Day Three: Getting It Off My Chest

Disclaimer One: This is not a prompt I randomly chose. In fact, this may not even be an actual prompt in the book. It’s more of a therapeutic writing session.

Disclaimer Two: I’m not using names and I’ve let the person I’m writing this to know what I’m doing. As such, I will take whatever wrath, hate, friendship implosion comes my way.

Prompt: Something I need to get off my chest

It was cute for a while but now, more often than not, your blase “it’s whatevs” is seriously starting to irk me. I feel that, in a point in my life where I’m trying to figure shit out, your “it’s whatevs” just magnifies your apathy towards just about everything. Not that there’s really anything wrong with being content with an easy, okay paying job. It’s just that is not where I am right now.

I’m in a moment of flux. I’m figuring out what I want to do both in the immediate and more distant future. I’m looking to move away from barely surviving to establishing myself and maybe even setting down some roots in the next 5-10 years by buying a house (daunting, even to type!). Basically, I’m done with living solely in the moment and I’m looking towards the future.

Look, I’m not saying that you aren’t doing that (the whole, looking towards the future thing) because you might be. I’m not even saying that you really conform to the whole “it’s whatevs” attitude; maybe its just a facade. Either way it’s just not who I am at the moment and the fact that it comes up almost every time we talk is infuriating and confusing. Sometimes I just want to scream when you say those two words; sort of like how Andi did every time Juan Pablo said, “it’s okay.”

Another thing that’s been bugging me with this whole “whatever” attitude; and, if I may, a piece of advice for your future. Don’t ever respond to a girl (no matter how silly, or annoying) pouring her confused heart out by saying basically do whatever you want, it’s whatevs. I mean, I know that the things I told you while I was in Costa Rica were stupid; I acknowledge that. But I was telling you so you could reaffirm the fact that whatever I was thinking/feeling was something I needed to get away from. A really vague you do you reaction just doesn’t cut it.

If you’re reading this you may feel like I’m throwing you under the bus and am calling you out. I promise I’m really not. I just had to get this off my chest. It’s sort of been gnawing at me and I just needed to let it out without getting an apathetic response. If this ends up causing some weird rift in our friendship, I’m sorry. Hell, maybe, in some unforeseeable future I’ll take your “it’s whatevs” for granted; just not right now.

 

Day Two: Winos

Catchy blog title, right? I struggled a little with this mostly because I kept deleting text instead of striking through it. Also, I’m pretty sure I went over the allotted 30 minutes.

Prompt: There are two types of people: drunks and survivors of drunks. Which are you?

I never saw my parents drink or express any desire to drink until I was in high school. Drinking and alcohol were pretty foreign to me; reserved for tales my grandparents told me about their young days, boisterous stories told by my Navy veteran uncle, and in whisperings of failed marriages.

I remember the day that it all changed; well not the exact day, but the place. The Sam’s Club in dusty, flat, waiting-for-another-oil-boom Odessa. Even though I was old enough to stay at home I always enjoyed those trips, mostly because it meant the possibility of buying a cheap paperback.

This time, before heading to the checkout lanes my parents detoured to the wine aisle. It was a foreign space to me and to my parents. They walked slowly up and down the aisle and stood around, seemingly confused by the plethora of chardonnay, shiraz, pinot, and malbec options.

The anger inside of me was quick, fierce, and (looking back at it now) comical. A fury burned in me guided by the fact that my parents did NOT drink. “Why are you even looking at this stuff? You don’t even know what it is,” I remember hissing at my parents. I remember a very distinct look, one of surprise, confusion, and mild amusement. They ignored me, and I huffed away across the aisle to the books and magazines.

That day we went home with a bot I went home empty handed and my parents with a bottle of some nondescript red wine. It sat underneath the kitchen sink for the longest time. “Right where it belonged,” I thought “with the other poisonous substances.” What a foolish girl.

Since my quest to stop them from purchasing the bottle didn’t work I changed tactics: proclaiming what had transpired to the high heavens. Well, not really; maybe just to my family.

I spent so much time hounding them about it that I never really paid attention to when they opened it. I remember one day opening the fridge and seeing it; unceremoniously jammed into a nook with the ranch dressing, half-used jars of pickles, and array of jams and jellies. It stayed there for a good, long while.

I took my first sip of alcohol a few years later, as a junior in high school. I was working at Texas Burger with a bunch of kids that were more worldly than I was. I was invited to go cruising down the drag (out of pity?!)stopping at the 7-11 to get a pack of beer–Coors Light. (one of the girls was over 21). By the time I drank a sip it was lukewarm, looked like piss and tanged all the way down my throat.

 

 

Aside

Day One: Austin, I Love(d) You

I’ve slacked on the whole writing challenge. This post will serve as the first one; although it’s not really a prompt from the “642 Things to Write” journal. Onwards, the “prompt” is below!

A few years ago I co-opted a few lines from LCD Soundsystem’s “New York, I Love You” for my Facebook status. It went something like this: “Austin you’re bringing me down…but you’re still the one place where I’d happily drown.”

I can officially say that I’ve grown disillusioned with Austin. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many great things about the city; there’s a reason why it attracts so many people from in and out of state. However, I’ve realized that it’s not the place where I am supposed to be. I want so much more than working two part time jobs just to scrape by and pay rent and bills each month.

The Kubler-Ross model breaks down grief into five distinct stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Now, I’m not sure if I’m grieving at the thought of leaving Austin but I still feel that the stages apply. If I really think about it and am honest with myself I’ve been in denial for pretty much the entire time I’ve spent in Austin. I mean deep down I always knew that Austin wasn’t where I was supposed to be; but stubborness tempered that knowledge; overshadowed it.

Anger was one of the stages I came back to again and again. Anger at the situation I was in; hustling for jobs, spending days upon days looking for jobs, settling for jobs that I immediately hated. Anger at not getting the full time position at the museum that would have, in my mind, solved all my problems.

It was that last burst of anger that finally melted (devolved?) into bargaining and depression. Even as I sat with my supervisor crying (so lame) and listening to her as she tried to make me feel better my mind was racing: “I liked this job and the people so maybe I could just get another part time job, I could sacrifice my evenings to work retail, heck maybe I could even take up tutoring and babysitting again.” Man, I was bargaining with myself like crazy during that talk.

I realized that, truthfully, I couldn’t bargain my way out of it and the next stage sucked. I spent the next day; a Saturday, curled up in my bed. The only thing that got me moving was the fact that I was leaving to Costa Rica on the following Monday.

Honestly, that trip saved me. It limited my depressive, woe-is-me stage to a good two days. It also gave me plenty of time to seriously reflect on what I really wanted; or more importantly what I knew I didn’t want. That brings me to the final stage: acceptance.

I accept the fact that what I want at this point and juncture in my life is probably not in Austin. I accept the fact two part-time jobs will not cut it. I accept the fact that I failed in Austin. I accept the fact that come August I will no longer be living in Austin. I accept the fact that in order to move forward I have to leave behind friends, a fulfilling and challenging gig as a volunteer ESL teacher, running clubs, and a great place to work.

This acceptance has been made easier by the fact that, to some extent, I’ve fallen out of love with the city. It frustrates me that for a many people living in Austinis only a reality reached (rather precariously) by hustling and having several jobs and living with several roommates. I hate that the cost of living is so high that living in the city proper is inaccessible to many: teachers, life-long Austinites, and some families with two full-time incomes. I hate that there hasn’t been a more serious discussion in regards to controlling the rise of rents, making housing affordable, addressing the huge increase in property taxes, in having a working and sensible form of public transportation, and in keeping the cultural and historical integrity of the city.

A small part of me doesn’t want to give up just yet. That small part of me is still applying to jobs in the hopes that at the last minute something will come along and keep me in the city. But, that small part of me is tempered by the larger realization that what I crave is not in Austin; at least not right now.