Resolute Girl






This world of ours is a new world, in which the unit of knowledge, the nature of human communities, the order of society, the order of ideas, the very notions of society and culture have changed, and will not return to what they have been in the past. What is new is new, not because it has never been there before, but because it has changed in quality.
~ J. Robert Oppenheimer

2009 is about to go out the window. A new decade is starting in a a century that a mere 10 years ago had caused panic. No one knew what 2000 would bring and fear that everything would go up in flames, or at least the hard drives would crash, dominated. But still the world is continuing. This is the last Broken Girl entry of the year and I promise to return to my chronology with the coming year, but the holidays have broken that train of thought.

For some reason I have seen a metamorphosis within myself and I am pleased with the results. I only hope I can maintain the momentum through the next year. I equate myself to a bright star. I burn brightly with furious fires only to burn out quickly because such intensity cannot sustain itself. So onto the resolution for the coming year. The things I wish to change so I can retain this course of action.

1. Use the gym membership. I was doing very well until health issues came up in November and then the holidays made it a losing battle. I have 10 months before Dad's wedding and by God I am going to be at least 2 dress sizes smaller! That is not that much to ask is it?

2. Writing goal of at least one submission per quarter. This has been the same goal for the last two years and I've been successful in keeping it. Not so successful in acceptance letters, but at least I am doing something. I am not giving up. I should do a word amount for the day or week but I haven't been able to maintain that since Arizona, six years ago.

3. I am going to be happy. I'm shedding the critical skin and going to accept things. This means that I will be happy in my own skin. I was talking with my counselor the other day and she made a comment that stuck: Compliments mean nothing if you don't feel them. That's been a problem of mine. I haven't felt beautiful or sexy or sweet. Suddenly I've been told that I'm all of these from numerous sources. So who's the one who's wrong? I want to be all those things.

4. Lose the baggage. The past is past. It shaped who I am, it doesn't have to strangle me. This means getting rid of useless knickknacks from previous relationships. Sentimental value means nothing if its shrouded in despair. This also means getting rid of the negative people in my life. Of course that's difficult when one of them birthed me, but I don't have to listen anymore.

5. Be assertive. I've taken small steps this past year in this arena and its time to let fury roll. Ok, that's extreme, but I am not letting myself be walked on anymore. I am better than that.

6. Be ok being alone.

7.Work on learning how to blog. Did a bit better this time, figured out how to insert more than one picture! That's totally worth a gold star!

I think that's it. The hours are ticking away to the new year. A bright full moon takes up the sky. I am trying to read a book that I found to be dreadful before I picked it up, but figure that if I'm going to criticize it, I should give it a fair trial. One chapter in and I'm grinding my teeth... But other than that, I have a date tonight so will ring in the New Year outside of my apartment and among other people. What a novel concept.

Happy New Year's Everyone! I hope the coming year rains blessings upon you. Thank you for your support and comments.
~Andrea Leigh




The Girl's Glad Christmas is Gone


He disliked emotion, not because he felt lightly, but because he felt deeply.
~John Buchan

The Christmas season has come and gone for another year. A new year is about to dawn and the world is continuing at its pace. Christmas didn't go so badly this year. Unfortunately, I did not make it home for the festivities. The winter weather has not made up its mind as to what it's doing and I did not want to risk an accident on the 150 miles drive home.

This led to a few problems however. It meant I spent Christmas alone for the most part and ran my phone out of minutes wishing everyone well. It also meant I didn't get to laundry and had to relent and go to an actual laundromat. I really detest paying for laundry. Since I didn't do the whole going home to laundry during college I now do it as an adult.

Dad came down and brought me my presents the day before Christmas Eve so there were things to unwrap. I'm probably the only person to be overly happy to get a garlic press and food chopper! Both of which were put to use for my Christmas Dinner of Elk Stroganoff.

And in a way of getting me out of my house my last ex-boyfriend, although the term is very loosely applied since he never would claim the title of boyfriend in spite of a year and a half of dating, decided to take me for a drive. I had been invited to his parent's/his house but as much as I adore his family it would have been awkward.

As said, we were never an official couple and when I told him six months ago we couldn't date anymore his response was: we were dating? So we were trying to be friends. Which wasn't very different than when we were dating except now we weren't supposed to sleep with each other. So we are driving and suddenly all the reasons this relationship had been wrong came out.

The first ten minutes were him going on about a group of friends that I have never really cared for and their drinking habits and the parties they've been having. All of which I really don't care about. When he finally stops his monologue to find out what's been up with me I really no longer want to even talk. I just want to criticize the stupidity of their lives and how bad it will end.

Anyway, the conversation turned to our relationship. Once again he wanted to know what boundaries and rules were to be in place since I've started seeing someone new. We have gone over this a hundred times. He admits he's dense and forgetful. So we do it again.

Then he lays the big one on me. He never felt a connection with me. A year and a half he kept me waiting to make it official and he never felt anything stronger than like and hey, this chick's willing to sleep with me so I'm gonna keep her around. He admitted that he is intimidated by my 'biker' lifestyle and success. The fact that I know where my life is headed versus living in my parent's basement and dealing blackjack at the casino made him feel less of a man. And the method to solve this emasculation? Berate me. Cut me down and make me feel like shit. But it's no fault of mine... Oh no, not at all.

He also admitted that the chick he fooled around with, he had wanted to get serious with until she went off on him. This was about eight months into what I thought was our relationship and that we were supposedly together, but he had never felt that way for me. It was why he never wanted to do anything varied in the bedroom, why he would turn away from me. There was no 'connection'.

Should it take a year and a half to figure this out? Somehow, I don't think so. So by this point in the conversation I am hurt and angry. Very, very angry. I wasted a lot of time, tears, and stress on this BOY. He had cut me down a million times, made me feel less than I am and he was OK with it. As said, dense.

Finally, I had enough of this 'heart-to-heart'. I looked at him and said: YOU FUCKED UP. He stared at me a moment and asked for clarification. So I gave it to him. I am very proud these words came out my mouth, it shows how far I've come.

I am the best girl he could have ever found. The fact that I am successful should be praised and I never through it in his face. I was nothing but supportive to him in his ventures. And, quite frankly, I kick ass!

I need to remind myself of that. I do kick ass and I am not letting some directionless idiot hold me down again. I deserve the best of the best and by God I am going to find it and keep it. Even if the best is keeping my own company then so be it. I'm done with the games.

After that little speech I made it clear I wanted to go back home. He kept trying to talk and smooth things over but I couldn't talk anymore. I was still mad. I would have said far worse things. We got to my apartment and he had the balls to ask me if we were still going to the movie Monday (today). I couldn't even answer. He tried again, asking what he could do to make it better. I said, give me the weekend, and started out the car. Then in his stupidity he asks if he can get a hug. Dense at this point doesn't describe him. Just plain stupid does.

It's Monday, I haven't phoned, I haven't texted about the movie and neither has he. Maybe it sunk in that you don't treat people the way he treated me. I went to the movie Saturday with the guy I AM seeing and who does admit we ARE dating.

Poet Girl # 1

Hope is a pleasant acquaintance, but an unsafe friend.
~Thomas Chandler Haliburton


Musings
Sliding backwards from the start
Before the beginning comes an end
Waiting always to find the pieces
Knowing that the harpies land before it
Bowing before a captured heart
Silent screams mark broken dreams
Whispered words hold deeper promise
Distance keeping my heart's holder away
Honest lies to keep the peace
Loving hands grip wounded throat
And tears slide down tainted cheeks
Meaning to it all is lost in sleep
Foolish desire to mend it all



Smile
Smile pretty girl
No one likes a frown
Doesn't matter if you mean it
Time to please the crowd
Lock away your sadness
Play to the world a happy girl
They don't want to see your tears

Smile pretty girl
Fake it for another day
Soon you'll start believing it
Hide away your pain
No one wants to see it
Crumble when no one's around
Pick yourself up in the morning
And smile

Holiday Girl

Growing up is after all only the understanding that one's unique and incredible experience is what everyone shares.
~Doris Lessing

Originally I was going to do a Girl's Gift Guide, but time is drawing short and I really have been having issue with getting things to embed in the text. But I want to explain why the happiest time of the year can be considered one of the most depressing.

I've not had much luck with Christmas. It was good when I was really little, we'd trim the tree, make cookies with Grandma, the whole shebang.

I learned that Santa needed helpers the same year that I got a new bike because said helpers were a little too loud putting things under the tree.

The Christmas Eve Eve of my tenth year changed a lot of my life.

Dad had just pulled the pizza from the oven and Mom staggered through the door. It was late in the evening and we had been waiting for her to come home for some time. Dad was angry and Mom was drunk. She mumbled a hello and went straight to my parent's bedroom.

Dad followed her. The argument that ensued has impressed itself in my memory. I don't remember words, I just know the fear that went through me. I ran to my sister's room in the basement and hid.

There was a thud from the room above and Dad started calling for me. Mom had fallen and hurt her shoulder. How it happened is a matter of He said/She said. We waited for Sis to get home then headed for the Emergency Room. Mom's collar bone was broke.

That fight was the fight that started the divorce proceedings. Christmas had a false jollity.

The years that followed were strained. Christmas Eve was at my maternal Grandma's house and often I would wait for Mom to come to see me. A lot of the time she didn't. I spent a lot of Christmases wondering why I wasn't important enough.

Last year I spent Christmas Eve with a friend and was amazed. His entire family gathered in the living room around the tree, a fire in the fireplace. It was the illusion of the perfect Christmas that I hadn't seen in years. I was never more uncomfortable!

This year, I don't know what it will bring. I'm going to spend it with Dad and his Fiance and see Grandma and Grandpa. And that feels good enough. The people who matter the most are the ones who make the time to talk to you and see you and nothing will keep that from you. It's been a hard lesson to learn, but this Christmas season, I think my wish is to let go of all the hurt and resentment of Christmases past and enjoy the one that is now and look forward to those yet to come.

Bleeding Girl

A life based on reason will always require to be balanced by an occasional bout of violent and irrational emotion, for the instinctual tribes must be satisfied.
~Cyril Connolly

There are secrets that you keep from everyone. If possible you'd keep them from yourself. You keep them locked away because you know they are wrong. That if anyone were to find out about it, you'd no longer be viewed as normal. So you pull on a mask and go through the day. Smile and Shine.

Then something cracks the mask. Covering the scars won't be so easy this time and you're exposed. You spend hours explaining to deaf ears why, but only when you swear never to do it again does anyone listen. But they never forget and even when you try so hard not to give into familiar temptation, they will accuse you of breaking your word.

I am a cutter. I have not done so for five years because I go caught. I was 1800 miles from home with not much of a support structure near me. I had just failed an assessment that was fairly critical. It didn't matter that I could take the test again; I was worthless for failing. My inner critic was being relentless, not letting up a moment. I was in the girl's restroom, a room that I usually had to myself because there were so few women in the school. I was kicking and punching walls, then I started scratching my left forearm. Over and over again in the same spot until it bled.

My instructor and the school counselor noticed. I had to be incredibly careful of keeping it clean during class. I found out I'm allergic to Neosporin and the scratch bubbled like a burn. I was urged to tell my family because it was getting so bad. I told Dad and Sis they made me promise to never do it again. My few friends in Phoenix also found and elicited the same promise.

No one really asked me why. I could simply cop out and blame a prescription change had messed with my head, but that was only part of the reason. I had lost so much control. Bleeding was release. It shut the critic's voice up. For a brief moment I could be at peace.

The Odds Are In the Girl's Favor

Nothing is so simple that is cannot be misunderstood.
~Freeman Teague Jr.

I may have the distinction of being the only girl to go to a school with a 10 to 1 guy to girl ratio and not get a date. This did not help my self-esteem. I found out why when I was 3/4s of the way through the program.

I tend to get along with people who are older than me and the old motorheads were some of my best friends. For most of these guys I was the same age as their kids (18/19), if not younger. The school worked on a six week rotation so every six weeks there was a graduation and a new class starting.

I had a really good friend named Ed. He became a kind of big brother for me. Ed was 30 with a wife, a female roommate, and a whole mess of kids between them all. I mention this to explain that there were no romantic aspirations for this relationships. He was a very unique person that I enjoyed talking to and hanging out with. His roommate actually proofread my manuscript and his oldest son started at the school while I was in.

So I was surprised to walk into class one day and have Ed start off by apologizing to me. My first thoughts were that he had screwed up the motor we were working on together. He continued and explained himself.

One of his friend's rotations had just graduated and told Ed the reason no one was hitting on me. The entire school thought I was Ed's girl and out of respect had left me alone. This was what he was apologizing for. he had set the guy straight, but it hardly mattered since he had graduated.

So I'd inadvertently sabotaged myself. In no way do I regret my friendship with Ed and I hope all is well in his life, I haven't seen or heard from/of him since my graduation. In fact our faux-relationship probably was for the best. I didn't need to be involved with someone I need to concentrate on learning torque values.

**Addendum: there was one sorta date while in school, but it was again misinterpreted. I went out with a group from ta rotation behind mine. We were having a great time and the guy, who had asked me to join them, started rubbing my leg under the table. I freaked and stopped talking to him. I tried to explain myself a few months later, but I really have a hard time expressing myself verbally and ended up in tears. My emotional immaturity wrecked what could have been a good friendship. By the way: he explained the leg rubbing as his way of reassuring me and letting me know he was glad I went out with the group. Who knows maybe it had been that innocent.**

The Girl Gets Active

It is not the years in your life but the life in your years that counts.
~Adlai Stevenson

My time in the desert started out a very lonely one. My classes were held in the afternoon and made finding employment difficult. There were three rotations going on each day: morning, afternoon, and evening. I could have switched but it was more difficult to get into the other classes. Presumably this was do to more pro-active people who needed jobs to survive. I was overly spoiled. Due to an insurance settlement that Dad received for breaking his leg, my schooling and living expenses were pretty much set.

Don't get me wrong, I tried to find a job. I filled out a ton of applications for a total of two interviews. An eighteen year old, whose work experience consisted of putting together promotional packets (read: walk around three long tables covered in piles of paper and grabbing only two sheets from each file, then a stack of envelopes, place in packet and fold) and office girl at a junk yard; did not go over well. I had an interview during class one session. I bribed my instructors with Frappuccinos (or however it's spelled) and maintained my perfect attendance. ^_^

But how to keep my sanity in the hours not involve learning about internal combustion engines, transmissions, and lubricants?

Sis probably came up with every solution for me. She suggested I find a Writers' Group and when I went mental with stress she suggested Tai Chi.

I lucked out. The local Rec Center offered a Tai Chi class every Wednesday and for $3 I could find my inner peace. I really hadn't known much about this particular form of martial art. What is Tai Chi? Well, I'm stealing the answer from Wikianswer because I can't articulate it well enough:

Tai Chi is a Chinese exercise system that uses slow,
smooth body movements to achieve relaxation of
both body and mind.

Five essential quality of Tai Chi are:
1:Slowness= to develop awareness
2:Lightness= to make movements flow
3:Balance= to prevent body strain
4:Calmness= to maintain continuity
5:Clarity= to focus the mind

It is honestly one of the best methods out there. I witnessed something I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't been there. One of the ladies in the class had recently had a stroke. She could not walk without the use of a walker. One of the classes had us concentrating on balance and movement. I watched as this woman walked unassisted for a good twenty feet. I never saw someone so happy. It had given her her first steps of Independence. I think everyone in the class had tears in their eyes.

The class gave me something to focus on. I learned techniques of breathing to keep myself calm. I haven't really related why I really needed it. I'm getting a touch out of order with posts but with the holidays approaching I guess I'm remembering some of the mini-miracles I've witnessed, like the woman walking on her own, and of the good friends that I have.

I'm not going to add info about the Writers' Group onto this one. The Writers' Round Table of Phoenix deserves their own post. ~_^

Thankful Girl

Without friends no on would choose to live, though he had all other goods.

~Aristotle

Bare with me this round, I'm on a keyboard I'm no used to.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it's time to reflect what it is that I am thankful for. This week is also the first 'real' vacation I've had in a very long time. I get to spend time with my sister and her family this holiday. I also am the one making dinner. I really don't know how that one is going to work, but it's what I get for insisting on having stuffing made from Grandma's recipe. (There is no other stuffing in my opinion)

I also get to see my 'adopted big sister' this round. My ABS has saved me from crashing several times. She is a wonderful person that I have not seen in six years. This is a tendency of my friendships though. I really don't have many friends that aren't at minimum 100 miles from me.

So my Thanksgiving Thanks List:
I) Family
1. An awesome dad, has done a lot for me and made me who I am.
2. A sister that doesn't get the credit she deserves and had no idea how much I look up to her.
3. A nephew who is the most entertaining thing in the world and I'm REALLY thankful he can amuse himself with my slider phone for hours because I am not the greatest of babysitters.
4. A mom who I can later blame when my psychological illnesses come out, crazy has to come from somewhere.
5. Grandparents who have been beyond supportive and gone beyond the call of duty.
6. A brother-in-law who actually signed up to be a part of our little world of weirdness.

II) Friends
1. My ABS that lets me call at any time and complain, but isn't afraid to give me a much deserved kick in the butt.
2. My Honolulu Honey that I have known since I was 12 and I lovingly refer to as my wife because she knows all the domestics that I don't (Dinner will be interesting tomorrow)
3. My photographer. The only person in the world that I trust to take a picture of me and not have it turn out horrible. True beauty knows no bounds.
4. My Wench who even after not speaking for four years was willing to take a weekend off to join me at the Ren Faire. The happiness you exude is amazing and I'm slightly jealous.
5. My blood sister, I had almost forgotten about that sleepover that we made a pact and it had been years since we'd seen each other. I'm so glad that life is going so well for you.
6. My forty year old suitor. Should probably be careful because I don't think he knows I refer to him as such, but he is someone I can count on and I don't know what I've done to be so lucky.
7. And the others that I'm reconnecting with and learning so much about and realizing how much perception can be thrown out the window.

III)My job: it has been a long time coming to find a place that accepts me for all my weirdness and lets me be myself. I finally found out what it's like to be in my own skin and not the mold I thought everyone wanted me to be in.

IV) My readers and followers: I am thankful for you and to you. I wasn't sure about this when I started. I know that there are far worse things that can happen to people than some of my drama/trauma but so far Broken Girl is fulfilling its intended purpose and that makes me incredibly happy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Girl and Her Dad Take a Road Trip



Home is not where you live but where they understand you.


~Christian Morgenstern



I wasted little time after High School. I spent two months as an office girl at a salvage yard that Dad would sell to. (Don't think I mentioned it, but Dad runs his own scrap metal salvage business.) It was great and forced me to get over my fear of incoming calls. I still hate making outbound calls and do not know where this phobia originates. I'm just really convinced that whoever I call is going to yell at me and be downright mean, so better to just not call.



Two months passed and it was time to move 1800 miles from my midwest town to the big desert city of Phoenix, AZ. Points to know: I never had been that far from home in my life and the longest I had ever been away from home was may one or two weeks and almost always with a relative, but I was moving for school and it was either Phoenix or Orlando.



Ever since third grade when I read Marguerite Henry's Brighty of the Grand Canyon I knew I was Arizona bound. Admittedly, going to become a motorcycle technician was not something I had dreamed of at the time. But deep down I just knew it was somewhere I was meant to be. Housing was prearranged through school so I didn't need to worry when I got into 'town'. I was renting a room from a lady who owned a six bedroom house and lived there were her two sons. She often rented to students from the school and Dad felt safer leaving me in her care than letting me room with four strange guys from who-knows-where (standard procedure for the housing of the school was just put people together in an apt and pray for the best).


I'm getting ahead of myself. It was the trip out west that I wanted to talk about. Dad and I hadn't really done any really big trips for awhile. The biggest thing we'd done since my parents' divorce was move Sis to Oregon and Mom was along for the ride. Talk about your awkward family vacations, they'd been divorced five years at that time. So this was an adventure to be had. Dad and I have insanely similar tempers. Genetics are probably mostly to blame but we'd also spent a lot of time together and he rubbed off on me. Two incredibly stubborn people in the same truck for a weeks time is not a good thing.






Lessons Learned on this trip:



A) Dad will do anything to avoid tollbooths. We ended up taking the scenic route to avoid Illinois. Pretty much through the map out the window at the stateline.



B) Oklahoma has some really scarey bugs that come out at night. Dad wears engineers boots that go like half way up his shins and he keeps his pants over them. We stopped for gas one night and when he got back in he felt something crawling down his leg. He squished it and it was nasty!



C) Route 66 is not the smoothest road in the world. There are areas that you actually run parallel to it because the road has been reclaimed by the desert.



D) The people of Amarillo, TX are some of the nicest in the world. Dad dropped a $100 bill in the Harley shop there and the girl ran after us to return it.



E) I cannot drive a truck with a carhauler. Dad drove most of the way and for some reason in New Mexico he decided it was my turn. Yeah, after almost getting sideswiped we quickly returned to him driving.



F) I am not that bad to travel with, honestly. AKA never start a road trip the same week you start your period. That is really what comes to mind when I think back on this trip, not the majestic scenery, not the people, or the experience, or the time with dad. I remember three days without a shower because we were on the road in vast stretches of nothingness. I would say I did very well in the not being a b*tch category that week.



G) New Mexico is now another state Dad will avoid. Although there is a gas station/casino/hotel in the middle of the desert half-way between Gallup and the AZ border that is a God send! Never was I happier on this trip.



H) I saw the Grand Canyon, something a lot of Arizona natives can't even claim and I fulfilled a lifelong dream.



I) Hot is hot. Does not matter about dry heat or humid heat, it's still hot. I found the best practice to be not to complain about it. The more you complain, the more it's noticeable.



J) Guys in large numbers can be rather nice. We went to the campus of my school after we unloaded my car from the hauler. Dad recruited a bunch of students to help him load the hauler into the truck. Now, Dad babies his vehicles, he is the one that parks in the middle of nowhere to keep all possible dings away so this was a nerve racking activity. There wasn't a single problem with this mass lift and place. The problem came when we went for an oil change and the local parts guy backed into the truck causing a huge dent. >.<



K) I don't really like being alone. Dad left a few days after we arrived and I was on my own, starting life by myself without knowing a single person in the entire state I was in. I didn't even own a cell phone yet! Dad was still supporting me financially but it was up to me to support myself emotionally and that was going to prove interesting.



NOTE: There may be a bit of a wait on the next post. I'm going to my sister's for Thanksgiving and will be in Boston for a week.

Melancholy Girl

I have never seen a greater monster or miracle in the world than myself.
~Montaigne

This post was supposed to start my tech school years, but I want to shift and get the thoughts out of my head of what's currently going on.

I opened a journal from those very years and some of the time before that and reread the entries. There was an eerie familiarity in the words. I haven't changed. My thoughts and feelings don't seem to have progressed in the seven years since high school. How can this be? How can there be so little progress?

The theme that these entries go over is loneliness, depression, an overwhelming desire to give in to the darkness in me.

I don't believe I'm meant to be happy. I think content may be the highest I can reach. The reason is I am too cynical and untrusting. I start to worry. Something is bound to jump from the shadows and keep the good from going forward.

I don't see this as a completely bad way to be, just lonely. Melancholy is a misunderstood emotion.

There is a certain darkness within the human mind that people deal with in their own way.

1) Run from it/Ignore its existence: dangerous because it can hit out of nowhere making this self-fabricated life intolerable.

2) Succumb to it: just as bad as running; because it becomes consuming and all a person knows is the dark.

3) Embrace it/Dance with it: know just how much is safe and allow it in.

I slipped deep into the darkness once. I'm not going back. So I dance on a tightrope daily. It is so hard some days. This past week has been a trial and giving up seems like a good solution. I can't even put my finger on why. I'm trying to determine if being a realist is selling myself short or not.

Control issues are something to be struggled with. It is why I drive a stick shift. Because of this insistance of control I am inadvertantly sabotaging myself. I can't let events unfold. I try to disect them and pull the strings so they go the way I want them to. Right now I am positive that I will destroy every relationship I am in. This is done skillfully and meticulously. I am trying to prove myself a royal b*tch so that people will stay away and not come anywhere near knowing the real me. If I don't want to live with me, why should anyone else?

Activity Girl


The person who wants to make it has to sweat. There are no short cuts. And you've got to have the guts to be hated.
~Bette Davis

Extracurriculars can make or break a person. It is a chance to prove your potential and show everyone how good you are. Or it's something you do because everyone else does and it's social suicide not to join.

Then again there is always the small cell that boycotts sports and other activities. This is a group that claims the unimportance of trivial challenges. All the while they have a secret desire to join in.

I'm half in that crowd. I didn't do any sports in high school. Partly because I thought dad having to pick me up from practice would be a burden, but mostly because I have not athletic ability. Honestly, I like Volleyball and I spent an entire summer trying to build my running stamina for cross-country or track. Ultimately, I didn't even try out. As for cheerleading, I don't fit the stereotype. (Even though my school really didn't hold to such standards. We had a very equal opportunity squad.)

Part of me now wishes I hadn't chickened out and had gone out for those sports; but at the time, I was safer with the Dramatic Arts and Social Issues groups. My knack for memorization was still coming in handy.

Problem is that my school was a football school. Money would go into the sports programs and new uniforms weren't out of the question but we couldn't get a stage or props. We made do with what we had and they turned out pretty well.

Part of the reason for these activities is to have a sense of belonging. This was YOUR group. These are people that relate to you. I still felt disconnected. I was proven right my Senior year. Elections for officers in both Drama and Forensics were to take place. I was one of the few Seniors who had been in the activity all four years. I was not chosen for any position. I never felt more cut off. It showed me that even with my dedication and talent I wasn't popular enough.

I lettered in Forensics all four years and two years in Academics. Now I have a Letterman's jacket hanging in the closet, covered in metals and it collects dust.

Loner Girl

We're all in this together-- by ourselves.

~Lily Tomlin



There is a sad irony to that quote. No matter the social scene one sets oneself in; a person is ultimately alone. In my case that was very apparent in high school, and pretty much continues to this day.



High schools across the world are filled with mini-social networks. Groups form all of a sudden and you're either part of the in crowd or you're out. The names of the groups are always pretty standard: Preps, jocks, goths, emos, scene, geeks, nerds, dramas, hippies, punks, hicks. Sadly some of the groups seem to mesh together, share similar interests, and half the world wonders at the differences between them. Then one day you mistakenly call a goth an emo and suddenly the definition becomes very clear.



This may not be overly surprising, but in smaller schools there can be overlap. In my school it wasn't surprising to have hick-jocks or druggie-goths.



I was a Loner.



It wasn't so much that I didn't fit in with these separate little cliques; more like I could get along in any of them. I had a wide net of friends, but didn't really belong anywhere. I felt the outsider.



Part of this may be from Sis being eight years older than me. A lot of the 'rites of passages' were introduced to me at a younger age. Certain things that my schoolmates were freshly discovering I had known about for years. A couple of examples: Monty Python and Rocky Horror Picture Show. These 'cult' classics were not new to me and I found it surprising that not everyone knew about them. I have an overwhealming tendency to disregard the fact that things that seem normal to me really aren't typical.



I didn't help my own case by being a bit of a snob. I didn't fall into the common teenager mold of designer gear or the horrible teen movies of the nineties. I had a different sense of comedy and spent most of my High School career renting old black and white movies from the library. I fell in love with classic movies and understood what a good plot line meant.



I also rebelled against all things popular. The music of the day was not going to be my thing. I had to be against it. Even though there are a couple songs that were guilty pleasures but there was no way I was going to admit to it. If I liked something it was only until it hit the mainstream and then I would back off and write it off.



All these small actions that went into creating my personality helped to alienate me. But I wouldn't take it back. I really can't say it was a bad thing.



Too much emphasis goes into these cliques. Friendships that started at age five are suddenly torn apart because one of the friends doesn't wear the right clothes or meet another's standards. This sense of being overlooked hurts. I always wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn't get along smoothly like everyone else.



I see now how wrong I was. I recently reconnected with some High School friends after seven years of 'falling off the face of the Earth' as they put it. I've listened to what's happened to them since and rehashed some of the stories from school, and I realize just how alike everyone is. The friends I'm talking with all came from those different sub-categories back in the day and now those little groups don't matter. I am surprised when someone looks me up with a friend request. I've received messages from several glad to find out I exist.



The overall point is even when you seem to be dwelling in the background, even when you don't feel like you belong, your very presence is enough. Someone will remember you, someone will think of you and wonder how you are doing.



The skills of being a Loner aren't so bad. It is a matter of blending in anywhere. It is relating to a wide range of people and seeing that there isn't much difference out there. The Loners survive because they observe and connect. Just don't detach too much that you forget how good it is to be human and connected.

Dating Girl

There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself. ~Herman Hesse

I had my first kiss when I was 16. It was in a conference room during the Forensic State Tournament and it was with a Senior from a rival school. It too three hours for him to get up the courage to kiss me. I was 20 when I got my next kiss.

My current dating record isn't the most spectacular, but my HS dating scene was pretty close to non-existent. Not that it was a bad thing, mind you; I was able to focus on my studies.

I believe that line is probably used by every teenager that has been overlooked from the dawn of time. High School is four years of wondering what's wrong with you. Wondering what the other girl has that you don't have. Are your clothes ok? Is your hair right? How do you apply eyeliner? Can I be accepted and not dress like a hooker? It is mind-numbing and time consuming and in your mind's eye 'Oh So Important!'

I was that girl. The nobody that pined in the shadows, but never was asked out. If I was, it was by guys that were even more invisible than I was, and I had to keep some standard or slip into even more obscurity. So instead of appearing desperate, I'd be dateless. This is one case when beggars can be chooses. Desperation can lead into a completely different set of problems.

It's one of the weird glitches in my head that even when I know I'm out of my league I'll take the risk. When rejection is a familiar friend, you're easily surprised. Life only happens once. The only way to succeed is to try.

I can say that I did get to go to a dance with the one guy in my class that I thought was the hottest and the coolest. It only happened because I too the initiative. I asked him out during gym class. Needless to say, I was surprised when this dream guy said yes. I was dancing on air for the rest of the week.

It was one date and it was our Junior year Winterfest. The night started out with him getting his van stuck in my snow-covered driveway-- not a good omen. It was a 70s themed dance and his platform shoes added another 3" to his 6' frame. I'm 5'4", even with heels, my arms kept falling asleep when we danced. The night ended with an awkward hug and no other dates. I was tempted to ask him to Prom, but it turned out he already had a date for that.

But I can say it happened. I got to go out with the hottie of my class.

The only other memorable date was my 18th birthday; it was also the day of Prom, Senior year. I hadn't planned on going to the dance. I had a date with a guy from another school, someone I met through Student Congress (a sign of status in my school was dating people from other schools, because, well, by that time everyone knew who you were perceived to be so better to reach out to people who didn't realize you were socially awkward.)

We went to a movie and met up with some of my friends who were going to Prom. We were having dinner in a decent little Italian restaurant. WE were having a great time. I was serenaded by a barbershop quartet who happened to be dining there as well. It was going perfect.

My date and I had determined that he'd pay for my movie ticket if I was ok paying for my meal. This was figured out long before we met with my friends. Then the bills were passed out and one of the girls asked why I was paying for myself. It isn't the girls place to pay after all. Instead of simply responding that we had agreed to this arrangement, my date replied: I'm saving up for a gold ring.

What for?

His girlfriend... We were on completely different pages as to what this 'date' meant. The ride home was silent. I went home, threw on a drew, and went to Prom-- Alone. I had a blast.

If you're shot down, then the situation isn't right. Someone else is waiting. (I'm still waiting to find mine. High School Romance is overrated. It's a time when you hardly know yourself, so how can you hope to understand another person? Find out who the person in your own head is before unraveling the mysteries of a significant other. It saves a bit of sanity.

Academic Girl


One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is a vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child. ~Carl Jung


There are four parts to High School life: Academics, Social Scene, Dating, and Extracurriculars. To keep this from becoming a long rant, I'm going to write to each category in turn. (Although, I think my Social Scene may only fill a paragraph. Don't fret, I'm sure I'll remember something ~_^)


My school was a hick school. No offense meant by that; it's just the way of things. It was a school of farm kids mixed in with small-town kids. The type of school that you knew someone would wake up at 4am to drive the tractor to the Homecoming Parade. In spite of this, the education provided was impressive. No teenage recognizes this a the time though. It was as an adult that I came to aprreciate the lessons learned in those four years.


Admittedly, I was an overachiever. I was still competing with Sis, even though by this time she had graduated college. There were disadvantages. My poor math skills continued to haunt me. I had wanted to be an astronomer, until I found out I need Calculus and knew that there was a very slim chance of that working out. I would have arguments with my Geometry teacher to the point, he'd take me into the hall for a lecture.


Wow, light bulb momet! I hate being in empty hallways and buildings. I hated staying after for activities because it felt eerie. I still don't like being in a mall or at work when there is no one there. I never realized this is rooted in my elementary school days of hallways punishment. Hmm, well, that's one source of phobia discovered.


Sorry, back to High School. A couple years ago, I actually went back and apologized to that teacher for my conduct and for saying I was never going to need math. I was wrong-- that does happen on occasion.


Most of my schooling focused on English and Social Sciences. I wanted to be a journalist, since astronomy was out of the question.


I have always loved reading and writing. I excelled at it and loved it. It was a way to set myself apart from my classmates. I spent a lot of time talking with my English teachers. I am a huge Sherlock Holmes fan and so is my Sophomore English teacher and we'd spend hours discussing the different cases and the different actors who portrayed the detective. I started reading the unabridged Les Miserables, to the delight of one of my history teachers. (It took me 2 years after HS to finish it) Regardless, it was clear that Literature was going to be a big part of what I was going to do.


Three-quarters of the way through my Junior year (after setting up my Senior schedule) I realized two things:

1)I am not cut throat enough for journalism

2)I am too Conservative for today's Liberal based media

I would be eaten alive and have little success. So in a move that confused everyone, I switched to wanting to be a motorcycle mechanic. Not just any motorcycle mechanic, a Harley-Davidson Certified Technician.


I kept my classes as it was, with all the Social Sciences and Humanities, but added Physics and Power & Transportation. Here's the thing, I NEVER expressed interest in anything mechanical. I had even gotten in an argument with Dad about checking tire pressure, the result of which almost cost me my bike. (Dad had always said if he'd have had boys they would have Harleys when they turned 13, he had girls so Sis and I got them)


Everyone humored my choice. I ended up dropping Physics mid-year because I just wasn't getting it and it was dragging down my GPA.


There were only two Seniors in my Power & Transportation class. We were also te only girls. (Interesting side note: she is working on becoming a diesel mechanic) I would have had a 4.00 at the end of semester if the shop teacher wasn't sexist and gave me an A-. This may seem like I'm being petty, but honestly, I had completed all the projects and received 100% on all tests and papers. There was no reason for the minus.


I graduated 18th of a class of around 137. One of the best memories I have of HS is Dad and me pulling in for graduation on our Harleys and parking them at the bike rack. Overall, academically, HS hadn't been too bad.

Bible Girl

We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seeded refusal of that which others have made of us. ~Jean-Paul Sarte

The original plan was for me to go to a private high school. After the problems with my teacher it was decided that going to public school was the best course of action. This was beneficial because I could become myself without being in my sister’s shadow. She was an honor student at the school I was slated to go to and I had had cousins go through the same school. It was also cost effective because the tuition was ridiculous and it was quite a drive to it with no bus.

My dad never really attended church so it was more Mom, me, and Sis that switched to a different church. I don’t really know how Sis felt about this but she was in college and rarely had to attend. Our last church was associated to my old school and my parents wanted to keep me away from the negativity that it held in me. The new church was also closer and had a mid-morning service so no more 8am wake-ups.

I was no longer completely immersed in Bible study. I went to Catechism once a week and Sunday School, whenever we actually attended and enough for me to log hours to Confirmation. This was also partially because I often went to church by myself since Dad didn’t go and Mom didn’t always pick me up for the weekend. So Dad would drop me off and pick me up.
One advantage I had was that I already had everything memorized. My pride took over and instead of listening to the words I blindly recited them. I was confirmed the day before my twelfth birthday and took a hiatus from church.

It was a hiatus from the building, not God. Leaders of the churches I attended always seemed to fail me. First the ones at the school hadn’t stood up for me; then the one where I was confirmed had actually encouraged my mom to seek the divorce. I never felt abandoned by my Deity. Honestly, I think my Guardian Angel took the guise of an imaginary friend. It may seem crazy, but Raven is one of the reasons I’m still alive.

That was how I viewed things as a teenager. Leaders were a disappointment, but something bigger was out there. Later on I’ll discuss my current stance, but I’m not here to preach. This is just an important side note that needs to be kept in mind. My faith is part of my being and my religious background has a large impact on a lot of the decisions I made as a teen and as a twenty-something.

Public Girl

The things taught in schools are not an education but the means of an education.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don’t remember too much of middle school. I guess now would be the time to mention that I’m a country girl, at least as far as locale is concerned. I grew up in the middle of a cornfield. All the neighbor kids went to the public school, so I would at least know some people.

Well…

The next door boys were a few years older with the exception of one who was five or so years younger than me. They were great playmates until bicycles were traded for cars. There was one girl on the block my age. When it came to school, we were different cliques. She was popular/sporty and I was me.

Our school system is divided. There is an elementary school in the small incorporated town I lived in. Once sixth grade was reached, everyone got bussed to the same middle school. This made it better for me. I wasn’t the only transfer kid.

It was all new. I rode a bus and was suddenly in a class of over a hundred students. I had a locker and we had to move classroom to classroom. Instead of one teacher there were now seven. Talk about a culture shock!

Middle school is middle ground. No one really knows who to be friends with quite yet. The innocence mold is starting to crack. High School is when it will break, but for middle school a person is safe.

What I do remember of middle school is:

1) I read more than was probably health. It was an escape for me; my
parent’s divorce was getting nastier at home.

2) I was a bully. I tormented one boy in particular. The whole purpose
of my doing so was to prove I didn’t like him. The problem is that in
middle school speak: beating someone up means you like them. What
makes it even more ironic is we went to Junior Prom together.

3) The answer to the question ‘Will you go out with me?’ is a resounding
“Hell NO!!!” loud enough for the entire bus to hear and leave me
mortified and in tears while everyone laughed.

4) I am a counselor case.

5) I am a brain not an athlete. I joined a group of like-minded girls
protesting a homeroom activity involving a sack race under the premise
it was sexist and things would bounce that didn’t need to. We just
didn’t want to jump.

Those are pretty much the main points. Life starts in High School anyway, right? ~_^

Elementary, My Dear Broken Girl

I forget what I was taught. I only remember what I have learnt.
~Patrick White

Kids can be cruel. Kids in parochial school are downright vicious. There is a certain mentality that sets in when you attend private school. Now, parents send their kids to these schools so they gain a good Christian education. They want to keep them safe and separated from the ‘dangers’ of public school. Parents, let me tell you something: most wholesome girls and boys who attend these schools are worse than their public school counterparts. They have more to rebel against.

Ok, ok, I’ll back off a bit. Maybe it’s not most private schoolers, just the ones I went to elementary school with. I can’t really say that’s completely true either. I just have really bad memories from preschool through fifth grade. Actually, Preschool and Kindergarten weren’t so bad, but once nap time was taken out of the curriculum things went downhill.

Please keep in mind this was a small school. I had about ten or eleven classmates and very rarely were they different from one year to the next. Grades were grouped together in the same room: First with Second, Fourth with Fifth, and Seventh with Eighth. I don’t know why Third and Sixth were lucky enough for their own rooms. Although, Fifth graders did go to the Sixth grade classroom once or twice a week for Catechism.

I had the same first grade teacher that my mom and sister had. I think she was still teaching fifteen years after I had her.

Things weren’t smiles and cookies or rainbows and ponies for me First through Third grade. I had managed to become the target of one malicious little boy who teased me constantly. My parents went so far as to make the school change my role in the play from a cow to a sheep so I wouldn’t have to sit next to him.

I later found out just how hard and disturbing that boy’s life was. I can almost forgive him. What he did to me was nothing compared to what he was dealing with at home. He switched schools and I was free from him come Fourth grade.

Probably a good thing because I don’t know if I could have handled him and the Teacher From Hell.

I want to make it clear this was a Lutheran school not a Catholic school. Corporal punishment was supposedly not acceptable. Yes, I’m aware that’s stereotyping but when I explain the next two school years of my life I want the distinction made.

I had the same teacher for those two years. My academics went downhill thanks to her. Honestly, I was not a bad kit. I was trying to be the good girl that I was brainwashed to be. This woman did not like me. I was constantly sent into the hall for literally hours of the school day.

Those hallway stints are what started a lot of my issues. I found out it is not possible for a nine year old to break her own ankle with her bare hands. I was trying anything to be sent home. Broken bones seemed like as good an excuse as any. I never succeeded in that. As far as I know I’ve never broken anything. I also started cutting at this time. I think that’s best discussed on its own. There are too many intricacies to a person’s mind to group it with my school days.

The isolation of the hall was compounded by the teaching structure. Instead of teaching everyone at one pace, this teacher decided to do Math on an individual basis. I fell far behind any group. I was lost and there were days that she forgot to give me assignments. Well at the end of the day, we were to show her our list of homework assignments. I would be yelled at for not writing down and when I told her she hadn’t given me one, I was informed that it was my responsibility to get her to do her job. (I have a deep set problem that I still deal with. I tend to take responsibility for things that I did not do or could not help.)

My parents spoke with her, the Principal, and the Pastors. Everyone not related to me sided with her. The Pastors came out to my house and reviewed my past and present assignments and still could not think of a good solution.

After the teacher started throwing things at me my parents had had enough. I mean it: she threw erasers, tape, gloves and a wide variety of things at me. So I finished off the year and was shipped to the supposedly evil Public School for Sixth Grade.

Origins of the Girl

It is difficult to decide how much information is pertinent. Also, I have to keep in mind who may view this and don’t want to completely alienate myself from certain people.

In order to understand who I am, you need to know where I am coming from.

My parents divorced when I was ten. I have to give them credit though. They tried to stay together. They are probably the only couple who have married and divorced each other four times. But it’s not easy watching two people break up and make up so many times.

It messes with your perception of relationships and makes you want to keep it from happening to you. I stayed in a relationship for longer than was healthy because I didn’t want to be wrong about love and every relationship after became a second guessing game. To the point I would try everything to destroy it before it began.

I have one sister who is eight years older than I. I grew up under her shadow. To hear my family talk, she was perfect. She never got in trouble, got straight As, had one steady boyfriend through high school. I strove to be like her; because part of me felt she was more loved than I was.

It turns out I was only half wrong. My sis wasn’t perfect. I found out about her college life and wished I had known a lot sooner. I was striving to be a fabrication.

As to her being more loved, well my mom recently admitted she felt closer to my sis than to me. I never saw the correspondence of the divorce and Sis leaving for college until Mom told me. She went through empty nest syndrome with one chick still in the nest.

My dad raised me from ten on. I have a wonderful father who gave me what I needed. It is a good thing that I never bought into fads and prep clothes; otherwise, I’d be a much different person. The biggest problem was he was broken after the divorce. He had finally come to love Mom wholly and she was done. I had to be the good girl. I didn’t want to make things worse.

What followed was years trying to become perfect. I wanted perfection so badly. I only realized within the last year or so that this is impossible. Now I want to be genuine. This may actually be attainable.

But even more important than figuring out that perfection is an unreal desire is I have come to terms with the fact that everyone (triple underscore, bold face, italics) EVERYONE is broken. And more important than that little revelation: It is O K AY! It’s what makes us human. It’s time to realize it and come forward in our crumbling masses and maybe find a semblance of wholeness and healing.

~Andrea Leigh

Got to thinking

I was sitting in my English class after I posted the first entry and got to thinking. There is something I would like to clarify. It probably doesn't need to be done, but when my head gets set on course somedays I can't help it.

I am writing from the female point of view; not a feminist point of view. I am not a man hater, in fact I probably love them too much, more on that in later entries.

I greatly appreciate the struggles and rights won by the early feminists but do not consider myself to be one.

Feminism to me seems like a castration of society. Suddenly young women are told to be strong and independant. The characteristics of feminitiy: caring, loving, soft; are now frowned upon as weak and in no way can a woman be reaching her full potential by pursuing such 'outdated' standards.

How are we to function? How do we know who we are when we are to be everything at once?

I know chauvinism is alive and well. I have customers come to the counter daily and would rather talk to my co-workers than me for the simple fact that I'm a woman. I knew this was going to be an issue when I entered my field. But I also know I am not the first to encounter this.

Women have been the backbone of society for ages. They may not have gotten the credit for it and some suffered in silence, but they didn't mind. I'm not saying that a woman's place in the background, what I'm saying is that knowing you have done well and what you needed and desired to do is all that matters. No one can take that away from you. The only enemy is the one within and it's a hard one to fight because it is relentless.

There is another side effect of feminism I want to address. A better explanation of what I mean by the castration of society: Men don't know how to behave around us anymore. They don't know whether to open car doors, hold the door, walk ahead, walk behind, pay the bill. There is now a fear that they are encroaching on our rights. Compliments have to hushed for fear that a sexual harassment suit might get filed.

The thing is, every little girl still grows up reading Fairy Tales wishing for her prince to come. We have to be strong to the outside world it would be nice for someone to see that and let us be ourselves and maybe, just be the hero to our story.

To Begin

I don't know how qualified I am to do this. I just know that part of me is really wanting me to. First off, I have no education in the realm of what I hope to achieve with this. I am a mechanic by trade.

What I want to accomplish is to let people know they aren't alone. I have been dealing with depression and isolation for a large part of my life. It was only until very recently that I realized I'm not the only one. There are others who are as lost as I am and don't realize they aren't alone. I want this to be a place for them. I want them to know they aren't alone. Maybe it's selfish of me and it's for varification that I am not alone.

I have to admit that this may end up being slanted. I am a woman and can only tap into the female psyche. Even though I am in a male dominated field most of what I experience is purely female. I am going to be logging some of my story as I go along and hope to get feedback from others and see where it goes.

I do not intend to preach. Admittedly, I believe in a Higher Power, It is a source of strength for me and gets me through the day. I do not wish to push my viewpoints on anyone only be here as a source of support if necessary.

Thank you,
Andrea Leigh

Welcome!

Welcome to my little part of the blogosphere. I started this blog for the express purpose of proving that no matter what happens in life, you are not alone. I am sharing my stories from my school days, dating disasters, and personal trials.

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