wish list ’09

Around this time last year, I wrote a wish list of things I would like, if only I had people buying me holiday presents. I figured I might as well see what I want this year.

Sheets. I would like sheets. Soft sheets, that properly fit the bed I sleep in. I am tired of rough, too-big sheets.

A light table! My art often requires me to trace things repeatedly. Without a light table, I am forced to tape things to windows on sunny days, pushing through discomfort and shaking the ink back toward the tip of my pen. If I just had a light table, these steps would be SO much easier.

A sequined skirt. I would love one in silver, but I’d totally take one in black. Along with this, I really, really want someplace to wear it to on new years.

Beyond that (and trust me, even this short list has been a stretch) I don’t want things.

I want my mom to move the damn green table out of this place, so I can de-cramp my studio.

I want all of her stuff out of here, actually, but that’s like wishing for the taj mahal.

I want to get into grad school.

I want a job.

I want to be able to get coffee with the scientist. I want it to be casual and pleasant.

Unfortunately, I don’t think those are things any Santa could really deliver on. A team of movers, an admissions board, and cupid, maybe. But not Santa.

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Facebook taunts me.

I think facebook is out to get me.

Just now I am playing farmville (ok, yes, I play farmville) and a notification pops up that the scientist likes my photo.

I freak. Ever so slightly, I freak. “what photo, what?” I think as I hit the link repeatedly, impatient to see what he has liked, conscious that such a notification means that, at that moment, he was on my profile, remembering me, thinking of me-

I get to the photo, and there’s no evidence that anyone has ever even seen it. I check my notifications, but it shows no such event. I go to his page, thinking maybe it will tell me his activity, but it does not. I check the photo again, and my notifications, again. Nothing.

Lately I’ve been realizing that I have a very specific lack in my life, people-wise. I lack people I feel safe with. I have people I am uncomfortable with, people I feel unsafe with, but those aren’t people I want to be around. I want people whom I feel safe around. With this realization comes the acknowledgment that I never felt unsafe with him. Not even just that- I always felt safe with him. So I’ve been tempted, very tempted, to suck up my fear and pride, and try again to reconnect, if only for the chance to stand next to someone again without the anxiety I am getting used to. I don’t know if this is a good idea or not.

And then fbook goes and gives me a fake notification that he liked another picture of me. When I’m trying to not think of him.

F you, facebook.

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What Timing.

I just watched one of my favorite movies, one I am usually embarrassed to admit liking: Where the Heart Is. It’s something I would usually scoff at- you know, tear-jerking, heart-warming romance. It’s what you might call a chick flick- and I don’t go for those.

This one, though, somehow I just love, and tonight, after watching it, I felt that it arrived from netflix at a rather appropriate time.

I don’t think I’m going to get into grad school.

The deadline for the major application is the 1st. I haven’t finished filling it out yet, because I need some information from my undergrad university. I’ve had a month to get it. Every day I sleep late, then pass away the early afternoon doing nothing. Some days I remember, when it’s far too late to call an office back east, that I needed to do so. I resolve that the next day it will happen- and then repeat the pattern. By now, I have one last chance- get the information (which I’m not even entirely sure I can get) on the 30th or accept that I’ve gone and fucked it up. And I haven’t even written my essays and things, which are due in two weeks. I’ve merely over-thought them until I find everything I have to say worthy of rejection.

Also, I just got my official GRE scores in the mail today, and never before have I felt so fucking mediocre. Let me repeat: mediocre. I don’t feel smart. I don’t feel overly talented. I feel like my impression of myself as an intelligent person, capable and worthy of getting into this school, has perhaps been… off-target. Like when your mother tells you something you’ve cooked is the best thing she’s ever tasted, so with a big head you serve it to others, and find out that it’s really not impressive at all- I feel like that, only I, and my intelligence, my capability, my worth, are the dish.

This really doesn’t feel good.

But! This is an entry about why that sappy film felt appropriate tonight.

Tom hasn’t left my life, but refuses to actually be in it. Every time I think he’s gone, he goes and does something like ‘liking’ a photo of me smiling on fbook. Small, nothing things, but enough to remind me he exists. I’ve realized that- that I don’t feel like I’m good enough for him. I was dating this guy recently whom I found to be undereducated, and felt better than him for it. Tom is far better educated than I. Thus I feel – yes, like I’m not good enough for him. Especially today, when I see my stupidly mediocre scores and wonder if I’ll even pull off an application the day before it’s deadline or not- he’s getting his PHD at this school, and I don’t think I’ll even be able to get into one of the smaller, uncompetitive programs. So I don’t think I’m good enough for the type of person I want to be with. In gist.

The protagonist of this film is a young single mother living through her hardships with the help and love of friends she makes along the way. There is, of course, a romance. The man of the romance is well educated, and, she thinks, too good for her. Or rather, she thinks that she isn’t good enough for him. So (hey spoilers!) she sends him off with a lie that she doesn’t love him.

But then! She realizes that she really does, and drives to his fancy university to tell him: she lied. She lied because she doesn’t think she is good enough for him. And he tells her- get this- there is nothing better than her. They kiss, cut to the wedding, cut to credits.

So as I’m feeling really shitty about myself, like I’m not worth the things I want in life, here comes this film in which a girl who feels similarly is told that she is full of worth. I can’t quite make the leap to applying her lesson to myself- afterall, life ain’t the movies, even the tear-jerkers- but it’s still a timely thing.

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Pre GRE

The worst part about the fear I am feeling right now is the knowledge that no, I have not prepared to the utmost of my ability.

I borrowed this GRE prep book from the library months ago. I intended to study a little bit of it every day, until I got to the practice exam. Then I could take it, and move on to the online study aids. I could work my way through the online practice work until I got to the practice tests, and then I could take them, practicing and practicing, until I knew for sure I was as prepared as I could be.

What actually happened is that I studied for a bit for 2, 3 nights in a row, then got discouraged by the wrong answers I was hitting. The book sat on the floor of my bedroom until I moved it to the table in the living room. From there I moved it to the top of the bookshelf. I carried it with me back east and sat it at the end of my guest bed. I carried it with me up north, and read snippets outloud to scoff at it. I brought it to the theater I was working at and left it in the audience, next to the tech booth. I left it in my bag for days when I was finally home, realizing how much time I’d wasted, and procrastinating further to avoid thinking about it.

Even in the past few days, I haven’t been able to keep a regular study schedule, even with the pressure on. Today I made it through all the strategy sections (not any of the practice ones) clear to the “take control of the test” chapter- all about how to maintain a confident attitude, a positive outlook that would benefit my score. It mentioned the months of studying, practicing, preparation I had been through, the online resources I had turned to, the confidence that knowing I was well prepared brought. As I read, I felt worse and worse- I had spent days, hours studying, not months. I didn’t even realize there were so many online resources. And I am not well prepared. If I had really- here I go- worked up to my potential, I would surely be confident tonight. I would feel certain that I would do well, that the good score I want was in the bag.  But I didn’t, and I don’t.

So now I turn to the same part of the book that tells me how confident I am, and focus on a different paragraph. I quote:

“…this one test will not single-handedly determine the outcome of your life. In many cases, it’s not even the most important part of your graduate application.”

Not even the most important part of my graduate application. Not even the most important part of my graduate application. Breathe girl breath.

I know I will do the best that I can under the circumstances I have given myself. I know that I will probably do better than I expect to, based on the many assurances I have gotten that yes, one tends to do better than one expects, better than one thinks one has. I know that the outcome of tomorrow’s test will not singly determine my admittance to this grad program.

But I can’t help wishing I had given myself better circumstances.

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Mathematics

I’m taking the GRE in less than a week. I am nervous about it, because while I don’t have to do tremendously well to get into the program I am applying to, I still have to do reasonably well.

I’ve had this GRE study book for so long now that I am accepting library fines because I can’t renew it anymore. I’ve made it through the verbal parts of the guide, and no further. I hate this book, because as I’ve read through the section I felt confident in, I kept getting things wrong, which made me lose confidence. I have lost confidence in the area I am confident in.

Is it any surprise, then, that although I hang on to this book, I do not read any further? Do not take the practice exams? Do not do the thing for which I borrowed the book in the first place: study up on the math section?

I haven’t even cracked the math section. I had planned to read up on the verbal parts first for a confidence booster. That didn’t happen, and now, instead of being merely wary of the math part, I am actually afraid of it.

I am afraid of the math portion.

So I don’t study it, for fear it will make me cry in dread. Of course, not studying it only makes it worse. Makes it something bigger to fear.

Ugh.

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An Open Letter

To a Man who is Not Yet in My Life:

I wish you were already, because I’m sick of being alone, sick of eating all my meals alone, sick of drinking two glasses of wine alone and having no one to talk to. Sick of it being late in the night and having no one to be on the phone with in a loose, relaxed manner. Sick of having no one to rough and tumble with.

I wish I could meet and trust you.

-Me

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House Dreaming

I am lusting after this house:

Look at it.

Isn’t it cute? The dining room, the kitchen, the bathroom, the backyard, oh, the backyard! How I lust after this house and it’s backyard. It’s in the central valley of CA, about 4 hours away from LA. Now then- why on earth would I lust after a house far away from the big city, in a small town known for its conservative attitudes and lack of cultural variety?

Because I could ride my bike around there without feeling like I was in danger. Because there is a theater company I could involve myself in for doses of creativity. Because there are places I could work, friends to help me find work, friends to socialize with. Because it would be more quiet. Because it would be (much as I love her) farther from my mom, whose things still fill this place, whose things are impossible to move or condense any further, who checks in when I’m away and moves things, leaves weird things in the fridge, sleeps on my clean sheets, gets dishes dirtier by washing them than if she just hadn’t bothered, takes away things I use and leaves things I don’t. After a year of living in her crowded apartment, of leaving cardboard boxes full of packing hope to be emptied with time and neglect, of waiting around helplessly while nothing happens, I just want to leave. I want to leave this entire city just to get away from this living situation.

So, a pretty house in a cheaper area that can offer me a few nice things, with wide, empty rooms, unblemished by any one else’s packrat habits- it seems like a dream. That’s all this lovely house (and every other house and apartment I looked at in this smaller town) is right now, dreaming- I’m applying to grad school here in LA, won’t find out about it until mid-March- but the dreaming gives me a wistful sort of hope that all these damn cardboard boxes I’ve still got around, meant for her stuff, may someday still be used, even if only for repacking my own things in to.

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