Things We Like on the Internet: Cats and Blogs

Things that are fun on the Internet:

Rich kids of Instagram. Duh. #getonmylevel (or really, anything making fun of Instagram) But seriously, who knew there were Louis Vuitton versions of guns of all things? Not this girl.

[By “we”, I mean “I”. But whatever.]

Things that are fun on the Internet:

Rich kids of Instagram. Duh. #getonmylevel (or really, anything making fun of Instagram) But seriously, who knew there were Louis Vuitton versions of guns of all things? Not this girl.

Yep, that’s Louis.

Thought Catalog because they are sarcastic and sappy at the same time. And that, my friends, is kind of hard to do.

The Aww section of Reddit. Some people say you could spend hours on there looking at adorable kittens and cats, with the occassional random baby (that nobody upvotes).

Say it with me now: “Awww”

And then, there’s this, which is not so much fun as it is true and honest:

I should acknowledge something that my friends and family don’t know. It was something I didn’t even know was true about myself until I sat down to write this story: I have a fantasy that someday, I’ll meet a man who is good with money and also wants to be with me. It is so weird to say that out loud, but when I was writing this and scanning my brain for a conclusion to my weighty money problem, I found this solution floating around my head. And I suddenly realized it’s what I have been waiting to happen all of my adult life, instead of just taking charge and getting a “real” job, and having a realistic relationship with money.

This comes from an article on xoJane.com titled, “I’m 32 and my family bankrolls my lifestyle”; which, I’ll be honest, has a this-is-Lisa ring to it. Except, that this was actually true just one year ago and isn’t true anymore. Sort of. (Small disclosure: my phone bill is a $20 something dollar add-on to a family plan.)

I have good reasons and all that, and the past few years were spent in college, so I get a free pass for those. Thanks.

Honestly, though, I have to admit I agree with Bree when she wrote that her solution was to marry a man who was good with money. Ahem. Oops. That was my plan, too. Until a few years ago recently, I decided to just sort of be oblivious and hope for the best and accept the parental bailout that was inevitable. And then I got my shit together.

Or, as some would say, fate sort of dropped a good job in my lap. Or, more accurately, fate and 12+ years of experience on Excel spreadsheets (not the most glamorous skill, I know) landed me in my current position (which shall-not-be-named) in this biotech company (which also shall-not-be-named, because it’s YOU, the Internet and you’re full of trolls and psychos who are actually normal people but super bitchy when you’re angry and think no one knows who you are. The gig is up–we all know who you are. Duh. IP address, genius.).

So, instead of finding a man, I found a job. Not your average English major job, thank god. But a job that allows me to stop thinking stupid shit like I used to think and get it together, man. On my own. Without mom or dad or the bf.

Grief and Other Hideous Effects

Every morning I go to the French doors at the back of my house and I look upon the wide expanse of desert that surrounds me. I look down at the patio, and I don’t see Ella so my gaze runs out to the East, where my mom and I set a cat trap with salmon. I lost my cat two weeks ago, and although I know her likely destiny was prey to a California desert predator, I keep looking for her to show up.

Grief does funny things to people. It’s an emotion that I didn’t clearly recognize I was going through the years after leaving the cult I was involved in. Some people said they thought I felt rejected and that was why I became depressed. Of course there was rejection upon leaving.  Upon disagreeing with the senior pastor, he cut me off from communication (like he’d done to so many others in his past). Why?  He became disappointed in me because I was unwilling to come back to Louisiana and I was unwilling to live my life according to his rules. Fragments of conversation trickle down the chain of command there in Louisiana, where eavesdroppers at household conversations and bystanders at after-church discussions mix truth with lies with assumptions about why people leave the church. Eventually, the game of telephone dilutes any truth of why anyone left and people are left to their own assumptions mixed with he-said, she-said which is never generous to the person who leaves the “place of blessing” or “out of the anointing” or “House of God.” Negative assumptions breed rejection, and what I felt was rejection from people I’d grown close to for much of the history of my young adult life.

More powerfully than rejection, though, was the grief I experienced from an amalgamation of losing my friends, people I considered close (like family), and discarding and deconstructing the teachings I now disagreed with.

During a journey of grieving and depression, I allowed myself to be expressive, angry, searching and honest.

I began to grieve and mourn the loss of people I’d considered friends for many years of my life, and I began to grieve the loss of what I thought was my “faith” and what turned out to be a need for people’s approval. As I began to intersect the faith I’d been taught in the cult with the faith I’d felt in my heart was right my entire life, I began to see a great chasm that needed to be reconciled. So, I set out to find my own truth—the things I believed about love, people, dreams—without placing pressure on myself to meet someone else’s approval.

I felt that to become a blank slate was something that would help me ascertain what my own beliefs were, as opposed to what I was taught in the cult.

I deconstructed the idea of Christianity completely.

I took it all apart, piece-by-piece and was left with a sort of artists table with a clean canvas and materials to construct with. I had paints of all colors and tones, magazine cut-outs, fragments of books I’d read, pictures I’d seen, people I’d known, and experiences I’d had. With a clean slate in front of me, I took my old materials and examined them. I turned them to the right and the left and looked at them from the back, and the front with a critical eye. I read from experts in the field of religion, feminism, humanitarianism, literature. I compared them with human beings in history and the present time who were models of exceptional citizenship, who treated people fairly and respectfully.

Many of my old materials needed to be discarded. They came from a long line of historical violence, a present day close-minded manner and an anti-intellectual path that I no longer wanted to walk on.

As I felt more liberated, I acted more liberated.

The years of grief were mixed with years of feeling buoyant, vibrant.

There were years I’d sit at a writing desk and feel like a dried out old pen, because I was worried what the people from my past would think. How would they judge me? What gossip sessions would occur because of what I was about to write? What prayers of concern would go up to God from them on behalf of my soul, because I was now changed from the Lisa they knew? I had no voice to speak—only fear, yet I had words that were jamming up in my head and twisting like pretzels to get out. When I would begin to write, the nightmares would come. The mornings I’d wake up with fear that they were real. I was back there. The women were coming for me—ensuring I didn’t escape.

Grief isn’t something you navigate out of like short river boat ride. Grief is complex and misunderstood: the outer shell of humans experiencing it often not showing signs and other times causing people to fall apart, lose their ability to reason and calculate and concentrate.

Grief can also be like a painting:

grey,

black and hazy,

with a few strokes

of white

and blue

lighting up

the picture.

“Grief, when it comes, is nothing we expect it to

be…Grief is different.

Grief has no difference.

Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden

apprehensions that weaken the knees

and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.”

Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Losing My Job

In July I lost my job. I decided to go back to school, considering I only had one semester left and considering that I was offered unemployment. It sounded like a good plan until things went incredibly different than the plan.

First, Senioritis started kicking in pretty heavily. Not only did I not want to attend class, I decided no one was going to make me. This has since backfired on me, because college has turned into high school and two of my four professors make attendance mandatory, with penalties to your grade.

Second, I lost my unemployment benefits because I’m in school. Essentially, I told the truth about being in school (which most people don’t do, I’m assuming?) and stopped getting any money. I’m usually not one to “ask for a handout” but in this case, I needed my benefits to continue. My expertise is in administration and that requires that I be available to work Monday to Friday, 8-5. With my school schedule, there was no way I could find a job to support me through my last few months of school.

When I lost my unemployment, I started job searching. I applied for anything and everything I was qualified for, and even jobs I was overqualified for. My plan was to start working, even if that meant I had to quit school mid-semester because of my financial hardships.

I got an interview for a part time position, even though I’d applied for many full time positions. The interview went well, but as it turns out, they hired someone else.

This past week I interviewed at a bookstore. I love books and I love this store, but I’ll be making less than half of what I was making before. It’s not enough to support me.  So, I was frantically searching for a place to live here in the LA area that would be affordable. It turns out all I was able to afford was a small room for rent in a house with 3 other adults, 2 kids and 2 dogs. Plus, my 2 cats. What a nightmare. I came home from looking at that room for rent and broke down crying.

October has been the most depressing month ever.

I honestly felt so depressed about my financial situation that for the first time in years I thought I would rather be dead. Considering that I have a pretty bright future (recent publications and book-writing in progress), the depression was just even shittier.

Week after week I cried and things got worse. My landlords were showing my apartment and I was dreading moving. Then my parents called me and saved the day. It’s not that the economy has been treating them well. They’re in sales and they lost a lot of business over the past few years due to the economy. Somehow, thankfully, they’re able to help me. It’s humbling to be the one who needs help, but it’s just the way it is right now. Our economy is terrible. I can’t wait to be finished with school so I can go back to work full-time. Although I hate administrative work, it’s what pays the bills. And in this economy, I’m grateful to have my bills paid.

Cats

Painting, anyone?Boo and his strange sleeping positions
Oh, now the drawers are empty, Mom!

Everyone on the Internet loves cats. It’s the only place people with allergies can enjoy them. And they do. And why not? Cats are smart, they’re independent and they’re super goofy. I really need to set up a Cat TV to show you what my cats do when I get home from work. They are incredibly funny, especially Molly, who greets me every morning with a new mess. Usually the same mess that I’ve cleaned up the day before, but she’s got a routine. Every night when I’m in bed sleeping, she proceeds to open cupboards and drawers in the kitchen, and then the drawers around my bed. Sometimes she even pulls all the clothes out of the drawers and gets inside to sleep. WTF, kitty?

Someone's feet-in the (now) empty drawersSometimes they're just bad kitties...and make these kinds of messes...over and over and over. It's like they're bored, but they can't really be that bored. I think it's more of the fact that they are just ASSHOLES and love seeing me clean things up...again and again...and again.I hid the kitty toys in here. Bad idea.
But look at those eyes. Who can resist? No matter how much of an asshole she is, I’ll always love her.
And then sometimes they just become incredibly adorable and cuddly (with each other mostly, but sometimes with me). Or if I’m having a bad day, Boo always comes to lay next to me and purr. It’s kind of awesome how they know…

Molly's infamous "tongue out" sleeping position
<3