I Spend Money & I Don’t Look Back

I am living very irresponsibly by the words of Eddie Money, although I probably won’t wake up in a Cadillac.  

I do not have rent to pay, as I’m still living at home. My mother fills my car with gas occasionally, so why is buying Christmas presents bothering me so much? 

I’m not buying gold jewelry or anything terribly frivolous. It isn’t a huge amount of money, but it’s really starting to worry me! I keep thinking, okay, now I’ve spent about a months worth of pay. 

It should be the thought that counts, but I want to buy my family good presents, even though they could easily buy them on their own.  I think my family will appriciate the effort and the searching around to find a good present for each of them.

So to calm myself, I am singing Everybody Loves Christmas by Eddie Money. Trying to stay in the holiday spirit and not worry too much about money while I still can!

Jealous Pit

I’m not whining. I know I lack passion, drive, or any short of ambitition. How can I accept that and be content? How can I accept others accomplishments without falling into negative thinking?

Whether it is my brother getting into a good university, a friend recieving praise from a professor, or my sister getting a raise at work, I always fall into a jealous pit of disspair. I will never do anything with my life. I am not capable of anything. I don’t want anything out of life. 

Dramatic, right?

Nobody wants to read about or admit to these feelings. You should seperate yourself and simply be happy for the other person. And I am happy for them. Their lives just contrasts my accomplishments so much I can’t help but notice. 

While I (like to) think a lot of people have these thoughts, I need to keep myself from spiraling into them. My sister recently received an offer for a recommendation from a professor without her asking. Naturally, that night I felt like shit and wanted so badly to scratch up my skin and then pop some zaleplon to stop thinking. 

That’s not okay. Writing this out and recognizing that this is a pattern is a good step for me, I think. 

A Father & His Daughter

I was at Chick-fil-a recently, standing near the condiments waiting for my to-go order for my scattered family. A 30-something year old man came and stood to my right. It wasn’t clear if he was waiting or standing in line. 

He started mouthing something and I looked around for whom the words were directed. A young red-headed girl of about seven years old stood in line in front of us. She was holding her near-empty cup awaiting a refill and clearly anxious. 

When the women infront of her left, the girl panicked and turned away toward her father saying something like “oh well”. He took a step forward and assured her it was okay before stepping back.

She got her refill and walked out with her father, his hand on her shoulder. The whole thing was very sweet. I had almost forgotten the terror of talking to cashiers now that I am the one behind the counter. 

For some reason it was saddening as well. May have been attracted to the father and his tenderness? I also found myself a little pissed off at the girl. I want someone to care about and have confidence in me like that. That’s what I would want in a relationship if I ever decide to pursue one.

Why Not Me? Meaningful Life

On my drive home I was listening to a story about young voters on NPR. When I heard the intelligent, well-informed, confident voices over the speaker, I realized with a jolt that these are not people to admire. No, these are my competitors; these are my peers.

And suddenly everything felt impossible. I’m not capable of making a difference in the world. Images of myself as a fat Walmart employee with gray hair flashed into my mind. Or simply bumbling through life without direction for a greater good.

The voices on the radio held starkly different depictions in my mind. They appeared as confident, healthy, passionate young professionals, making their mark and touching lives. They seem to move through life guided by some inherent skill set.

Where did they obtain such direction? A congenital blessing? Pure determination? Values instilled in them by their parents?

The vast majority of the world population will not go on to make what I few as a significant difference in the world. It could be argued that how they effect people close to them is significant. In that way, groups can make a collective difference. That is not the change I think of when I look jealously at professionals and competent people.

I worry that my yearning to impact peoples’ lives is simply a narcissistic wish for admiration. I have not found any way to reconcile that concern. Beyond that, the idea that this want is simply a product of socialization to perpetuate the species is oddly vexing.

Why can’t I make a  difference in the world? The answer of course is that I can, but fear of failing and my certainty about my incompetence clouds the path. There are many noble causes to pursue. If I can set aside my self-deprecating thoughts, the piece that is missing is passion. How do I want to help people? What is important and what will be most significant?

These are the questions that currently plague me. A welcomed plague as they are more utilitarian and tangible than my past ruminations about intentions behind relationships, my conclusions of which I have mostly come to terms with.

Feeling Harassed

Never in my life have I felt so objectified and harassed then at my job as a host at a resturant. Coworkers from previous jobs have assured me that the resturant business is filled with creeps, pedos, and pervs.

Being a polite person, I try to engage in some kind of conversation with all of the employees, including the 41 year old busboy and 36 year old table runner. All they ever spoke of was how “cute” I was. They seemed to only be able to make comments about my appearance.

I tried to get them to talk about anything else, but it was futile. Were their skulls filled only with air and their lives only scheduled with work and creeper-time? It appeared so. And it was sad.

Scary as well. I asked the busboy to not touch me. Granted, everyone there is very handsy, but only in the friendly way of a slight touch for an apology or a tab on the hand at a joke.

He would pinch my side or rub my shoulders. He would stand behind me and say hello or tap my shoulder so that when I turned around I bumped into him.

When I told him for the second time that “I would rather not be touched”, he leaned into me and said, “Why? Why are you so scared?” My heart started racing and I squirmed away. He left and I started crying.

Why do I cry so easily?

When I calmed down, I explained by predicament with the other hosts and later told the busboy to “piss off”.  Feeling harassed is not a good feeling.

I am now just pissed at this guy. I shouldn’t have to feel as though I need towatch my back at work. For a short time I considered quitting. I refuse to let his sad, immature behavior control me though.

Maternal Gatekeeping: Not Always Bad

Maternal gatekeeping is the limiting of father involvement through use of some form of obstacle. According to this article from The Wall Street Journal, the benefits of father involvement in children’s lives are “well documented”. I have a lot of personal experience with maternal gatekeeping which had left me with a lot of resentment toward my mother.

When I first learned about maternal gatekeeping in my sociology course, I immediately responded with anger toward my mother. How could she have kept us from this extremely important figure in our lives? How could she hamper our relationship with our father?

This was not a new feeling. My mother’s gatekeeping extended past my father and to most of the world. I had in the past resented her for keeping us so sheltered. One thing the above article does not discuss in depth is mothers’ reasons for gatekeeping. It does touch on the fact that some mothers believe fathers are not “well suited” for “positive interactions” with their children.

Upon further reflection, I realized she had not restricted us for maniacal reasons. She protected us because she was scared the world would hurt us. More specifically, she was scared of the fights and tears that my father left in his wake. After a recent discussion/fight/emotional exchange with my father which I wrote about here, I remembered the many reasons it is difficult to interact in a positive manner with him.

Being a child at the time, it is difficult to say whether it was my mother’s gatekeeping that caused my father’s manner in interacting with us or if his mannerisms caused my mother’s gatekeeping. Whichever started first, I think they exacerbated each other.

Would my relationship with my father be different now if my mother hadn’t kept us so closely guarded? Probably. Would it be better? I don’t think so. I think I would have grown to resent my father for his didactic manner of interaction even more than I do now.

So while I think these “well documented” benefits of father-child relationships may be true for children with more caring fathers, I do not think gatekeeping is always the enemy. In some cases, I think gatekeeping might be beneficial.

Father: How Can I Love You When You Say These Things

Dear Father,

I want to trust you, confide in you, rely on you. I want to love you.

But how can I love someone who says terrible things with such conviction? When you say “faggots should all go kill themselves”?

How can I love you when you say derogatory, dehumanizing things about blacks and Muslims?

Half the time I’m not certain you believe these things. I tell myself “surely not”.

How can I love you when you only say the L-word to make amends; when it feels only manipulative and disingenuous?

How can I love you when you respond to my tears by commenting on the levels of estrogen in the house? When you dismiss my feelings and devalue my opinions?

You say you’re so proud of me. So happy with the way I’ve “turned out”. But I don’t feel that you value me for who I am but rather my appearance of a “good daughter”.

A role you paint me into that has nothing to do with caring for me but rather simply to bolster your sense of pride.