Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I am a Nerd in the Making

I've always been on the fringe. The non-cheerleader type that spent all extracurricular time in high school in the Little Theatre at Lake Braddock. Even the clubs I went to as an adult were alternative/goth type places where clove smoke hung heavy in the air.

My internal need to fit in, however, kept me from totally geeking out - until now.

In just over a week, I will be on my first adventure as an Elven Cleric named Aoife. Thanks to a couple of friends of John's, I will be enjoying Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. I'm excited and nervous at the same time...afraid that I won't be able to commit because of that little tug inside that tells me NOT to give in to my nerdiness.

But while I'm sitting here, I'm watching one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek TNG ever. "Where Silence Has Lease" has a very Twilight Zone feel. I've loved this show since I was a kid. Thankfully, I found a husband who accepts my closet geekiness and understands that I have to let it out a little bit of at a time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Story

Every family has one. You know; the story that will be told for generations and gets funnier each time you tell it. Here's mine:

To lay a little ground work we need a bit of a back story. My dad was an alcoholic and would occasionally fall asleep on the floor, draped over the stairs, you get the idea. This is integral to the story.

In the winter of 1996 John and I lived in a duplex in College Park in Orlando, Florida. We didn't have a heater in our house, and it was a particularly cold January. One evening, my parents invited us to stay at their house so we wouldn't freeze our asses off when the thermometer dipped below freezing one night. John worked the late shift so my dad said he'd stay up until John got home, but he'd leave the door unlocked just in case. At this point in my family history it's important to mention that my dad was not drinking. Again, an integral part of the story.

Fast forward to about 1:00 am. I'm asleep in the guest room and John comes in:

"Jenn, Jenn...there's someone asleep on the family room floor"


"No no, come look."

We proceeded into the family room to find some guy asleep on the floor. Out cold. Must be someone my dad knows? I don't know. Let's wake up my brother, Andy.

"Andy...there's a guy on the floor."


"Ugh! No. Come on."

Picture it: Three people standing over a man face-down on the carpet. We should get mom.

"Mom" shake shake "MOM! There's a guy on the floor."

"Shit. Pop?"

"No" said in that way that kids can give a one syllable word two syllables.

Four people standing over a stranger. At this point we start poking him with our toes to elicit some kind of response. Nothing.

All the while my dad is asleep ten feet away on the couch oblivious to the goings-on.

Mom: "We'd better wake up your father."

Lights on. TV on. My dad has called the police and flashing lights are flickering in our family room. Strange Guy is still sound asleep.

The mysterious visitor didn't wake until the police had him cuffed. We have no idea who he was. He didn't take anything, he just wanted to sleep it off. My dad didn't press charges; the kid was in the Navy and my dad knew what the military had in store for him.

We've speculated over the years and decided this guy must have wandered in because maybe our house looked like where he was supposed to be. We lived within a mile of a night club so it seemed possible.

I wonder where he's hanging his hat tonight. He has no idea that he has provided my family with "The Story." An experience that was crazy and bonded us in a way that nothing else could have. We've been better since.

Sleep tight, sailor.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Painful Realizations and Confessions

First of all a tangent: trying to reset my password was like trying to recover the Holy Grail. Sheesh.

I have depression. I also live with (and cope with) crippling anxiety and panic disorder with a minor case of OCD thrown in for good measure. The depression is under control and really only rears its ugly head when I've been failing to cope with the panic/anxiety. I'm in therapy - but I'm actually pissed at my therapist because all he does is tell me to read self-help books. He's nice and all, but I don't think he's helpful. My shrink is really helpful, though. She's thoughtful and understanding and tells me that I don't have to be a martyr.

I have what's known as an intermittent FMLA at work. Somewhere along the way, someone thought it was for irritable bowel syndrome. First of all, it's not for that and I don't know how or where that rumor started. Second of all, it's not anyone's business. I've managed to stay out of the hospital since I've been diagnosed with the help of medication and my shitty therapist. He's not that bad, just really relies on too many self-help books. Plus just knowing that he and my shrink really understand what I am coping with is helpful.

Maybe it was my mistake thinking that I could trust people that I work with to be compassionate or at the very least tolerant. My mistake. I broke my own rule about trusting people.

And I get it. If I have to take a day off, it sucks. I don't want to have to stay home from work...it means that I'm having a terrifying day and I can't function for fear that something terrible will happen. Rational reasoning doesn't exist on days like that. All I can do is take my meds and sleep it off until it passes.

Which brings me to my point: I'm not lazy, and it's not pleasurable to have this disorder. I wish like hell that I didn't have this stupid FMLA but it's there to protect me. It's funny when I hear people at work say they want one; like it's a free pass to take a vacation day. Do what you want with it, but that's not what it's for and that's not why I have it. Trust me...I wish I could just get rid of the fucking thing, but it's there to protect my job. My hope is that one day, this will be under enough control that I can just forget about it. The problem is, just when I think I've made progress, someone says or posts something that whether or not it's directed at me, I take it personally. And for someone with panic/anxiety the last thing I need is to feel betrayed by people that I genuinely care about.

I'm guilty of bitching about people taking an FMLA day, too. I've curtailed that attitude since needing one myself. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. The knives in the back are really painful. And I've ever stabbed someone else in the back, I'm truly sorry. Maybe this is retribution for my own past gossipy behavior...It's very painful, that much I know. It's certainly taught me to mind my mouth and find only the best in people. I have to; it's part of my healing.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Old blog deleted. Here's the story behind the old title, "The Irish Car Bomb."

Once upon a time, I wanted to join a roller derby team. John told me that I should call myself "The Irish Car Bomb." Sounded funny and clever at the time. Then, just the other day, I watched U2's "Rattle & Hum" for the (wait for it) first time. During a low instrumental part of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (which happens to be my favorite U2 song) Bono talks about dying for "The Revolution" and killing for "The Revolution." As a 4th generation Irish-American, it occurred to me that I have no right to raise my fist for "The Revolution." I am an American with plenty of food on my plate and the freedom to practice my religion. I don't have any business "hating" the English and lamenting over "The Troubles." Yes, the famine drove my family out of Ireland. A famine for which the British government did nothing to put food in the mouths of children and watched as people died from starvation. Over 100 years later, it's time for me to move on from the anger that isn't relevant anymore. An anger that never was relevant in my lifetime.

After "Sunday Bloody Sunday" Kelsey asked me if I hated the British. I said, "No. There is no room in my heart for hate. I hate what the British government did to the Irish, but I don't hate the British." Then the beautiful, unmistakable chords to "Pride (In the Name of Love)" rang out and she and I enjoyed the last few minutes of "Rattle & Hum."

I went to bed last night bothered by what I had originally named this blog. Clever, yes, but I can't justify it.