Sunday, December 31, 2006

One Man Guy

I'm really turning things around in my life lately. The second thing that's immediately noticeable is the amount of weight I've lost recently. When I first started getting depressed, the day before Thanksgiving, I stopped being able to eat. I had to force down every bite of food I ate for a week--or was it two?

At any rate, I decided that as long as I wasn't eating very much anyway, perhaps I should start cutting back on eating the things I know are bad for me, and have more of the good. I quit with the sugar and the fried foods, replaced them with veggies and such. It's not a strict diet, it's more of a more moderate--and yet more permanent--lifestyle change. As a result, I lost 25 pounds from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas Day. This was without any change at all to how much I exercise (which is none).

Now that I'm feeling better emotionally, I've noticed my eating habits are starting to slip back to what they were. I have to get a little more discipline, is all. If I can engage in some type of regular physical activity, something to get me sweaty and raise my heart rate for at least a half hour a few times a week, that should make most of the difference. Maybe I'll even make it back to my high school weight if I keep it up; just another 40 pounds to go.

Not hard at all, right?

The other new thing I've done lately is to start hanging out more with all types of peoples. Went out to the bar last week, over to a friend's place for a party last night, and all kinds of other various social things in-between. Some time ago, people stopped asking me to go out and do things because I wouldn't ever show up. I started getting a little upset about this, thinking I wasn't desirable company, and the cycle fed itself. Now that I am going out, it's heartwarming to see how happy everyone is to see me in a social setting. It's most definitely the kind of thing I'm going to make time for more often, provided I don't go over budget.

A couple of months ago, just after the break-up, a dear friend of mine asked me over lunch what it feels like to be single. I hadn't yet started feeling the gravity of the situation, so I had no idea how bad it was going to get. Nonetheless, I did have the foresight then to tell him that I didn't know, because I wasn't single yet. I was recovering from a relationship, which is just as far away from being single as actually being IN a relationship. Now, I'm 99% recovered, enough so that I truly feel single for the first time in my adult life.

When I was 14 years old, I got into my first relationship. I've now had six of them, but with virtually no time between each to be by myself. Each time a relationship ended, I would brood over it until I became smitten with someone else, and then I'd chase her until I was in a relationship again. I'd say that the total time spent NOT in a relationship since I was 14 is about four months, if one was to add it all up, and as I said, during those months I was either brooding or chasing. Now, I'm over the pain and the problems of my last relationship's end, and there's no one currently in my life that I'm chasing. For the first time since I was 14--half a lifetime ago--I'm single.

And may I say being single at a party with attractive members of the opposite sex present is FAR more fun when I'm 28 than when I was 14.


P.S. The subject of this blog is also the title of one of my favorite songs. Bonus points to anyone who can correctly identify the artist.

Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Done.

For the last few weeks, I was preparing myself to move on and get over the heartache I've been feeling. Strange, but there was something I was going to do that would be the last--I can't call it an effort, because there's nothing I expected to gain other than my own piece of mind. We'll call it an action.

This action took place on Monday, just before work. Okay, so it was just before I bought a two liter bottle of whiskey and THEN went to work, but still. The point is I did the last thing my heart said I needed to do before getting on with myself. My friends all told me I shouldn't do it, that it would only cause more problems than it solved. But this was something I needed to do for myself, for my own piece of mind. I had so much emotion burning in my heart and I had to let it vent. If I continued to carry it with me, I would be consumed by it. Doing this thing was to let the emotions out, and to let it out was to let it go. I shed the skin of that relationship and began to move forward.

What's odd is how well this seems to have worked. Since then, it's amazing to me how well I seem to have recovered. It sounds cheesy, but I now control my emotions instead of letting them control me. I can work, I can read, watch a movie, hang out with friends, and at (virtually) no time do I sink back into myself and brood.

Of course, I also attribute my newfound peace to the silver lining I mentioned last week. Two weeks ago, on Saturday morning, standing in the chill outside the airport waiting for my ride, I started thinking about whether or not I'd be going to Moscow.

When I first started questioning whether or not I'd be going, I got lots of advice from my friends about why I should go, especially now. I heard lots of reasons, but one rang more loudly than all the others. If I were in a committed relationship, sure I could question leaving for the sake of making the relationship work out. But I didn't have a relationship anymore--all I had was hope. And the hope I had was too weak, too thin of a reason to give up the most grand opportunity of my life. How could I justify giving that up now that the one and only thing that was truly holding me back wasn't holding me back anymore? An excellent point, and I thank the person who first introduced that concept to me, as well as everyone in my life who came after that to tell me the same.

Back to the airport. I began to think, what if my life had gone the way I had planned? Suppose the relationship was all nice and happy, we said our tearful good-byes at the airport, and then I got onto the plane. Once I got to Moscow and the jetlag wore off, I don't suppose it would have taken long before I started to realize just how important she was to me, that I wouldn't want to be there without her in my heart and and in my life. Then I wouldn't have been able to concentrate, I would have started my homesickness and heartbreak then as I felt it a month ago, and believe you me, I would have been on the first plane back home. Of course I can't say these things for certain, but they aren't too impossible to consider.

Now that things have gone the way they have, I can prepare for Moscow with more conviction than I ever had before. Now, with six months to prepare, I can go to Moscow without leaving a significant piece of my heart behind, and I can make the fullest use out of this chance to study at one of the greatest theatres in the world, without the imminent catastrophic distraction I would have faced otherwise.

Of course, this is just another plan, like the one I made when I first got back, and we all know how infrequently a plan is executed in the same fashion it was conceived.

A month ago, I couldn't have imagined how much better I would feel by today. But then, I suppose six months ago I wouldn't have imagined I'd be in the position I'm in now, anyway. Not to mention a year ago, or the year before that . . . .

Sunday, December 17, 2006


So last week started off kind of crappy again. Odd, since I started posting a regular blog, because I usually feel much better after a posting. Last week, it didn't work, and I can't say exactly why. Okay, yes I can, but it's a detail that doesn't matter so much anymore.

That's because at some point on Wednesday afternoon, I started feeling MUCH better. I finally got nearly everything into my new apartment (save a few pieces of furniture), and got almost completely unpacked in the course of about a day.

The last two places I lived were shared space, and nothing much of mine got put up. Both times, the initial move-in was done without me, and by the time I got there, everything had its place, and there was no place for most of what I wanted. For the first time in two years, I have a room that's all mine. Going through boxes, I found pictures I had forgotten I had, most importantly one of my siblings and I when we were all kids. The furniture is where I want it, no compromise. The things on my walls and shelves all belong to me, and are the way I want them. Everything I have that I want to see is somewhere I can see it. The place won't be mine for long, but for now it is well and truly mine. To use a Superman reference, it's my own Fortress of Solitude, if you will, just without all the crystals.

I like it.

This, and I started writing in my private journal more often this week. In it, I voiced a revelation I had last week that gives the first silver lining to the clouds that have oppressed my mood the last several months. Of course, I wish things hadn't turned out the way they had, but I have been told many times lately that everything happens for a reason. With this situation, I've come to understand once again that God isn't going to write me a personal letter telling me exactly what that reason is--it's up to me to discover (or to create) that reason for myself. One week ago yesterday, waiting to be picked up at the airport, that realization came into my mind. The other day, in my journal, I explored that reason, and things began to click into place. It's not time to voice this revelation here, because I have one last thing to do before I can say I'm really moving on; but I am feeling much better. Maybe God sent me a little note after all, told me that it's time to stop bleeding and start healing. Whatever the inspiration, it's working.

Since then, many people at work have expressed to me that I'm finally beginning to act like myself again. It's funny--once upon a time, someone told me how much of an effect my frame of mind has on those around me. I forget who said it, but it was said that I'm usually such a happy, positive guy that when I'm moping around all depressed, it's like there's something wrong with the whole world. If Mark can't find a reason to be happy, what chance do the rest of us have? Well, I can't say I'm well and and truly happy, not just yet, but I'm beginning to see the path to inner peace. I'm laughing and goofing around again. I'm going out drinking and karaoke-ing with my friends, and reconstituting my love of whiskey. I'm losing weight to the point that other people are noticing it.

And most importantly--I have my eye on the future more often than the past.

Here's to the future.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Step upward, step onward

Before I begin, I want to say my most sincere thank you to everyone who not only reads, but comments on these words of mine. I don't mean only here, but to those of you who have sent e-mails or phone calls or any other form of support. My time and internet capabilities have been extraordinarily limited lately, and I haven't yet responded to most of you who've sent advice, encouragement, or just let me know you were listening. But it's important to me that all of you know just how much I appreciate everything you've done or said. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now for the latest.

Depression, I have learned, comes and goes like the tide. Sometimes it's overwhelming, drowning everything in sight. My feet can find no purchase and my arms flail uselessly as the water savagely disorients me, wave after wave knocking me in different directions. When the tide loosens and my feet hit the sand again, I can move once more. Stained and stinking, weakened in flesh and spirit, my bearings come again. I find myself moving on, trying to get further down the shore, searching for some shelter against the next onslaught.

Enough metaphor.

I'm trying to fit into my latest apartment, and I find myself revisiting the notion I first realized when I moved into the last place I lived. I don't have a home anymore. I just have a place where I'll sleep and keep my clothes for the next few months. I used to move once a year, and even that was frustrating. Now, I've called five places "home" in the last two years. The only space I feel I can truly call mine is my truck, which over the last eight years has seen more of me than any two of my homes in that same time period.

I went out of town this week to visit a close friend. It was most helpful, both for the company and the distraction. She let me bear my emotions about the last few weeks, heard every word I had to say, as others have done. Traditionally, I speak to no one when I'm depressed, but this time--this time, I'm truly learning the value of other people's opinions. It's one way I'm learning from the mistakes of my past, this past year most especially.

I'm also waiting for someone to just slap me and tell me to get over it. The situation has changed, and hurt though it may, I can't go back. I can't fix it and make it the way it was. She has moved on with her life, and my role in it will never again be what it ever was or ever could have been. No matter what I have learned, no matter how I have changed, no matter how different and better I could make things if I only had the opportunity, I have to remember--every moment of every day, lest I forget--that the opportunity I want is gone, away, vanished. I already had my shot, and I blew it. Move on.

As easy as speaking so many words, isn't it?

But I cannot abandon my heart, not just yet. There's a point I need to prove, which is that for all my faults and mistakes, I am adaptable, capable of change. I need to make the case that even though it didn't work, it could have worked. I cannot live with her believing that it never would have been possible, that we were simply incompatible, and that's all. I need her to believe not only that I care, but that I see where I went wrong, and that I know how to fix it, were it not too late.

Is this merely a fool's errand? Perhaps. But in order to move forward, I have to prove that I've learned from my past. Maybe this will make no difference to anyone but me, but I won't feel like such an utter failure if I can get this done. Only then, so my heart tells me, will I stop acting like a child who wants his favorite's heart's desire, screaming and raging against the uncaring wind and stars, my cries vanishing into an eternal void, unheard and unmourned.

And perhaps--just perhaps--I'll get something I really want out of this.

Sunday, December 3, 2006


This past week has been another difficult one. I moved out of the apartment, first of all. A friend of a friend had a roommate back out on her, and I needed--very badly--to get out of the situation I was in. So on Thursday, I started taking the most important stuff for living and moved it over. Fortunately, the person who backed out had already paid for December, and my new roommate knows something about what my living situation was like. I was able to get away from where I was and not have to pay double for the month of December. And January is only half the month at the old place, so paying not-quite-double then will be easier to manage, what with a month to come up with the funds.

It's not as easy as it sounds.

I believe this was the right thing to do, yet still it hurts taking another step that asserts the painful reality of the situation. Maybe I'm in denial, and this is helping to force me to accept the world the way it is and not the way I wish it were. I've been doing too much of that, I think. Whatever. It still hurts.

Perhaps most notably, I lost control of myself at work for the first time, and started crying uncontrollably. I've worked the same job for more than eight years, and the routine is well established and easy for me to maintain. During this time I've suffered through three break-ups before this one, each more painful than the last, and yet I was able to push through and maintain professionalism while in the building. This situation has been so uniquely . . . . what's the word? I went from the happiest, most comfortable relationship I've ever been a part of to--well, this. Whatever the word is for that. My boss called me at 1:30 in the morning to make sure I was all right.

I cut my hair short, too. I let it grow for the last year and a half, and had *just* reached the point I could tie it all back; it was the longest it's ever been. But with so much coming at me I couldn't control, I needed something I could take charge of. Regretful of my mistakes, I needed to see a different face in the mirror. I needed a different habit to help reestablish the differences my life has experienced in the last couple of months. Moreover, with my glasses and earring, I got tired of hearing I look like Penn of Penn and Teller two or three times a day. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course it could have been worse, but I just got tired of being told I look like somebody else. Now, I look like ME.

And I'm pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself.

I'm working my ass off, too. Lunch shifts at one job and dinners at another means that every day is a 12 hour workday, minimum. It's rough, but at least I'm making money, staying distracted, and I fall asleep easily and stay that way through the night. Besides, if I still go to Moscow, my schedule will be more busy than that for a guaranteed six days a week instead of four. I've cut sugar from my diet, and no longer eat until I'm full; I haven't noticed much difference in my body yet, but I feel better physically, and it's only been a week and a half since I started this.

I sure as Hell picked the wrong week to quit smoking, but I cut back a lot. Now, I only have a cigarette when I need to regain control of my emotions instead of whenever the hell I feel like it. At least I'm not physically self-destructing. I'm drinking more often, but never to excess. Overall, I'm trying to move forward, yet each step is difficult, for it takes me away from the way things were, the way they could have been if I hadn't been a fool.

Such is life.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Maybe Not Moscow

Another week has brought another bit of strife, and it seems like I hit an all new low, emotionally speaking. So here's what's what.

Lindsay and I broke up about mid-October. We disagree as to the exact date it happened, but that's not important. What's important is that around the start of November, she met a guy and started dating.

I had thought that when we split up, we could see about getting back together after our lease ends in January. The stress of this relationship has been outstanding for much of the last year, and the concentration of living together only added to that stress. I hoped that not living together anymore, giving us a little distance, would make it possible that she and I could reconnect, gain back a little of what we lost. I don't suppose I ever told her this, or if I did, I didn't make it very clear.

What does this have to do with Moscow? You'll have to be patient. I have a lot to explain.
I started getting more and more jealous of this guy, more and more angry that Lindsay had turned around and found happiness so soon after she and I split. When I lost Lindsay, I still had my best friend, the one I hung out with every day, the one I confided in the most, the one who knew me best and knew all my thoughts (even after the break-up, yes). When she started seeing someone she disappeared from my life, and the loss was unbearable. So on Tuesday, I wrote her a letter telling her why I was so upset, and during it, I realized just how important she is to me.

I started re-thinking EVERYTHING that has happened in this last year. This entire year, anyone who talked to me for more than thirty seconds about my going to Moscow asked me why I was doing it. Sure, what a great opportunity, but what about everything I'd be giving up, most especially Lindsay? Everyone from close friends to mere acquaintances to Lindsay herself asked me this. I was determined, however, because I had a belief, and that belief was that I had to choose between Lindsay and a career.

But why, in my mind, did it have to be a choice? Why couldn't it be both? She's a make-up artist and I'm an actor, shouldn't those two careers compliment one another? These questions and more are answered in two parts.

Part the first: just before Lindsay and I got together in the first place, I had auditioned for graduate school. I tried a few different schools, but the best audition was for UCLA. The audition lasted an hour, and had over a dozen people in the room at the same time. We worked together both on our prepared monologues as well as some exercises with a coach while another man sat behind a table and watched, taking notes. Finally, the coach sent everyone else out of the room, thanking them for their time, and kept two of us behind for further work with the mysterious man behind the desk. It was absolutely thrilling.

The problem was that this was an "open" audition, which meant they let me in to audition without officially applying to the school. It was impressed upon the two of us who were asked to stay behind very strenuously that putting in the application was of utmost importance, and must be done immediately. When I got home, I printed the application, but to fill it out and send it in was just something I couldn't make myself do. The reasons why are many, but don't really belong in this rapidly lengthening story. The end result was that I believed UCLA would have allowed me into their graduate program if only I had sent in the paperwork. This is one of my most embarrassing secrets. I am refreshed that it is a secret no longer.

Part the second: a few months later, when Lindsay and I were together, I admitted to her and her alone what I had done. We talked about a lot, including relationships and what we'd given up for them in the past just to watch them fail later. Where does that leave us but alone, and working a job that has nothing to do with our dreams? Working a shitty job can be okay, I have discovered, if I have a relationship with someone to take away the pain and the stress. But when the relationship ends, now I'm heartbroken and I'm alone and I STILL have a shitty job because I never spent time working on getting myself OUT of the shitty job. We both expressed a desire to never again allow a relationship to stand between ourselves and our career choice. She understood my problem and my desire in this matter as I did hers.

So when I went to Moscow last year and they gave me an offer to go to their program, I was elated. I felt so horrible for the UCLA mistake that I felt this was the opportunity to redeem myself. The only trouble was that I couldn't expect Lindsay to come with me. The class schedule was too intense to take her that far from her home, her friends, her family, her culture, and everything else just to see me at night, after fifteen hours of class six days a week, ready to do nothing but crash. It seemed a sure recipe for disaster. I felt I had to make a choice.

I've only been in one long distance relationship, and it didn't work. It only lasted one school year, and we still saw one another once a month and talked every day. I didn't think it was possible for me to have a long distance relationship where I might come home only twice a year, nine time zones removed from the person I was trying to talk to, and the prospect terrified me. I was terrified to the point I couldn't connect with Lindsay, couldn't get close to her, couldn't let her get close to me. The only thing that calmed me down was the notion that we should break up when I go, to set one another free, perhaps to one day be back in the same place at the same time, and discover if our hearts still longed for one another then (romantic, isn't it?). But in the meantime, what fun we could have! Knowing for a fact that our time together was limited meant that she and I would enjoy every waking moment together, never taking one another for granted or missing an opportunity for happiness. With this notion, I was gung-ho and ready to go, comfortable at last and ready to be with her in earnest.

But with this decision, she and I traded places emotionally. Attempting to protect herself from a deeper hurt, she started pushing me away. Things got rough between us pretty quickly. Try as she might, she just couldn't let me in, and I felt her slipping farther and farther away. Try as I might, I couldn't do what she needed me to do to make things more comfortable between us. I did much for her to show her how much I loved and cared for her, but I didn't do the smaller, simpler things she asked me to do, the things that mattered to her most. So things between us only got worse.

When we broke up in October, she told me it was because she was too emotionally stressed out trying to make it work. Between the pressures of dealing with me and the pressures of managing a sports bar 60 hours a week, it was more than she could take, even though we now knew I wouldn't be leaving for an extra seven months. Shortly after the break-up the sports bar closed for business, and all the remaining reasons for her stress were lifted almost simultaneously. She started re-discovering herself, taking care of herself and her emotions and her friends, started becoming the happy person she hasn't been since before she and I even met. I started to fall for her again, seeing that happy person emerge from the ashes of the broken woman who told me she couldn't handle things anymore, and needed to get away and take care of herself. My heart surged for her, but I knew to be patient, to let the bad vibes between us wane before attempting a relationship again. Too soon would be a bad thing, I felt.
And now we begin to return to the beginning of the story.

As much as I hate that it's true, it took the deep pain and jealousy of learning all of this to make me realize exactly how special she was and is to me. I realized she meant too much to me to lose her. I finally began to see that she and the others I spoke to about going to Moscow were right; I can have a career right here at home and not lose her. Even if I do go, maintaining the relationship would still be possible—after all, I met two people who did it for four years while he was there and she was here (Lindsay and I would only have to do it for three), and now they're happily married. All the evidence that had been laid before me crystallized, and I knew what I had to do.

We talked Wednesday night, and I gave my best effort to get her back. I told her everything I had realized, from what I could do with my career without leaving to the mistakes I had made trying to make her happy in the wrong way. She heard every word, and said to me I told her absolutely everything she needed to hear.

Three months too late.

Thanksgiving Day was shitty. Praise God for friends and family (see previous blog).

Now I'm stuck in nepantla. I don't know whether I should go to Moscow for three years and get who knows what out of it, or if I should stay and get my career moving here and now. If I stay, I'm staying near my growing family (my new nephew will be born around February) and my dear friends, who keep showing me how much love they have for me when times are tough. I'll be able to work on Taekwondo and Tai Chi, two things that changed my life when I began to learn them, and two things I've had to give up just to prepare for Moscow.

So now what? I dunno what I'm gonna do, but I have a working plan. I'm going to spend the next couple of months trying to see what it would be like if I stayed. I'm going to get an agent (I have a contact in the field, and I believe this won't be difficult). I'm going to work on my voice-overs, something else I gave up because Russian lessons were too expensive to allow for it. I'm going to knock the dust off my gis and practice a bit of TKD and Tai Chi. I'm going to quit smoking and start jogging.

And I'm going to hope that Lindsay finds it in her heart to let me try again.

Come the first of February, I'll make the decision of whether I stay or go. That still leaves five months to buckle down and cram more language lessons into my head, and figure out how to come up with the money.

Stay tuned. God knows it's going to be intesting.

Furthermore, I want to make it clear that I have no anger or animosity against Lindsay. I understand why she has done everything she has done, and I understand why she has felt everything she has felt. I surely hate this situation, and I wish it was different, but I can't change any part of it. All I can do is react.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

With A Little Help From My Friends

It's been rough lately, and readers of my blog (quite aside from the ego boost I get when I see the number of views rise) know that I don't say much unless I have something unhappy to say. These last couple of months, I've said a lot. Up until this last week, things were as dark as they have been in years. Sunday night was quite a beast, even compared to the weeks leading up to it. But since that night, things have brightened significantly, and it's all due to my friends...

Since Monday night, I've learned a thing or three about the people who love me. Namely, when things get rough, there are people in my life who will go out of their way to make certain I'm gonna make it. When I was in my deepest, darkest, slimy pit, people in my life found me, gave me a hand, and pulled me out. This experience has also led me to remember the people who gave me advice before this past week, people who look out for me and want the best for me and are willing to devote their time, their attention, their words, and their hearts to the pursuit of my happiness.

I had started taking such a cynical view of life, started believing that there was one person and one person only who was looking after me, just one soul who had my best interests at heart, one person I could trust. That person was me and me alone. I was the only person I could count on to make certain I was getting along, the only one who could pull me out of darkness and into light. I was wrong.

Now I know without a doubt that I have friends—true, close, caring friends. Friends who don't rest without knowing that I'm gonna be okay, if only for one more day. Words don't express the relief and joy I feel because of this.

What's more—I still believe in love. It can be said that every relationship that ends is a failed relationship, but I don't agree. Things can work with someone for a long while, and though it may not last forever, they absolutely are capable of bringing happiness for any period of time before the final day, be it years, weeks, or even a few hours. Failure of a relationship to endure until "death do you part" is not necessarily a failed relationship.

I've been hurt, and I've hurt others. I've been engaged twice; once to the wrong person, and once at the wrong time in my life. I've been a cheater, and I've been cheated on. I've wept and I've raged at the hurt and unfairness of it all—it's a song I've sung many times. But one of the most important realizations I've made in this life o' mine is that even though I haven't had the fortune of finding the right woman at the right time, I still believe in the possibility. I haven't given up hope. Somewhere out there is the right woman for me, and I won't stop keeping an eye out for her, no matter how many times I burn myself reaching for the fire. There's always a fresh substance underneath the ashes.

Such is the power of hope.

Through it all, my heart still beats, and it beats for thee, my love—wherever you are.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Quite A Week

Interesting, the things that happen in a weeks' time.

Wednesday, Lindsay and I broke up. We were preparing to do so anyway, and with the extra time I'm spending here, we had a decision to make. Without going into all the details, we decided to break up now. Connecting with one another was just too difficult when we were preparing to end it. I guess this way, we ended it on our own terms. It's not like we don't like one another. There weren't fights or even arguments (not the relationship-shattering kind). It just wasn't working out, and we decided to end it before we really did start to resent one another. Though we still live together for a few more months, so maybe there's still time for a Jerry Springer episode's worth of material.

Saturday night I got a sinus infection. Doctors are expensive.

Wednesday, Lindsay lost her job because the restaurant she was managing went out of business. Since I'm having financial troubles anyway, and I didn't know how soon Lindsay would be able to get a job, and because I convinced Lindsay just a week earlier to clean out half her savings to pay off a credit card, I stopped taking Russian lessons and started looking for a second job. I have an interview to schedule, which is good news. I don't know whether I'll keep my current job, or how long I'll be able to work two jobs, or how much my Russian is going to suffer for the fact that I'm not taking classes with another human being. I do plan to get back into class, but for now, it's just not possible.

Then I broke my mp3 player while trying to upgrade the firmware.

Then I tried to post this blog, and somehow screwed up my internet connection for a few days.

I promise to post good news and happy thoughts as soon as they occur. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Make God laugh. Tell Him your plans.

They say when God closes a door, he opens a window.

For me, maybe it was a revolving door, or something. Maybe He pushed back the light at the end of the tunnel. At any rate, my life just got interesting in a whole different kind of way.

For nearly a year, I've been planning to go study in Moscow at the MXAT school this coming January. I've been preparing for this in my heart, in my mind, with my friends, at my job, and with my girlfriend. But now things have altered. A few days ago, I was told the first-year class I was going to join has too many students to add one more; there's just no room for me.

So I panicked a little, and considered possible options. After some discussion with the dean of the school, it was decided the best thing to do is join the second-year students next fall. This way, it won't affect my graduation--I'll still be done at the same time. And it's good, too, because it gives me more time to learn Russian, to gather my finances, and to meet my new nephew before he turns four. Not a bad setup, all things considered.

The downer? I still have to work at the same fucking job. Three years ago, I decided I'd had enough of that place and I need to get out. It's taken this long to find something else I really want to do with myself that will accept me. Now it'll be an additional eight months longer than I'd planned.

The most awkward part is what Lindsay and I are going through. For months, we've been preparing to break up when I go, and the very nature of our relationship has altered significantly because of this—I'll leave the details to your imagination, but I will say it hasn't been easy. What will happen to us now is something we'll only discover over the next few months.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What's that sucking noise?

Yeah. So.
I work. For the last six weeks, it's been six days a week. That's earned me a lot of money--to the point I realize I should have been doing it a long time ago, because my finances have never been in better shape. I mean, I'm still in debt, but I'm not so worried about this month.
Lindsay's mother got breast cancer--again. The first time was 14 years ago, so she gets regular check-ups and this time it was caught at stage zero, which is the best case scenario. Lindz went to Colorado to be with her mother for the week of the surgery to help her mother recuperate, and she gets back to Dallas tomorrow. A 2cm amount of material was taken out of her mother's breast and sent to a lab, and they're sure they got it all, and that's good. They found a stage 2 cancer among the less serious stuff which they didn't know was there, so they don't know how much more there is, so that's bad. Just to make certain, she's going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments just in case there's anything else there they don't know about.
I'm in my Russian class three days a week preparing for the voyage. I recently had a phone conversation with the dean of the school about what I need to do to get there, and he said he'd set things in motion from his end once he gets back to Russia, which should be today (he teaches at Harvard for the summer program every year).
I still need to file my taxes for this year and finish paying for last year. I need to figure out what it is I'm going to sell, and how I'm going to sell it, and how I'm going to pay for taking school in another country and still pay my credit card debts while I have no job. I have ideas on this front, but I don't know how feasible they are just yet and I can't find out until I have more information.
Worse--Lindsay and I are breaking up when I leave. A long distance relationship like this just isn't feasible, so the plan is to enjoy the time we have while we have it, and say goodbye as cordially as possible and remain friends after I'm gone. The reality is that this isn't as easy a plan as it sounds.
So to escape reality I'm spending too much of my time doing nothing that solves any of my problems. I'm not studying as much as I should, I'm not exercising at all, and I'm only exercising the bare minimums of cleaning the house and taking showers and doing laundry and things like that. I'm reading a lot and finding various flash/shockwave games on the internet and I play them for hours upon hours. I download videos and I watch them. I fantasize about the winning the lottery and what I'd do with the money and how much I'd cry as soon as I got my hands on the necessary cash. I pray and I pray that I'm making the right decision by putting my career in front of my relationship (not for the first time, I realize). I smoke. I think scary or depressing thoughts and I try not to bother other people with them.
Until now, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

I'm an uncle AGAIN!!

While on the phone with my mother the other day, she mentioned that she'd been babysitting my nephew a lot lately. He's 16 months old, so I asked if my sister and her husband had any plans or thoughts for having another. There was a slight moment of silence, and my mother responded sheepishly, "I'm not supposed to tell."

"Okay," I said, "so there's obviously some kind of plan, but I didn't hear it from you. But if she were actually pregnant, that's something I would know, right? You wouldn't hide THAT from me, would you?"

Another pause. Then a very squeaky, afraid voice answered me, "I'm not supposed to tell!"

Eventually my mother got tired of putting me off, and it came out that she is indeed pregnant again, but in the interests of making certain the pregnancy holds, they didn't want to let the news out just yet. So I'm an uncle! Again! I had to swear to my mother that I did indeed have NO information about the pregnancy, and I swore I would feign surprise when I was told by someone else.

The next day, while speaking with my father, he gave me the news again. I put on my best surprised voice, and asked the appropriate questions I had asked my mother the day before. "Really! When did we find this out? How far along is she?"

My father was a little surprised. "I thought your mother told you already?"

"I know," I answered, "but I promised Mom I would act surprised since I wasn't supposed to know anything." My father had a terriffic response to this.

"Yeah, well, turns out Glenn (my brother-in-law) already blabbed to his brother and sister, so his parents know, and I thought, 'Goddammit, if their kids know, I want my kids to know, too!'"

Go dad :)

The only sad part of this is that I'll be in Russia when this kid is born. So he'll be about 3 or 4 by the time I meet him. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The anti-socialite

I'll be honest--I'm pretty much a loner. I like smaller groups and more intimate social situations than, say hanging out in bars or with more than a dozen people, especially if there're many people I just don't know.

But here's something I don't understand--people don't ask me out much. Do I give off some kind of vibe that says Don't Touch? I don't mean to. I find out about the bars or the clubs or the parties afterwards--usually the next day, when everyone is talking about how much fun they had and no one asks me why I wasn't there. I can't go to a place if I don't know it's happening. People have seen me at Industry Bar exactly three times, and everyone there was surprised--but it's only been four times that I knew anyone was going to be there.

I'd like to think I have a decent track record for showing up when someone invites me somewhere--someone tell me if I'm wrong.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I prefer "acquiesed".

So I gave up. I avoided getting a MySpace account for so long, and I realized I'm outside the loop of what so many of my friends are up to. So here I be, jumping on the bandwagon and joining the crowd.

Beyond that, I'm proud to say I've started a more rigorous exercise regime. I'm working out right after work nearly every day--got the mp3 playlist, jogging and weightlifting for about 45 minutes a day, five or six days a week. If, by the time I go to Moscow, I don't look the way I want in my Superman costume--well, I don't know. Ask me when and if it happens.