10/52 – Aspirations & Fears

Aspiration: A hope or ambition of achieving something.

Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something is likely a threat.

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The other day one of my classmates, Twinlee, said, “Oh my god. You should just type mine up, too. You’ve got the words!” This was in reference to a small group project we were working on making a PowerPoint for during some down time in lab.

I was startled into admitting something that hasn’t come up yet. “I like to write.”

That’s something of an understatement. I’ve been writing short stories since the first grade. Have, actually, written three novels of more than 150 pages – two of which were part of a truly awful series that I did when I was about fourteen. The third was, I think, pretty okay. It was my NaNoWriMo novel four years ago. At present, I have two novel ideas that are tumbling around in the back of my mind.

I’ve always thought of it as both a good and a bad thing that I don’t ever have to search for an idea. Truth be told, sitting here, I’ve actually got closer to a dozen potential story/novel ideas, but only two are developed enough to be considered, practically speaking.

At Twinlee’s probing, I admitted as much as the above, and confessed something else. “Part of the reason I decided to go into nursing,” I let her know, “is due to the fact that I could work three twelve hour shifts, and then go home and write for four solid days, if I want.” She was, I think, both impressed and bemused.

It’s true though. When I was a kid, I expected to grow up to be a photo journalist, because I like to write, take pictures, and travel. As I got older, that somehow turned into something that I felt was impractical. It’s not that anyone ever told me, “You can’t do that.” It just . . . became a non-option, along the way.

My aspiration, I suppose you could say, is still to become a novelist. I don’t even let myself dream of real success, most of the time, but it’s fun to imagine seeing one of my novels on a bookshelf. Maybe even to daydream about seeing someone wander over to it and pick up while I stand there, pretending not to notice.

Of course, I don’t really think a person can have an aspiration without experiencing some parallel fear. Not only of failure, necessarily, but of the sheer possibility of success.

People fail all the time. It’s not unexpected. There are protocols, procedures, and policies in place to help people deal with failing. We have so many expressions and saying relating to failure that it’s not really something scary, in and of itself, at least not at a core level, for me.

“Why do we fall? So we might learn to pick ourselves up.”

The prospect of accomplishing something successfully is, realistically, more scary to me than failing is, because I’m not sure what would come next. Fear of the unknown is the biggest fear I have, and failing isn’t something that’s unknown . . . success is.

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I haven’t written much since starting school, aside from homework and this blog, because I’ve been trying to narrow my focus to becoming a nurse . . . which is, honestly, an aspiration in itself. I’ll have two weeks off though, starting on the sixteenth and I keep thinking about trying to pound out a rough draft, at least, in that time.

A rough draft in two weeks would seem like a tall order, except the one I mean to write is one that I’ve had in my mind for years and it’s so ready to be written that it’ll feel just like typing out the outline of a movie I’ve watched a million and one times.

Of course, I don’t really know what I’d do with the draft once I finished it. I’ve never actually gone through the process of revising one. Now that I’m thinking about it, working to revise the school assignments I’ve done isn’t that dissimilar. Well, aside from the fact that the school assignments aren’t more than ten pages long . . .

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Also, as an end to this post, which was sort of off on a tangent, and as a follow-up to the post earlier today, I didn’t end up getting naked. He came home from work early, we had lunch . . . and then there was sex, but I got to keep most of my clothes on. Compromise exists, even in dynamics with heavy M/s connotations.

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3/52

Sometimes you have to rip off the band-aid.

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For the majority of the past ten months, I have spent a lot of time worrying about my job security. I started school in April and I’m set to graduate as an RN this December (on the 17th, to be specific). At first, it was just leaving work an hour early on Friday. Then it was leaving work five hours early on Thursday. And then it was being at the campus for a total of what would have been about eight work hours. Now . . . it’s more like the equivalent of 20 work hours. And they’re unpredictable.

The joys of clinical hours . . . not.

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My boss of almost three years had me fill out a calendar on Wednesday and she firmly told me that she won’t approve any time that’s not on the calendar. I reiterated that I don’t know what days I might have clinical or when exams will be, but she shrugged.

I understand. I really do. She is trying to manage an office full of people that have unique needs regarding scheduling, she’s dealing with a demanding supervisor, and she’s got personal issues of her own. I can’t expect her to continue to accommodate my life.

In that spirit, I just messaged her and explained the situation. I asked, bluntly, if I need to come in tomorrow, or if I should spend the day job hunting. I didn’t mean the question to read sarcastic or rhetorical and it doesn’t. I apologized for the situation, but explained that I can’t just leave the program at this point. I can’t even offer her a proper two week’s notice, because I can only give her information as I get it from the school.

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This is a rambling post. It’s past my bedtime. My SO is already snoring in bed. I’ve also just found out that one of my friends from high-school (who I’ve known for more than ten years) just had to get a medically necessary abortion due to pre-eclampsia. She was given the choice: try to carry to term and die (leaving her three year old daughter motherless), have the baby early and watch it die (she was only eight weeks pregnant), or abort it and donate it to research to try to find a cure (this is her second case of pre-eclampsia).

That puts my problem with work/being fired to shame. Perspective is important.

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As I was channel surfing, looking for something to distract me, I came across the animated version of Anastasia. So much nostalgia. I had two different barbie versions of her (in her “street” wear and her yellow ball gown). My top three favorite movies as a child were Anastasia, My Neighbor Totoro, and Mulan. I’m all about some girl power.

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And she’s sent me six messages. But I don’t want to open them.

I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack over this. I don’t even like this job.

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*Ten minutes later*

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Checked the messages. I’m not fired. How am I not fired? I don’t understand.

 

Breaking Rules

I don’t believe that most rules are made to be broken . . . but I don’t mind testing limits and pressing boundaries. Often, opportunities are found in that way. And without some bent (or broken) rules life would quickly stagnate.

Of course, I’m not just talking about the standard for everyone rules – otherwise known as laws. I’m also not just talking about the quiet rules – the ones we knowingly create for ourselves. Morals can fall into this category and so do most religious tenants (though people tend to refer to those as God’s laws). But laws, morals, and religious tenants tend to be things that people are actively aware of.

For instance, most people would agree that it’s breaking a rule to steal something or hurt someone – speaking both from a legal and a moral perspective. And my Orthodox neighbor would say you’re breaking a rule if he caught you eating pork or crab.

But what about those rules that are entirely self-created and self-enforced?

Things like not drinking soda, or always doing the dishes before bed, or always wearing mismatching socks and NEVER EVER wearing plain white cotton socks. ESPECIALLY the kind with the gray toes. UNLESS you are going to be going on a jog or a really long walk.

Yeah. That last is one of my own personal rules. And I actually realized today that I am completely uncomfortable if I don’t adhere to it. Even though it’s something that no one else on this planet actually cares about or  even notices, really, because I tend to cover up my mismatched socks with my shoes (which are not mismatched, by the way).

I can see the benefit of having some personal rules. These types of beneficial rules – when followed in a routine-like pattern – are actually considered habits and not rules . . . possibly due to the lack of an outside punishment if one does not fold ones clothes as soon as they are clean or if one forgets to count those chocolate-cake-calories.

So. Laws, morals, habits . . .  it generally makes sense to obey these types of rules, regardless of whether or not there will be negative consequences, because they offer some sort of a benefit to either society or your own person . . . but what about odd personal rules that often seem to come about accidentally or without any real forethought.

Like my mismatching socks.

Absolutely nothing bad will happen if I happen to grab two black ankle socks from my drawer. Or two blue socks with purple owls. Or two socks that both say Platform 9 3/4. The only thing that will happen is that I will wear matching socks instead of socks that don’t match. That’s it. And yet . . . yet . . . I feel as though I am obligated to mismatch my socks.

Understand, this is not something caused by the recent craze of mismatching socks. I mismatched my socks before that. I actually think it started during my first read-through of the Harry Potter books, because the character Dobby mismatched his socks. Something about that amused me and charmed me. And I’ve literally been doing it ever since.

Not to date myself . . . but that means I’ve been mismatching my socks since I was twelve.

I’m turning twenty-five years old in October. And I still do this thing.

Sure, it sometimes gives me a mental boost to know that I have on one pink sock with little yellow stars and one blue sock with little purple telephones, but not all the time. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I have mismatched my socks until I have it pointed out by my Significant other that one of my socks is an ankle sock and one is not.

(This is usually the only time he brings it up, because he can’t fathom how the “height difference” doesn’t bother me. Then again, he only wears the dreaded white socks with gray toes. And he puts them on the same feet, each time. He has left socks. He has right socks. He will hate his entire day if he accidentally leaves the house with a left sock on his right foot, or a right sock on his left foot. We do not see eye to eye on our socks. I believe they should go on whichever foot they happen to be placed on. My socks are ambidextrous.)

I was thinking about these things today, because I started to put on two purple-white-black striped socks. And then I stopped. Put one back. And selected a plain black sock. I didn’t realize what I did until after it was already done, but I then found myself musing about what my motives had been. Until that point, I had been thinking only of getting to Starbucks. It was six in the morning and I wasn’t even fully awake, but I had interrupted my action to adhere to this weird personal rule about having on mismatching socks.

I found myself thinking about Steve Jobs wearing the same outfit. And Einstein.

I also found myself thinking about one of my all-time favorite novel characters – Ian Malcolm. He only owned black and gray clothing items. Because that way he’d never not match. He could grab gray socks with his black pants and no one would care or think he didn’t look put together. “Because what could be more mundane than worrying about what socks to wear.” He actually says something like that in the book.

And here I am – following my own made-up rule about always mismatching socks.

Because of something that another fictional character did.

The realization made me question all of my quirks. I was actually alarmed by my lack of self-awareness, because I usually feel as though I have myself pretty much figured out – at least as far as my motivations are concerned. And I understood what people talk about when they say that you can sabotage your goals with your habits (again, I feel that habits are just really consistent personal rules). For example: One of my goals is to get in better physical shape . . . but I have this rule that I can only exercise if my significant other isn’t home and isn’t going to be home within the time it will take me to finish a work out.

This is an enormous problem. There are only two days a week when I am home by myself for more than an hour and when I also don’t have other obligations that preclude working out. I will never meet my goal of getting in better shape if I continue to stick to my rule of not working out when there’s a chance my significant other will catch me cussing, because I’m winded ten minutes into a work out video . . . because I only make an effort to be active for about half an hour on two days a week. It’s a vicious cycle.

*insert epiphany light bulb here*

So. My goal for tomorrow and this weekend will be to see how many of my personal rules I can break successfully – not the good ones, like waking up in time to see the sun come up (even if I don’t actually watch it rise); but the bad ones, like spending money I shouldn’t on Sunday Morning Breakfast just because it’s something I always do and if I don’t do it I’ll . . . what? have more time to work out? get to try another new breakfast recipe?

Yeah, because those are totally bad things that should be avoided. *sarcasm*

Okay. The TL;DR version: There is more than one way to choose socks. Dobby and Ian Malcolm both make good points. Tomorrow I’ll be wearing colorful – but matching – socks. Or I’ll mismatch two color socks. Or wear two black ones. Whatever I feel like. Because there aren’t really any rules about what socks I should put on my feet. And believing that such rules exist is sillier than getting advice on socks from literary characters.

An Odd Loneliness

I feel that there are as many types of loneliness as there are types of love or anger or sadness. Loneliness can be internal or external; quiet or chaotic; reflective or outward.

Today, my loneliness is oddly listless and passive. I wrote the other day that I was feeling passive about being physically unwell and was suffering from a sort of impatience. Today, I’m feeling much better, physically, but I’m going through an apathetic phase.

It’s not unusual for me to feel apathetic. I have anxiety and depression and tend to turn apathetic after strong bouts of either of those. I also can get apathetic after a particularly intense “scene” with my SO (here I’m referring to the BDSM aspect of our relationship, rather than the more standard parts of it). But it’s odd for my to feel apathetic without being able to link it to a specific moment or event. Not unheard of, but rare.

It’s even more unusual for me to feel introspectively lonely during an apathetic spell, but that’s exactly what I’m feeling right now. It’s one of those days when it feels as though the outside world has ceased to continue on – my universe has shrunk down to encompass just myself and my immediate surroundings . . . even the TV is just a comfortable, distant murmur and play of color and light. Because of this sensation of being suspended in a pocket of existence, time is behaving oddly as well. It’s passing quickly, yet I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot (even though that’s likely only an illusion).

My SO is home, in fact, and has been for several hours, but he’s not feeling well and is snoring in bed, at the moment. I’ve barely said a few words to anyone today, even though my friend D dropped by to see what I was up to and whether or not he could talk me into going out for breakfast with him – he was a bit late on that, because I’d already had leftovers from yesterday’s breakfast feast.

I think part of my loneliness comes from being so content with being on my own today. I haven’t really felt a craving for company, though I do find myself missing the usual presence of my SO – even though he’d be watching TV and I’d be typing away, there would be some dialogue between us, some connection and exchange.

Maybe that’s what this loneliness really is: the missing of an exchange.

On the plus side, I’ve managed to get some more work done for the outlining and planning of the novel idea I mentioned earlier. And I’m pleased with some of the details that have come out of the character exercises. I’m pretty sure I’ll use some of the imagery from my page of notes on the Main Character. I’ll have more time to work on the outlining and such tomorrow morning, because my SO goes to work at 7:00AM . . . which means I’ll be dropped off at Starbucks and have about an hour and a half to type before I have to start walking to work to get there by 9:00AM.

In an effort to break this apathy and this stagnant feeling, I’m going to go ahead and tidy up the apartment (something I normally do just before bed, rather than three hours before I start heading to sleep). I don’t know that it will help, but it will give me a break from typing – which I’ve been doing on and off all day and which I know adds to my sense of general detachment when I’m not sufficiently distracted by other things.