Tag Archive | being nice

The Tension And The Spark

Tonight marks the eighth night that I’ve slept in this house, and the seventh night I’ve slept in this room.

It’s been a week that hasn’t gone by my expectations, and has been better than I could have hoped for!

There is a problem… or two… or so…

The first problem is that my friend and new landlord, who I’ll call J, plays guitar. And he sings. And he has taught himself how to play piano. Mind you, when he has played this past week, he has played for himself, more often than not just to pass the time. I’ve known him for years, so I already knew he played guitar and sang.

The second problem is that now that I’m away from someone who expects people to do things for her and complains if things weren’t done to her expectations, I’ve reverted back to… well, it’s one of my love languages, which is to do things for others.

I was making a lot of sandwiches for the first few days, using about half a loaf of bread in less than a week as well as the pack of deli meat that J requested I buy when I was getting cat food. So when I got groceries after work mid-week, I bought him more wheat bread and a loaf of white bread for myself and another pack of cheese slices. When I brought in my bin of pantry items, I set it where the remainder of a pack of water bottles was sitting, after I emptied the pack and put the water bottles in the fridge so they would be cold. And over the past 24 hours I tried to rekindle a friendship of his with a somewhat mutual guy friend, only to learn that the friend is only willing to hang out if J will go to him, he won’t come and visit J.

I mean the third problem is that I expected to be antisocial for at least this first week. I figured I’d come home from work, make dinner, take it up to my room, and eat it while watching YouTube on the television or something. I’d spend my free time playing video games or doing whatever on the internet. Instead, J went through all of his movies, asked me if I had seen particular ones or if I wanted to, and had me make a list of movies that needed to be seen. My nights have been spent sitting on his couch while he sits in the chair, and we’ve been watching a few different movies such as Birdman and the new Ghostbusters movie.

If I have a night shift at work, I’ll either text him to tell him I’m on my way back or he will ask when I’m returning. One night after I came home, I fixed myself a dish of ice cream, to which he asked if that was my dinner and I truthfully told him no, that I had brought dinner to work with me. He watches out for me, which is more than I had hoped for, but I certainly appreciate it.

So what IS the problem?

Well, I had a thing for him.

2011 wasn’t my year, even though it wasn’t quite as bad as 2016. 2011 began when J, a previous coworker from a previous call center job, found me on a lesser-known social media site. Later that year, things happened between us. So far he’s been the only one, at least that I can remember, who has pinned me up against the wall (or in this case, a door) and kissed me passionately. You’re probably wondering how things ended, and to be honest I don’t quite remember. I just know his girlfriend at the time claimed to be okay with opening up their relationship, especially since he’s polyamorous and it would make things easier for him, but shortly after that their relationship ended. I had a lot going on, and I don’t remember if I stopped talking to him for a while after the first time my car was rear-ended or the second time that year, because I’m pretty sure we had parted ways before the third time my car was rear-ended that year. Like I said, 2011 wasn’t my year.

Since then, communication was off and on. We might have talked for a day or two or so, and then said nothing to each other for months. So when he texted me a few weeks ago out of the blue, I was a bit reluctant to ask if he had a room to rent, but I was getting desperate and knew I’d have better chances of finding a place to live if it was with another friend.

How did I ask for a room? I asked to stay here platonically. That’s right, I didn’t want any funny business. I didn’t want to move in for sexual reasons, or romantic reasons, or anything like that. I didn’t want to bother him, especially if he had other friends staying here or visiting or whatever. I wanted all of that off the table so it wouldn’t get weird and awkward.

But I forgot, I had a thing for him.

We get each other’s humor. We’re both nerdy and geeky, and will make references that the other one understands and plays off of. We have similar life views. He plays guitar, and I melt a bit when I hear someone play guitar in front of me, especially acoustic.

I still have a thing for my friend in Japan, whose name was incorporated into my self-selected password for work. I kept telling myself, I’m choosing my friend from Japan, I don’t want to get tied down here in the States because then I might never leave and go live in Japan like I want to do. Even if I don’t end up with my friend from Japan, I’ll still have every reason to be focused on going over there.

And suddenly I understand why J is polyamorous. Because I know that my personality goes so well with J’s, but my friend from Japan makes me want to improve myself or otherwise be a better version of what I already am. J doesn’t share my love of Japanese stuff aside from some anime, but I could discuss the whole culture with my friend from Japan and get his thoughts if he’s willing to share them.

Just the same, it’s another reason why I’m in no hurry to find my next significant other. The question has become, “what do I really want in my next relationship?” The only answer I can give is, “to not make another mistake.” For now, it feels easier to not be in a relationship, to just spend time and observe, to not have hopes and expectations of marriage, and to not complicate things by having sexual involvement with anyone.

I may, in fact, be torturing myself. However, it feels like it’s been too long since I’ve been kind and thoughtful and generous without expectation for it. I like feeling as if I’ve done something nice, and then feeling like it’s been appreciated. I also enjoy feeling like my presence matters, like someone cares enough to make sure I’m getting home without a scratch. I wouldn’t have that much if I lived alone, and it might even be awkward if I moved in with people I didn’t know. So I’ll deal with the torture.

If nothing else, then I’ll know the reasons why the girl who has his heart will be a really lucky girl. I’ll know the things that would bother her, that she might have to overlook or compensate for if she got involved with him for the long term. I might be the one who decides between A, B, and C, with my choice being the thing that makes her happy. And even if he’s not with me, does that really matter? Because J is a good person, he cares about others and he deserves to be happy, So I want him to be happy.

And I want to stay here for a while. Not just because of him, but there is so much I enjoy about being here. I like not coming home to just my cat, I like living so close to work that I can walk there. I like the fact that I haven’t had to buy something to sleep on yet, that it was provided and it’s not a couch. I like that the only reason why I won’t have a wireless internet signal is because I’m too far from the router, not because someone else didn’t sweep a dust particle from the corner of the room and so the whole house looks trashed because of it and everyone has to be punished. Let’s not forget, I’m paying less to live here than I would elsewhere, and it’s a pretty good deal if you consider that utilities are included and I also get a person who gives a damn about me. Let’s not screw that up.

Supposedly my Facebook page, not my personal page but the one where these posts are published to, has been popping up for some people who I’ve spoken to in the past. Chances are, J will see this post as a result of that… and things will get awkward. Or my friend from Japan will see this post… and he will stop talking to me because he will say that someone else might be better for me or something.

Regardless of what happens, life will continue on the path it was meant to go, and I can only hope for the best possible outcome. It doesn’t matter what happens for me. I’d rather find out I wasn’t meant for a person before I get involved with them. I’d rather have J be happy with whoever and however many women it takes to make him feel complete. I’d rather have my friend from Japan find someone who is less of a pain in the ass than I am, but I don’t mind staying if he really enjoys me being a challenge.

There will always be a guitarist, somewhere.

There will always be someone who gets my humor.

There will always be someone who gives a damn about my safety and well-being.

And there will always be someone whose day was improved by my presence.

Bootstraps

It was a quarter to 10 on Thursday morning. I knew my parking meter allotment was just running out as I checked the time.

If I left to feed the meter, I might have been called forth. If I stayed, it’s possible that a meter maid might not have been checking my car by the time I was done. I did get the parking ticket, as luck would have it, but I don’t think it could have been helped.

All the while, I was losing time at work. I sat there hoping I wasn’t going to lose my job as  a result of this absence, despite letting the instructor know the day before that I had things I needed to take care of.

All I could think was, I shouldn’t even be here.

I was sitting in the county’s government building, waiting for a response to the application I had submitted for temporary public assistance. It was your standard bureaucratic waiting room: uncomfortable plastic and metal chairs, posters with phone numbers to call for other services offered by the same or similar departments, tile flooring, fluorescent lighting, and miserable people.

I was playing on my iPhone 6S that I bought when I had more money. I was wearing a shirt and jeans from Lane Bryant, clothes that are never inexpensive even when they’re on sale. I wore my $300 ankle-high boots from the renaissance faire because they make me feel like a rock star, plus they looked better for wearing to work than my sneakers would have been.

For a little while, a guy was sitting in front of me who was wearing a Taco Bell uniform t-shirt. In another section of chairs, I saw a guy get up when called, and he looked like your traditional bearded Harley-Davidson-riding kind of dude. I saw a woman wearing pants that were open on the side but held together by a ribbon of fabric that zigzagged down the length of her leg, and all I could think was that those pants would be better off in a night club than any kind of bureaucratic office. I wondered what reasons the other people had for being there, but I was certain that their needs were greater than mine.

I knew I would have to speak to a case worker or someone, and while it’s been scheduled for next week, the fact remains that it’s a part of the process. So what do I say? Three years ago, I had about $100,000 to my name. After paying off a couple of loans, I had a little less than that. I basically went through about $40,000 a year, for two years, and barely worked during that time. I haven’t yet landed a job that will pay that much. So, at what point do I say that I’m apparently bad with money and shouldn’t be given hand-outs?

But that’s just the thing. Now, I need the hand-outs to get back on track.

I needed the $100,000, which was an inheritance. No, I didn’t need it in the sense that I had $100,000 worth of debt or any other such needs. I needed it as a test of myself and others. If given that much money, would I choose fun over responsibility? Having that much, would I have friends because I’m a nice person who buys things they ask for, or would I have friends because I’m a nice person who they respect and care about?

After losing the money, I lost the fiancé. While it became obvious that we were two different people, the fact remains that he ended our relationship after our eviction from the apartment was definite. However, I had just started a job that hadn’t started paying; if he had any faith or patience, he could have stayed “for richer or poorer.” I think about those words, “for richer or poorer,” in regards to the end of our relationship, and it reminds me that he left before he had to make that vow in front of God and our families. If he had stayed, I could have received homelessness prevention services easier since his name was on the lease for the apartment as well. It’s quite possible that I could have turned myself around months ago.

Of course, I wouldn’t have burned through so much money if the ex fiancé wasn’t so willing to spend it on me. He kept talking to his friends, and he was the one saying that I could buy a condo, or that I’d be fine living in a luxury apartment where the rent was $2200 a month. Well, it was a roof over my head that allowed me to have a cat, but I had never priced apartments before and I just assumed that the higher price was because it was New Jersey and so close to NYC.

I probably should have ended our relationship sooner, but I didn’t see any problems at that time. It was only 6 months into our relationship at that time as well, so I wasn’t thinking logically and nothing was sending up red flags. If anything, it was nice to not be alone after losing my Mom, and I think that mattered more to me than making sure I wasn’t getting screwed out of money.

But living with a friend I’ve known for over 10 years, I thought things were going to be different. I’ve done things for her, like teaching her how to drive, and I’ve bought things she needed when she asked for them. Looking back, I bought things that some of her other friends would have paid for just the same, and she didn’t really need them to survive but I did want her to be happy just the same. Within the past month, I’ve been “reminded” that she didn’t have to let me stay here, something that was told to me by some of her friends who she has no problem complaining to when I’ve done something she hasn’t liked, but she never seems to defend me or express gratitude towards me while I’m here. And I feel like everything I did for her was just to make her happy, so now I regret doing it at all. I feel used, as if I did nothing for her throughout the years, and I just feel like I’ve been taken in so there’s one more person to serve her and take her verbal abuse.

If I think about it all, I do need the government assistance right now. I need to get out of this house and live alone again. I need to pick up overtime shifts, not so I can keep an apartment and have food, but to pay off the debts I’ve racked up. And if I don’t live here, I can work overtime and not worry about missing dinner, or even feeling like I’m taking food out of other people’s mouths. So while it hurts a tiny bit to read the words “Notice To Vacate” on the letter that my friend gave me, it also is the kick I need to leave here and live a bit more comfortably.

Comfort is relative. I’ll be sleeping on the floor, getting government assistance. It’s not the life I want. It’s not a life I deserve, though I can’t decide if I deserve to have things be worse or if I deserve a bit more luxury. There are other people who are more deserving, harder-working, who had a rougher life growing up, who have to struggle more because of prejudices against their race or sexuality, people who have more mouths to feed and can’t make a more substantial income. I have been blessed and rather fortunate in life, which makes me wonder if it’s caused me to delude myself into believing I’m more capable of bouncing back without assistance than I really am capable of doing.

Perhaps appearances really are deceiving. Anyone in that room could have had less of a need than I do for housing assistance or food stamps, or any of the programs I didn’t sign up for. They might have other family members pushing money towards them to help out, just to make things easier for them. Me? I know people who can’t help me out because they have so much going on in their own lives, and those I haven’t asked would probably give me the same answer. But that’s just how things appear, which might not be how they really are.

I’ve learned a lot from this whole experience. I learned what it’s like to have to go on government assistance. I’ve learned that people can do things for you and not have any compassion, and those who are compassionate aren’t always able to do what you need. I’ve learned that holding money makes you nothing more than a wallet to someone else, and you serve no purpose if you’re empty. I learned who to trust.

And I learned I’m not as humble as I feel, that I have too much pride that I need to swallow. No matter what, government assistance is a need for me at this point. I have to get over myself and just accept that fact, and my life will begin to get easier.

Well, a lot of things will make my life easier, At least now I know what I can handle, and it’s not a windfall.

Self-Awareness Exercises, Question Four

I am dumb. There’s a retraction I might have to post in regards to a confession I made.

Then again, as far as going forward, I’m second-guessing things. It’s not him, it’s me, and it has to do with the Easter fallout with my brother and my trust being shaken. Well, my trust is shaken in the sense that my brother seems to be a textbook narcissist, so I’m really questioning how much my brother cared about me and if I might actually be part of the problem. But then that’s more baggage for other people in my life to deal with, which isn’t fair to them. So I have to work through it, maybe stop talking about my brother and just claim to be an only child (which, biologically, I am).

Ugh. So then, let’s work through another one of these self-awareness questions, shall we? It should help.

Just a refresher of the introduction:

“We each write our own story for our life.  What story are you writing for yours?  Set a timer (there should be one on your phone if no where else) for 5 minutes for each prompt and write as fast as you can for those five minutes.  If it goes off mid sentence, finish your sentence and stop.  You can always go back and do them again.  And if nothing come out at first, just start writing random words, and free write even if it seems like gibberish.  Remember to give yourself at least a little time to digest everything that comes to the surface for each prompt.  It may not hit all at once, or it may do so and it may even possibly overwhelm you.  Let it out and let it go.  There are no right or wrong answers here, only your deepest truths.  If it helps, look at these exercises as writing prompts for a novel, with you as the hero/heroine and write your story.”

And what’s the task at hand?

4.  If I were to descirbe myself, I would say that I am. . .

I am dumb.

Okay, let’s take this seriously! Five minutes on the clock… and GO!

If I were to describe myself, I would say that I’m relatively intelligent. I would also say that I’m a nice person, perhaps too nice at times. Usually I wouldn’t say that I’m compassionate, but then I have moments when I see something and I actually care, like my heartstrings are pulled or something. I don’t really know if I’m introverted or extroverted, so because I seem to go both ways, I must be an ambivert. I would say I’m antisocial, but then I do want to socialize with people, and then I just want to be in my own little world when I’m around people I can socialize with. As for looks, I don’t think I look terrible. I think I actually look pretty cute at times. Then there’s moments when I’m self-conscious but don’t have the means to fix the issues I see, like my skin breaking out because I stopped caring since I wasn’t going anywhere. But I don’t think I’m a terrible person overall.

And that was five minutes.

I use the words “relatively intelligent” because of a quote about everyone being a genius, but if you judge a fish on it’s ability to fly, it will always think it’s stupid… or something like that. I believe Einstein is quoted as having said that, and I could look it up, but then I’d probably find a page that says, “this was originally quoted as this person, but it was actually said by this other person years ago in this ancient manuscript.” Long story short, there’s a quote, I wasn’t smart enough or old enough to think of it first, and it applies. So when I say I’m relatively intelligent, I might know more about computers than you, but I know there are people who are hackers, networking specialists, programmers, you name it, and they can run circles around me. I might know my way around a kitchen, but I’m not a five-star chef. I might not be working up to my potential as it is, I could probably do more if I focused on something and honed my skills in that one thing for a while.

I’d say I’m too nice at times, not in the sense that I would tell others I’m nice and they should believe it, but because there are times when I feel like something should run its course because I can’t find a way to excuse myself that doesn’t seem rude to me. I’m not entirely sweet, because I can be sarcastic or cynical at times. But I try to use my manners, I try to allow others the right of way before myself, I try to save or hold things for people. I try to care for others, sometimes putting strangers over myself.

In regards to being compassionate, some things don’t affect me. Starving children or dying pets in those commercials? I’m sorry, but if these charities have money for advertising, then they have enough money to allocate more resources to help those in need. But if my friends have a pet or a child in need of help? What do you need? What can I do? I want to help, if I can.

No people, some people, a lot of people, it’s all the same to me. Talking to everyone, talking to people I feel comfortable with, talking to no one, it doesn’t matter. I can exhaust myself if I’m left to my own devices, I can be exhausted after being with people. So as far as I’m concerned, I’m an ambivert. I do have antisocial moments, but then I have other times when I want to be around people and get disappointed when I can only get a small group of people together. Again, it’s all the same to me.

Ugh, I let myself go and my complexion is suffering right now. I need to get to Lush and get some of my favorite facial scrub. My face has some good days, but this isn’t one of them. But I wouldn’t use that to describe myself, because there are times when my complexion is better than this.

And again, I don’t consider myself to be a terrible person overall. I don’t really try to make new friends, but sometimes it just happens. I don’t usually try to reach out to people, but sometimes I need people for something and I get to see who’s looking out for me. I don’t think I’m anything too special, and I’m probably not interesting to most people. But I’m not going to try to be popular, or highly sought after, or even loved. I’m going to let things fall where they may. Right now, I’m comfortable with my existence. There ARE people who care about me. There ARE people who I care about, who matter to me. But there’s things I have to do for me, that I can’t ask of others, because it’s my burden to bear.

That’s about all I have to say for that question. If you’re following along, click the “self-awareness questions” tag for everything so far. And if you want to do the question for yourself, you can post in the comments or write in your own journal or blog. I keep forgetting to mention, you could also post on Facebook if you so desire, or just go there to follow me and any brief updates I might have to make.

Do Not Feed The Cashiers

It’s said we’re going to get freezing rain today, but so far the temperature outside hasn’t been cold enough for the rain to freeze. While I was eating lunch and gazing out the window, I watched a man walk along the side of the road with an umbrella over his head and wearing a light brown jacket. The jacket looked similar to one worn by a customer who made himself known to me when I worked at Wegmans.

Most of my time spent at Wegmans was working the cash register. One time, I was needed to cover a shift for someone who worked in the cafe area, and I did so well that most of my hours were shifted to that area of the store.

The cafe area has a buffet where you can fill a box and pay based on how much the filled box weighs. You can also get cold bottles of soda and water, slices of pizza, submarine sandwiches, and can even have a small number of regular groceries cashed out (like if you ran in for a few things for a party, then picked up your pizza and wanted to pay for everything at the same time). If you wanted to stay and eat, there were a few tables near the registers and more seating in an area that was directly above the cafe and prepared foods area.

As is true with working anywhere, there were regular customers, and you could almost set a watch or tell the day of the week by when you saw them. A number of senior citizens came in the morning or early afternoon and would stay a while. Once the lunch rush slowed down, the tables were covered in crumbs, random drops of soup or some kind of drink, newspapers or magazines, and sometimes wrappers or packages or whole trays with garbage. Customers were supposed to clean their own messes, but of course it fell onto us cashiers to clean up for the ones who, for whatever reason, couldn’t be bothered to do so. It was while I was cleaning up post-lunch that I had an elderly guy stop me and ask me about going to the dance club at the biggest casino in the area. He suggested that I should go with friends, and I just nodded and told him that was a good idea and that I’d consider it. I didn’t think much about it, as he had pointed out an ad for the club in the newspaper, and I just figured he was giving me ideas of how I should unwind after work.

I saw the guy a few more times after that. He would always come in during or just after the lunch rush, he’d sit down with a newspaper and some food, and he would just hang out until he felt like leaving. He’d ask how I was doing, sometimes asking again about going to the dance club. One time, he asked about taking me there, and I politely declined. Again, I didn’t think much of it, as he was being nice and making conversation, and maybe I just misheard him. After all, he was easily in his eighties, and his voice wasn’t loud and clear anymore.

It wasn’t around Valentine’s Day, but one day he came over to my register while I worked in the cafe and he set a bag on the counter in front of me. There was something in the Wegmans bag, and he said it was for me. I didn’t open the bag, but I pressed the plastic of the bag against the object held inside. There was a Whitman’s Sampler box of chocolates.

I told him I couldn’t accept it, that I wouldn’t take it. After my protest, he grabbed the bag and walked away, slumping a bit as if defeated and especially as if rejected. That’s when I realized my suspicions were true, that it wasn’t just that he was being nice, he actually wanted to date me. Up to that moment, I didn’t want to assume that was the case, because why would an octogenarian want someone who’s in her late twenties but looks like she’s in her early twenties? Okay, I know a few reasons. The most awkward part of it all wasn’t just his age, but it was also that he was older than Mom who was still alive at that time. So there was no way that I was going to be interested in this guy, and I figured it was safer to assume he was always just being nice.

There were actually moments when he would look for me when I was on a regular register, just to see if I was working that day. I don’t remember if he was still doing that after I rejected him. I just remember that every time I saw him after I refused his gift, he still looked depressed.

After a while, I didn’t see him anymore. Either he changed his routine so he didn’t have to see me, or maybe he passed away. I don’t know anything about him, to be honest. I never asked for his name, and I don’t know if he was ever married or if he had a family. But as far as I was concerned, he was a customer, and I only had to be nice to him as long as it didn’t interfere with my work. But it did make things awkward to be around him, so for that alone I’m glad that I don’t have to see him anymore at all.

There will be others. Not for me, hopefully, but there will be other older guys hitting on younger women with the expectation that something will come of it. I don’t blame the guys for trying, but it bothers me when they act like one woman is their last and only hope for happiness, or they assume that they will be the last guy that woman could ever want. I’ve only been around for three decades so far, and I haven’t met anyone who could fulfill all my wants or needs. Not to mention, there’s that fantasy version of a person, where you picture them as your perfect other half; the real thing is never as you hoped it would be anyway. You can either be disappointed by rejection, or when you realize your fantasy isn’t what you dreamed, but it’s always best not to make your disappointment the issue that another person has to deal with. That’s my biggest complaint.

Now that the sun is setting, any rain we get might start to freeze. Whoever that guy was earlier, I hope he’s inside now. It didn’t seem like the elderly customer I had, but I still wouldn’t wish the worst for him, even if he did make me uncomfortable.