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.

 

 

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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.

 

Writing Challenge

Prior to leaving on my Costa Rica trip, I jotted down several writing prompts from “642 Things to Write About” which my brother gave me for Christmas. I had planned to write everyday, but I didn’t; at least not in regards to the prompts.

In my attempt to become a better writer, jump start my creativity, and find a healthy outlet to stress I have decided to engage in a little experiment. Blog one prompt a day for the next 60 days. A few ground rules:

  1. Pick the prompt at random; basically open the book up and write on the first prompt I see
  2. Do not delete anything. Crossing out is allowed. This will help to engage my stream of conscious while also helping me see my own creative process.
  3. Write on each prompt for 30 minutes

Start date: Monday, June 16, 2014
End date: Tuesday, August 14, 2014 (three days before my 29th birthday!)

See y’all on Monday!

Running Woes

Five months into my “hardcore” running phase I’ve sort of hit a road block. My left leg has been nagging at me ever since the now infamous 5k-half marathon-10k triple header. It usually feels like a dull bruise on the upper part of my lower leg; right below the knee. Now, I have no knowledge on the muscles of the body or body parts but I’m almost 80% sure that the weird feeling is too high up to be shin splints.

Yesterday I went for a run before core class (the perks of getting off of work early). In the past the weird, dull ache will slowly disappear after a few minutes; although I’m not sure its its because of the warm-up or psychological cues my brain sends. Yesterday was different. It got worse and the weird (I’m not good at explaining how this feels) pain slowly evolved into my entire leg feeling weak; like it was going to give out on me. When I tried to explain it to my brother (rather unsuccessfully) I mentioned something about it feeling like I really needed to crack some bones in my leg to release the pressure; sort of how you might crack your knuckles.

The run was uncomfortable and defeating. I know the defeating aspect came from my brain racing nonstop about what a shit run it was, how slow I was going, and how potentially devastating whatever this is could be. I walked, hobbled, and super light jogged all the way back to my car. I hope that whatever this is can be remedied quickly and painlessly (also cheaply since, hello, I’m not insured).

The internet, until now, has failed me; but then again my searches have been super vague since I don’t know how to exactly describe the ache. This morning I went to a yoga class hoping that some deep stretching and exercise variety would help. Tonight I’ll stop by Rogue early to see if Dr. Tuggle has some insight; and hopefully I’ll be able to run pain free tonight. I’ll keep you posted. Either way, I’m super worried about the 5k I’m running on Saturday. I’m definitely looking more forward to the fun girl’s night afterwards!

Oh, Dallas.

I was born in Odessa, TX which meant that our vacations consisted of mainly taking trips to bigger, more exciting cities in Texas. Believe me, any place is more exciting than Odessa unless you’re into staring at your reflection. Dallas, which was only (!) five hours away was a place we visited frequently.

I never liked Dallas. I think it’s because I was traumatized at a very early age by the wax Wicked Witch of the West at the Dallas wax museum. I mean, its pretty traumatic when even at 28 years old you get goose pimples. Fast forward ten years later to a post high school trip and another traumatic Dallas experience: traffic.

However, as I browse for research topics I find myself drawn to Dallas and its history. One of my papers as a graduate student detailed how the Red Scare impacted the Dallas art community. Right now I’m working on gathering research about Horace Bonner; a African American who moved into a predominately white neighborhood in 1950 and whose home was subsequently destroyed (presumably by his neighbors).

I’m excited about where this might go. I’m already planning on making a trip for research and general information digging, traffic be damned.

Vintage Vignettes

*Compiled over the past month or so*

1. Dear Gabrielle Reese, I do not want to exude the type of femininity you espouse. I do not want to be submissive to the wills, whims, and personality of my significant other. In short, I do not want to lose my individuality just because I’m married or in a serious relationship. 

Your entire stance of what it means to be truly “feminine”–soft, receptive, and submissive–completely goes against the strong woman that dominates her sport. I think your opinions are all the more unsettling because you are a woman who has defined her sport in a way very few of your male counterparts have. 

2. Fingers crossed, third time’s the charm. No, no it wasn’t. I am now devastated and torn between letting go of a long-standing dream or pursuing it in a, maybe, less zealous fashion. Also, I’m slightly disgusted that discriminatory laws aren’t universal. Like, adopted by all countries and stuff. I’m looking at you, Japan. 

3. I will be unemployed after May 31, 2013. Well, I hope that I’ll have a job lined up by then; I’ll just be unemployed from my current job at the end of May. This is exciting and stressful, but mostly just terrifying. I will not (cannot) do the whole year of unemployment again. 

4. My first semester as an ESL teaching assistant is over. It was truly an eye-opening experience. I am humbled by my fellow teachers and students. Next time I feel like being a lazy ass I’m going to think of these amazing people I’ve met. Folks that hold two, three jobs and still make the commitment and time to learn a new language. Especially apropos when talking about…

5. SeaWheeze in Vancouver in August. Not nearly as prepared at this point as I would have liked. See above, must kick my ass into gear. 

6. Blind rant: Hi. I have realized that you are the complete antithesis of me. Your wishy-washiness when it comes to (IMO) a toxic relationship has me dropping you like a hot potato. Sorry. Yeah, it harsh and yeah, it’s probably unfair of me but that’s who I am (right now) and how I deal with this sort of crap. Take charge, man! Don’t hmm and haw just because…what? the sex is good? (you seem like a prude so I doubt you’re getting any) Also, you’re shining “anime eye” enthusiasm over Howard freaking Zinn has completely pushed you over the edge of any sort of redemption. 

BHAG

Haha, this blog post title reminded me of The BFG which is, to this day, one of my favorite books.

BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

Lululemon, the Vancouver based yoga and general fitness apparel company is a big proponent of setting goals, making declarations, and all around positive thinking. While I can’t really afford their awesome tanks and “butt enhancing” (according to Miranda) yoga pants I can totally get on board with this idea of setting goals, intents and pushing myself beyond the my own preconceived limits. Enter Sea Wheeze.

Sea Wheeze is Lululemon’s annual half-marathon: 13.1 miles through Vancouver, BC. Last year, its first year, saw more than 7,500 runners of all sizes, shapes, athletic abilities each accomplish, in their own way, goals they had probably set for themselves. In addition to the actual race, there are several opportunities to practice yoga with your fellow runners. Last year there was some sort of sun(down/up) yoga on the beach. There are videos on lululemon’s website and probably YouTube if you want to get a better idea of the energy and environment.

Well guys (the few of you who read this!) Sea Wheeze 2013 is MY BHAG for this year. I was sort of dragging my feet on signing up but last night (also, in full disclosure, pay-day) I took the plunge.

 

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I’m not gonna lie. It’s a scary, huge undertaking. I’ve taken a lengthy break from running and I’m not the fastest runner in the world. BUT it’s certainly not impossible. It’s all about setting smaller goals for myself and striving to meet those. It’s also about understanding that there will be successes as well as failures and not letting myself get discouraged. Most importantly, I think (at least for me) it’s about breathing and enjoying the journey.

August 10, 2013. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to run through Vancouver with people cheering me on every step of the way. I can’t wait to immerse myself in such positive energy. I can’t wait to conquer my BHAG.