Push Play on Perspective

Perspective is an interesting  thing. I see the world through this set of eyes and that’s all. No matter how many times I try to place myself in another person’s world, it’s really only going to be a secondhand glance at their world. And that’s just the way it is. It doesn’t mean you stop trying to relate to people, because then you close yourself in a self-centered existence…and I mean if that works for you, then that’s great. There’ s a lot more out there though, and it doesn’t hurt to see how the other half lives, so to speak. 

Oh, Anna, why are you being so cryptic and philosophical? Well, readers, I’m feeling good. Actually, I’m feeling amazing. In this moment, I’m feeling that everything is in its right place and is heading in a beautiful direction. The cynic in me says that it could change as soon as I walk out these coffee shop doors, and most likely another round of gore is surely on its way. But right now feels pretty perfect. And the amazing thing is, that nothing is so different from normal, I just feel like I’ve shifted perspective and it’s a good shift. 

I’ve worked a 9-hr day today, yes. I want a new job and to keep pushing for publishing and improvement and I’ve got a ways to go on almost everything. And I got up early, and I slung coffee all day, but also I now have a working vehicle that is new and beautiful. I don’t even care about the 20,000 miles, two wrecks and key scrape on the side  it’s waded through to get to me. I don’t even care that I have a car payment now for the first time in my life. I am happy to have something nice, and to be building credit towards a future house purchase and happy to be sounding like an adult who has their stuff together. 

For the past two hours, I have been catching up with my friend who just got engaged. And she, along with this step in the adult direction with car buying, has given me such a high and thrill of understanding and enlightenment. I’ve had an epiphany you might say. She came bearing the job application for the used bookstore she works at, but also a casual sort of happiness that seems attainable. She and I were best friends for several years before drifting apart through the natural progression of growing up, but essentialy she and I have came from the same place.And now she is engaged to a handsome young man, who is almost through with a useful degree, who values her and her disregard for gender roles, who has beat the odds against long-distance relationships to swoop in and show her what a partner should be. All fantasy prince-qualities aside, when she says that things are so simple and easy with him that she’s been able to agree to marriage when she never imagined it heading in that direction, it strikes a chord. It’s been a relatively short engagement for them, but I’m very happy for them, because I know her and I see how she’s found something so wonderful in an unassuming way. 

I’ve heard this story recently with a co-worker as well. It gives hope to me that things will be when they will be, and no amount of coersion on my part will make it accelerate or flow better. After struggling so fiercly for the past year to make sense of the ruins of my own failed relationship, I am beginning to see why it didn’t work and it wouldn’t have ever worked, if I’d stuck it out another 4 years or another 40. 

“Oh, I can smile about it now, but at the time it was terrible.”-The Smiths “Shakespeare’s Sister”

It was pretty much like that line. It smacks of a very novel train of events so I’ll parade them about this once for you.In October of last year, I realized I was deeply unhappy and I told my significant other so. It wasn’t neccessarily his fault, but things weren’t working for…reasons. I issued the ultimatum of get it together or I’m gone. He filed bankruptcy and was trying to get it together. His car was repossessed on Christmas Day. I’ve never cried so hard. Over the next few months, sharing a car, the life we had deteriorated. He fell asleep in the restaurant we were at on Valentine’s day. We broke up on my birthday. He didn’t come to my party. He kept living with me for three more months as I continued to be supportive of him finding his way up and out. I was evicted from the apartment because the lease was up and the owners wanted to remodel my apartment. He was fired from work and arrested the next day and went to jail for a (perhaps) misunderstanding at his job with discounts and his manager numbers. Between all this, we got moved out. He left a snowglobe with our picture in it on the counter, and also a music box that I had once given him. I sent him a card on his birthday. We haven’t spoken since then. It doesn’t really matter how long ago that’s been. It’s felt like years. The person I was then is no longer.

The point is, I can feel myself be healed of these wounds that were self and otherwise inflicted from my time in a relationship that simply couldn’t/wouldn’t be. And I’m ok with it. It’s taken a while to say that. But I feel mentally sound again, and….brace yourself world…I’m happy. The girl whose favorite band is The Smiths, who wears all black, and whose favorite movie is “10 Things I Hate About You” is happy. And she’s happy to live alone with her pet toad. Lanks can do whatever he wants. Ask me out or not. I’m fine either way, because if things develop into something serious between us then it’s because there was no other alternative. Love and life finds a way and there’s no controling that. It’s a freeing bit of information I’ve had to traverse hell and the line between sane and insane to get to. I wish I could give it to you as simple as that, but perhaps it’s something you have to go through and gain that perspective on your own. Some things just are. All I know is that, as much as I’ve bemoaned this year as dealing me a rough hand, it has done me right in giving me this perspective and the knowledge that I can live alone, I can be my own person and I won’t wither into nothing. When I’m pushed into the deep end, I’ll learn to swim. I’m going to try and remember this when things go wrong and the coffee buzz wears thin. But I can feel the change occuring within myself and outside my world and I’m so damn excited about it. Please, change, I’m ready for you. Take me where you may.  

And so now I’m about the head to dinner. To call and comfort a friend who is going through the thick of it. To call my father and gush about my lovely new car. To be. Because, it’s so easy not to be. And it hardly sounds like any fun. I’m ready for fun and being and existence and writing and music and dance and lapping up my 20’s like a man dying of thirst. I’m excited about my best friend’s wedding which I am a bridesmaid in. I am thrilled that my former best friend and I have connected and I’m going to get to see her start her life with a wonderful guy. I’m alive…and I’m stoked.

-Anna R. Kotopple

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Mum's the Word

Apparently my workplace has an anti-blogging/social media policy. This means I can’t say anything negative about them in these formats and further means that I can’t give away any trade secrets via the WWW. That’s fine. I really don’t know anything of interest to say about them, and also, I kind of think they are quite a good company to work for. Sure, they are a corporate entity and they exist to make a profit, but they do some nice things for their employees  and I really have had worse bosses several times over in other companies I have been with. My last corporate company I worked for would arrest employees if they breathed dissention and offered “benefits” that were really quite lame. Job’s a job though.

I’m sipping coffee and hoping for inspiration today, because stress has locked up my brain to sharing anything of any value with you. Stress and depression are the number one things that have always strangled my pen. And it’s near impossible to break through stress feelings because they just seem to grow more of them whereever they linger. Like kudzu. Oh, and depression. Egads. There’s nothing like feeling that everything you say is boring and worthless. My solution to both of these conundrums is to reward myself with mas tacos covered in so very much stringy and delicious cheese upon finishing this entry. The amount of Mexican goodness I consume is to be directly proportional to how well I like this blog. So far, I’ve earned a slice of quesadilla. And that’s not going to cut it.

So I’m reading a collection of science fiction short stories and one in this collection is called “Doctor Ox’s Experiment” by the oft-regaled Jules Verne. Wikipedia will tell you that this story is about a mad scientist that uses a whole town for his experimentation…for apparently no good reason at all. This is a bit of a stretch. I’ll let you read the story yourself and make your own conclusion, but I will say that the most interesting part of this story is that the townspeople in this fictional town have a very perculiar way of courting their beloved. They are a meticulous people who choose to passively pursue their love interest over the course of many a year…many many a year. This translates to a courship period of commonly 10 years. Anyone marrying their partner after an integral of less time is thought to have created QUITE a scandal. Call the govnah!

The work is free from copyright so here’s one of my favorite lines from the work: “It must not be thought that young hearts did not beat in this exceptional place, they just beat with a certain deliberation.” From this, the argument is made that this is perfectly rational in the town of Quiquendone because young couples wish to use this period of time to study each other, almost like a major in college. And why shouldn’t they, the ominscent narrator queries. Because, if someone is going to enter the “terrible bonds of marriage” shouldn’t they know as much, if not more, about their partner than a doctor knows about his craft or a artisan knows their trade? 

It seems like a duh moment, doesn’t it? We all know that rushing into a decision hardly ever produces the best of curcumstances. If we could all store some patience in our gut and craft a life for ourselves outside of obligations to another, dedicating ourselves earnestly to learning who a person is and how best to be their support system and too how to utilize their skills to make our own journey successful…if we could do this, there’d be no need for do-overs. My own parents were in a relationship 10 years before they decided to start a family. Married for 7 years and dating for 3 before I came along and asked for their world to revolve around me for 25 years and counting. They used the years pre-me to build a foundation that screaming toddlers and bills and bad habits couldn’t topple. How extrodinary. And how very difficult in this day and age.

I think there’s so much pressure for couples to DO something to prove they love each other. Being together isn’t enough for everyone who views the relationship. You’ve got to update your Facebook status, buy them a Christmas gift, share your M & Ms, text them every day, make plans for a future that is far from certain. And it’s all just smoke and mirrors anyway, because neither one of you knows what tomorrow is going to bring; if you’ll even be in the same town or if an argument about the merits of Abbey Road vs Rubber Soul will tear your stupid little connection to bits. So maybe 10 years time, and knowing you have that time, can take (some) of the stress from dating. If you know that you’re going to see that person again and again and learn a factoid about them each time like some great mystery board game, then there’s no reason to be anxious, right? You can get on with the process of creating great art, establishing your credit, and taking in the way the light hits their hazel eyes. Girl fantasy. Never gonna happen. Our attention spans just don’t work that way. That’s why Doctor Ox’s Experiment is Sci-Fi. Nice try, Verne. You’re not shaking up my world view today, sir!

But in all seriousness, it’s a thought. And maybe it’s a good one. The Dutch certainly seem to think so. Apparently, there is a very large number of unwed mothers in the country…and absolutely everyone is ok with that. Girl power? Or maybe something else. Marriage acts as a frou frou ceremony to make the parents happy, and many Dutch couples don’t bother with it, frequently living with each other for years and years, having many kids, and eventually falling into something similar to our common law status. I know that one of the strongest couples I know were together for that magical number (10 years) before getting married. And here’s the thing…marraige is not some magic wand. It doesn’t change much. It is a certain obligation, but if that’s not already that there, it’s not going to cement it.

That’s part of the reason I disengaged. I wasn’t ready to settle down and I knew it. I didn’t truly know the person I was engaged to. I wasn’t ready to stay home and do couples things as opposed to being a free agent  I wasn’t a very good girlfriend either. I hadn’t earned marriage, but I was going to try and rush into it anyway. Broke my heart to do it, but thank God I backed out. I just knew I wasn’t mature enough for what it meant to me.

My my, this blog is all over the place tonight. Can’t hurt to throw in a vignette at this point can it? I absolutely hate it, but it’s gotta bleed through sometime and what better time to expose your heart than when the whole world is watching?

Nostalgia XXXVI: Lando

I’m not quite a fine enough writer to have even come close to creating a character like you. And you mock me because you are better than any fictional 3D I could dredge up. There’s absolute astonishment at your phrases, which means I have to write about you (even though I’d rather not) and give you a shared lasting connection that pushes beyond your social borders.

Let’s cut a cross section to parse, psycho-analyze and all around wring for every last drop of meaning. Even though the one thing I’m dreaming of from you is simplicity. But that’s so difficult to cling to when I realize my arms around you cause your whole chest to shudder and shake, the bum ticker you got POUNDING against my cheek, working a hole in the sutures I’ve placed around myosin musculature.

You’re just not going to understand what those musical references do to me. If you keep turning my screws, eventually you’ll turn me right side up I suppose.

I’m hopelessly addicted to caffeine and it’s rather unpleasant. I cut my own soul in half last winter to find freedom and happiness. Can I cut chemical addiction so easily? Can I cut you deep enough before you sink your teeth into me?

Yup. My thoughts exactly. Oh, and that was written about no one inparticular. All names, likenesses and references are purely fictional and should not be read into any futher. End of story. Annnnnnd…with that, I think I’ve earned myself a couple of crunchy tactos, a quesadilla AND a drink. Delicious. Live Mas or some clever junk. 

-Anna R. Kotopple