Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Really rambling ramble

My house is a mess, which is fine. Sometimes it’s not fine but right now it’s fine. You know I’m a big believer in decluttering and keeping things tidy. I believe that the external affects the internal, and a tidy space supports a clear mind. But I also believe in picking my battles, and I’ve come around to the idea that sometimes a mess doesn’t matter.

Years ago, there was a moment where I was equally busy and exhausted and my dining room table was a mess. I made a mess of a situation and associated the f* up with the messy dining room table. It served as a lesson to always keep the table clear, within reason. This week, I gave up, realizing that the table had nothing to do with anything. The table is a mess because my week is a mess, not the other day around.

I’ve had to start getting up earlier anyway because of my new (temporary) job, and more so because of Safetrack, and then more so because of Daylight Savings Time. I’m worn out. I don’t give a f* about my dining room table.

I biked in almost the entire first week of Safetrack, and then I didn’t bike at all the following week because of weather, and then I did on Monday and was going to yesterday except I came downstairs to a flat tire. I quickly changed out of bike clothes into work clothes and ran out the door. I changed the tire (well, just the tube) when I got home. It wasn’t as hard as I’d remembered it being—probably because this was now a stretched-out tire rather than a new one. I remembered the tire-changing episode with RM, in which he nearlytore the tire out of my hands because he couldn’t bear not to “help.” Years later, I knew I could handle changing the tire, because I remembered doing it myself last time around.  

I’ve had lots of reasons over the last couple of months to think about those days (specifically, the fall of 2009, when RM things had gotten very bad). My home life was unbearable because of RM; my family life was unbearable because—well, you know. I stressed about my weight, in part because my mother made sure I did. My job was unbearable, which I’m not sure I was open about at the time; but every day of going to work felt like hell, and my career was at a low point. Things culminated in the Thanksgiving from hell, just before which RM had tried to give me a foot massage; work had been particularly devastating; and I didn’t have TG plans because my parents were going to comedown but cancelled at the last minute because weather and then insisted onwasting my time anyway by making me look for tickets and trying to convince me that everything was fine. So I spent TG alone, went on a bike ride—and wiped out. A week and a day after TG, I got hit by a car. Which in a way marked rock bottom. That was also the week RM moved out. Other things started turning around.
I’ve come a very long way since. I no longer stress about my weight; I gave that up even when mom was conscious enough to nag me about it. RM went away a long time ago and I was largely empowered to repel the nextiteration of RM. And I’ve come into my own, career-wise. Even the occasional ruts are ruts I could have only dreamed of eight or even five years ago; I’ve had opportunities and successes that wouldn’t have crossed my mind then.


I have not yet cracked the relationship code, although my relationships have gotten better. My standards are higher, not lower, which helps. I know there are some things that seem petty to others that I’ve learned not to compromise on. A friend of mine was over on Sunday, was disappointed that a man had disappeared. How did she indicate how great he was? She said, ‘he reads!’ Men, take note: women love a man who reads.

Before my friend came over on Sunday, I had brunch with another friend. It was fine (I mean, it was good to see her, and the brunch itself was really good, but the act of going out for food was just ‘fine’) but I was so glad that this was the only restaurant meal I’d had in weeks, since M. and I broke up. Ever since he and I broke up, I’d been thinking about not only how much I enjoyed cooking and eating in but how it made me feel like ‘home.’ I like filling the house with home-cooked smells. There’s something about making a meal that is fundamentally comforting. There’s something about restaurants that feels like a performance.

The place my friend and I went for brunch was a place where M and I had become regulars, although I’d also brought a bunch of other people there so I never fully associated it with him. I brought Jay there, and we had the requisite ‘no pho is as good as the pho in Vietnam’ conversation. I’ve brought many an out-of-town visitor there. I even, against my will, “brought” creepiest-date-ever there.
Which is where this ramble comes full circle. Brunch friend was ruing the end of a relationship. One of the things she’d appreciated about the relationship was the intellectual connection. I thought about how important this had been in my last two relationships, and how important it was to be treated—on the basis of soul, not ego—as an intellectual being. This sometimes makes me think about how coming into my own career-wise has made me better at dating the people I’m more compatible with, and sometimes it makes me think about how, had things worked out even briefly with someone who I thought ‘got away’ but later realized was a dodged bullet, I would have missed out on the career opportunities that made me who I am.

On a simpler level, I think back to the creepiest-date-ever, who didn’t acknowledge me as an intellectual being at all. I mean, I’ve since shown that ridiculous text of his to additional physicists, all of whom confirmed my own reaction, which was that none of what he said made any sense. It didn’t cross his mind that he wouldn’t be able to bullshit me, that I knew enough to see through him. He wasn’t interested enough in me as a person to ever get to that point. Intellectual women need to be valued intellectually. It’s just a part of who we are. You can’t see us for who we are unless you see that part of us. 

Last week I finished “Wicked,” which I eventually loved even though it took me a while to get into. It made me think of “Black Swan,” which I’m not sure I liked. It also made me think of tai chi, and viruses. The connecting theme: defeating someone more powerful by using their own power—maybe even their own mind—against them. What makes us become our own worst enemy? How do we keep ourselves from becoming our own worst enemy?

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