Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, August 05, 2005  
Shilling for Dollars
A Song About Hell. And a career in marketing.

Monday through Friday, eight to five.
An hour for lunch, if you’re lucky that is.
Don’t count on that hour, or quittin’ time,
Your life’s not yours, now that you’re in the biz.
Soon you will need lots of caffeine to thrive.

Hang in there baby, Friday’s coming,
The microwave is calling, and it’s calling for me.
Capitalism, democracy, marketing,
Sell an image, sell the brand, rhetoric and hyperbole.
I’m shilling for dollars, the American way.

The client called, they have an idea.
Forget your plans, you just missed your bus.
The client is king, they pay your wage, but,
It’s best if they leave the thinking to us...
We have strong concerns about a dancing tortilla.

Hang in there baby, Friday’s coming,
The microwave is calling, and it’s calling for me.
Capitalism, democracy, marketing,
Sell an image, sell the brand, rhetoric and hyperbole.
I’m shilling for dollars, the American way.

College educated, bright, whip smart, they say.
Creative, talented, clever and oh so smart.
You’re the whole package, what more could they want?
Your brain, your life, your soul, for a start,
And once they sap those, they’ll cast you away.

Hang in there baby, Friday’s coming,
The microwave is calling, and it’s calling for me.
Capitalism, democracy, marketing,
Sell an image, sell the brand, rhetoric and hyperbole.
I’m shilling for dollars, the American way.

But the research! The focus groups! The demographs!
Such interesting work, it's never a bore.
Just don't get too creative or different, that's bad.
Sell out, play dumb, now you're a marketing whore.
There’s big money at risk, this isn’t for laughs.

Hang in there baby, Friday’s coming,
The microwave is calling, and it’s calling for me.
Capitalism, democracy, marketing,
Sell an image, sell the brand, rhetoric and hyperbole.
I’m shilling for dollars, the American way.

In this biz there’s no room for your lofty ideals.
Honesty? Integrity? Surely you jest.
The stat group polled legal aged drinkers.
You sell more beer when you show a breast.
And it doesn’t hurt to give away a free set of wheels.

Hang in there baby, Friday’s coming,
The microwave is calling, and it’s calling for me.
Capitalism, democracy, marketing,
Sell an image, sell the brand, rhetoric and hyperbole.
I’m shilling for dollars, the American way.

There are often events and parties to attend.
Lots of free booze and networking chances.
Get drunk, alter reality, talk to a guy who knows someone.
Do what it takes to get your resumé second glances.
Change jobs or companies but it's all the same in the end.

Hang in there baby, Friday’s coming,
The microwave is calling, and it’s calling for me.
Capitalism, democracy, marketing,
Sell an image, sell the brand, rhetoric and hyperbole.
I’m shilling for dollars, the American way.

Labels: ,


8:59 PM

Thursday, August 04, 2005  
Commute Shuffle Serendipity
We Who’ve Been Had – The Walkmen
Jam of the Zombies – The Warlocks
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – AC/DC
Bound for Hell – Love and Rockets
The Man Who Sold the World – Nirvana Cover
Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Warren Zevon Cover
Straight to Hell - Clash

Random?

I think not.

Either "someone" is sending me a thinly veiled message from somewhere else in the Universe via my iPod.

Or.

There is indeed order to all things in the Universe. There is no such thing as random.

Sometimes things seem chaotic.

But.

Really.

They’re not.

There is an order to everything.

One need look no further than their iPod.

Ooooh, I feel a haiku moment coming on…

Random iPod songs.
Sometimes things seem chaotic.
But really they’re not.


Order in all things.
Doubt not the iPod shuffle.
Nothing is random.


Songs about Hell which, if I were a musician, would be the title of all my CDs, or, if I were a poet, would be the title of all my anthologies. In fact, I might change the name of the blog to Songs about Hell.

There are a couple of problems with that.
A) I don’t actually believe in Hell or Heaven so, you know, it would be wrong on a lot of levels, although, maybe not so much because in the big picture it’s actually appropriate that I would go to Hell for not believing in it and then write songs about the experience.

B) It sounds like a way too melodramatic 16-year-old’s blog about the torpor and drudgery of being a misunderstood 16-year-old. Note to way too melodramatic 16-year-olds: Yes. This is it. This, right now, is all there is and all there ever will be, and yes, in fact, these are the best times of your life. So stop listening to the Smiths and Nirvana. There will be plenty of drunken 2 AM crying in your beer moments in your future when the Smiths and Nirvana will be a lot more comforting to you than they are now. Run along, go play outside, go do something really stupid like cram as many Hostess Cupcakes in your mouth as possible and then show your Cupcake swollen mouth to your little sister and her friend. You’re 16. Be 16. Be thankful you’ve got Hostess Cupcakes to cram in your mouth.

C) I have often hypothesized that I am, in fact, already in Hell, and this would just seal that deal and I’m not quite ready to admit that yet because I have no real proof, only theories, hints and the occasional weird dream of a happier existence which could, in fact, be fragments of memories of when I was alive and not, well, in Hell. But, if this turns out to be the case, each one of the posts would in actual fact be a song about Hell, and the blog name could be “Life(?) of Trillian: Songs, in Fact, About Hell”

D) John Mayer is looking for someone to co-write a song for him and I’m thinking about sending him a Song About Hell because he’s got a good start on a song about Hell and if I bother to give it any thought I could probably write a pretty good song about Hell, and well, if it goes mega hit, titling the blog would come across as a self serving vehicle to sell even more stupid records. And I’m not about that.

E) It’s been done. There are several albums title Songs About Hell. Mostly metal rockers from Australia. Dudes, what the world needs now is not another AC/DC wannabe band. We have have AC/DC enough to hear, ‘til the end of time.

8:38 AM

Wednesday, August 03, 2005  
Past Present
I do some volunteer stuff. I like volunteering. Before my void of emotion state I used to feel guilty about the fact that I know it’s me who’s getting more out of the volunteering than the subjects whom I am volunteering to help. I don’t do it for personal reward or gain. I genuinely want to help other people (or animals or the environment or whatever) because I am, erm, was, a passionate person. I also have the ability and desire to help. So my volunteering, even though not intentionally self serving, seemed self serving because I enjoyed it so much and that made me feel guilty. So I was thinking maybe in my new void of emotion state I'd be in a better, guiltless place about helping other people.
 
Over the years my volunteering has brought a lot of children into my life. Some for very brief moments at art tents at events or story hour at libraries, others for longer and more in depth and personal exchanges.  
 
The common trait among all of these children, no matter what their background or circumstance or environment, is that they crave self expression. The interesting thing about children, well,  an interesting thing about humans until they learn about criticism, self doubt, pride and shame, is that they instinctively find their personal way of expressing themselves. They may not do whatever that is well, but, it works for them. They are comfortable with their way of expressing themselves and take great, enthusiastic delight in it. Even if their way of expressing themselves is sulking in a corner, they’ll do it with enthusiasm, zeal and unbridled conviction.
 
And then they start to develop a sense of themselves. Egos, ids all that. And the criticisms and neglects and all the negative influences a lot of kids have in their homes and at school begin to have an impact on them. They become self aware. They might realize they are really bad at whatever it was they liked to do to express themselves. They feel self conscious. They feel embarrassed. They feel a lot of negative things. Which is all part of the wonderful journey to adulthood. (Yes. I’m really getting a lot of mileage out of the bad journey metaphors. I told you, expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed.)
 
Growing up and growing aware. It’s really sad to see this process in action.
 
Oh, little kid, please stay young and unaware forever.
 
There was this girl I met shortly after I moved to Chicago. She was in a foster home, a good one, fortunately, and was able to join a Girl Scout troop. Enter Trillian. Oh be quiet. You knew I was a Girl Scout. And once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout. On my honor and all that. So I was helping out a few troops from a less advantaged area of town who needed, well, lots of help.

Funny Girl and I hit it off right away. She came right up to me and started chattering a mile a minute. There’s no way you couldn’t love this girl. She wouldn’t let you not love her. By her nature, by just being her, she was daring you to not love her. In spite of her less than favorable homelife preceding that foster home, she had an amazingly positive attitude. Ah, the resilience of youth. Ah, the naivety of youth. Ah, bliss of youth.
 
She loved to draw and paint. Except that she hadn’t really had many chances to paint because the places she had lived and gone to school didn’t have money or time for frivolous things like paint. This impoverished fledgling little Girl Scout troop had already given her more opportunities to do “regular” kid stuff than she’d had in her entire life. I took some paint, pastels and odds and ends of paper to the meeting, some of my unused stuff, a few things I bought (seriously, I spent less than $15, I was a volunteer, not Malcolm Forbes)  and yet they were overwhelmed with so many and such “nice” supplies. Some of the girls were afraid to use them because the supplies were “too nice,” they didn’t want to ruin the paper or the paints. (I know, I know, and no, I’m not trying to break your heart or solicit money for Girl Scouts or make you feel guilty or preach at you, I’m just spelling out Funny Girl’s point of view.)
 
Funny Girl also liked to read. She had been fortunate in her abilities to learn quickly and had been the one kid in “the system” who picked up any book she could find. She had discovered libraries and frequently spent her free time hiding in the school library or in her foster homes reading whatever books she could find. Within two minutes of her introducing herself to me she began giving me her reviews of all the many books she’d read. Which was quite an impressive list for a kid from her background and lack of parental and educational guidance. I’d read most of the books so we were able to discuss many of them at length.
 
After my first session as Tricia McMillian: Girl Scout Helper ended, one of the co-leaders asked me if I would be interested in giving a few of the girls a little more of my time, help a few of them do the extra work required for the merit badges they wanted to earn. How could I possibly say no? One of those girls was Funny Girl.
 
Yadda yadda yadda I took what was supposed to be a few girls but ended up being the entire troop plus a few hangers on friends on a few outings to art museums. And on a sculpture walk of the city. Funny Girl always had to wait longer for her ride home because her foster parents had other foster children who were special needs kids who had  many appointments with many specialists. Funny Girl and I became very good friends while we waited for her ride home. I didn’t want to play favorites, but, because we spent more time together I naturally got to know her better than the other girls. I also got to know her foster parents who were very careful about me at first because they were concerned for Funny Girl’s safety. (Hey. Be quiet. I’m not in the business of squelching young girls’ dreams and sapping every ounce of optimism they have by slapping them in the face with cynical reality. I save that for the blog. Sheesh.) Her foster parents were nice, concerned caring people who did all they could for her and their other foster children. They were managing okay, their home was nice and safe and all that. Funny Girl had finally found a good caring place to call home. I was glad for her. Over the course of the art tours, I gave her some books I thought she might enjoy. She brought me paintings and drawings based on the books I’d given her, made with the supplies I’d given her, based on the wacky idea I’d given her that there is such a thing as an illustrator, a person who creates a visual inspired by a story. Until I told her, she had no idea there was such a job. The concept of earning a living drawing or painting pictures based on a story was something which had never been presented to her. (okay, not a great living, but a living. Hey, this is about inspiring and educating, offering a pleasant diversion, not about crushing dreams with grown up realities.) The girls all earned merit badges, two girls joined the troop and my work there was done.
 
A few months later I was invited to attend the big gala Juliette Lowe Day event where the girls would be showing off some of their art work and receiving their merit badges. Among other festivities.
 
Of course I went.
 
It was indeed a gala event.
 
Funny Girl had gone on to earn a few more merit badges so she was one of the top earners of the year thus far. (Atta girl! No, it doesn't mean you're a dork! Yet. Ahem. Is it hot in here?) She also presented me with an invitation to her first ever birthday party.
 
Oh yes. Of course I went. Of course it was quite a shindig. Funny Girl had never been to a birthday party let alone had one held in her honor. She didn’t know what was expected of her. The whole thing ended up being a bit too much for her. She was overcome with emotion and ended up crying for much of the event. She held it together for a while, but the revealing of the Lion King ice cream cake proved to be too much for her to handle. She’d never seen airbrushed icing form such a resplendent convectional creation.
 
I gave her foster parents my contact information and told them I’d be happy to help out with anything they might need. I called them and offered help, and I visited Funny Girl a few times and took her on a few outings.
 
But I could tell she was growing up and growing cynical. All on her own. No, I didn’t persuade her in this direction. I was nothing but optimistic and supportive and really, probably very annoying to her. You see, she was entering junior high school. That magical time of the awakening. The awakening of self awareness, self doubt, self hatred, and all things horrible. I wish there was a way kids could somehow skip those years. Just eliminate them. Go to bed 11 one night, wake up 15 the next. Not that 15 is any easier, but, it’s not as horrid as ages 11 – 15. Her foster parents got a grant so they could move to a bigger, better equipped house. We fell out of touch. I always figured Funny Girl would be okay. She finally had a good life and opportunities. I was really glad for her. Because she was a very funny girl, very intelligent and genuinely kind.
 
Well. A few weeks ago I got a call.
 
I guess one good thing about not finding another job is that people can find me.
 
Funny Girl’s foster mother rang to ask if I could possibly find it in my heart to help Funny Girl again.  (oh swut, why now? Why swutting now when I’m trying so hard to be void of emotions?) “We feel just horrible about what’s happened and we’re doing everything we can to help her…Lack of funding..Slipped through the cracks…Rough crowd..Boyfriend….Gang.. She always liked you so much.”
 
Turns out Funny Girl ended up being sent to yet another foster home shortly after her family moved into their bigger home. Apparently social services felt her foster parents should be taking care of ability challenged children, and Funny Girl was fully abled and therefore taking up space and resources a differently abled child could be using.  Funny Girl’s foster parents put up a long fight for her. They tried to stay in touch with her as she moved from foster home to foster home. (I know, I know, when will the tragedy end? When will I shut up about this poor kid? When will I tell you about some idiotic thing I’ve done?)  But she moved so many times and there were so many schools and yadda yadda yadda they lost touch with her. And then she got herself in some minor trouble. Her boyfriend is in a gang. She was hanging out with him and some of the other kids when they stole, get this, a couch off a porch. The police knew she wasn’t directly involved. Yet when they contacted her then foster family to explain that she was running with a rough group of kids, the foster parents wanted nothing to do with her and returned her to state care. Her old foster parents were contacted. She’s got one more year of school. Amazingly, she’s managed to get good grades in the many schools and classes she has attended. But she says she doesn’t care if she graduates or not. She feels there is no point. Her former foster parents made a deal with her, they’ll take care of her long enough for her to graduate high school if she goes to school, keeps her grades up and stays out of trouble and away from gangs.
 
Enter: Tricia McMillian: Inspiration and Motivator. Yeah, right. Uh, in case you hadn’t noticed, Foster Parents, I’m still  at the same job I was wanting to quit when Funny Girl was a Girl Scout. I’m still single. Though to my credit I met a really great guy, got engaged and well, yeah, right, my life didn’t turn out so good, either. Still. I almost made it. I was almost socially acceptable. I was almost a viable member of the herd. But not quite.
 
So how the swut am I supposed to just barge in there and tell a by now very cynical and hardened Funny Girl that life is great and full of wondrous and joyous experiences? How the swut am I supposed to tell her, with a straight face, that all she has to do is follow her dreams, be herself, believe in herself and everything will be okay? Why should she value my words when anything I try to tell her as inspiration will be farcical in light of the state of my life? How am I, me, the idiot who can’t get a better job, a man, or a grip on life without going into a void of emotion state be of any use to her?
 
Which was pretty much my response to her foster mother. “Sorry to be so unhelpful, but honestly, the best thing I can do for Funny Girl is stay far, far away from her.”
 
“Tricia, she has no real friends. This boyfriend of hers is no good and he doesn’t care about her. And I don’t think she really cares about him. He was merely protection for her in her old neighborhood. Won’t you just talk to her, once? I’m sure she’d be so happy to talk to you again. If she realizes there are people who care about her she might feel very differently about school and her future.” her foster mother implored.
 
Okay, so not all hippies are bad and we can all use a little dose of idealism now and then. “Okay, okay, fine. I’ll do it. I’ll talk to her. But don’t expect anything. She’s a lot more worldly wise and street smart now and it’s going to take a lot more than some books and paint to inspire her.”
 
“Of course, of course. You can call her tonight. I'll be sure she's home by 7."

So I called. Foster Dad answered, and I know swutting well he knew it was me calling and yet he affected the worst fake surprise "Tricia McMillian?! What a coincidence! Funny Girl is here! Just a minute and I'll get her for you!" I've ever heard. I know it wasn't for my benefit, but come on. Funny Girl's been running with a gang. Does he honestly think she can't hear right through that incredibly bad fake surprise? Nice try, pops, but no soup for you.

Gotta tell ya, those no expectation and void of emotions things were really helpful in getting through that portion of this episode. Once again, this is proving to be a really good coping technique. As yet I cannot fault it.

I could hear Foster Mom sing songy trying to persuade Funny Girl to talk to me. I could her Foster Dad marveling at what a surprise and coincidence it was to hear from Tricia McMillian, of all people, again. There was a shuffling. Then a scuffling of a bunch of feet.

"Hello." I heard a "you try to tell me how good life is and I'll tell you 20 good reasons why it's not" attitude in those two spoken syllables.

"Hey Funny Girl. What's up? I heard you've been stealing upholstered goods. Sounds like an interesting story. What was the plan for the couch, anyway?" I asked her.

She sniggered. "They're stupid. I didn't steal it and I told them they were stupid for trying to do it. They were going to drag it to the alley because it was garbage night and all the junkers are out, they were going to just sit on it until the junkers came along and then try to sell it."

"You know, apart from the thievery, that's actually not a horrible plan. There have been very successful marketing campaigns based on much less forethought of eventuality than that."

Silence.

"Yeah. Okay. Stupid idea. Everyone knows the best place to sell couches is in the 7-11 parking lot. Look, Funny Girl, I know you know Foster Mom and Dad asked me to call you to try to motivate you. I'm not Foster Mom and Dad. They mean well. And they're a lot better at this sort of thing than I am. They take weekend courses and go to symposiums and stuff. Listen to them. They care about you. They honestly know what's good for you. I care about you, too. I wouldn't have made this call if I didn't. I just really suck at saying the right thing to teens who are basically adults who have every reason to think I'm an idiot. Finish school. Try to go to college. Stay away from drugs and bad boys. Travel as much as you can. Get married. Buy real estate. Have a couple of kids. You've made it this far in spite of amazing odds, so I know you have the ability to go all the way to however you define success. There. That's my big inspirational speech to you. If you ever want or need to talk, I'll listen. Get a pen, here's my number and here's my email."

Silence.

Silence.

"Funny Girl? Are you there? Funny Girl? Foster Dad? Anyone?"

Sniff sniff sniff.

"Funny Girl? Are you snorting coke?"

"Nooooooo." sniff sniff, slight hint of a laugh.

"Funny Girl, are you okay? Did someone bring you a Lion King ice cream cake?"

"Noooooooooooo. ba ha ha hah haaaaaah."

"Look, Funny Girl, Foster Mom and Dad are going to think I'm upsetting you. I think I'm upsetting you. We're going to get in trouble. The last thing I need is social services crawling around my office. Stop crying. It's going to be okay. Someone's looking out for you. Foster Mom and Dad are going to help you. This is a good thing. This is not something to cry over. And if you keep crying I'm going to cry, too, and that's really not a good thing for me to be doing. You better start talking or this is going to get really weird and seem really odd and funny to Foster Mom and Dad."

"Awright."

"So. How's tricks?"

"baaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaa sniff sniff sniff."

"mmmmkay, I see. Well. School starts in a few weeks, maybe things will be better then. Start of a new school year. New classes. New teachers. Fresh start. New lease. All that."

And so it went. Once she stopped crying she started chattering away about everything. Swutting girl kept me on the phone for three hours.

Great, right? Reaching out to a young person in need, they accept the help, helping them overcome some pretty serious obstacles, greater good, all that.

Wellllllllll. Maybe not so much.

Seems Funny Girl has never really let go of the whole illustrator idea.

I mean, how could I know a chatty underprivileged kid in the foster care system would glom onto the idea of being an illustrator as a viable source of income? I mean, I'm glad she's not turning tricks (I'm bringing this back into the vernacular, I like the phrase. Outmoded or stupid, I don't care. I like it.) or selling smack, but cripes, really, she'd earn a lot more money doing either of those than illustrating.

Oh. And. There's more. She not only wants to illustrate, she wants to write, too. Get out your tissues for this: She wants to write and illustrate stories for pre-teens who have reading disabilities or kids who don't have access to many books. Like kids in foster care. Because she always thought it would be horrible to not know how to read. (I told you to have your tissues ready.) But if a kid can't read, words can be intimidating (yes, she said that) so something with a lot of pictures, but cool pictures, not little kid pictures, would be good for older kids. Something between a comic book and "real" writing with hip graphics.

Swutting kids from slender means and their need to give back to kids in as bad or worse situations than theirs. Oliver Twist for $500 please, Alex.

I mean, it's a great idea, and yes, it's been done, but how can I fault her? It's a really good idea. How can I discourage her? How can I possibly be at all negative when she's confided her idea and career goal to me?

I can't and I won't.

Except.

She's keen on the idea of college. And she's keen on the idea of being and English major with an art minor. Or vice versa.

She emailed me some of her writing and ideas for her pictures.

Erm, well, let's just say Funny Girl hasn't really advanced much since her Girl Scout days. Her artwork won't even get her an interview for any art school I know. And her writing, well, she's going to need a lot of tutoring for the SAT.

I'm not one to dash dreams. I'm not. But. I'm also very realistic. Funny Girl needs a viable career path. She can really make something of herself, I know she can. And this idea of hers is really swell. And it would be great if she's successful with it.

But. I mean. Oh geeze. Do I encourage her to pursue this idea when realistically I don't think she's got the skill? It's the age old dilemma: Desire isn't enough. You've got to have the skill and innate talent to back it up. Or the money to get it done for you.
 
I just don't think this is her niche. Maybe if I didn't feel responsible for starting this whole thing years ago I wouldn't be so concerned about whether or not this is actually something she should pursue. Maybe if she had a lot of time to hone her skills. Or. Well develop them. Maybe if she hadn't cried when I rang her. Maybe if that birthday party hadn't been the crowning pinnacle of her life thus far. Maybe if she hadn't been rejected all her life I wouldn't be concerned about her facing college admissions boards and publishers and editors and art directors and do you see where I'm going with this? Yes. I'm trying to protect her from the big bad evil world of real reality. Not the kind you see on television. The kind you live, or at least I live, day in, day out until you make yourself stop feeling any emotion as a way to cope with life and your reality.

I'm the last person to think sensibly, and the last person to tell anyone to be sensible. Yet here I am finding nothing but ideas which sound way too sensible to be doling out to a senior in high school who has been given a miraculous chance to finish school and get her life out of jeopardy.
 
And let's just say she works on her writing and art skills and improves and the future for college and a career in these areas looks brighter. College, art school...they require a lot of money, time and dedication. Okay, all of that can be arranged. But. The end result will be a career that is unstable, fickle and at best low paying.
 
She is not in the fortunate position of having a lot of disposable income. Unfortunately this means she really needs to get herself employed. In a decent paying field. Sooner the better. She simply cannot afford the luxury of a  low paying but self fulfilling job. 
 
I am having difficulty honestly suggesting anything other than classes which will lead to stable, viable jobs. Banking. Nursing. IT. Engineering. I know that sounds very Republican. I know they’re boring fields. I know they're not cool and fun like art and writing. And what if she just doesn’t have what it takes to be a banker, nurse, IT geek or engineer? Or the desire? The sad fact is that anything other than these professions are “luxury” careers. Fine for people who have a spouse or other source of income to bring in the “real” and steady money, but not for someone who really needs to earn a decent wage or have a long term career. Hey, I followed that dream and have struggled financially and career wise ever since. The sad fact is that by following my dream I have earned very little money. The financial bottom line of "creative" careers is pathetic. There are a few people who do make a lot of money, but most of us do not. There are a few people who get very well known and become the darling of the moment, but most of us do not. And even those who do make a lot of money or become the darling of the moment, are quickly replaced by the next big thing. I know this sounds really, really negative and I feel bad about it. Yes. Feel bad. But I am honestly very concerned over all the financial aspects of Funny Girl's career path.

The point here is: There are “real” jobs and there are luxury jobs. And if you cannot afford to earn the meager amount most luxury jobs pay, you have to be realistic and get a “real” job. The good thing about those luxury jobs is that they are often things one can pursue as a hobby or side income. She can still work on her book project. She'll probably do better than I have in the husband arena. Maybe he'll be supportive and will have a good paying job so she can afford to not earn a lot (or any) money for a while. Maybe she'll be a raging over night success and this all just a stupid, negative, cynical outlook of an idiot.

It's just, well, I mean, college.
 
Spending money on career endeavors which are not going to offer repayment and viable financial support seem like a really bad idea for someone like Funny Girl. Yes. This is experience talking. It's been rough for me, and I have supportive parents and a stable home and education opportunities. She's had to struggle enough in her life, she shouldn't have to struggle anymore. And I know, I know, just because I struggle doesn't mean she will. I know. And that's why I was all at sixes and sevens about this. Say nothing and be supportive of her goals which are not exactly, well, viable, or, try to steer her in another direction? Shut up and mind my own business or tell her what I wish someone had told me? Gently tell her the truth about her work thus far, or let callous admissions deans give her the Simon Cowell?

It's not that I think she's fragile and unable to handle the truth. She can. She does. She will. It's that this is a person who has no real dreams or goals. Except one, apparently, something she's been thinking about for a lot of years. Helping kids learn to read. I mean, come on. How do you squash that out of someone? But especially someone like Funny Girl?

Enter: No expectations. Void the emotions. Do the opposite of what you'd normally do.

I do not expect Funny girl to fail or succeed at anything. She's made it to this point in her life relatively okay, at least alive, child free and drug free. She has no responsibilities except to herself. If she works very hard this year she can graduate high school next Summer. She has a safe and nurturing place to live at least until then. She'll need to take the SAT in a few months and, with a decent score either hope for a spot on a late admissions list at some college, somewhere, or, wait a year and really work on her applications and play her orphan/foster care/low income someone please give me a chance trump cards.

Which is exactly what I told her. I also told her she's going to have to work on her writing and artistic skills to be considered for writing and art programs because unfortunately there are a lot of kids who want to go into these areas of study and she will be up against competition for classroom seats from kids who come from backgrounds with much more intensive courses than she's had. I told her it's unfair, but, if she really wants this she'll have to focus and work at it. Which will be a good way for her to decide if this is what she really wants to do.

See? Take the emotion and expectation out of all this and it doesn't sound so bad or even undoable.

I'm telling you, this void of emotions, doing the opposite thing is really, really working for me. But. Also. Read and learn: Be very careful about what you say to and give a child. You never know when some seemingly small kindness might be taken as a sign of huge encouragement and end up shaping them in ways you might not necessarily have meant. This could be great for everyone, or an unmitigated disaster. Yes. Being kind is a gamble in a lot of ways. All the more reason to: Expect nothing, good or bad, let go of all emotions and do exactly the opposite of what you'd normally do.

Getting bored with this mantra yet? I'm not. I'm going to spend an emotion and exclaim that I am really excited to have finally found a coping formula which appears to be successful.

8:51 PM

Tuesday, August 02, 2005  
....but I'm still an idiot.

Oh sure, I'm all enlightened and non expectant and voiding my emotions and everything.

But I'm still an idiot.

One might think without expectations or emotions I might stop doing stupid things and weird stuff might stop happening to me. Or at least make me smarter. But no.

Not at all. I'm still an idiot and the weird stuff continues to happen to me. Yes, life continues to mock me at nearly every turn. But now I no longer get upset or confused or embarrassed or, well, anything.

It's just me and my life. Status quo. Expect nothing, good or bad.

The latest really dumb thing I did was get a nasty sunburn. She who shuns the sun. (good tongue twister, that) She who wears SPF 45 in Winter. She who's already had one little skin scare. She who doesn't tan and only burns. She who needs only the mere thought of a sunny day to cause her skin to turn pink. Yes. Her. She. Me.

And the really, really dumb part of this, well, the almost dumbest part of this, I'll get to the dumbest part in a minute, the really really dumb part of this is that I didn't get the sunburn spending two days baking in insane heat and sun in the middle of a park next to Lake Michigan at Lollapalooza. Oh no, not there. I was cautious then. Liberal and frequent coats of sunscreen. No, in fact, someone pointed out that I may be the only person to leave Lollapalooza whiter than when I arrived. Ha! Take that Global Warming!

Well. I mean. Yeah. Okay. So, just how'd I get sunburned, then? If I'm so cautious? How, huh? How?

I started "training" for this bike marathon. Don't get all impressed. I just started "training" and the marathon isn't until next Spring. Since it's Summer and since there's that really great bike path along Lake Michigan, I thought, "hey! I'll just kick my little bike rides up a notch! That'll be a good way to ease into this whole training thing and take in the beauty that is Lake Michigan, too!"

I liberally applied sunscreen and peddled on my way. Early in the morning. Really early. Like 5 AM early. I rode North. When I hit the end of path, I turned around and headed South. I rode a lot of miles South until I hit the beach house with one of those fountains where the water spurts up in random places. The kind kids usually play in, trying to guess where the water is going to spurt and getting soaked in the process. Right. Well. I'd been riding for a while and, well, there was no one around so I thought, "gosh, that looks inviting and there's no one here to see me making an idiot of myself, by myself and so what if they do?" so off I went to play in the fountain.

And yes, I considered the sun and my sunscreen. But it was still early and my sunscreen's supposed to be waterproof and sweatproof so I figured I wasn't in too much danger, if any.

I had a great time in the fountain. My t shirt got soaked so I took it off. I had on one of those sports top cami things, after all, it's not as if I didn't have on a "proper" top. I was soaked, my hair was wet and stringy. It was like being 7 again. Some kids came to join me. In the old days, when I felt emotions, I would have been embarrassed or at least a lot more self aware and would have got out of there so the other adults wouldn't think I was some weird molester person. But not now. Now I just stayed there and played with the kids.

I think their mother thought I was a mentally disabled person. She came to the edge of the fountain, watching her kids like a mother bear and talked really slow to me. "It's a looovvveelly morrrrrrning, isssssnnn't it?" she asked.

"Yes, real nice now that it's cooler. That was some heat least week, eh?." I answered brightly, between spurts of water, thinking she might be thinking I was some freaky child napper, but not yet realizing she thought I was mentally disabled.

"Yesssss, yesss ittttt waaaaaassss, waaaaasssssn't it. Did you riiiide yooouuuurrrrr biiiiike heeerrrrrre alllllllllll byyyyyy yoooouuuurrrrrsellllllf? Are yoooouuuu wiiiith sooommmmmmeooooonnnnnne?" she asked with that gentle voice people use on stray animals and mentally disabled people, looking at my bike and then her kids and then my bike and then me.

Suddenly realizing I wasn't making her nervous, but that she thought I shouldn't be out there at the beach by myself, that maybe I'd strayed from my "special" group on our day outing, I started rapid fire giving out way too much information, "Erm, um, yes. I live up North, I ride the path quite a bit, but I'm trying to push myself and ride further South. I don't get down here as much as I should. I'm trying to start training for a marathon so I’ll probably be down here a lot, you know, training. For the marathon. On my bike. Training. Marathon. Pushing myself. On my bike. North. Right. Well. Gosh. The ol' clock there says it's time for me to be pushing on. Training, you know. My bike. Riding. Time to get back on the trail. Have fun kids, har har, don't get sunburned, har har. Bye now!" and dashed to my bike and got out of there as quickly as possible.

I didn't take the time to put on my soaked t shirt or sunscreen. It was early anyway, and that sunscreen is waterproof. Besides, it was chilly and the thought of putting on my wet t shirt, no matter how titillating it might sound or seem, was not exactly enticing to me. I had on that sports top cami thing, so I just took off and road further South, turned around, and headed North, back home. Still t shirt-less in my sports top cami thing. By the time I got home my t shirt was dry. Ish. I put it on before I entered my building to stow my bike.

(Scintillating reading, isn't this? Why some of you have missed this is beyond my realm of comprehension.)

I locked up my bike and headed for the elevators. While there, a girl I sort of kind of know from seeing her around the building came up to the waiting area and said, "Lovely day!"

"Yeah, great, really great now that it's cooler." I said.

"Doing anything fun this weekend?" she asked.

"Nah. I just got back from a long bike ride. Just me and Harry Potter for the rest of the day." I answered trying to sound like a normal person but realizing a normal adult person wouldn't let on that they had nothing better to do than stay in reading Harry Potter on a day like today.

The elevator came.

"I haven't got a copy yet. I'll probably just wait for the paperback or library." she mercenarily said to me.

"Yeah. I would have, too, but I got it as a gift." trying to make light of the whole thing as we got on the elevator.

"I just got a bunch of magazines and my friend has a pitcher of mimosas up on the roof, would you like to join us for a drink?" she asked.

Okay. This is weird.

Nice, but weird.

I was kind of gross from the long bike ride and looked icky and she's one of those always perfectly assembled type of girls and well, I mean, mimosas on the roof? Popular kids never ask me to join them unless they have ulterior mocking motives and/or a devious plan which results in me ending up like Carrie on prom night without the supernatural powers.

But. Now that I have no expectations, good or bad, I expect nothing. Good or bad. I feel nothing, no embarrassment (or very little), no paranoia, no doubt, no mistrust... Just nothing. So I was then free and emotionally clear to do the opposite of what I'd normally do. I accepted her invitation. "Gee, thanks, that sounds great. I'll just change and head on up."

"Oh please, don't change, look at me!" she said as she hit the roof level on the elevator key pad. "Just come on up now."

Looking at her and wondering what I was supposed to see other than a very well turned out girl with a cute flippy pony tail with fresh highlights and cute t shirt and shorts, I definitely smelled a Carrie on prom night shaped rat.

But. Watch those expectations, Trill, watch it. Why would she be out to mock or make fun of me? We're always cordial and friendly in the halls, our mailboxes are on top of each other because she lives three floors above me but in the same compartment number, and once, at the mailboxes, I gave her my coupon to a French restaurant because she seemed so excited about hers and I knew I wouldn't go so why not give her my 20% off a total dining bill of $50 or more coupon?

So, forcing myself to acknowledge the fact that we are, in fact, not 14 and not in school and not competing for the same boys, I did the exact opposit of what I would normally do and agreed and just trailed along to the roof with her.

We were barely on the deck when she peeled off her t shirt and shorts to reveal the tiniest bikini I've seen outside of Sports Illustrated. Her friend was similarly attired.

And they were both very tanned, very, very skinny and very, very cute.

Ah. Now. This is going to be the true test of those no expectations and void of emotions things.

Oh yes, I had some emotions. And expectations. Feeling like, well, the old me, very Amazonian and very white and very ugly and very inferior and oddly, over dressed, I pulled a chair into the shade by their cooler. (Let’s have a round of applause for the big ugly white girl who didn’t make an excuse and run away, please.)

“This is Trillian. She moved in a few months ago. She’s below me three floors, she’s the one who gave me the coupon to Bistrot, the one we used when we went out with Eric and Scott.”

“Oh, that was a great night. (tee hee) thanks for the coupon! God knows we needed it with everything we ate that night!” her friend said as she patted her concave stomach and poured me a mimosa. (Is this sounding like a Penthouse Forum letter to anyone other than me?)

They were obviously going to make a day of it and obviously expected company. A stack of plastic cups, several bottles of champagne and two gallons of orange juice were in a cooler between their chairs. My compartment neighbor offered me a magazine.

We started talking about things we saw in the magazines.

It got hotter. I made a few jokes about being really white while cowering in the shade. It might have been the now hotter sunlight. Or the fact that I had just rode about 40 miles and had eaten nothing. Whatever the cause, I was feeling a little tipsy. But they were drinking two to my one and I know they were a lot tipsier than I was.

So for some bizarre reason, I felt comfortable enough to take off my t shirt and use it like a towel on the deck chair under my thighs because the plastic strips of the chair were digging into my legs. Besides, I was in the shade.

And yes, I had my sunscreen in my little bike pouch, but it didn't occur to me to reapply because I was in the shade and besides, I wasn't going to stay long anyway. One drink and then head down to my compartment and hit the shower and Harry Potter.

Right.

Well. That is exactly what happened. (Sorry if you were in fact hoping for a Penthouse Forum type situation to ensue.)

After an hour and a few minutes of hanging out with the girls who as it turns out didn’t have any public humiliation in mind for me, I entered my compartment. I went into the bathroom to take a shower.

I leaned over to start the shower and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

Insert Psycho shower scene sound bite here.

No Norman Bates, but, like Carrie, I was bright red. But not from blood. No, mine was that special shade of red one usually associates with fire and lobsters.

Oh yes. Sunburn. Serious sunburn.

What an idiot (Ren voice implied) How did this happen? How could I let this happen???? How could I do this to myself? I'm always so careful! Arrrrrghhhhhh! So much for the lack of expectation and emotion - self loathing is the final frontier of my void of emotion journey I have yet to conquer.

But that's not even the dumbest part.

The dumbest part is that I did this to myself two days before my yearly check-up with my dermatologist.

Yep. Still an idiot with really bad timing.

Two days before my appointment to see the dermatologist who told me, after a very scary biopsy a few years ago, that the Sun kills, and it will kill me and my kind first and then handed over a tube of SPF 65 and a prescription for more sunscreen. Yes. Prescription sunscreen. That's how white I am and how badly I react to the Sun. He told me I'm the sort of person who might want to consider working night shifts so that would sleep during the most dangerous hours of sunlight. I think he was joking, but, now, well, I'm not so sure.

So I had to traipse into the dermatologist with a fresh, getting redder by the minute, sunburn. There's no way to hide it. He does this skin map. On my first visit years ago, he made a chart of me, a map, and marked off every freckle, every mark, everything on my skin. Everything. Then, each year at my check-up he pulls out the map of me and checks for any changes.

And. He's got one of those damage-o-scopes which shows, in vivid detail, what's lurking just under the surface, waiting to pop up and show itself.

After the episode over the weekend, I expected, yes, expected, the damage-o-scope to spin around like a crazy Twilight Zone clock and then shatter into a thousands pieces.

So yeah. No escape.

And naturally he gave me the verbal assault the second he came in the exam room.

"Is this your idea of a joke? Why do you bother to even make these appointments if you insist on killing yourself in the sun? There's nothing I can do for you if you're not willing to help yourself!"

Okay. Wait just a minute. Obviously I don't think this is funny. I don't think anything is funny anymore. Besides, I've got several years of lily white check-ups. I made one stupid mistake, one lapse of the sunscreen in a few early hours on one morning. It could have happened to anyone and besides, the sunscreen was supposed to be waterproof.

This all sounded really lame as I sat there in my dopey paper gown, my red skin pulsing against the super white gown, under florescent lighting, which usually makes me look green, like a dead for at least a week victim on CSI green, but now made me look reddish pinkish orange like someone who's spent a holiday on Venus. Or studying the Chernoble core. Plutonium anyone?

Right. So. He yelled at me a lot. Yes. Yelled at me. And then pulled out the damage-o-scope. And showed me just what a bad girl I've been.

And gave me a bunch of creams and told me to come back in a few weeks.

And sputtered out of the room ranting about the Sun killing everyone.

I just sat there, glowing, in my white paper gown. No reaction. No, "OMG! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!! DOCTOR, YOU'VE GOT TO HELP ME!!!" No, "I can explain, see, there was this fountain and these girls with mimosas..." No, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." Nothing.

Good thing I have no expectations or emotion about this. It really does make the whole episode so much easier to manage. Which makes me realize, when I’m diagnosed with a terminal illness, this no expectation, void of emotions state is going to be really useful. Every day, in every way, I am more convinced that I have found the key to managing my existence. Oh sure, it’s a little strange at first, but really, it’s not without its advantages.

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12:52 PM

 
I'd like to publicly thank the anonymous prankster (coward) who sent me this invitation to join the REOFANS group on Yahoo!. In the spirit of public service, I'm passing along the invite to the Universe. So much easier to simply post it, and really, so much kinder than spamming people. (prankster, this means you)

“Hi Trillian! (ooooh, how personal! how, very, very personal...) Come and join the discussion of REO Speedwagon at our REO FANS eGroup! As REO's oldest and largest fan club, REO FANS is the definitive source of information for REO Speedwagon and Gary Richrath fans. (ah, well, if it's the definitive source I can't very well turn down the offer, now can I?)

With such memorable favorites as Ridin' the Storm Out, Take It on the Run and Keep On Loving You, the music of REO Speedwagon has no doubt touched your life. (erm, "no doubt?" A bit presumptuous, there aren't we?) On our list you'll be among fellow fans who discuss and answer questions about one of America's favorite rock bands, including related bands, solo projects, pre-concert parties, seating arrangements (seating arrangements? Seating arrangements?! What the...?), memorabilia trading (oh man, I wonder if I can find a cool REO baseball style jersey. That would so rock and complete my wardrobe. I'd never need another garment. Ever.), and just about anything else (whoa. "just about anything else???" Wow. Now this is some kind of group!). The band was in the studio in February, and promises new material in the Fall of 2005. Find out about it here first! (Oh boy! Who needs iTunes when there's REO-FANS.COM?!)

Be sure to visit our home page at REO-FANS.COM (be afraid, be very afraid) as well as our REO Resource Network (does this sound like a government database to anyone other than me? Too much X-Files?) for updates about REO Speedwagon, including our on-line newsletter, exclusive concert photos (oh, now, that's gotta be some good photography) and interviews, discography, merchandise, lyrics, guitar tabs, humor (insert your own joke/sarcastic remark/guffaw here), press quotes, tour schedule, fan polls (fan polls??? aw cripes, I can't. It's too easy. I can't take that bait.) and links to REO sites.

Gary Richrath Fans: Make sure to check out GaryRichrath.com and the new Gary Richrath Yahoo Group

NOTE: When you sign up, please make sure to check delivery type. If you don't want a lot of individual e-mail messages in your inbox, Daily Digest or Web Only formats are available. (you know, like the one the anonymous prankster (coward) spammed me)

So come on in! We're waiting for you! Enjoy and keep rockin'!" (you know it!)

9:00 AM

Monday, August 01, 2005  
See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me

Okay. I’m getting some feedback on my new opposite of feeling coping mechanism.

It’s working for me. If it’s not your bag, I understand completely. You go along and enjoy your emotions. Be a normal, emotional person.

I did that, or endeavored to do that for a lot of years. It wasn’t working for me. I’m too emotional. Emotions are a problem for me. Not a challenge, a bona fide problem. They’re a problem because there are people whom I have given a lot of emotion. A lot. I was very well aware that I was giving them so much of myself, and I did it happily, readily and without question. That’s just how I am. I care about a person, they mean a lot to me, and I give all, or at least most of myself to them.

I have known this about myself for a long time and I’ve learned to be careful about whom I trust and whom I let get close enough to me for me to give myself over to them. Consequently I have a small group of people to whom I am very close, and then a lot of other people whom I keep at emotional arm’s length.

Men, in particular, have been on my “be careful” list. Only love can break your heart. It’s true. So, before I met HWNMNBS, I didn’t give my complete emotional self over to any boyfriend. Yes. This was probably a bad thing to do. And probably the cause of a lot of failed relationships. But. In hindsight, it is safe to say those relationships were going to fail anyway. And probably that's the reason I didn’t fully give myself over to them. And hey, it’s not as if they were giving themselves to me, either.

I reached a point when I had concerns that maybe I was unable to give myself fully emotionally over to any man. I thought I had trust issues. I thought I had issues in general. I blamed myself. I thought I was really bad at dating. And all of that was true. So I didn't want to date anyone, and I didn't. I tried to work on me and my issues. I landed in Chicago and worked on settling down. I never stayed in one place too long and therefore had no real connections to anyplace. I worked on making a life for myself in one place rather than picking up and leaving in search of adventure and a new and better place. And then I met HWNMNBS. And it seemed to all make sense. All of it. Everything. I just needed to meet the right man! It wasn’t me, all those years of bad dating, it was merely that I hadn’t met the right guy! I trusted him. I gave every emotion I had to give to him, plus a few I didn’t even know I had. I let him in and I was happy and thrilled to have him there. It felt good. I felt good. It felt like the way I thought it was supposed to feel.

And then he told me I wasn’t good enough for him. He needed more than what I could give him. I gave him everything I had to give and it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.

That hurts. A lot. As you are probably well aware. Too much aware. Many of you think I should have just shut up and got over it a long time ago. And you’re right. I should have. But I couldn’t. And still can’t because of those pesky emotions. I still feel a lot for him. He’s still occupying a huge part of my emotional self.

I accept that he doesn’t want me. I accept that he wants and needs other things. I accept that I cannot give those to him. And I accept that I can’t feel anger or resentment for him. I accept that given the fact that I’ve tried everything to get angry or resentful and still can’t feel those things, that he’s in there, in my good graces, in that most sacred special love place, and he’s not budging. And naturally, as long as he’s there I will miss him. And naturally, as long as he’s there I’m in no shape to be trying to find someone new. I learned this the hard way. Those 38 dates were for the most part nightmares, but even though the men were, in many cases, bona fide jerks, I was also to blame for the lack of success.

What to do, what to do? I mean, I’m okay with being alone. I have some great friends and for the most part a great family. What more do I really need? I wanted a husband and children. But I only wanted it in the confines of a traditional, emotionally balanced, loving, caring, respectful, trusting sense. Oh yes, I had such high ideals and ideas for marriage. I didn’t think I could or would settle for anything less. I would not make a mockery of marriage. That’s just not me, that’s not how I am. Or was. But as long as I'm going to exist for what seems like a while, there are some basic comforts which would make existing a lot easier. Mainly: Money. Two incomes. Tax benefits of being married and owning real estate. A place to live should I live long enough to retire. Yes. I know. How cynical. How calculating. How unemotional.

Eh, whatever. I've been in love. In fact I'm in love. But unfortunately for me he has other needs and ideals which do not include me. Okay. So, I live the life of a spinster, in love with a guy who doesn't love me, eeking out a living on my own, maybe acquiring a lot of cats and quietly going insane. Or. I find a man in my same emotional and financial situation. We may be void of emotions, but at least we'd have each other and a comfortable place to, well, feel nothing. We can understand each other without trying to hide the fact that we feel nothing, or pretend that we feel something. And it would also end those sad looks and the questions and the pity of our friends and family concerning the state of our romantic lives. We can stare back at all those people who question or worry about why we are not married. "Married. See? Married. Now go away and stop taking bets as to the status of our sexuality, broken heart or mental abilities."

The society human has rules: People couple up. People get married. If a person doesn't get married, there's something wrong with them. And they get penalized financially. And I'm sick of this. A roommate won't work. I need a marriage. And I am certain there are men out there who have the same requirements.

I’m trying to explain this, bothering to explain this, by the way, because I think it might be useful to people who find themselves involved with people like how I am now.

I have not always been striving to be void of emotions. I have not always expected nothing, good or bad. I’ve seen both sides of the emotional fence I am finding, given all that’s brought me to this point, that I prefer the void of emotion side.

Someone felt that I was being untrue, even hypocritical to myself. If I am by nature an emotional person, why and how is it possible for me to be something I am not? Especially when we’re talking about something like emotions? Am I not really just another type of slanglish woman - someone trying to be something she is obviously not? How can I stand in criticism of her when I am guilty of the same thing?

True enough. Except.

I’m not critical of slanglish. I have no expectations of her, good or bad, high or low. Therefore I feel nothing for or about her trying to be something she is not. I merely observe and report. In its truest form, now. Unbiased and unfettered with emotions like loathing, contempt, disdain, disbelief, superiority, humor or joy. Certainly not criticism. I exist. She exists. Our paths cross at work. She asked about my mother. I bought her a book of poetry. Period. I have no expectations. I felt nothing.

And this, unlike my “natural” way of being emotionally responsive, is seeming like a much better way for me to be. I’ll say it again so those in the back of the class can hear: This is a way for me to cope with my existence. I tried the other way, the being true to yourself and feelings way, and it wasn’t exactly working out well for me. I got hurt, permanently scarred, and ultimately ended up alone anyway.

Nothing else worked, and this seems to be, so far, working better than anything I’ve tried. I’m sharing this with the class because I am certain at some point in your lives you have or will encounter someone like me. And I feel, yes, feel, duty bound to try to explain why it is we are this way. (See? It’s not cold and callous or apathetic. That’s a different sort of person altogether. I care enough and am responsible enough to bother to try to explain this state of being.) We’re not mean people. We’re not grouchy. We’re not cold. We’re not bad people. We’re people who discovered a way to deal with the rejection, disappointment, hurt and loneliness which follows us no matter where we go or what we do.

We are, I think, in fact, pretty darned good people. We don’t expect anything from anyone, good or bad. So we can’t judge. We can’t be angry or hurt or envious. We are responsible and well mannered enough to function as “normal” members of society. And unless you try to get emotionally close to us, you probably won’t think there’s anything different about us. If you’ve known us before and after our enlightenment, you might notice something different about us. You might think we’re depressed or beaten or sad and you might pity us. Please don’t. That’s the last thing we want. We’re not spending our emotions on you, so please, don’t give us any. You know how it feels when someone gives you a holiday gift and you haven’t got one for them? Yeah. Please don’t put us in that awkward position.

Don’t try to cheer us up, we’re not sad. We used to be sad, but now that we’re void of emotion. We’re only sad when something pulls us out of the void. So trying to cheer us up might actually have the opposite effect. You will make us think about why you’re trying to cheer us up which will make us think about how we got to this void of emotion place which will make us think about some pretty sad things and that will make us feel all the sadness, rejection and depression which caused all of this in the first place. Basically, when it comes to anything emotional, leave us alone. Mind your own business.

We’re not in denial, either. We know darned well why we’re doing this. We are all too aware of what’s happened. We had to accept it to want to try to change or cope with it. We know exactly what we are not feeling and what we’re missing. Believe me, the one thing we are not is in denial.

And really, don’t be sad for us. In order for us to have to want to get to this void of emotion place we had to experience a lot of emotions. Probably more than most people. That’s what got us to this place. Sort of like an alcoholic who one day says, “This isn’t fun anymore. Enough. No more.” and never drinks again. They had some good times when they drank, highs and lows, and probably have some interesting stories to tell. But enough is enough. That’s how us void of emotion people are. We crammed a lot of emotions into our lives. We’re passionate people. We do emotions in a big way. So we’ve experienced and felt a lot. Too much. And there’s a day when it’s just too much and it’s time to stop because our emotions are killing us. We feel too much and it makes daily existing difficult and sometimes impossible.

In my case, love tipped me over the balance. Well. Not love, but the rejection of love. I don’t regret that I love HWNMNBS in a big huge way. In fact, I’m quite proud of myself for allowing myself to love anyone like that in the first place. It was an emotional risk, a gamble, I played and I lost. I don’t regret it. I took the chance. And now I’ve got to sort out how to pay off the debt I got from losing. I know on many levels it’s stupid for me to still feel anything for him. But. I do love him. For emotional people, those big emotions, love, hate, joy and anger are difficult or even impossible to stop.

Besides, if everything goes the way it’s supposed to, you know, the way it does for most people, not stopping those emotions is the way it’s supposed to be. Think about it: Had everything worked out for HWNMNBS and I you would expect me to love him as much or more now as I did when we met. You would hold us up as a normal, successful couple. Just because he rejected me doesn’t mean that I can just say, “oh, okay then, no love for you. Next!” How great would that be? It would be great. I tried to that. I tried to feel that way. But it doesn’t work that way. At least not for me.

And why should it? I love him and expected him to love me and expected us to be together. I didn’t expect to have to live my life without him. I didn’t expect to have to not love him. And until he broke up with me, no one expected me to not love him. Everyone would have faulted me if I had. It seems ridiculous to me now to presume that I could, or should, just stop loving him, stop caring about him simply because he broke up with me. In fact it seems absurd and crazy to think I would be anything other than confused and hurt and sad for a very long time, if not my whole life. I trusted him. I respected him. I loved him. I thought he felt the same for me. We were going to be married. We agreed to vow to spend our lives together. It was therefore reasonable for me to expect that I would and should trust, love and respect him all of my life.

A ha. Expectations. They’ll really mess you up and do a number on your emotional well being. Eliminate expectations, and eliminate the emotions.

I’m going over this, again, for the greater good. I'm not publishing this because I think it's deeply profound or scintillating or even interesting. This is to shed some perspective on people you probably know. Don’t pity us. Don’t be angry with us. Don't fault us. Try to understand and try to respect people you know who may have found the same coping technique. You can have us this way, or, the alternative, is to have us rocking in the corner crying or staring blankly into space, on mind numbing drugs, drunk, or, well, not at all. After trying all of those options, this really is the best way for me. No drugs, no booze, none but occasional tears, and alive. I’ve felt a lot in my life, I’ve crammed a lot of emotion into my years, so really, I’m okay with this. I don’t need to feel any more. I merely need to exist so that I don’t hurt a few people.

From you, I get opinion
From you, I get the story

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11:44 AM

 
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