Monday, March 8, 2010

Changing My Life

Maya Angelou once said, "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

However, while I admire Maya Angelou, I'd rather refer to a conversation that took place between Peter Bretter and Rachel Jansen in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" to explain my situation mainly because I relate to the comedic style of that movie since I've had two different groups of people compare Mila Kunis' character, Rachel Jansen, to me as she blurts out such phrases as "DRACULA MUSICAL!" and "I CAN SEE YOUR HOOOOO-HA!" throughout the movie.

Rachel: "Oh my god, you hate it!" (referring to Peter's job)

Peter: "I fucking hate much!"

Rachel: "So then do something about it."

Peter: "Excuuuse me."

Rachel: "I'm just sayin', if you hate something, change it. Don't dwell."

It's no secret that the twists and turns in my life the past couple of years and mainly the past year have made my existence nearly unbearable at times. And, when you step outside the constant struggle and realize that you're desperately clinging to a couple of things — your family, a few friends, a little shit of a terrier and a small freelance writing gig — in order to keep the tiny shred of sanity you have left intact, it suddenly clicks that while you've been trying to change things for the better for nearly a year, it's obviously not working and it's time to take drastic measures. Yes, I hate my life, but I'm doing some things to change it.

And, dammit, something's gotta give.

Last Wednesday morning, I put on my navy blue Aerosmith t-shirt. I touched the ankles of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry while wearing this shirt a couple of years ago at an Aerosmith concert. Yes, their ankles, slathered in tight, red velvet studded pants and leather. I could see their wrinkles, their pupils, their pores. Even non-Aerosmith fans would agree that that's pretty fucking cool. It was one of those right place, right time moments. Pure luck. We weren't even supposed to be anywhere near this close, but suddenly there I was standing smashed up against the extended stage next to my sister, who was wearing the same shirt modified to stretch over her 7-month prego belly, wide eyed and completely breathless just inches away from living rock and roll legends. I will never forget that night.

I pulled on a pair of jeans. My go-to jeans. They're old, but they feel good and they look good. The ankles are all ripped and frayed from dragging on the ground since I bought them long before I discovered my crazy Russian lady tailor that yells, "You try on!" at me every time I bring her a pair of jeans to shorten up. Us midgees must wear heels AND hem all of our pants. It's a rough life down here.

I slipped into my beloved little blue and white Pumas that Aunt Maryo and Uncle Pete bought me during our all-shoe shopping spree in 2005 — their gift to me for my college graduation. Yeah, I think it's safe to say they know me pretty well. It's doesn't get much better than shoes with a great memory attached.

Then I put on my blue "Golden Girls" zip up hooded sweatshirt. No, not Bea Arthur and the gang who mesmerize me with their marathons on Lifetime, but my high school drill team. Hard core is the word I usually use to describe this team that I was a part of. I roll my eyes with fierce vengeance when I think about most things from high school because holy shit, the stuff you said, thought, did, worried about between the ages of 15 and 18 were absolutely underdeveloped and ridiculous when you look back on it 10 plus years later. It makes you cringe. But, memories of my dancing days don't conjure up the usual eye roll/cringe combination. It was challenging, it kept me striving, it taught me lessons, and I had a lot of successes in dance, and therefore my life since dancing was my life from 13 to 18, while I was a part of that team; while wearing that sweatshirt.

So, shrouded in a mishmash of sloppy fashion, or lack thereof, symbolizing luck, comfort, love, support, hope and success, I drove just over the state line to the Pearson Professional Center and ever so gracefully and confidently bombed the ever living shit out of my graduate business school entrance exam.

Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhh, FUCK.

After talking about going to grad school since I graduated from undergrad nearly five years ago and talking about the actual test since last summer, I finally took the plunge. The first real, drastic step towards a drastic change and I totally sucked it up. At first I was moderately upset and was kinda weepy and annoying and psycho about it, but hours...and several beers later, I just said, whatever will be, will be.

There are other factors that get you into grad school — excellent GPA, essays, recommendation letters, work experience — all of which I have or could pull off. I can walk into a room full of strangers, get any one of them to form a relationship with me almost immediately and tell me highly personal things about their life through casual conversation. I can turn those casual conversations into entertaining, yet non offensive prose. I can write a mean, award-winning newspaper column. I can switch gears and write from the advertising point of view, too. I get things done, I work hard and I have a nearly photographic memory, but I can't take a goddamn standardized test and I probably never will be able to.

It's just one of those things. Even if I did have time to retake that dirty, soul sucking whore of a test, which I don't, I'd probably still blow it because no matter how much I prepare, I'm just a bad standardized test taker. And, while I'm well aware that some schools, perhaps all of the ones I really want to go to, will reject me because of that shitty ass test score, I refuse to be defined by a test that measures absolutely nothing related to my success in business. Perhaps I suck at answering six bajillion obscure math problems in an hour, but I excel at what I do and I would kick ass in business school and beyond. I just need someone to look past the score, have mercy on my soul, take a chance on me...whatever you want to call it. If not, I guess it's on to plan E for my life.

I'm just glad that it's over and can now dream about other things besides quadratic equations. In between resisting the urge to firebomb all books that mention GMAT data sufficiency and starting the daunting grad school application process, I squeezed in a trip to Houston to visit my friend, Tyler. I booked it right around the same time I scheduled the test because I knew I would need it. Warm weather, sunshine and good company does a depressed body good.

So, after a weekend of laughing at Tyler's roommate's drunken shenanigans, enjoying the sun, visiting the downtown aquarium and Kemah Boardwalk, riding a rollercoaster, taking a ride on a giant, loud Jock Jams album playing speedboat into Galveston Bay, eating a sexy, garlic covered sirloin, visiting a couple bars and clubs, listening to an excellent, guy-liner-wearing cover band call Blue Finger Disco, running into my R.A. from the dorms my freshman year at K-State (yeah, in Houston, weird), slightly ghetto-izing my vocabulary with the addition of "Do work," "boo boo" and "creep walking," being slightly (read: incredibly) frightened by the way some men really view women and the world through far too many all-guy-with-a-lone-girl conversations and just genuinely enjoying the company of a great friend that I love dearly and has a special place in my heart, I'm home...

...And I'm not happy about it.

Unemployment completely dries up once and for all next week. I still don't have a steady job that will allow me to live even a humble lifestyle. Since rejection has come from every single outlet, method and business I can think of from walk-ins, blind, reckless resume flinging and journalism jobs to friend and family recommendations and connections, waiting tables, stocking shelves at a craft store, selling shoes and cleaning up shit at a doggie daycare, I'm just not sure what my next move should be. Sweet christ, what the hell do I have to do get hired somewhere, anywhere? Can I get a craptastic $8 an hour income please?! My education and my pride have long since fallen away. I just need some money coming in so I can pay the rent and eat.

Le sigh, fucking wanka, shit, ass, head-in-hole, get me out of here because reality sucks.

But, like I said, I'm changing my life and dear lord, something's gotta give...preferably, like, NOW.


miss. chief said...

I was going to recommend some kind of cool little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop or something like that but...hmmm

You know what seems to work for some people? Just going in to small businesses and asking if they need any part time help. Just as a start, maybe, if you get desperate.

I was looking for a craptastic job as well about two years ago and thought 'hell this'll be easy, I'm awesome'...rejected by the pet store, the craft store, the golf store, the wine store, the coffee shop, the technology store...

Oh! You know who is ALWAYS HIRING? Grocery stores. It might be kinda lame but if you go to a big chain store you can make more than 8 bucks an hour as a starting wage, I think.

Wow this is one long comment. I also meant to yell 'DRACULA MUSICAL' at you because that was an awesome movie.

The end.

Sarah said...

Hang in there sweetie. I know life is tough now. How is your bracelets coming along? I can't wait to see you soon!

Elly Lou said...

Oh muffin! You DO need a new soundtrack for life, eh? You're plucky and smart as hell. It will give. It will.

It will.

Luna said...

just keep on going for what you want. it will happen. life can get tough but just keep going. it will get better. i wish i had graduated college. i am still working on mt bachelors and its getting to be a pain but i'm doing the best i can too.

Amy said...

I might be able to help if you are interested in spending time with old people! FB me if you are, I'll give you the details. Hugs and love, sorry things have gotten so low.

Megs said...

Any school that puts more stock in the standardized test scores than life experience is probably not a school that you would enjoy in the long run anyway.

1. At least you are doing it. Doing SOMETHING. Too many people go their whole lives and never even try.

2. Good luck! I know it will all work out.

3. That movie is hilarious.


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