Novocaine

Bon Jovi’s got a song with this very title. If you’re not familiar with it and you wish for some kind of expression on trying to clear your mind from pain, I’d recommend it. It’s a good song regardless. But that’s the time the lyrics really jump out at me. It’s been 16 years since the deadliest attack on American soil. 16. It still amazes me. The memory sits in my mind as if it were mere hours ago. They say time heals all wounds. Maybe they’re right. The pain and sadness and fear I felt sixteen years ago has definitely faded some. But in other aspects, it’s almost as if it’s gained momentum. There’s still sadness. A different type I think, but undeniably heartwrenching nonetheless. There’s still fear. Again. It’s different. What we lost and had to lose then is very different from now. And anger. As anger that makes your blood boil and veins pop.

Words don’t give emotions justice. Or maybe I’m not as good a writer – there’s moments I become so consumed with getting everything on the page that it may not make sense. I can’t convey everything I want and feel from when my brain thinks it to the time it takes to type. Anyway. Today’s a difficult day for me. For a lot of people. I’m fairly certain I’ve shared some of my story about this day in the past. We all have one. One of the most remarkable things to me about September 11th, 2001 was hearing my cousin, who is a police officer, talk about when he arrived at what was soon to be known as Ground Zero that morning. Amidst the rubble and devastation, he saw a butterfly. In that moment, he described how he knew his brother, a firefighter, had given the ultimate sacrifice. Every year since, I have seen a butterfly on this day. Today being no exception. It amazes me. I had to double check with a co-worker that we’ve never seen butterflies where we work before. Sans the one that nearly just flew into me right before I asked.

Today’s a short post. I just needed to share that. I’ll leave the further interpretations up to you. United We Stand.

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Ambiverting

I often find myself wondering if I’m too independent. Too opinionated. Too… much. Not enough like everyone else. I think all those things go together. I find myself debating with my own inner dialogue, but sometimes with those I care about as well. When other people weigh in, it usually goes along the lines of them telling me I have stronger opinions on somethings that I probably shouldn’t even really care about, but I should still just go with it. You be you kind of thing. Internally, it depends on the day.

There’s moments I truly think I have split personalities. Not in the legit I have a medical problem, just depending on the day. There’s the ‘I want to be social and go hang out with everyone I know and I can’t sit still and just want to do all the things’ days and then there’s the ‘I don’t want anything to do with people and binge watching Netflix or reading a book in my hammock for 8 hours sounds like the highlight of life and even answering a text seems too social for me’ kind of days. So on my more introverted days, I tend to think maybe I need to conform to what most of society deems “normal.” But on extroverted days… HA! Society can go… well, this is a family friendly blog. So choose your own adventure to fill in that blank.

It’s a conundrum, nevertheless. It’s not easy to be an extrovert AND an introvert. It’s especially difficult when you think you’re feeling extroverted and you meet up with humans and BAM! You really just want to be by yourself. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this! So do you frantically look for excuses to leave? What if they came to your house?! Now you’re stuck! The horrors. This is a real thing, people. Nightmarish.

Anyway. This timeshare has been calling me for the past 2 weeks and never leaves a message. And it’s not that I don’t want to talk to them – talking usually results in some decent perks – I just am never around my phone when they call. But on the rare occasions I am, I might be in that introverted, dealing with humans is way too overwhelming mode, even via phone calls. In case you were wondering, I finally touched based with them and have a new vacation to plan in the next year or so! Vacation planning is difficult for me, though. My schedule with work is in such a constant flux that it’s difficult to plan more than a few weeks in advance for many things. Which can be great for last minute deals. But flights pretty much never have such discounts and availability can become an issue too. And my people who have more normal scheduled jobs find it difficult to get time off with that short of a notice.

In most instances, that just means I’ll go by myself. Adventuring alone is a pretty sweet gig. I do what I want, only what I want, and don’t have to worry about someone else not getting their way. It sounds pretty selfish and it is. But it’s awesome in it’s own right to have that freedom to literally seize the day I any which way you see fit. Sharing those experiences is great too. You get a different perspective and all that goes along with spending quality time with someone else. And this is where I find myself getting in my own head.

Would I rather go through life having that freedom or those shared moments? Am I too independent to truly share my adventures with someone else all the time? I’m not speaking just to romantically inclined relationships, either. Ski trips with my fencing team from high school or dive trips with my college friends fall into this question too (ok, diving is a bad example since I wouldn’t go diving alone, but it conveys the point that platonic relationships count as well). And I don’t know if I have an answer to that yet. So I go back and forth with the pros and cons of such. And maybe it doesn’t need an answer. Trips I’ve ventured on solo or with people have been epic. Would they have been enhanced if I wasn’t by myself or had I gone on my own? Probably in some aspects. It can be lonely dining alone. But it can also be refreshing. First world problems, I’m telling you. The struggle is real!

At any rate, you gotta do what makes you happy! Hakuna Matata!

Home 

I find stereotypes really interesting.  Not saying I agree with them – or even disagree with them: I just find them interesting.  For instance, people say New York is dirty and crazy and the people are rude and crazy. Sometimes that’s absolutely right.  But tens of thousands of people a day visit the city.   Quests, adventure, I ❤ NY everywhere. Seems counterintuitive for a dirty, rude city for people to want to visit.   I went to NYC’s Fleet Week this past weekend.  It’s in those moments of walking around my city, watching people connect and show appreciation for the military and whatnot that it makes me so proud to be from there.   

The city changes for events such as Fleet Week. When a NY team wins the World Series or Stanley Cup or whatever sport you’re into. You get the idea. I watched people in cabs flag down Sailors crossing the street to give them money to buy a drink.  Service members getting VIP treatment to observation decks of the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower. Free meals and beer and people genuinely appreciative of other people.  It’s an unforgettable experience. 

I also checked off another Broadway show while I was home. It may be hard to believe, but until this weekend, I had never seen The Lion King on the big stage! I’ve been hesitant to see it. With it being my favorite movie, I had high expectations and I didn’t want to be disappointed! Well. I was not. The costumes and puppet work was phenomenal.  Nothing I imagined it would be and I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I was enthralled. I wish I had a thousand pairs of eyes to see everything. One to see again, methinks!

Hakuna Matata!

NY State of Mind

So I’m officially a New York State resident again. It’s kind of funny. I’ve always associated myself with being from NY and it will always be home. But this is the first time in my adult life that I’m actually living in NY.  I went to college in Florida when I was still 17 and haven’t been back other than visits since. Go figure! Granted,  I live in upstate NY now,  but it still feels more home than my previous digs have.  There’s just something about being close to mountains and having seasons and just the charm that is the greatest state that I can’t explain with words alone.  It’s that feeling of truly being somewhere you love.  You don’t need to DO anything to have that vibe. It’s sheer contentment sitting on your stoop or driving to nowhere and reveling in the beauty and magnificence of where you are. The feels are just there.  It’s simple and wonderful tied up in a bow and BAM! Home. 

I went home home (yes,  Brooklyn) for Easter weekend. It was nice. I didn’t tell all that many people I was returning. It was pretty sad to go home and not have the Ice puppy there.  Empty. 😦  There’s no words that can make that go away. Maybe time helps. I don’t know yet.   The other day was the anniversary of my good friend who took his life. I’ve written about him before (re: Sandman) and I guess it is a true testament to time since it was the first year that I didn’t completely lose it thinking about everything.  I still miss him. I still wish he was with us and nothing will change that he wasn’t here for long enough.   But I think I’m finally accepting things and coming to peace with it. It’s a strange feeling. Part of me thinks that’s a betrayal of him – that somehow that makes me miss him less or not care. But the other part recognizes you can’t dwell on the what ifs or should haves. What’s done is done.  There’s still an empty void that will probably never be filled.

But back from that tangent, home was otherwise nice. Had some meals at my favorite restaurants with family,  got breakfast – I would call it brunch but apparently if you meet before 10AM the absolute earliest,  you’re out of your mind and it’s definitely breakfast – with some high school friends (we’ve known each other for over a decade!!! How crazy is that?!??!!), and, of course,  an amazing dinner for Easter at my aunt and uncle’s – with more family! Om nom. So much food and goodness!  Anyway. Life is good. 

Hakuna Matata!

It’s Raining

When it rains, it pours. I had my second chance yesterday and it went well for all those of you who were sitting by in suspense from my last post. So yay! Which now just means I’m moving again! Yup. I think this is the 6th real move I’ve had since I started this blog! :O. Might’ve had more. Hmm. I move a lot. And it never fails that when I do, the weather wants to welcome me with some insane amount of awful storminess. 

When I first moved to Florida: hurricane! Texas: hurricane/tornados! Rhode Island – granted that was only supposed to be for 3 months, but ended up being closer to 9: blizzard!  California: RAIN. OK, I know rain isn’t a huge deal. But it was San Diego. It doesn’t rain there! But it did when I showed up! Hawaii: typhoon warnings. South Carolina: hurricane! So in my journey to New York, why wouldn’t it have a massive downpour the entire drive with threats of hail and other craziness! 

Rain isn’t terrible though. Not always. Thirteen years ago (pretty sure to the day today, actually), my brother and dad were upstate hiking and a dog ran into the car they had just run into (it was their car, not some random stranger’s) because it started raining.   There was only one other car in the lot and as soon as the dog got in their car, those people drove away. And from this, we had a dog. Ice puppy! He was only 3 or 4 months old at the time.  And he was a non barking dog! So naturally when my dad and brother got home, they woke me up to tell me the epic news. 

I had begged to have a dog for forever. We lived across the street from a pet store and every day on the way home from school, we’d have to stop and look at the dogs that were in the window. There was a golden retriever (I decided his name was Rex) who I HAD to have. But now we had this brindle puppy. Oh yeah. And Mom wasn’t allowed to know! :O. We lived in an apartment. In hindsight, not a whole lot of room for a dog. But I wasn’t thinking about that. 
We hid Ice in my brothers room for almost 3 days. When my mom came home from work one day, she demanded to know if there was a dog in the house. Whoops. So she goes to the room and of course Ice sees a new person and is excited and jumps up on her to greet her. She’s horrified. “He’s not even a cute dog!” She exclaimed in rage. His paws may have been a little wet and she was in her clothes from work still. And most people aren’t crazy about a 30 pound dog jumping on them.  She was irate. She wanted nothing to do with him. We simply had to get rid of him. 

About a week went by and it was clear Ice wasn’t going anywhere. My mom decided she would finally take him out for a walk. And of course on the last block before returning home, he sat down on the corner and refused to move. My mom was pulling him and trying to get him to move and of course,he was just smiling away, content as could be on the street corner. Mom was outraged. Refused to ever take him out again. But of course, Ice grew on her.  A few years later, my brother wanted to take Ice to Florida for the summer. Mom’s response: “You can’t take my dog!”  

Ice was part of the family. Sadly, he had to go to sleep the other day.  As we’ve been telling people, they’ve been amazing reminding us of all the good times we’ve had with Ice.  He had a great life – over 13 years of awesomeness! As my first dog, he was the best. Happy, protective when needed, and always ready to head outside, I hope the ultimate dog park is everything and more to keep him the smiling, best dog ever. 

Positivity

It’s been a rough month.  I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the hours of daylight I saw in the previous two weeks. And in all of that, I ended up not succeeding on my first attempt on a task that’s rather vital for my job. I get another shot at it next week. So that really just means another week of killing it to ensure round 2 goes better. 
In all of this, naturally, I was pretty devastated. I’ve been working so hard,it’s frustrating to see those efforts seem to go to waste. They’re not. But in an instant when you learn you’ve failed at something – That’s the moment you think everything you’ve been doing is for naught. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?  I try to find the good in everything. A reason that maybe isn’t so obvious as to why certain events occurred the way they did.  It’s still pretty hard for me to accept this didn’t go my way. But I was reminded of something more important than anything else in all of this. 
I’ve mentioned this before. And I’ll say it again. I have the greatest people in my life. When I got to my phone the other night, I had a handful of texts and voice-mail messages from my people with their words of encouragement and support. It’s easy to blame other people for things that go wrong. But ultimately that gets you no where. Easier said than accepted of course. But my people all avoided any of that blame. Simply stated how I’ll get it next time and how I’m still awesome and all the feels.  The focus on the positive and what can be controlled.  That’s huge.  And makes all the difference in the world. 
I’ll end my sappiness here for the evening. But don’t forget the importance of being positive. It changes things. For the better. Hakuna Matata!

Decisions

“Forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion. Hopefully, though, our emotions follow.”

That’s pretty powerful. I think this is applicable to other nouns as well. Love is an emotion. We can’t control how we feel. But we can control our actions. If we decide to. It seems logical that hate too, is an emotion. But is it?  Or do we decide to hate because of how something or someone makes us feel?  Do we hate because we’re angry – another emotion. Or because we’re afraid? Hurt? Envious?  I’m not a psychologist by any means. I took Psych 101 my freshman year of college and an ethics class as an exchange student 2011. That’s about the level of education I really have on this topic.  I also remember my senior year of high school health class where my teacher professed there are only 3 emotions and everything else stems from them. Those were fear, anger, and love.

But aren’t these the very things that motivate us to make the decisions we make?  You don’t do something you don’t enjoy without a reason.  It makes someone you care about happy.  It pays bills.  Whatever. There’s some kind of reward to it that you can see.   At any rate. Isn’t it a good premise to abandon grudges? Use your energy on something you enjoy rather than stewing about something you hate? I’m not saying it’s easy.  But if we decide to move on and focus on the better…  isn’t that better for everyone?

My $0.02. Happy Sunday! Hakuna Matata!