Friday, March 25, 2005

When apples attack
Sometimes I'm an idiot.

Things happen to me because I am an idiot. Today I had one of those idiot days when things happen that are completely bizarre and embarrassing, and I swear I am not going to tell anyone because I am too embarrassed. But about ten minutes later I can't help but tell everyone I know. And then I blog about it.

It all started with my bike ride this morning. I had scheduled 50 miles for today, so I went to the lake to ride the trail for my 50 miles. It all started fine and good. My plan was to do this much without stopping.

Before I began my first lap around the lake, I was cold. So I wore my extra shirt. Of course, during the first lap I got hot, as I knew I would. So I had to stop and take off my extra shirt. Stop #1.

Then my battery died in my mp3 player sometime during lap 3. So, I had to stop to replace the battery with the extra battery I stored in the bag underneath the seat on my bike. Stop #2.

Then, about 30 minutes later, I hit a bump and heard a loud clatter that sounded suspiciously like a cell phone hitting the ground. I quickly determined this was, in fact, MY cell phone hitting the ground because I had forgotten to zip the seat bag closed again after replacing the mp3 player battery, and the bag contained my cell phone. So, I had to stop, go back, and hunt for my cell phone in the bushes, then make sure it still worked. Thankfully it did. But it has an ugly dent on the side of it now. Why? Because I'm an idiot. Stop #3.

I finally finished my 50 miles, with no further stopping required. But sadly, my ride that was supposed to be stop-free actually included three stops.


Then I met some friends for a picnic, also at the lake. All was fine and well. There was food, good friends, sunshine.

Then Friend A wanted to play catch with a ball. But, we had no ball. So we grabbed an apple that was approximately the size of a softball, and decided to play Apple. This consisted of throwing the apple back and forth. Much like one would throw a ball back and forth.

And then, I was an idiot again.

I am an excellent catcher. I can catch most anything. But today, I don't know what happened. One minute we were having a perfectly friendly, harmless game of Apple. The next, the apple flew threw my hands and directly into my nose.



Now, I've never been hit in the face by fruit before. So I was both stunned, and in a lot of pain. Who knew apples were so hard???

At first, it was funny. Then, I realized how much it hurt. I've been sensitive about things hitting my nose (or as our friends in Clueless would say, my doctor doesn't like me partcipating in activities where balls fly at my nose) since I had nose surgery several years ago to correct a deviated septum. NOT a nose job. It was a life-saving surgery, thank you very much.

But clearly he should have been more specific about things flying at my nose. He should have included fruit. Beware of fruit to the nose, he should have said. I would have heeded this warning with the utmost of heeding. I would never have allowed the game of Apple to be invented, at least not without the proper protective headwear.

So, as I stood there today holding my nose (I don't know why we do this. Holding the thing that hurts never actually makes it feel better), and as tears began to form in my eyes, I had to face the fact that....

I had just been hit in the face by an apple.

An apple.


Me. Because I'm an idiot.

I think that hurt more than my nose did. I had been hit in the face by an apple. Ouch.

Friend A laughed at me a lot, even though she had thrown the apple. But she also offered several times to take me to the ER, while our doctor friend who picnicked with us continued to sit on the picnic blanket as though an apple had not just struck me in the face. Apparently doctors are not to be bothered by things such as apples to the nose on their days off.

Friend A does owe me a trip to the ER, since I took her and her mangled toe to the ER last summer. But I'm saving it for something good. I can't very well let her take me to the ER for something like an apple to the nose. That's just embarrassing.

But for the record, I never laughed once at her toe incident. Well, at least not where she could see me...

The apple had a dent in it that is the shape of the end of my nose.

And my nose still hurts.

Man, I'm an idiot.

Especially because once we determined that my nose wasn't broken and I didn't need to go to the ER, we resumed the game of Apple.

No further injuries to report.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Many things have gone on lately. Too many, in fact, to write about. I'm so busy, I just don't have the time I wish I had to blog more. Especially for my readers who miss me when 10 days go by and there is no word from The Tyrant....

But I write this today because something happened the other night to confirm that even being as busy as I am, I still manage to watch too much tv. It's affected my thinking, my speech, the way I see things. And as Friend A watched the event unfold, she immediately looked at me and knew I would blog about it.

Truth be told, however, the thought didn't cross my mind until she said I would blog about it. And further truth be told, I had no idea I wanted to write about all of this. But she demanded credit for saying that I would blog about it, even though she has no idea what all I will really write about here. And all of it is ironic since she has a strict not-reading-friend's-blogs policy, so she wouldn't know she got credit for anything unless she were to read it here.

But, Friend A, here is your credit. This blog entry would not exist were it not for you.

Anyway, I was telling a story to a group of friends about an article I read in a magazine. It's the best article I've read in a long time, likely largely due to the fact that I don't really read magazines or articles much. I just look at the pictures. So there really aren't many other articles to compare....

But this particular article happened to be about a crisis one faces when turning the ripe old age of 29. An identity crisis, of sorts. I've been in a funk lately. Nothing seems to make sense much. I think my friends think I'm weird, likely because I've been acting weird. I'm sad, then happy. I can have a great time with friends, but cry on the way home. Seriously. Happened tonight.

One minute I feel content with where I am, the next I feel completely alone and useless. One second I feel like I have it all together, I'm smart, funny, sophisticated, and on track to where I'm supposed to be in life. The next minute I get an email or a phone call, or I don't get an email or phone call, and it feels like my world has fallen apart. Insecurity sets in.

I'm self-conscious about everything I do. Did I say the wrong thing? Did I not say the right thing? What am I wearing? Should I have left the house looking like this? Why am I not married? Do I even want to ever be married? Shouldn't I have three kids by now? Is it weird that sometimes I just want to be around my closest girlfriends and not talk about boys for once? Do I mean anything to anyone, or am I just good for laughs sometimes?

Am I doing whatever I do good enough? Who have I failed this week, and is it worse than the last time I failed them? Will I ever be what I'm supposed to be, and can anyone tell me what that is?

Am I a 29-year old disappointment, or is where I am, what I do, who I love, who loves me, ok?

I've struggled mostly lately with failure. I can honestly say I don't do the wrong things on purpose. I don't set out to intentionally not do what my friends need me to do, or my family. I have to admit that I'm a selfish person. But genuinely, I try to do the right thing at the right times, from where I see it, as best I can. I have a tremendous desire not to hurt the people in my life, and instead help, or be there, or make them laugh. Just to be a good friend, good daughter, good fill-in-the-blank. Lately, however, it's just felt like I can't get things quite right. In many areas of my life. But especially, and where it's hardest for me to deal with, in areas and with people where it used to be so easy for it to be right.

Do you ever just wake up one day and realize, "Yesterday I had these friends and a good thing going there, and my family is good and at peace with one another, and I had some pizza, and a cookie, and the sun was out and it was warm and not windy, and everything was super great and I went to bed happy. Then today I woke up and where the hell did everyone go? And why is there no pizza? And that kid took my cookie. And now it's raining directly on me but not on anyone else, with lots of wind, and hail. And I seem to be all alone, and lonely, and sad, and what all seemed right my world is now on fire and a complete mess. How did that happen? I just closed my eyes for a few minutes..."

That's been how I feel lately. Just kinda... what happened? I thought things were good.

But I haven't just thought about failure for me, even though it's been a big thought on my mind. I tend to assume I did something wrong when things go wrong. But I've also thought a lot lately about how I communicate failure to the people in my life. Mostly that sometimes I think I communicate disappointment or unhappiness with the people I love, when that's really not the case. I have a lot of amazing people in my life. But sometimes, depending on which side of crazy I wake up on any given day, I wonder if I give my loved ones the impression that they've failed me that day, or that week, or lately, because I'm unsteady these days.

If I can't figure myself out, how can anyone else?

It breaks my heart to think that people in my life may be wondering how they've failed me, when they haven't actually failed me, but I just haven't done a good job of letting them know they haven't, and that I still love them.

So, I picked up this article in this magazine that I was actually intending to throw away. It had been sitting on my floor for about a month (don't tell my mom my house was in such dissaray - and still is - that a magazine could sit on the floor untouched for so long...), and I was actually picking it up to throw it away. But, I flipped through it and stumbled on this article.

As I read it, it seemed to be describing me. I had no idea what is was about until I began to read it. Turns out it was about a woman who had just turned 29 and her struggles with a life crisis at that time.

Huh. Soooo, maybe that's my problem. And maybe I'm ok. Just going through some stuff.

It had never occured to me that I could have a legitimate life crisis at 29. You always hear people talk about turning 30 and that's the year it's scary. Or a mid-life crisis somewhere around 50. Well, it's been comforting to learn that 29 can legitimately be rough, too. And since most of my friends are younger than I am, it's no wonder they wonder what's wrong with the crazy old Tyrant. They just haven't been here, yet.

This was the line that struck me from the article. And really, it applies to anyone of any age:
"This was part of the irony of it all - the more I focused on being what everyone wanted me to be, the less I was able to enjoy true relationship, which was probably the one thing I hungered for the most."

That kinda summed up everything I've been feeling lately, but haven't been able to put it into the right words. I've got these great friends and family in my life, these relationships that have somehow materialized despite the odds of it involving me and the crazy that comes with me. When the relationships are good, I feel so safe, and ok. Yet, it gets to a point where it's not as enjoyable. And I think it's because (for me) I'm wanting so much to figure out who I am, but I'm going about that by trying to be everyone else's picture of what they want me to be. I'm not ever going to find myself that way. And my relationships will continue to suffer.

I notice that my relationships are at their best when I'm free. I can look back at really good times with people I love, and I see now that those are times when I was comfortable, and I felt safe, and it was good. Like, this-is-why-I-let-people-in-my-life-because-normally-I'm-a-hermit-but-there-actually-are-good-people-out-there-that-I-can-let-into-my-world good. But when my insecurities and fears start creeping back in, it eats away at what I bring to relationships, and my ability to just give who I am to those I love, and my ability to just let them love me. It takes away my trust from what I know to be a good thing, and it substitutes that trust with working overtime trying to fix what probably wasn't broken in the first place.

But that's why the people in my life are here in the first place, because of who I am. Not because I can be what I think they want me to be. Or because I suddenly need to start fixing things that aren't broken. Something about me is something they liked to start with. And I don't think it was the possibility that after they got to know me, then I would be more of use to them.

It is the hardest thing I will ever be able to conquer to accept that sometimes people actually just love me, and want me around, and value me in their life, just because of who I am. Not because of what I can do. Or have done.

I have not conquered this.

But then, I went to church last night. And this may get a little preachy/Jesus-y for those of you who don't come here to read that sort of thing from me. But bear with me. It's good.

I sat too close to the front at church, so I was largely distracted throughout most of the talk/sermon/word/voicing. But one thing that was said brought me to tears as I sat through the time of reflection: God loves me as I am. I've heard that a million times. But through this Lent time as I struggle with the email I gave up, or as we all struggle and think ourselves failures in our human attempts to be more holy during Lent, it really doesn't matter.

God won't love me less this week because I emailed some people last week. Ok, a lot. Of people. And... a whole lot of emails.

So that got me thinking a bit further. If I'm not failing God during Lent, maybe I'm not failing Him on a regular day. And maybe through most of my days. And maybe, even, through all 29 of my years.


And maybe if I'm not actually failing God, and He loves me anyway, why am I so worried and heartbroken about not failing everyone else? Seems to me that He's the one that really matters. And if my version of crazy, can't-get-it-right-even-though-I'm-trying on any given day can't make Him love me any less, maybe I'm ok.

For the first time in awhile, I heard last night that God just wants me to accept the fact that He loves me. Even if I am a complete failure to everyone else in my life, or as a 29-year old without a husband or kids or a cookie.

It hit me last night that I need acceptance. I need to be loved. We all have that need. But I think it's what drives me more than it should. I just want to know I'm ok, and that my ok is ok with everyone else. And lately my struggle has been to want that where I am not finding it. But if God loves me, then even if the entire rest of the world has no love for me at all, I need to find peace in that. Because that's the reality of it, and what's better is that's the beauty of it. There actually is peace in that.

Anyway, I'm still 29. And I'm still struggling. But at least I know that's what it is. And I'm not alone. Still crazy, and I will probably cry again in a minute. But I'm not alone.

And what brought on this episode of Cynical Rantings was what happened the other night, with a group of friends, as I mentioned that I'd read an article in a magazine that I was about to throw away, and it was the best article I'd read in a long time.

Except... I called it an episode. Instead of an article. Without realizing that's what I called it. Until everyone pointed it out to me.

I watch too much tv.

But sometimes I read. And it's good.



Tuesday, March 08, 2005

You have the Latin flair of a polar bear.
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that, I'd be rich. It's so true, really.

Actually, this is a sign that it's one of my favorite times of year. The season of a new American Idol. And we all love Simon for stating the obvious when it matters most. Polar bears (as well as some contestants) just don't have Latin flair. And if they think they do, they need to be told that they don't.

Truthfully, I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the good tv these days. It all comes at once. But it's a good thing, actually, since I'm training for this again. For all the hours I'll spend on my bike indoors on days when weather isn't so good for the biking out of doors, and lifting weights, and um, eating a lot, I will be able to stay caught up on all the greatness on television. And really, this is the most important thing. In the world....

My current shows are as follows, in no particular order:

The Amazing Race 7
American Idol
America's Next Top Model

Three of these shows are on the same night. I tell you, it's quite a challenge to get all this tv in without even having Tivo. A talent, I daresay.

Now, it is too early to predict who will win TAR7, although after tonight I still don't have a favorite. But I must say, I'm ready for Gretchen and Meredith to go. I usually support the old people, because they are cute and they try hard. But the sound of Gretchen's voice is soooo grating on my nerves, I may have to see what I can do to rig the show for her to somehow get lost someplace where she isn't supposed to be, and therefore be eliminated from the race. Or, I can just leave it up to Rob to keep rigging the show to his advantage and to the demise of everyone else.

Hate. That. Guy. Hated him on Survivor. Both times. Still hate him now.

I'm also not sure how I feel about the contestants on American Idol thus far. I do think the guys are better than the girls. And somewhat less annoying. But I'll have to weigh in my thoughts another time. I'm sure my Alliance co-hort can help keep us up to speed. It's tough to keep up with 3 Idol shows per week. I haven't caught them all in one week, yet. I love the Idol, but 3 Seacrests a week is just too much.

America's Next Top Model has only just begun. But it's looking oh so good. And next week, Janice is back.

As for Lost and Alias, I'm not sure who will win those. But I'd be willing to bet on Sydney, and.... possibly Kate. Sydney, because she's scrappy. And Kate, because on the island they actually do have a polar bear without Latin flair, and she seems to know how to handle it.

Aaah, tv is in the air....