Pucker Up

Recently, I've been spending more money on a newer addiction. At first, I thought I could control it, but I'm starting to realize the more I buy, the more I want to buy. As a pragmatic personality, any addiction is a problem that must be nipped in the bud.

I've been whoring myself out for make-up. Usually, it has to be something fancy to catch my eye, but recently I discovered Sephora. See, I have been avoiding this store for a few years because I passed it up thinking it was just a really smelly perfume store. I was in Vegas walking the strip and my aunt asked me if I wanted to go in. As I stood by the door, there was this extremely heavy, pungent mixture of perfumes. I immediately winced and thought "headache." Then, however, a girlfriend of mine who goes to school in Manhattan was talking about it. She said they carried all kinds of make-up--like the make-up they typically mention using on the superstars, etc.

And so, the whoring begins. I remember when I worked at Limited. We were connected to Victoria's Secret and Express. I used to walk across to the other stores and look around. One Christmas, Express had all kinds of colors of nail polish. It was really the first year new colors came out, like greens & blues & GLITTER. I asked for every color, which I still own. Luckily, those colors have hung around. I own polishes that change colors or reflect two different colors. Lately, I've been pouring over lip-glosses & lipsticks that change color, glitter, reflect, shine, sparkle, smell, and/or taste. It's like I can't stop myself when the ingredients consist of "glitter" or "crystal."

I own body glitter, glitter dust, glitter eye shadow, glitter blush, glitter lipstick, glitter lip-gloss, and even glitter mascara. Mind you I don't wear all these light-transforming glitter products at the same time. I would light up like a Christmas tree if I dare tried. But the fact remains, I continue to buy these products with lip-gloss being my nemesis. There is some 13-year-old girl trapped inside me who can't satiate her need to sparkle.

To shine or not to shine? That is the question.


Talk About Covering Your Ass

At my part-time job, the company issued new employee handbooks. It's been about four years since I've seen one & some changes have been made, so my manager asked me to look over it. As I glanced at the company's outline of our employee discount, this sentence jumped out:

"Spouses of regular full-time, part-time and casual associates and same-gender domestic partners of regular full-time associates also receive a 40% discount."

Okay, that is just so funny to me. Don't get me wrong. I think it's great. I just keep imaging the corporate people with furrowed brows wondering what language they would use there, though I'm not sure why they limited the discount to only the full-time employees.

Sadly, my same-gender co-worker from my full-time job said, "Can I qualify for that?"


My Own Little Rain Dance

Right now, I'm actually saying prayers that the heightened feelings of annoyance are directly due to hormones, and that perhaps, the way I see things is skewed by them. My good and bad angels are having it out in my head. I'm hoping the bad angel doesn't get control of my tongue, or we're all headed for a big, big disaster.

My head hurts--literally.


Mom, watch me!

At my job, I am responsible for tracking insurance. The day the policies expire, I am typically on the phone with numerous agents to ensure renewals and request certificates. There is one agency that is always so nice to work with. I usually work with one girl, but she was out of the office today, so I got someone new (to me). After a few phone calls back and forth, I thought about how nice both of these girls were. A lot of times when I call, agents seem annoyed that they have to pull files or deal with fax machines, which I can totally relate to, but it is my job. I have to make sure our institution is protected at all times. Anyway, I got to thinking that I should call their boss and tell them he has some great girls working for him. As soon as I asked for their manager, I got nervous. I was really hoping I'd get voicemail or could just e-mail him. He picked up the phone, and I immediately felt like a big cheese ball, but I went ahead and told him how much I enjoyed working with his agency & both girls. He was also extremely polite and thanked me for calling him & letting him know. At the very least, I hope he tells those girls that someone out there really appreciates their hard work. And maybe when they get reviewed, he'll remember that their customers are grateful for them.

I often get e-mails where our customers thank me for my work, and many of them thank me for my efficiency and promptness--sometimes offering me jobs though I'm sure they aren't serious. It always makes me feel good. I sometimes wish my boss would get to see that though. I don't think he knows that about me, and it's a little hard & perhaps childish to want to go into his office and say, "Look, look. They think I'm good! This person was impressed with me."

We should all pass the thank yous onto the people who matter.
Newfound Excitement

Yes, I truly am ecstatic. For the past two days, my twenty-five minute commute to work has jumped up to beyond two hours as a result of the severe storm and its damage on the city. For more than one hundred twenty minutes, I traveled approximately twelve miles. Yesterday, at quitting time, as I turned onto the dreaded main road Germantown Parkway, I could see nothing but a sea of automobiles. My heart sank. I could not go another day sitting, crawling, and creeping my way around the city. I made a U-turn and headed for the interstate, which is always busy at rush hour, but I just prayed that busy didn't equate dead stopped. I made it home in about thirty minutes. I think I said "Yeah, Germantown, have I mentioned the traffic and how bad it is?" at least ten times last night. It was making me absolutely crazy.

This morning, I decided I'd give the interstate another try, and holy schlarb, I am at work thirty minutes early. I was probably the happiest driver on the road this morning. I was grinning from ear to ear, grateful that my car was in motion. I didn't have to turn off my ignition every thirty feet, waiting to inch my way to work.

I am the most grateful girl on the planet right now.


Summer Storm of 2003

Or at least that is what they're calling it. As I was getting ready for work this morning and adding all the man-produced chemicals to straigten my hair, I heard about a severe thunderstorm heading my way. I decided I would increase the amount of hair products to ensure I had a fighting chance against Mother Nature. As I sectioned my hair off to dry it, the power starting playing games with me. I begged the hair gods to just let me get my frizzy, curly, can-never-make-up-its-mind hair dry. As I moved to the last section with seconds to spare, the power took its final bow; I was officially without juice. Right then, my girlfriend/coworker called me. At her apartment complex, the thunder, lightening, and severe winds were really kicking up. Because I live in a tank, I really couldn't hear much at all. She had decided to jump back out of the shower because of looming weather for which I told her she was retarded. I think she retorted something about me being bull headed.

I was determined to get to work and to not let the weather stop me. As I drove out of the neighborhood, most of the storm had passed. Apparently, there was something called micro bursts in which the wind and rain kind of react like someone dropping a water balloon. It causes straight-line winds, which can be extremely serious. Leaves and branches littered the side streets. As I pulled onto the main road, I noticed giant trees had been snapped in two. Power lines were down, and all the stoplights were out. Some of the signal lights had been blown down and many more were twisted and dangling by a lone wire. Some of the streetlights had come toppling down as well, and many that hadn't met the ground were leaning toward it. A trip that normally takes twenty-five minutes took me over two hours. I heard reports of windows being busted and buildings being torn down. I drove past an older apartment complex that had many large trees in it. Some of the trees snapped and were resting on the apartments. I could see holes in the roof and people standing outside to survey the damage. It looked very much like a tornado had ripped through town. I later learned that winds picked up speeds that exceeded 80mph.

So, my city is quite a mess. The last I heard, there were over 300,000 people without power and many more without water due to the pumps being broken. I am grateful to report I am not one of those people tonight. My house is in tact as are all of our large trees. Our toilets are flushing (thank GOD), and the air conditioning is running smoothly (ah sha sha). I still feel incredibly sorry for all the crews that will probably work the entire night through. I always think about them when bad weather hits. Most people, if they are anything like me, kind of like the break from the daily grind. We look forward to not having to go to work or getting to come in late. There's just something exciting when the city stops. People finally have the time for one another and even genuine concern. But those poor electric crews are busier than ever. I can't even imagine all the stress that they under tonight. They are like the armed forces of our city, which has me thinking...Why aren't the TV anchors ever telling us where to drop off home-baked goodies for the crew workers?


What the world needs now--

Is some common sense. I believe that good help is that hard to find. In fact, I'm reminded of that daily. Lately, I've been on a somewhat healthier kick (key word being the comparative, "healthier") for TCBY. Since I'm a poor girl, I've been downsizing my Shivers, and just recently opted for a Parfait instead. I've mentioned that money is a consideration. Yesterday, as I scooped into the plastic glass with ultra fresh Reese's Peanut Butter Cups topping, I noted that the inventor of this very "Parfait" had the layering all kinds of wrong. From the bottom of the cup, they start with a topping and then add the ice cream, or yogurt rather, so that you end with three levels of alternating topping and yogurt, in that order. What I found most disturbing is that when you get to the end of the cup, you're left with a whole lot of topping and no yogurt. For me, the yogurt kind of serves as a thirst quencher (should that be hyphenated?). So, I was just munching on straight Reese's cups, which gets kind of rich. After much deliberation, I decided the only reason that the Parfait inventor decided to mandate that the Parfait start with a topping is because he or she is anal and wanted it to look even. I can almost relate to that. For if the inventor ate the damn thing, he or she would realize they had the design all ass backwards. Say I picked a different topping, like chocolate syrup or something. Who wants to eat nothing but an inch of syrup that rests lonely in the bottom?

Today, back for round two, I decided I would politely request that they switch the layering up and start with the yogurt first. I so should have known when I received the blank expression that something was going to go awry. I watched the young girl start off with my vanilla yogurt, but she seemed to overfill the first layer. Half the cup was already filled with yogurt. Sandwiching in two more additional layers of yogurt was going to be a challenge. As I pictured her trying to remedy the situation, I felt a furrow crease between my eyebrows, but then the other girl offered to ring me up. As a result, I could no longer witness the Parfait-making process and was distracted with paying. When the girl handed me my treat, I realized why she gave me a puzzled look. I was handed a plastic cup with only TWO stinking layers of yogurt and Reese's cups. TWO! Do you know the mountain of yogurt that existed between each layer? It was a lot! I was going to have to eat most of that stinking stuff without a topping. Dude, that's what you go for--the TOPPING. Hello? I wanted to say something like "Um, where's the next layer? I'm supposed to get THREE layers lady. I expect a 33.3% discount--at least--for this damn thing."

I left miffed, really miffed. And as I sat, eating mostly vanilla yogurt with just a few crumbs of Reese's topping, I thought to myself, "The world needs more common sense. "

Damn that blonde Germantown yogurt bitch.



That is the word for today.

Last Friday, I met with my boss to tell him that I wanted to pursue my lost raise. I had my notes ready and decided to tape the meeting, without my boss's knowledge. Now, that may appear to be dishonest, but it wasn't done with malicious intent whatsoever. I wanted the conversation to be as painless and as comfortable as possible for the both of us. If I told him I wanted to record our meeting, I thought that he might think the tape would be used to hurt him in some way. I thought that he would remain extremely defensive, which would, in turn, make me really uncomfortable. To me, the tape was a way of knowing where my boss stood. Sometimes, when I am nervous, I can leave a room and completely forget people's words. I can paraphrase what they said, but I always fear I might have altered their meaning. Because I had the tape, there was no remembering verbiage or word choice. I guess I just felt comforted by it.

After the meeting, I was happy I had decided to tape it. I could clearly see that at this stage, he and I disagreed on what had transpired at my annual back in January. Though his story didn't completely differ from mine, it's meaning had been ever so shifted that we now viewed the situation entirely different. What I thought was a bonus meant just for me, had now been given the title "mid-term bonus," which inherently implies a time frame, and was promised to an unspecified number of people or departments. I had also been under the impression that the bonus was approved by upper management, which left me thinking it was a done deal; however, my boss said it was never guaranteed or promised to me. In fact, it was only an "opportunity" if the funds were still available come mid-term. Again with time frame references. I went into the meeting wanting to know that we at least agreed on the facts, but those facts were left to two people's memory and two people's interpretation. Two isn't a large number, but it's enough to cause disagreement. We ended the meeting with me saying I'd like to think about things to see if I wanted to pursue meeting with upper management. He seemed to think that I would receive the same answers from his boss but welcomed me to invoke my rights.

Today, I went into work assuming my boss would be asking what my plan of action would be. I anticipated that I would tell him to give me a few more days to really go over my side of things and that I would meet with his boss later. Those ideas never really came to be. My boss called me into his office first thing. Unsure of what the meeting would be, I brought my tape recorder. The meeting was only about some things at work, not my bonus or anything of the sort. I went back to my desk relieved; however, my boss followed me. I guess he somehow knew I had a recorder. He started to grab a notebook from my desk, which still contained the recorder. He feigned interest in the papers of the notebook, which I tried to hang on to. I told him I would bring all that information in a few minutes, clearly knowing where he was going with this. He gave me a stern look and said my name with his head tilted just so reminding me of my teachers when I had done something really wrong. He quickly snapped something about "company property" and asked if there was a tape recorder inside. I saw no reason to lie. Infuriated, he spun from my cube muttering, "This changes everything. I need to see you in my office right now." I looked at my co-worker and jokingly said, "So, can I record this one too?"

My boss was rightfully angry, but I'm certain he misunderstood my motivations. I think he felt I had betrayed his trust in me. And by not trusting him, he told me, "This can no longer work out." I immediately felt like I really hurt him. I tried to explain my reasons, but he was too angry to hear me. He said some hateful, emotional things, and though my brain was shouting right back at him, I remained silent. I left his office thinking I should just pack up my things. Within seconds, he was speed dialing HR and his boss. My fate wasn't looking so good. He high-tailed it to his boss's office, and I sat there wondering what would become of my Linda Tripp move.

I had been on the offensive since the beginning. Suddenly, with my boss knowing I taped him, I had put my job in unfornseen jeopardy. I had come into work thinking that I still held most of the cards concerning how I wanted to handle things, and then I lost them all to a stinking tape. Now, I had become untrustworthy--just like that. And my only motivation to have that tape was to keep things honest, straightforward, and clear. All that I had brewing inside of me was quickly thinking, "Okay, you just lost your job and your case...for a tape!" My tummy felt like I had ingested concrete.

My boss came back to the office about an hour later. After he took his lunch, he told me that his boss wanted to see me--alone. I asked if I could decline or post-pone the meeting. He told me no. So, I packed up for the day and left for the big boss's office. I was suddenly aware of every ounce of tension in my limbs. I could barely remember a time when I felt so nervous or scared. My whole body was trembling. A million scenarios were running through my head. Was he going to fire me? Was he going to tell me how disappointed he was in me? Was he angry too? How many people knew about this already? I felt like a lamb going to the slaughter house.

Well, things didn't go how I anticipated once again. They actually went much better, in a sense. My (big) boss said he thought that recording conversations probably wasn't allowed in the employee handbook. Thinking he was saying something else, I let out an, "Ah huh," in which my brain said, "Wait, where did you read that?" He asked me to explain my thought processes--a question that I've always found rather intelligent. I told him the tape was never ever going to be used against my boss or even played to anyone else at the bank. I originally wanted the tape to help me prepare for coming to him at some later date. I didn't want to end up pleading my case to him with my direct boss interjecting with, "No, that's not what I said" or "You've misunderstood." I told him things just spun out of control, and for that, I was extremely sorry. I never meant for the tape so be some shady, desperate thing.

As it turns out, he wanted to know about the original disaster--the bonus. I told him how I thought my boss and I disagreed on what took place. I explained my side and my boss's side, and strangely, my boss's boss DIDN'T AGREE WITH MY BOSS. In fact, he apologized if my boss "misunderstood" him or if he "mislead" him in any way. He even stated that bonus or incentive plans never existed within the company at my level, but that perhaps they should. Incentive plans are always offered in writing with clearly defined perimeters and given from HR. He went on to say that he recalled my boss having issues with my performance level at my annual and that my boss didn't give me the top percentage raise because of that. I'm quite certain my face adjusted to hearing such news. Performance issues? That sounds like I'm some sort of problem employee. I starting thinking, "Did I get bad evaluation? I thought I had a really good one. What the heck is going on? I know I had good marks on everything." I left more confused than ever.

When I got back to my office, my boss asked me how it went. One word: "Interesting." I told my boss that his manager had never heard of any incentive or bonus program. I even told him what he said about my evaluation, which my boss said wasn't right as he pulled it from the drawer. He was completely shocked and dismayed. I tried to explain that how he felt right then, is how I've been feeling with him. UNSUPPORTED. That was my motivation for the tape. I didn't want things to get ugly, misconstrued, or that famous word, mislead.

For me, the fact that my bosses didn't even agree on anything was some sort of sweet victory. Suddenly, my tape wasn't so malicious. Suddenly, it was clear that people remember things very differently, even if they are crystal clear in your mind. Suddenly, my boss was feeling just like me: hurt, disappointed, unsupported, and a little crazy. When you remember things happening one way, and the other person comes back with something totally different, you start to question your own sanity. You start to think you are in a time warp of some sort. You start kicking yourself for not having things in writing, or better yet, RECORDED. It becomes one person's word against the other's, and what is that really worth?

I left my boss's office feeling victorious in some small way. I told him I wanted the whole thing dropped, but seeing how he felt, I understood if he felt the need to call up his boss again, which I'm sure will lead to a discussion with all three of us present. I continued to explain that this--all this stuff--was why I wanted my tape. I didn't want to feel crazy. If fact, had I never approached my boss and went directly to his boss instead, I'm certain I would have felt even crazier when he told me he had never heard of an incentive or bonus offer.

So, here's to balance. I couldn't have pictured a better ending. Okay, well I could dream of one where my boss's boss gives me a big raise, but this ending is a close second. I will forever chalk this one up to a bad learning experience. Get things in writing people. Have them recorded. Have a third neutral party present. Protect yourself because no one else will. The he-said-she-said game was never that much fun. And I, for one, like to know that I can walk out of any room and hold my head high because I was honest.


The Need for a Rewind Button

It's quite possible that I just talked my boss into transferring me...accidentally. I think he mistaked my give-me-a-raise pitch for the get-me-out-of-this-department speech. I'm not even sure what I said, but the ending coversation is definitely not what I was going for.

I can say "no," right?


When Your Game Plan Goes Sour

My misery is at an all-new low. I keep wondering how I get myself into these bottomless pits of despair, and the only answer I can come up with is that I volunteered for it, or I deserved it. But neither of those answers actually tells me why I'm here.

I graduated college in 2000 and due to the impending doom of rent & a car payment, I took the first job I interviewed for, which, looking back, might have been the biggest mistake of my life. When I first began working at the bank, it didn't seem so bad. There were a lot of things I listed as needing improvement--something I always manage to look for in any job. I guess when you're always taking in things you want to change, you are always motivated or at least I am. But three years later, I don't see much else that I can change. I'm angry with myself for still being here. I'm holding a position with a four-year degree that probably only requires a high school diploma, if that. I question if I will ever make good use of my English degree before every educated brain cell has been lost. (Time, unfortunately, is always working against me.)

I work two jobs and have been for as long as I can remember. My second job was never "needed" in the sense of monetary gain. I decided it (my discount on merchandise) would be beneficial to me should I ever move out. Okay, I've been storing brand new things for so long that I can't even remember what I own. I have been forced to keep a list on my computer. (God help me if I ever lose that file.) I've already been replacing new things with newer things. That's the sad state I'm in right now. I'm redecorating with decorations that have already been retired even though they are still untouched. I'm on my third set of dishes. I own things meant only for display in a china cabinet, and believe me, my first place probably won't have a dining room. Speaking of a dining room, I already have a dining room table and a kitchen table and a bar table. Bar table? Yes, and sadly, I don't even consume that much alcohol. But should I decide to take up drinking, I've collected enough barware to put the hippest party-throwing couple to utter shame.

Don't go labeling me as a pack rat though. That couldn't be further from the truth. Where was I going with all this?

Ah, my state of utter misery. Yes. So, I'm completely uninspired by my job. I feel unappreciated, especially since the whole raise fiasco, which I'm not sure has ended. I just don't know what to do. The downward spiral is starting to feel like more of a vortex with a great concentration of gravity. I don't think I understand how adults get to be adults, because so far, I'm feeling more like a kid misplaced in the adult world. It's like the big kids won't play fair with me. They taunt me with their nice cars, homes, and vacations. I'm struggling to buy furniture, feed my cat, and keep my yearly dental cleanings. Somehow, I'm supposed to be saving for my next car, future home, retirement, and investing. Seriously, who has that much spare change, and how can I get their job?

There should be more to life than this. There really should be.


The Monkey on My Back

Okay, so I'm not totally up on the drug slang, but I thought that title had something to do with being addicted. I, Jeni Reno, am officially addicted to Afrin nose spray. Here's the thing. In the past three years or so, I get this "thing" that seems to be activated by (a) travel, (b) outdoors, or (c) the thought of either. This "thing" starts with severe congestion--a complete and total blockage of my nasal passages, which is never as big of a deal as it seems when you say it, that is, until you are experiencing it. You begin thinking that you are going to suffocate from lack of oxygen because you can no longer chew your food with your mouth closed. Suddenly, you are completely aware that oxygen isn't making its way to your lungs. Panic my friends. Now, I would go to the doctor for this "thing," but so far, I'm tired of paying for them to tell me what I already know. My doctor is going to say, "Wow, you are really compacted. Have you had any headaches?" I'm going to be annoyed that he just made a hundred dollars from such an enlightened observation. If I pay him a hundred dollars, I want him to stick that light up my nose and say, "I can tell you've been looking at traveling to Seattle. Stick to the east coast. Also, if you decide to sunbathe, make sure you stay on the east side of the house. That will cut down on the flow of allergens." Maybe we bypass the visit.

So, I'm left with the power of over-the-counter drugs, which let's be honest, isn't that potent. People always have recommendations too. Sudafed, Benedryl, Contact, blah, blah, blah. Dude, none of them work. I've tried the day time, the night time, the lunch time, the break time, the in between time. I've tried the allergy, the cold, and the sinus. Is there truly a difference? Me thinks not. Don't be fooled when your head is full of snot. Don't sell yourself or your health short. Nothing in that isle is going to help you. Well, I say nothing, but there is something, but then again, it's only for the strong. Afrin my friends. Afrin is a god, just an evil one. You can snort the good stuff and just feel your nasal passages opening up. The oxygen is again flowing in the natural passageway to your lungs. The sun is glorious again, ending world hunger seems possible, and having world peace looks like an option. Even though the crank says it only lasts for twelve hours, I can give sworn testimony that its high goes way past twelve but not quite the twenty-four you may need.

A high is closely tied to the down...yes, the down of Afrin. The crank can only be used for three golden, glorious days. In fact, you will start to feel so good, you start to think your sickness if a figment of your imagination. Perhaps, you are well on your way to recovery. But then, then my friends, the fourth day comes. The dark clouds come out, the snot compacts into more corners of your skull that you were never really aware are meant to be somewhat empty, and the nasal passages decide to seal off for what could really be an eternity. And oh how you long for your Afrin. You might even start to rationalize that technically, you haven't really met your limit. The directions say you can use 2-3 pumps per nostril and up to twice a day; however, because you dipped slowly into the vat of addiction, you only used one sprit per nostril and managed to use it just once a day. So, could you venture another two to three days on the crank? Would it be that bad? If you do hit the bottle a few more times, do you give up the dream of oxygen ever reaching your nostrils again without the aid of oxymetazoline hydrochloride? Will your nose fall off? Maybe they said no more than three days to scare people because they knew people would stay on it for at least another two days. Maybe the cut-off period is actually five days. Five. That's a good round number.

[Sigh] These are the thoughts of an addict. I need my S-M-A-C-K!


The Dance

I attended a wedding today for someone I've known most of my life--Wes Ward. I have so many memories with this guy. I spent many teenage years secretly in love with him. I used to watch him across the street playing baseball, shooting hoops, washing his car, or working in the yard. When I started high school, he and I became very close. He was like the big brother I never had. We used to take these hour-long walks through our neighborhood late at night. He even got me to start liking the music of my native land, also known as country. To this day, I can't hear a Garth Brooks song and not think of Wes.

I recall several times when he defended me growing up. One time, mean ole Jeremy Lewis threw gum in my hair. I think I retaliated and tried to hit him or something, which promptly caused me to get punched in the face. The beating would have been much worse, but Wes jumped in and restrained him. Another time, in high school, my boyfriend broke up with me for no reason, or so I had thought. The next day at school, I learned it was for another girl, and by that afternoon, I could no longer restrain my tears. Wes asked me what happened. When I told him, he quickly offered to kick the boy's ass, which somehow made me feel better. I told him it wasn't necessary, but I think he ended up getting most of the baseball team after him.

I've always loved Wes. He just warms my heart every time I see him. I ran into him this past year when I was working. When I saw him and our eyes met, he got this huge grin across his face. I was paralyzed where I stood. He walked over to give me a hug. When I wrapped my arms around him, I realized I might not be able to let him go. He is one of my favorite guys to hold. After the two halves of my brain stopped fighting--one side telling me to release him so he can breathe and the other side telling me they will have to pry me off first--he turned to introduce me to his fiancee. My stomach sank. Engaged! That was definitely not something I ever envisioned, well, unless it was to me. I tried to offer a heartfelt, "Congratulations," but every brain cell was arguing with me.

I remember another time I had run into him on Beale Street a few years back. We met at a club and hung out for the rest of the night. He even bought me a few drinks, and I think he dumped his friends to hang out with me. We ended up leaving with a friend of mine who drove me back to my car. So, I took Wes back to his house. I'm not sure exactly how intoxicated he was, but he kept telling me to give him a call. I could tell he was hitting on me a little bit. I was really hoping he would try to kiss me or something...some sort of affirmation that he liked me.

To this day, I have never managed to lay one on the famous Wes Ward. And now, my chances of landing the deal just dropped about a zillion percent. But that's okay. I will always love him more than the brother I never had.

Congratulations Wes. This time, I mean it.


Keeping Your Mojo

Anger is a strange feeling to me. It seems to be the only one that I ever feel and feel well. I've often said that I thought anger was just masquerading hurt, which I would surmise I must feel a lot. My anger has always come in such a sharp and thunderous explosion, that within a few hours, I would be exhausted, calmed, and usually sobbing. I remember my thoughts racing--wishing I didn't ever feel anything and wishing I could just evaporate. No one understood my life, and no one could understand me. High school was especially hard on me. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep. I was angry at my parents' control and usually heartbroken over my love life.

When I entered college, I suddenly felt very alone and strangely more comfortable as such. I enrolled in a college with 20,000 students. With the exception of a handful of people, no one knew who I was, and I managed to just exist. It was such a welcomed change. I could go to all my classes and never speak a word to anyone. I finally blended into the background and had nothing to focus but my schoolwork.

My senior year in college, I made a bad decision to date someone I shouldn't have. I had foolishly believed that something bigger than my actions or me had caused things to change. For the next two years of my life, I learned the consequences of my beliefs. I experienced so much hurt that I managed to unknowingly eradicate it from my life.

As a result, I'm just not the girl I used to be. I loved with my entire heart. I believed in making things work no matter what obstacles I faced. I never threw in the towel. Giving up was not my bargaining tool. The more you pushed me, the more I would push you back. If you told me "no," I'd show you otherwise. I believed that nothing was greater than feeling. Loving someone was what the world was about. I would rather take a risk with my heart than continue one day without feeling.

I managed to leave someone that I loved more than I ever thought I was capable of. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I thought that if I left someone, it meant I didn't love them and perhaps that I never did. I was officially giving up at something and that was a foreign notion to me. I was left with the feeling that I could do nothing to save my relationship. My therapist said some people are more comfortable in a bad relationship because it's all that they know. They become accustomed to taking all the punches. I left her office wondering if I was that person. A few weeks later, I made sure I wasn't or at the very least, wouldn't continue to be.

Two years later, I'm still very much that wounded girl. I'm numb to so much. I feel like I've lost the capability to feel anything but anger. My anger dissipates quickly, and it no longer leaves me feeling sad or hurt. I simply feel nothing--empty. And there are many times when I wish I could hold onto my anger. I need it. I need that feeling of something, and sadly, there's nothing that makes me conjure it up once I've lost it. I lose my oomph.

So, here I am--depleted, full of something and nothing at the same time. It's a strange place to be, and one I secretly wished for. I'm nearly incapable of being hurt, but at the same time, I'm incapable of feeling love. I have a quote on my chalkboard at home that says, "When you truly know the meaning of the word love, you will also truly know the meaning of the word pain." It's strange how the two coincide and coexist. When you eradicate one, you can unintentionally eradicate the other. I ended what was most painful to me because it was something I was no longer capable of loving. I managed to finally walk away, and now, I have to stand up for myself all over again.

Today, I discovered I would not receive my raise at work. I was promised a bonus at my annual review with a challenge to clear our department's exceptions--those that were actually capable of being cleared. Dollar signs flashed through my eyes. I was a determined woman. I finished the end of March, but I never saw my raise. I was later told this "challenge" had been offered to many other departments, and a deadline of May 1st had been imposed, which was never told to me. So, I waited. I continued to remind my boss, who, lately, seemed irritated and avoided me. Today, I had promised myself that if my boss didn't have an answer for me, I would go to his boss.

I walked into my boss's office and inquired, yet again, where my raise was. He asked me to sit down, and I knew immediately, there was no raise to speak of. He mentioned that the company has been struggling to cut back in every department that it could. The raise was simply not an option. I was immediately infuriated, and at the same time, completely dumbfounded and at a loss for words. I said, "What about what you guys promised me?" to which he just replied, "We can't do it at this point or ever."

I left his office with so much hatred for so many things. I went back to my desk and the tears finally started to come out. I was so enraged. My boss is someone I believed was my friend. I respected his leadership and enjoyed his company. Now, he was the enemy. I wondered if he had even stood up for me. I suspected he had known this information for quite some time but wasn't planning on telling me unless he was just forced to. I thought there must be some legal ramification for what the company had done to me. So many thoughts were running through my brain. I'm tired of being screwed, even though I'm used to it.

Within a few hours, all the immediate anger I felt had subsided. Two hours earlier, I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day. I wanted to walk out of the office and never return. I thought about telling my boss he had my two-weeks' notice. I wanted my father to call his lawyer (a very far-fetched dream). I was dreaming of getting even and fighting for what was mine. And then, as the tears dried, I was void of all those feelings. There were no feelings. I still logically concluded that what had transpired was wrong, but I couldn't fight it the same way.

Here I am. Someone has blatantly punched me square in the jaw, and I'm standing here. I know I need to at least hold my fists up, perhaps take a swing or two, but I'm just looking at my feet. Why have I lost the instinct to fight for myself? Is it just too hard for me to care about anything or anyone? Myself included? Am I just exhausted, or is that what I tell myself?

If I don't fight this, I'm going to hate myself for it.


What's worse?

That my wireless internet connection works better from my toilet than it does my bed or that I actually know this?

Seriously, I have a full signal!
Browned-eyed Boy

Okay, so my intern just woke me up. It's a good thing I didn't blurt out something embarrassing because I was expecting it to be my coworker. He's apparently hooked on my Lifesavors candy. I told him he was welcome to whole jar. He was sporting another green tie too. I don't think I've ever spied a straight guy in a green tie before, especially a bright, happy green. Do I even notice tie patterns?

When he smiles, his brown eyes squint, and it makes me smile in return. Yeah, I so like him. He's far too precious for me to corrupt.
Cruel Intentions

I've decided that I'm not nearly as strong as I think I am. When I think I can bust out a 12-hour workday, I live to regret such thinking. I've been under the impression that long workdays aren't hard on me. It's the coming home at 10:30, being wound up, and still utterly exhausted that's hard on me. It's knowing that I need to get some sleep, or I will hate myself tomorrow. It's forcing myself under the covers past midnight, quickly calculating my alarm will be going off in less than four hours, and then fearing I will oversleep that all lead to a very disturbing night's rest. There are lies that I tell my body in the morning just so it sits up. I promise to come home and get in bed early, with the addition of a Bendryl or something equally relaxing. I even let my brain envision the peaceful, solid rest for a few seconds. I plead with my body to move. Somehow, I know that my promises are only good intentions.

It's too bad that our bodies don't come equipped with sensory levels telling us when we need sleep. You could just look at the level indicator and think, "I have two more hours of energy, and then, then I must sleep...or die."