Sunday, March 17, 2013

Untitled, Unplanned, Unnamed Characters

Oh hell, you guys.  I don't even know where to start anymore.  Looks like I've got to start looking for a new place to live.  It's kind of complicated but right now we're renting from a friend of mine.  He put in a lot of work on this house and it's very cozy and has great features.  Except now he's ready to move back in.  He assured me we could stay until Stella's graduation (May 16) but I just found out he wants to move back in May 1.

Work has not been good.  Overly stressful.  This last group of students, from the program I was first hired to oversee, has been extremely needy and full of emergencies and problems.  They can't help it...the health scares and family tragedies and general culture shock that causes physical symptoms...but I'm pretty much the only person who can deal with these things.  I delegate as much as possible but it's still mostly my responsibility.  It's beyond taxing.

But I don't want to give it up, despite it being the primary cause of my back pain - this stress.  I've been making an effort to do yoga regularly and this past week I got in at least an hour of heart-rate-increasing walking on three days.  I need to give up my gym membership.  My gym is all the way back uptown and when I get home from work the last thing I want to do is drive back up that way.  So when the sun is out, no matter how cold it is, I love to just head out the door with my earbuds in.  Sometimes I like rowdy hip hop, sometimes dance music, sometimes nostalgic songs from the 80s & 90s, sometimes podcasts - as long as I've got something good to listen to I can walk and walk and walk.  I've been trying to challenge myself - to pick a landmark and run to it.  Then I go back to walking until I've caught my breath and then find another landmark to run to.  I'm grateful that my walking route is not a popular one.  No one sees my sad and slow running/panting. I focus intently on the ground at my feet.  When the sun is out I'll lift my face toward it and close my eyes, but I usually prefer to look down.  This has served me well over the years...I've found all sorts of interesting things, including cash. 

Exercise helps my back pain and stress.  If it doesn't directly help my back, it helps my brain that must process the pain.  It's nearly impossible for me not to feel resentful toward my job when I work 6 Friday nights in a row or go all day without a break for any personal time.  On the other hand my job is keeping my head above water, financially speaking.  My job is interesting, just challenging enough, and, most importantly, personally fulfilling.  I feel like my work creates good in the world, and that's extremely important to me.  But I have to find a way to tip the balance of work/personal life back in my favor or I will LOSE MY FUCKING MIND.  Not kidding.  

Two weekends ago, when I visited Ai Lien and Andrew, I was talking with them about my personal life.  I started to say that being single sucks but corrected myself.  "Being single doesn't suck,"  I realized out loud, "It's great actually.  I love my life and everything I have going on.  It's dating that sucks!"  As soon as I start to think about, or tentatively try, dating, everything goes pear-shaped.  I am pretty satisfied with my life in general.  I'm in that sweet spot where I recognize and appreciate the good parts of having (next to) no one to answer to or for, where I can do whatever I dang please.  I can eat cheese and crackers for dinner.  I can leave clean laundry on the couch for a week, stretching the definition of "clean" about as far as it will go.  I can sleep with half my bed covered in books and magazines.  All that is GOOD.  But it's the very mention of trying to find a partner that screws everything up.  Guys who I thought were very good friends turn out to be emotionally bipolar.   The online faction is even worse.  Liars, creeps, and the overly confident seep out of every nook and cranny of the internet. 

I got a terrible phone call the day before's taking me days to write this post, so if you need reference, I mean this past Friday, the 15th.  My ex-sister-in-law/beloved forever sisterfriend Angie called me, sobbing, to tell me that her mother, my daughter's grandmother, was in the ICU and had had a probable heart attack.  Sudden tragic news is never welcome, but this timing really hit us hard.  Stella hadn't been able to see her grandmother in a while, more than a year, so I knew she would feel awful and guilty when I told her, even though it wasn't Stella's fault that she hadn't seen her grandmother in so long.  It just feels like so much is happening so fast or all at once - it's too much to even process.  So far she's improving.  She is out of ICU and in a regular room.  Stella and I may have to drive over and visit her.  Even though she also lives in Arkansas it's still a 3.5 hour drive and will take up an entire day going over there and back.  Time is something I just don't have right now.  But she's family - we'll have to do it.  I don't THINK we will risk the chance of running into Stella's father.  He's so far off the deep end of irresponsibility and loser-ness I honestly don't know if he'd make the trip to see his own mother in the least I don't think he would but this is all conjecture.  We have not had any interaction with him in many, many years.  But I like to think he still would be the kind of man who would visit his mother under these circumstances.  It's not like I'd be so cruel or petty as to confront him on the (AHEM) nearly $30,000 in unpaid child support if I were to see him.  It would be weird, sure...but I know better than to...what's the phrase?....try to squeeze blood from a turnip?  Yeah, I won't do that. 

This is a sampler of what's going on with me, an emotional smörgåsbord, if you will.  I didn't even touch the dietary mental illness I am working to understand so that I can overcome it, the excellent novel I just finished, written by my Junior year homecoming date and college housemate, my sister's fashion show, or a few other exciting experiences I've had recently.

I hope you're still coming back to read.  I'll keep coming back to write and dream of writing with the frequency I once wrote.  It makes a huge difference, knowing you're reading.  Please comment, let's have dialogues...tell me what's going on with you too.

Today I decided "F*** it, I have piles of laundry to do and a barely acceptable house but I need to go out to the river."  So I drove over this evening and made a delicious dinner with Carmen.  I held baby Samuel and sat on the screened-in porch as the rain pounded down.  It's so good for my soul to spend time with Jude.   Right now I'm lying on her Tempur-Pedic bed, listening to the shrieking of the coyotes. 


Carrie said...

Alannah, I'm still reading! What a great ending--shrieking coyotes. Yes, I want you to write more! Your b-day is in 2 weeks. Would really love to spend it with you!

Stephanie said...

I love you friend! (And jealous of your sitting on a screened in porch - those are so nice.)
As different as our situations are, I also see SO many similarities, so I feel FEEL your work-life frustrations. Also - SO SO wonderful all the silver linings of your work/job. The best part is that the job is personally fulfilling and "work creates good in the world" - both are golden linings.

And lets work on a 1-day a week (starting realistically!) where we meet and alternately either Walk the Hill, or Walk Your Route. It could be a talk & walk :)

I Know Right? said...

Hey Alannah.... keep your head up. If anyone is doing good in the world it is the you. Every one of those students is lucky to have you in their corner. I do so hope you feel much better and that your back issues go away soon. Much love and laughter from the DFW area.


Stacy @ Stacyverb said...

Loyal reader here! Any one of these situations you're dealing with would be stressful enough, but to be dealing with them all at once? DAMN, girl. I'm glad you do have some silver linings to all these clouds, at least, and am wishing that you get some relief soon. Hugs to you. Gentle, non-back-hurting hugs.

Michelle said...

Just sending you <3. So much of what you say resonates with me. I can't believe you have to move. (of course I focus on this because I have my own quality of life issues with where I currently live)

Me? I really miss blogging.