Monday, April 15, 2013

Catching UP

It has been forever since I have written a post, mostly because I didn't have very much to say.  I didn't have any awesome terrible date tales of woe for you to scrutinize, and mostly every post would have just consisted of, "So I fucking hate grad school...." or "So I fucking hate Baltimore."   Both of which are still pretty accurate as of now.  The good news, however, is that sometimes things happen nowadays.  

I am interning full-time at a Baltimore City Public high school.  Every time I say that, people say things like, "Oh wow, I've heard that's a pretty rough district."  Like I'm living in an episode of "The Wire."  Certainly, it's true that things happen in urban districts that don't tend to happen in suburban districts; gang affiliations, kids macing other kids to avenge some perceived facebook slight, high school boys saying "fuck you, bitch" to me occasionally...  But here's the secret.  When you work in a high school urban districts aren't that different from suburban ones because ALL TEENAGERS ARE IDIOTS.  Across the board.  Black, white, rich, poor, suburban, urban, rural, the whole pack of 'em.   I love working with teens and I don't mean this as a character assessment.   I mean, teenagers are idiots.  The best way to handle them is to think of them like drug addicts.   Think about it, they're self-absorbed, impulsive, unpredictable, prone to mood swings, and frequently fail to think of consequences.   Seriously, sometimes when I'm dealing with little Johnny I just envision a reed-thin toothless crack head tweaking out of his mind.   This helps me act appropriately.

And while I do still occasionally get panicky taking a shower in the morning thinking of all I have to do  during the day ahead, I would have to say I'm a lot happier than I was with my previous job.  Like a lot.   Like I don't have to chain smoke or go to happy hours 4/5 days to dull the stress tumor that was rapidly growing in my brain anymore.  I sometimes kind of panic in general though.  I think I am so neurotic that I need to swap addictions.   I'm not addicted to smoking anymore so I instead have become addicted to believing that I have accidentally poisoned myself.   Seriously, that's a thing.   I was cleaning the bathroom the other day and I was cleaning up gobs of hair dye I had gotten all over the counter with foaming bleach cleaner.   Than I remembered that if you mix ammonia and bleach it produces a toxic gas, I was pretty sure my hair dye was ammonia free but nevertheless I started to forget how to breathe and envision my dead, lifeless, partially cat-eaten corpse found two weeks later wearing only granny panties and a wife beater (which is how I am typically adorned when I clean my bathroom).  So that's fun, right?   Did I mention this is me in a really good place right now?

I have started to make friends at the school where I work, which is a huge relief since I was beginning to think I was like the smelly kid at summer camp nobody wants to hang out with.   Mind you, I've made friends with my usual level of grace and poise.   The first few weeks a teacher came into the counseling office and said she thought I was doing a really great job with the kids and to let her know is she could ever help me with anything.   I ended the conversation feeling confident and happy, both with my professional competence and my ability to connect with other humans.   I walked past a mirror, and to my horror, noticed I had a huge green mustache from the weird health food smoothie I had downed a few moments before.  No wonder she was so nice, I'm sure she thought I was moderately mentally handicapped.  And you all thought it was only blind dates that could be embarrassing and awful for me.  

This hasn't been as cohesive as I like my blogs to be.   I should be writing about a fun outing I took, or my thoughts on achieving peace in the Holy Land.  I am, however, happy to be writing again and I'll probably try to do it more often.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I recently finished a one week Appraisal and Testing course, and as part of the course, I took multiple self-inventories.  I learned that I'm an ENFJ, within the normal range of mental health (the "normal" range has some girth on it), and that my conflict management style is collaboration.  I am a huge fan of taking personality inventories and tests because I can make my mind up easily and like to talk about myself.  Huge fandom aside, It occurred to me as I was taking the inventories (test implies that there is one "correct" answer, so typically anything based on personal preference is an inventory.  I apologize you just had to read that anal bitch sentence) how absurd the entire exercise is.  There are over 7 billion people on the planet; how can anyone expect to classify all 7 billion neatly into 16 Myers Briggs types?

I understand that these standardized inventories and standardized tests are based on research and observation and that no one test is meant to paint a holistic picture of a human being.  It seems to me, however, that there are even more "tests" we inflict upon ourselves and others that are not standardized and have no basis other than our own fears and ignorances.  For example, this morning I did the daily "Annie's Self-Worth" test.  It consists of me looking in the mirror and deciding if I'm attractive.  Today, consistent with most days, I decided I looked bloated and my nose is too big.  Thus, I failed and conclude myself to be a person who is less worthy than others.  Less worthy of love.  How many times have I conducted this test?  Why am I trying to classify myself in the first place?  How many times have we looked at each other and performed tests; fat or skinny?  Pretty or ugly?  Kind or mean? Someone I can be friends with or someone I should avoid?

We all do it.   And I don't mean that it's not valuable to use our best judgement, especially when it comes to trusting others.   I do think, however, it's important to examine our criteria.  What kind of person do you want to be and are your tests helping you get there?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Things I Learned in Grad School This Semester

As I sit at my kitchen table writing this, the first thing that strikes me is the lack of books, papers, notebooks, pens and highlighters scattered everywhere.   This is the first time since the summer my kitchen table has been clear (of course except this laptop).  I returned my rented textbooks, threw away past assignments that were useless and filed those that potentially could help me in the future.   This semester is over.   I am loading up my car tomorrow and driving home to Ohio to be with my friends, family and boyfriend--basically the people who mean the most to me.  I'm stoked.  I'll be honest.

Being a naturally self-reflective person, endings always make me introspective.  What did I learn this semester in grad school?  Hmm, a few odds and ends about school counseling: Holland's Code, The ASCA National Standards, the best ways to protect against law suits... But what did I really learn?  Really?

1. I have been and will always been a homebody
I try to leave Ohio and live other places.   I tried to go to D.C. when I graduated from U.D., I tried to go to D.C. when I graduated from high school, and now, here I am, living in Baltimore.  And I hate it.   I don't think it's that I hate Baltimore as much as it is that I love home.   Dayton feels like home.   Columbus feels like home.  I don't know why I keep trying to leave.  I need to just accept I was born in Ohio, I'll probably get married in Ohio, raise kids in Ohio, and die in Ohio.

2. Sometimes calling mom/dad/boyfriend is to feeling good what the atomic bomb is to warfare.
Unfortunately for the people I love, many of the conversations I've had this semester involve declarations of 1) how much I miss them 2) how much I hate grad school or...sometimes I just cry a lot. But it feels really good to know after sitting in class all day being confronted with everything from eye rolls to outright hostility from your classmates feeling stupid and incompetent, someone, albeit someone 400 miles away, thinks you're ok.  And loves you just the way you are (even if you leave all the cabinet doors open and never close the tab on the cereal box).

3. You get no points for being kind or honest
I certainly am not trying to paint myself as a sainted figure, I am not.  See above:  I never close the the tab on the cereal box! I also curse like a sailor, drink like a fish, and secretly find old people really, really annoying. But I can say, unequivocally, I have never in my adult life done something with the intention of hurting, belittling, or taking advantage of someone else.  I know many people who cannot say this.  It just isn't in me to cut someone down.  In my head (or sometimes out loud in the shower) I display wit and oratory magnificence whilst I hypothetically tell someone exactly how they have besmirched the merit of the entire human race.  Take that establishment!  But when the moment presents itself in real life, I just sit and take whatever someone gives me, because God forbid I should make them feel as terrible as they're currently in the process of making me feel.  I blame my mother, who told me she didn't care what else I was as long as I was a kind person.  I guess I took that to heart.  Which is probably why I have been so shocked this semester at the behavior of a few of my classmates.  We're supposed to be school counselors--how are you going to tell a kid not to bully someone when you are a bully yourself?  For real, if you were Charisse's kid she'd give you a spanking.  Obviously they didn't have a great mommy like Charisse.  Many of these bullies have perfected not being kind, but instead the art of stepping on people, taking credit where it isn't due, and somehow, getting away with it a fair portion of the time.  I have all the conniving prowess of a baby deer.  I know that the more I gossip, the more I accuse (even if it's warranted) the more I look like a vituperative cow.    But then no one hears my side of the story.  Yet, the bully on the other hand, is telling everyone high and low why I'm wrong and she's right.  And they believe her! So I lose.  But I'd rather be like me than like her.

4. I don't give a fuck about being a straight A student
They talk a lot about "self-care" in counseling.  Apparently many counselors do so much they don't leave time for themselves.  Many of my classmates admitted they have these tendencies, and will neglect all other things while working on a project.  "Try to achieve work-life balance," our professor urges us.   Shit, honey,  I got this on lock.  There is nothing worth getting in the way of my eight hours of sleep.  I plan ahead so I've never had to pull an all-nighter, but if I was faced with the option, I would leave the project undone and go to bed.  I'll take the bad grade over psychosis brought on by sleep deprivation.  I visited my boyfriend in Ohio before midterm and I only studied the hour I was on the plane, as opposed to you know, studying properly.  Spending an entire stress-free weekend with my boyfriend was SO worth getting a B+ instead of an A on that midterm.

5. Things keep happening to you until you learn from them
I have had issues feeling like an outsider or being bullied my entire life.  The film "Mean Girls" is actually a documentary about my life--I am the girl in the gym who has a lot of feelings.   I think it's because I care SO MUCH what people think of me.  I want to be liked.  I need to be liked.  I am devastated when people don't like me.  This same issue has emerged in grad school.  One part of me thinks, "why always me," but this time, I feel like I figured out what I was supposed to learn.  Some people are implacable and will hate me no matter what I do.  Fuck those people.  Some people don't care enough about me to feel one way or the other. That's ok.  Some people like me.  Yay!   There will always be those three groups of people.  I can't worry about it.   I need to focus on the people who like me, and realize, you know what, I don't like most of the people who dislike me anyway.  Birds of a feather flock together, and I want my gander to be chock full of funny, kindhearted, and down-to-earth people.  Someone else can have the ambitious, conniving, cruel, stupid, boring birds.

6.  I like myself a whole lot
I know, I know!  It's shocking!  I leave the tab open on cereal boxes!  But I'm happy.  I live my life in a way that is consistent with my values, I serve God, and I genuinely want to help others.  What more can I do?  So what if I'll always have a little beer gut, so what if I will never be the homecoming queen... I'm on board the Annie-train.  Even though I say things like that.  

So that's what I learned this semester.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cut and Run

It's been many moons since I've written a blog--and for the most part it's because in my grad program all I do is talk about my feelings to a group of people who quite frankly could give a shit less.  Since this is generally what I have done on my blog in the past, I figured it didn't make sense to double-dip.

I do, however, think the time has come for me to write another blog.

Yesterday sucked.  Can I say that again?   Yesterday sucked.  One of the best friends I've ever known died three years ago yesterday.  His death caused me to question and reevaluate my relationship with God, as well as to run away to Europe.  The anniversary of his death is always a hard day for me, although not something I scream to everyone I encounter to remind them to be nice to me because I am fragile. Thus, when some conflict when down in one of my classes yesterday, I was phenomenally ill-equipped to deal at that particular instant.  Like, great, today of all days.   But it got me thinking...

When is it ok to cut and run?   I will make no bones about it, I am currently MISERABLE in grad school.  I know I want to be a school counselor and working with students makes me happy, but does that mean I have to stay in Baltimore where I am lonelier than all fucking hell? When we work with students who are having trouble, one of the first questions we ask is, "who is your support system?"   I have one.   I have a boyfriend who I love and who loves me exactly the way I am (even though that means I break a lot of shit that he has to subsequently fix), I have a group of friends who can drink with me at Tanks or cry with me as I ponder my place in the universe, still more friends scattered all across the globe but with whom I still share an impenetrable bond, and I have a phenomenal family who are on my side no matter what.   What more does one need in life, truly? If all that is waiting for me back home in Ohio--what the fuck am I doing here?!?!?!

Basically I'm wondering, at one point does my own happiness outweigh inconvenience?  I am thinking of transferring to a school back in Ohio, which, will be inconvenient.   I will have to move, re-apply, and ultimately I will become a counselor later than I would if I just decided to stay and tough it out in Baltimore.  On the flip side of the coin, isn't life too short to spend it doing something that you hate?   At the end of the day aren't the people you love and who love you all that matters?   My friend who passed away touched the life of every single person he met and it was a honor to have known him.  He was gone, however, in an instant.  This reminds me life is fleeting.  If I were to die tomorrow what would I do?  Finish my homework?  Make arrangements so that my furniture could go to storage?  No, I'd be on the first plane, train, bus, rental car, or rickshaw home to Ohio.  Does that mean I have my answer?

I don't know.   I don't want to throw away the time and money and effort I've heaped into moving to Baltimore and starting grad school, but I also know, the only time I feel human is when I'm home visiting or when people from home are visiting me.  Do I want my life to be just a prison sentence for the next 9 months?! I've pulled a ninth month stint before though in all fairness, and I can't remember it as being that bad.  I am referring of course, to the time I spent gestating inside my mother.

And of course some people may say the fact that I'm allowing my feelings to be a possible deciding factor makes me over-dramatic or a quitter or a weak person.  I haven't made my decision yet, but I don't see anything weak about removing oneself from a horrible situation that makes one unhappy.   And I also don't see anything weak about staying and getting what you came for.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I've mentioned it before, but it's worth saying again--I believe everyone has tapes that they play over and over again in their heads.   A demonic little elf inside your head repeating your once fleeting thoughts of self-loathing over and over again until they become as unremarkable and familiar as a lamp or a chair.  My tapes tell me I'm fat and clumsy.  My tapes tell me I'm a disaster literally and metaphorically.  My tapes tell me I'm stupid and I always say the wrong thing in any given situation. My tapes tell me everyone in my life secretly hates me and will eventually leave me to die alone and be eaten by my cat. My tapes are the worst.

Now, these tapes are either on low volume or full blast depending on the time of my life.  Certain situations exacerbate the tapes, for instance when I facebook-stalk people who I perceive to be better than myself and find, much to my chagrin, are indeed much better and proving it with pictures for the world to see.  The perfect girl from my AP government class is engaged and has graduated for law school?  The tapes go up to an 11.

Another instance that turns up my tapes, is unfortunately, my current relationship.  Now let me start off by saying I love my boyfriend.  He's wonderful and considerate and funny and smart and by my summation, damn near perfect.   And that's the problem.   He is nearly perfect and I am just the worst.  I spent the last week staying in his house in Dayton and I found terrifying things.   His kitchen cabinet looks like a pottery barn ad.   Despite the opaque wooden door, the glasses are lined up like toy-soldiers and the plates are stacked with alternating colors.  Also noteworthy, he rolls up the bag instead the cereal box, and turns the tightly sealed bag sideways inside the box to prevent staleness.  I sometimes don't close the cardboard tab! The juxtaposition between his "in control" and my "out of control" is enough for a Dharma and Greg-esque sitcom except I'm not laid back enough to be a hippie. And it makes me feel grossly inferior.  

And it's not just physical organization.   My boyfriend doesn't let bills pile up in the corner until he's so stressed out he cries and calls his dad to talk him through it.  I do though.  My boyfriend doesn't use a hair-straightener to iron his clothes sometimes.  And my boyfriend doesn't get hurt feelings about every insult, real or perceived that has ever plagued his entire life.  So, alright, you get the punchline already, "what do I bring to this relationship?"

Very little.  I actually can't seem to come up with anything.  It's these damn tapes.  So it's a little stressful.   It causes most of our fights and all of my worry.  And why?  Why why why can't I just let myself be happy?  Because I am.  Or I would be if I would stop inventing things to be worried about.   First I was stressed about my job, then I was stressed about leaving my job, then I was stressed about grad-school and now that I'm on summer vacation, having received A's in all my classes, respsonsibility-free I'm worried... that my boyfriend who loves me---doesn't?  Weak sauce.

First things first, I'm going to try to write more in this blog ( I know it's been forever) and I'm doing it not because anyone cares (except for you, Mom) but because it helps me exorcise some of my demons. And gives me a chance to take a long, hard look in the mirror and say, "Enough, crazy!  Also "Your bra isn't hooked right" (I say that to myself in the mirror a lot).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


--Today, one of my professors commented that she was trying to include some of my "Annie-isms" into her vocabulary. She said this after I said I was "jazzed" about something (I'm not sure what, but whatever) and she said, "I get pretty jazzed about X, too."  Now I've always prided myself on my colorful turns of phrase and I'm pretty "jazzed" others are starting to notice the great care and effort I put forth toward sounding fun and sassy.

I thought it would be a fun little exercise to share some of my greatest hit "Annie-isms" with you.  Now, disclaimer, I did NOT make most of these up.  I am not claiming to have done so.  I just thought it might be fun to read these out loud, and pretend its me next to you, whispering into your ear--but really, I can't whisper so the whole room heard whatever I just said.

Ways to Express Excitement:

-I'm jazzed!
-I'm stoked!
-I'm amped!
-I'm geeking out!
-On board!
-Tots McGoats!
-Big fun!

Ways to describe/demean others:

-That girl be cray cray (crazy)
-That guy is a chotch* or he is chotch*-tastic
* Synynom for "bro" a chotch pops his collar, ironically hi-fives, calls his friends "bro," "brah," or "broski," probably was a member of Sigma Chi, and he has a sense of entitlement because he a) grew up in martha's vineyard and/or is very rich b) thinks he's really good-looking c) thinks he's really smart (he probably is none of these things)
-That girl has been plowed more than a corn field/ that girl's legs have been split more than logs  (she has questionable morals said in a fun, folksy way)
-Bitch, nobody hit your buzzer! (Stop talking, no one cares what you think)
-Pump the breaks (slow down, calm down)
-Slow your roll (see above)
-You're grounded (said to another adult when they're being sassy)
-Hottie Patottie or Hottie Body (someone who is sexy)
-Jackwagon! (a more polite form of jackass--"some jackwagon just stole my barking space" )
-Ass clown (Asshole)

Randos (Random)

-Obvi (obviously)
-I'm sweating like a whore in church! (I'm hot)
-Fomo (stands for "fear of missing out")
-I'm going to pop my eardrums with a ballpoint pen (This is soooo boring or painful)
-under-gunders (underwear)
-beautiful strangers (breasts, as in "Oh wow, my beautiful strangers almost popped out")
-Redonc (Ridiculous)
-No prob, Bob (but, of course)
-I don't know about all that (whatchu talking about, Willis?!)
-Ultra-ed (When one, especially a specific one, gets drunk on Michelob Ultra)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Make New Friends

I'm usually a pretty bold lass.  I've been known to strike up conversations with total strangers I find to be attractive (which is how I met my boyfriend, but in my mind I've reconstructed it so he approached me) and to always say exactly on my mind even if that is a jerking off motion in the middle of a meeting.   I don't mind drawing attention to myself and sometimes I mind my manners even less.   So, why is it that this past task was daunting beyond all comprehension?

What task you say?   Well, it was only an email.  But this email, involved asking a girl to be my new friend.   It's not my typical M.O. to beg for friendship, but after two weeks and few other promising leads, I'm getting a little desperate.   This particular girl, my parent's and my server at the restaurant we went to just after my parents finished helping me move in to my apartment (so, about two weeks ago).   That night the kitchen ran out of salmon and our order took forever and we were sitting outside and it started raining, just all bad things.  This server apologized and my parents and I after having been dealing with the fucktard movers just laughed and told her that we were having a wonderful, relaxing evening compared to the maelstrom of shit that had been going on the past few weeks.  She started chatting with my mom and dad and I, and when she heard I was new in town (as she herself had been just a few years ago) she gave me her card (she was a lawyer on the side--which shows how bad the economy is) and told me to get in touch with her if I needed anything.   I understood now, and I understood at the time, that this is what one calls an "empty promise."  She was just being nice and polite and she counted on the fact that someone, a grown adult, would never be stupid enough to actually try to cash in the offer.   Well, I wasn't stupid enough.   But I am desperate for companionship and if I can call her bluff and guilt her into hanging out with me even just once--mission accomplished.

Making new friends without current "wing friends" is next to impossible.   Getting dates?  Hell yeah, I could go to Barnes and Noble and walk away with some dude's number and a dinner invitation.  Now, don't misunderstand, I don't think I'm particularly attractive or even particularly adept at flirting--it's just that easy.   Anyone can get dates!   But friends?   It's not weird to ask a stranger on a date, it's super weird to ask a stranger on a friend date.  And it's also much worse to be rejected from a friend date than an actual date.  You can rationalize a real date rejection, "he just wasn't that into me" or, "there is no spark, no chemistry".  How can you rationalize that someone doesn't want to be your friend.   There is only one logical explanation--they don't like you as a human.  It's not that they don't want to bone you, it's that they don't want to occupy the same room, breathe the same air, and drink coffee with you.  Ugh. Talk about a blow to your self-esteem!

Just like money, you need friends to make friends, and damn it, I am a little in the red as of right now.  So, this deficit inspired me to make a bold move. and I kind of hope it doesn't blow up in my face.