“Hey! You’re Great! I love you! …Too much?” or “A Midwesterner in New England’s Court.”

I get teased a lot for being such a friendly Midwesterner. I never really noticed it until I moved to New England where everyone is very into their privacy and conversations are minimal with strangers. Thankfully, I work in retail, so my sunny disposition is a skill rather than a nuisance, and it ends up working in my favor, but if I didn’t have books to sell, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. I just like talking to people. I like hearing their stories and what they have to say, and I genuinely believe that if you’re nice to others and take an active interest in people, they’ll either return the favor or pay it forward (or both, if things go really well!), and that’s something I can be proud of.

As someone at work put it, “everyone is Emelie’s best friend.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have my bad days and I have my bad moments during my good days when I’m not as nice as I could have been or I say something truly awful and stupid to or about someone, and I almost always feel remorse over those moments. I do get annoyed with people and there are people who I just don’t like or don’t get along with, but I’d like to think that I give everyone an honest shot before deciding whether or not I like them. I do my best to be nice to every cashier and every barista – after all, coffee is my lifeline and if I’m not nice to the barista, things could end up very poorly for me – and I try and make sure that each customer who walks into the bookshop knows that I’ve seen them and that I’m happy to help them find a book if they need me. A lot of that has to do with my job, yes, but I think that it’s mostly just in my nature. I just happened to find the career that works best with my personality.

So, yeah, when I answer the phone, my voice goes up an octave, and when I ask how you’re doing, I really do want to know. It’s not forced and it’s not fake; it’s just… happiness. It’s love. I operate out of a love for what I’m doing and for the people I’m talking to, and even if some think that it’s too much, I’m not going to stop. I am nice. I am happy. And I’m unapologetic about it, because if any of that can transfer from me to you, then you bet your butt that I’m going to keep doing it.

Sorry, New England. You’ve got a loud Midwesterner in your midst and she’s here to stay.

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So… I’m screwed up, but in a cute way… right?

This week was a weird week and it involved a lot of panic attacks, which I won’t dive into, but it also involved my friend, Sookie (not her real name, but she is the Sookie St James to my Lorelai Gilmore, so that is what she shall be called here), being lovely to me and wonderful in many ways, because last night, she felt the need to check in via text:

Sookie: Mental health check.

Me: Me? I’m doing okay now. Watching Doctor Who with Mike. The dog seems back to his normal self (Did I tell you that I thought he was dying the other night?) and life feels good. You?

Sookie: I’m fine. What was wrong with Gio?

Me: I think he just had a bug. He wouldn’t get off the couch or eat and I’m pretty sure he had a fever. And all the dogs that I’ve lost so far in my life have dropped very suddenly under similar circumstances, so I might have had a bit of a panic attack over the situation…. Thus proving that I’m not cut our for human children because I might care a little too furiously about the things I’m not biologically tied to.

Sookie: Oh that sounds awful!

Me: Yeah, it was fun. But I like to think that the level of screwed up I am is endearing.

Sookie: I completely agree. Your level of screwed up is very charming.

 

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Thanks a lot, weird genetics.

I’m twenty-five, but if you were to just look at the state of my  hips and back, you’d think I was decades older. I have a lot of strange issues with my skeleton, most of which are caused by the fact that I have a very acute form of spina bifida. Don’t worry, it’s so mild that it isn’t life-threatening or anything, but it does come with its own issues. Essentially, I have an extra vertebrae in my spine, and my tailbone never really… happened. I guess when I was still in my mom’s womb, my tailbone was all “NO! I’M NOT READY! I WANT TO BE MORE LIKE THE REST OF THE SPINE!” and then the rest of my spine was like “Dude, if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, this girl is going to be born with a tail. IS THAT WHAT WE WANT, REGGIE?”

The end result? A sort of half-formed tail bone… thing. It’s not noticeable in any way, unless you’re looking at my x-rays, but it’s a thing that sometimes causes problems.

For example, I woke up the other day and my hip felt like someone just popped it out of the socket and now it’s refusing to go back in. And, because I know that whole song about all the bones being connected, there is shooting pain and discomfort up and down the whole left side of my body… which results in people staring at me when I think I’m alone as I try and bend my body into all sorts of weird positions to hopefully put my hip back in its rightful place. And this is a small town. People talk. So now I’m that girl.

And my hip decided to do this at a really not awesome time, you guys. As many of you know, I work in a bookshop, and yesterday was Independent Bookstore Day. Indie bookshops across the country, including this one, were celebrating with tons of festivities. I planned many of our festivities, and one of those festivities was a Rad American Women Dance Party. This was because one of the exclusive merchandise items was a 7-inch LP inspired by the book, Rad American Women A-Z, which is an awesome book, and I suggest you rush to your local indie bookshop and buy it right now.

So yeah. I was doing my best on this very busy shopping day to not show how much pain I was in, all the while knowing that the grand finale would be a dance party, and that I was to be pioneering this dance party, so I was really going to have to shake it.

Oh, and did I mention that I had no pain meds with me?

Let’s just soak this all in.

  1. Spina bifida.
  2. Rebellious hip bone.
  3. Terrible back pain.
  4. No meds.
  5. LET’S BOOGY.

I was about to panic for a moment, so I went into the back room to take a deep breath and to try and stretch my back and then I took to twitter:

And all I really got in response was some nonsense about wildebeests that I’m still trying to make sense of… so twitter kind of failed me on that one. I think. I’m still not sure.

And then the time came, and – I kid you not, folks – no one showed up for this dance party. There were a few stragglers in the store, yes, but they were all very disturbed when I told them what was about to happen.

But you know what? I blasted Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and danced anyway. Because life is short.

Plus I was also hoping that if I danced, maybe I would move a certain way to pop my hip back into place.

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We argue just like regular couples do.

Boyfriend and I don’t fight much, but we’ve been having the same argument over and over again for the past few months or so. It’s a fairly simple argument: I believe the toilet is haunted and he chooses to fall for the witchcraft of mechanical logic.

You see, every now and again, multiple times a day, my toilet will make a noise. It’s not a flushing noise. It’s more like a… whispering. And every time that this happens, my eyes get wide and I look at Boyfriend with a mixture of fear and excitement and I whisper “ghosts!”

He inevitably responds in a monotonous voice at a normal speaking volume, “It’s not ghosts.”

Recently this escalated:

Toilet: whisper, whisper, whisper….

Me: Ghosts!

Boyfriend: You have a leaking valve in the tank. It is slowly letting water out into the bowl causing the tank to refill itself. It’s not ghosts.

Me: 1. It’s ghosts. 2. Stop raining on my ghost parade. 3. It’s ghosts.

Boyfriend: 1. Ghosts are scary. 2. Ghosts scare me. 3. I don’t like being scared.

Me: 4. Who tampered with the valve?? GHOSTS. They just want us to believe in logic. THAT’S HOW THEY WIN.

Boyfriend: 4. It could be caused by that thing you put in the tank to keep in clean. That could have caused build-up – or the gasket is old and rotted and needs to be replaced.

Me: or…Ghosts.

I’m not saying he’s crazy or anything, but I don’t understand how he can even try to argue with me on this one. He even tried to hit me with a “why would a ghost even haunt your toilet?” and I just yelled “DO I EVEN NEED TO BRING UP MOANING MYRTLE RIGHT NOW??”

And it’s not just the toilet, if I’m being fair. I think it’s also the bathtub. I’ve never heard anything in the bathtub, but sometimes the dog just walks in there and stares all panic-stricken into the bathtub and animals can see things that we can’t, so you can’t deny this one. Plus, this is a super old building. This house was built in the early 1800s! In Connecticut! There is a whole movie about Connecticut being haunted! Is he seriously going to try and tell me that this place isn’t even slightly haunted? And sure, he says ghosts scare him, but it doesn’t seem like this one is doing anything too creepy. S/he is just using the bathroom. Maybe that’s how s/he died. After all, as I told Boyfriend, ghosts usually hang around because they have unfinished business….

It was at this point that he said, “Emelie, can we please talk about something else right now?”

“What, like the little boy I sometimes see standing in the corner of the hallway at night?” I asked.

He maybe hasn’t talked to me since.

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Feeling and thinking and thinking about the feelings.

love being emotional.

I understand that this might be a bizarre thing to say, but it’s true. I love having feelings. I love thinking about what I’m feeling and trying to figure out why I’m feeling it. Boyfriend knows this well about me. I’m always asking him, “What are you feeling? What are you thinking? What are you thinking about what you’re feeling? TELL ME.”

And his response? Usually a blank stare while he chews his first bite of cereal in the morning.

Yup. I wake up like this, people. I wake up ready to talk about my emotions and I’m willing to have that conversation all day long.

This even goes for sad feelings. My sister and I will intentionally watch movies that make us cry. We call it “emotional yoga.” Both her husband and my boyfriend are baffled by this voluntary self-destruction, but we will defend it until the day we die, because sometimes feeling sad and crying feels just so good.

But this has its drawbacks. Especially when you fall in love with someone who thinks that having feelings is a weird thing and that talking about them openly is even weirder… Boyfriend isn’t exactly the most vulnerable or verbal person I’ve ever met. It’s not like he’s an emotionless robot or anything. He has feelings, but getting him to talk about them is like getting my dog to puke in the toilet: Impossible and irritating, especially because I have no problem accomplishing it myself.*

Maybe this all just means that I’m a little bit more broken than he is and therefore I require a lot of analysis.

Some people would argue that I think too much and that I have a tendency to spiral inward or something like that, but I think that my constant emotional analysis is helping me grow.

I just think that if we’re ever going to grow as people, we must look inward, right? If I stop looking at myself and wondering why I am the way that I am, how am I ever going to be better? Just like most people, there are things about myself that I don’t love. There are things about myself that I wish were different. If I don’t stop and check in on those things, I worry that I’ll wake up one day and realize that I’m just the same as I’ve always been and that I haven’t done anything about it… and then I’ll just be a basket-case.

I’m not saying that I strive to be perfect. I know that that is an impossible goal, but I can always be striving to be better, right? And I think that allowing myself to feel things to the fullest extent and then to figure out why I’m feeling that sensation of anger or sadness or unadulterated joy will only lead to me being able to catch myself when I feel negativity rising up and redirecting it towards feelings of positivity and love.

All of this self-analysis has helped me to come up with little systems. When I feel a panic attack rising up, I’ve started to learn what I need to do so that I don’t start yelling at someone who doesn’t deserve it. I know to excuse myself from the room and go be alone for a few minutes when it gets really bad. When I start getting frustrated with someone, I’ve learned to remember that the only behavior I can alter is my own, and that has helped me to react in a more productive way.

All of this said, I’m still really working on it and I always will be. I’ll always be working on myself. I’ll probably always have panic attacks and I’ll probably still get annoyed with other people and wish they would be different. But I’m working on it. I’m working on learning that Boyfriend’s way of expressing himself is different from mine and that both ways are okay. And I’m working on remembering that my dog is a not people, no matter how much we both think he is, and that he cannot be trained to run to the bathroom and puke in a toilet. It’s simply not in his nature.

So what are you feeling? What are you thinking? What are you thinking about what you’re feeling?

*I just realized that this is the second post in a row in which I talk about my dog’s/my own puking habits. It should be noted that neither one of us throws up that often. I swear. 

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On to the current thing.

I’ve been struggling with patience lately. Not on the small scale. It’s not like I get jittery when waiting in line or anything, but on the large scale, I’m going nuts.

I have a list of life goals and they are BIG goals:

I want to own a house. 

I want to be a published writer. 

I want to run my own business.

I want to be married.

I want to have five dogs, and a vegetable garden, and some chickens and goats. 

Okay, so that last one isn’t necessarily a major life goal, but it’s a thing that I want and that I can’t have unless I accomplish more of the big goals in my life, so I put it on the list.

And I’m frustrated with myself because I have a really good life right now. I am working full time in a bookshop, which has been my dream job since I was ten years old.

I have  a boyfriend who loves me and doesn’t make me feel like I have to wonder if, I just have to wonder when. Either that or he’s misled me terribly and things are about to go real bad.

My dog is just one dog, but he’s the best dog I could ask for. Okay, so sometimes he pukes in my bed, but it’s not his fault. We’ve all had embarrassing vomiting moments, right? I mean, are any of us really proud of the times that we’ve puked? If you are, please contact me, because I admire your confidence on a serious level. But I digress. My dog is awesome. I mean, if you have any doubts, just look at my Instagram feed. That pooch can take a selfie. And his photobombs are on an expert level. Plus, HE’S JUST SO FLUFFY.

And my living situation? I’m really lucky to rent a home that I can afford to live in by myself and it’s got so much character and tons of land to roam on and it’s next to a field of cows. Who doesn’t love fields of cows??

So, really, my life is awesome. But it’s stagnant. Or at least it feels stagnant.

I think we all struggle with this from time to time. We reach a certain point where we start to feel like life is at a stand-still and we’re so focused on what we want to happen next that we stop letting ourselves see what’s happening now, which is scary because what happens when I have all those things I listed before? Am I just going to sit there and still get this feeling of impatience? Will I have acquired new goals? Or will I finally have figured out how to look at my current state of life and think “You know, this is pretty awesome! What more do I need? Sure, now I have five dogs who puke in my bed, but who cares, we’re all drunk anyway, so NO JUDGEMENTS!” And then I’ll just pour everyone another glass of wine and keep eating cheese.

In my ideal life, there is lots of wine and lots of cheese, and I’m always throwing awesome parties. Some would argue that in my ideal life, there shouldn’t be dogs puking in my bed, but THESE ARE MY DREAMS, SO HUSH.

But that is all still to be discovered. Today, I need to sit and focus on how wonderful things are right now. Great things are to come, yes, but great things are also already here. And one dog puking in my bed is enough.

For now.

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All the puppies.

This past Wednesday I was feeling really down for no particular reason at all. It had just been a weird couple of days, I guess, and the weather was crummy, and I don’t know, I was just not doing so well. And then I logged onto twitter and I saw a picture of a random stranger who looked too similar to my friend who died almost a year ago, and that’s when I just lost it.

This upcoming Wednesday would have been the 26th birthday of that friend of mine who lost a battle with depression last March. So, understandably, I wasn’t having the best of days. After all, birthdays are a reason so celebrate another year of a life well lived. He didn’t get that year.

I knew that the first year would be the hardest, and I was as ready for that as I could be. I was preparing myself for the one year mark.

For some reason, I forgot to prepare myself for his birthday.

So, Boyfriend set me up on the couch with a West Wing marathon while he went to the grocery store to pick up dinner, which is incredibly nice of him because I tend to get really bad anxiety inside of grocery stores and my pants have a tendency to fall off outside of them.

And that’s when I took to Twitter.

And then something miraculous happened:

I was flooded with pictures and gifs of puppies. I got puppies via text, via DMs, via emails. There were puppies everywhere. And suddenly I was crying and laughing all at once and everything was terrible and wonderful.

So, this is really just a blog post to thank you all for all the puppies. And to tell you that I love you all so much. Really. FullSizeRender
IMG_3405

You’re all so wonderful.

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That’s it. NO MORE PANTS.

It’s official: The entire Pants population is against me.

Allow me to explain.

A few weeks ago, I discovered that my favorite pair of jeans had a hole near another hole, thus making them slightly inappropriate to wear in public. This happened soon after I had already declared that I needed new pants to wear to work.

So I went shopping for pants. <Please imagine your montage music here>

First stop: The Thrift Store: The thrift store had pants. Many, many pants. None of these pants fit. Eh, what are you gonna do? Thrift stores are always hit or miss. Moving on!

Next up, The Consignment Shop: Alright, here we go, nice pre-owned pants. Wait, why are they all so wide-legged? Seriously, I have a tiny waist and these all fit around the hips, but MY LEGS ARE NOT TREE TRUNKS, PEOPLE. Is this the fashion now? Are we hiding our legs behind giant flowy curtains? I do not approve. I trip easily and this is not going to help me.

And finally, I saw what I needed. Right across the street I saw – I kid you not – The Pants Store: Yes. That was the name of the store. The Pants Store. And it was a big store. This was good. They would have ALL THE PANTS. The Heavens had opened up and angels sang as I ignored all traffic and made my way across the road to enter this beautiful gift from God. I walked in and saw racks and racks and racks of shirts. “WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?” I whisper-yelled. “WHERE ARE THE PANTS???” Finally I found them. Two small round racks of white-washed, pre-ripped capri-jeans.

So, I still have no new pants.

BUT, I do have some pants, so I’m not walking around Daffy-Duck style or anything, don’t worry.

Except…

The other day, it was pretty cold here in Stars Hollow, Connecticut, so I decided to wear some leggings underneath the only pair of appropriate work pants I own. I only mention the leggings because I honestly blame them for giving me a false sense of security later on.

After work, Boyfriend and I headed to the grocery store, but first, of course, I needed to pee. So I did and then we left. We got out of the car in the parking lot of the grocery store and as we were walking in, well…

Me: What is happening?

Boyfriend: You okay?

Me: Yeah, I think – is my purse hoola-hooping itself down my body?

Boyfriend: Excuse me?

Me: I feel something – did the belt dislodge itself from my jack– OH MY GOD MY PANTS ARE FALLING DOWN.

Yup. That happened. You know that cliche story about women who walk into the grocery store with their underwear static-clung to their pants or something?

THIS WAS NOT THAT. THIS WAS PANTS AROUND THE KNEES, PEOPLE.

Now, thank God I had the leggings on, right? WRONG. Had I not had the leggings on, I might not have felt so secure in my pants that in my haste to pee and then leave, I would have realized that they were not fastened and zipped properly. Or at all. Okay, fine, apparently I forgot to button and zip my pants when I left my bathroom. IT HAPPENS TO EVERYONE.

…right?

 

 

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Complainers Gonna Complain — Just Not to the Right People.

I’m terrible at complaining.

Actually, that is a total lie. I’m amazing at complaining. I’m just terrible at complaining to the people who can actually solve the problem.

For example, a friend of mine texted me today with a picture of an incredibly disappointing sandwich that cost her ten dollars.

Me after seeing the photo: Oh dear…

Her: I was so sad when I opened the box… This used to be my favorite sandwich!

Me: I would complain…. Actually that’s not true. I wouldn’t complain, but I’d want to, and then they’d come and ask me how everything was and I’d be all, “Oh this is delicious, thanks so much! Are you guys number one on Yelp around here? Because you totally should be.” 

Her: Same here! 

Me: And then I’d complain to everyone else in the world about it. Because I’m productive. 

And then something hit me: When do I ever actually complain to the person who can fix the problem I’m having?

If I’m not feeling well, I whine to Boyfriend about it instead of actually going to a doctor or the drug store. (Side note, I actually count this as partially effective because by complaining about it to Boyfriend, he often goes to the drug store and takes care of me, which in turn means that I actually did complain to the right person. He doesn’t necessarily agree. His reasons are ridiculous.)

If someone hurts my feelings, I will talk to everyone else in the world I can before I confront them about it. I will call my sister and tell her about it, and then I’ll call my best friend and talk to her about it, and Boyfriend will definitely get an ear-full for WEEKS about how frustrating and insensitive that jerk was to me, but if someone were to suggest that I actually open up and be vulnerable and confront the person responsible for my hurt feelings? No, thank you. BEING VULNERABLE IS HARD AND I DON’T WANT TO.

Bad service at a restaurant? You’re totally still getting over-tipped, but I’ll say something to my friends about how lame our experience was once we’re out the door because I don’t want to hurt your feelings and I’m sure your day was really hard or something like that.

At this rate, if my house caught on fire, I’d call my best friend who lives three hours away before I actually dial 9-1-1 and admit that something has gone wrong.

Why? Because addressing problems makes me incredibly anxious.

If I have to address an issue, it means telling someone that they did something wrong, or it means admitting to someone else (like a doctor) that I did something wrong. And nobody likes to be aware of their mistakes, and I certainly don’t enjoy being the bearer of bad news. I want to be the person that says “Hey! You did an awesome thing! And I feel awesome! Yaaaaaay us!!”

So, until I figure out how to look at a waiter or waitress and say “This food sucks… and you’re awesome,” I think I will just swallow my horrible sandwiches and complain about them on the Internet. Because that way we’re all happy, right? ….Right?

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Always.

Today is a sad day. This week has been a sad week. And because it’s only the 14th of January, we can say that this year has been a bit of a sad year.

I tend to go through a series of strange emotions when a famous person dies. I didn’t know them. Not really. So I always feel like a slight imposter in being so affected by their death.

But then, I think to myself, that I did sort of know them. From a strange and filtered distance, I knew them and their life affected mine, so why shouldn’t their death matter to me? Of course it matters to me. So, yeah, I’m going to shed a tear or two. I’m going to listen to Ziggy Stardust while I cook and I’m going to sing along at the top of my lungs. I’m going to watch Harry Potter movies all week and let myself focus a little more than usual on the greatness that is Professor Severus Snape.

And I am going to cry as if I knew them. As if they were my dear friends. I will cry as if we spent some real time together, because in a way, we did.

And I’m going to celebrate their lives by admiring in their work. I’m going to revel in it. I’m going to dance around. I’m going to be entranced by the fluidity of good vs evil. And I’m going to close my eyes and really sink into both of those voices (because my god, those voices…)

How lucky we are to have had these two great men. How lucky we are to have lived at the same time as each of them. How lucky we are that they chose to live their lives in a way that allowed us to know them in such a strange and beautiful way. And how lucky we are that we can continue to know and enjoy them. Always.

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