Friday, November 21, 2014

Open Letter

Dear Whoever,

I curse like a sailor and I have no inclination to stop. I'm pretty good at putting on the censorship around children and most of the elderly...but I have been known to curse in front of nuns and my parents. That being said, it isn't because I am not intelligent or my vocabulary lacks the large and smart appropriate words. It is because cursing, in context, feels good. I feel a release of tension when the words roll off my tongue. I like it. My words are typically in context. I curse in my texts too. I'm sorry if this makes me unladylike. I'm pretty sure my parents are disappointed but have reached the point where they've given up on me in respect to this issue.

I hate wearing heels. I seriously would rather tromp around barefoot in mud than wear heels. I can do a kitten heel (1-2") and a chunky heel (found on most boots) but that is about it. I am usually in flats, sneakers, boots or ballet flats. I'm pretty sure my inability to wear heels has caused my plantar fascitis. I'm losing the arch in my foot because of my love for flatness. I also prefer to be barefoot. I think this may have something to do with the fact that growing up, my mother forbade me from being barefoot in the house. I must always have slippers or shoes on. As I grew up, I relished being barefoot and enjoy it, though I do wear socks around in the winter. Anyway, back to the heels. I don't wear them and if I ever become famous that is going to be my "thing." The celebrity that refuses to wear heels. Designers will custom make heel-less shoes for me to wear on the red carpet.

I talk a lot about the future, specifically my future. I am one of the most determined, ambitious people you will ever meet. I take my life's calling seriously. I can ramble about journalism for hours on end. Please stop me if I ever get boring. I picture myself as a successful and prominent person in the future. This makes me appear to have a big ego and yes, I do. I am driven by achievement and love setting and making goals. I love praise, specifically academic or work praise. I thrive on it. Even though I have my Masters, I am still teaching myself new things. I take on little projects to continue to learn. I Google almost everything. I like to learn things. My career is one of the most important things in the world to me. Please accept that. I'm a girl with a dream and it is going to come true.

I keep a clean home but I am a slob. I survive in clutter and disorganization. I clean my apartment every weekend, so my living space is clean, bug-free and organized but my desk at work is another story. I typically can't eat a meal or drink a drink without wearing part of it. I'm a perpetual food-spiller. When I cook, I cook messy...think spaghetti sauce all over the stove. Hygienically, I am put together but sometimes I don't brush my hair enough. I'm low-maintenance...it took years for me to purchase fancy expensive GOOD makeup. If I wear anything white, bad things happen.

I am a bit of a control freak. Not in a way where I control others, but I like to be in control of my environment. To most people this makes me appear in charge and organized, but it is actually a form of control. I like to schedule. I like to plan. I have contingency plans to my contingency plans. I can be spontaneous and go with the flow but I will get irritated if the plan I planned doesn't look something like what happens. It is weird. I also try to control my future emotions or reaction to potential transitions by imagining the transition is taking place. For example, if I think I might move in a few months, I start adapting to how I'd feel about it now, what I would do, where I would grocery shop, how much things cost. It goes beyond simple planning for the future. I like to figure out how I'm going to feel about something before it actually happens. Its a control thing. You will see evidence of my obsessive need for control when I frequently run down itinerary like "first we'll do this, then this, then go there" several times a day.

I'm insanely stubborn. I hate being wrong but I will eventually admit to being wrong when I am. The control thing is part of my stubbornness. When I get fixated on something, I will stubbornly continue to attempt to achieve it or try it. I'm frequently late to everything but I stubbornly believe that even though I left the house 10 minutes later than I was supposed to, I will still be reasonably on time for a particular function.

I don't mind trying new things, especially food, but I am a creature of habit. You have to literally extract me from my habit zone and take me somewhere new where they serve new things. If you don't, we will continue to eat at the same four restaurants I adore and order the same four dishes I always do. I rarely get tired of ordering the same thing (Every time I take anyone to this one restaurant by my work I always order the same thing. Always). I will try frog legs or eel soup, happily, I am also content with my favorite foods such as wings, pizza, sushi, and Chinese.

When I do not get enough sleep, I actually feel like I am dying. When running on a significant sleep deficit, I will try to rationalize the four hours I got as good hours, and attempt to convince myself I am not as tired as I actually am. The truth is, lack of sleep makes me feel less of a person. I feel sick, my nose runs, my stomach hurts and I am worn down. I will complain about how close to death I feel. Yes, I'm not dying. Yes, I exaggerate often, but take my need for sleep seriously. I'm stubborn about the amount of hours vs. the level of energy I have.

I consider myself a sort of empath, in that I take in other people's feelings and feel them to some degree as well. I can instantly pick up on another's emotions and adapt in a way that makes them comfortable. This makes me non-confrontational. I avoid conflict. This makes me passive aggressive. I will eventually tell you what upset me or why it made me mad but it will be well after the initial incident. I just hate upsetting other people. I hate feeling other people's rejection. I avoid unpleasant feelings within myself and others at all costs. I'm getting better about dialoging concerns, but I still struggle with it.

I need my space. I haven't really ever been in a normal symbiotic relationship with someone. Sure, I've dated, had boyfriends, had relationships that last for months at a time...but none of them were ever quite normal. Plus there are the numerous relationships I've had with people I'm fond of in my head that never came to fruition. Can't forget those. That being said, I've become very accustomed to being independent. I do a lot of things on my own from going to movies to concerts to journaling in the park. I have friends and do stuff with them but not all the time. I've become very used to being by myself so if you ever think I'm becoming a hermit or wondering why I've withdrawn for a short period of time, its because I need to process social interactions. I'm a huge extrovert but that doesn't mean I love being surrounded by people 24/7. In fact, after bursts of social interaction I need a recharge period, alone. My independence has taught me how to be comfortable with just myself as well as how to fix things and take care of myself.

That covers most of it. I sometimes like to post idiosyncrasies. It gives people a better picture of who I am. Thought I'd be a bit more vulnerable in this one. I don't like to hold back.

Sincerely,
Mary Anna

Until next time...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Way to My Heart


A new Dunkin Donuts opened a block away from my regular Dunkin Donuts. I am such a regular that I am pretty sure one cashier has officially nicknamed me "Skim Milk," for he yells that with a big smile when he sees me walk in. Yes, I take my iced coffee with skim milk and splenda.

Anyway, so this new Dunkin opened up and I have the opportunity to get free and discounted coffee via special coupons. The catch is I have to walk a block further than I normally do. It is worth it. Just today I got a .99 large iced coffee. It was heaven. Since they are new, they still have Pumpkin Spice too. Yep, I'm being basic.

So I cracked a joke about how I was cheating on my regular Dunkin with new Dunkin. Because let's face it, not all Dunkin's are equal. The cashiers were really nice and thought it was funny that I was so obsessed with discounted coffee. Let's face it, Dunkin Donuts iced coffee or iced coffee coupons are the way to my heart. A lot of friends gift me Dunkin Donuts gift cards for my birthday/Christmas because THEY JUST KNOW. I treat each one like gold, stretching out the card for as long as possible until that sad day when my balance reads 0.00.

I swear Dunkin iced coffee has the same effect on me as my phone charger has to my cell.

I'm currently at work, attempting to do work, while listening to Krunkmas music. I'm breaking my rule where I only listen to Christmas music after Thanksgiving because I found this hilarious and awesome playlist that remixes Christmas songs to sound like sick hip hop beats. My favorite is the Jingle Bells remix that mashes in 'Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!" I got my coffee and I got my krunkmas mix. It is a good day.

I need to be more productive though for next week I trek to the Eastern Shore of Virginia for Tgives. Bring on "Home for the Holidays" our traditional T-gives movie and some alcohol to make the holiday even better. Plus I am reconnecting with one of my former best friends from high school so it will be really good to see her.

Guess it is back to chair dancing and work. *Take sips of coffee*  TGIT tonight! Winter finale of mah "stories" aka Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Arctic Tundra

I'm sitting at my office desk, my heavy winter coat draped around my shoulders. It is cold today. It is cold around most of America today. It is a little ridiculous.

Anyway I'm sitting at my office desk and all I hear is the howling of the wind outside my window. Like, "Day After Tomorrow" style. I think this might be what it is like to work in the Arctic Tundra where everyday is below zero and the wind whips and nips at the side of your dwelling or place of work daily. It is part creepy and part depressing. Why? Creepy because the wind is quite literally howling. Depressing because I know in about 6 hours I'm going to have to go back into the tundra to get to the gym and eventually to get back home. Ugh. Winter, I hate you.

Everything else is pretty much the same. I had a friend from high school visit me this past weekend. We haven't seen each other in almost 10 years but we picked up where we left off. I got to play tourist/tour guide in my own city, an activity I always enjoyed. You can never see the Liberty Bell too many times. I also finally visited City Tavern, the bar that sits on the foundation where our founding father's used to get drunk and slosh around ideas about Independence. I actually did a sort of replica of a Thomas Jefferson tipsy conversation which proved to be quite hilarious.

I also saw Interstellar this weekend. It was a really good movie. Hard to wrap your mind around different dimensions of time and they theory of relativity BUT still a great movie with an all-star cast. Some of my favorite people star in it. Oh, and I saw it in IMAX so obviously it was...STELLAR.

This week I'm just going to survive work and prepare for the holidays. By prepare I mean get my work done early so when I leave for T-gives I don't come back and drown under a pile of work. I also have an art column to write and some more job hunting/job stalking to do. Should make for a productive week.

The wind continues to howl. I half expect to turn around and see a mass of whiteness outside my window. Nope. Just a lot of sunshine and blowing leaves.

Until next time...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Autumn is the Season of Change



Oh Autumn, the season of change. Old leaves change color and fall off the tree and die. The trees remain cold and bare until the spring when life begins anew. 

I know, it sounds like a Hallmark card. 

I haven't written much lately because my life has been full of "almosts" as of late. Almost opportunities. Almost chances. At the end of the day I am still a social worker and I still live in my little apartment in Center City (4 year apartmentversary last week btw) and I am still NOT a full-time journalist. 

Fear not, I am not giving up. I'm just reassessing my strategies. I'm trying to formulate a new game plan and find opportunities in lesser known places. Maybe I can figure something out before 2015. Also, there are still many pending applications in the bucket for numerous opportunities.

I'm still writing for Main Course. I just celebrated my 1 year anniversary with the magazine. This past Friday I went to F.A.N. art gallery in Old City for First Friday. I had the privilege of reviewing working from breakout artist, Catherine Mulligan. I say breakout because it was her first solo gallery show. I'm sure she's been painting for years. 

Catherine's work is really cool. Her exhibit entitled "Recent Paintings" all contained a unique characteristic: a soft blur. She told me some inspiration for her work came from being left waiting in the car during a rainstorm while her mother ran into a store. A lot of her paintings have that "looking through a rainy windshield" effect. I was fascinated. She also puts a lot of intention into her work...taking characteristically "ugly" subjects such as bargain basement store fronts and redeeming them in a way. 

I'll be working on my column tomorrow and expect it up...oh...in a month? That seems to be the mad delayed timeline for my work to get published. 

That's about it. We're expecting a major cold front to move in so it's about to get frigid. I'm bracing myself for that. Still faithfully going to the gym. Just finished my 3rd journal since 2009. Alls well I suppose. Just ready for that epic change. 

Until next time....



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Seize the Moment

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? - Eminem



Adulthood makes you do some pretty uncomfortable things. Like interview for important opportunities, negotiate with potential employers, be confrontational and take risks. I find it funny that those carpe diem people run their mouths on taking risks and never looking back. You only got one life to live so go out and shake things up! These mantras are simply idealistic. They aren't words you can really live by. I consider myself a pretty outgoing individual. I think I take risks but when given the opportunity to actually take a huge risk...to define what you want in life and fight like hell to get it...I'd prefer to dream about it. Dreaming is safer. You fly in dreams. You don't fall. You don't make regrettable life decisions. 

I'm not going to dream though. I am going to do. I'm going to shake things up. I've been the girl that moved to a huge city with few connections and survived. I'm the person that said "I Love You" first and...well also survived. I do have a sense of adventure, even if it is only in my head. 

I know exactly what I want to do with my life. Last night I watched Lena Dunham's "Tiny Furniture." The film didn't really have a point but I could see where Dunham gets a lot of her inspiration for "Girls." Anyway, the main character, Aura, graduates from college and moves back in with her mom and little sister (ironically played by her actual mother and actual younger sister). Aura tries to find her way. She's trying to "figure it out." Kind of like Hannah in "Girls." Both characters mooch a bit and keep begging her parents and the world to give her a break to "figure things out."

I thank God every day I never turned out like that. That I am just a walking pent up ball of ambition. That I went to college, found a way off the Eastern Shore (no offense, you're beautiful) for more lucrative opportunities. Do you know that I have been living in my Center City apartment for 4 years now? That is 4 years of pure independence in the City of Brotherly Love. Nothing earth-shattering has happened to me. And all this time, especially within the past three years, I know that I want to be a journalist. I want to be a writer. I want to be a storyteller for the rest of my life. Nothing else quite compares to that level of fulfillment I feel when I cover a story. 

And I'm working like hell to get there. I'm exploring all avenues. I'm taking chances. I've been let down. I've been led on. But I keep fighting because this is what I want. I am good at this. This is my "gift." My "talent." 

I'm a storyteller. 

Until next time....