Thursday, February 27, 2014


The plague has been circling around my office.

 The thing one forgets when one works from home for almost six years is that human beings are disgusting cesspools of germiness who will gleefully infect you with whatever nastiness is lurking in their sneeze factory. Okay, perhaps "gleefully" is not the correct term. Perhaps "unintentionally" is a better one. I find, as I recline in the bed contemplating the minutes until my next shot ... er, dose ... of liquid Mucinex that intent matters not a bit when you've contracted the Office Ebola.

And let me tell you, this particular version of the plague is nasty. Nasty and lingering. My department is a lovely cubicle farm, but a cubicle farm nonetheless -- an airy, open, and friendly one.

It's frigging germ Disneyworld, people.  It's the happiest place on earth for a virus. We had guests in this week and I wanted to warn them to wear hazmat suits. I also wanted to apologize because it's only a matter of time before they start sniffling and coughing and then are down for the count.

Office Ebola. It's a thing. It's also turned everyone at my work into epidemiologists as we eyeball each other both blearily, through bloodshot, fevered eyes, and suspiciously as we try to determine which one of us is the asshole who brought this misery into our cubbies. We've had actual discussions about Patient Zero's identity. We've also debated the merits of Clorox vs Lysol for desk disinfecting, of how best to sanitize headsets and handsets, and gone through several hundred gallons of hand sanitizer. The office smells of alcohol, bleach, and desperation as those who've not yet contracted the foul funk try to avoid those of us who can't seem to shake it.

Because let me tell you, this is one of those bugs that WILL not go away. Even the people who are getting better? Still look exhausted and sniffly. 

I don't really miss working at home. But I DO miss being exempt from the Office Ebola. Oh, how I miss that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go slug back some Mucinex.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Oh, Arizona.

Anyone who's been reading this blog for any length of time already knows how I feel about Arizona's attempt to legalize hatred and bigotry, but in case you're new to the party, here's how I feel:

I violently dislike it.

And here's why: I'm no theologian -- as much as I would like to be one -- but here's what I seem to remember from Sunday school: Jesus was a pretty cool guy, and He had a -- and this is CRAZY -- habit of loving everyone, and being there for everyone He met. He wasn't really a "turning people away" kind of fella. He was more of a "come on in, have a sandwich, here's a hug" kind of a guy.

(There are obviously religions other than Christanity that have issues with sexual orientation, but this is the one I know best, and also, this movement has religious right all over it, so ... Yeah.)

The Jesus I learned about would, I think, have quite a bit to say about the notion that anyone who claims to follow Him refusing to fellowship with, wait on, serve, speak with, and love another human being. He would have plenty -- I imagine some of it quite pointed -- to say about condemning, hating, and persecuting people.

I, at least, have something to say, and I'm going to say it about people who can't seem to understand that the man that they call savior, the one they claim to follow, would want them to stop raising a fist in the name of religious belief and "correctness" to people of different sexualities ... And races ... And cultures ... And religions ... And instead hold out a hand to embrace them. That something is this: While you busily call out what you deem the sins of others, be sure to take careful inventory of your own, and consider your actions.

Consider them carefully, and then ask yourself -- really ask yourself -- what Jesus would do. You know, the guy who hung out with hookers and lepers and outcasts and everyone else. What would THAT guy do? What would He think is the right thing to do here?

I'm just saying.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Laying It Down

Alexander Pope once said that to be angry was to revenge the faults of others on yourself. This isn't to say that people won't do things to hurt you or make you mad -- they will -- but to say that holding onto your anger and hurt has no impact on the person who wounded or angered you. It does nothing to them. 

But it does something to you.

I feel like I have to learn this lesson again and again. I am not quick to anger but I am slow to let go when I get there, despite the fact that I know -- I know -- that the only person that is being hurt by my continual review of all of the things that pissed me off in this particular situation is me. The person who made me mad? If s/he really cared in the first place, all if the junk that I'm carrying around with me would have been resolved differently.

The question, though, is this: why am I carrying this around?

I suppose that, if you carry enough hurt and anger about, it becomes highly effective armor. You can hide behind it. You can pile it high in your arms so that you are doing a circus-like balancing act and, as such, can't reach out to anyone because, clearly, your hands are full. You can string your hurt and rage into barbed wire and wind it around your heart so no one can get in. 

Or you can decide to put it down and let it go.

How you do that is up to you. I'm a big fan of saying out loud, "I am letting this go now," and then imagining what it would be like to set the burden down, because it is a burden to carry all of that with me, and I think I deserve no longer to be encumbered with any of it.

None of this, of course, should be construed as thinking that I will never be hurt or angered, or that those aren't valid emotions. I will, and they are. What I am trying to say, though, is that I don't want them to define who I am and where I'm going, and without putting them away and letting them go? They become a defining aspect of my character -- and frankly, there are many other things that I would like to see define me, like a warm heart and a ready smile.

This weekend, I realized: I've been carrying some things. It's time to put then down. I took a deep breath.

I let them go.

The feeling of lightness was immediate and amazing. Refusing to continue to lug that around made me a little more free. 

I think we could all use some more freedom.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Finding Okay

I once posted on Facebook that airports can be very lonely places. After the Wasband and I split up, I found myself with a job that required frequent  and solo cross country travel, something with which I was neither used to nor comfortable with. Flying with a companion is easier, you see. If you need to go to the bathroom? Your carry-on can stay with your travel mate. You have help carrying things. You can pass them things while you stand in line. One person can go get coffee while the other one stays with the bags. 

Traveling solo? Your stuff has to fit in the bathroom stall with you. You carry everything. You juggle everything. And you sit alone in the terminal and feel your solitary status settling around you; you may, perhaps, feel it more if you're someone who has always felt somewhat apart. 

If I say that these trips were difficult, it would be an understatement. If I also tell you that I hated flying ... HATED it, loathed it, and used to count on the Wasband to hold my hand during takeoff and landing to help me through my terror, maybe you'll begin to understand that I was not only troubled in the airport but also on the plane... And in the solitary cabs taken to single occupancy hotel rooms ... And in my attempts to explain to coworkers who were heavily into matrimony that I was not only divorced (the shame!) but lacking in prospects. 

I did not feel okay on these trips, but I kept making them. I had to. I started to learn things, like which terminals had good coffee, what time was good for going through security, what was the easiest thing to wear/ carry/ leave behind. How to hail a cab. Which hotels were the friendliest. Which airlines supported single girl traveling and which ones were a pain in the ass. How to converse with complete strangers. How to deal with Red-Eye flights. How to avoid questions about my relationship status in meetings with my boss.

I learned to cope. 

But coping isn't being okay. Coping is faking okay. Coping is wearing a mask of okay; it's making it work so that you don't have to lock yourself in a bathroom stall so that no one can see you crying in frustration and brokenness. Coping is good? It just shouldn't be mistaken for being okay.  It's a stepping stone on the path to okay. 

Here's the moment I knew I was okay: I had flown from Salt Lake City on yet another red eye and arrived at JFK at about 5 AM. As I am not a person who sleeps on planes, I was exhausted. My flight from JFK to Raleigh, NC (home!) left at 7:45. 

I got a coffee. I drank it. I got another coffee. I drank that. At 7:45 we boarded. 

The pilot calmly informed us that we were 20th in line for takeoff. 

We sat on the tarmac in the summer sun. And sat. And sat. I flipped through the in-flight radio stations and was listening to top 40 and staring out the window, earbuds in, watching the scenery inch past as we slowly got closer to a takeoff I was impatient for. I was bobbing my head and singing along to Rihanna's "Umbrella" when it hit me:

I was fine.

Like, FINE.

Not nervous. Not sad. Not scared. Not coping. I was well and truly fine, even if my taste in music was questionable. I was good. I was better than good. When we finally took off? I was giddy.

I don't know when I went from doing okay to BEING okay, but I know the moment I recognized it.

I'm telling this story now because I know that I have friends who are doing okay. It's my hope for them -- for all of us, really, who have ever struggled -- that they'll soon have a moment where they will be completely okay, where they recognize it and celebrate it and want to sing out loud, no matter what the song is.

We all need to be able to sing.