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This Square Peg.

Happily Not Fitting In Since 1978.

here.

Yes, I moved.

Yes, I hitched up my lady pantaloons and made the decision to start over with new people, new new places, and new things.

Yes, I wept when leaving my mother, my brothers, and my sister.

Yes, I continued to weep on and off days after arriving in the Dallas area (specifically Carrollton) and still nurse a weepy homesickness that consumes here and there, especially when I’m driving. (Why do we weep when we drive? Or is it just me?)

Yes, I realized that this was a pretty significant step to take in my life and I have to say: I truly underestimated the emotional upheaval that was poised to come.

Yes, it’s lovely here.

Yes, I’ve reconnected with/met a few friends who’ve helped to assuage my aching for home and the familiar.

Yes, I’ve gotten lost on these long, winding roads and have become besties with my GPS.

Yes, I’ve slowly created a routine that I’m getting used to. quotelion

Yes, some roads have already become so familiar that I turn off the GPS when driving, and I realize that my mobile phone’s data plan thanks me for this.

Yes, it’s really hot here. For real. Like really.

Yes, I want to go home. But right now, I won’t.

Yes, the quote to the right explains how I largely feel about staying here.

Yes, I’ve wanted to blog since I got here, but I needed time to wipe these tears. And a wet laptop keyboard wouldn’t have helped anyone.

Yes, I FaceTime my people whenever I can. And I worry about them. And I think of them constantly. And I’m back in kindergarten.

And yes, despite that ache mentioned above, and the homesickness, I’m happy, excited, and curious about the future.

It’s nice to be with you again, dear reader. If you’ve ever made a move, please tell me about how you dealt with it in the comments, won’t you?

1,000 cartwheels down a deserted hallway…

…in other words, what I’d like to do to commemorate my last day here at the OK Corral. Since my adolescent gym teachers shamed me for my inability to tumble, therefore ripping that desire out of me for the rest of my days, here’s this instead.

polar bear jump fall animals being jerks animals being dicks

Happy last day to me!

And happy Wednesday to you, dear reader…

The Day Before.

me1
Today.

Sure, you can expect a post on my final day at the OK Corral, my last day in the office, my final 8 hours, my final shift, my final time wondering if the HVAC guys have a vendetta against me, based on how cold it is in this place all year long. But I want to also talk about the day before.

This is it. The day before the final day.

Let’s talk about how I feel.

  • Unbothered. The professional meltdowns are hardly abating just because I’m leaving. But you can find me at my desk, chill(ed?), relaxed, and hardly fazed.
  • Unreal. I’ll be very honest with you: I’ve been unhappy at my place of employment for several years. I won’t get too detailed, but it just was never the place for me. Visions of my last day have danced in my head for so, so long–imagine my heart sinking each time a colleague who felt my pain got to make their exodus out of here. Now it’s my turn. Me. Meeeeee. Pretty unreal/surreal.
  •  Unseen. This is a giant organization. It’s unlikely that you’ll know the people you pass by in the hallways or in the cafeteria. So no one really cares about the stranger passing by them (me) with a satisfied, I’m-almost-outta-here smirk on her face. And that’s just fine.
  • Unguarded. People ask me how I feel about leaving. Perhaps they expect a melancholic reply, a palpable sadness about vacating the professional life I’ve known for the past 7 years. Or perhaps they expect an attempt at diplomacy, to not reveal how I really feel about leaving. It’s none of the above. Are you ready to go? More than ready! How do you feel? Great! 

You understand me.

Happy Tuesday, party people. Come by tomorrow, won’t you?

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.

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