Attachments

There are many things that I love about my job. Patients say whenever a change happens at the clinic, “I just hope you won’t leave. Because the person at the front desk is the face of the practice. I listen to them when they need someone. I make sure that all of their questions are answered, I give them advice on how to hurt less when I can. I remember when my therapist’s office got a new person at the front desk. I noticed, and I asked where Kristen was. It was comforting to always have my reminder calls come from he same person, and talk to her as I was on my way out of each appointment. Not that it completely ruined therapy for me to see a different face at the front desk, it just made me sad in a strange way.

This post will ultimately be me attempting to justify to myself why I am leaving my job. There’s no reason for me to have to justify it to anyone, but I feel guilty leaving. I feel guilty leaving the doctor and the new staff to figure things out for themselves, when I’m the only one who knows certain things about certain things. If I were making a completely selfish decision, I would stay, if only to soothe my own potential guilt. I love the people I work with. I love the clinic, I love the patients, and I was very invested in the vision that these people have. However, I have to think about more than myself now. We have a family of our own, and we have figured out a lifestyle that works for us, for now. There is no one on this earth who should fault me for making a decision for the betterment of myself and those I love.

A significant pay raise and new experience will do a lot of good for my resume, and that’s something that is important to me right now, because I don’t know what the future may hold. I want my husband to be able to go to school wherever he chooses, and if  that means me working full time, that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. There are too many parts of myself I am willing to give up, yes. But right now I am making changes to give them up for the right things: for my husband and my family, and the financial security and opportunity for both of us. I very much enjoyed giving myself up for the clinic and committing fully to the vision, but that is not what my future has in store for me.

I feel like I am selling out. Like this is sacrificing the good cause for the financially beneficial one. It isn’t only about money. It’s also about needing time for myself. I have the most to give mentally to my job in the morning. I do my best work, am on point, I am sharp. Once about 3:00pm hits, my function is all downhill. So for an employer to need me from 7:45am until 6:00pm isn’t the worst thing, but I would function far better in an environment where I can work from 6:00am to 4:30pm. That leaves me the hours between 4:30pm and 10:00-10:30pm to spend on myself and my family. That is the time that I need. The problem right now isn’t lack of time, it’s the distribution of that time. My current job, as much as I am sure they might like to, cannot give me hours like that. They need me when they need me, and I need something different.

I will make clear that it is not personal, and that as much as I would like to remain a part of what they are doing, I have to make this decision. I have voiced my concerns as far as hours and salary go, and my last paycheck was the same and I haven’t heard a word from my boss about pay. While I know that my initiative is important in all of this, I shouldn’t have to pester for someone to follow through on something that they told me they would let me know about within a reasonable time frame. I understand the uncertainty, and not wanting to commit to me unless I am willing to commit to them. It isn’t fair or ethical for them to hold off on paying me more until they know I will be here long term. They need to pay me for the work that I do, the time that I spend, and the responsibility that I bear. If I am your office manager, pay me like your office manager.

In conclusion: I want to stay. I wish it was a place that would work out for me. But if I have a better opportunity that presents itself, I hope that they won’t hold it against me personally for taking it.

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A Letter to You as You Sit Across From Me Worrying About College Applications

You are the smartest person I know, and I work for a doctor. The way that you see the world, the way that you think about things, and the way you articulate yourself all amaze me. Your point of view, thoughts, and life are all so unique. Any of the schools you are trying to get in to would be lucky to have you. There are so many aspects of the way that you live your life that I desire to emulate. Your level-headedness, your passion, your dedication and self-motivation.

You fascinate me with your mind. When you leave after dropping me off at work, my coworkers always comment about how smart you are and how you carry yourself. If I could have a million dollars, or spend one hour inside your head, I would take the hour. I know the rose-colored glasses are on and you see all the negative aspects of yourself, but wether Harvard sees it or not, I know that you will go far in life, one way or another. It doesn’t matter to me wether you have a job with prestige or a high-paying salary, or have the honor of the priesthood, or go to an ivy-league school. I don’t care, just please stay with me. Hold my hand. Call me the special pet name you have just for me. Wake me up in the morning with a smile and kisses. Stay by my side, and do your best to tolerate my inadequacies.

Do what you want. Do what brings that energy to your countenance, and will help you to enjoy your life. Do what gives you what you need and brings you fulfillment. And please let me stay by your side and watch.

I decided when I married you that you were the one thing in the world I wanted in my life more than any other, and that if that meant giving up things that independent of you I would like for myself, I would. Not that I will ever short-change myself, but there is a lot that I will sacrifice for you, so much that I would give if every day I have the opportunity to make your life just a little bit easier.

I love you

Moments

Life, when we look back on it, is made up of those little moments. Noticing someone’s wrists in the coffee shop. Listening to a new song. Seeing his face across the room. Laying under the stars at 2:00 am. Driving in the darkness home at night together, the backroad lit only by fireflies. A realization. A wedding. Nights at home in bed, listening to the sound of the rain outside and his heartbeat inside. Walking between the trees in the autumn sunlight on our way to the car, and all of those memories flooding back.

When I look back on my life as an old woman, these are the kind of moments that will make up the picture that I see, and I don’t want to regret one of them. I don’t want to ruin the moment, and I don;t want to miss an opportunity to experience a moment.

There are different parts of a person: the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. They all contribute to one another, and to how a person experiences any given moment. In order to experience things most fully, one must take care of all aspects of himself. I am a terrible example of this, as I don’t take care of any of the aspects of myself. This is my current goal, to establish habits that allow me to take proper care of myself. My current ideas are as follows.

Yoga–doing a 20 minute bedtime yoga routine has helped me physically to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed with drastically less pain.

Supplementing properly–I’ve found that taking methylfolate and lithium supplements has helped a lot both with pain symptoms and with my mood. Also, as the natural state of the world begins to sink into the dark abyss of winter, I am aiming to regularly supplement my vitamin D as well.

Eating enough–when I don’t eat enough I become a space cadette. Do I have ADD? Most likely, haven’t had a chance to get that diagnosis yet. But one thing’s for sure: EAT YOUR EFFING OATMEAL, Erin.

Journaling–I have developed the habit of suppressing my emotions and letting them eat me from the inside instead of mentally articulating them. Writing has always been an easier way for me to get my mind working than just trying to think out loud, and in the absence of a therapist, journaling is a must.

Meditation–As an Orthodox christian, I realize meditation is a touchy subject. When I speak of or practice it, I mean to calm my mind, focus in on the present, be where I am and rid myself of anxiety and depression–to be anxious is to live too much in the future, and to be depressed its to live too much in the past. This is something I need to spend more time on, both emotionally and mentally.

Prayer–I need to invest time and energy in my relationship with God. My spiritual life needs nourishment as much as any other part of me.

There will be another post soon about church and my experiences there, positive and negative. I am striving to become a better person.

Steam and Mirror Wishes: Shattered

shattered mirror

I have spoken on my blog in the past about my Poetry Friend, and mentioned that generally before I read anything at CHOCS or share it in any way, I like to ask her to go over it. Typically she gives me suggestions and I cut a few lines here, add a few there, change a word, re-arrange, etc.

The poem that I posted: Steam and Mirror Wishes, I posted prior to asking her to go over it. Last Sunday, I sent a draft of it home with her. This is what I got back.

smokeandmirrorwishes draft photo

Frankly, she destroyed it. Which is good, don’t get me wrong. I am aware that there is no room for improvement without criticism/the slaughtering of your darling brain child, but it hurt me to suddenly hold in my hands this shredded draft of the best poem I have ever written. Self-professed and backed by the opinions of a couple of amateur friends.

She also told me something I never thought I would be honest enough in a poem to hear: “Some parts of this were a little bit self indulgent. You have to think of your audience.” Previous to this, she always asked me for more, more, more of myself.

The summary of this experience is this: you all will be receiving an edited version of Steam and Mirror Wishes very soon. I have been ultimately humiliated and crushed by this in the most personally improving way, and I will be contemplating how “you have improved A LOT,” can be, and is probably best, directly followed by, “destroy it all.”

Thank you.

Steam and Mirror Wishes

mirror

You stand naked in front of

The mirror

In a warm, steamy bathroom.

You’re supposed to be clean now

Because you showered.

You speak in the second person

Because you can’t bear to address

The nude self you see through the fog

To an audience.

You remember when you used to play

With toy rainbow steamboats

Green

And yellow

And red

And blue

And faded from long soaks in lukewarm bathwater,

Because like for your sister now,

Apparently it was too hard for you

To put the bath toys

Back in their damn basket….

When your mama would bundle you out

Of the tub with a monsterous fluffy towel

You would smile and

Your countenance glowed rosy.

 

You reach up with a washcloth and wipe the fog from the mirror–

 

Your countenance is as gray as stone.

The deep, dark pits under your eyes

Swallow the light of sunsets

Into their black depths.

You are sick

And your pimple-covered face

Is splotchy red

Where your blood rises to the surface,

Where your skin wounds itself.

The marks,

Like the birthmark on a baby’s forehead,

Appear because

Not everything

Is quite right,

Or happened the way it was supposed to.

 

Your eyes drown in their hoarded tears.

Your wide, naked pupils

Distract from the way

Your irises grasp helplessly

To reflect the light,

Your countenance is gray

Like stone.

Your heart is a heavy stone

Buried deep in the earth,

Immovable and hard,

Dug up and thrown against

A brick wall

Again and again and again.

 

Your lips have sores,

They shift and crack

Like tectonic plates

And bleed molten lava.

The skin peels off

Because you thirst

And you do not drink.

The world is cold

And cracks your fiery skin

You are the core of the earth.

 

Your swollen neck engulfs the lines

Of your undefined jaw.

It hurts to tilt your head.

You wear a long black coat

Over the freedom of your curves.

It’s weight comforts you,

As if someone is always there.

 

Your nails are decorated

With a child’s inexperienced attempt

At coloring inside the lines

But he colored to carefully,

And then he decided

He’d rather color on the wall,

So he left blank borders

And uneven marks and textures….

Or is it not

Incomplete innocence

But partial destruction?

When people see your hands

They can tell you bite your fingernails

And scrape the polish off with your teeth

You wanted

Once

To destroy yourself.

 

Your neck bleeds

Down into your chest

And up into your cheek.

Your breaths rise

And you billow up until you stand

As a gray cloud

Shrouded in the black coat of night.

The stars drown in your hoarded tears.

One day you will burst

And rain down water

And someone will drink it

And quench their thirst.

 

Your face is splotched with red

Like a baby’s birthmark

Because you are young

And if you were beautiful

You would have too much.

Your neck is bruised.

It is not gray

It is purple and red

And green

And yellow

And stained

With honesty and exhaustion.

 

The whirlwind of passing time

Sweeps you away

So few weeks

Days,

Moments,

Do not let go of even one.

Hold on to them, grasp,

Embrace them,

Sink your teeth into them like the freshest fruit

And let the juice of beautiful moments

Run down your chin

And stain your collar.

 

Love like you feel pain,

Powerfully,

Urgently,

With great attention,

So that it contorts your face

And rends your heart.

Breathe moments

And they will sustain you

Suck life from Time’s breast.

 

Can pressure join two things?

Can Time join two things

And make them into one

Like the sunset

And the sunrise?

Within Time

The sun does not set

The sun does not rise,

It simply cycles

And you and the world simply turn your backs on the light.

You hurt when you realize that your life is but a season in the passage of Time.

 

Breathe the things that make you feel alive,

Drip words like lava from your lips

Hurt honestly

Cling

To what you can grasp that is truth.

Wait patiently.

One day soon

The sun will come

And the night will burn up

One day someone

Will rain down water

And you will drink

And quench your thirst and

Taste that sweetness fully with your tongue.

Time will join

Sunlight cycles,

Pressure will join

Tectonic plates

For now your countenance like stony dawn

Is gray

Wait for sunrise patiently

And love like you feel pain.

 

Afterword: I felt like I could post this today. I read it at CHOCS (our favorite coffee house) for the first time at open mic tonight. It has been weeks in progress, and I suppose I’m mildly satisfied with it. The reception at open mic was good.

Interestingly, this was the hardest poem that I have ever tried to read on stage. I’ve never wanted to fold into myself more than while reading this poem. I need to talk to my Poetry Friend about it and see what she  thinks as well. Anyway, enough rambling on. Thank you for reading.

The image is not mine, but the poem is my original work. Please do not use without permission.

This is Ours, Yours and Mine

holding hands

I haven’t been writing as much as I would like lately, because much of what has been going on in my life that is not work, church, or suffering through the social nightmare that Coffee Hour after church has become (Don’t worry, more explanation to follow) has been spent with my…boyfriend. I wrote a post about him a little while back, actually, but I deleted it.

In my previous relationship, there were some serious boundaries that got crossed. Not the parentally problematic ones, he didn’t touch my boobs or anything. Matter of fact, one of the biggest problems was that he respected his parents too much, more than he respected me. He told me going in that his parents would not even have consented (I was 17 and he was 16 at the time,) to him asking me out if he did not essentially intend to marry me. Okay, so hearing that right off the bat from a guy I had been super interested in for LITERALLY four years–lame, I know–was super flattering, heart-poundingly-romantic and what have you.

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”-Genisis 2:24

So, if we’re going to be practically engaged the moment we start dating, you’d better be willing to act like you intend to marry me. Now this of course was not the sole reason for the relationship ending, which it did at the end of September 2017, but it was one of many major problems: he broke my trust by telling his parents something that I had told him in confidence. This along with several other indicators that he was putting his parents ideas about things and how they should be done, their opinion, and their involvement in the details of the relationship ahead of my comfort and need for safety and respect. Out of respect for him, I won’t detail the actual incident of trust breach on the internet, because it was catastrophic to my spiritual life, my relationship with my priest and confessor (a VERY important and sacred one in the Orthodox Church,) and my relationship to his family as well as numerous other people in the parish. I don’t want to be a prick, so this is all I will say: I was violated spiritually in one of the worst ways possible by this breach of trust.

What did I learn from all this?

Very much. I told my mother not long after it happened, “do not expect me to even tell you I am in a relationship, let alone anything about it, EVER AGAIN unless I am engaged.” I know it seems harsh, especially since my mother was not at all involved in the trust issue, this is simply an indicator of how much damage was done and baggage created. I knew going into future relationships, I was going to be very private, as one of the problems in the last one was simply the involvement of his parents as well as other members of the parish, adults, mind you, who were shipping it.

In my current relationship with “S” as I have nicknamed him for the internet, we like to describe it as something that is “just ours.” Now ultimately, of course, it belongs to God as well, but as far as humans on earth that have any say in it, any right to judge it, decide if it is good or bad, or otherwise become involved, the only ones are myself and him.

I guess this post boils down to me trying to explain why I deleted the last one, and it is because I felt like I gave to much of us to the world. Maybe this is selfish, but it’s okay–even healthy–to be selfish sometimes.

As far as stress at church goes, that could very well be an entirely different post, and I think it might. To outline, it is:

  1. Not belonging in Church School anymore, despite the best efforts of Mr. J and Mrs. A.
  2. Yet still not being able to integrate myself into Coffee Hour, because I don’t have kids/enjoy right-wing political discussions.
  3. Baggage from the spiritual nature of the violation I experienced in my last relationship.
  4. The presence of this person at church/his friendship with S, and the tension building which will inevitably lead to the ex finding out and screw up their friendship.
  5. Feeling like I can never be around enough, do enough, or keep in touch with my friends, and that I am so far away as far as what I’m doing in life right now goes that I can’t relate to their problems.

There it is, the teaser for the next post, and thus my soft commitment to eventually write it, if I don’t eventually regret spilling my guts in this one as well.

Thanks for listening.

Did You Know that if You’re Quiet, You Can Hear the Sounds of Your Screams Echoing Back to You from the Void??

void 2

I actually said this today–the title, I mean. It was a legitimate expression of how I was feeling at the moment, but I began to laugh the moment it escaped my lips. Even I can’t take my angst seriously (which of course is a point to be angsty about, who doesn’t hate to be made fun of, even by themselves?)

“Damn it, I would pay so much money to have the chance to go back and say that with a straight face!” My mom and little sister took it pretty well, although I could kind of see the pained expression on my mom’s face when she realized the place inside of me from which this notion came, and a cringe in response to the “damn it.”

I’ve been experiencing some pretty upsetting writer’s block. I know, I know. So original, an angsty teenager blogging (holy crap, she’s writing, guys!) about writer’s block. I have to get some of this out of my system, and the only way for me to truly get the honest words I know I need to say but have not yet fully formulated to come out is to begin word vomiting mundane shit about my day and posting it on the internet. I don’t have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, anything, anymore, because I realized that all they were doing was eating up time that should be used productively, say doing stuff like…writing crappy blog posts. This means, conveniently, that I will not have any platform to promote any of my blog-y stuff, something which I have dabbled in in the past. The last time I made a post, which I’m pretty sure was some poetry or something absorbed from another blog I halfheartedly tried to start on Blogger, I was shocked to see a bunch of people responding to it! I mean, it was like, people from, like, places actually read my stuff! Someone I don’t know personally even commented!

So thanks, readers. I don’t know if any of you are going to stick around for this, as this post kind of represents a “Lets-Write-Some-Shit-Every-Day-And-See-What-Goes-Down” resolution on my part. If I make a big deal in my own mind about committing to a resolution like that, I’ll royally screw myself, so we’ll just keep it subtle and below-board for now, kay? Point of interest: when I typed “committing,” just then, I typed it three different times and misspelled it a new way each time before finally succumbing to the sweet temptations of autocorrect. How do I have a job?

Yiruma radio on Pandora is pretty great. I’ve been asking myself lately: how do our tastes form? Aren’t they just kind of assimilated from the people around us? How can we tell if we truly like something, or we are just conditioned to enjoy it? Isn’t everything a matter of conditioning? Or are there some things that some people will never be able to learn to enjoy? Let’s take an example. You are Judy, and you are thirteen years old. You are in the eighth grade, and you’re just now starting to realize that you have a sexuality. So during recess one day, you notice this guy: let’s call him Joey. Your little eighth-grade-girl brain is like, “damn, that Joey kid is a stud, I want to hang out with him. I wonder wether he likes me?” So you start doing all kinds of dumb stuff to find out if Joey likes you. You ask Joey’s friends (under penalty of death if they tell him you asked, of course) you look out for signs that he likes you, you even get your girlfriends to ask Joey if he likes you. Of course, for Joey, answering the question “do you like Judy?” is shooting himself in the foot either way. You see, everybody subconsciously knows this, yet we do it to one another all the time, even as young adults, people!!! Why do we freaking do this?! If Joey answers with “yes,” well, then, he’s just admitted his feelings for Judy, thus making him vulnerable to her emotionally, and also exposing himself for an absolutely brutal onslaught of teasing. On the other hand, though, Joey answers “no!” and everyone in the vicinity is going to assume that this denial is simply an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable situation that honesty would bring, and that Joey does indeed cary a torch for Judy and is doing his darndest to keep that confidential information. So the teasing is simply doubled, because now Joey is trying to hide it, and awwweee, he’s embarrassed! He must reeeeeaaally like her!

Anyway, as little Judy, wether or not you manage to find out if Joey likes you back is a moot point. You want hime to like you, so your little brain cogs start turning. What does Joey already like for sure? So you, from various reputable sources, acquire the name of Joey’s favorite band, and you begin to fully immerse yourself in every album they have ever released. It is all you listen to, all you talk about, you won’t give it a rest, and now all your friends HATE Imagine Dragons (or whatever, this was totally not sort of pulled from a real life story about a real life girl in the eighth grade whom the author may or may not have been on very *close* terms with 😐 ) It doesn’t matter, though, because what are friends, really? Joey finds out that you are totally into Imagine Dragons, and then suddenly he wants to spend time with you, and a fresh, new romance can truly blossom to whatever extent they do in the freaking eighth grade. Voila! Judy will now associate Imagine Dragons with her first crush for the rest of her life. What if before this adventure, Judy would never have listened to anything like Imagine Dragons? What if, in all honesty, Judy doesn’t really like Imagine Dragons? Here her tastes are being formed by a person she wants to relate to. Our tastes are formed by our parents, our friends, people on the internet. Wether it’s music, movies, clothes, makeup, books, lifestyle, the influence had to come from somewhere. So all of our tastes, those are just made up of little pieces of the tastes of the people around us. The part that makes them truly ours is that each of those people had to be valued by us in some way. Our tastes are just made up of little bits of the things people we care about care about. Our relationships with other people define our personalities. We cannot be somebody outside of an interaction with another living thing.

This is an idea that has been bothering me recently, because someone who’s opinion I value greatly, a youth leader, actually….

We have two youth leaders at my church, a married couple, who for the sake of blog posts we will call Miss A and Mr J. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me using their names in blog posts, but I don’t exactly want them knowing I have a blog, because then they would read it, and I’m weird about that. They actually have one of the best marriages I have ever seen, and I’ve seen lots of crappy ones. The idea occurs that it might be a nice blog post for me to interview them and find out what their tips for a good marriage are. I will put that on the blogging itinerary. Anywhozle, Miss A told me once in a very emotionally heavy advice session that I was finding my identity to much in other people and that I needed to step away and find my own identity and my relationship with God. So all of this is just part of me trying to work through that.

So, to wrap up, because this is really effing long and I apologize sincerely to those of you who did not sign on for this: I am very angsty and have come to the conclusion that the writer’s block is not helping, and that the only way to break it up is to write shitty blog posts. Our tastes are formed based on the tastes of people we care about, the question is how much this forms our personalities, and I need to interview Miss A and Mr J about why their marriage works so well.

Thank you readers, for putting up with my crap. I love meeting new people, so feel free to drop a comment and I will do my bestest to respond and hit up anything interesting you have posted recently. I promise, I’ve been consuming plenty of media recently, so there should be some good reviews coming your way, which I haven’t done in awhile.

Blessings!

Image is not mine.