As I was searching through my writing samples today, I came across the following excerpt that I wrote at the end of 2010. Since I don’t believe in coincidence, but rather Divine Guidance (and also because I haven’t yet finished my February blog post on relationships), I thought this was an appropriate next entry. If you read the previous post, 30 December 2011: Epiphanies and Revelations, you can enjoy a fun, little exercise in comparing and contrasting my musings from LAST New Year’s Day with this one. (Oh, just humor me.)
Two thousand ten ended with sunshine and ushered in a cold, rainy 2011. I had been hoping for the opposite ending to a miserable year and a sunshiny promise to the start of something better. No such luck. I spent the better part of New Year’s Day cleaning out my home office. I needed to clean my soul, my mind, my heart – difficult things that would take time to improve – so I started with my house instead. I told myself that creating a space that was conducive to positive energy flow (a la Feng Shui) would ensure that I would have a more successful professional life in 2011. That, and the fact that I was really good at avoiding difficult personal challenges.
I must insert here that I am a master at the art Redirection and Deflection. So much so, that a friend of mine, with whom I used to meet on a regular basis to drink beer and talk about life, who was also a basketball referee, would often comment on my answers to his questions about my personal life as if he were ref-ing the game called, “Karla’s Relationship Challenge”. Our conversation would go like this:
Him: “Soooo…. How are you? You been doing OK? Are things better with (insert name of current guy I am dating)?”
Me: “Ha! (snort) Oh, ya know… So, what about you? I heard that YOU were seeing someone. Tell me about her!”
Him: “Ohhhh! Watch out! Nice deflection! 10 points for Karla!” (High-fives and clinking of beer bottles ensue.)
But, it did actually make me feel better to physically remove old stuff from my cluttered office. It felt good to get rid of “the old” to make room for “the new”, and I felt good about starting the year off constructively as opposed to laying on the couch with a hangover. (The fact remains, I did not have plans on New Year’s Eve that even remotely involved the potential for a hangover – and unfortunately, I am not the type of person who finds it fun to get drunk alone in my living room while watching a back-to-back movie marathon of Christmas Vacation.)
So, high on the adrenaline and innate cleansing properties of de-junking my office, I ventured out to Borders to pick up a book that Theresa recommended I read immediately: He’s Just Not That Into You. Yes, I felt like a total loser buying this book. On New Year’s Day. Alone in Border’s. On New Year’s Day. But, when Theresa recommends music I should hear, a movie I should see, or a book I should read, I hear it, see it, or read it as soon as possible. As one of my Earthly Spirit Guides in this life (as I have affectionately begun to refer to her) she has my best interests in mind, and I know there is a valuable lesson I need to learn. It was urgent, as in “I’d give you my copy of it, but I just gave it away to someone else. Don’t be afraid of the title. It should really be called, How Not to Be a Doormat, and EVERY woman should read it,” said my Guru.
So, there I was in Borders, on New Year’s Day, searching for the Self Help section (oh God! I’m a walking cliché!). As if this whole scenario wasn’t humiliating enough, the Self Help section of the bookstore is right next to the Sex section! I’m totally serious! Shelves upon shelves from the floor to high above my head with books about the Kama Sutra, finding your G-spot, sexual positions with diagrams and full-color photos, Tantric sex, and the how-to guide to achieving simultaneous, multiple orgasms with your partner! (I would like to have a personal word with the man who designed the layout of this particular Borders location. I have a few constructive suggestions for him.)
It gets better. As I was self-consciously browsing for my How Not to Be a Loser book, there was a couple rather unselfconsciously browsing the sex books. Oh yes! A happy couple, giggling and thumbing through the pages of sex books, trying to determine which positions they’ve already tried and which ones they were going to try that very evening. (Can I crawl into a hole now?)
All the while, I am standing there in a near state of panic, scanning the shelves for my book. “Please, please jump off the shelf at me so I can take my friggin’ book to the checkout counter so I can be spared further humiliation and envy!” was all I could think. Finally, I found the book (the last copy, I might add, making me feel like a little bit less of a loser on New Year’s Day) and carried it face down to the cashier. I was praying I didn’t run into anyone I knew and willing complete strangers not to look at me and see which book I was about to purchase.
I stood in line anxiously awaiting the next available associate. There was a guy and a girl working this evening, both waiting on other customers. “The girl, the girl. Make the girl finish first,” I willed in my head. The universe was listening. I breathed a sigh of relief and walked up to make my purchase. I set the book on the counter and quickly placed my 50% off coupon on top of it to cover the title. She scanned my coupon and looked down at the book.
“Oh, this is a good one,” she said smiling at me. “Did you see the movie?”
“No,” I replied. “My friend said I should read this. I heard the movie is good,” I lied.
“Oh, yeah, it really is. I actually own a copy of it!” she told me, with much enthusiasm. “There’s another book over there by the same author called something like It’s a Breakup So It’s Broken…”
“You mean It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken? Yeah, I saw that one, too,” I told her.
“I read that when my boyfriend broke up with me. It really helped,” she said smiling. I stared somewhat in disbelief at this young, twenty-something girl with sweet, blue eyes, long blond hair and a friendly smile. She needed relationship advice? Someone had dumped her?
“You saved $7.64 today,” she was saying, handing me the bag with my self-help book. If this girl wasn’t ashamed to admit she needed dating advice and a book to help her get over a break-up, then I wasn’t a complete relationship idiot either. I took my package, thanked her, and went to my car feeling a little less like a total loser, buying a self-help book on the first day of 2011.