Monday, April 25, 2016

Epilogue: From U to Z (A to Z Blogging Challenge, Days 21-26)

This damn blogging challenge ended back in April and I failed to finish, but I'm finishing up now in a very much cheating/Stephen King ending kind of way because I want to finish. And because I anthropomorphize the shit out of everything and don't want to hurt the feelings of the last six letters of the alphabet. (Shut up.) These last letters are difficult anyway. I don't know that I wouldn't have gotten an entire post out of shit like X. C'mon. I'm not a wizard. Not since the dry cleaners lost my cape, anyway.


Underemployed. It's been years. Tired of it. It's frustrating and it makes me feel stuck and I wonder when... I don't even know how to say it. When I find the thing that makes me feel a little more like where I'm supposed to be. I enjoy many things about the art center, but...

Very different: I have a new hairstyle in mind -- sort of something in the faux hawk family. The top two pictures are probably my favorite, even though I think the lady on the left has relaxed hair (chemically straightened) and the one on the right is just sporting an up-do. Still, you get the idea. Now I need to find someone who can help me transform my tresses. Not Great Clips. They'll smile and nod and then shear me like a lamb and leave a pile of hair the size of a small dog on the floor. Not that I've, uh, been in that situation before. Repeatedly. Because I don't learn, that's why.

Work has been rough lately. See previous paragraph about enjoying things but also being underemployed. Also, a small number of people are handling lots of jobs and stress is high. I hope things smooth out soon. I like the gig, even if I didn't get that marketing job I wanted. Polly Positive says it's because I'm destined for something else. Driving Me to Drink Daniel says, "Have fun trying to pay the rent in a couple weeks!"

X -- I recently learned the term Latinx. I deeply wish it wasn't because of the massacre at Pulse in Orlando over the weekend, but I'm glad for the chance to educate myself.

Yes -- I had an evening rather full of yes. I had a yummy sandwich when I got home from work. I didn't have to drive in the torrential downpour that knocked power out at work a couple times, and only had to negotiate one four-way stop that resulted from a jacked traffic light. (*I* know the rules. Other drivers... not so much.) Tomorrow is my day off, which means I'm still up at midnight and being very YOU'RE NOT MY REAL MOM! about refusing to go to bed. I get one damn day off, during which time it's difficult to sleep in, clean all the things, go to the grocery, relax, and enjoy some quiet alone time but also avoid isolating. I spent a chunk of the evening singing, having fun chatting with folks on Twitter, and tending my virtual farm on Facebook. I'm now getting unavoidably tired, but at least I feel like I logged some quality chill time before I slip into Fuck, My Day is Almost Over! mode.

Zoma -- Years ago -- probably up to 20 years ago at this point -- I wanted to own a bookstore. It was going to be small and independent, obviously. I had no particular idea about what I wanted to carry, but it was going to be one of those bookstores where people loved to shop. Like you could go there and browse on a Sunday after grabbing brunch with friends and hang out and read and maybe have some coffee or just chat with the *cough* ├╝ber-friendly owner who had worked in retail for several years and had no intention of putting up with anyone's entitled, shitty attitudes. (The customer isn't always right. Suck it up, buttercup.) The name comes from the second half of my full name, which is Chizoma (chee-zoh-ma). I'll just have to use Zoma for something else now. I don't think I have the patience to make Zoma Books a reality. I also have no trust fund to support an independent bookstore under the pervasive presence of Amazon and other retailers who would crush my tiny business under their boot, much like the chain bookstore in You've Got Mail did to Meg Ryan's cute little store. I hate that movie for so many reasons, but chief among them is that I was working at a (corporate, soul-crushing conglomerate) bookstore at the time and angry that Meg Ryan was like, "You killed the awesome and quaint store that my mom owned for decades, the store that I know own and cherish in her memory, but you're Tom Hanks and this is a predictable rom com, so it's okay." Fuck that noise. And I say that as someone who normally eats up rom coms like a doe-eyed, one-shoe-wearing, wannabe princess waiting on another princess to pull up in a pumpkin wagon to whisk me away. So THERE.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ten for T (A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 20)

1. I considered ordering a beef tongue sandwich the other day and was neither high nor under a kidnapper's control. I've never had tongue, having easily made the decision decades ago to not eat something that could've tasted me at one point in time. No clue what made me want to try it. I don't think I was that hungry, but maybe.

2. Toppings, pizza: Pepperoni and black olive, forever and ever, amen. My brother and I loved it as kids and even now it's comforting to order. Mmm. tasty, tasty nostalgia.

3. Tomorrow, I am going to cook the hamburger I bought last week so that I stop wasting my money buying ground beef that I then let live in my fridge until it's talking back and threatening to punch holes in the eggs if its demands aren't met. (That sentence wholeheartedly inspired by this excellent Far Side cartoon, of course.)


5. Tenacious: Several weeks ago, I applied for a marketing job with the arts center where I currently work. The interview process included writing a short plan for promoting our art exhibits. It was fun to work on because it let a carnival of ideas play out in my head. I was really proud of myself and specifically didn't show it to anyone or ask for feedback. I wanted to make sure every one of the ideas was mine and mine only. I was also confident about my plan and didn't want that feeling affected by someone who would say, "But did you think about..." or whatever. Longer paragraph longer, I interviewed a coworker about her work (her department sponsored one of the exhibits) and I've been super zoom-pow excited about doing something to help promote her outreach efforts ever since. There was something magical about her answers. Like I even saved her email and we're planning a time to meet and chat. I really want to contribute to the success of the art center and there's something here that needs to be explored. I'll be pretty upset if I don't get hired for the marketing job, but it won't stop me from pursuing other opportunities at work. Being surrounded by art about 70% of the week is good for me and I want to keep that channel open.

6. Someone made fun of my beloved Toyota the other day. The car is in rough shape; I don't deny that. It's got a lot of body damage and there's so much stuff in the backseat that it probably looks like I'm homeless. But then a guy I shant name saw it and laughed when he told a bunch of people it looked like it had gone through the ringer. Maybe it's the person or maybe it's my sentimental attachment to the car, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. Mostly because the car and I share some parallels: A little banged up, a little broken, but still operable.

7. TV boyfriend: Matt Bomer

Look at the pretty!

Bonus: First Famous Woman to Make Me Feel All Brain-Scrambly: TLC's T-Boz 

8. Tax refund: Sure would be nice if it would get here. Never mailing in paper forms on the last day to file ever again. Procrastinator lesson learned! NOW GIMME MY MUNNEH.

9. I want this T-shirt. I wonder if I could wear it to work. Probably should've asked that during my marketing job interview.

10. I think it's time to make a big wardrobe shift. I'm a jeans/T-shirt/flip flops girl, but I have designs on being... better. I enjoy being comfortable, but I tend to appear more rumpled/'might have slept in the car' than I intended when I catch my reflection. So a little less of that, hmm?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Stars, Lost (A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 19)

Yesterday, I watched Begin Again, which had been in my Netflix queue for a couple weeks. It was recommended by a friend and I gave it a try. I've unofficially but consciously been avoiding watching the same stuff over and over on Netflix. Pleasantville and The Truman Show are great, but c'mon, kid. New movies won't make you break out in a rash. It proved to be a win with Begin Again. With Minions... not so much (even though Sandra Bullock is wonderful).

I really enjoyed Begin Again. The story felt magical and the songs really hooked me, especially Adam Levine's version of Lost Stars. (Keira Knightley also sings the song in the movie.) I keep listening to it. It's great on my iPod (because you know I threw $1.29 at iTunes about a second after the movie ended), but the live performance is even better:

I found out that the screenwriter is the same guy who wrote Once, which is another film I really enjoyed. I'll probably watch Begin Again, um, again. I'd probably have to watch it five times to catch up to my viewings of The Truman Show. It'll never catch up to how many times I've seen The Shawshank Redemption, though.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reruns (A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 18)

Some of my favorite posts from this blog:

My first entry:

Dating hell (in which I reference the prom story, which I KNEW I had written about before but could not find in my archives for whatever reason):

On being restrained by no limits:

Famous in The Huffington Post:

The People Warehouse (one of my all-time favorite posts):

That feeling of going nowhere fast:

The Beauty Way (another fave):

My mom told me about being in Portugal with my dad:

A post about my brother:

One of my first posts (maybe the first ever) about living with depression:

Letter to a kick-ass bitch:

On having a crush on someone unexpected:

I am heavy. I am sad. I am moonlight. I am sleep.:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q Words (A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 17)

Back when I gave up eating Taco Bell, Qdoba served as a tasty replacement. Much tastier. Like deciding to eat steak instead of a scrap piece of carpet someone found in an alley.

These aren't all going to be about food, but I've eaten quail. I don't remember being impressed. It was very wee and very expensive and I was glad I wasn't paying for dinner. Related in an avian way: Tiny Chicken would make a fun band name.

Earlier this year, Joyce Brinkman, the first poet laureate of Indiana, invited me to contribute to "Bee Lines," a collaborative poem all about the life cycle of bees. The poem appears in the image below. My quatrain is in the honeycomb cell directly beneath the title.

Queen's "Killer Queen" is easily my favorite song by the band. I like lots of their work, but the lyrics are just fantastic.

At the risk of sounding obsessive, Queen Latifah. Because damn.

Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor (played by Gale Harold and Randy Harrison, respectively) from the American version of "Queer as Folk" are probably my favorite fictional couple of all time. I rewatch the series just to see them together and swoon.

Harrison (L) and Harold

So I just learned the word quincunx, which sounds SO much dirtier than it really is. Now I just need to figure out how to drop it into everyday conversation. WITHOUT giggling.

Okay, one more food one: I'm honestly not sure if I've ever eaten quinoa -- which I pronounced incorrectly until just a few years ago, not realizing that "quinn-noah" and "keen-wah" were one and the same -- but I'm a lesbian and I've been to dinner to other lesbians' houses. I've also attended women's music festivals where vegetarian food was served. I've eaten quinoa.

For years, I've wanted to make a T-shirt quilt, but the farthest I've gotten so far is saving scraps from beloved shirts and thinking that many of the quilts I've seen are desperately ugly. I'd like to take a quilting class someday, but I'm kind of scared of sewing machines. And I can do math (measuring and converting figures, etc.), but I work kind of slowly and get super anxious if I'm rushed through it. Which is just one reason why I cried twice during the Finite Math class I had to take to graduate with a Liberal Arts degree. What else does Q stand for? Quaalude? Thanks, don't mind if I do.

My next tattoo (or at least one of the next two) will be this Adrienne Rich quotation: "The moment of change is the only poem." I'm not sure what other ink to get. I just know I want more color and seven years between tats is too long.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Prom (A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 16)

I was rifling through topics for this post and decided to write about being open to possibility before I remembered I already did that. Then my brain said Write about attending prom, which I immediately vetoed out of embarrassment and shame. However, I’ve been out of high school for 25 years and if I don’t talk about this shit, it’s going to plague me forever. If I share my completely-not-tragic-please-don’t-be-let-down-by-how-stupid-this-really-is story, maybe I can move on. At least an inch or two forward so I don’t make a horrible face when someone mentions floofy dresses and big '80s hair. 

How I feel about prom... and high school in general
The big, scary, mortifying “secret” is that I went to prom alone twice. I know. Eye. Roll. Actually, I went stag with a female friend my junior year, so it probably looked like I had a date. Especially since my friend was brave enough to be out as bi (and woo BUDDY that didn’t go over well). Our classmates might have been reacting to her personality in general or it might have been homophobia. Whatever the case, I had a female companion and... well, let's just say I look oddly serene in the pictures my folks took before we left.

To catch new readers up really quickly, I didn't realize that I was gay until after I got out of high school. Looking back -- GIRL. HAHAHAHAHA. So many crushes and fluttery feelings and clue phones ringing all over the place. At the time, though, I was consumed with my other differences -- being mixed, being fat, and being a work study kid among classmates from wealthy families. That was enough to distract me for four years.

Senior year rolled around and I elected to go to prom again. I'm not really sure why. I was determined to go with a date and asked six guys – SIX – to prom. Got turned down by every single one. Most of them already had dates (or said they did). I let that embarrass me horribly for a long, long time. It's down to "occasional cringe" territory now, but more than two decades after graduation, it's time for that memory to vamoose entirely. Yes, I showed up at prom alone, sporting an out-of-control hairstyle born of a hot iron and Indiana humidity, and wearing some puffy white nightmare of a dress. That was it. I don't remember the rest of the night, other than standing in line for dinner and watching the boy I was crushing on arrive with his date. That insignificant mess was taking up space in my brain all these years. To explain sum up, I had probably seen too many John Hughes' movies about outcasts connecting with the people of their dreams, which made it easy to hang too much hope on the chance that someone would ask me to dance or bring me a cup of punch during the night. 

It would be great if I could get back all the years I spent making myself feel bad for one, silly night, but I don't even think a fairy godmother could've saved that evening. I still would've felt like an unfixable other. I still would've left high school behind like so much refuse. I still would've come out of the closet. I hereby free my brain from obsessing about that one time I was overheated, kind of sad, and a lot embarrassed. Now I can ease that night towards my subconscious, knowing it will eventually drift away, weightless as so much white tulle.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Oprah (A to Z Blogging Challenge, Day 15)

For the past several months (or maybe even a little longer, like a year), I've been joking that the book of essays I have been compiling since Jesus was a toddler are going to be fantastic enough to get me invited to a gospel brunch at Oprah's house. Truth be told, I don't know what a gospel brunch is. I haven't Googled it, but my mom seems to think it's a brunch where the invitees hear a lot of gospel music. Gospel isn't my favorite music, but I'd be down with that BECAUSE I'D BE AT OPRAH'S HOUSE HELLLLLOOOO. I'd also be the hot new writer that all the Hollywood royalty just had to meet. Who cares if I'd be found in a gutter six months later with a needle sticking out of my arm like sick E.T. on a drug binge? Okay, I'd care and this paragraph has taken a weird turn. Let's try again.

The point of joking about being invited to attend a gospel brunch is that I'm not really joking. I really believe I can make it happen. I need to finish compiling my essays, of course, and decide what my focus is going to be. (And submit the manuscript and get someone interested and have my words edited and probably cry because so many changes and deadlines and what the hell was I thinking and what do you mean you don't know how to market it MARKET THIS, ASSHOLE and compromises and book deals and advances and student loans paid off and talk show appearances HI ELLEN I LOVE YOOOOOU!)

I can write about a lot of things, if we're sticking to that write-what-you-know rule, including:
  • Being fat
  • Being biracial
  • Being over 40 and having to pee all the goddamn time what the HELL bladder
  • Having curly hair with a mind of its own (which would actually be included in the exploration of black/multiracial women's hair sometimes being called "good" hair + all the hair experiences I've had
  • Racism (ooh, a third broad topic for the win!)
  • Misophonia, depression, anxiety and how difficult it is to talk about mental illness
And those are just the topics I can think of off the top of my head. BRING ME ALL THE PANCAKES AND SEAT ME NEXT TO THE QUEEN. I mean Oprah, but if Queen Latifah is there too, I would totally be okay with that I LOVE YOU TOO DANA.