Archive | January, 2015

Fire Engine Red

26 Jan

Tonight, as I stood in the 39-degree evening wearing only pajamas and a bathrobe, watching smoke pour out of the next building and taking stock of the pocketful of items I’d grabbed on my way out admist the alarms and strobe lights, I found myself deeply frustrated that I hadn’t grabbed my Walker Stalker Con Disability Services binder.

Not that I was woefully underdressed. Not that I’d spent 10 valuable minutes chasing two panicked rabbits around the apartment while visions of smoke and flames filled my imagination. Not even that I’d left my external hard drive with my entire digital life on it sitting on the desk. No, I regretted not grabbing that blue binder.

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My life in page protector form

This is what Con life has done to me. However, it did give me an opportunity for another awkwardly empowering moment.

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Well, That Was Fast

7 Jan

I didn’t think my plan would be put to the test so quickly. To embrace the awkwardly empowering moments of life this year seemed like a grand goal last week. You know, when it was still a theory.

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Someday I will learn to quit challenging fate. Luckily for you all, today isn’t that day.

I’ve spent the last three days trying to arrange last minute flights due to a last minute locale change for a business trip (the good news- it’s not Tampa anymore. The bad news- it’s the other side of the country now.), and it’s been an exercise in patience.

Actually, I take that back. It’s been a marathon in patience. Perhaps even a biathlon where one event is a marathon in patience and the other is any event that will distract me from trying to telekinetically explode a sales rep’s head over the phone.

kill you with my brain

Yes, that’s a good metaphor.  Let’s go with that.

Anyway, during the course of this mental athletic event, even more complications arose, to the point that my booking the flights was no longer feasible. We shall henceforth refer to this as The Awkward Event.

In order to resolve this The Awkward Event, I needed to call someone and ask for something that I haven’t asked for in several years, and in fact, make it a point to avoid asking anyone to do.

I had to ask someone to pay for me.

Longtime readers will know that I have serious issues with having other people pay for things for me. There’s a whole post on this in the archives if you’re curious, but let’s just say that I haven’t made much progress on this front since 2012. For whatever reason, having someone pay for me inspires a lot of guilt, like I’ve failed somehow. There’s all kinds of theories behind this, and I know that it’s ridiculous, but that’s beside the point here. The point is that I hate very few things more than having to ask someone to pay for something for me, and that’s exactly what I had to do today.

Once I realized that The Awkward Event was happening, I stared at my computer for a long moment. Then I stared at my phone for a longer moment. Then I stared at the computer again for an even longer moment. Finally, I forced myself to focus, and I ended up staring at the rabbits for at least 20 minutes.

They stared back. And then demanded treats. Because rabbits don't find requests for assistance to be awkward.

They stared back. And then demanded treats. Because rabbits don’t find requests for assistance to be awkward.

When I couldn’t avoid it any longer, I picked up the phone and made the call. I explained the situation, I made the request, and then I took a deep breath and I waited for the response. And you know what?

It wasn’t awkward at all. My request was considered, it was approved, the The Awkward Event was resolved, and everyone went on their merry way. Honestly, I spent longer on hold this morning than the entire conversation took, and I certainly didn’t want to telekinetically explode anyone’s head afterwards.

The takeaway here is that there’s a lot of empowerment in asking for what you need. It takes courage (and possibly countless hours of therapy), and yes it can be awkward, especially when it involves money. But it can also be a huge relief to at least own up to the need, and I’m glad I did. I’m even gladder that it worked out in my favor, but that’s a different post.

Awkwardly Empowering

2 Jan

It’s the beginning of a new year. Usually, I don’t go in for celebrating the perceived passage of an arbitrary concept like Time, but I do like the sales. (Seriously- the local bookstore runs a “buy 2 get 1 free” sale the day after Christmas every year, and I’m not enough of a chronologic elitist to pass that kind of a deal up. Especially when I’m *this* close to finally gathering the entire run of Chibi Vampire.)

A new year is also as good an excuse as any to get back into blogging. A lot of things happened to me in 2014 that were worth blogging about, but most of them never made passed a few hastily scrawled lines on one of the approximately 397 notepads sitting around my apartment. (Most of which were stolen from hotels. Some people go for the shampoo, but I’ve never understood the point of trying to smuggle tiny toiletries back through airport security.)

Among the highlights I missed were 7 conventions (4 zombie, 1 time-travel, 1 general sci-fi, and 1 video game), half a dozen business trips around the country (Portland was beautiful, Tampa was awful, DC fell somewhere in between), a new side job, two new furry companions, and a whole host of ridiculous situations that only Facebook got to hear about.

Instead, I blogged 8 times in 12 months: a new couch, a pile of books, a student loan mix-up, a weather-related game that everyone loses, a somewhat-angsty post on dealing with people, a photo collage of my living room wall, an obituary for the best friend I’ve ever had, and a definitely-angsty post on childhood and rabbits.

I’m better than that.

Ok, I’m better than MOST of that. I’m not above the occasion descent into angst (especially when I’m in Tampa), and there are always going to be inconvenient trains, tornadoes, and taxes to whine about online. But there was an event that happened to me back in 2006 that I’ve never shared, and I think the time has come for the story to see the light of day.

My college had, like most other colleges, a student counseling center. It was understood that the center was there for career guidance more than any kind of psychological therapy, but the school still gently encouraged (read: obsessively reminded) the students to check in there at least once a year. My junior year check-in happened to fall on a day when I’d gotten into yet another argument with two of my roommates over why wearing a shirt when answering the door seemed out of the realm of possibilities for them, so I was a little preoccupied as I sat down across from the career counselor. Suffice it to say, we didn’t get to my resume review that day. After listening to me rant about the budding nudists for 45 minutes, this young white guy folded his hands, looked straight at me, and said, “Bitches always gonna be crazy. Best you can do is make them want to be crazy somewhere else.” Super awkward, yes, but also unexpectedly empowering. It remains the single best piece of advice I’ve ever been given.

To honor that, I’m declaring 2015 as my Awkwardly Empowering Year. I’m going to own the ridiculous situations that tend to make up my days, pull whatever deeper meaning/ life lessons I can out of them, and when all that inevitably fails, I’m going to at least remember to post about them. 2015 will be full of conventions (zombies, time-travel, general sci-fi, and video games again), business travel (including Tampa again), new rabbit antics, and everyone’s favorite topic: my ever-present student loans. Next January, I want to be able to look back on my archives and see more than excitement over a new couch. I want to be proud of myself- to be further along on my human journey when the Earth slides back into the same place in twelve months. Life, like the proverbial bitches, may always be crazy, but this year I’ve got it covered.

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