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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

Geneviève.

That’s the name I’ve given my wig.

SN: wigs are like sliced bread when it comes to my eternal love and devotion. I can slap a wig cap over my two-strand twists that I didn’t feel like taking out–which is exactly what’s going on as we e-speak–and transform my entire look for the day. Pretty cool, no?

Anyway, this morning, I decided that my new wig needed a name. And why not? I name all the other inanimate objects in my life. Cars (Kelly Kapowski Corolla for my first car and um, Idris for my current vehicle), pens, etc. After mulling it over and realized that this particular wig is classy and smooth, I named her Geneviève. Yep, with the French spelling and pronunciation. The name Genevieve (American style) has always slayed me; I went to school with a Genevieve and was struck with wonder by her interesting name. Years later, when I wrote The Cruelty Papers, a short story that kind of transformed things for me as a writer, the protagonist was named–you guessed it–Genevieve. But the story doesn’t end there. When I first went to Europe in 2004, my lovely hostess and friend Clara and I were talking about baby names one afternoon, as we sat in a park in Geneva, Switzerland. (Sounds like a dream, no? Looking back, sometimes it seems like it was.) It was a random conversation for sure; at the time, she and her hubby didn’t have children and weren’t planning on having them (that changed some years later) and I loved discussing creative baby names but had no plans on birthing any (that hasn’t changed lol). Anyway, I told her about my love for the name Genevieve.

Clara: Ah, Geneviève. (Gen-e-vee-ève)
Me (gaping at her and drooling): I love the way you say it.
Clara (smiling): Yes, it’s the French way.

Indeed.

Bid a bonjour to Geneviève, won’t you?

The last pic on the far right is from today, as we e-speak.

Happy Friyay, y’all, and bon weekend.

Gen3

Odes.

soulplaceAs the days dwindle down and my time in this metropolitan area rapidly passes me by (funny how time never flew when I had no plans to leave; a.k.a., life), I was reflecting on a few things that I will actually miss about living/working in this area. (Positivity, right?) Walk with me.

Somewheres, VA, where I live, is about 10 minutes from the nation’s capital. This means museums, theaters, strolling among the monuments, fun events–all just a subway ride or quick drive away. Pretty awesome. I’m sure TX will have its fair share of all the above, but there was something too cool about hanging out with Abe Lincoln at night.

Speaking of subway rides… Apart from my growing list of complaints about the subway system in this city (who built it? Me? If so, I clearly have no mechanical skills), it also gave me one giant, important thing during my daily commute to work: the chance to have my voyeur status refreshed every single day. People watching, at level 100, for seven and a half years. Fiction and poems were born and abounded as the train hurtled us to our various destinations (I’m actually presently writing a short story inspired by something I observed this very morning), and I’m pretty thankful for that.

By and large, despite how life seems to whizz by in this area, I’m appreciative of the laid back vibe I generally noticed about the people around me. Unlike, say, New York City, where the nonchalant nature of the residents hardly diminished the intensity I frequently saw in their eyes, the people in the Washington DC area largely had a chill-ness about them that was quite nice. Intensity can be great (necessary when professing love for Idris and Lupita, for example), but the African blood that runs through these veins just can’t deny a quiet, laid back kind of life or person.

My job. So much to say. So much to say. Another post will come about my adventures at the OK Corral; longer, more detailed, stained with my tears. For now, I will choose brevity and again, positivity (ouch, it hurts): I work at an institution where taking time off is generally not a problem, where I’ve connected with some great people, where lunch breaks can spill over the hour and you’re ok, where coffee breaks are encouraged, where diversity blooms and flourishes. Those parts have been pretty great. I’ll stop here. No, one more thought: to have steady employment, to have insurance benefits, to financially take care of oneself–for all those things, being at the OK Corral was a blessing. There. Whew.

As mentioned, a few things I wanted to share. I’ll miss all the people in my life far more than monuments and subway seats, of course, but you knew that, didn’t you?

Bon Wednesday, dear readers…

20 (Maybe) Weird Things.

I’ve said it before: we’re all weirdos. See the following.

seuss
Right, Idris?
  1. I read over people’s shoulders on the train, especially when they have hefty, voluminous books in their hands. I mean, how can I be a legitimate bookworm if I don’t hoard what you’re reading?
  2. If you stand too close to me anywhere, this is clear evidence that you want my kidneys.
  3. I don’t necessarily mind the scent of gasoline. (Stop raising your eyebrows. Doesn’t that acrid aroma take you back to the days of school buses and running to get to class on time? No? Fine, it’s just me then. Le sigh.)
  4. Speaking of school, I get a little sad when September comes. Reminds me of the return of school and losing summertime, air-conditioned basements, and leisurely family time/trips to the local library. Poor kiddos.
  5. When I hear this song, I weep. I don’t know why.
  6. Speaking of inexplicably sad songs, I crave them sometimes. The melancholy can be oddly uplifting.
  7. In elementary school, I was in class with a girl named Marni Levy. One of my Dad’s friends owned an auto shop which was next to another shop named Levy’s. In my mind, I believed that Marni’s father owned that shop. Because of the last name. It never dawned on me that the world is undoubtedly filled with millions of Levy’s.
  8. Can you believe I still remember Marni’s name? I just Googled her. And found her. Oh, the Google. We were in 4th grade together.
  9. By now, you understand that I’m a low-key private investigator. Let us give thanks for Columbo, Jessica Fletcher, and Hercule Poirot. I really believe in my skills, y’all.
  10. To this day, I can’t check my pulse. Because I have no idea what I’m counting. And really, does it matter? As long as we all know how fast or slow it’s going?
  11. I have safe songs. Songs that prevent me from throwing myself to the ground and bawling during stressful and/or anxious times. When I hear these songs, I calm down. It’s amazing. I’m sure there’s a psychological link to a relaxing memory somewhere. Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears, Drive by the Cars, and Dancing in the Dark by my boyfriend Bruce Springsteen are a few. (By the way, the term “safe song” came from an episode of Ally McBeal. I latched on to the term immediately.)
  12. If I must drink a green smoothie (like being forced by a kidnapper or a bank robber), I don’t want to taste the green part. I better not taste that green part.
  13. My actual shoe size is 8 1/2. But I wear 9, 9 1/2, and even 10 sometimes. Because my toes are alive and sometimes cannot physically take being in certain shoes. Like they need room to breathe. It’s the weirdest thing.
  14. I inherently associate smells with memory. See #3. It’s not weird, per se, but it’s tough to explain to people why you’re backing away slowly from them because their perfume reminds you of terrifying kindergarten teachers.
  15. “Conspiracy theorist” is an appropriate description of yours truly. They’re watching you. All of them.
  16. I read the ending of books first before I buy them.
  17. For a long time during my adolescence, I truly believed that I was adopted. Like, really. Actual mother: Diana Ross. Or a queen from a faraway land. Same thing.
  18. See #15. There are at least two people in history that I believed faked their deaths. But we won’t get into it now, folks. Not trying to scare you this early in the morning.
  19. I’m a sassy, swinging, modern girl. But I may or may not be clueless about the lyrical content of most songs.
  20. When “LOL” became a thing, it took me a while to not use it as a verb in my mind when reading it. (“Wow, she’s doing a lot of LOLing.”) I also perhaps maybe Googled it at first to see what in the world it meant. Add “SMH” to that list, as well.

There is it, folks. A few quirks and oddities that I contentedly call my own. For the record, I certainly believe that “weirdness” is all relative; life would be quite shapeless and gray without the downright different ways we all perceive things. So take a deep breath, install Google on your smartphone, and enjoy your life.

Bon weekend, mes amis.

“…wings of her own.”

I wrote this poem seven years ago. Bon Throwback Thursday.

 

Mrs. Birdman

 

When he finally lands,

the odds are that she’ll be waiting for him by the riverside.

He’ll tell marvelous tales

of the sweet air up there, of racing with skylarks and ravens,

that near-miss with the eagle…

She’ll tell him that Billy lost his tooth, and that Sally started walking.

He’ll smile and ask if they remember him and she’ll lie and say that

they do.

She’ll cry when he says that he has to go again,

(“I thought you’d stay longer this time”)

and he’ll placate her with promises that they both know

will fly away faster than he can, never to be seen or heard of

again.

Up, up, up, he’ll go, the Man who makes the sky that much

more unique, as they all like to say.

She’ll continue by the riverside,

waiting,

too morose and too teary-eyed

to realize what he hopes she never will,

that she’s always had

wings of her own.

because it’s Wednesday.

Sunjata

This is Daniel Sunjata. He’s an actor. This Wednesday is all his.

Many years ago, a friend of mine clipped his photo from a magazine and presented it to me, declaring that upon seeing his face, she just knew that said face would make me happy. She wasn’t wrong. At the time, I had no idea who he was. But I won’t comment on how long I kept that photo. Note that it was wallet-sized. We’ll move on.

You’ve seen him in The Devil Wears Prada, countless episodes of my beloved Law and Order, so on and so forth. He’s also a theater guy.

Be still. My beating heart.

Happy Wednesday, Daniel everyone.

because I’m petty.

No other way to say it.

I just am.

Anywho, I wrote this brief essay/diatribe. Happy Tuesday.

 

Miss Petty Boots 2016

You don’t recognize me, do you? You’re doing that I’m trying to place that face squint with the head tilt to the side, as if the re-positioning of your head and narrowing of your eyes will somehow ignite the memory corner of your brain. Don’t sweat it. I know exactly who you are.

What was it: about three years ago?

We all have preferences and you exercised your preferential right not to be attracted to me. So you told our Yenta that you’d rather not and I said all right and we all moved on with our lives.

But who is this woman standing a few feet away from me? The face is somewhat familiar, but…the woman from three years ago was a bit…chubbier? The face was a bit fuller? The physique a bit more zaftig? (Let’s be real; you’d never use that word.) But this woman is really svelte. The face: thinner. But I know that face, don’t I? But this woman is different. I can’t stop pretending not to stare at her. Hope she doesn’t notice.

Oh, I notice. I see you pretending.

I’m going to be Miss Petty Boots 2016 for a second: it’s because I’m hotter than you remember. I worked on my health and my fitness, and one of the pay-offs is a leaner version of the confident woman you preferentially chose to not pursue three years ago. Back then, sure, I was low-key excited at the suggestion from our Yenta that she could introduce us. After all, you smiled at me, so… (what it took back then for me to be intrigued by a fellow: a smile. *Le sigh.) And yes, my active imagination plotted our entire courtship from initial meeting to wedding day. So when our Yenta informed me shortly thereafter that you weren’t interested, it was disappointing. Not hurling myself dramatically off a nearby bridge disappointing, but disappointing nonetheless. But I moved on. You moved on. And now here we are. Don’t worry, though. I’m only Miss Petty Boots in print. I’m not the kind of woman that will saunter up to you and publicly remind you of the past.

I’m the kind of woman that will continue her conversation with her friends and peripherally remain aware of your fixed regard and leave it all there. (Still about 75% petty boots, though.)whitpetty

*A smile may be lovely, but it’s just rows of meaningless teeth. Be prepared to impress me. 

So keep narrowing your eyes and tilting your head.

Maybe you’ll figure it out.

Goals.

bookwrap
Photo courtesy of Instagram, via @thewraplife

Chair goals.

Book shelf goals.

Head wrap goals.

Recreating-this-photo-in-my-apartment-one-day goals.

I mean. Come on. For a proud melanin lady who loves books and sitting on her growing derrière (thank you, squats) and red lippy, this photo is everything.

Incidentally, yesterday was National Book Lovers Day. I certainly hope you celebrated by sniffing some books and delighting in the sweet aromas of imagination and words. If not, fellow bookworm, you know that we don’t need a day set aside to celebrate our love: every day is National Book Lovers Day.

Here’s to beloved library cards and paying off all those fines. Speaking for myself, of course.

(Thanks for the tag, TB!)

Give Me the Panic Attack with a Side of Nervous Breakdown. And a Diet Coke.

If you’d like to order that particular meal/psychotic break, attempt to clean up Chernobyl your room and simultaneously pack up your life for a move across several states. I started this week. Let’s just say that my mother and sister had to repeatedly tell me to calm down. Like stop from taking a swan dive from your bedroom window level of calm down. stress1It’s overwhelming. 11 years in that room, with an abundance of things to rifle through and pack up and/or trash. Le sigh. If you’re peeking through your trusty psychology manual to determine the emotional subtext behind my mania and stress, I’ll save you the trouble: I simply detest packing. I detest moving things from one place to the other. It makes me nauseous. I’m serious. Don’t ask me where that came from. Likely the same place that drives me to rip off my jewelry. We’re all weirdos.

Anyway, in TSP’s continuing effort to always find the silver lining peeking mischievously behind all those clouds, I’ve considered the few pluses that came from this initial phase of moving/packing. Here they are:

  1. Finding bookworm treasures. To my everlasting glee and giddiness, I found my thought-to-be-lost collection of Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events books. Can I tell you how I delved into these witty, smart, exciting tales of the unfortunate Baudelaire siblings when they were first released? I freely read books meant for the youngsters, by the way, because I love a good story and because they’re almost always well-written. (We’ll talk about my soon-to-be foray into children’s books and YA fiction soon.) Anyway, I thought the original six books were lost forever. And then I found them on Wednesday. So here’s to more book-related treasures I will undoubtedly find as I continue with this breakdown of my room. All to build my bookshelf in TX.
  2. Family Rocks. Your Square Peg has a very patient mother and sister. I already knew this, but it was pretty evident on Wednesday evening. My sister was the eternal cheerleader. (You’re doing great! Look at what you accomplished!) My pragmatic and hilarious mother ordered me to stop freaking out, eat some food, and go to bed. In the end, as I finally burrowed myself under my covers, I could only be thankful. Here’s to people who love you and will never be released from their promises to help you, no matter how hard they try. *insert maniacal laughter here*
  3.  Feeling Determined. I have too many things. I’ve acquired too, too many things. Some goals for my move/new apartment include making sure that I have just what I need and no more than that. Here’s to re-reading this blog in a few months when I have a desire to purchase something I certainly don’t need.
  4. Feeling Charitable. A lot of things I have are being donated to various charities that can benefit from clothes, shoes, and other items. I already have two contractor bags teeming with items for donation. Here’s to doing something good for someone else, even while I dramatically slide down a wall as I drownwallslide in tears.

That’s all for now. Told you it was just a few pluses. Anyway, I’ll keep you apprised of the cleaning/packing journey as I go. Pray for me, y’all.

Which one of you likes to pack? And why would you enjoy such a thing? Let’s talk about it in the comments while I peek in my psychology manual…

30 Days.

Recall our discussion about comfort zones and the changes looming in my life. Well, hear ye, hear ye…

I’m moving!

After nearly 30 years of living in Somewheres, VA, in 30 days, I will beadventure moving to the Dallas, Texas area. Since revealing this news to my family and friends, I’ve received responses that range from shock to support/glee/excitement to downright confusion. Here are a few of the most popular questions I’ve gotten, followed by my responses.

Why in the world are you moving?
Because I’m a human being, an adult, a grown woman, and I have the right to vacate my premises.

I’m so happy for you! What inspired your decision?
Thank you. Honestly, I’m ready for a change in my life. It really helps that the area I’m headed to is affordable and has a great cost of living, as well as an abundance of jobs. Also, I have personal goals that I’d like to see through and I think being in a less expensive area may assist me in those endeavors.

But why Texas? It’s like the Wild West down there.
Well, no, it’s not. It’s different from the metropolitan area we live in, sure. But I fell in love with the area when I visited and always had in the back of my mind to move there one day. I think it’s beautiful there and we’ll see what life will be like for me.

Won’t you miss your family?
Of course I will. I love my family to pieces and pieces. But I’m also pretty excited about this new, impending chapter in my life. For the first time, the idea of moving away isn’t causing the butterflies that permanently reside in my belly to implode. I’m actually OK with this choice, and my family has been nothing but supportive. And if it stinks over there, I’m headed back home without fail.

Uh, do you have a job lined up?
No, I don’t. I’ll be starting the hunt when I get there.

You must have thousands of dollars saved up then.
*crickets*

How will you LIVE?
I’ll be staying with a friend temporarily while I look for work. Eventually, when work comes, I’ll get my own living arrangements.

I’m terrified for you. Have you seen the news lately?
I have. And, honestly, it gives me pause, too. Sadly, however, bad news isn’t relegated to one area of the nation or the world. I can only pray that I stay safe and make good decisions about the places I go and the people I see.

Do you have family down there?
No, but I have friends who are like family that live down there.

This is just really shocking.
It is. Change can always be shocking. And you always imagine–at least I do–that people will stay where they are forever.

We’ll miss you.
I can’t describe how I’ll miss my friends and family and will miss living in an area where I know the shortcuts to the shortcuts. I’m starting over and without a known tribe around me. But I’ll be ok.

Well, it was nice knowing you.

I’m not going to the moon. I’m just some states over. There’s FaceTime, Skype, social media, the phone, and this blog, which won’t change just because I’ve changed my address. If anything, my new life will be healthily updated right here on This Square Peg. It’ll be an entirely new story line of square pegness, actually, in this new area, so we’ll have a lot to talk about.

So, yeah. I’m moving. I’m moooooooving!

Have you moved before? Whether stateside or to another country? How did you adjust? Details, please, in the comments. 

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