Monthly Archives: April 2011

Insincerely, Me

Insincerely, Me

My line of work is a constant reminder of how we fake everything in our lives, every single day. Kids fake illness to get out of school, they fake being rich so that they’re not cast out by their friends, they fake being in relationships — which are also fake, depending on how old they are — so that they are admired and envied. Adults fake illness to get out of going to work, they fake being smarter so that their peers don’t think they got the job because their somebody’s somebody is the Chairman of the company, and they fake being happy for their friends who are getting married and/or knocked up because things like Facebook demand some sort of public response.

While faking illnesses, personal wealth and brain capacity is normal, and on some level, acceptable, because it’s human nature to want to appear better than we really are, what about faking happiness for others? One of the most significant changes in life as I get older is the number of wedding invitations I’ve been receiving. What amazes me isn’t the number of invitations, but really who I’ve been receiving them from. Two ex-boyfriends, two church friends, and a few acquaintances I made in my much younger years. I rejected them all. Aside from the fact that I (a) detest weddings, (b) don’t believe in inviting former lovers to weddings or attending any held by them, and (c) haven’t seen my church friends since my extremely short-lived attempt to be a good Catholic died out two years ago, I don’t really understand the logic behind inviting people who are in no way a significant part of your life.

Recently, I received an invitation to a wedding of someone I considered a good friend — until I realized that she wasn’t. I had long known of her habit of getting in touch only when she wanted something, when her boyfriend was off doing something on his own, or when her other friends were too busy that she had nobody else to hang out with, but I chose to overlook it because I have known her since before I was legal and, being the antisocial butterfly that I am, I was not one to turn down friends. But friendships and romantic relationships ultimately know the same bounds, and it was when I reached my breaking point that I decided this was one friend I could afford to do without. I figured that if she was already behaving like this x-number of months before her wedding, she would likely be no different after it. Especially when, right after getting engaged, she adopted the I’m-getting-married-and-my-life-is-complete-so-let-me-sit-back-and-judge-everyone-else air.

So I decided not to go for the wedding.

Before you balk at that, ask yourself: do you really want a guest who is at your wedding simply because they didn’t know how to decline your invitation? I have been to weddings of couples — especially the bride — who invited as many people as they knew because they wanted to be able to show them that they were getting married, and didn’t really care how well they actually knew them.

Over the years, I’ve learned that there is absolutely no point in keeping up a friendship if nobody is making any effort to do so. I’ve had a hard enough time keeping in touch with my friends from Buffalo and the students I had in Boston — although I tried to rectify that — so it sometimes baffles me that two people living in the same vicinity have an even harder time with it, and worse, take it for granted. And now that I’ve reached a point in my life where I have no time for anybody except the ones who really matter to me — the total number of whom I can count on less than two hands — I think I’m in a position to be able to say, “No, I will not be attending this troll’s wedding because neither they nor I deserve it.”

Author’s note: Due to the sensitivity of this subject, any questions pertaining to the identities of the people mentioned in this piece will not be entertained in any way.

I was made for you

I was made for you

The final track from the Grey’s Anatomy Season 7 musical episode Song Beneath a Song that not only had me in a big tearful heap, but also reminded me for the umpteenth time that despite all the little problems, the big picture is what counts in the end.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4IGEAlmXrE

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true… and I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But, baby, I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
Yeah, you do, and I was made for you

You see the smile that’s on my mouth
It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed
They don’t know my head is a mess
No, they don’t know who I really am
And they don’t know what I’ve been through like you do
And I was made for you

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true, that I was made for you

– The Story, originally by Brandi Carlile –

Back in the race

Back in the race

It has begun again. After 12 days away from the chaos of the real world — and 5 days in the organized chaos of Saigon — I’m back at work. The first week of my new job has just sailed by, and it has been a slightly strange, but enlightening, five days, probably because this is only my second job ever in this country and I have only the one job — which I ended up hating — to compare it with. I didn’t have very much to do this first week; nevertheless, it gave me an opportunity to sit quietly and take in everything I saw and heard around me.

The most immediate, and therefore shallow, observations that I have been able to make so far are:

  1. My office is very quiet. At my old job, the environment I was in was utter pandemonium all the live long day, which I could only successfully shut out by stuffing my earphones into my ears and turning up the volume of my music. Now, it’s so quiet that everyone’s cell phones seem to be silenced, with beeping heard only when messages are received. That, in turn, has compelled me to turn off the ringer of my own phone too, and to shut myself in a meeting room when I want to make phone calls, which can be very frustrating for someone who spouts profanity as often as I do.
  2. People are mostly left to their own devices, as they are out of the office most of the time and speak to one another usually only when it’s work-related. This is a stark change in my eyes, and it struck me the hardest because at my old job, the lack of efforts to socialize and participate in office banter would typically result in one being labelled a snob and branded an outcast.
  3. There will always — always — be at least one person in every company who is capable of leaving such a strong impression on even the newest employee that they know right off the bat how much or how little they want to interact with this person. At my old job, I ended up labelling one such person most accurately as a social climber. I hope with all my might never to have to go to such extremes again.
  4. Lunch hour is taken most seriously here — so seriously, in fact, that when people aren’t out taking exactly one hour to have their lunch, they’re spending it in the office, eating at their desk, or appearing not to even eat at all. This is another aspect that struck me as odd, because at my old job, everyone took at least two hours for lunch, and each didn’t care if the other lived or died on the way back to the office.
  5. Companies that need to hire third-party groups to handle their events and public relations matters are generally the most disorganized, as I very quickly saw for myself entering into this job. This is inadvertently a nod to my previous company, which did everything in-house and still managed to get it right most of the time (score-fudging on The Star‘s part notwithstanding, but that’s for another post).
  6. Getting thrown into the deep end of the pool and having to flail around until you break the surface — otherwise known as ‘learning the hard way’ — is still the best (and most common) way to go. I flailed at my old job, and I’m flailing now.

This is so similar and yet so different from what I did in my previous job, not so much because of what I’m doing, as the way I’m learning to do it. The kind of life doing what I do now will definitely be difficult, but I’m already beginning to see that it may be the closest to what I needed to regroup myself and resume the journey down this inconceivably winding road towards figuring out the difference between what I want to do and what it is I’m really good for (the latter of which probably isn’t much, but it’s still worth trying to find out) — and hope I don’t fall flat on my face again this time.