Posts Tagged ‘life’

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mp’s response–you are talking out of your ass

February 9, 2011

haha, so here’s an exact reproduction of mp’s response:

i don’t know why you get a negative vibe from me…i’m a positive person!

don’t take this the wrong way – but i’m leaning towards you talking out of your ass…or at least not understanding what (real) happiness is.

while i think emotional (and biological) “happiness” is relative – you have varying amounts of chemicals in your bloodstream and brain which signal that you are happy – real happiness is a state that is unprovoked.  you can be happy in response to something, but this is only a temporary condition.  spending time with loved ones, accomplishing something, or exercising.  even shorter term, drugs and pharmaceuticals can also cause one to feel this way.

in my opinion, contentedness does not correlate with happiness.  i feel that true happiness comes through detachment.  this is a theme seen in many world religions, like buddhism, hinduism, bahai, and even christianity – i belive with good reason.  unhappiness derives from suffering.  suffering comes from desire.  then to eliminate unhappiness, the goal should be to eliminate desire (or, i guess, at least to be content with nothing – so maybe contentedness does have something to do with it).  one thing that i think to myself regularly: if my job, my family, my possessions, and everyone and everything i knew were taken away from me, would i be happy?  for me, im not sure.  but i feel like i am getting there.

i think without this “inner” happiness, every person will be the wrong person.  i experienced this in my own life.  for the longest time i felt lonely, and wanted to have someone.  it wasn’t until i stopped caring about what others could give me when things fell into place.  the person who i am with now doesn’t MAKE me happy.  she does, however, enhance my already happy state.

i want to see what others think, then i’ll formulate my thoughts a bit more. and, thank you mp for creating such a lively discussion! really appreciate the response. i hope you don’t mind being featured here. i would have asked first but you don’t have an email associated with your name. oh well 😉

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in response to a comment

February 9, 2011

i originally wrote this as an answer to a comment on “the road of lost innocence.” however, because its subject departs from the point of that very serious post, i thought i’d reproduce a more eloquent version of my answer here rather than taking more focus away from the Somaly Mam Foundation.

the comment was,

i’m confident that people aren’t happy with someone unless they’d be happy without them, anyhow. mp

this comment related more to my recent singledom post where i moan and groan about being lonely and boyfriend-less. anyway, i’ve heard variations of this maxim and even used it myself a few times. but i think, on deeper reflection, that it’s too simplistic a rule.

  1. first, humans are social creatures. i don’t think we’re meant to spend large amounts of time by ourselves. through the ages, there has been a progression from how people used to live in close-knit households and communities, to the sort of lives a lot of us now lead—flying solo in our own apartments and marrying late in life, if at all. in some places like india, you still see extended families living together and on top of each other, no one having their own room or privacy. now we come home every day to empty apartments. freedom, yes, but the concession we make for our privacy is greater distance, geographically and emotionally, from the people around us. that’s why, to me, it makes sense that when you have that BEST best friend to be particularly close to, it’s possible to finally achieve the content that was still somewhat out of reach when single. i don’t think this is true for everyone. it’s the closeness, the connectedness to people, that we need, and for some people that doesn’t have to be through a relationship.
  2. i think happiness is a kind of complex state-of-being that doesn’t necessarily preclude feeling lonely sometimes. they aren’t mutually exclusive. i see happiness as the measure of your overall emotional state—a sort of mathematical average of your week or month that allows for a few blips.
  3. also, i see happiness as somewhat relative. i’m the happiest i’ve ever been in my life. monday, i took my dog for a long walk and came to realize that i was just randomly grinning. yesterday, i spent a very wonderful day with my grandparents celebrating their 56th anniversary (olive garden + 500 card rummy and family gossip = bliss). and these aren’t isolated incidents of happiness. so i would say that despite my bouts of loneliness, i am happy. if i had the right person in my life, i could be even happier. it’s really just about a level of contentedness. obviously, if you’re suicidal, no significant other in the world is going to make you happy. but if you’re a glass-85%-full happy, i think that’s enough.

what do you think? i might be talking out of my ass or making excuses.

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ramblings on a recent life change

January 24, 2011

my first post in months is thesis-less and all over the place, but if you’re patient, you can share some good news with me!

my whole life, i’ve always wanted to categorize people. introvert, extrovert, popular kid, nerd, jock. and yet, if i don’t fall into any clear-cut categories, it’s unlikely anyone else does. my entire life, i’ve over-analyzed, watched from the outside, been painfully self-conscious and brutally self-critical. in middle school, i dreaded getting off the bus because i was scared of tripping. no joke, i would tensely wait in my seat, picturing how i would get up and hold my bag just so in order to smoothly exit the vehicle. i hated it. i was self-conscious about getting up in class, or having to talk to a teacher. i rehearsed conversations in my head, and took different routes through school hallways because it was easier than having to figure out how to interact with certain people. i didn’t like shopping for clothes because i felt intimidated by the other girls in the juniors’ department. i’m still like this over a decade later. i always feel other people’s eyes on me, but am much more adept at faking nonchalance and confidence.

which is why in high school, i shocked everyone (including myself) when i actually chose to audition for the school’s very exclusive and very popular show choir. even more jaw-dropping, i made it into the choir and even wracked up a solo which i performed over a dozen times.

now, at age 25, looking for a position somewhere as an attorney, i’m surprising myself again. i so very badly want to be a prosecutor. why, as someone so awkward and insecure, someone who has rampant insomnia because of her neuroses, would i want to be an attorney who must be in court five days a week? on record, doing trials, before a judge and jury scrutinizing my every action and word?

it’s a mystery. you would think i would be happier hiding in an office where i could limit the number of energy-sapping social interactions. just write some contracts, do some legal research and call it a day. during an internship, i did a few trials for petty crimes. it’s nerve-wracking. it can go very well, or very, very badly. and murphy’s law says that the courtroom will be packed on your bad days and empty on your good.

i do know that in a public situation, when you do something right, it’s the best feeling in the world. maybe that’s it, maybe i’m a gambler. i want those intense highs, and for it, i’ll risk some major humiliation. but why am i this way? why, for example, do i keep planning parties at my place when the stress of wondering who will come or if they’ll have fun is so exhausting? why strive for jobs for which i have no natural ability, social events which could go terribly wrong, and guys i feel are completely out of my league? for someone so scared of life, you would think i would stay in my comfort zone.

instead, i want to be a prosecutor. and guess what? the dream is coming true: starting in march, i will be a prosecutor for one of the top ten largest counties in the united states. i read that and i shiver.

i don’t think i could have chosen a job with a more mentally grueling and anxiety-causing interview process. it spanned from September 11th, 2010 to January 13th, 2011: **DISCLAIMER** i’m sure you will all find the rest of this boring, but i want to document my journey for posterity’s sake.

  • interview #1, aka “the dead baby in the cooler” test–my mother always says, don’t try to look attractive for an interview, look competent. and so there i was, suited up, hair pulled into a chignon, a single strand of pearls. heart-pounding. you know when you can actually hear the blood pumping in your ears? just like that. i prepared by googling my interviewer and creating a document with every possible interview question i’d ever been asked, and solid answers i could give. i walk into the interview, prepared to earnestly explain to this woman why i’m the right person for this job. what do i get? a hypothetical wherein (do you like that nice legal insert?) a man goes about kidnapping babies, putting them into his cooler, going out onto a lake, and throwing the babies into the water. the cooler is a very standard plastic blue cooler. so, one afternoon, another baby is taken and in the wee hours of the night, an officer sees a man about to get onto a boat holding a blue cooler. can the officer search the cooler? talk about an “oh shit” moment. it felt difficult to breathe and even more difficult to think of a coherent thought. why didn’t i think to study criminal procedure? the interview went from bad to worse as i talked myself into a corner. i left the interview, my confidence crushed. i immediately went home and wrote a sincere and, if i do say so myself, eloquent email to this woman begging her to call my supervisor and get a real understanding of my abilities and passion for the job.
  • it worked. callback interview #1, aka “dead baby revisited”–this time i’m really prepared. one week of going over all my old criminal procedure notes from law school and bar exam studying. i am determined to make a better impression. what do i get hit with this time? first, he wanted to know why i felt the need to write the email to my first interviewer (um, duh, because i sucked and i really, really wanted a second chance). two, he was back on that darned dead baby hypo. well, obviously i’d thought about it some and i had a few different ideas of how to get that officer’s itchy little hands into that cooler. i spun off a few of my theories, thinking i was so smart. did the man seem impressed? nope. complete dead pan. instead, he mentioned how they had over 400 applicants for just ten positions, and that i should really have a back up plan. he sympathized with recent law graduates with the economy being as it is, and said it would almost be better to still be in school. ok, that’s all folks, my rejection letter is as good as in the mail.
  • ok, maybe not. callback interview #2, aka “the three levels of  hell and meeting the queen”–i imagine the only reason i received a second callback is because the previous attorneys i had worked with wrote me some very good reviews. bless them a hundred times over. new suit, new pearls, new pumps (annoyingly, the right shoe squeaked with each step). interview is at 3 pm. i’m fifteen minutes early. i wait. and wait. and wait some more. it’s almost 4 pm when someone comes and gets me from the lobby. we go to the 4th floor where i’m ushered into another waiting area. another half hour passes while i desperately scan the copy of “Super Lawyers” on the table next to me. at 4:33, a secretary invites me into an imposing conference room with ten seats and no people. i set my purse far enough away from my feet that i won’t trip getting up. i try to pose so that i look professional but can still get up quickly to shake the queen’s hand. i put my hands palms up on my lap so they won’t collect sweat. the minutes tick by. i’m starting to feel nauseous and my palms are sweating anyway. 28 grueling minutes later, she walks in. i remember wondering if she purposely makes her interviewees go through two hours and three levels of waiting hell just to ratchet up their anxiety level by the time she walks into the room. as the head of the entire prosecutor’s office, this is a woman who is on tv with precious little time to waste. and here she is, shaking my hand.  strangely, at the most intense and important of the three interviews, i did my best. i spoke well and made her laugh a few times. we ended up getting off onto a few tangents until she would suddenly check her watch and say, goodness we’re off track but that was so interesting! one of her final questions was also to ask me why i felt the need to write that email to the first interviewer. it surprised me. don’t people do things like that when they are truly passionate about a position? i told her i’m not afraid to put myself out there for something i want. she complimented me and said that i was very intuitive and eloquent. i practically skipped out of there. my “intuitive” self felt like i’d aced the interview. just three days later, i get a call from the hiring coordinator stating that they are offering me a position for the march class. i called my mother right after i got off the phone and screamed something unintelligible into the phone. i even called my dad, who isn’t exactly my best buddy. it was an amazing day, and i’m still floating on that high.

2011, you are shaping up to be my best year yet.

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in the present

October 18, 2010

in high school on slow nights, my best friend and i would drive for hours through the meandering roads of a park. we drove because we had nowhere to be, but even though we drove in the same tired circles, we felt free, exhilarated. we would play the stereo so loudly we could feel it vibrating in our chests. we would talk for hours about boys, college, getting out of this horrible, cliquey town. it may sound ridiculous to you, but on those drives, we felt alive and young and present. it was like living life in color.

i’ve always had this problem living my life versus watching myself go through the motions as if i were the narrator to my own story. there are very few times, like those car rides, where i’ve felt as if what i was feeling was pure.

how to explain?

example: friend tells me about a mutual acquaintance, very close to her, who died at age 27 of a heart attack. my reaction is clinical. my brain, and i almost picture a dry british voice doing this, articulates that i should feel sad because that’s the appropriate response. and so i do ‘sad’. and truly, i am sad. what frustrates me is that i have an emotional middleman—nothing i feel is instant but the result of some sort of consultation. during special events when i’m out on a night where there’s no reason not to enjoy myself and be happy, this voice constantly flits through my head: “remember this moment, try to picture how everyone looks right now, laugh harder, make your face relaxed and happy in case someone is looking”. i’ll be taking care of my drunk friend, and as i’m rubbing her back as she retches into a toilet, that damned voice says to me, “look at what a great person you are”.

i think maybe this might be the root of my self-esteem issues. basically, i have so few seemingly unadulterated emotions that i feel like a fake. i can’t really believe things people think i am—compassionate, sweet, thoughtful—because even though i feel empathy, go out of my way to help or do nice things on a birthday, there are always those few seconds before whatever feeling i’m supposed to be experiencing kicks in, or that Voice takes satisfaction in a good deed. even when i know people like me, i’m left thinking that they couldn’t really because i’m not fully what i portray. they just don’t know that, and i don’t want them to because i desperately need people around to be happy.

why can’t i just BE? not just during those special days scattered throughout my 25 years of life, but every day.

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genital herpes = huge threat

October 14, 2010

hearing from a friend about her friend whose girlfriend cheated on him, contracted genital herpes, and then gave it to him (drama, drama) led me on a steadily more horrifying research trail. forget about the obviously alarming but treatable STDs—apparently one in five people (and another site stated one in four) have genital herpes. that shit doesn’t go away.

reading those stats, my heart thumped hard in my chest.

i never knew it was so prevalent. worse, I didn’t know half of the other alarming traits about herpes which have since wreaked havoc with my hypochondria-addled brain. some fun facts:

  • you don’t need to have sex to get herpes. not even oral sex. skin-to-skin contact is enough. kissing is enough. (fuck).
  • building on that first point, using condoms may not help you since it may not cover your partner’s entire infected area
  • women are four times as likely to get herpes from a male partner than the other way around (can’t find where i read this, but i’m certain i remember it correctly—it’s burned into my brain at this point)
  • most people do not even realize they have herpes because they are asymptomatic. and if they don’t know, you definitely don’t know
  • even for those who do exhibit symptoms, they don’t have to be having an outbreak to infect you
  • symptoms vary person-to-person, and they often resemble other issues—bug bites, ingrown hairs, the flu, UTIs, yeast infections, other STDs
  • testing for herpes is not very clear-cut. if you have sores on your genitals, it’s far easier to come to the correct diagnosis by taking a sample and testing it. the problem is that many people never get sores, and herpes breakouts only occur a few times a year for those who do. blood tests can be helpful, but they only test for herpes antibodies created to fight the disease—meaning that if you test too early, those antibodies won’t be present. apparently it can take as long as three months from the date of infection before antibodies are made (scroll near the bottom). finally, there are a lot of false-positives and false-negatives for these tests (and these tests are expensive)

let’s break all that information down to its scary and shitty conclusion: you can be careful, never sleep with strange, heck never even sleep with someone, and still get herpes. in fact, you could have gotten both of your boyfriends tested before sleeping with them (what i did), and they may still have this disease because the tests are not clear-cut and timing is essential. great. i’ve now spent most of the day checking out my girl parts in a hand mirror trying to figure out if that’s razor burn or herpes. unfortunately, i’ve only ever looked at myself one other time so i can’t tell if the landscape is different.

that brings me to three other observations:

one, we can’t just go around having sex anymore. forget sexual needs and safe fuck buddies and the whole bit—with at least 20% of the population infected, having sex with someone who hasn’t been tested (and tested correctly and probably multiple times), is playing russian roulette with your sexual well-being.

and also with your psychological well-being: two, there is a major stigma associated with having genital herpes. i would feel so dirty and unlovable if i had it, which is why a lot of people with the disease fail to tell their sexual partners. and yet, apparently somewhere between 20 and 25% of the population has the disease. these are people we know, people we’re screwing, people getting married and having kids. these people might be you and me. so why is there such a cloud over the disease, and why don’t we know more about it?

which brings me to number three, why is our sex education so crappy? here i am thinking i’m being so safe—limited sex to my two boyfriends, rarely had oral sex and used a condom where i didn’t trust the guy as much, got both my boyfriends to submit to an STD test before i would sleep with them—and it’s not enough. and honestly, most of the people i know haven’t been as careful as i am. and these are educated people! i only know a handful of people who have ever even taken a test. telling us ‘use condoms’ isn’t enough and preaching ‘abstinence only’ is a travesty of public health. worse yet, i have never heard that STD tests themselves are unreliable. without that information, we could be walking around with false confidence in our sexual health and infecting strangers, boyfriends—people we love.

i feel like i should go get tested. i did between boyfriend 1 and boyfriend 2. except that with the expense (probably between $100-200 bucks) and the embarrassment of having to go to an STD testing place, i really, really don’t want to. i wish i was still a student and could just go to the student health center. that’s a lot more private than having to walk into planned parenthood, and a heck of a lot less expensive. i know that doesn’t sound very adult, but you don’t have to be or act like an adult to have sex. that’s the problem.

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girls and low self-esteem

October 7, 2010

Is it normal to get super needy and promiscuous after a break-up? So far I’ve only slept with my two ex-boyfriends, but I seem to hit the lower bases with regularity after each break-up. I don’t want to be this weak, un-wholesome girl. What if I really do lose it one night after drinking and sleep with somebody, not just kiss them or let them touch me? As it is, I can’t handle the guilt the day after I do anything and I’ve already screwed around with two guys in the month since I broke up with my ex. I know it only happens when I drink, but there must be something in me just lurking under the surface if it keeps happening. Not drinking would get rid of the symptom (promiscuity) but not the underlying issue (self-esteem). What’s worse is that with this last guy, he said I mentioned “relationship” to him a few times. I don’t want to date this guy!! Why would that even come up? He’s not my type at all, I think I’m just needy for male attention. So of course I can’t see him again and now it’s just another dirty secret stored away in my brain.

This blog isn’t just supposed to be my personal diary, but I’m trying to be honest about what I’m doing (and doing wrong) in life to get at bigger realities. For example, why are so many girls running around with such low self-esteem? I know that’s the root of my problem, but where did it come from? I know I’m a pretty girl. I know I’m a smart girl. And yet, I don’t really feel like I’m worth it. I don’t understand WHY. There are so many girls just like me out there who, at bottom, feel the same way. Heck, guys joke about finding insecure girls because we’re easy to get into bed. We want so badly to be loved but don’t actually think anyone could love us. And for some reason, that translates into promiscuity even though that’s the last way to get a guy, to get love.

Is this an American phenomenon? I don’t know if European girls are doing better. I also don’t know how to solve this kind of problem because I don’t know where it came from. I’m trying to pin-point where exactly in life I lost my self-worth. Do we all have a particular event in our childhood that killed our ability to love ourselves? Did our daddies not love us enough? Or is it just something chemical, just fucked up brain chemistry that we could never control in the first place?

What happened to this girl? It seems that just as I’m building my confidence, I meet a boy and he brings me back down. Other people break up and they don’t question their worth. Why do I?

How can I fix myself if I don’t know exactly why it’s happening?

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How NOT to get past your ex…

October 3, 2010

A smart girl would do everything in her power to end contact with her ex. What am I doing? Talking to him for hours on AIM. Very healthy of me.

He seems to think that since we were each others’ best friends, we shouldn’t end all contact. Plus, we’re going to get thrown together anyway because of mutual friends. What do I think? I think that even though I know he’s not right for me, I still love him. And even though I wanted to break up with him, today I kept checking on AIM to see when he signed on and whether he would message me. That’s not a good sign. Does anyone else see me getting over him this way? No.

Honestly though, I have no discipline. I stubbornly still want to talk to him. I want him in my life. And another awesome part of me wants him in my life so he can see when I get someone ELSE in my life. Please tell me other people  have petty thoughts like this. I have them all the time. I try not to act on most things, but I’m not sure if just having them makes me a bad person.

Some girl I don’t know posted on his Facebook wall. I felt immediate, scorching jealousy. And this weekend, he’s going to visit his college friends, meaning lots of drinking and possibly meeting other girls. Seeing more green. I mean seriously, how old am I?? I just became an ATTORNEY and I’m staring daggers at some girl’s photo because she left a friendly message on my EX’S wall?! Even if you can get past this whole ludicrous jealousy revolving around FACEBOOK, why am I so upset over a guy I know wasn’t giving me what I needed?

I was doing really well actually. I managed a month without any contact. Took him out of my phone, took him off AIM. Then a friend of ours was in town and we all got together. We all had an amazing time. I started remembering why I had liked this guy in the first place. My girlfriend crashed in the second bedroom, and since he valet parked his car at my place, I told him he could set up the airbed in the living room. We were fine, laughing and talking one minute—and then suddenly we were screaming at each other. I really don’t know what happened. Honestly, neither of us can remember. I don’t know who started it and we were both wasted. We had never yelled at each other during the entire year and eight months we were together. We had never said anything this terrible to each other. It was madness.

I asked him to leave. I sent him what was an amazingly coherent email trying to explain my anger and understand what happened. He called in the morning and apologized and told me he wanted to be friends and he was sure he’d blown it. We went out to lunch, my idea, to try and fix things. Instead, we didn’t end up talking about anything related to our fight. We just joked around like normal. It could have been any other day from when we were dating. We even went to our favorite Indian buffet. Except, of course, that my eyes were obnoxiously puffy from sobbing my guts away all night. Very visibly so; I actually had to keep my sunglasses on in the restaurant like some punk.

You would think, after the kinds of things he said, that that’s all I would need to cut him off. And yet here I am, talking to him like it’s nothing. And he’s doing the same. In terms of sheer need, he’s more lonely than I am. I have more people to hang out with and I’m dating guys here and there. I know he’s lonely since he’s told me so. I mean what do I think is going to happen? He’s going to realize how awesome I am and suddenly shape up? Tell me he still loves me? Magically mature into a guy ready for real commitment?

See the problem is that I still have Hope. Hope is very often a bad thing. Hope lets you dare to dream that maybe, just maybe, he’ll be like other guys you know. My best girlfriend broke up with her boyfriend for almost eight months before he came running back, sad and contrite, ready to do anything for her. Now they’re very happily engaged, living together and planning their wedding. My other girlfriend broke up with her boyfriend for almost a year (they call it the “hiatus”) before they figured things out and moved in together. But that’s not going to be me. I know it, really. I know he’s not that type. I know he just didn’t and doesn’t love me enough. But that damned Hope, she gets you every fucking time.