Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

I'm not a big fan of New Year's Eves. I think that most of the time there is a big build up to the big night which never turns out as fantastically or fabulously as previously desired or thought. That's why, this year, I am going to have a low key night out with my friends Kate and Karl. They're one of my favorite married couples who I have spent countless Saturday nights recently drinking on the couches at The Flying Saucer contemplating and discussing the important things in life - like Kate being a "meddler," poor decision making between members of a wedding party, as well as how I really need to find a man in order to have a child at the same time as Kate (which is in approximately 3.5 years).

Anyways. You can currently turn on any channel and there will be some sort of year end countdown, my personal favorite being VH1's The Best Year Ever. I'll do my own personal countdown of highlights and things I'd rather forget.

1. Planning and going on my EuroTrip. It really taught me to rely on myself and my instincts. Plus, the beer was really good.
2. Learning to wakeboard. Finally - something physically challenging combined with a chance to drink beer and get a tan all at the same time!
3. My 24th birthday party at the Aqua Lounge. Even though it put me back 650 dollars, it was definitely worth it to feel like one of those girls on My Super Sweet Sixteen for a night.
4. Jennifer and Zach's wedding in North Carolina. A getaway weekend spent in a beautiful part of the country rekindling friendships with people that I have missed very much for too long.
5. Being nominated and a finalist for my school district's New Teacher of the Year. I didn't win, so maybe this should be something that I'd rather forget, but I"m going to go ahead and put it on this list. After all, it's been more than 6 months since I lost the title - it's time to move on.
6. My brother coming home from Maine for a weekend. He stopped by my apartment and got to see his grown-up little sister.
7. Winning the district volleyball championship with the Feister (her nickname now). We make a great coaching team because our personalities compliment each other and we're very good friends. I'm really blessed with the people that I work with.
8. Buying brand new couches for my apartment, even though they won't be in until January 16th and I ordered them before Thanksgiving. Ugh. Oh well. I have worked hard in the past year to really make my apartment into more of a home than just a building that I live in. The couches are the final touch.
9. Kate moving back to Texas. She and I haven't lived in the same area since we were in 4th grade, but since she's moved back, it's like she never left in the first place!
10. This blog. It started off as a little joke and a semi-experiment and it's really turned into a way for me to get things off my chest as well as forced me to examine the relationship patterns in my life. I'm not sure if it has helped change anything....but there's always next year!

Things I'd Rather Forget:
1. All the random and worthless guys I dated or hung out with at the beginning of the year, which ultimately forced me to begin this blog.
2. The morning after Kate and Karl's wedding - pain pills and wine do NOT mix well!!!
3. The $650 I actually did have to pay Travis in cash for my portion of our birthday party bill.
4. Thanksgiving Break. It wasn't a good week for me personally and I made the holiday miserable for my family.
5. Tearing a muscle in my back wakeboarding. Not only did it put me out of service physically for a month, but it was the beginning of me seeing the very ugly and self-absorbed side of The Salesman.
6. On that note, let's discuss The Salesman in general. Was it a bad idea to date him? Eh...I'm not sure I would go that far. Was it a bad idea to date him sooo quickly? Probably. Did it end the 10 year friendship I had with his high school girlfriend and best friend of mine? Yes, it did. And to tell you the truth, I'm really not sure if that was such a bad thing after all. At the time, I was devastated - I truly didn't want to hurt her. But now, looking back, maybe there were things about our friendship that really bothered me and made me feel bad about myself. And if it took that whole episode with The Salesman to get our honest and true feelings towards each other out in the open, then so be it.

I guess that's it for the Things I'd Like To Forget. Only 6 items. Not too shabby. I guess it wasn't that bad of a year after all.

And I do feel like I'm in a place in my life to make 2008 even better. Happy New Year everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I haven't blogged in awhile because things have been kind of rough since Thanksgiving and as much as I have put myself out there on this blog, I feel like there are still some things that I can't have posted for everyone to read and know about. I think that maybe if I were to write what I've been struggling with on this blog, it would all of a sudden make everything real and I'm not sure if I'm ready to admit some very obvious truths to myself. And to a certain extent, I still want everyone to have the I've-Got-It-All-Together vision of me.

My mom and I had a little night out a couple weeks ago. We went to dinner and then to see a few of my friends in a play. At dinner my mother gave me a little silver pendant gift box with the message to put my Christmas wish into the little box. She asked me what wish I wanted to put in the box....

World peace? Nah...I don't want Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart to be unemployed. But then again, it would give them more time to run for national political offices...hmm...

Eternal happiness? Nope - that's kind of creepy. I picture the twistedly happy faces from the people in the Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun" video. Happiness is overrated and what do you learn from always having butterflies and rainbows? Nada.

A million dollars? Surprisingly no. The Notorious B.I.G. (rest in peace) once said: "Mo' money, mo' problems" and look where it got him.

I am wishing for contentment...

- with my job. Although I might not make a ton of money, I must be content with the fact that I am doing what I love and I am good at it.

- with my body. I'm tall and I'm not stick thin anymore. I weighed 135 pounds when I graduated high school. I will never be that skinny again and I need to be content with that.

- with myself. I have been made to feel that the person that I am is not okay - that there are certain things about me that are unlovable. Like anyone else, I have faults and I must accept them.

I think for the most significant part of my life, I have been competitive. I was born 8 years after my closest in age sibling and I always was fighting to be as big, as smart, as funny, etc. as both my brothers were. I had certain people in my life for a long time where it was always about competition - better grades, better clothes, better cars, better at sports, etc. This feeling of having to competition transitioned into college and the sorority where it became so ingrained in my head to try to be better than everyone else in everything. Clothes, cars, men, shoes, apartments, jobs, even drinking. You name it - there was a competition to be the best. And I always felt that no matter how hard I tried, I never measured up in the way that I was supposed to. I was never the girl that had it all together - from the clothes to the car to the guy. And I hate not being the best. Maybe that's why I'm overcompensating now. I have the money and the means to buy that car, to have those clothes, and to live that lifestyle. But that only goes so far in making someone truly happy.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dear John

No, I'm not breaking up with you. I'm writing a letter to my future husband, who very well might be named John. I haven't met him yet, so there's no telling what he'll be named. Enough with the small talk, here we go.

I once asked my mother is she had to describe me in one word, what word would she use. Her answer? "Complex" I am not sure if I should have been flattered or slightly insulted. Knowing my mother and the depths that lie beneath her almond shaped, dark as night eyes, I'm going to go with the former insead of the latter. And, she was right. I am a complex, paradox infested human being who for the most part, I don't completely understand.

I have high standards and I'm frustrated when things or people in life don't live up to those standards, yet I ask for compassion and forgiveness with I don't satisfy other people's expectations. I've been hurt by people who tell me they love me, thus causing me to build up the Great Wall Around Laura's Heart. But, I ask for complete openess and commitment from my partner. I always claim the "I can't read your mind" defense when desires and needs aren't expressed, yet always expect others to anticipate and act upon my unspoken needs, as well as read through my veiled and vague comments into the heart of my feelings. Let me give you a hint: when I say "It's fine" it never is and there is probably a concession on your part to be made. Another hint: "It doesn't matter to me." Save yourself the time and frustrations by asking me what I really want. I'll always have an opinion. And no, I'll never want Chinese food or sushi.

Some other pieces of advice:
- Most of the time, I don't need advice or someone to fix it - I probably already have a solution, I just need someone to care.

- I don't hog the bed because I'm selfish. I'm just trying to cuddle because I like knowing you're there.

- I have a breaking point. Please help me diffuse things before I go off. I love you to much to say things I don't mean.

- I will never be the cook that your mother is, but tell it's better than hers anyways. I'll know you're lying, but the sentiment is always appreciated.

- I sometimes say things that are inappropriate, which is probably one of the reasons you're attracted to me. Remember this when I inevitably embarrass you.

- Tell me I'm beautiful. The Jennifers (Alba, Biel and Aniston) are HOT. I'm beautiful. There's a difference.

- I have great days. I have bad days. Whichever it is - you'll know. Please plan accordingly.

But for all the inescapable faults and hauntigly OCD-ish tendencies and quirks that I might subject you to, I will love you. I will give you laughter, passion and support - unconditionally. I will be your best friend; I will drink beer and watch football. And I will do it willingly and with enthusiasm. I will be your confidante; I will listen intently because what matters to you, matters to me. I will get mad at your boss when you're frustrated at work. I will cook you chicken noodle soup when you're sick, albeit from the can, but it's the thought that counts. I will listen to what you have to say when you're silent and saying nothing at all. I will know that look on your face when the dam is breaking and your fingers can't plug all the holes. I will attend any and all church softball league games and I won't laugh at you when you run. Well, maybe a little giggle. I will love your family. Of course, this has nothing to do with LIKING them, but I will love them for making you who you are. I will give you the necessary amount of "guy time." Just don't notice the drastic dip in our checking account and explosion of shopping bags in the closet when you come home. I will scratch that. I will KNOW that you are the smartest, funniest, most handsome man in the room. And if I have anything to do with it, you'll be the best dressed as well.

But most importantly, I will love you to the best of my ability.

But only if you promise the same in return.

Monday, December 3, 2007

White Christmas

I am addicted to my iPod and to iTunes. I have recently downloaded a ton of Christmas songs and thus created a Christma CD for myself. This might not seem odd to you, seeing as how many of you have probably festively donner your house with the appropriate Christmas lights, as well as cozily decorated your tree with loved ones while listening to Bing Crosby and drinking hot coco. But for this Grinch, it's a big deal. Huge.
I am a Christmas cynic. For all the years that I can actively remember, I have harbored an intense dislike for Christmas. The tacky yard decorations (those blow up monstrosoties are the worst), fighting the masses at the mall (or any store for that matter) and the sheer commercialism of the entire season.

I miss the magic.

As a little girl, I loved Christmas. And not just for the presents. I loved hte excitement of picking out and buying meaningful presents for people. I looked forward to lighting the completely decorated tree for the first time. It was always the most beautiful and mesmorizing thing - I could sit and stare at it for hours. I was moved to tears at midnight Christmas mass by the beauty and intimacy of the ceremony. My favorite thing to do with my family was to drive around and look at the Christmas lights on the houses, like little stars dropped from the sky onto the roofs. The Lent mini-masses that my family would hold on Sunday evenings, with only the light of the Christmas tree directing our ceremony. My brothers playing Christmas carols on the piano while my family was curled up around the room drinking apple cider and hot chocolate.

Somewhere along the way, that sentiment got lost amongst the cards to write, the presents to buy, the worrying about overdrawing my account, and hte final exams to take directly before the holiday break. I lost the true meaning of the season among the materialism and chaos that has unfortunately become attached to the Christmas holiday.

I sit here in my apartment, staring at the Christmas tree I broke down and bought, even though it directly contradicts the "style" of my apartment. At least the tree ornaments are in turquoise. I am listening to Otis Redding's "White Christmas" and Josh Groban's "Silent Night" and I am in tears, yearning for the magical feeling to return.

I have never felt so far from God in my life. I grew up in the Catholic Church, dutifully although sleepily attending Sunday morning 9:00 mass with my parents. Always nestled in the middle so I didn't have to sit uncomfortably next to strangers. I had an unnatural fear of people I didn't know. I was active in the youth ministry social and service events before I was even of age due to my mother's employment as Youth Minister. I served on the Diocesan Youth Council and went to the National Catholic Youth Conference. I got into fights with kids at my school over their harsh words regarding the Catholic faith. I was proud of my faith and deeply attached to the strength that it brought my mother and grandma. I never doubted the fact that I too, would raise my children in a faith filled Catholic home. I could already picture passing on my handmade baptismal gown to a beautiful dark haired little girl and then, several years later, giving her the cross lessed by Pope John Paul II that I received on my Confirmation from my mother to her on her own Confirmation.

For reason unbeknownst to me, after high school, my faith in God and his works gradually faltered and then finally dwindled into the nothingness that exists in my life today. I have such a hard time believing in a God that, despite his promise of so loving the world to give his only son, could allow such atrocities to occur to the children and families in Darfur, or allow men of such intense evil as Hitler, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong or Joseph Stalin to come to power. I know that I am blessed with the life that has been provided to me: loving and stable parents, protective brothers, a well maintained and safe home...but what about me makes me so special? Doesn't every child in the world deserve the same blessings that I have received?

I look at my friend Meggie who has the most amazing amount of faith ina nd love for the Lord. God and his plan for her have always driven her life and her actions. No matter what storm comes her way, she stands her ground with an unwielding faith in the love Gad has for her as well as the fact that he will provide her with the strength to withstand anything. I wish I could have that type of faith in something other than myself because it might make being me a little easier sometimes. I think that maybe I feel guilty for some of the actions and decisions I have made in my life and therefore I am ashamed to step foot in a church. Call it the ever present and always maligned "Catholic Guilt." Call it whatever you want. The truth is...I want to believe. I want to feel that same sense of awe and wonderment when I step into a cathedral that I felt as a child.

The Catholic faith is a funny thing. It's very different from other faiths that are prevalent in the southern section of the United States that I live in. There's not a lot of evangelizing, nor outward displays of faith and joy in God. There's a lot of ritual, some sitting, lots of standing, mixed in with the occasional kneeling. There are readings, songs and a homily. There is the Eucharst ceremony at every mass in which the bread and wine is turned into the Blood and Body of Christ. My relationship with God has always been very private to me, maybe because of the fact that it was always a "weird" thing with some of the people that I went to school with. I kept it to myself because I never seemed to have the same strident and passionate convictions that my Baptist or Methodist classmates had.

I want to believe, but like with relationships and love, I want to feel it. I want it to be real. I can't just go through the motions because that's what I believe will make other people in my life happy or proud of me. My mother tells me that in order to hear and see God, I first have to approach him. I'm afraid to I suppose. Maybe I'm afraid that because of certain ways in which I've chosen to live my life, he won't accept me back. Maybe I'm afraid that by relying on God I will be proving that I'm not as self-reliant and strong as the facade I put on.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


I'm tall. This point is obvious. My mother and I could share shoes when I was in 4th grade. She wears a size 8 and a half. I surpassed my mother in height when I was in 6th grade. I am the tallest member of my family. I have two older brothers, and yes...I'm taller than them. I was listed as 6'2 on the Varsity basketball roster when I was a sophomore. They exaggerated. I'm only 6'0. I tried gymnastics for a year when I was in second grade - I was already too tall for the uneven bars. I quit and my parents suggested basketball. I played basketball for 9 years and I was always the tallest girl on the team - a post playing underneath the basket.

I was always fairly athletic - I could be put onto any court or field and do relatively well. Except for soccer. I am completely uncoordinated with my feet, but I'm okay with that. Football, basketball, volleyball - I can hold my own. Growing up, life was dominated by school and sports. Staying up late at night to get homework done because I had a basketball game that night. Going to bed early on Friday nights because of an early Saturday morning practice. I suppose that I was probably known as a "jock" or athlete in middle school and high school. I was one of three sophomore girls that had letter jackets. Sports were my way of fitting in and getting frustrations out. I loved the feeling of rebounding a ball and fighting my way out of the swarm of girls around me to find the outlet. I loved being competitive and winning.

I remember one of my proudest moments sophomore year. I came home from preseason basketball sticky with sweat and smelling like a gym. I set down my gym bag in the kitchen and asked my mom how it felt to be the parent of a varsity basketball player. But somewhere along the way in high school, everything I loved about sports became muddled and lost. Basketball wasn't fun anymore. It was a job. I was told to put on weight. I was 6'0 tall, weighed 135, lifted weights, and ate my parents out of house and home. There was no way I was going to become a "big" girl. I tore the ligaments in my ankle in a preseason scrimmage and was out for 6 weeks. In the meantime, I lost my playing position my junior year. To a freshman. I spent the remainder of the season sitting the bench, while breeding contempt and hatred towards my coach and fellow teammates. I gave up on caring and trying to prove myself as an athlete and started drinking. That made Saturday morning practices a little more difficult. I poured my efforts into Class Council and my social life. I quit at the end of the season.

Do I regret that decision? Yes and no. I hated practices. I loved games...but I didn't love watching them from the games. I hated the politics of kissing up to the coach that I really didn't like. I liked being "special" at school - being part of something that not everyone else could participate in. I think that if I had the drive, determination and aggresive tenacity for success back then that I have now, my basketball career could have been a little different. I was definitely blessed with the physical prowress as well as the natural athleticism to be a much better athlete then I was. But, mentally, I couldn't hang.

In college, I joined a sorority and was drawn into a different, more emotionally devastating and damaging kind of competition. Who had the best make-up, clothes, hair color, shoes, apartment, car etc. I tried desperately to look and act the part, but I always felt like I wasn't truly a "girlie-girl" like the other girls in the sorority. I was still most comfortable in jeans, a tee shirt and a baseball hat. But, I guess in order to "fit in" I felt that I had to discard the "jock" and "tomboy" side of my personality and adopt a girlier attitude. I played intramural sports and through my position as Intramural Chair, I recruited athletes into the sorority and by my senior year, we were campus champs at flag football. I played volleyball and basketball, but it was so frustrating for me because I was much better than everyone else. Over time, I gradually grew to ignore the tomboy/jock aspect of myself and truly developed into a prissy girly girl.

I've been out of college for two years and it has taken that long for me to get over the obsession with looks that I fell into while in the sorority. If you look in my closet and itemized the amount of money I spend on clothes and shoes in a month, you would probably say that I haven't truly overcome that obsession. But I must say that coaching has been a blessing for me personally. Through coaching volleyball I have been able to dig out the athlete in me that was socially forced to disappear during college.

In the end, I think the sorority did more harm than good.

I have spent the past two evenings at sporting events and/or sports bars drinking beer, watching sports and shooting the breeze. I have been in jeans and a fleece sweatshirt both nights and it feels awesome. There's no pressure to flirt with the cute guy, no self-confidence issues because the girls next to me are wearing Seven jeans and I'm not. It's just hanging out, talking about stuff and having a good time. I think I'm slowly getting to the point where "going out" is no longer appealing to me. I'd rather meet some friends up at a bar, dressed comfortably, grab a table and sit and talk.