Friday, November 23, 2007

Am I a Literary Idiot?


It's apparent here and there in my writing class that I'm not on my third year of an English degree. Everyone is always quoting authors and the odd literary term I've never heard in my life.

It was never more evident than during my presentation last week when I asked the class if they thought a particular section of the reading was an example of "stream of consciousness". The teacher called me out on it, saying "You just need to read more." At which point a few people in the class snickered. I thought it was a legitimate question. Why not explore if a passage is or isn't stream of consiousness--unless it is oh so blatantly obvious to everyone else (and I don't think it was). I thought that's what education was for.

My only consolation is for what I lack in literary knowledge, I make up for in life experience. One of the students in the class had to look up the ten most popular drinks on Wikipedia just so he could reference people drinking in a bar "properly". Add to that, his character is a taxi-driver, but the student has never ridden in a taxi--he had to ask us what it was like to ride in a cab so he could capture it "accurately". But I'm the ignorant one.

Another student made a reference to a character smoking "the green". At the end of the discussion, someone asked, "What's 'smoking the green'?" Seriously.

Unless all that really means is I've smoked pot and gotten drunk regularly enough to write about it "accurately".

Which still makes me a literary idiot.

: (

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Get Over It

Being sexually abused as a child by two different people in my family has created a button of rage within me that is always half pushed. The button represents being a victim. The second I feel attacked and powerless to retaliate or defend myself, I react unpredictably and sometimes alarmingly. It's not a conscious train of thought that leads to the button being fully pushed, either, it's an emotional overreaction which stems from an instant sense of victimization.

A woman once deliberately splashed water in my face at a public pool. She was upset I didn't know how to swim "properly" in the lane with her. It didn't matter to her she came into my lane to do her laps, even though there were other completely empty lanes she could have swam in-- she maintained "we should all know how to swim together properly." The lifeguard who witnessed this altercation excused the woman's behavior saying the woman was "schizophrenic". The lifeguard further qualified this with, "She told me she was sorry."

My reaction was to go home in a rage (across the street), grab a hammer (just in case), and head back to the pool to wait for this woman to leave. People can do whatever they want to me without repercussion?! If I were schizophrenic, could I get away with whatever I wanted?! Would I then be able to treat people in any manner on impulse?! When she finally came out of the main doors, I said to her, "You never said sorry to me." After which I slowly, and anticlimactically, followed her home (it turned out she lived across the street in the same apartment building, making it a short walk).

While driving home the summer before last, I had the car window down to enjoy a warm breeze. It was a beautiful day, music was playing from a local radio station, when I felt something hit me in the side of the face startling me into swerving my car. Someone from a group of kids passing me in an SUV had thrown a bag of candy at me through my open window.

This could have caused an accident! How dare someone do this to me! This is unacceptable! Could I get out of my car at the next stop light and open their door for a confrontation?! Could I get out at the next stop light and hit their car with my softball bat?! Am I just supposed to sit here and take whatever someone throws at me?! (In this case, a bag of fuzzy peach candy--I hate peaches!)

I looked around my car, desperate for anything to throw that might cause damage to their vehicle, and I spotted a green votive candle. The candle from my friend's bridal shower which used to have nice little ribbons tied around it attaching a silver colored heart inscribed with "love". Without hesitation I scraped off the ribbons and sped up to the vehicle while I leaned my left arm out and threw the candle with all my might. It bounced along the road uselessly and my teeth clenched in response, my knuckles white on the steering wheel.

My foot pressed down on the gas peddle and when I finally came up beside them, I veered my car close into theirs, twice, before punching the gas peddle and speeding away.

After many such scenarios, I've come to the conclusion the feelings caused by life or people acting upon me freely while leaving me powerless will always be the most challenging for me to over come. But over come them I must, because things will always happen which





No one ever said life was supposed to be fair. And there is no such thing as "should".

The reality is, while I can not control anything that happens to me, I can control my response to it. I just haven't quite mastered the space between action and reaction, and at times haven't even recognized such a space exists.

But knowing all of that and understanding all of that has not eliminated my button or caused it to be any less pushed.

That is my reality.
Does anyone ever really get over anything?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An apple a Day

Oh, that's to keep the doctor away. What do you eat a day to keep the dentist away? No, don't tell me to brush and floss everyday, because I already do that.

I was going to write, "I don't know what it is about going to the dentist that makes me miserable," but I know exactly why I feel miserable after going to the dentist. Usually I'm told I need extensive work which insurance is not going to cover (like the time I was told I needed something like 3 crowns, which insurance doesn't fully pay for and runs around $800 a pop). Or maybe it's the times I've gone in for emergency appointments to get teeth pulled, or root canaled, only to discover the dentist did the wrong tooth. Or maybe it was when I burst into tears after hearing how much work needed to be done and the dentist suggested I see a therapist. It could even be the time my Mom didn't realize the extent of our dental coverage and instead paid out of pocket for me to have a tooth pulled (which dentists loathe to do).


Granted, times have changed for the better since then. Today's appointment revealed no cavities and elicited the comment, "Your bottom teeth are absolutely excellent." I need four old fillings replaced, however, but after that I should be good to go for years to come. I had most of the work done over the last two years (yes, all the root canals and crowns which were deemed warranted, as my dual coverage then was so fantastic, I had to take advantage of it before it ended). And my current insurance will cover everything needed this time around (which I can hardly believe).

Then why do I feel so moody?

It could be simply sitting in the dentist's chair makes me feel like an out of control child who has shitty teeth all over again. Or it could be the dental hygienist asking me today if I'd gotten married because of me changing my name on file (for what should be the very last time). Seriously, if one in two marriages end in divorce, should you not be careful about assuming there's been a happy communion which has resulted in the name change?

Mah. My head, jaw and shoulders ache, and my teeth hurt from the cleaning. Plus, I just realized I don't get paid until tomorrow.

Poor, poor Tiffy. : ) Why is it no one ever feels as sorry for me as I do?