About the double P

The Purple Penguin is a collection of my thoughts and possibly some writings. I tagged it with the adult content warning so I wouldn't have to worry about my language. If you are easily offended I would read with caution, I will probably end up saying something that will be taken the wrong way. Feel free to discuss or challenge my comments. I hope you enjoy your visit to The Purple Penguin!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dreams and Goals

I know this is the time of year that everyone starts setting resolutions for themselves for the coming year. I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I believe in setting small, achievable goals for yourself that get you to your dreams, whether it takes one year or one hundred. I'm just horrible at follow through. Being unemployed and without the ability to drive for the past three months has given me a lot of time to think. And to wallow in self-pity at times. I really do want to start changing some things in my life, though. I know it sounds horribly cliqued, but having exhausted all of my regular weekly on demand shows, I noticed they had stopped charging for The Biggest Loser episodes. I've always liked catching the marathons and watching people literally save their own lives. I do get annoyed when they start crying or saying they're going to quit. I just want to look and them and shout, "YOU choose to do this, YOU signed up for this ride and YOU knew what you were getting yourself into, so suck it up and get over it or leave!" I know its hard, and I know everyone has bad days, but I know that if I got an opportunity to be on the show, I would literally and metaphorically work my ass off. Pain I can deal with. After two surgeries on my leg, a steel plate and pins added, one pin removed and dealing with arthritis in my ankle at 29, I can deal. There's a part of me that wants to go running to the website and apply, but I don't know that I'm willing to leave my life for three months anymore. Two years ago, sure. Two years ago I was trying to go teach English in Japan, but now I'm not so sure. Which leads me to my first set of goals and dreams.

I want to lose weight, and be nicer to my body. I've already made the promise to myself that when I get a job, I'm signing up at a gym here, and I will use that membership. If the one I'm going to sign up at has any kind of an ad or friend finder board, the first thing I'm going to do is post that I need a workout buddy. We don't have to work out every single time together, but I need someone who also wants someone there to make them accountable. From infomation from their website they seem to have a pretty good support system in place. Granting that I didn't overlook any small print, you have free access to personal trainers, and while they're not open 24 hours a day, they are open seven days a week. This isn't one of those, "oh, bikini season is coming up, I need to tighten my abs!" kind of things. I haven't jumped on the scale lately, but I need to lose anywhere from 150-180 pounds. Its so scary and daunting, but I need to do this for me. I need to love myself enough to carry through with it as well. I've gotten so used to being taken as a joke, that I think I've started to look at myself as a bit of a joke, as well. Its not to the life or death point yet, as slovenly as I've let myself get, I'm not completly out of shape. I used to walk up to three miles a day to get to one of my old jobs. So I know I'm capable.

As much as I'd like to deny it, I guess I do have some daddy issues. My father always drilled into me that I come last, I have to take care of my mom, my brother, my grandma, those less fortunate, before I can think of myself. Anytime I talked about wanting something more than what I had for myself, I was told I was being selfish. And for someone who doesn't really want kids, I have a pretty strong "maternal" instinct. I want to take care of and be there for those I love. So I have to start making some changes in my life, or I might not be there to take care of folks. I've put myself last for so long, and I need to be selfish for a litte bit.

Not that I believe for a second that he actually feels this way, but on the shallow side, I'd like to be someone my boyfriend is proud to have walking beside him. I want my "in-laws" to be proud to have me in their life. I want my parents to be proud of me. Most of all, I want me to be proud of me. I don't want to be that sad fat girl that everyone sniggers at walking down the street anymore. I know that losing weight will not solve all of my problems, but I feel like if I can finally make an honest commitment to myself and stick with it, it will show me that I am more capable than I give myself credit for. I have short-sold myself for far too long, and its time to stop underestimating myself and prove to myself just how much I have to offer.

My second goal is to get my book edited, finalized, and out there for people to potentially buy. I don't need to be the next J.K. Rowlings, but one of my biggest dreams for a long time is to be a successful, published author. I started- and completed!- the first step by resolving to participate and win this year's NaNoWriMo contest. The deal is, starting November 1 you start writing a new, original novel. You can have an outline, storyline, brainstorming, characterizations, etc. drawn up before then, but you can't actually start writing until the first. The goal is to write 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th. You don't have to finish the novel, but to win you have to hit that mark. Well, I won. I finished my novel at something like quarter to five in the morning of the 29th. I was seriously behind for a while because I didn't actually start writing until the ninth. I not only hit my word count, but finished the first draft of the novel. I finished the challenge with a total of 52 thousand and some change words. And for finishing I got the best prize I think they could have bestowed to any of us. A free proof copy of the novel from Amazon and CreateSpace. You have until June or July to make use of the offer, which gives you a chance to clean it up and have it finalized before you redeem it. They'll send you a proof copy of your book in paperback form. Through CreateSpace you also have to opportunity to allow Amazon to sell your book. They'll put it out there so when someone searches for books in that genere or topic, yours will show up. Not a bad start to a get a writing career kicked off. So now I have to commit to myself to edit the book and get it ready to be published. Finishing my novel was the proudest day of my life. Even more so than graduating college. I graduated college for my family. I was the first one to either go or graduate, so I felt I had to finish for them. This is for me. This is my dream, and even if it never sells any more copies than the ones I'm going to buy for my parents, I don't care. Its my book, and knowing that I have actually written more opens the door for me to write another one. And you only get better with practice.

My last goal is a much more boring and serious one. And that is to get my credit cleaned up. I bruised it up pretty bad in college, so as soon as I have some gainful employment, I will be setting aside as much of every paycheck as I can, and when I've accumulated enough to pay something completely off, it will be done. I think about going shopping, updating my wardrobe (which really is pretty shabby at this point), catching up on book series I'm behind, getting a massage (I've never had one, and with all the stress of the past year, I could use one!), or the myriad other things I'd LIKE to do with my money, I NEED to get myself financially solid again. Grady and I want to buy a house. We want to go on vacation. His car is ten years old, at some point he's going to need a new one. So I am promising to myself, one bad debt at a time, to get myself back on the right track. It will suck not having new toys or clothes for a while, but the stress of that burden, and how it will feel to have it lifted, that will make it worth it.

I have three, what feel like lofty, goals to accomplish. They won't happen in the next year, well, the book will, but the other two are going to take dedication, work and perserverance, and I think by going through this process I will find myself, and my self worth again. There is nothing wrong in my life that I can't fix. Except for the job, I can't force someone to hire me, but I trust one will come. I have the power and the right to make my own little world a better place for me to be, and in return, it will allow me to take care of everyone else better. So here's to new life resolutions, and taking back the power to make them happen. Cheers!

Its poetry time, boys and girls!

So, this is my favorite poem that I have ever written. It was for one of my senior poetry classes in college. I honestly don't think I've actually written anything since then, poetry wise, at least. I should really get back in the swing of it, I wasn't a bad poet.


Curling, blue-gray feathers twist upward
From the burning cigarette in my fingers.
People in the nearby line, dressed in the
Sparkling blues, purples and silvers of exotic birds,
Stare with a predator's glare while I stand alone,
Mauled by their eyes.

I flick my spend butt with fake bravado,
Trying to shake off being on display.
Another five minutes snake by,
Until I stop denying that "maybe he's just stuck in traffic."
I slink to the end of the row of hungry faces.

Walking into the crowded, cavernous club,
Searching through the boiling mass of dancers with painted faces
For my friends who journeyed ahead.
My tribe offers me a potion,
We wander into the dance floor
To pulsing rhythms and nameless companions.

~Spring '02,  Radford, VA

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Two Years

My boyfriend and I are celebrating the two year mark today. Its a milestone for me in a lot of ways. For starters, its a first for me. I've never had someone who was willing to put up with me and all my crap for this long on an almost daily basis (especially now that we live together). Nor have I found someone that is worth investing this much time and energy on. I'm 29, and while I didn't play the field as hard as others my age, I have my share of baggage from bad relationships, and while I have never rehashed them in all their terrible glory for him, sometimes those insecurities or lingering nervousnesses come out. And I have always explained to him why I might ask a question that I do, and not to take it personally. For instance, the guy I dated a couple years before him was a raging alocoholic. We were only together five months, but it was five months too long. By proxy, his problem caused me to temporarily lose friendships and myself. So sometimes when it seems like he's cracking a beer or two more than usual it sets my defenses up a bit. So I'll ask him if he's ok, and he is, and he knows why I ask.

And let me tell you something crazy: in two years, we've never had a fight. We get on each other's nerves sometimes, but we've never taken to screaming or throwing things, etc. I think our secret is neither one of us are much for drama. The gods know I've had my share of drama queen friends, and through watching them tear apart relationships, both romantic and plutonic ones, I just have no interest. It doesn't hurt anything that I'm massivly non-confrontational. I've been around long enough at this point to not let people walk over me anymore, but I still pick my battles. We can get very animated with each other, happy, mad, sad... but we haven't fought. And I'm glad for that. I know some might say that its boring, or we're not communicating or  we don't really care, or whatever the thousands of reasons might be given, but its working for us, so I'll take it.

We try to be partners with everything. With me being out of work right now we've kind of fallen back into traditional roles, he's works, I take care of the house. I couldn't be more thankful for his support, because I left my last job. I didn't think it would take the temp ageny two and a half months to find me something. I would say I would have never left otherwise, but the assignment wasn't a very good match for me, so they probably would have fired me about two weeks later anyhow. I feel guilty that its been so long since I've been able to pitch in on the finances. Especially since we want to start looking into buying a house. What I'm even more grateful for is that his parents don't make me feel like a complete bum trying to mooch off of their son.

I've never been happier in my life. Of course I still have bad days, and I get sad, but there's a sense of underlying peace because I know I have someone who takes care of me, not just physically or financially, but emotionally, as well. He is about the farthest thing from romantic that can be, for example, once it got past midnight last night, I told him happy anniversary, and he apologized for not having anything planned. Let me just say that I would be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for a ring, (its getting to that point for me) so I was a little disappointed about that. But I don't plan on going anywhere, and I don't think he is either, so we've got plenty of time. Anyway, he may not be romantic, but he cares, and he's faithful, and he's honest, and he's basically anything I ever wanted. I went through a lot of shit to get here, so while I would never brag about what I've got, I am so grateful I have it.

There's a hundred other things I could say, but for the sake of not turning into some kind of sappy romance novel, I'll stop here. In so many ways the past two years have flown by, and in others I can't believe its only been two years. I feel like we should have known each other for a lot longer by now. I feel bad about not being able to do anything nice for him today, but I have a good dinner waiting on him to get home. At the same time, the prints I bought, then matted and framed are still sitting on the floor against the wall in more or less the same spots as when I gave them to him, so you know, in some teeny tiny way I don't feel bad. (The main reasons they're still on the floor is because he doesn't want to put too many holes in the walls here, he can't decide where to put them, and cause he's a little lazy once he gets home!) Its going to be a quiet, normal night for us here, but rest assured that in my heart and mind I am throwing the biggest party ever for our anniversary, at least until next year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Blue Christmas So Far

So, I haven't been a big fan of Christmas pretty much since I became an adult. If you know me, you already know that. I get so much pressure from parts of my family to make sure I take care of everyone and get "appropriate" gifts for them. In not so many words, basically what I've been told is if I don't get elaborate, expensive gifts for say, my mom, I'm not showing my gratitude and appreciation. My mom doesn't care. She knows that since college I haven't been able to land myself a decent salary that I just can't afford much. But I still feel the pressure.

I know Christmas isn't about the giving and receiving of things. Things aren't important. People are important. What is utmost about the season, and always, is making sure the people in your life, family and friends alike, know how much you appreciate them.

Now, I will admit that I have a bit of a tough, crunchy exterior, but I really am a deeply caring person. It really affects me when the people around me are so kind and I am unable to reciprocate it. I know they don't care, they tell me they don't care, but it makes me sad to not be able to participate in the festivities. Which, beyond Christmas, I think that's been the hardest part of not having an income: missing out on life in general because I'm too broke to do anything.

I've been oddly over-emotional for the past few months, I don't know if its stress, some kind of hormonal imbalance, or what, but it makes me a little frightened about Christmas. Something about Christmas brings out the girl in me. Last year, the local fire department came through the neighborhood I was living in with a little mini-parade, complete with Santa riding on top of one of the fire engines. And I cried. I don't know why, but I did. It makes me really nervous for this year. I hate crying, especially in front of people.

I did put up our tree and decorated with the little bit of stuff we have here. I need to get the rest of my Christmas stuff from my mom's so I can put a little bit more up. I'm hoping that if I put the effort in, and make my home cheerful and festive that it will help put me in less of a Bah Humbug mood. I really don't enjoy being a Scrooge, I don't do it on purpose, but I can't seem to put an end to the negative feelings. I know I'm not singular in this. So many people feel more sad than happy around these times. I can't speak for anyone but me, but I know mostly it comes from my feelings of inadequacy and frustration. I haven't had much of a chance to celebrate the holidays in my adult life, either. Most of the jobs I've held require me to work up to and sometimes even on holidays, leaving me without a chance to really slow down and be with people I care about.

I just feel so emotionally drained between the stress of not helping my partner with financial obligations, and knowing I can't do anything besides verbally express my appreciation and gratitude for him, and making sure I have yummy dinners for him! ;) If we didn't need the money I would totally just quit looking for work and focus on taking care of us and my writing. I try to do as much as I can for him and my friends by being there for them physically and emotionally and reassuring myself that is enough. I keep up a happy face for everyone most of the time, I don't like to worry folks unnecessarily.

For now, I'm just going to try and keep my hopes for this new temp agency finding me something, and perhaps I can salvage a little bit of my self esteem before Christmas and year's end. I want nothing more at this point in my life to have a nice quiet big girl job. And for my novel to sell a few copies.