Friday, February 18, 2005

Orange and Limericks

A friend of mine pointed out that I've been pretty bitter lately. I don't deny it. I walk through my day in a haze, doing a lot and nothing at all, really not being able to focus or accomplish anything. The job stuff is weighing heavily on me. I know that everyone is concerned about finding a job. I think my anxiety is unique though.

Other people have lives that just work. Things go the way they are supposed to. My life is the exact opposite of that. I get really annoyed by people who live carefree, fancy-free, without concern. I envy them, but I also have little tolerance for irresponsibility. Because how do you know that things won't just all fall apart? One day my parents were married, the next day they weren't. One day I was living in one state - the next day we moved to another. One day we had a rickety old car that worked - the next day we didn't. One day I had an extended family. Then I didn't. My adolescent years were on food stamps and welfare. My time was split between babysitting my younger siblings, trying to get schoolwork done, working part-time, and running every organization at school I could get my hands on. I patched two pairs of jeans my sophomore year of college and wore them for months, with patches in unattractive locations, because I couldn't afford new jeans.

I've learned that just when you think things get bad, they got worse. I've learned that nothing is certain, and life can get pretty bad pretty quickly. For a variety of reasons involving the aforementioned things, I've been a control freak for as long as I can remember. I plan well in advance. I move quickly. I work hard. I direct, charm, and threaten others to conform with my plans. I almost always have a deep knot of anxiety or insecurity underlying everything I do. I need structure and security.

Despite lacking anything by way of material possessions, I've lived a rich life. I've never done a semester abroad, or traveled to Africa or Asia, dressed myself in fine clothing, imbibed in the world's finest wines, or owned a car that others regard with respect. Instead, I've surrounded myself with a good number of incredible individuals.

My favorite color is orange. I am drawn to everything orange. Orange is warmth, energy, vibrance, and light. I soak up these things from others. I'm curious about what other people care about and why, and what makes them that way. I wonder if people think the same way I do - not whether we agree, but whether we process information the same way. I'm an intense observer. I love watching people get excited about what they're talking about, or what they're doing. There are so many people in the world and they each have things to teach me. The only thing I feel compelled to do in my life is to hang out with people. I'm rarely capable of focusing my energy on anything else.

I write limericks for my friends. I've done this for as long as I can remember. In college, I sent limericks via instant message. Now I leave them on people's desks. I hug, pat, pet, kiss frequently. I love cooking comfort food for people. I like having people sit on my couch and play cards, or watch sports, or eat cookies. I love cleaning my room while my roommate belts out bad country music while cleaning the bathroom and my other roommate bakes banana bread. I love lying in bed debating the state of the world and Donald Trump's hair next to a friend or paramour.

Yeah, I'm bitter about the job thing. I'm about to graduate with $150k in debt and nothing to show for it. I'm afraid that things have been going too well for too long. It's nice to remember that people and orange and limericks are free.


BL said...

I think I graduated with $70,000 in debt from pharmacy school. It was a hard pill to swallow (no pun intended) at first, but then you just learn to roll with it, and that it was/is such an investment for the future. I'd like to see some of the limericks that you've written... again... just to say that I don't really know of anyone with a life that just falls into place. Mine sure hasn't! Maybe if we can find those individuals, we can find out that "really" beneath the surface, they are falling apart, too, or maybe they are just falling apart on the stuff that matters: the color orange, limericks, and great friends.

notguilty said...

Wait, there are people whose lives flow smoothly?

Shit, I used to think that too. Then I moved here. It seems almost everyone I meet is overeducated and has no idea what they want to be when they grow up. It makes me feel warm, cozy, alive - like orange.

It's okay. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. Trust me on this one.