Giving Up

Not every dream you have is going to work out. Not every person you fall for is going to love you back. Sometimes you will make the wrong choices, life will get in the way, or things will be out of your control.

That was made abundantly clear the other day when I was unpacking boxes that I had been storing in my guest room. I was confronted with about 25 pounds of notes that I had taken when I was pursuing my Dental Laboratory Technology degree. Despite graduating with honors and having high hopes about buying a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina and starting my own dental lab out of the garage, here I am, a bridgetender in Seattle.

I wanted that dream so badly I could taste it. But I couldn’t convince anyone to hire me so that I could gain the needed experience, and I certainly couldn’t control the fact that 6 months later I needed surgery on my wrist that would make it physically impossible to do that work.

The death of a dream. Hate when that happens. I think I went into mourning for about a year, and despite the fact that I’ve since moved on, I couldn’t quite bring myself to get rid of those notes. I lugged them all the way across the country with me, even though I knew, without a doubt, that I’d have no use for them. I just wasn’t ready to let go.

So here was this massive pile of emotionally-charged notes that were taking up space in my guest room. But this was ridiculous. The last thing I need is a 25 pound albatross around my neck. So, trying not to think too much, I pitched them all into the recycle bin.

Well, no, not all of them. I kept my orthodontic notes. And textbooks. And tools. Because that’s what I wanted to do—make orthodontic appliances, like retainers. I know I’m being silly. I know that dream isn’t happening, ever. But it’s a part of who I was, who I am. And those tools might actually come in handy. You never know.

But it was rather cleansing, getting rid of all the other stuff. It felt like another step toward healing. It was high time.

Giving up on something or someone after you’ve exhausted all viable avenues of pursuit isn’t necessarily defeat. It isn’t abject failure, either. It means, quite often, that you’re being a mature adult who is being realistic and moving on.

There’s no shame in that. It’s a huge part of life. And if you’re lucky, like I’ve been, you can look back from a good place and realize you actually wound up right where you were supposed to be all along. You may not have been able to see it in the past, but things have a funny way of working out the way they should.

Sometimes you have to give up in order to get something spectacular. Sometimes giving up is the right thing to do.

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Who Gave Me This Gift?

Here lately, I’ve been having quite a few frustration dreams. You know the kind. I’m lost and no matter how hard I try, I can’t find my way out. Or I keep cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, but the place is still a mess. Or I’m running in slow motion. Or I’m trying to say something really important, but no one is listening.

Just the other day, I was thinking about these dreams as I fell asleep. I was trying to figure out the source of my frustration. I was feeling… well… frustrated that I couldn’t reach any conclusions. And those thoughts, as I drifted off, triggered an even stranger dream.

In this one, I had been given the gift of a tank top. I do like tank tops, but it’s the dead of winter, so I was a little befuddled by this. I decided to try on the tank top anyway. It fit well, but I felt some strange lumps in the shoulder straps. I reached up and pulled out a wrench. And then a screw driver. And then a hammer. And then a saw… and so on. It was like the hardware equivalent of a clown car.

And then a voice said, “You have all the tools you need.”

That woke me up out of a sound sleep. Because… who was that?

The current thinking in terms of dream interpretation is that every actor in your dream is a manifestation of yourself. But that wasn’t me. I know it in the very marrow of my bones. My Id is not that confident. My Superego couldn’t be bothered. It wasn’t any part of me. Who, then?

A friend of mine theorizes that it was God. Her spiritual beliefs and mine aren’t very similar. I don’t anthropomorphize my higher power. And even if I did, in the Trump era, it’s safe to assume he or she has much bigger fish to fry.

Could it have been my mother, speaking to me from beyond the grave? Or my late boyfriend? My father? My sister?

I don’t know. I just know it wasn’t me. It was a good message, though. If it had been a sinister message I’d be worried. But it was a positive message. “You have all the tools you need.” The minute it was said, I believed it. So I’ll just focus on that.

Sometimes you just need to take the gifts that are given to you, and say thank you.

Voice of God

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Nesting

So, it’s official! I am buying a house! I’m so excited.

During this waiting period, while all the paperwork gets processed, and in between packing by fits and starts, I am starting to imagine the many ways I will make this house a home.

First of all, this place is really, really small. And it has very little storage. I see several trips to IKEA for shelving and cabinetry in my future.

And while the house is small, the yard is fairly big. My dog Quagmire is going to love it! But I’m going to need a lawnmower. And lots and lots of plants, to take up some of that space so I have less need for the lawnmower. I’ve always wanted a weeping blue aster pine, but I’m not sure if they fare well in Washington State. I’ll have to do some homework. I also insist on having a lilac bush and a forsythia, because my mother adored them. And I love Chinese maples. Oooh! And tulip trees! And junipers!

And I’ll need a couch. And tools. And…

Whoa, Nelly. Get a grip. All this is going to cost money. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Yadda yadda.

Oh, leave me alone! Can’t you see I’m nesting, here?

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Bad Words

I used to work with someone who would get horrified if we used the word “toilet” in the log book. As in, “The toilet overflowed and needs to be repaired.” She said that the only acceptable word to use is “commode.” Oh my. Such fragile sensibilities must get bruised quite a bit in a world where one no longer wears gloves and pillbox hats.

I’ve always been amused at people who are bothered by word use. Words, in and of themselves, have no moral, ethical or emotional content. Words are words. They have definitions. That’s it. There is no such thing as a “bad” word. Cursing doesn’t cause you to be cursed. People who get worked up by word use have an overactive need to control or feel superior.

What makes words objectionable is the intent behind them. If your intent is to shock or offend or embarrass, then that is what people should take exception to. Hate speech isn’t defined by the vocabulary. It’s a verbal expression of a person’s nefarious objective.

I once wrote a blog entry about one of my pet peeves, gender-specific curse words. Don’t ever call me a b**ch unless you want to be deleted from my life. But it’s not the word itself that bugs me. It’s the implication that adding “female” into the mix makes the insult even worse. So I’m not upset at the word, I’m upset at your mindset as you’re using it.

Words are tools. Tools can be used for good or evil, but at the end of the day, they’re just tools. It’s the hand that wields the tool that is to blame for what it creates.

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[image credit: stephaniemcmillan.org]