— Outpatient reflections
Just got off the phone with the most pleasant man, the VP of Customer Relations for Southwest Airlines. He gave us a full refund on the travel disaster that inspired my last post. Never underestimate the power of a well-written email sent to the right people. If you ever have a #travelgodsHATEme moment, check out www.elliott.org to see who and how to email for faster service…and why calling that customer service line WON’T work.
— Courtesy of Jacqueline Bisset. I struggle with forgiveness, but I’m vain as hell…maybe this will help.
If you follow me on Twitter (when I actually bothered to tweet), then you’ve seen me use the hashtag #travelgodsHATEme. I always manage to be about 30 seconds from not being able to check my bags or not making the plane at all. I’ve actually been at a gate between flights and missed my connection because I fell asleep in the terminal. Usually these mishaps are my fault; I think I’m an adrenaline junkie and I enjoy the high of almost ruining my own travel. The travel nightmare I had a few weeks ago, however, was the result of another bad habit I have that finally caught up with me: flying discount airlines.
As an English teacher and general word nerd, I’m fascinated by etymology. The idea that a group of people can come together to create a language is a miraculous concept on its own; that words from this language can take on a life of their own and evolve to ensure their continued relevance elevates this social miracle to something not unlike the stubborn persistence of the very societies that create them. Words, like people, must evolve to survive.
Think about it. Most of the kids I teach have no idea what a typewriter is, and by the time their kids have kids, the word, much like the tool it names, will be obsolete. Words that can’t evolve to fit the world around them become linguistic dinosaurs.
The word “friend” was threatening to become extinct for me as of late, until someone I love very much helped me see what I was doing to endanger its existence.
In two minutes, write about the object in the picture below.
With his oversized cranium and body not unlike a calcified candle wick, Watermelon Dum Dum, WD to his friends (the few that he had), often felt like an outsider. He was a favored target for bullies—the Sour Patch Kids were the worst, coating their bitter denigrations in sneaky sweetness—and ignored by the girls, who usually took to calling him by his last name only.
I’m not dead.
I just had a birthday. It wasn’t great, but in light of my last birthday, I refuse to complain.
I’m still in therapy. It’s no longer about marriage or failed relationships. Now it’s about conquering my fear and finding my purpose. I imagine that a few sessions from now will be my last, at least for a while.
I’m dating. We connected on New Years and have since been inseparable. I like him. He likes me. My therapist approves.
I just finished my tenth year in education, a milestone I once had no desire to see or any reason to believe I could even accomplish. For the first time in a long time, I see a clear path to a new professional challenge, though I haven’t shared my vision with more than two people for fear of being called presumptuous or stepping on toes or hearing incessant choruses of “It’s about time” and “I told you so.”
I’m learning to find the lesson in every moment. I listen more. I’ve set a goal to make peace with some conflicts that long ago outlived their utility. I’ve committed to traveling with less emotional baggage. I’m finding more time to read, which is good because I’m teaching AP English next year. I’ve decided that “try” is the dirty word I use when I know I won’t do something but I want credit for my good intentions, so I don’t say it anymore; either I will or I won’t.
I still talk too much. When I express an opinion, no matter how trivial the topic, I still hear “calm down” because I only speak on one volume. I still see friendships as accessories and not essentials, so I’ve cut a few people off who didn’t deserve it. I still don’t think I know how to be a good friend, daughter or sister.
I’m still a hot mess, but I’m a better hot mess than I was a year ago.
Thanks for asking.
Last year, my friends and I started what is apparently becoming a tradition: choosing a word that will encapsulate the upcoming year. Always a smartass (and not putting much stock in the Law of Attraction), my word for 2013 was “ring.” Not 4 days into the year and I got exactly what I asked for…and we know how that worked out. We’re planning to share our words for 2014 soon, and since experience has taught me that the universe gives me exactly what I say I want, I should be specific when I place my order. For that reason, my word for this year is faith.