Monday, January 30, 2012

I Hate When My Tea Is Smarter Than Me

As I looked at the menu, I remembered how annoying it was to be a vegetarian. Jeremy and I had eaten at this restaurant in the Rio many times but never when I wasn’t eating meat. I realized how limited my choices were. 

After emotionally recovering from the fact that I wasn’t going to be ordering the delicious salmon that I enjoyed so much, I sighed and asked the waiter for a cobb salad with no chicken or bacon. When my food showed up, I realized it would’ve been easier to simply ask for a bowl of lettuce. 

Jeremy laughed and shook his head as he dove quite happily into his grilled pork chops. 

Dick. 

I was in the middle of my Family Fit Club challenge. Week three is “Sacrifice” and we had drawn my dad’s idea of “no meat” out of the fishbowl. I have been both vegetarian and vegan before so it wasn’t really as challenging for me as it might have been for others, but looking down at that salad, I certainly remembered why I’m now a happy meat-eater. 

“You know, this Family Fit Club thing is really incredible,” Jeremy said between mouthfuls. “After you finish in June and have your results, you should really think about trying to market the idea and make some money off of it. Maybe that’s how you will make all your millions and pay me back my twenty grand!” 

Damn... I already used my dick comment... 

As usual, I just brushed off the conversation and tried to change the subject. I am having a great time with the family playing our game and losing weight. However, I am not at all interested in trying to start the next diet craze. 

Sort of like at work the other day... my GM is a shameless promoter. I like this about him - he is always telling employees about the the unique skills of other employees. He wants to be involved with his staff and have them involved with each other. He likes people to share what their interests are outside of the restaurant. He understands that not everyone who works there is doing it because they strive to manage or own their own restaurant one day. It’s definitely one of his most likable qualities. 

He knows I like to write... however the other day, I came into work and was all smiles because I had just sold two pet portraits. He didn’t know that I was also an artist so I showed him some of my work. He seemed very impressed. 

Later on that night, as I was clocking out and getting ready to head home, he and one of the kitchen managers came out of the office and I told them goodbye. Without hesitation, he turned to the manager and said “Did you know that Tina was an artist?” and my phone was out again, showing off my work. He then looked at me and said “Did you know Jason was also an artist? An artist of words, that is.” Jason is a rapper. He told me the link to his YouTube video. While not my favorite genre of music, I was pretty impressed myself. 

However, here is the problem when people find out I’m an artist. They start telling me all the things I should be doing with it. “Wow, you should do tattoos!” “You should set up shop on Fremont and do quick sketches of people!” “You should get into graphic design!” 

To which I politely reply, “Well, I only like to draw animals so that’s what I stick to.” 

“Yes, but you don’t see many pet portrait shops set up. You could make more money doing any of those other things,” someone said. 

“And, that’s why I’m still a food server,” I replied with a smile. 

Just like my writing. I’ve been told by many people that I should write a book. Shit, Jeremy gave me $20,000 to quit my job and pursue a writing career because he thought I had talent. But at the end of the day, the only kind of writing I really enjoy doing is this blog. Even my second attempt at writing (www.theadventuresofmoe.com) has been put on hold because I find it a bit tedious. And since I haven’t worked on it for a while, it’s so riddled with spam comments that I don’t even want to continue it. 

I’ve been thinking about all three of these things and have come to realize that I’m just not interested in the opportunities that other people see. I wish I could find the motivation to follow through on any of the things I’ve named, but the idea of doing any kind of marketing outside simply clicking “share link to Facebook” makes my skin crawl. 

So.... what does this mean? I’ll be a server forever? I’ll live in a one-bedroom apartment for the rest of my life (my new house resolution was quickly squashed when analyzing our combined income and current financial responsibilities)? I’ll always drive around in a conservative and boring vehicle? 

I’ll always have just enough but never lots? 

Luckily, I’m pretty good at stopping myself before things get out of hand. After all, I have so much more than so many others. I have a job. I have a family. I have a loving boyfriend. I have an apartment packed with things. I have a full closet of clothes. I have plenty of gas in my car. I can easily look around and see that not only do I have “enough”, I have plenty. 

Still, it’s always about having even more and even though I am thankful for all I have been given, I worry frequently about my next step in life. I worry that I’ll always wish I had more money without the desire to really do anything about it. I’ll always think Jeremy wasted that money on someone like me. He can probably see the difference now between a hard worker and a self-starter. 

I read something on the tag of a Yogi Tea bag the other day. It said “To become prosperous, you must make others prosperous.” I’ve been thinking about this a lot. It means many different things to me... but what comes up the most in this moment is just to quit worrying so much about myself and start focusing outwardly on my contributions to my family, my boyfriend, my friends and my customers. I think they all get to take more priority in my life than my overworked brain. 

And just in case Yogi Tea is on to something, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to do some shameless promotion myself... 




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"What's The Weather Like Today, Siri?"


You're telling me. As Facebook strikes again... 

"VEGAS WAS EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING. :( i went out there expecting one thing and got a huge reality check...i hate when you got out of your way for someone and they don't even have the respect to respond."

This was posted by Tim’s cousin on her Facebook wall after their most recent trip to Las Vegas over New Year’s weekend. 

On the outside looking in, this is my perspective of what happened... his family (an aunt he hasn’t seen since he was two years old, her husband and three of his cousins he’s never met) connected with Tim on Facebook a while back. They have gotten to know each other through social media and the family decided to come out to Las Vegas as an opportunity to get to know him better. 

We went to dinner with them the first night they got here. It was mostly okay... a little uncomfortable at times, but certainly pleasant enough. For the next three days, Tim texted back and forth with them but never met up with them again. His lack of interest kind of confused me at first, but I try not to assume I know what’s going on with Tim when it comes to his family or stick my nose where I know it doesn’t belong. 

Then again, sometimes my nose has a mind of it’s own. 

After I read that Facebook post and observed Tim’s reaction, I couldn’t help but throw in my two cents. After all, I gotta be me, right? 

“Hi [Tim’s cousin], 

So, obviously, when I read your post, I wanted to send you an email with all sorts of awful things that would make you feel as bad as you made Tim feel with your Facebook status. I wanted you to shrink down in your seat the way he did last night and go to bed without talking about anything. I wanted your boyfriend to feel as helpless as I did as there was nothing I could do to make him feel better. 

But, I slept on it and decided that I wasn't going to do that. 

Look, I can't explain why Tim does the things that he does when it comes to his family. How can I? All I know is what you've ever known; a family that loves you and is always there for you, no matter what. My parents have been married for 34 years and while my brother and I have not always gotten along, we've been there for each other when we needed it the most. We continue to be very close, seeing each other at least once a week, and Tim has become a really important part of that love. 

Tim has never known what you and I have. He has a mother that has abandoned him, a father that has used him, an uncle that only loves him when it's convenient for him and a grandmother that continues to take advantage of him. He was anxious and extremely nervous about meeting you and your family because I'm sure his little heart has had more than it can take of being left behind. 

We really appreciated dinner with you and your family. It was extremely kind and generous. It was also a LOT to ask of Tim and I was very proud of him for making the effort. I know you wanted to see him more throughout the weekend, but he operates in a way very differently than other people when it comes to his family. Like I said, I can't explain it, and I know that you were frustrated. I wish I could say the right things to make BOTH of you feel better, but I can't. 

I know he truly wanted to hang out with you on New Year's Eve, and I hope you can understand that getting to the strip past 6pm is just impossible. Tim needs very clearly defined plans or he's just not in it. I think, subconsciously, he doesn't want to chase around after something that is indifferent to whether he is there or not. He wanted more details, more requests and I think more of an effort to make sure he wasn't going to be wasting his time. 

This is what his shitty family has done to him.

Please don't hate him for this. It meant so much that he got to meet you and your cousins and see his Aunt after so long. But remember... he still doesn't know you - and it takes Tim a very long time to get close with people. 

All I do every day is love Tim with all of my heart, knowing that no matter what, that's all he really needs. 

You can choose to feel however you want. All I ask is that next time, maybe you try talking to/emailing him to figure out what's actually going on instead of blasting him on Facebook. I promise you, behavior like that will only make him retreat further. 

Sorry for the over-protective girlfriend response. But this is what loved ones do for each other. 

It was very nice meeting you and I certainly hope we have the chance to see each other again. 

Happy New Year, 
Tina” 

Needless to say, she unfriended me. 

Okay, okay... none of my business, I get it. I have been playing a bit of devil’s advocate about the whole thing and challenging Tim on how he is choosing to handle this situation as well. I need to understand, however, that not everyone likes to do things the same way I do. Plus, it’s always easier when it’s someone else’s problem, right? 

When I first started this blog, I can see now that it was more than just a way to express myself. It was a cry for attention. My relationships were in the dumps. Most importantly, the one with my family. I felt like I couldn’t get them to hear what I was saying. That no matter how hard I tried, they looked at me as if I were speaking in tongues. Patience so quickly turned to frustration and anger and shouting matches at the bowling alley, in the living room or evil messages delivered through email or text. 

I didn’t want to have that kind of relationship with my family. So, I began to write about it. I didn’t know how else to communicate the things that I felt were important for them to know about me. It was really hard and didn’t go over well at first... but in retrospect, I’m happy that they know everything about me now. Our interactions are so much more authentic and sincere. It’s an absolute relief. 

Tim doesn’t understand why I keep certain people in my life after they’ve clearly caused me pain. I don’t have a good reason other than at some point, that person and I were able to communicate on a level where I felt truly understood. I just don’t get that often enough so when I do, I tend to covet it. I always think there might be a time with that particular person when we can get back to that. 

I started a conversation on my own Facebook wall today about confrontation and asked if it really is worth it. Is it just the better thing to do, as humans, to let things go, pretend everything is all right and just move on with our lives? Is it a waste of time and energy to try and get on the same page with someone so that you can move forward to a place of vulnerability and mutual respect? 

Is talking about the weather so popular because it’s a safe subject that can’t be debated? 

I can’t even make jokes about sports anymore for fear that someone won’t get the humor and think I am just trying to be a complete asshole. (It’s not easy being a non-religious Denver Broncos fan this season.)

I was at my hairdressers last week and she was telling me about her most recent visit home for the holidays. She hadn’t been back to see all of her family in a couple of years and while she was there, she experienced some of that typical “holiday drama” that seems to show up as stress levels increase. She told me a little about the struggles she had and some of the miscommunications that popped up while she was there. 

Then, she acknowledged me for my blog. She told me that it took a lot of courage to put everything out there, especially in the beginning as it related to my own family’s issues, and then push through all of the kick back and resistance that I got from those people in my life that I loved so much. 

I wasn’t really sure what to think. I hadn’t really thought of it that way. In fact, I think (as my friend Beau would probably agree), that this blog is quite cowardly. I sit here, in the comfort of my home, and post thoughts that can come off as confrontational, antagonistic, righteous and maybe even stubborn, click “publish” and then sit back to see which pots get stirred first. Superficially, this is how it seems to me sometimes. 

Truly, though... deep in my heart, I know that’s not at all what my intentions are. I can’t seem to find a way to communicate with most people the way I truly want to. All honesty, all the time. Ever see the movie, The Invention of Lying? Yeah, kind of like that... 

But we don’t live in that kind of society. We live in the kind of society where the best liar wins the election. The best liar gets the most votes on whichever reality show is the latest craze. The best liar gets the superior shifts at work. The best liar gets the biggest tips. The best liar gets the girl. Or boy. 

Truth doesn’t seem to count for much these days. 

I guess my response to Tim’s cousin should’ve simply been: 

“You are right. We were insensitive and selfish and you are much better people than we are. Maybe one day you will find it in your heart to forgive us. Your Facebook post really opened our eyes to how awful we’ve been and we have made a commitment to change our ways. Without you to let us know, we may have gone on hurting other people. Even if you decide never to speak to us again, we are forever in your debt for helping us to see this. Thank you and we are both truly, truly sorry.” 

Can’t unfriend me after something like that, can you? 

I guess I’ll just stick to what I know: making jabs at social behaviors on a public forum in the hopes that maybe one person will see it as a desire for something different and not a righteous display of self expression for my own personal satisfaction. 

Or at the very least, offer up some decent reading material during a boring day at work.