Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Will I Ever Be Normal Again?

I want to pretend that I've taken a leave of absence from blogging because I was so wrapped up in politics and the elections that I had no energy to write.
This is a lie.
Honestly, I just had the longest stretch of writers' block I've ever encountered.
For months, I second guessed myself: is that even clever? Is that even funny?

But whether it's clever or not, whether it's funny or not, I've decided to start writing again.

In the wake of the elections, however, I did do a lot of thinking.
Mostly, I tried to abstain from arguing with people on the internet over politics.
Although, I will admit, sometimes I failed at even this.

For months, certain trigger words and phrases on the web, radio, television, sent me into mini panic attacks:
women's preventative care, abortion, religious freedom, freedom of speech, the economy, jobs, gay rights, FEMA, chick-fil-a, lazy freeloaders, etc, etc.
& now I wonder how long it will take for my blood not to boil every time someone makes mention of these.
Obviously, today is not that day.
It's all still too fresh.

But I will say: I am proud of all the voters, I am proud of our candidates, & I'm excited by the outcome of this year's election.

If you're like me, I hope you're on your way to being back to normal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Apology

My sophomore year of college, I was in a bad place.
That doesn't really matter because in the scheme of things: in a lot of ways, I am still awful.
I'm not proud of this fact, but I view it as growth.
As in, recognizing how horrible of a human I have been has to mean that I'm maturing?
Or something.

I have been someone who defined myself by whether I had or didn't have a boyfriend.
In my mind, having a boyfriend meant I was wonderful, and not having one spoke to my inadequacies.
I know now that I am profoundly inadequate in many areas, boyfriend or not, though at the time I am not for want of boyfriends.
But anyway, because of this above-mentioned character flaw, I used to post nothing but pictures of my guy-du-jour and I. I used to regale my facebook and myspace friends with status updates about how in love I was, we were, he was. Even when things were bad. And when things were even worse, I would spew out these awful, horrible details of our personal lives onto the internet.
& then pretend like they never happened days later when we were back together and he was once again my default photo.

I was a humble bragger.
I was a tease.
I was the worst kind of insecure: the kind of insecure parading as narcissism.

For a while, I had blocked the person I was from my memory because it was too painful to confront the fact that I was a douche.
& I'm not saying I'm not anymore, I'm just saying I'm less of a douche than I was.
But anyway, I found all of this out by viewing my posts on facebook timeline.
I'm not going to delete them because I believe that I was a douche because I was going through a tough time. Like, if I could pretend to be a narcissist, then I could convince myself that I really was as in love and happy and great as I was bragging I was.

& now I segue into my current life.
What I've taken from this is that I've learned a lot about empathy from my douche bag times.
A lot of times, we see a douche bag & think, "I hate that person! They're so douchey!"
But what we should think is that they need a friend.
I wouldn't know this but for the fact that I was once a douche.

& so, what I'm saying is, that I learned how to be more patient because I try now to understand people where as before, I was quick to write people off and very much blind to the fact that I was writing off people who were like me. Maybe I was writing them off to avoid confronting how much alike we were in our obnoxiousness.

My most recent tattoo, which I'm not ready to show because it's currently swollen and scabby (don't worry, this is a normal process in tattoo healing), is a silhouette of Medusa inspired by Charmaine Olivia's artwork.



When I first came to Texas, the humidity here was too much for my naturally curly hair and the texture changed. It went from being big spiral curls to frizzy waves and my once long bangs tightened up to make a bonnet of curls along the top of my head. Then, my mom tried cutting my hair herself out of curiosity. To be honest, I have never forgiven her for this because when my hair grew back, instead of frizzy waves, I had one large mass of frizz.
We lived, at the time, in a part of Texas where there weren't many people of color and different was not welcomed per se, in my elementary school. I was teased: a lot.
For a really long time, I thought I was ugly because I had curly hair.

Along with this image of Medusa, I also got the words, "Look like an innocent flower," which is half of a line from Shakespeare's Macbeth, who some scholars describe as the male Medusa. The other half of the line is, "but be like the snake that hides beneath it."

Being picked on as a little kid and growing into an insecure quasi-adult who became a douche as a means to get by, who grew into a quasi-adult capable of reflecting on all of this, I learned that my suffering really shaped me into a healthy, nearly sane person.
I couldn't be here but for the fact that I've been there.

& now I know, my curly hair is a physical tie back to the person I love the most: my dad, who is Puerto Rican but of the African persuasion.
Having curly hair made me a kinder child, a more patient adult, a more loving friend.
My peers and even some of the faculty at my old schools were blinded by my curly hair; what did it mean? It meant I was related to a Black person so I had to be poor, low class, dumb.
What they failed to see was the person inside who would graduate from high school top ten percent, get into a great state college and leave there with a degree, and go on to law school.
And they never saw the parents that fought to get me all those wonderful places.

I wear my hair straight on most days because the humidity is still too much me but I wanted the curly-haired girl inside me to always be visible.

And anyway, also, I'm sorry for being an ass to those who knew me then, and to those who stuck with me--thank you so much for giving me a chance and looking past the douche-baggery. 

Such a long time

The day before last, my official last summer as a student came to an end. 
It's my third and final year of law school and besides the feeling that I'm about to find out what it's like to spread yourself too thin, I'm concerned about the fact that every year I become less funny. 
A much heavier drinker, perhaps, but much less funny. 
The funniest thing I've said in a long time was, when talking about re-starting an LGBTA law student association on campus, I suggested to Gaga that we name it, "Chik-fil-Ain't."
& that was pretty good.
I was pretty impressed with myself. 
But it was a far cry from where I once was.

It's weird; I started this blog to write because at one point in time, writing was my favorite.
In the process of this blog, I discovered that making people laugh is my favorite. 

I'm being more existential than I can stand right now. 

But anyway, so it was my last summer. 
In the time that I haven't blogged:
  • Solo and I went to Puerto Rico and I saw my grandma, aunt and uncle, beautiful cousins and their children. I realized how much I love being Puerto Rican and how profoundly I've taken the fact of my ethnicity for granted. I'd like to touch on this more but I won't make any promises since it's been nearly a month since my last post.
  • I got a new cat, his name is Venkman. He is evil.
  • I got my 9th and probably final tattoo.
  • Yet another cancer scare that is not fully resolved and too embarrassing to fully explain. 
  • I worked two and a half internships, but I'm claiming the full 3 for resume purposes. 
  • I've watched 2/3 of the X-files series, which has greatly enhanced my paranoia but also made me more knowledgeable about folklore. 
I'm guessing that if you're not already back, you're going soon so I hope you're summer was wonderful and that you have an amazing school year. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Office Ghost

The office I intern at has a ghost.
An old Mexican lady who was once an attorney here.

I know this because everyday, I see this lady in the office, wearing the exact same outfit: a long white tee shirt and a blue jean skirt with white socks and white tennis shoes & she never goes home.

She also babbles to herself really loudly in the halls. 


Whenever I see her in the break room, she tells me, "I wash my dishes and no one else's and then I put them away so no one will use them." She'll say this to me whether I've made eye contact with her or not, even if my back is turned to her because I am trying to buy a snack from the vending machine. She will repeat this phrase to me until I acknowledge that she was talking to me. I typically just smile.


One night, I was the last person left in the office.
Or so I thought.
The Ghost Woman came into the intern office and told me that it was getting dark out and crazy things happen when it's dark. I told her I was on my way out soon & she left. 
She came back as I was packing up my briefcase with a sliced eggplant and a glass of water. 
She turned on the intern office tv to a novella & began cutting her eggplant into bite sized slices. 
"I wash my dishes and no one else's, and then I put them away so no one will use them," she said to me as I left the room. 
"Goodnight, Ghost Lady," I whispered back. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

I find it ironic that my first word was not "Mommy," "Daddy," or "Cookies," but rather, "No."

As a matter of fact, this could be the Greatest irony of my life because, "No" is something I say far too little.

I'm a people please-r. I think it stems from the fact that in my youth, I was crippled by unmanageable curly, frizzy hair, and also, some might argue, swarthy. My family spent a lot of time moving around because my dad was in the Army and when we finally plunked ourselves down, it was in a very white-bread, baptist part of Texas. So white-bread Baptist, in fact, that one of my classmates had a bulletin board in our elementary school main hall dedicated to all her baby Texas pageant wins. No one on our elementary school staff thought it was backwards that this poor 7 year old kid had her hair died passion red and wore makeup to school.
One time, my PE teacher came into my second grade class and drew a pig on the back of my neck in pink magic marker, "to see if I took baths." Note: she did this IN FRONT of my teacher, during CLASS TIME, in front of ALL my classmates. My teacher did nothing to stop her but did excuse me to the bathroom so I could scrub off the shame.
This is also the same school that put me in ESL for 2 days before realizing I didn't know a single word of Spanish.

OH, THE UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS COMMITTED AGAINST ME BY THE PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM!

I'm digressing to the point of absurdity but what am I trying to say is: I've been fucked up for a long time.

& now I can't tell people no.

For a recent case in point, I refer you to a glimpse of my trip to Puerto Rico where a man who had slithered his way into my circle of family at a local bar by buying everyone drinks asked me for a good bye kiss. I said I had a boyfriend, he said I could just kiss his cheek & because I felt like I owed him, I went for it. Only as I leaned toward his cheek, he stuck out his tongue and made a mad-dash for my mouth. I was able to maneuver out of this mouth rapist's grasp, but at the expense of having my cheek licked by a stranger with facial piercings.

But an even more recent example, one that led me to almost name this post, "This is how I know I'm a bad person" is that last week, I bought a lamp at goodwill. It was four dollars, large, see-through, and filled with vintage wine corks. Like this:
I need to back up at this point & say that in the building I live in, at my apartment complex, there is also, on the first floor, a man. This man is kind, friendly, and has a good sense of humor. He is also lonely and disabled. When I first moved here 2 years ago, I quickly learned that this man will go to great lengths to have a conversation with anyone who happens to cross his path. As in, if you are on the second floor of the building and he is on the ground floor, and you make eye contact with him, he will start a conversation with you despite the fact that he must shout for the conversation to reach you. Inevitably, you will go down to the ground floor, with all seven bags of your groceries weighing you down, because you feel ridiculous shouting to a man downstairs and because you realize that he has no intention of releasing you from the conversation quickly.
During a typical conversation with this man, he will tell you why he is outside. Generally, he reveals that he has a bit of cabin fever and, most heart-breakingly, that he is lonely ALL OF THE TIME. & so you'll stay and talk for 20 minutes, sometimes 45, because it is the right thing to do. At least, that's what I've done. Some of my less patient neighbors have taken to ignoring him. I don't know why I'm often around when this happens, but the end result is that he tells me that etiquette classes should be mandatory and that people are so rude. He may be right.
Recently, this man has become mobile again. When I first moved here, he was in a wheel chair and had been for over a decade. He has, within the last 6 or 7 months, began walking again, and moreover, using this as an opportunity to catch people outside and engage them in conversation. Sometimes, he'll take his laptop outside and lay across the stairs of his side of the building (keep in mind, he lives on the first floor) so that anyone trying to go upstairs or get to their first floor apartment must walk past him (and talk).

Getting back to what I was saying: I was coming home from goodwill with my new favorite purchase and I see my lonesome neighbor pacing the parking lot looking for someone to entertain him. I get out of my car and do not try to fight conversing with him. As we talk, he keeps returning the conversation to how much he likes my lamp. I say thank you and return the conversation to where it left off but he keeps complementing the lamp. "It was four dollars at goodwill!" I boast of my self-proclaimed ability to find amazing things at goodwill. "I really like it," my neighbor reminds me for the fourth time.

"Do you want it?"
^That is something I'm terrible about. If someone compliments me on something enough, I always ask if they'd like to have it. Sometimes, if I like the person in question enough, all it takes is the one time. I've taken off necklaces, blazers, rings, and given away so many things on my person because I can't fight the urge to make someone like me, even if it's just for 3 seconds.
I'm pretty sure I'd shave my head on the spot if a kid with Leukemia told me she liked my hair. I could probably even be persuaded to pull out each of my eyelashes individually for such a kid.

But anyway, so my neighbor says yes and takes my lamp into his apartment & instead of feeling great--I just did something kind of nice for someone who probably doesn't have nice things done for him often, who's lonely, and the lamp was only 4 bucks and didn't necessarily go with anything in my apartment--I feel shitty.
I spend days, literally days thinking about my almost-lamp: where it could have gone, how great of a steal it was. For a couple of days, every night when I would get done reading, I'd kick myself (on the inside) as I had to get out of bed and walk to the nearest lamp in my room to turn it off (rather than just leaning over to turn off my super cool wine cork lamp that would have gone on the back left corner of my bed-side table).

& then I feel shitty for feeling shitty. Giving is supposed to be the greatest gift.
The Picture of Dorian Gray even suggested that sometimes people are only good for the purpose of feeling as though a couple of good acts can make them a good person or for vanity. (I, too, have experienced this sensation: people bragging about their good deeds to the point that it makes me wonder whether we'd all be such upstanding citizens if we didn't have social media as a plat-form to broadcast all our do-gooding) But the feeling that accompanied me giving away this lamp was just regret and anger at myself for my inability to do things that might make someone dislike me for a brief moment.

I posed this dilemma to my coworker who said that maybe I act this way to avoid the feeling that would come with not being a people please-r and in this specific instance, the feeling that I'd done something selfish that could have made a difference in someone's day. That I reacted that way because what I'm experiencing is the lesser evil compared against what I would have felt if I kept the lamp.

All I know for sure is that I bought a garage in the building to my building's left so I don't have to encounter my lamp-stealing neighbor anymore.
(& THAT's how I know that I'm no good).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What is my life?

While talking about Rocko's Modern Life today, the subject came up that someone thought he was a kangaroo. I, having been a religious Rocko's Modern Life watcher in my youth, conceded that he was a wallaby. One of the other interns said, "I thought he was a Dingo?"
I asked if dingos look like kangaroos & they explained to me that dingos are more or less Australian coyotes. They also told me about how a dingo stole and ate a baby in the 1980s.
I had never heard about this before--apparently, I'm the last person on earth to know about this. There's even a lifetime movie about the woman who was imprisoned for 3 years after being charged with the murder of her infant daughter, when in reality, her baby had been carried off by a dingo. A glimpse into Wikipedia revealed that a coroner confirmed, ON MY BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR no less, that a dingo had, in fact, stolen and eaten the baby.
That obviously means nothing but I thought it was an interesting coincidence...

Anyway,

Today, I had lunch with my intern friends at a vegetarian restaurant.

The dirty bitches totally tricked me into going because I fully appreciate my meats and vegan cupcakes do nothing for me.

BUT much to my surprise, it was pretty tasty. & the place was packed.

While waiting for our table, I stepped outside to look around at the restaurant's vegetable & fruit garden.
(So cute!) & I took this picture:


& I'm all, "What an interesting flower! It kind of looks like an artichoke?"

& then I found out, it IS an artichoke (dun dun dun!) & that they grow flowers when they mature. 

So I was really excited that I learned something today.

& then, while driving home, I started thinking about how this photo reminds me of this photo:

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago at one of my professor's law offices in the country. It's a field of thistles.

& I was like, "thistles and artichokes look a lot a like...I wonder if they're related?"
& then I googled it & Wikipedia said: THEY ARE (dun dun DUN!)!
Artichokes ARE thistles.

As you can tell, my life is full of excitement.

BUT I am glad I learned things today:

  • Artichokes grow flowers;
  • Artichokes are thistles;
  • Dingos have been documented to eat babies.
So there's that, right?

I'm really just trying to get back into the swing of blogging, or writing, rather. It was something that I used to love & used to be important to me & I've really been neglecting it.
I'm sorry that my posts haven't been the gold of this blog's once illustrious past...

But anyway, here's a picture of the restaurant:

& so...like...yeah.
That's all I got!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I hate throwing parties

In the third grade, I threw a birthday party at the local skating rink of my hometown.
I wore a white Tommy Hilfiger dress, my parents ordered pizza & sodas, & I got to pick my gift: I chose a pink beanie baby bunny. 
I basically thought I was hot shit & it was going to be the greatest day, ever. 
At the rink, I roller skated until the whole place felt like it was spinning around me. I sat down to take a break. My family was there, at our party table, looking worried. 
& that's when I realized: two and a half hours into my party, no one had come. 

& No one came.

A couple of hours later, my mom started packing up the pizzas and sodas and cake into our van and we left. It was the first time I'd ever truly been devastated. (Also, I told this story to Gaga & Fatty over lunch pretty recently: Gaga laughed so hard, he began to cry. I told him today that our friendship is skating on thin ice without a proper winter coat.)

To be honest, I've basically been a psycho ever since then. 

Every birthday or ugly sweater party or whatever that I'm planning, I get anxious: "what if no one shows up?"
Sometimes I sweat.

But I had a party Saturday. 
A lot of my friends came.
I drank consistently from noon to 9 pm until I had to forcibly be put into my bed because I was sobbing about missing Mozzarella. 
I got a lot of presents. Which isn't what birthdays are about, but also, is. 
One of my friends from home came all the way up, brought me several bottles of alcohol, and a Michael Kors purse--WOW. I was basically amazed. My other presents were great, too, just a lot less worth mentioning. (JUST KIDDING, FRIENDS WHO GOT ME STUFF WHO MIGHT BE READING. I LOVED YOUR GIFTS).
Worth mentioning, though, is that Fatty brought me a cake that was rectangular and white with stripes of strawberry jam separated by columns of white frosting stars, her gift was in a red bag with white and blue tissue paper--she said her gift theme was patriotism. I love my friends. 

My actual birthday was Tuesday: I had lunch with Fatty, Gaga, & Solo at the same burger place Fatty tricked me into going (AND THEN SHE DIDN'T EVEN SHOW UP) for my birthday dinner last year, I took Solo to the Sunken Gardens here where he poked koi fish with his sunglasses and then we went home and napped until 8. Solo woke up to watch the game while I changed. We met up with one of my friends from my summer internship and had reverse happy hour at a sushi house. I had three (very strong) margaritas, a margherita pizza, and a Philadelphia roll (hold your judgment, please), and again, had to be forcibly put into bed after telling Solo repeatedly how I couldn't feel my face (now judge). My mom got me a tea pot painted with cherry blossoms and a sushi serving set for my birthday. I'm telling you this because I'm just now realizing how Japanese my 25th birthday was. 

 What's weird is that this comes up when you google, "Japanese Stereotypes."
But anyway:

The point is, I've now been 25 for a week. 
& I'm still the same joke I was at 24, except now I got to an internship 5 days a week.
But I'm still the only person who wears blue jean shorts & gets there after 10. 
In my defense, the attorney I work for wears t-shirts and jeans everyday and sometimes doesn't come in until after lunch. I see no reason to show up earlier than my attorney or dress nicer than he does. Or so I've convinced myself. 

I don't necessarily think being a joke is a bad thing. 
I like that I don't take myself too seriously.

Where I'm going with this, I guess if I had to pick a place to go from here, is that life keeps going and keeps being the same, more or less.
Birthdays are nothing to stress about (birthday parties, on the other hand...). 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Coolest Thing You'll Ever Google

"Under Water Sculpture, Grenada"

& then click on images & be amazed.

Here is a preview:


Friday, June 8, 2012

Tiniest of Tiny's: A story, an ode, a eulogy

"I don't know why she's not growing."
Mozzarella Fitzgerald hissed at the kittens my mom had recently rescued that had, in two weeks, out grown her despite the fact that they were several weeks younger. She galloped out of the kitchen area where my mom, her rescues kitties, and I were.
"Maybe I should take her to the vet."
It was May 27 & I was home visiting.
A couple of weeks earlier, Mozzarella had worms & recently had a case of diarrhea.
I had assumed her digestive problems were probably a side effect of the de-worming prescriptions the vet had given her and wrote it off. But now, seeing her with the other, younger kittens, I worried.
& so we went to the vet.
"If she hasn't been acting sick or been reluctant to eat or drink, my guess is it's still worms. Just worms that were too small to be treated by the medicine. Sometimes, it takes a couple of tries to get rid of them."
My cat jumped off the veterinarian's table and frolicked around on the floor. She took advantage of the fact that I was wearing jeans and climbed up my legs to my hips where I picked her up.
"She seems just fine," the vet said, "Let's prescribe her another de-worming medication and one just in case she has some sort of intestinal protozoa causing this. If she's not feeling better in a couple of days, bring her back."
A couple of days later, my kitty was the same: high energy, demanding, full of diarrhea. I'd started to keep her quarantined in the evenings and when I wasn't home because I didn't know what was making her sick and didn't want her to pass it on to Shakespeare and also because her diarrhea was so bad, she often got it on her legs after she used the restroom and would track it throughout the apartment.
I took her back to the vet May 31.
"She's looking kind of pale and not flourishing. A 9-week old kitty should be bigger than this," the vet said.
Mozzarella weighed in at just 1 pound.
"Let's run some tests."
& so, the veterinarian tested her for feline parvo, panleukopenia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and feline leukemia. All came back negative. They also ran what was her 3rd fecal exam in the last two weeks and again, nothing turned up.
"I'm going to prescribe you this medication for intestinal bacteria, some probiotics to sprinkle on her food, and let's switch her to this food," the vet said, handing me a prescription for cat food for cats with digestive problems.
"There is a chance that, because she's so small & pale, something bigger may be wrong. She may not make it."
"...do you think she's dying?" I asked. I was surprised. Other than diarrhea & being under weight, she was energetic, affectionate, adorable. Could she be that sick?
"Well, I wouldn't say she is just yet. It's just something to consider because she's so small."
I believed the vet was telling me this just to prepare me for the absolute worst case scenario, but completely believed she was wrong. Mozzarella & I went home & started on her new treatments.
On Friday night, Mozzarella had her first solid poop. I was more excited than I had the right to be over poop.
Saturday, she started sneezing a lot.
Sunday, she had a runny nose that was so runny, she could blow booger bubbles.
"Do you think I should take her back to the vet?" I asked Solo. It was Sunday night & Mozzarella had a follow up appointment on Thursday.
"Babe, she's going to be ok. Just wait it & see if she gets better."
Monday her runny nose was gone. She was more playful than she'd been in some time. She curled up on my chest while I watched back-to-back episodes of X-Files on netflix.
Because she'd been better, I put her in bed with Shakespeare and I for the first time in the last couple of weeks.
I woke up a little late Tuesday. I moved around in bed, wondering if I could sleep in another 10 minutes when she started meowing and Shakespeare started getting antsy. I decided to get out of bed and give her her medicine & take him out for a walk before getting ready for work.
I picked her up. She seemed surprised that we were moving and her head rolled back like her neck was weak.
I turned on the bathroom lights and set her down in her litter box. As I put her down, I realized she wasn't putting her legs down. I set her on the ground and she fell straight over onto her side. She cried. I realized that she wasn't able to get up or hold her head up.
I dressed in a hurry and got her to the vet.
Immediately, they realized she was acting abnormally. They took her into the back.
I waited. The vet came out and told me that they didn't know what was wrong with her.
"She seems dehydrated. We don't know what would have caused this but we're trying to get her blood sugar up and see if that helps. We'd like to get an IV in her to get more fluids to her but..."
"But what?" I was scared and impatient and shocked.
"But you should know, this doesn't look good, especially because she's so underweight. There's a chance she won't be able to take the IV and the best option may be to put her down."
"Please, try what you can," I pleaded.
An hour later, the vet told me she was able to hold herself up some, "The hyperglycemia medications worked but we aren't able to get an IV in her."
She said they could call an emergency vet for me, that they would most likely be able to get an IV into her.
I asked them to call ahead and tell them we were coming, immediately.
The emergency vet was able to get an IV in her.
"Her blood sugar is normal again but her temperature is severely low, it's going to best for her to stay overnight. You can call in as much as you'd like and come visit as much as you'd like. If you want, you can even bring her a treat. Anything she likes to eat would be great since she's needing the nutrients."
They also reminded me that there was a chance she wouldn't survive.
I, of course, disregarded these warnings.
I went to my internship office for the after noon and when I was out, went back to the emergency vet with a bag of tuna to see my tiniest of tiny's, my sweet little baby.
She was excited for the tuna, and, excited to see me. She ate-- A LOT. The vet and vet assistants were surprised at how much tuna she ate since they'd just fed her.
"She's got discriminating tastes," the vet joked.
While I was feeding her, my cat started fussing. I couldn't figure out why until she put her head under my hand with the spoon full of tuna and started rubbing against it. She wanted me to pet her.
I pet her for a good 20 minutes. She started trying to get out of her cage to be held.
I knew she was going to recover.
Just as she was showing the most promise, a cat came in who had somehow managed to rip off a piece of her own tongue. They were going to perform surgery and I had to leave.
"We'll call you if anything goes wrong. If not, call us around 6 am. She should be good to leave by 8 am tomorrow."
So I went home. I bragged to my parents and Solo about how well she was doing and went to sleep content that in a few hours, Shakespeare & I's tiny one would be back home.
I called in at 6.
"Hi, Miss Lluveras. We haven't began weening her off the IV fluids but we're going to start and we're going to send her home with some antibiotics. Call us back around 10. She should be fine then."
At 10, I called back.
"As soon as we reduced the amounts of fluids she was receiving, her temperature fell dramatically. I think it's best that she stays a few more hours so we can regulate her body temperature. She also hasn't wanted to eat for us. Why don't you call us back at 2?"
They explained to me that my cat might be hypo-thermic and that when she could come home, keeping her blood temperature up might require some work: hot lamps, extra blankets, heaters, feeding schedules. I began looking for kitten sweaters on the internet and planned to stop at walmart later to purchase a small heater. I started thinking of friends in town who could come to my apartment every couple of hours to feed her and make sure she was ok. I wasn't worried.
At my internship, I told the other interns that I thought she was going to come home. I told them how great she was the night before and how excited I was to get her back. & then, at noon, I got a call from the emergency vet:
"Hi, Miss Lluveras. We were trying to feed Mozzarella and noticed that her breathing pattern was off. We checked her heart rate and it seems to be beating at an unusual rhythm. We're afraid she may go into cardiac arrest."
"I'll be right there."
I told the interns that I was going to see her & that if my supervisor came looking for me, to tell him I was out to lunch.
When I got the vet, the veterinarian gave me a look.
When you watch dramatic films and a character is in the hospital, there is beautiful music. The doctor comes out, walking towards the character's family and friends but the look on their face says everything. The doctor puts her hand on the family member or friend's shoulder and says something. You can't hear what they're saying over the music but you know--the look was all you needed. The family and friends break down with the news  and you know the character has died.
This look was the same look Mozzarella's vet gave me.
It broke my heart instantly, I felt like everything was spinning, the room was hot and suffocating.
"Right after we got off the phone, Mozzarella's heart stopped. We were able to revive her and we've got her hooked up to a monitor and a machine to help her breathe, but this is never good. I have to tell you, most people that are resuscitated after a cardiac arrest don't make it. This statistic is even less for pets, there is a 95% chance she won't survive."
They took me back to see her.
Mozzarella was hooked up to all sorts of machines. She had an IV in her neck, a tube down her throat, and she was covered in blankets and surrounded by heating disks and warm bottles of water.
I sat with her and started petting her and talking to her.
She began to rouse & I believed she knew I was there.
It was a slow afternoon in the emergency vet's office. I got to stay with her for two and a half hours and could have stayed longer had I not feared that my supervisor would notice I was gone.
Before I left, the vet checked Mozzarella's diagnostics.
Her temperature and heart rate were normal again.
I left the vet's office, promising to return after work.
When I came back, Mozzarella was napping in a heated cage. I went to pet her and my touch sent her reeling: she cried, she flailed in cage, she rolled over.
"Am I hurting her?" I asked the vets.
"Probably not. It seems like she's sustained some brain damage from going into cardiac arrest. Her reaction is just because her neurological system is out of whack."
This was the moment that I realized Mozzarella was not going to be ok.
I talked to my parents. My dad was impatient--I was spending a lot of money, money I was supposed to be putting away as a post graduation cushion, to save a cat I'd only had for 6 weeks. He demanded the vet's number.
After speaking with the vet, my dad was FURIOUS. He couldn't believe the amount of money I was spending.
"Don't you think I know how much it is? It kills me that it's costing so much but it's WORTH IT to me if I can save her!" I sobbed.
My dad took a moment to respond, "Baby, I'm sorry. I know you love your cat. I love you because you have such a big heart, because you love things so genuinely and thoroughly. Money is just money. It's not that. What hurts me is that I'm afraid the vets are taking advantage of you because you love her. I believe they know there isn't anything that can be done for her now but they're allowing you to keep her there because it pays their bills. It hurts me to not be there. It hurts me that you're alone there and going through this alone. It hurts me to think of you waiting for bad news that they know is inevitable. If you need to keep her there, spend as much as you need. I just want you to be prepared for the possibility that she won't make it--because the odds are that she won't. The vet told me just now that she isn't likely to make it through the night."
My dad is suspicious of all professionals--doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, mechanics--everyone who has some specialized knowledge that is in their benefit not to share. I wrote off his paranoia but listened to what he was saying; the vet told my dad Mozzarella probably wouldn't make it through the evening. It all but killed me. The very thing I'd been hearing for DAYS, finally coming out of the mouth of the person I trusted the most in this world.
I finally had to confront the fact that my cat was dying & there wasn't much I could do for her.
& so, I called my mom to tell her that Mozzarella was likely going to die that night.
"Lauren, if she's going to die, don't let it be there. She needs to be home with you. I think it's important."
I cried, hysterically.
"I'm going to come to you. I know this is hard, you don't need to go through it alone."
My mom lives 2.5 hours away and I urged her not to make the drive. She said she was already on her way and hung up.
On her drive, my mom had a change of heart. She decided we were going to try to fight it & get Mozzarella through the night on our own. She thought we could get her to my mom's hometown in the morning to a "better" vet.
I told my mom that I believed this was the WORST idea & the vets had taken great care of Mozzarella. My mom ignored me.
So we picked her up. My mom said she needed to get some things from WalMart to get Mozzarella through. I angrily reminded how dumb her idea was.
She went, nonetheless & left Mozzarella and I in the car.
Mozzarella snuggled close to me and cried a little. She looked at me and cried even louder. I began petting her and she quieted down.
Her cries became muffled, less frequent. I felt her breathing slow.
This was honestly the most intimate moment of my life: I loved her and I knew she loved me. It felt like the air got heavier around me as I filled with immense sorrow--she was dying in my arms.
I hated that this was all happening in a WalMart parking lot.
You never imagine your most personal moments happening like that, but in the end, that's what it was:
my cat and I, alone in a Prius in a WalMart parking lot at 11:40 in the evening on a Wednesday in June.
I told my mom the bad news when she got back to the car: Mozzarella was dead.
She wrapped Mozzarella up in a blanket and handed her back to me, we drove my back my apartment and my mom told me she would take Mozzarella home and bury her.

We talked for a couple of hours about my cat. How great she was. How full of fire and happiness she was.
She was absolutely all of those things.
Mozzarella was a dare devil. She wasn't afraid to climb anything or jump off when she was finished.
She didn't like toys but loved to harass Shakespeare while he was napping and loved to scratch people and things. She loved eating. Mozzarella hated to not be the center of attention; she would fuss at me while I ate, while I cooked or dressed or groomed. She followed me from room to room and more than once tried to crawl into my briefcase so she could go to work with me. She was almost successful at this once but came out of my briefcase during my drive to work to lay on my lap.
She loved to cuddle. She would lay directly over my heart while I watched TV or perch on my shoulders. She would find the tiniest curve of your body when you slept and crawl underneath it.
She was warm and fuzzy and devoted.
Having her made Shakespeare happy: he put on weight and didn't seem excited to see me when I'd get home because he wasn't lonely anymore.
Mozzarella loved to lay in direct sunlight; her favorite place in my apartment was the rug in front of my glass patio doors. She would curl up in the sun and bat at her shadow or the shadows of trees.
She got her claws stuck in Shakespeare's mustache more than once.
Shakespeare would often groom Mozzarella because she wasn't the best at keeping herself clean. She was patient with him, and patient with me when I'd have to give real baths because she was sticky from jumping into my pint of gelato or from laying on top of her tuna to keep Shakespeare from getting to it.
She would often steal food directly from plate; once dragging off and eating an entire tortilla.

I can't quantify how much I loved her & how sincerely I've felt her loss these last couple of days.
It is still really painful to walk past her litter box or her food and water bowls. I ache when I look at her pictures or think of her precious face.

& now, probably more kitten pictures than you ever cared to see in your lifetime.


This is, basically, my favorite picture. I loved this face.



Using Shakespeare as a chair. 


Trying to sneak to work with me.

You're going to have to forgive how awful I look. It's first thing in the morning & she woke up with that face, every single day. 


Both of us kissing our dog. :)


Batting her own tail, by the windows.


Looking alarmed, as per usual. 


One of many vet visits. 


Our last picture together, the night before she got terminally ill.


Napping with Shakespeare, her very last photo. 

My new goal in life is to open a small coffee house/library/evening bar named Mozzarella Fitzgerald's. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Release 4: Mozzarella

There is a lot of red tape when you adopt an animal from a shelter.
The people there want to make sure you're a good, reliable pet owner & the policies are set up in a way to discourage the non-dedicated.

I want none of that to overshadow the fact that, a week ago today, Solo & I went to Animal Care Services and  adopted a kitten to be Shakespeare's little sister.

Solo found her hiding in her litter's cage behind a small box & when we took her out, we both knew she was it.

We named her Mozzarella, because she's white & we both like cheeses.
Officially, Mozzarella Fitzgerald (like Ella Fitzgerald, but more Italian).

Some other names I was considering were Tracy Jordan
and Nibbler.


But neither really fit, nothing fit, until we brainstormed up Mozzarella Fitzgerald.

So far, she really likes using her claws to rock climb up into bed, meowing, eating, climbing into her bowl to eat, and demanding attention.
She and Shakespeare really seem to have taken to each other.

Here she is:

This was her first ever picture.


Hiding behind Solo in the car, this photo is more so for scaling purposes.
Spazzing in the car.

Napping

Her "surprised" face.

Being adorable.

Cleaning herself after stealing some of my yogurt. 

& finally, begging me to stop spamming you with cat pictures. :)

Release 3: Because I wanted a kitten

"Get in the car," Solo called out to me.
"No." I stood my ground.
"Lauren, I mean it. This is bad. Get in the car."
"NO!"
"Come on!"
"SHUTUP!!!"
"DAMNIT, LAUREN! GET IN THE CAR! THIS IS SO FUCKING STUPID!"

& then it started to rain.
I was forced to choose between standing on this stranger's uncovered stoop hoping they'd answer their door or to get in the car for shelter.
I reluctantly got into the car.

"Close your door."
"No."
"WHY?!?"
"Because the moment I do, you're going to drive off & I want to wait."
"Wait for what? We've been here 20 minutes AT LEAST. You know they're home; we could hear them inside. They're aren't coming."
"You don't know that!"

He put the car in drive and started to slowly drive away from the stranger's house.
"NO!" I shouted, jumping out of my passenger seat and out of the car.
"WHAT THE FUCK?" he slammed on the brakes.
"I don't want to leave!!!"
"Lauren, I'm sorry. You're not getting a kitten from these people. Look where we are! Look at this fucking place we are! They probably never even had kittens at all, EVER."
"But I had to text them! We drove all the way out here, 45 fucking minutes, getting lost every 15 minutes. I text him to say we were coming! They wouldn't do that!"
"Look, you're a smart girl who brought your boyfriend to what turned out to be a shady neighborhood and an obvious scam. There are no kittens here. Let's go."

I looked up from Solo's face, still standing outside of the car, and noticed that we'd began to draw attention from this stranger's neighbors. Elderly people and the inebriated young inhabitants of this neighborhood looked up from their lawn work and beer cans. They watched us.
Solo took a moment to look and noticed the same folks, peering into our car. Waiting to see what would happen next.
"Please," he pleaded with me.
I looked back at the stranger's home and huffed. I knew it was over. Defeated, I climbed into the car and closed the door. Solo reached over to lock my door for me and then we left.

I was angry. I wanted so badly to believe the strangers I'd found on craigslist, the first strangers in a very long time of searching and calling and emailing to respond back to my kitten inquiry, were going to give me a fuzzy little bundle of cuteness. I was bitter. & I was still mad at Solo; who's to say the owner of the home wasn't showering, wasn't listening to music with his head phones on, wasn't in the middle of choking on a bite of his ham sandwich, wasn't doing any of a million menial tasks which would have prevented him from coming to the door and handing me a free kitten? If only we waited, I dwelled on it.

Pulling into a sonic stop, Solo rolled down his window.
"Do you want anything?"
"No. I'm too upset to eat."
"I rolled down my window and lit a cigarette. The cigarette hung between my limp fingers outside my window and I could feel tiny raindrops kissing my hand.
I let him order.
"You know, it really pisses me off that you made us leave."
"Lauren--"
"No! We drove all the way out here, they KNEW we were coming! I think we should have waited."
"Listen--"
"Stop. Even if it was all a scam, it should have been MY choice how long I wanted to wait. I should have been able to stand there without you shouting and cursing at me to get in the car. That was really out of line & I can't stand it. I can't stand that you acted that way."
Silence for a moment, and then he started, "Things really got out of hand back there. But listen, I know you noticed that that place wasn't safe. You heard them inside, talking and playing music. If they had kittens, they're gone now & you weren't getting one. But probably, there never were any kittens. Probably it was a scam to lure naive women out there. I mean, you said yourself that they knew you were coming. If it was real, why not answer the door? or any of your calls? If there were ever kittens there & they ran out before you got there today, why didn't they call you & say so when you text them that you were on your way? You know why? Because you ruined the whole thing when you brought someone with you."

I knew he was probably right. The neighborhood was old. Front lawns were overgrown and littered with old furniture and empty beer bottles. There were cop cars just pacing the neighborhood and stray animals having their way with the sidewalks. The people were home, we could hear them. They ignored two of my phone calls, ignored both the times I rang their door bell, probably watched Solo and I argue in front of their house.
"...I still think you were wrong for acting like a fucking nut with all that shouting and cursing."
"What do you want me to say, Lauren? When I realized what I was going on I just wanted to get the fuck out of there. That's it. I'm sorry I yelled at you, I'm sorry I cursed. But you were being irrational."

His food came. He slid his burger and fries onto his lap and took a slurp from his drink.
The fingers on my right hand suddenly felt hot and I looked over to see that my cigarette had shortened almost down to the filter. I brought it in and took one suck before tossing it into the rain.
I reached for a napkin & started wiping off my lipstick.

"Why'd you wear so much make up, anyway?" He asked me between bites of his burger.
"I wanted to look nice for the kitten," I said, pathetically.
"I didn't realize you wanted this so badly, I thought you were just going to get a kitten to keep Shakespeare company while you worked or went to class."
I shrugged. "I mean, that is why I wanted a kitten. & I kept going back and forth about whether it was the right decision but then thinking I was getting one for sure today, I guess I had my heart set on it."

I was still looking out of my passenger side window when he started making phone calls,
"Hi, I saw your ad online. How much is your adoption fee for kittens?"




Monday, April 16, 2012

Release, 2

In the post immediately preceding this one, I mentioned that it was my best friend's birthday celebration this past weekend.

A trip to the tattoo shop was already in her plans but when I found myself there, I went for it.

Lately, Solo's been watching a lot of futurama, which brought me back to one of my old loves; the Life in Hell Comic Series by Matt Groening.

One of my favorites was always this one:
I'd like to be honest:
I'm what I would call a career mistake maker.
Sometimes, I feel like I AM Murphy's Law on legs.

& to be even more honest, I don't mind it.
Which isn't to say that when everything's going wrong, I don't lose my shit--because I do.
I lose my shit like none other, figuratively.

But, having a disposition towards humor and humility, I feel like every time I make a mistake, I'm able to turn it around & if not learn something from it, at least make a funny story of it.
That was the basis of this blog back in '09 & it still rings true today.

In my first ever posting to this blog, I admitted that I like (still) Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free," better known as The Sunscreen Song. It's true, I love this song. I'm only mildly ashamed.
Probably my favorite part is this line,
"Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who 
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of 
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the 
ugly parts and recycling it for more than 
it’s worth."


I'm getting way off track but before I get back on track, I just want to say, I have no idea who this blog is for. I'd like to think that I write for the few people who come here but in all honesty, I think a lot of the writing has been for me. I need to feel better about all the calamity I walk into. I need to feel like I'm not just blindly and vainly making mistakes for nothing and taking nothing away. Maybe this blog helps me process what's just happened and how to handle it. I don't know.

But anyway, so I got "Mistakes were made" tattooed on me. I think it's kind of funny, others seem less amused, some don't get it. It's cool with me.

& while I'm on this track, I feel it's important to mention that over the weekend I realized something-- I realized that all the worrying in the world about growing up and having to face responsibilities and expectations won't stop me from getting older. I guess all the birthday celebrations, seeing the movie, Young Adult, and spending nearly two full weeks with Solo (a story for another time), brought this about. 
Worrying about becoming an adult won't stop you from becoming one. The only choice we have in the matter is deciding what kind of adult we want to be. 
I still have no idea who I want to be; it's a work in progress & whatever I think now, time has proven, is probably a mistake. :)

Release

I've had a lot of things I wanted to write about lately but I haven't been sure where to start or what should be one long post and what should be one short one. Instead of mapping out my ideas, I decided to do what I, arguably, do the best: put it off.
And alas! here we are, 15 days into April & my first post for the month.
(Fortunately, I once used a picture of confetti eggs in one of my posts & the traffic generated by people googling pictures of "confetti eggs," presumably for Easter, has far surpassed that which I could ordinarily expect this far into any other month where I've actually written things).

Something I should acknowledge is that in the time that I've not written this month, my best friend, Darlene, and my big brother, Ray, celebrated their birthdays.

Both celebrated in Austin this past weekend & while there, I realized that it's really fucking difficult to be at two parties simultaneously and how much I missed living with my brother.

I guess this post boils down to another set of love letters;

Darlene-- you've been my best friend through literally everything: my awkward phase, my slutty phase, our teenage arguing for no reason in high school phase, my making poor choices phase, my "why in the hell do you date that guy?" phases. Our friendship is relentless and enduring & I am remarkably privileged to be your friend. You are a beautiful, wonderful 24 year old.

Ray--there's nothing I could say that I haven't said a million times before. You are my hero. It's that simple. In recent years, we've become much closer than we were for over 20 years and I'm so thankful we had that time together & grateful for the time we have left together. You are an awesome brother and an even better example of someone who is forever and individual despite the implications and successful nonetheless. Your bravery, humor, and uniqueness inspire me. Happy 32nd birthday.

& I think I should wrap this posting up here.
But, in the words of the glorious Terminator:
I will be back.

(& soon.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sort of Late, SxSW

So...a couple of weeks ago, Texas people & hipsters, you may or may not have noticed that your social networking feeds were full of statements like this:

Whoo! I'm so drunk right now! Was that a camel? #sxsw

&

OMG, I just had breakfast tacos with the entire cast of Casa de mi Padre! SxSW rocks!

&

The violin monster just threw a LIVE jelly fish at me, luckily a homeless man who was pissing himself walked by right at that moment! Austin is weird yet wonderful!

OR

God, I hate this time of the year. All these hipsters filling up the seats at my favorite obscure vegan custard shop. Fuck SxSW & please don't move here, out of towners.

At any rate, South by South West happened & I was there for parts of it & it didn't suck.
I got to spend some quality time with Solo & Darlene & watch Solo perform his first SxSW set.
I got to have some really good donuts in Roundrock.
& I invented a new game! It's called hipster, homeless, zombie.

If there's anything Austin has a lot of, it's breakfast tacos, homeless people, and hipsters.

SxSW allows these three things to get together with music, film, and free alcohol. It's a fucking party.

& while I was standing around on the street, I realized the distance between hipster to homeless person is just a matter of dirty beards and mental illness. The distance from homeless to zombie is really only a matter of life or re-animated death.





So basically you can only play this game if you're a little drunk, otherwise it's more than a little insensitive.

The best rule for playing is that it's almost never a zombie.
That leaves you with homeless person or hipster;
at first it may be hard to tell the difference. Common ground between the two include; dreadlocks, beards, tattered clothing, many layers of clothing, smoking pot in public, mustaches on women, fanny packs.

is it talking to itself? Does it stop and give you advice about putting your beer in the front basket of your rental bike? Is it barefoot? Homeless.

is it wearing wayfarers? are the tattered clothes or layered clothes tattered and/or layered ironically (see also: vintage)? Is it wearing TOMS? if you listen in on its conversation and it's trying to out-obscure the group of people it's with, it's definitely a hipster.

Now, go forth & play!
Happy Humpday!



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FotoBlog

A good place to start this post is to say that I really recently got an iPhone.
Where I'm going with this is that I've been instagramming the shit outta everything, ever.
I love it so much.
& I had a pretty spectacular last four days, so I've been spamming my instagram followers with my nonsense.
(& also: if you have an instagram account, let's be friends! I'm @laurelczimyoung!)

So, I now present my weekend in Instagram.

FRIDAY
My friend's crocs on campus

A Church swarming with Indian Paintbrushes off of FM1209 @HWY 71

A closer look.

A chandelier at my sweet sorority sister's wedding venue. 

Fast friends at the rehearsal dinner.

The wedding venue, at night & upside down. 

SATURDAY

Aside from attending what was arguably the best wedding I've ever been to, I also met Solo's parents for the first time. I had crab cakes with mustard and veggies, they called me smart. 
I didn't take any pictures, though. 

Then, the Wedding: 

The beautiful bride, getting ready. 

The lovely Clements, their first dance. 


Solo & I, some photobooth fun. 
& then some. 

SUNDAY
We stopped off HWY 6 for some leisurely thrifting.

This furry little guy reminded me of the caterpillar in Labyrinth that says, " 'ello!"

My Thrifting Purchases:

A fly sculpture made from a deactivated grenade that I'm giving my brother as a birthday gift. Don't tell!


Little ceramic donkeys. I named the one on the left Pistol & the other, Tabasco. 

A throw just to add some color to my living area.  
Not sure how many washes till it's clean, so far just once in hot water with LOTS of detergent. 

Solo also bought some cassette tapes and an Emerson 1434 but once we got it home, it didn't work. :(
We returned it & used the money to buy candy & movie tickets to 21JumpStreet, which was super funny & the perfect end to an amazing weekend with Solo. 

Hope you had a great weekend, also, Reader(s)! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In the midst

It's times like this when I've got some major thing looming over me and reminding me of my impending doom that I can't get off facebook.
Not to be melodramatic, but at the moment, all I can think of really is the fact that I'm abdicating some responsibility or another--
like I've been spending way too much money,
like I've fallen miserably behind in my studies,
like I've taken on Solo's own difficulties and worry about them more than I worry about myself at the moment, but namely that I've got a pretty sizable paper due this afternoon that isn't nearly where it should be.

To keep the panic at bay and distract myself from the a fore mentioned impending doom, I logged onto my facebook where I was drawn by vanity to look through the glossary of my tagged photos.
What's going to sound even more vain is that I actually liked what I found there.
Not in the sense of--wow, I'm super hot! but in a way I consider much more profound.

A little over a year ago, on the drive home from my final day of first semester law classes, I suddenly realized I was happy. The feeling surprised and overwhelmed me. I was actually living the happiest moments of my life and I don't think I've come down from there since.

Reader(s) I was and am still a late bloomer.
My awkward phase ran from birth to present day.
My whole life, people kept telling me that high school would be the best days of my life (bitter lies), & then it was college (failure!), and then people said getting my law degree would fucking suck & I believed them. & even though it does suck sometimes, it's actually been really great. I love San Antonio; I love feeling like the degree I'm working towards will make me feel fulfilled, important, part of something greater than myself; I love the new friendships I've formed and the fact that I was able to get closer to my dad & brother.
A big part of my happiness now is that I am, for the most part, pretty happy with the person I am & the circumstances of my life and those are things I wasn't really ever invested in before.

Realizing I was now consistently happy led me to believe that I'd never actually been happy or that everything in my life before 2010 was crap.

Looking through my tagged photos made me realize that I'd falsely come to that conclusion.
I remembered a time in my life where I'd blow off classes to go sit in my favorite professor's office and listen to him talk about his trips to the desert, his cat, his wife.
I remembered the ridiculous classes I took to fulfill elective hours; puppet making, painting, forest ecology, diseases of the world.
I remembered how proud I was to be part of a sorority and moreover, how very real the love I had for my pledge sisters was.


I remembered how much I've always loved Darlene ever since 6th grade DARE class & how lucky I am to have met such a true friend (who lets me and my boyfriend sleep on her living room futon during spring break because we have no where else to go & lets me repay her in donuts).
I remembered little things I loved back then--the sound of the train passing behind my house, the elm trees on campus, the blackberries growing in my front yard and the bunnies that lived under the blackberry bush.

How could I have ever forgotten that even though I was not a happy person then I still loved my life?

The best explanation I have is that I was just taking everything for granted because in the midst of it all, I couldn't see how happy I actually was.
As great of a revelation as it is, it's also kind of sad: I was really almost so blind to the fact of my happiness that I forgot to enjoy it properly & I can't go back.
It's crazy to think that right now I could be happy beyond my wildest imaginations & not be able to fully grasp and digest it.

The best I can do now is to just try to be much more grateful for everything.
I know I'm loved & looked after by something beyond my comprehension & much greater than myself.

& before I forget, that adorable girl in the photo up there pretending to advertise her love of carpet munching is tying the knot this weekend. I'm a bride's maid & literally so happy I could vomit (that or it's jitters from the energy drink). It's rare to think anyone actually deserves your friends but I am confident there is no one more capable of loving her than her betrothed.

Before I go, I'd just like to share a recent email exchange between the two of us:
Her: blah blah blah, wedding details (I might be paraphrasing).
Me: cordial affirmative response (more paraphrasing).
       & also: my new phone's autocorrect keeps changing your name to tits! Just thought I should share.
Her: wow, that IS a smartphone!
           --tits. *

*It should be mentioned that once I almost convinced our sorority that her official nickname (for line jacket purposes) should be Tits McGee. That, regrettably, fell through.