Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Prompt: Tell us about something you know you should do . . . but don’t.

My Response:

I know that I should try to make new friends, meet new people. And sometimes I get a weird urge to, but I don’t do it. I know that I will eventually, maybe when the weather becomes less extreme because I don’t tolerate the cold well. But right now, being on my own is fine for me.

I’m not the kind of person who needs to have other people around. I’ve always been this way. I remember once reading about how Shirley Manson finished her latest tour and went out to a grocery store and freaked out because she was by herself. She realized that for 15 years, she has had someone around.

And it was funny to me how I am the opposite. When I have people around, that takes an adjustment on my part. It drains me mentally at times. And I feel that I need to be on my own again to recuperate for a while. I do like having company, just not all the time.

There is the danger of getting lost in one’s own head, which I tend to do, so I do see the value in pursuing friendships and hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions. Constantly focusing on oneself makes you a bit crazy and unstable and unreasonable. It’s healthy to realize that it’s not all about you.

I think I realize this more as I get older. There is a great big world out there and I’m not the center of it. I’m the center of the world inside my head, but other people are going on about their lives, oblivious to me and what I think or feel every day. Their own lives are what’s most important to them usually, just like me.

Social situations make me nervous, especially when no one is drinking and everyone is kind of tense if they don’t know each other well. I find this kind of thing a nightmare. I constantly wonder if I’m saying the right thing, if the other person gets me, if they find me strange.

I tend to recall stupid things like when I threw a baby shower for a coworker (because others pushed me to) and while everyone was gathered, I attempted to speak now and then and be friendly.

Whenever I would say anything totally normal, two of my female coworkers would look at each other and laugh. And I was just left thinking, what the fuck did I say that was so funny?

These kinds of memories get in the way and anger me when I feel the most vulnerable. I don’t like to be judged or laughed at for no reason. Social anxiety is a very real thing for some people.

My mother tells me that having friends is easy. Maybe it is for her, and the majority of the population. But not for me, for some reason that I have yet to understand.

January 23, 2014. Tags: , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Title Prompt

Prompt: Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

My Response:

My blog title, Rubies of Random Thought, means that I sometimes feel that I have epiphanies in my writing. But other times, it is just drab. Everything goes into my paper journal, but only the ‘rubies’ go onto my blog.

The rubies are the special thoughts in which I articulated something in a certain way that I am proud of, and that I feel is worth sharing.

Random Thought, meaning that out of all the stuff drifting through my mind, only certain things are ever written down and I don’t know why those thoughts are and not others.

There is a strong internal voice that picks up on observations, feelings, impressions and insights, and that’s the voice that comes out in my writing.

It takes a lot of stillness at times to hear it. And when the mind is muddled with thoughts, it becomes nearly inaudible. At times though, that inner voice- the chatter can become “incessant,” as Sylvia Plath once put it. It won’t leave me alone until I express it through my pen. And I can’t feel quite complete until I do.

Many times, I find I have to write a bit of stream of consciousness stuff, to empty out the mind of the minutia, in order to reach the ruby thoughts underneath.

They are always there somewhere in the subconscious mind, but are not always obvious. Writing more often sharpens them, hones the inner voice, and encourages it to emerge more and not be so elusive.

January 23, 2014. Tags: , . writing. Leave a comment.

All of Our Blessings

When I first told my mother about how I love getting home delivery service for my groceries, the first thing she said was “Isn’t it great to live in this country?” And it really struck me. We are so lucky and we often take that for granted. We have everything that we need, plus extra comforts too.

My mother was born and raised in Colombia. Everyone around her was very poor, always in need. She has 4 sisters and is the oldest. She had no toys when she was little. She jokes about having had to play with the roaches and bugs and animals.

When my mother moved here and got married and then pregnant, she did not have a lavish baby shower. She bought the few things she needed on her own at Woolworth’s.

The main aim for her and my father was survival, and raising my sister and I. All they wanted was a better life for us. My mother still periodically sends clothes/bedding/jewelry/makeup/perfume/curtains to her relatives in Colombia. And they cherish it all.

They wear my old dresses, jewelry and clothes (that I gave my mother to donate) until they are falling apart. And I gave them away because I was tired of them, and clothing and jewelry here is so plentiful.

Her relatives use everything to the fullest, until it’s no longer useful. Here there is abundance to the point where we barely see what we are blessed with anymore. We can’t imagine lacking anything.

I never complain. I have a job, a warm place to sleep, a loving family, and enough food to eat. And use of all my senses and limbs. Many people in this world are not so lucky, every day is a struggle for them.

All I worry about are my wants, not my needs. My needs are all handled thanks to my parents who paid for my education, and who taught me discipline, love and gratitude. My love for them knows no bounds.

Always remember that so many people in the world would love to live the way that we do, with abundance, luxuries, comforts, security and hope for the future. Give to those who need help, share your wealth.

January 16, 2014. Tags: . writing. Leave a comment.

Quote Prompt

Prompt: Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

My Response:

I don’t have a quote that I return to again and again. But I recently watched the movie Castaway and there was a quote in it that really struck me. It’s something that I think I was supposed to hear at this time in my life. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t read any further.

Near the end of the movie, Tom Hanks’ character is rescued. He is speaking to someone and explaining how much pain he’s in because his fiancé from before his plane accident has remarried. He has lost her because she assumed he had died. He says that after he was stranded, he told himself he had to stay alive on the island and simply keep breathing, and one day, the tide came in and brought him a sail. (He used that makeshift sail to escape to freedom and be rescued).

He compares his current hopelessness about the relationship to that moment. Although he feels empty and alone without the woman he loves, he know he has to just keep breathing and stay alive because “Who knows what the tide could bring?”

There is so much truth to that quote. I was moved by this moment in the film and the sincerity with which he spoke the line. There have been many times in my life when I’ve felt hopeless, but then something happens to turn my whole mood/day/life around, and it’s usually something that I could never see coming.

So I don’t think there’s any sense in believing that the future will be a continuation of the past. It only will if we don’t allow our minds to expand and see the real possibilities out there. It’s like that line from a Garbage song, “Nothing in life is set in stone, there’s nothing that can’t be turned around.”

I think we hear the things we are meant to hear and they affect us in ways to make us learn, open our eyes and all senses and simply observe. There are always messages coming to us. Every day is a new chance to start over.

Below is a fuller version of the quote, along with another quote from this film that has stayed with me:

“I had power over *nothing*. And that’s when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that’s what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I’m back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass… And I’ve lost her all over again. I’m so sad that I don’t have Kelly. But I’m so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

 “The most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.”
-Main character reading from a birthday card

January 6, 2014. Tags: , , , , . writing. Leave a comment.

New Year Prompt

Prompt: Where were you when 2013 turned into 2014? Is that where you’d wanted to be?

My Response:

I was at my sister’s neighbor’s house, a family who lives across the street from them. I had to take three trains to get there and it was freezing cold, and I wanted to be home. But at the same time, I didn’t want to be alone again on New Year’s Eve.

I figured the distraction of my niece and nephew, and talking to my sister, and watching my brother-in-law DJ at the party would be good for me. My mother always tells me that it’s better to welcome the new year accompanied, than alone.

It was an OK party, I drank a lot, danced, and tried to forget my loneliness. The neighbors were nice people, though I was getting hit on by a brother of the neighbor, which I did not welcome and was kind of annoyed by. I later found out he was ten years younger than me. I wasn’t attracted to him at all, as is usual with the guys who like me.

The neighbor was a girl my age, but with a totally different life. She had a house, was married and had two small sons. Her children spent the time playing with my niece and nephew. We all oohed and awwwed at how cute they were dancing together. Of course it wasn’t my ideal new year’s celebration. After spending so many years with my ex-boyfriend, having a romantic time escaping from the world together over Christmas break and into New Year’s.

Every holiday seems more difficult when your single, but whatever. I’m alive and have my health and possibilities for a different future. That’s what I try to keep in mind, even though the Valentine’s Day decorations are already going up in the stores.

Once the holidays passed, I felt better. I kind of wish I didn’t work at home sometimes, so I could interact with other people more directly on a daily basis. But when there is a huge snowfall, I realize how lucky I am to work from home.

Ironically, when the big snowfall hit, I wanted more than anything to go out and meet people. That is extremely rare for me. I guess that’s just the way it works. I had to wait a while for my anti-depressant medication to start working so I could start feeling social again and stop hiding from everyone and everything.

It was just not the best timing with the weather situation. But it did give me time to write, to meditate, to clean out my closet, to watch some movies I borrowed from my sister, and to exercise. Maybe tonight I’ll finally get back to reading The Help, which somehow went ignored during my whole Christmas vacation week.

I went out today to a drugstore and was met with sidewalks coated by sheets of ice. It was actually safer to walk in the streets with the oncoming traffic (during red lights). And I remembered again how grateful I am to work from home, as the commute tomorrow morning would’ve been horrendous.

January 5, 2014. Tags: , , . writing. Leave a comment.