Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Webster's wrong.

The world is a habitat for tragedy. It can be cruel & break us down; the suffering surrounds us. The talented have the ability to hide behind laughter, gifting those around them with a smile when all they know, all they feel is loneliness. Asking for help has become a weakness because society portrays it as such, an emotion that depicts failure. In a new age of false feminism (& even partly a homophobic reaction to LGBT pride or bullying), emotions are shoved aside in fear of being seen as too sensitive, too mushy, too soft, & worst of all, too girly; when asking for help equals giving up one’s independence.

Its all a damn shame, how moving forward in this world has turned us into robots. Never have I met so many bad drivers on the road. Few people hold the door open for strangers these days. Students are seen as part of a mass rather than treated as individuals. Cell phones have become people’s lifelines, & not in a good way. Cops are faulted & chastised by the public for what one cop or one precinct may have made a poor decision on. Don’t even get me started on the rudeness servers & bartenders deal with.

There is a growing disappointment I have when it comes to the greater population & humanity.

There was a video that circulated the media a couple months or so ago where a guy was walking down a busy street with a loaded rifle & taped the resulting episode with the cops. Apparently, he had great cinematography skills because his intention was widely accepted by viewers. The comments it received cursed the three deputies at the scene who made the guy unload his gun & punished them for protecting the public’s safety. He wasn’t in the country to hunt and the parking lot/road where it took place did not have a shooting range or Cabela’s. If I were a citizen who happened on the scene, I would have been terrified of the guy & turned to walk in the opposite direction. Hell, I might have called the cops myself. Simply because one wants to use his right to bear arms does not mean that he should abuse it. When these laws are blown out of proportion, its no wonder why they have become such a huge debate for society.  

I’m becoming more & more convinced that people want to create issues for the sake of argument & entertainment—or rather, to gain the most likes on YouTube. I’m disgusted by it. I’m not saying I agree with every decision this country has made or even a lot of them, but I’m not going to provoke a situation just to stir up trouble and fuel a fire. & I’ll be damned if its going to be for some media recognition & one million likes.

Recently, in GR there was a 9-year-old boy who was stabbed to death by a 12-year-old. In another city, a guy had put razor blades all around a playground so kids would cut themselves playing on the monkey bars or climbing a jungle gym. When Taylor went to WISD for schooling, he would be left alone long enough for us to find pompom strings in his diaper and paint in his nose, ears, & eyes. Who knows how much he digested.

“Fine” has become a word indisputably incorrectly defined by Webster’s Dictionary. It has become a code word for help & “I’m not ok” yet people either fail to register its meaning or choose to not care about its undertones. With all the grief-stricken Robin Williams fans circulating his greatness on the web, there was one post that stuck out to me. Andrea Gibson made a vow: “I want to never ever again answer ‘fine’ when someone asks me how I am. I am officially boycotting the word ‘fine.’ Fuck ‘fine.’ What a hoax that word is.” She undoubtedly—and most likely unintentionally—nailed society’s selfish demeanor when it comes to our reactions to others’ pain. If society is going to choose to play dumb then individuals must choose to be courageous, & part of that is admitting our emotions to others and ourselves.  

Of course, then lies the problem of those people just whining because of an unhealthy need for attention. Thanks for ruining it for the battling few who do need help but never receive it.

I could rant endlessly about what seems to be going wrong with society & the world around me, but honestly I’m trying to be a more optimistic person…or at least not a pessimistic bitch.

Still, there is no wonder why I am scared to bring my daughter into this world. Everyday I feel more excited to meet her but half those days my heart tugs on the idea that I am scared for her to come out of this womb, where I know I can keep her safe. I’m not sure I’m ready for her to witness the cruelty, deal with heartbreak, & become a part of this society.

& I really don’t want “fine” to become part of her vocabulary, but if it does I won’t be consulting Webster for the meaning of the word.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

It's really happening.

One glance in the mirror and my whole world changed. It had only been a slight unintentional glimpse while washing my hands but suddenly I knew. The previously unflattering shirt I had brought to change into after my work shift suddenly complimented my figure. A couple hours later and my fears were confirmed.

It was nearly 2am when I read the first test, ran to my sleeping roommate’s room, pounded on her door crying, and hiccupped the truth: “I’m pregnant,” repeating myself a few times until she finally registered what I was saying.  Two glasses of chugged water, the most recent episode of Pretty Little Liars on DVR, and another test an hour later, the repercussions of having sex—even protected sex—sank in, but only on the surface.  Like jumping in a lake without testing the water temperature first, the shock of the cold truth, the slap of reality, was overwhelming. I never calmed down. Sobs threatened to cut off my airway as I began to play out my entire future. Plans I had were being pushed aside, already forgotten & left in the gravel’s dust. Panic set in & KP joked about giving me a Xanax to calm down; I asked if she would simply push me down the stairs.

I was nowhere near ready for this but the decision had already been made years ago & god had obviously already set forth his plan for me—I got no input.

As part of our government class & a requirement to graduate high school, students had to write a twenty-page term paper. As luck would have it for me back in 2007, mine had just happened to be about abortion. Reading of the past history, the various procedures & statistics, the rate at which the fetus develops—specifically the heart & brain waves—I vowed I would never get an abortion. I hold no judgment for those women who choose abortion as the best option for them; I, however, knew I would never be able to live with myself after going through such a horrific process. The methods at the time of my research were so horrendous it was not uncommon for me to skip meals throughout the semester because I was unable to keep food down after reading about the detailed process or how some studies have proved that the fetus “cringes” as though it feels the pain from a needle, therefore rendering it as “torture.” I still shiver at the thought.

KP quickly hopped on the baby train. Her excitement simply could not be contained, but my fears stood in my way. Working in a bar life setting shows no stability or healthcare nor benefits; I wanted to have my foot further in the door of being a writer. Living in the city was no way I imagined raising my kids one day; I wanted the open country, the freedom to run around, the ability to be loud & let out energy without interrupting neighbors. The unexpected was not what I expected.

After 12 weeks, it had become a slow process to get excited about the baby, & that admittance pained me more than anything. We chose to keep it a secret for many reasons but namely because I am having my manager’s baby. Go ahead, crack the jokes; my life is a drama film. One day spent with Marilyn & there is no argument there. It’s as KP said, though: “Fuck ‘em, you’ve been dating nearly a year & you were responsible with birth control” & she’s right, simply because I was unlucky enough to be that 1% that The Pill does not work for on that one night (or morning, whatever) shouldn’t mean jack in comparison to other relationships taking place among managers & staff in the business. Do I plan on sticking around & keeping my serving job? Hell to the NO. So what does it really matter what people have to say or the judgments they have to make? I never listened to them before & sure as hell won’t start now. I want to be excited. There is no reason why that should be taken from me.

My parents have been a huge support & I have no idea what I would do without KP & MD. Their excitement knows no bounds. Come home & first thing KP says to me is “Lemme see the bump!” or “I wanna see the belly!” The girl is about to explode from curiosity as to what color shoes she needs to buy; another month is too long for her to wait. My dad can’t wait to find out if he gets a new fishing buddy or what kind of playhouse he will be building. Then there’s my mother, who already constantly wants to babysit and has gone through all our old belongings to find out what exactly we will need for a nursery. Let’s not forget MD, though, the girl who seems to want to shout from Look Out Hill of downtown Grand Rapids & tell the entire world the news of her becoming an aunt.  DS’s parents wrote me a letter of their well wishes, support, & excitement to be grandparents; such kind words that sent my hormones into a little tearfest. I can’t ask for better family, friends, & coworkers.

So here’s to the daily lifestyle changes I’m becoming accustomed to having to make, the amazing friends & family who have had my back & are beyond excited for me & DS, & the little one who’s feet, hands, & cute little nose I got to see just a week ago. Now all you folks better be drinking up a good stout or porter to cheers with as I would totally love a beer if I could have one.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2013's top 5 unforgettable memories coming at ya late.

2013 was a year of monumental moments, declaring it to never be forgotten.

May started off with a bang; literally, as a roommate got shot on our doorstep moments before I got home.  My guy & I were welcomed by J coming down the driveway in tears rambling about how he had just been shot. Blood was everywhere. For weeks afterwards, I swear the bloodstain on the pavement could be picked out without any hesitance. Drunk off my ass, I was forced to talk to the most arrogant police officers I have ever met.  To say I was in shock from the event would be quite the understatement. They refused to let me call my dad when all I wanted was to calm down, stop shaking, forget the blood, & have that strong voice of reason that he can always provide for me (when I’m willing to listen, that is). When D tried to step in & ask the cops to let me talk to my dad because I was obviously freaking out—obviously—they pushed him away. Excuse me?! The shooter was never found, to my knowledge; the detective on the case called for days afterwards, asking about any new information when I did not want that night to be a memory; & that night, I moved out. I packed a bag & stayed at D’s house, then at E’s for a night or two, then back to D’s for a couple weeks until K & I were able to find a place.  While all my shit still resided at the house, I couldn’t go back there without someone else present. If I had to go without a friend, I called someone & kept up a conversation the entire time—& I absolutely despise talking on the phone.  That month, I paid three rents & a security deposit, blowing through what little I had saved—yet, somehow, ask the other ole roommate, aka the homeowner, and she’ll say I was being a irresponsible child. Sorry I was scared shitless & wanted to live somewhere that I feel safe in my own home. I’d say shoot me but I would really rather not get shot.

Not wanting a repeat of May, as my parent’s feared with the location of mine & K’s new apartment, I got a puppy. Saved Marilyn from Ypsilanti humane society in June when she was only a few months old & ever since then she has proven to be nothing less than a little terror. Never before have I been able to wake up consistently before noon without completely hating my life for the day. She likes to sound the first alarm around 9:30am on my luckiest days, earlier if she knows I will be hungover. The little shit. Love her to death, & though I have only had her for a couple seasons, I can’t quite imagine a time without her. Yeah, you can say she’s my baby.

As hard as the month of May was, November was a greater struggle. After losing my grandma great in October, we lost my grandfather (my mom’s dad) a month later & I was appointed to write the eulogy.  He was a simple man of few words & it was decided that I would be the only one—besides the priest—to say a few words. I failed to make it through. Balling & with only the last sentence left, I had to ask my brother to come finish reading it for me. It was devastating & I was crushed, but I can only hope I did grandpa Tony proud.

Most surprisingly, this year has proved to be a year of firsts, as I am currently in my longest relationship to date. Anyone who knows me well will understand how great of a milestone this is. Before D, my longest relationship lasted barely four months. Why? I hate wasting my time. Speaking of lasting relationships, I think this is the longest I have been able to stay at a job, as well. Don’t let it fool you, though, as it seriously seems to be testing my patience sometimes. (Today, a guest called me a smartass because he warned me not to move his wife’s coat from her spot at the end of the coat rack & responded with an “Ay-Ay, Captain!” Sorry not sorry.) I will say, however, I have never worked with such coworkers that I not only really appreciate & love but can also call some of my good friends (well, when I want to claim them that is).

The greatest timestamp of 2013 is without a doubt being a college graduate. Graduating in December 2012, I entered the year with a degree & it has made all the difference in making me feel accomplished. It does not matter if I only work in a bar; it is knowing that I have not only worked hard for a degree that motivates me to focus more on my writing, but also have been capable in making my large sum of monthly student loan payments off of my little income.  While there are mornings where I wake up wanting to pass the day as a child, I have fully taken on the responsibilities of being an adult & it feels glorious. Well, most days.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Spoiled Rotten

I am a spoiled child. & still the reigning star angel on our tree.

This holiday season has proved nothing less than the above statement to be true.  As with every year, my mother had told us throughout the year not to expect as much as usual, she would be spending less.

Nope. False. Christmas morning came & I still won out like a rock star. (Though, in all honesty, I believe my mother may have forgotten she paid my November rent as an early gift when I was without work for 2 weeks. What a darling.) My grandparents got me some sweet ass soccer cleats while my parents got me much needed things for my apartment & my roommate decided to spoil me rotten by proving how well she knew me (she even got me a mug that said “jingle with it”). & let’s not forget the $200 in gift cards that I for once in a long time get to go shopping & spend. HELL. YES. I. WIN.

The best part of my three night stay at home? I got to read. Finished one book Christmas Eve, read an entire one on Christmas day, & started another the day after. Oh it was heaven.

Call me a nerd if you dare—I promise you wouldn’t be wrong….or alone.

Not all of it was as great as it could be. Something had to go wrong, of course.

As I went to bed Christmas Eve, my heart nearly broke when my mom walked into my room to tell me Taylor had a 101 degree temperature.  This would not be the first year he ended up being rushed to the ER on Christmas morning. 

His first year home, we had to postpone all the morning festivities of a grand breakfast & opening gifts because he stopped breathing. I was seven & our grandma (who fortunately lived in the basement—it was her house we resided in) kept us entertained until they got home five hours or so later. It’s amazing how it was nearly 20 years ago yet I can still see myself at my brand new keyboard attempting to teach myself Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in order to occupy myself. Fun shit right there, let me tell you.

This year was something else. Every morning, after opening gifts at 6am, its tradition for my dad’s parents to come over for breakfast: quiche & patika cake.  This year was different. I didn’t even wake up until after 8am (after everyone else & by my father) & my grandparents were unable to visit due to being ill.  Disappointment number one ladies & gentlemen.

Then came disappointment numero dos: the recent death of my grandfather (my mom’s dad) that left us with a lonesome meal for an evening.  I kept expecting to hear his booming rough voice sail through the house as he entered asking where I might be (usually found in my reading chair whenever I am home) but it never came.

Third was the worst. 
The biggest disappointment came with Taylor being unable to come out of his room.  He spent the entire day in his bed watching movies & sleeping.  Mary Poppins (my gift to him) appeared twice through the day, & it surprisingly kept his interest fairly well.  Last year was a day of miracles & joy, as for the first time all year he was able to sit by himself on the couch—& smile!—after months of recovering from his surgery & a three plus month long stint in the hospital.  He had joined us at the end of opening gifts—compared to this year where they still sat around the tree when nightfall came. 

He did make it out for a few minutes the night before Santa came & was all smiles.  He’s a trooper. Don’t ever let anyone fool you into believing he’s anything less than the strongest person you will ever meet, lack of muscles meaning nothing.

Happy holidays. :) 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

trust me, my response is not so vital as you think.

The harassment has not only begun but it has progressed.

Since my graduation from Aquinas, I have consistently been asked to donate money to my alma mater.  What began as a few innocent emails simply asking for $10 or $25 donations here & there has turned into emails of a student’s brief bio to help him receive the best education he can & weekly phone calls. Thank God I despise talking on the phone & screen every incoming call.  & my parents think this is a bad habit; I rather think it’s become quite useful these days.

If I had the money, yes, I would like to help another’s education.  Though, I won’t lie, I wouldn’t do so by giving money to a school but instead by creating a scholarship or four; & if you have seen the vehicles campus safety drives around, you wouldn’t blame me, you might even encourage it.  However, having graduated only a year ago & choosing to not defer on my loans but rather pay the $400+ a month (more than my rent costs me) for my next eight lifetimes, I could never afford to.  The fact that colleges seem to find it reasonable to jump aboard this ship of harassment so soon amazes me. At least have the decency to wait five or ten years, or send out only one email every six months.  Wait for graduates to make a name for themselves & get a foothold in the world before denting their bank accounts further.

Besides the consistently beautiful campus through all four seasons, my professors were the only school related reason why I continued to attend Aquinas.  With a student body of less than 2000, it was ridiculous how much the school resembled a high school more than a college—the immaturity, the gossip, the rumors that spread like rapid fire, the judgmental nature of peers, the politics of sports, and the ability to recognize 65% of the student body at any given time or know who everyone & their mother is without ever having met them (okay, confession: slight exaggeration, judge me). Five years I spent at a school where only three professors could teach me something new every class.  With an attendance record of less than 25% for any & all math classes I took, I was still able to ace every test & course as the policy was thrown out the door.  22 credits a semester was not the basis for a grand social life, especially when working as well.  Then there was campus safety, who loved to follow my car around the various parking lots & search for reasons to write me up a ticket.  Oh hey thank you, it wasn’t like I was trying to save money or anything.

Then again, I guess there’s your donation Aquinas. Now please stop bugging me.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Grandpa Tony's Eulogy

So it would appear as though I have been chosen to give my grandfather's eulogy at the service this Sunday...I have no idea what I am doing or what is required, but hopefully its good enough....

Growing up, we used to pile into the car every Sunday and head out to Tecumseh to visit grandpa.  Golf was always on the television, polka music played daily on the turntable, and the goose out front of the house was appropriately dressed for every holiday and season.  What started out as playing house when Travis and I were toddlers turned into hitting golf balls across the road into the field as we grew older.  He had a passion for golf that he passed on to his son and attempted to pass on to his grandson, buying Travis his first clubs, encouraging him into taking lessons, and taking him out on the course a few times himself. 

Grandpa was by no means perfect, though, and could definitely be described as a cranky old fart. Despite him being the one with the hearing aid, he seemed to have thought it was everyone else that was deaf; and lord forbid you didn’t understand him and he had to repeat himself.  An entire conversation between him and my mother could be heard from two rooms over in our house—and she wouldn’t even have it on speakerphone. 

He was above all his own man.  A World War II veteran, he’d be damned if he had to walk with a cane and he rarely grumbled of his ailments.  At eighty-seven years old, he complained less than most kids my age.  Still, it wasn’t until recently that he discovered his faith and found peace with death.  Before Taylor was born, grandpa was never considered a religious man.  Seventeen years later, Sunday service replaced golf on the television.  He was never a man who imposed on others his beliefs, despite him being an opinionated guy.  His independence sometimes got the better of him and he refused to ask for help or a handout when he might need one—I have no doubt I inherited much of this from him and am proud to admit it—but he would drop anything and everything to be there for those he loved.  If something happened with Taylor, he better not hear about it from anybody but my mother or father and definitely not a few days after it occurred.  It pained him that his son lived overseas, where he was unable to travel; but he was nonetheless proud of Troy’s accomplishments.  His daughter—my mother—came to envelope much of his strength, and his pride for her showed in his weekly visits out to the house, despite his declining health.

I have always been an avid reader. When I was younger, in some book I have long forgotten, there was illustrated the belief that the stars were heaven’s windows, the angels’ way to watch over us.  I, however, believe God designed the universe to give us more comfort than with just the stars.  Clouds are the angels’ playgrounds. Hopping from one to another, following us in our travels, sailing smoothly through the sky.  After hearing his booming voice through the years, made rough from a surgery needed due to countless cigarettes smoked (silent applause for him quitting cold turkey decades ago), he will always now be heard in a storm’s thunder: strong enough to be independent of the lightening.

its official, i am becoming annoyed...

I had a professor in college who chose not to have deadlines on assignments, unless absolutely necessary for the next class day’s lesson.  Instead, everything had to be turned in before exam week. His theory: he was well aware of the requirements and expectations that professors had for their students, and how students sometimes killed their sanity in order to meet these; he wanted us to do well, on our own time frame, without going insane.  Taking 21 to 22 credits a semester for the last three semesters, I was more than relieved with this leniency.  Further, it placed more responsibility and trust in the students to complete these assignments.

Sometimes, adults forget how responsible younger adults can be.  Working in the service industry, I have met plenty of older folks who have the manners of a barn rat—and I feel nothing more than shame for their actions.  Throwing a dirty napkin across the table at a server because you are too impatient to wait the few seconds it takes said server to walk around the table makes me speechless—and I hope to God you do not have children if you yourself are acting like such a child.

College students are not the only crowd who go out and get drunk on a weeknight.  I have met many above the age of thirty men in a business suit who rack up hefty tabs. Yet, these same business folks (some, not all, I know) look down upon students.  The same bosses of these men will pay a tab with hundred dollar bills, hit on the server, and then fail to leave a twenty percent tip. Manners, people; simply because a gal is a server does not mean she is asking to be hit on.  Then, in reverse, there is the foreign family of seven who dines in casual clothing but leaves a thirty percent tip. I don’t care who my table is; I will give you the same attention and respect as the one before and after you.  It begs the question: why can’t people treat their acquaintances and strangers with the same respect? Why are people always making excuses for themselves yet so willing to blame, downgrade, or judge another?

Seriously people, grow up, please.

I have no problem calling some out on this shit. Hell, some might even say I enjoy it.

This is your one and only warning, sorry folks.