There is nothing permanent except change…

There is nothing permanent except change….or so they saying goes.  If you google clever phrases about change you’ll be met with an excess of life is all about change and ‘be the change you want to see’ and blah blah blah.  I hate change.  I know those clever sayings talk ridiculously about how progress is impossible without change and if there’s no struggle, there’s no progress.  I mean, really?  Who wrote that shit?  No one wants to set out and struggle.  Yes, change is often inevitable, but why does it have to be such a struggle?  Why does it have to be awkward?

I recently had to deal with change.  I started a new job in a new industry with a new company and it’s been 45 days, so far.  The first two weeks made me reconsider my entire decision to leave the company with whom I had been employed for the last 15 years.  I was comfortable in that job.  I knew that job.  I knew the people at that job.  I was safe.  I could easily speak my mind without fear of termination because those were my people and they got me.  As with anything new, I lost all sense of security, comfort, and a little of my own self as I had to dial it back until I learned these new folks.  Two weeks in and I was ready to throw in the towel.  While I liked my bosses and most of the work I was doing, I didn’t think I’d ever catch on to a very different aspect of my new job that I had never done before.  Also, I was super fucking tired of being referred to as “the New *insert the chicks name who I replaced*” – we’ll call her Suzy.  So it was a lot of ‘Hey Mr. Joe, this is Linda, the new Suzy’.  I’m all like, *no, Mr. Joe, this is Linda, like in Linda, not Suzy*.  I felt that just set me up for failure.  I didn’t know Suzy, she was gone before I started in that position, but yet I was supposed to be the new one who would – what? be just like her with a different name?  Nope.  Not even close, people.

Enter weeks three and four and I was beginning to catch on to the unfamiliar part of my job and while I still didn’t know anyone in the company except my bosses and two people, I was loving my new job.  Today, I am at week 6 and while I still love what I do and most of who I do it for, I’m back to being wary of my decision.  I feel like I’m catching on quickly, but I also feel like there’s a huge sign on my back that says ‘let’s watch this one and see how long she lasts’.  I really think I’m being tested by my coworkers and one of my bosses.  I truly believe they are giving me things and ‘advice’ to see if they can mold me to their will.  Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I really don’t think I am.  I feel like I’m being tested in ways I cannot study for and ways I’ll never see coming – or so they think.  I tried real hard to put on a friendly face.  I tried real hard to be compliant and helpful.  I tried even harder not to cuss.  So basically, you know, I tried to change myself in order to keep the damn job.  I know me.  I know how outspoken I can be, I know how opinionated and passionate I can be and sometimes *wink, wink*, that comes across bitchy – I get it.  This is all why I’ve been putting on a front and trying to be the perfect new employee – well, that and I needed to sit back and see the enormous clicks that live in offices such as these.

With all the tests, all the pulling in different directions, I’ve been biting my tongue and going with the flow, but I refuse to enter into another situation of being taken advantage of, I refuse to be that scapegoat.

So, long story short – as I enter into the second month at this new company, the mask comes off.  No longer will I pretend to be the ‘nod and smile’ employee, no longer will there be eggshells under my feet, and no longer will I participate in the stupid ass tests these bitches want to give me.  It’s me y’all.  Take it or leave it.

Changes…? Yep, I’m a changin’.  I guess that saying is right after all.

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Enough

When is enough, enough?  Is there ever a time, as a wife and a mother, that I can throw my hands up in the air and (not wave them like I just don’t care…) say – to hell with this, I’ve had enough!  Theoretically, I did just that the other day.  I went on “strike” *insert hysterical laughter here*.  What was I thinking?  That all of the sudden the kids and husband would hear the archangels singing and try to fix everything that I’ve been bitching about?  Pfft.  Yeah, right.

I have teens.  I don’t have really young kids.  In less than 6 months I will have an 18 year old, a 14 year old and a 13 year old.  Oh, and a 38 year old…*ahem*.  Yet, at some point these four individuals must have fallen and smacked their precious heads on some sort of hard surface and have completely and utterly forgotten how to use their senses.  Particularly the sense that tells them there are chores to be done – your bathroom looks like it’s growing something in the sink, the dogs have no water, you might have worn that a time or two since the last wash cycle, there’s a smell coming from your bathroom that is going to disturb the neighbors, and OMG you must be sleeping with a zombie because that’s what your room smells like!

So, I lost my shit.  Again.  I explained how absolutely tired I was of being the maid.  Because that’s how I feel…blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda (like Charlie Brown’s teacher only more life-like).  Most days it’s not worth the fight and I just handle it all myself – working, cooking, cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping and mopping, doing the leftover dishes that must have been wearing an invisibility cloak the night before, cleaning the house, and doing every stitch of laundry Mr. EMT and I own because otherwise he will attempt to ‘do’ laundry and we’ll forever be throwing shit in the dryer on wrinkle free.

The strike lasted a day and a half.  The day I lost my shit, Mr. EMT was home from work and school, a rarity these days.  Thus, I sent him a message and explained what I saw that morning and that I was on strike until I saw the rest of the family learn to pick up after themselves and do their chores.  He had them clean, and clean well – for exactly one day.  It lasted for one day.  Because the dishes wore an invisibility cloak yet again last night, I refused to cook.  Make yourself something to eat, I said.  Heat up left overs, I said.  AND DO THE MOTHERFUCKING DISHES, I said.  Well, not so drastically, but that’s how I wanted to say it.

I woke up in a little better mood today and I decided I would rather be pissed off and bitchy than to live in a crappily maintained home.  I was going to buck up and do all the stuff I didn’t do since Tuesday when I got home today.  However, insert a call from The Little’s school and I’m right back to wanting to scream ‘Enough is Enough’!  He got into trouble….again….albeit the first time in 3 weeks.  He’s a work in progress, but that’s for another post in the future about dealing with middle school kids with two parents who don’t often agree on parenting style.

With all that being said, I realize I cannot actually give up.  I have to remain married to Mr. EMT even though I wanted to punch him in the throat this week; I have to remain a mother to three unappreciative adolescents and try to remember that one day they will thank me for this shit; and I have to remember to buy another bottle of wine before I get home….because enough may very well be enough, but that does not count for wine.

Oh Alice, how I love thee

March 12

Bedtime stories

What was your favorite book as a child or adolescent? Did it influence the person you are now?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll has long been one of my most favorite and influential books to date.  Though in truth there are so many that helped shape who I have become.  Each time I read Alice I take something new from the book.  It’s the only book that I can say has grown with me when reading it during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.  In my opinion, it makes this particular story timeless.

The loss of childhood innocence, learning quickly that the world will think you too small or too tall, never really being the right fit for what is needed.  As an adolescent, this struck me to my core.  In fact, I held on to it for far too long.  During puberty and into early adulthood I had the horrible feeling of not being enough.  It took me a long time to grow out of that – to figure out that I’m good with me and I don’t need approval to be me.  Through this story I, like Alice, learned that I am the right size, after all.  I learned not to let the opinions of others dictate who I was to become.

The Cheshire Cat, with his broad grin and fearless behavior, can be thought of in so many translations. As a child I thought him to be the secret, imaginary friend that tried to get you in trouble by leading you down a path you didn’t know and then disappearing.  As an adolescent I thought him to be cunning and too knowledgeable.  The best line, for me, was when she asked which way to go and after she answered she didn’t know where when he asked, he simply said it doesn’t matter she will end up somewhere.  How true is that?  We never really know which path to take, but no matter which one it is, it leads us somewhere.  There is hardly a right or wrong.

The Caterpillar is another example of changing each time I read this story.  A simple three word question and with it says everything.  “Who are you?” She has such a difficult time answering him, you can only assume she doesn’t know who she is anymore.  She’s changed.  Don’t we all?  She insults the cantankerous caterpillar by explaining it is dreadful being only 3 inches tall, after all the caterpillar is only 3 inches tall.  Alice who struggles with her own image, judges harshly the caterpillars size though it’s the same as hers at the time.  We often run into cantankerous, confusing people, but it doesn’t do well to insult them.

This story mostly taught me about adversities in life.  How the world constantly changes and confuses.  It taught me to expect the unexpected and learn that sometimes there is no logical answer to it and that’s ok, we’ll get through that maze one way or the other.  In this way, the story taught me to be more open minded, not to follow simply to follow, and to go with my gut in all journeys through life.  Life is a mess of puzzles, problems, oddities, and no two people are the same or think the same; we have to learn to accept it and move on.

 

Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality
Les Brown

 

To be or not to be…transitioning

My friends over at Merriam-Webster define transition as such:

     a:  passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another :  change

     b:  a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another

I suppose I am speaking about definition ‘b’.  You see, in 8 months The Eldest will be 18 years old; he will be an adult – legal age.  He will also be a senior in high school and, in my humble opinion, this makes him still a kid…cause he’s still in school…duh.  All this brings me to a conversation he and I had on the way to school this morning which I will share shortly.  (No, he doesn’t drive yet which is another kid thing)

He’s been moody this week.  Not disrespectful, but not his normal, chatty self.  He’s also been grounded from phone and Xbox use due to a failing grade.  Granted he’s struggling in the subject, but he failed to bring this to his dad’s or my attention before we found out about the grade.  We don’t punish if a kid is genuinely struggling as long as we know and they are seeking additional aid in the subject.  Neither has happened, thus he is grounded until the grade is passing.  Simple, no?  Well, not for him – evidently.  Mr. Grumpy Gills (to quote one of his favorite kid movies…) let it be known today that he disagrees which got me thinking about this whole transition from kid to adult thing we are going through.

Me: What’s with you this week?  You’re unusually grumpy.

The Eldest: I’m still upset.

Me: Ok, I’ll bite.  Why are you upset?  Let alone still…

The Eldest:  I’m grounded.  You realize I’ll be able to vote this year, right?  And I’m grounded like a kid.

Me:  There’s not an election this year so you can’t vote.  You’re 17, in high school, and I’m driving you to school – you’re kinda still a kid.

The Eldest: I’m probably joining the military this time next year, I drink coffee, and I could vote if there was an election this year…and you’ve taken my phone from me, I’m almost not a kid.

Me: ….

The Eldest: ….

Me: Ok….but since you’re almost not a kid and you’re absolutely failing a class and you’re definitely not paying for said phone because you don’t even have a job…you’re still grounded until the grade comes up.

The Eldest:  *sigh* *face palm* You never understand me!

Me: Haha…there it is, the adult conversation I was looking for.  Nice try, kid…go to class.

So, the normally articulate one wasn’t able to pull off a good enough reason to not be grounded.  Maybe it is because it was first thing in the morning, maybe it was because he didn’t take but 2 sips of coffee because he didn’t add enough caramel creamer to give a diabetic a coma, or maybe…just maybe he realized his mom is right.  HA!  Fat chance.  I think it’s because even though we are transitioning from kid to adult, he is still very clearly a kid.  I don’t remember this transition when I was his age, but I’ll bet my parents do.  This next year should be entertaining at the very least.  Wish me luck.

Slowing down

Image courtesy of freeimageslive.com
Image courtesy of freeimageslive.com

 

I confess that when I first saw this picture prompt, I was elated.  I was rushed with feelings from childhood birthday parties.  I was fully prepared to spit out witty reminiscences of happy days of youth spent drawing with sidewalk chalk, balloon tosses, eating strawberry shortcake cupcakes, and visiting Disney World, but I digress.  You see, my 36th birthday is next week.

I’ve heard often during the passing of another year, ‘it beats the alternative’, and indeed it does.  However, this year is one year closer to leaving my mid-thirties.  I’m not ready to leave them just yet, I’m not sure I’ve appreciated them well enough and I know I didn’t get to know them like I had hoped to.  I thought we’d be better friends before we parted.  I feel like we hardly know each other at all.

Oh, how I remember my 20s.  We became close friends, there weren’t these broken years I’ve come to know in my 30s.  My 20s were just my 20s, no early, mid, or late, just them and all their youthful glorious fun.  Hell, it wasn’t until last year that I learned my 30s came with sections.  I felt so ill prepared.  I would have tried to hang onto the early ones a little longer and certainly would have mentally prepared for the mids.

All that’s left are the lates.  At least I know now not to screw that up, too.  Oh, I’ll be bitter for a minute, I’m a woman and that’s what we do – or that’s what I do any way.  After the bitterness I’m going to get to know them, take them out on the town more often, compliment them and tell them they’re pretty.  I might even try to give them some healthier options, slim them up a bit, maybe go on more walks.  The lates and I are going to be besties.  Plenty of movies, laughs, and slow dances, it’s what the lates are made for, I think.  Though, I’m not really sure since I’ve yet to introduce myself, but I will and I hope they will be as grand as their predecessors.

All I know is I hope to slow down a bit and savor them like an old bottle of wine.

 

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Hey, Soul Sista!

As I mentioned in a post yesterday, we’ve moved.  It’s been a pretty eventful transition.  The very first day as we are unpacking the 26’ U-Haul that is packed to the rim of our accumulated crap (seriously we need to declutter), a neighbor approaches with a winning smile and even fancier gold tooth.  I wonder what he’s going to say as he approaches, you see, we’ve never experienced the type of hospitality we are experiencing in this new town.  They say southerners are nicer as a rule, but having lived in the Atlanta area all of my life with the exception of 2 years, I say it’s really a case by case basis.  The town from which we came, while only 20 miles away, was not filled with the southern hospitality love.

Mr. W with his million watt smile and his shining tooth comes to shake our hand.  He’s actually pretty awesome, we later find out, but he seemed perfectly nice when we first met him nonetheless.  He welcomes us to the neighborhood and gets our names, then jumps straight into the warnings of possible loud music that may or may not radiate from his home on special occasions.  You see, Mr. W has a professional karaoke machine, he explains.  He loves to shake it.  He loves people to come and have a good time.  He gives us details of every family within our little cul-de-sac that we live in, the goings on, the years they’ve been there, etc.  He’s chatty, and we like chatty.

He leaves and we get back to the task at hand.  A week passes, exactly, and I see car loads of people pulling up to Mr. W’s house.  A party, no doubt.  I see ladies in red hot pants, black leather pants, silky blouses, some in animal print dresses and gentlemen in purple, green, black, or gold slacks and some with tall hats and fancy walking canes.  It really looks like quite the event.  I watch the kids play with new friends and sip on my lovely little drink while rocking on my porch.  It’s a good day, I feel it.

The husband worked that day, but miraculously they ended his shift early so he gets to leave the station with enough time to hang out with us.  We’re standing outside, enjoying the sounds of kids laughing, when Mrs. W approaches us for an invitation.  ‘I know you’re coming over to sing’, she says.  HA! Me?  Sing?  I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.  She laughs, sweet as rain she is, and explains no one in the whole damn house can sing.  Then she closes the deal by mentioning the ample amount of flavored Jell-O shots and well, who can resist now?

We go and we are greeted like family.  I’ve only met Mr. and Mrs. W and their 15 yr-old grandson, but the extended hands, smiles, and even hugs from their family is awe-inspiring.  We fit right in.  We stand off to the side a bit as we have a lovely rendition of Whitney Houston going on.  Speakers the size of our youngest (The Little), 2 microphone stands, and more than 10,000 songs from which to choose.  It really is a professional system.  We’re consistently asked to make a request and get up there and sing, but I eye the tray of multi-colored Jell-O shots and decide to wait my turn.  Mmmmm, strawberry.  Who knew these would be so good?  The hubs sings Bob Seger and well, after a few yummy strawberry shots, I request some good ol’ CCR.

We go on for hours, all of their family and ours requesting and singing songs.  Booties are shaking and grooving, and trying to see how low one can go as the song requests of us.  It’s hilarious and fun and before I know it, it’s 2am.  After discovering I should not, indeed, try to find out how low I can go, I decide it’s time to find my shoes and walk back to the house.  I make it back and consider the tub after looking in the mirror and seeing my flushed face and strawberry stained lips.  I decide I’ll leave this look as reminder in the morning of the fun we had.

– A submission to the Studio30Plus prompt