Monday, January 30, 2012

People Are Awesome: Part II.

So, January. I know I made all those strong-sounding goals at the beginning of the month, so amped about life and the year and everything. But now, January? I am so ready to quit you.

To be frank, this month has sucked. A lot of good things have happened, but I've been so messed up internally that it's hard to look at things from a logical, balanced perspective. There's only about three people who know about any of these feelings, but I feel off-kilter and crazy most of the time. I know someday all the self-loathing I'm holding will go away, but telling yourself, "It's gonna get better!" just really falls flat sometimes when you really feel like shit in the present. I'm annoying myself even as I write this because it sounds so dramatic.

A quick story:

Earlier this week, we were blessed with a few days of really great sunshine in Portland, and one day when I was home on my lunch break I looked at our dead and dry Christmas tree, which yes, we still had hanging around even though I had taken off most of the decorations weeks ago. And I said, goddammit tree, I love Christmas and all but you are right in front of our best window and are just blocking all of our sun and I have been looking at you too long. 

And even though our tree was large and not quite a one-person-dismantling job, I was suddenly determined to get that bastard out of the house. So somehow, I got it out of the stand and out onto the porch, spilling old tree water all over the floor and spreading as many stale pine needles as possible every which way--including into every nook and cranny of my sweater--all while talking to myself in a somewhat mentally unstable manner for my animals and perhaps my neighbors to hear.

This monologue, spoken in a muffled-by-branches-in-my-face sort of way, went pretty much like this: "EFF YOU, WINTER. EFF YOU."

It was pretty much the most satisfying part of my week. And since then, our apartment has seemed so much more full of light. And in the sun, I saw that there are some green things starting to peek out of the ground. Just a few. My daffodils. And I felt a little better.

Last time I was feeling really down, I wrote my first People Are Awesome post and it also made me feel better. Because it's always good to remind myself that people are awesome.

While my reasons for feeling awful all the time this month are much more selfish and weird and less legitimate than my reasons for feeling stressed were then, people, luckily, are still being really awesome & life would be infinitely more tough without them. So here is my public undying gratitude for the folks that have helped me through recently.



Manda. Manda and I are Hanson friends from back in the day, and if you don't already know, Hanson friends are the best kinds of friends. Duh. This means that we have known each other for over 15 years. And that is special, people. We first met each other for a fleeting second on the streets of New York a long, long time ago before a Hanson show, and then met up in a more real way when we both lived in Boston for a too-quick moment of time. I remember going to her apartment in Brighton (years later I lived, like, a block away from this apartment, did you know this Manda?) freshman year when she hardly had any furniture yet, buying some crappy alcohol at the corner market, and playing board games on her floor while drinking said crappy alcohol. We also later took a trip to New York together for a Saddle Creek showcase concert, where we were apparently rocked by angst for over seven hours, according to Manda's old LiveJournal. HANSON AND BRIGHT EYES IS JUST HOW ME AND MANDA ROLL, AIGHT.

Anyway, anyway. Manda & I have recently reconnected in a major way & it is pretty much the best thing to ever happen in life. Perhaps unfortunately for her, this means that she has heard pretty much every single neurotic, awful thought and emotion spewing out of my brain over the last month. And every single time she listens patiently and is on my side, even when I don't really deserve to have anyone on my side. But it still feels good, to have someone on your side. And to be honest it's been more helpful than words could say. Also, she is hilarious and smart and beautiful and anyone who messes with her will get their ass kicked by me because I will always be on her side, too. Cool? Cool.

PS. Manda, I randomly found this picture of you on my computer; who knows when it's from. lolz.



Ellie. Ellie & Kathy were friends in middle school in North Carolina, and then, you know, went through a ten year period or so of not being in great contact, until a few years ago when Ellie was all, 'Hey! My boyfriend Matt and I are moving to Portland! Let's hang!' And it was the best thing to ever happen in life. OK, I know I just said reuniting with Manda was the best thing to happen in life, but a lot of things apparently happen in life and I think they're all too good to just be called good so they're all the best. Anyway. Both Ellie & Matt are two of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met in my life. They don't live in Portland anymore, sadly, but Ellie was recently in town for a class and stayed with us for the last week and a half. We were all incredibly busy while she was here, her with her class and us with our lives, but we were still able to squeeze in some time for what we do best when we're together--hanging out on the couch in our PJs and talking. Any story you tell Ellie, she listens like it is the most interesting thing she has ever heard, and she almost always gets it, whatever it is. It is remarkable, and truly comforting.

One day last week I came home from work and, suddenly hit with a weird wave of exhaustion, was acting very erratic and strange, to say the least, until I realized that my attempt at communicating with Ellie & Kathy like a normal human being was failing all over the place and I had to say, "Sorry, y'all, I think I'm going to take a nap." Normally naps don't actually do me very much good, but this one did. I woke up feeling at least 80% back to my normal self, and when I returned to the world of the living I started to apologize for my earlier cuckoo behavior. Ellie looked at me like I was crazy, saying, "Oh my god, Jill, shut up. We're family." So, I did. People are awesome.

Even though we didn't get to, like, go hiking in the Gorge or get some Pine State or a number of our other old favorite things to do together, just having her around this last week or so was a wonderful, positive influence on my psyche.


Ms. Talent. Okay, I don't have a picture of Ms. Talent, but she's a teacher I worked with last year and that I'm working with again this year as an AVID tutor. The few hours I spend tutoring each week are the only hours that my mind feels completely focused and clear and good, and I'm extremely grateful for them. I travel to a few different schools and work with a few different teachers within Portland Public for tutoring, but Ms. Talent is the best. She's one of those teachers who truly devote their lives to their students, who care about their well-being, who are committed to their jobs to the point of it irritating other, lazier teachers. She also normally spends time after class talking to us tutors about different students and issues, like we matter too, which most teachers don't do. While my future in education is still undefined (who knows what kind of job I can get), being around teachers like her is an opportunity I want to tuck away in my mind and constantly remind myself of, just in case one day I am in fact in charge of a classroom and need to rack my brain for reminders of what the hell I'm supposed to be doing.



Baby Jackson. Okay, so I haven't actually met him yet, and I won't until July, so I suppose you can't say he really helped my mental state this month or anything, but I just want the world to know that Jackson Zalasky now exists, and that is awesome, and this picture of him with my Aunt Barb kills me, and also my family is the best family, okay, the end.



Kathy. The fact that you are still unwavering in your devotion to me after this month, when I was for the most part a selfish, sad, closed-off meanypoo is mind-blowing. You defy words, and I keep trying to think about what I want to write in my vows to you but nothing seems even close to adequate. You are the best person I know & we will always be in stereo. The depth of your heart is endless. Thank you, a million times over, thank you.

Also, I'm listening to your iTunes right now and Ke$ha just came on, and for some reason this just makes me love you more. I mean, just sayin'. Let's be awesome forever, okay? Okay.

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