All Wrapped Up

It’s no secret that I love opening presents. I’ve mentioned it before. A few seconds spent feverishly shredding the paper off of a neatly wrapped gift is a divine high that I’ve treasured for as long as I can remember. It’s especially good if I’m opening a gift earlier than I’m supposed to!

I know that I’m a maniac when it comes to presents. But I’m not a total monster. I thoroughly enjoy the pleasures of gift giving as well. So it’s okay if I lose my head every now and then because every gift given in return absolves me of this egregious misdeed.

I’m good at putting thought into my gifts. Finding something that just fits the recipient so well, something worthy of genuine gratitude. I bought The Magpie a purse for Christmas last year, which doesn’t sound remarkable, I know. But everything about it was so on point for what she would like. The pattern, the size, and the style all perfectly complimented her unique personality while catering to her purse needs. And that made me truly happy. Choosing the gifts isn’t an issue, it’s the wrapping that can be a real bitch.

I’ve stumbled at wrapping on many occasions. If something doesn’t come in a nice square package, I’m fucked. And I won’t go out of my way to buy boxes for things to fit into. I just can’t bring myself to do that. It’d be like paying for a soda at the movies. Why should I have to do that when anything I could ever want to drink can be purchased at a reasonable price elsewhere and then smuggled in with ease? Plus, I don’t want to miss out on the fun of smuggling! There are so few opportunities in life for a good harmless smuggle. You know I’m taking every one I get.

So if a seemingly decent box isn’t lying around for me to use, then I’ll just try my luck at wrapping whatever it is freestyle. I’m capable, right? I can figure this shit out. It’s not like we’re trying to crack the Da Vinci Code. We’re just trying to get some paper taped nicely around some weirdly shaped thing. All jutting angles and strange bends disguised to my satisfaction. Try though I might, the mental blueprint I’m following isn’t always translated so well.

A couple of the more noteworthy examples would be wedding gifts. Wedding gifts cause the most grief because the registry is usually a plethora of oddly shaped housewares. And sometimes that shit doesn’t come in a box, sometimes it’s just there, loose on the shelves. Loose housewares, the bane of gift wrapping. Another part of the problem is that I’m a very arrogant eye-baller. I always tackle the challenge thinking that my superior skills of eye-balling out the amount of paper needed will get me through this. Only to realize afterwards that I probably should have tried at measuring. A handle, an arm, a surface area, anything actually measured might have helped. But by the time I’ve rounded up the gifts, the wrapping paper, the scissors, and the tape, I’ve no energy left to search for some measly implement of measuring!

These are the gifts I wrapped for the last two weddings I went to:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A badass new frying pan for The Magpie

Cheese knives for my beloved sister

Cheese knives for my beloved sister

Damn you metal flap!

Damn you metal flap!

It’s total garbage. And I don’t even have kids to blame it on! I can’t be like, “Oh, little blah blah really wanted to do the wrapping so we let it.”

All the bits wind up getting covered up eventually. But unfortunately for me, you can’t cover up shame. The only thing you can do now is attack the open bar with a vengeance and hope that people go easy on you; blaming your constantly drunk and disorderly behaviour for that shitty looking wrap job instead.

My cousin’s wedding is coming up soon and there’s a bridal shower for her this weekend, which means more attempts at wedding gift wrapping for me. Looking back over past transgressions though, I realize that I shouldn’t just do the same half-assed job I always do. She deserves better. Everyone deserves better than this, but unfortunately I’m only coming to this realization now. I apologize profusely to any gift recipients I’ve wronged in the past. You deserved better too. I was just too cocky to think about it from your perspective, and I know that was wrong.

This time around, I actually paid for it. I bought the gifts online and then worked up the humility to put a tick in that little box for “gift wrapping”. I paid for someone else to do something for me. It felt dirty and wrong, going against every one of my gift giving instincts that way. But when I went to pick up the gifts and saw how they looked, I was actually glad that I did. For once in my life I’m going to roll into a wedding like a goddamned champion because I’ve got a thoroughbred gift in tow.

Much better!

Much better!

Look at that gorgeous mofo. Hells yeah bitches, that gift is with me! All of the weirdly shaped items I bought have been neatly packaged into boxes that fit and have been covered in wrapping paper so hearty it can withstand a nuclear blast.

And it’s big! It’s a honking huge gift. I also love rolling into a wedding with the largest possible gift I could get. When I look over a registry, I always look for the biggest items. Because then people are more excited about opening them. It’s not some boring little doodad. All other gifts on the table orbit around my gift because it’s so large it’s got gravitational pull. It’s a fucking planet. Congratulations on your nuptials, I bought you guys a planet of your very own!

I love giving gifts, and I love tackling challenges with gusto. But I’ve been to this rodeo enough times now to know that sometimes I need help. I’ve done enough atrocious wrapping jobs to know when I’ve been bested. And nobody should have to suffer my misguided intentions on their wedding day. They already have to foot my bar bill, and trust me, that’s painful enough.

My Year of Awesome!

Happy Birthday to my beloved blog Smashing Through Life!

Vincent

Fake snakes for everyone!

That’s right, as of February 5th, I have officially been writing this blog for one full year. Wow, time really flies when you resolve to change your life. And change my life this year I did…

When I started this blog a year ago, I had no idea how tremendously my life was going to change. This time last year, my heart was breaking. A little piece of it, every day. I was doing a job that I was talented at, but had no upward motion. The place was a mismanaged zoo. Half of our team pulling way more than their weight because they gave a shit. The other half, careless slackers who preferred sleeping their way to the top, you know, instead of earning it like decent folk. So many secrets. So much political drama. It was like trying to swim through wet concrete. Every single goddamn day.

Working long hours. Loooong hours. And then going home and working more. Thinking, dreaming, breathing, crying, bleeding work. Some nights, I couldn’t even speak properly when I got home. My mind, a snarling and tangled mess.

It was even worse after The Magpie left. Nothing good ever happening. Always coming into work and cleaning up after others. Always having to take the lead, and bear the burden of responsibility for the whole department. Always struggling and stressing in silence. No appreciation. No promotion in sight. Even though the carrot was perpetually being dangled in front of me, my heart always knew it was never really going to drop.

I know how exploitation feels. And I will never let myself feel that way again.

So much pressure. To impress, to succeed, to make a difference. The weight of the world was slowly crushing me to death, one work day at a time. I had no time to think, to breathe, to be me anymore.

Outwardly, unless you know me really goddamn well, my strife was imperceptible. I carried it around with me, but I didn’t advertise it. That’s not my way. I’m not the forthcoming type when it comes to my problems, my pain.

If I didn’t find a way to release some of the tension in my soul, I was going to rupture something. That’s why I started the blog. I needed something, just for me. Something I could enjoy. A way to express my frustrations. A vehicle, an outlet. A way to remedy myself. A soothing salve for my aching heart.

I needed some fucking positivity in my life.

I know this all sounds so dramatic. “Surely this post is rife with hyperbole”, you exclaim to yourself. Throwing your hands up in the air with mock incredulity. But it isn’t. What I described was my reality. It was a dramatic time in my life. I was drenched in unwanted drama. And I just wanted to have fun again.

I started writing. Writing always used to feel so good. I wrote a novel once. The summer between seventh and eighth grade. That was another tumultuous time in my life. Moving to a new town, starting over at a new school in the fall. So I took to writing, to make myself feel better. I wrote on a really old PC that had Windows 95 on it. We didn’t have disks though, and that computer did not live long or prosper. Solitaire, mahjong, and my novel. These were the only things that even warranted turning the computer on. It was terrible though, the novel. So it wasn’t much of a shame when the computer crapped out and it was lost forever. I didn’t cry or anything. I just let it go. Someday, I’ll write another one I promised myself.

And with that same need, that same desire to make myself feel better, I took to writing again. Writing the blog. Weekly diatribes about the best thing that had happened that week. The arbitrary things that brightened my life. My weapons of positivity, which were wielded with gusto, on my quest to reclaim my formerly awesome self. That rad girl I used to be, before I joined the ranks of the workforce, my Holy Grail.

And it worked! Wondrously. The more I wrote, the better I felt. Every week, a little more tension melted away. I felt a little bit lighter everyday. And my heart stopped breaking. Writing mended it. Eventually, I felt empowered enough to leave that shitball job. Who needs the bullshit anyways? Certainly not me!

New job, new apartment, new city, new lease on life. And it all started with my blog.

I get up, and I kick the shit out of life every day. Right in the nuts! My life is my own again, and it is awesome.

To those of you who’ve been with me for this journey so far, thank you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for letting me be myself. I write for me, but I love sharing it with you.

Happy 1st Birthday Smashing Through Life

Happy 1st Birthday Smashing Through Life

Here’s to another year of awesome!

No 3rd Degree

This is a very important landmark for me. I may just be erring on the optimistic side here, but I think I’m finally getting through to people. Let me explain…

This past Sunday was my sister’s bridal shower. My older sister is getting married this summer, my younger sister got married last summer, and my cousin is getting married next fall. So for the past two years I have been hounded CONSTANTLY with questions about when am I going to be getting married. And I’m not gunna lie, it’s been driving me fucking crazy!

With a couple of family weddings still on the horizon I really didn’t know how much more of it I could take. At every family function and every wedding related event for the past 2 years when the topic of a marriage comes up I brace myself for the inevitable line of questioning thrown my way:

“When are you getting married?” “It might be your time soon!” “Ooo can’t wait for your wedding!” “Have you thought about it?” “Is marriage in your future?” “Will you be keeping Darren around?” “Is he the one?” and blah blah blah on and on it goes.

Not only have the incessant questions been driving me nuts, but the fact that the only thing people are capable of talking about is these goddamn weddings! For fucksake, it’s one day of the year! Why do we spend hours upon hours and days upon days yammering on about one fucking thing?!?!

So you can see how this has begun to get to me… just a little.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m perfectly happy for my sisters and cousins. But let’s just keep the focus on the people who have decided to get married instead of piling heaps of pressure on the innocent bystanders. There are plenty of other awesome things in my life that you can discuss with me if you care to. We don’t have to map out my entire future right this minute just so you  can feel comforted because you’ve finally figured me out, or whatever.

Also, I do like weddings. Getting dressed up, the open bar, ripping it up on the d-floor… count me in! The bitching, the crying, the drama, the agonizing over the most minute detail, that’s what puts me in a frantic scramble for the emergency exit on the crazy train.

The other thing that really burns me is that of our respective relationships, I’ve been with my boyfriend way longer than either of my sisters have been with theirs. Not that this means my relationship is better by any means, but I’ve worked hard to cultivate a meaningful and loving relationship with my dude D over the years. We’re a pretty rad little duo. Apparently, it doesn’t seem to mean a damn thing unless you get married. In fact, it seems to make things even worse because people don’t understand why you aren’t getting married. You’re not breaking up anytime soon, so why aren’t you getting married?

Just the other week I heard all this theorizing from my co-workers about the dreaded “7-year mark”. If a couple is together for 7 years and don’t plan on tying the knot anytime soon then they’re doomed to fail. It’s ridiculous. D and I will be rounding the 6 year mark in a month and we couldn’t be happier. So other than sinking tons of money we don’t have into a wedding, what is getting married going to accomplish for us as a couple? What critical difference will it make?

I think that marriage is in your head and in your heart, it’s not a piece of paper that you’ve signed. Marriage is the maturity, growth, trust, and respect that you develop as a couple over time. We already have that, and we’re always working to make it stronger.

Is marriage supposed to be a reason to have kids? Does being married make them any more “human” than if they are conceived out of wedlock? It’s not the dark ages anymore people. I think we’ve reached the point where we can procreate without judgement and societal pressure about our lifestyle choices. We are no longer living in a time where everyone has to have the same life path trajectory. So let’s just chill the fuck out with all the goddamn pressure, okay?

I’m neither for or against marriage in any particular way. I’m for whatever works for you. There’s a pro and a con to everything, right? And it’s up to you to decide what’s right for your life. But I guess I’m just at that time in my life when family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. are all rushing for the altar. And as excruciating as it is to endure, I suppose it could be worse, right?

Although, maybe it couldn’t. I’m not sure. Is it worse to be single when all of your friends are getting married or in a long term relationship that’s committed to staying long term but not yet determined to make it legal? Which is worse people? The pressure to find someone or lock down the someone you’ve got?

All I know right now is that I’ve finally caught a break. For the first time ever since all this marriage stuff started, I went to a bridal shower for my older sister and not one single person there asked me about when I’m getting married. And I was so wired for guarding against it, that I didn’t even notice I’d escaped the shower unscathed until my sister pointed it out!

People actually talked to me about my job and the travelling I’ve done! They asked me about my new apartment and how I enjoy living in the city. It was so friggen refreshing!

Like I said, I may be erring on the optimistic side here in thinking that I’ve finally gotten through to people. But fuck it, I’ll take what I can get.