Writing Challenge Day 28: What I Wore Today

Today, like most everyday of my professional life, I wore my work uniform: scrub top and scrub pants, coupled with black socks and my new Dansko shoes. My hair is wrapped in a messy bun, still damp from this morning’s shower. Minimal make up and small button earrings adorn my face.

I started the day asleep in socks and sweatpants.

I’ll end the day with the same, but with a t-shirt, until I crawl into bed.
I wish I was more exciting in the wardrobe department. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to wear cute dresses and full make up on a regular basis.

Then again, showing up in the equivalent of professional pajamas isn’t so bad either.

Writing Challenge Day 27: Four Weird Traits You Have

Awkward
I am really awkward. Physically, mentally, and under certain denominations, spiritually. My body is a pear: small on top, large on the bottom. It doesn’t fit into normal business dresses and I can’t pull off looks where my waist isn’t accented. If only I had boobs, everything would be fine. We won’t discuss my hair. Because I am so individualistic, I don’t run with what the crowd is doing, and so I am the perpetual outsider; it can be quite frustrating when trying to make friends or join a group of people. Politically I’m a centrist who leans slightly left. I don’t swallow American Christianity whole. In fact, I don’t ingest it at all. I don’t blindly support political figures based on their rank, party, or stance on abortion. I don’t fit into any of the round holes cut out for me. I’m a parallelogram peg.

Read mood of room
One of my favorite traits I only recently learned I have, is to read the mood of a room or an individual. The key is not to view anyone through a lens: let them tell you what they are about through their words, body language, eye movement, and facial expression. I can size someone up in moments and then tailor my behavior to mimic or complement theirs.

Inability to wear make up
To go with my awkwardness, wearing make up has also eluded me. I was blessed with my great grandmother’s deep set hooded eyes. They’re basically useless with liquid eyeliner. My fancy almond eyed niece tried to help, but it was futile. I’ve yet to wear eyeshadow or eyeliner like everyone else without looking like a lady of the night or a 5 year old was my make up artist. Make up tutorials backfire. Maybe I just need help. Maybe I should stop trying. Maybe I should always look like I just spent a day at the beach with my tinted moisturizer, powder, mascara, and eyebrow pencil.

Great sense of direction
I could find the way out of a wet paper bag. If I study a map, I can recall my location and navigate. GPS is great, but I don’t need it if I have a few moments with a map. Last week I tried to find a way to my new house from the main drag: I had a decent idea where to go, used my compass, and I found it without much effort. It’s a gift. I’m fun to travel with, too, because sometimes I miss turns and find new roads. If you’re with me, adventure is never far away.

Writing Challenge Day 26: Things You’d Say to an Ex

When I was younger, I’d have written a soliloquy about this, covering the chasms of emotion and trying to hurt them with my words as much as they hurt me. Having grown up a bit and moved on, that is no longer the case. I know exactly what I’d say:

“How are you?”

I mean this not as the common American greeting; I’d want to know where they were in life. What people, events, and experiences shaped them since we last spoke over a decade ago? I’d want to know how they really are; without the facade of social media or a monotone “Fine” which is what I got the one time I asked an ex how they were. I would want to dig deep into the condition of their soul, and yet stay detached as an outside observer.

I don’t believe I’ll ever get the chance to ask, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I could. Chances are, their memory of me is so dim, it may not even register anymore.

Writing Challenge Day 25: Your 21st Birthday

I turned 21 in my first college apartment junior year. It was a Wednesday.

I had my first sip of alcohol the previous year: a house party in my boyfriend’s basement initiated me with Mike’s Hard Lemonade and lemon drop shots (shooting vodka and chasing it with a lemon wedge covered in sugar).

The night of my birthday, I went to TGIFriday’s with a friend of mine from church who was 22 and regarded alcohol like me: an occasional indulgence. I ordered my favorite, a Long Island iced tea, served in a glass that could only be described as a bowl on a stick. It was watered down, I didn’t even catch a buzz. We had a great dinner too.

My mom bought me a premixed mudslide in a bottle for a birthday present. It was a glass bottle – I still have it – and I use it for meter food (read: change for the parking meters).

I had a party at my apartment a few days later, my fridge was stocked full of Mike’s and other like drinks. My underage sister came down for the festivities – she was by far a more experienced partier despite being in high school.

I enjoyed being 21 – and not having to pay someone else “handling charges” to pick up liquor for me. I was never a big drinker or partier – I’ve never blacked out and all the crazy stuff I did in college and beyond I did stone sober.

Every now again, though, I would love to tie one on, like the old days.

Writing Challenge Day 24: Something You Miss

My college roommate once said she could not fathom how anything mattered in her life until after her first child was born. Since I was only part of her pre-child life, I took offense. The part she so hastily discarded as rubbish is, and always has been, near and dear to my heart.

It was at State University that I learned how to live. On my own terms. That was a luxury I did not have in the house growing up.

And I miss that college life.

I miss the moments of self discovery, learning more about myself and how I interacted with the world.

I miss the reckless abandonment of cross country road trips, spending 2am in a diner, and sipping vodka cocktails on the apartment steps after a long week on a Friday night.

I miss the boys – friends and the ones who would wake up next to me in the morning – where are they now? What are they doing? Are they happy with where life took them? Do they think of me as I do them?

I miss the relaxed schedule of classes, without the drone of a long workday, of which pivots everything else in my life.

I miss my sanctuaries of the coffee shop, the running trail, and the 18th story lounge of my old dorm that towered over the city. All of those places shaped me as a writer and provided a sounding board.

I miss the smell of the stage where I worked for slightly more than minimum wage. I can’t recall the scent I used to revel in; I’ve been away too long.

I miss having friends readily available. Now, I have to take in account distance, jobs, husbands, children – the list goes on. Gone are the days of hanging out randomly.

While I am more comfortable in my skin now than I was back in the day, I miss the person that was me. I miss the people my friends were before jobs, family, and life events changed them. I’m much more jaded now than I was – even though I’m childless and driving the same car I had in college. Even I haven’t escaped the sands of time.

While I lost my roommate to the abyss of motherhood and career, a college friend I occasionally hung out with – we ran in different circles – is now one of my closest confidants. She’s the one I call when the pain gets too much to bear. She knows all about the storms rocking my world, and I share in hers. I miss I didn’t make the most of our time when we lived a few moments away from each other; and now a 10+ hour drive separates us.

I’m perpetually stuck between what was and what is. I miss that old life so much, but I am thankful for where I am now, healthier in all aspects of life.

I just wish I could go back and visit once in awhile.

Writing Challenge Day 23: A Family Member You Dislike

Let me start by saying I do not dislike any family members. I’m very proud that I am not in a rift or avoid any of my kin.

That being said, there is one family member who I am not happy with right now. This person is a parent of a child in desperate need of counseling due to the extreme severity of the child’s mental health. They got on their soapbox with great fanfare about how they were a champion of doing the right thing by bringing in professionals; several months later, the words ring empty. Luckily the situation which caused all this uproar has calmed down, but I know the volcano is only sleeping; they think it is dormant. I pity anyone caught in the lava flow of the next eruption. Yours truly will probably be one of the casualties, because I care too damn much.

So be it. The child is worth it.

I live too far away and cannot become that meddling relative in matters of which I have no jurisdiction. I can only support from outside. And they know – the whole lot of them – I am always here to listen, help, and do. And unlike all of them, my actions and my words are one in the same.

Writing Challenge Day 22: My Morning Routine

Since taking this new gig, my morning routine isn’t exactly what I need it to be, but for the moment, it works.

I wake up at 0500, saunter downstairs, and feed my inpatient cats. Bathroom and teeth are next. Lately, I’ll find myself taking a 8+ minute nap under an Afghan before feeding the cats. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of a weird dream, and I need a few moments to straighten out my thoughts.

Next, I check my phone and the news/Twitter feeds while my coffee is brewing. Once my coffee is ready, I sit on the deck (during summer) or my sitting room (during winter). I spend these quiet moments in contemplative prayer. My favorite devotion is Pray As You Go, 13 minutes of pure bliss: coffee, quiet, Jesus.

After this, depending on what’s on the day’s docket, I’ll work on my German/French lessons, correspondence, tidy, etc. but only for a few minutes. Then it’s shower, breakfast, and run out the door for work at 0700.

Once my world stops spinning with this house buying stuff, perhaps I’ll extend my bedtime and wake up a bit later. I miss that extra hour in the morning to write. I need to adjust. But with everything else, I feel perhaps I should keep at least one routine normal.

Writing Challenge Day 21: Your horoscope and whether you think it fits you

I’m a Libra – the scales.

Ironically it fits me quite well. I’m always trying to find balance in life. I’m a peacemaker, as I’m quite good at seeing both sides to a problem. Trouble is, I’m terrible at making decisions. I will debate everything ad nausium. I’m often up in the clouds with my thoughts, but I’m fiercely loyal. I can be a social butterfly when I so chose, but I’d rather be alone, writing.

And right now, my scales are swinging wildly.

Writing Challenge Day 20: Put your music player on shuffle and write the first 3 songs that play and what your initial thought is

Battle of Evermore – Led Zeppelin
While I had been a longtime listener of Led Zeppelin, I didn’t hear this song until college. It came to me during the worst depression phase of my life. It was such a comforting melody, it instantly calmed me down. It was also a staple on my playlist when I was an intern: I would listen to it as the sun rose while driving down a lonely interstate.

Across the Universe – The Beatles
As a Beatles fan for as long as I can remember, I didn’t appreciate this song until I was older. It was another song of comfort with its gentle tempo and cryptic lyrics of a wayward writer. I can relate to this song well.

Sandstorm – Darude
I love techno music. This was a big mainstream hit in the late 90’s. I’m a sucker for anything with a good beat and this song delivered. It was great for running with its high energy.