knew I was at work with a fever?” I questioned. My manager shrugged and mouthed rolling her eyes “so unprofessional” in an almost perfect mimics of the customer. I stifled my giggle with a cough into my scarf. 

Yeah I was sick, but I also had bills. 

The customer had been complaining about one of our associates, who is a male with longer hair. The kind of scene kid hair that’s long, but not greasy. In fact if I had ever wanted straight hair it would definitely be the kind he has. Thick with good volume. Envy worthy. He keeps it clean and immaculate. It’s pretty trendy actually and he is confident in his hair. Not that this woman really cared about trends. She wouldn’t know a trend if it slapped her in the face. She actually looked pretty frumpy herself. Her hair was greasy and unwashed…and very poorly permed. 

Of course that was pretty typical of  our store. It was mostly older people who didn’t understand the evolution of the professional world. How being trendy was a big part of the culture and how being trendy in a fashion setting was even more important. Tattoos were in. Facial peurcings were in. People of different races were in (le gasp). 

Yet she shouted on…and even yelled from the exit doors all friendly like she was a hot shot who knew everything and had some kind of pull in our store. She wanted to be made a big deal of. When she walked out we all laughed behind the counter to each other. 

Some people are so rude.

Then again this woman came from the generation that still refers to our African American associates as “coloreds” and refused to go to their checkout because they “don’t trust their kind” (yes, a real conversation from a real customer). The generation that confused an Orthodox Jewish man shopping for a black dress shirt, as being a “dirty Arab” and in ignorance started telling me he was a Muslim and couldn’t be trusted (I corrected her, but then again you can fix stupid. She still was telling other customers she knew that he was a Muslim, and I did everything I could to assist him with my friendly customer service if not to help him find his size, to protect him from other foolish and intolerant customers who I didn’t trust to not to be rude or harm him. Because that’s how much I don’t trust the old white folks in my town). She was of the generation of the baby boomers. The ones who fantasize about when “America was great” with their 1950s ideals, milkshakes, racism, and hard-ons for Donald Trump. 

It didn’t matter if the associate acted professional. It didn’t matter to her if he was on trend and friendly to her even if she was rude to him. As much as she was able to voice her opinion, it didn’t matter to her that he was putting the customer first. That he did his job and did it well. 

What mattered to her was an outdated ideal and the thought that she because she had an opinion meant it mattered…when it just wasn’t relevant anymore. In fact it was rude. 

Sick

All my weekend plans canceled and several tweets later about hating whatever this shitty illness was , I crawled back into bed and shivered. The heat I had set at 75, knowing it would be cold as crap outside. The windchill was to feel like -25 and I knew my failed thermal panes were going to be drafty on a whole new level of suck. Shelby curled up next to me, tucking her paws beneath herself and nuzzling under the covers for warmth. The day prior she avoided me since the apartment was warmer and I was clearly very ill. However, she decided it was best to be warm, and did not care as much that I was unwell this time.

I could hardly remember the night before. I recalled my mom and dad visiting after finding out I had called off of work. My mom wanted to scoop me up and have me stay overnight. I told her I’d come over to rest in front of the tv, but that I’d be much more comfortable sleeping at home. They fed me pizza and gave me meds. Meds that made me so drowsy I couldn’t stand it. So they took me home, and I supposed that I simply fell asleep when I got there. I could hardly keep my eyes open. 

I had managed a liquid diet of soups and tea when I awoke. I took a shower to help alleviate the mucus in my head and hopefully the pressure in my ears along with my achy joints and abnormally cold hands. The water had burned and scalded my skin, but I was so desperate for warmth and relief that I didn’t care. I inhaled the steam for at least twenty minutes before quickly cleaning myself. I dried my skin and put on several layers of clothes before opening the bathroom to the brutal cold of my apartment. I was winded and exhausted from dressing by then. So many layers just to feel a small but if comfort. My body shivered still. 

I tried to ignore my appearance in the mirror as I left the bathroom, but I couldn’t help but catch a glimps of a boyish round face with miserable eyes and an obviously red nose. My throat was raw that I could hardly muster a dissatisfied grunt. I’d be sure to refer my complaints about myself to my boyfriend later. Knowing he’d probably scold me softly for saying I was dissatisfied with myself, but I figured I’d give him fair warning for the future. Sick me was not a pretty encounter no matter what he said. He’d find out eventually. 

Crawling under my covers I heard my mom’s criticisms in my head about changing my sheets. I had them on my bed for a little over a month by then, and yes, they were clearly in need of a good wash. Yet they were the warmest sheets I had, and I was not ready to try to clean them and risk not having them on below freezing days. She had also commented on how much laundry I had collected in the past couple weeks. She recommended I bring my laundry with us before we left the evening prior. I told her I had no energy and since she was not so keen on helping me carry the loads of laundry, she crumbled under my protests and did not discuss the laundry further. I looked at the pile from beneath my down comforter. It loomed overwhelmingly in its corner and appeared to be seeping from the hamper and crawling across the floor. The room felt like it was swimming, and I felt dizzy as fuck. 

So I fell asleep, hoping it had a warmer embrace than reality. 

Health and Wealth

“You’re awfully early today.” The receptionist commented looking at my appointment time and smiling her most professional smile. I was. She was the queen of the obvious. “Yeah, I just couldn’t shop anymore. It was getting dangerous for me. Figured I’d show up and save myself from spending money I don’t have.” 
My nurse taking my vitals commented as well “Maybe we’ll have a cancellation and get you in sooner.” 
“Seriously it’s not a big deal. I have wifi and a smartphone. I can handle sitting for a while.” 

I’m never eager to see the doctor, but my early arrival clearly communicated that I was. Part of me had to stifle the desire to roll my eyes in front of the nurses. So I sat as occupied as I could possibly be in the waiting room. Shoving my face into my phone and, ironically, scrolling through online retailers to avoid the overwhelming social activity on Facebook that was interfering with my deep desire to introvert…as well as emotionally prepare for the doctor. 
I had already spent just under $62 dollars at Kohl’s before showing up. Which was disappointing. I had once again made emotionally charged purchases. Retail therapy. Which I could have avoided by staying at home and not leaving early like I had. I was expecting pay day the next day, but knew that it would mostly be going to rent (nearly $400) and paying my credit card bill (thankfully a manageable amount of less than $40 for a cosmetic gift with purchase pre-sale). Thankfully insurance would cover my doctor appointment and I’d only pay about $100 dollars for that co-pay. Still, I was nervous about seeing the doctor. Knowing I was going to get yelled at for not doing well at remembering to take blood sugars and once again having a high A1C. 
My life had come down to number crunching. 
I’ve always had to crunch numbers for my diabetes, but now as an adult living on my own, I discovered crunching money numbers was almost more nerve wracking than possibly losing my life from poor blood sugars. Dark thoughts, I know, but I couldn’t help but think the more and more seriously as I sat there thinking about how much it would cost me to keep myself alive. 
I sipped on my Starbucks, overpriced and not even that good, and thought about my life choices as I often do when money is tight. I added in my electric bill for last month. I thought about that McDonalds meal I didn’t need. I thought about what I could sell if things got worse. I thought about how long ago my last load of unwanted clothing was taken to the consignment shop. I wondered at all the gas I wasted avoiding intersections I didn’t like or trips to my parents when I could have let the laundry and wifi use go just a little longer. I thought about all the things I could have done over financially. 
Then I decided to stop worrying, because to do so would overwhelm me and probably give me a panic attack.