For someone who believes in, and more often than not relies on signs from the universe, I’m constantly missing those signs. I’m frequently guilty of missing the point, as it were. It is usually only in hindsight that I am appreciative and finally realize that the Universe was trying to alert me to something.
I left Busco Beach ATV Park in Goldsboro, North Carolina around 9:30 yesterday morning. On the main highway in town, I was stuck in a line of cars waiting for the longest freight train I’ve ever seen in my life. I was patient and waited. Now I wonder if those ten minutes that felt like an hour made any difference, if those ten minutes affected my journey in a crucial way.
About 45 minutes later, I was merging onto I-95 and nearly had to swerve to avoid hitting a giant vulture and some other small bird feasting on a carcass in the middle of the interstate. I’d never seen vultures feeding in real life, only in the movies and on television, and it seemed especially stranger the birds would land and feed on such a busy road. It was a gruesome reminder of mortality, regardless if the location seemed unrealistic.
Some time later, I ran over a blown tire. The sound was loud and startling, but the collision was harmless. Another sign, perhaps, but of what?
The trip was mostly uneventful after the aforementioned incidents, aside from irritating pockets of traffic, until I reached Baltimore, Maryland. I was traveling over the bridge that ended in tunnels near the Port of Baltimore. I was being attentive, wasn’t distracted by my cell phone or iPod, but none of that positive, defensive driving seems to matter. Somehow, an orange construction cone (one of the big ones, shaped more like a tube and reminiscent of a garbage can) was left behind. There was no obvious construction, no other cones or material left behind – just the one thing. The car in front of the truck in front of me decimated the cone, smashed it all to bits. The truck in front of me slammed on its brakes, and I had no other choice but to do the same. I also swerved to the left, into the shoulder.
For a few terrifying moments, I was convinced I was going to crash into the concrete barrier, wedging my jeep between that median and the back end of the truck in front of me. I saw it all happen like some lame scene from one of those “Final Destination” movies. I’d slam against the steering wheel (would the air bag go off?) and there’d be blood gushing from my nose and mouth. My teeth, after thousands of dollars spent at the orthodontist, would be broken and shattered more likely than not. Would the windows bust from pressure of being squished between the concrete and the truck? I had my seat belt fastened, but what would that have really prevented?
But I’m okay. There was no crash, no sickening crunch of glass and metal, no screech of a scrape against concrete. The whole awful mess was avoided and I kept on driving, kept on going. There was no time to stop and investigate the accident that had almost happened, no time to figure out how it had been avoided. Pieces of the orange and white plastic flew by, circling end over end along the shoulder. The sound of my squealing tires reverberated in the air but only for a moment. Life kept moving.
And I was okay.
I think that’s the message from the Universe: Mandi, life changes and keeps going despite your personal dramas, and you’re okay. You’re going to be okay.
So I’m listening very seriously to my mom when she advises me to work on myself, to be happy with me. She seems convinced that once that happens, everything else will fall into place. I’m starting to agree. The ideology makes sense, but it’s also exhausting feeling guilty for absolutely everything that happens in my life. If friends hang out without me, I immediately wonder what I did wrong and try to figure out why they would launch an offensive to alienate me. If I was happy with myself, truly happy, I’d be able to realize that not everything is about me and how horrible I am. That realization makes me feel guilty, like I’m wrong for thinking badly about anyone ever when there’s so much wrong with me. Well, that’s an incredibly depressing attitude and I don’t want to be apart of it anymore.
Today, I got a manicure and a pedicure. Tomorrow, I’m trimming my hair and on Sunday, I’m coloring my hair. These may seem vain and shallow attempts at becoming okay with myself, but we all have to start somewhere, no? And truth be told, I’m happy with who I am on the inside. Sure, I’ve got some crippling insecurities and some awfully bad habits to work through, but don’t we all? I’m going to work on myself in the best way I see fit because I trust myself and I love myself.
There is a difference between narcissism and introspection.
On Monday of this past week, I found the moon. It was fat, full, gluttonous, and bright. I have a picture to prove it.
I have another resolution for this relatively new year: to be as artistic in possible in all that I do.
I deposited my second royalty check – $23.22. From October 29th to December 31st, I have made $95.40. I am not, and have never been, a “numbers person.” I am not sure if this means I am doing well, average, or poor. All I know is that I want to keep writing, and I suppose that is the most important thing. I did little to no writing this week, which is possibly why this blog post is so scattered and superficial.
I am convinced that in a former life, I was happily married to Ricky Ricardo.
Running in the wind is romantic and freeing. Running in the wind and the rain is stupid.
There is a dry, red, and raw patch of skin on my hand between my thumb and pointer finger. When I stick the cap on the opposite end of the pen, the plastic irritates the area. I have icky winter skin. I am over the cold, bitter weather.
I am sick of being tired.
I am envious of Winona Ryder – or at least her hair, especially when it is short. I remember feeling similarly after seeing, “Girl, Interrupted.” I watched “Reality Bites.” I liked the tone of it and I do sincerely miss the 1990s somewhat. I really am a fan of the earthy, sloppy fashion that was considered chic. I would like to bring that style back, but am unsure if I would be able to do so single-handedly, and am equally unsure if there would even be any other willing participants; I might have no other choice than to embark on a lone wolf fashion revolution. Either way, I am going to dress and style my hair accordingly – I am excited to buy new clothes once I lose the weight. Manufacturers really do not make fashionable habiliments for larger people.
I am mostly excited for Spring Break and vacation in Florida. I called my Aunt Kim tonight and squared away the details. Dad and his friend Andy fitted my car with new struts and fixed a leak that had to do with the transmission. I am constantly making a mental list of what I want to do before leaving. Lately, the trip has been all that I have been thinking about. I do not mind going alone, but Mom is thinking about coming along, and that does not upset me at all.
Sometimes, when I wash my face, I make the water too hot and steam rises up from the sink basin in the bathroom, and the water burns my hands, and opens my pores so wide that they sizzle. Once I was worried because for a brief moment, I could not get the cold tap to turn. Eventually I did, and it made me think of that scene from “My Cousin Vinny” when Marissa Tomei and Joe Pesci are ironically analyzing the dripping faucet that is off-screen as litigators would in court. Then I wonder how a casting director could match Pesci with Tomei (or vice versa). I worry that such wondering makes me shallow. Am I shallow? Am I a bad person?
What if I do not find romance after my teeth are straightened and after I’ve lost the weight? Will I have to conclude the defect is not my physical appearance, but in my personality, my very being?
I am going to take up painting this summer.
I need to write.
My last baby tooth, which never fell out, was pulled on the last day of February. So long, Little Mandi. The very last tangible remnant of my childhood was violently yanked from me. It was for the best – it was causing an infection and discoloration – but I was sad to see it go. I am reluctant to grow up and relinquish my sometimes irrational passions, and I am unwilling compromise between responsibility and desire; I don’t wanna. But then again, I am getting braces. Maybe it all works out and I will never have to escape my adolescence.
The way to blast blubber this week was to give up extreme thinking. I set a realistic goal of losing two pounds, and I lost 1.8 pounds; just two ounces shy. I have lost 18 pounds total since beginning dieting and exercising and I am getting closer to my goal. Chipping away little by little is okay; I am seeing results without being perfect or extreme, and that is both a very important and difficult lesson to learn.
Another week over, another four pounds lost! I literally could not be happier right now! All the denial and all of the grumbling are paying off! I am not sure where that leaves me in the standings of the competition at work, but honestly, who cares? I don’t need the money if I lose the weight! Also, I’ve purchased an Omron HJ-112 Pocket Pedometer, as suggested by the LA Times article, “52 ways to leave your blubber.” Ideally, the average human being should get up to between 10,000 and 15,000 steps a day. I think I can meet the goal, especially when I start introducing brief intervals of jogging to my walking regimen.
This week’s theme seemed to be self-improvement as I found myself at the dentist, too. It had been the first time I’d been to the dentist in well over a decade. The sterile smell of the office clashed terribly with the sleek, technologically advanced atmosphere; for a moment, I could have believed I was walking back to a tanning bed rather than a leather chair. I had a full set of x-rays taken and my teeth were cleaned. Good news: minimal tartar buildup and only one cavity! I also can have braces put on that cannot be seen even though I don’t qualify for Invisalign. Bad news: I have a baby tooth that never fell out so that has to be pulled, and the dentist mentioned removing my wisdom teeth, but wants to wait until I meet with the orthodontist because there is a slight chance that might not be necessary. All in all, the appointment was not as horrifying or painful as I had imagined.
I also purchased a car this week! It is a 2002 Chrysler Sebring convertible.
It runs great, the heat works, and the inspection is good until May of 2014! The airbag light started coming on today, but my dad (who has been a mechanic for years and years) does not think it’s anything to worry about. I hope he’s right; I tend to have bad luck with cars, as previous posts can testify to. Last night, my family and I – minus my little brother who is at the age where he would rather be with friends than family – celebrated my new car at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse. It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious! It is nights like those that help to remind me how blessed I am to be surrounded with love and support, and reignite my desire to be a part of such a loving support system for others. That sentiment goes hand in hand with the Gospel reading from Mass, which I attended earlier today:
My friend Eric and his mom enjoyed my novel! Eric sent me a message to let me know, which was sweet.
I have compiled a list of local booksellers to begin visiting in April, when the weather is warmer and the school year is winding down. I want to set up book signings and readings and whatnot. Wish me luck!
Love and be loved. Love and life are all that matter. ❤