Disappointment Being Distraught

To set the tone straight, I am not a happy person.

I’m sitting at my parents house for the second time this weekend. I was just here yesterday as my step-mom’s family from Canada was in town.

One of her nephew’s is about 25. He has some sort of developmental disorder, probably is somewhere on the autism spectrum. He was reportedly very excited to meet my sister and I. We were apparently a disappointment.

The pictures my parents have of us hanging around the house are at least 5-6 years old. Most of them are from my freshman and sophomore year of high school. You see, he was excited to meet us because he was thinking we would still be like that. Apparently we’re too much like grown-ups, though.

For me, it was already kind of a tough day. Usually events that are held at my parent’s place that involve my step-family are awkward for me. I don’t really know where I fit in, I’m socially inept, and I just want to sit on the couch with my dad and catch up with him. In fact, that’s actually what I almost always do. I come home to be with my dad. The night before at work had been the most stressful one yet. I wasn’t in a socializing mood to begin with.

It was just awkward. I was socially drained, reflecting that I had to go to work soon, and it just wasn’t a good day for me. I talked to my step-nephew and his mom for a bit. Talked to my sister mostly. I just wasn’t happy to be there as much as I actually wanted to be.

I feel like such a failure in so many ways.

I was awkward and rude, I felt like a deadbeat. I’ll bet I was much more welcoming and understanding when I last met some of them 6-7 years ago.

It’s just made me think how much time has gone past since 7 years ago. How much has changed. What I’m happy about with my life and what I’m not.

7 years ago, I was running. My to-do lists consisted of going to open gyms for volleyball and basketball and going to summer lifting. I was exploring more into the world of saxophone and discovered Nobuya Sugawa and the Fuzzy Bird Sonata. My dad was getting remarried and we were leaving the home my mother died in. I was in drivers education and the flood of 2008 wrecked Iowa City, Coralville, Cedar Rapids, and many other places. I was dating the first boy I had ever had a crush on back when I was 7-years-old. I was roughly 70-pounds lighter and full of promise.

What has happened in 7 years?

So much good, yet so much bad.

I want to reconnect with myself. I want to forgive myself for all the mistakes I made over the last 7 years. I’m sad that I’ve lost some friendships, sad that I’ve made people hate me. I’m sad that I’ve let my health deteriorate at such a cost. I’m sad that I think I’m not as happy as I was 7 years ago yet I have so many better things in my life now.

I have a healthy relationship with my dad. I’m independent – I can drink, smoke, vote, be anything. I’m in a relationship that is… I can’t even describe it. We have our troubles, yes, but we’re smart and we work through them together. What’s most important is that we love each other and we have so much fun together. I don’t and wouldn’t want to spend my time with anyone else. I have a cat who is loving, cuddly, goofy, and annoying. I’m pursuing a degree that I passionately care about and that I’m pretty good at for the level I am.

I feel like something is totally and completely not right, though.

I know my view of my identity has changed drastically from 7 years ago. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m a completely different person now. It makes me wonder if the friends that I had back then… if we were all put together again, if we would be friends at all.

The first boy I ever dated, Ben, has been a repeating offender in my dreams as of late. I see him everywhere in my dreams. I think he will always be my biggest regret. I will always wonder if I had been more mature and less of a hot-head when we were dating if we would still be friends. I wonder if I impacted him in a way. I think I did but it was very negative. According to a mutual friend, he thinks the arts are the biggest waste of time and money. Science is the only real truth in the world and everything else is just for pleasure. He’s been back to Iowa City a few times since we’ve broken up. I haven’t seen him since July of 2009.

I wonder why I’m so hung up on him. I really don’t get it. I’ve had other relationships/flings since then.

I’m also kind of jealous that Calvin can have such a good relationship with some of his exes and I can’t. Not that he won’t let me, I’m just pretty sure that none of them want to talk to me ever again.

I really don’t mind that Calvin is friends with his exes. Well, there’s really only one he’s friends with and it doesn’t bother me at all.

I just don’t understand why I get so incredibly hung up on some people. Only a few people. I have some weird psychological thing going on.

Well, I guess now I have a serious topic for my next therapy session. Yippie.

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Guns in a Small Town

What does it take for Americans to see?

There’s this guy, same age as I am, who is a very proud American.

His Facebook is full of posts of protecting his second amendment rights to a gun, respecting the American flag, and supporting our troops.

I can’t stand to look at how hypocritical it all is.

He was a security guard at a mall nearby me. A mall I have gone into countless times. A mall where my sister and friends have worked. A mall that I was left alone in many times as a young adolescent girl.

Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, Iowa was the sight of a shooting around 7:30 P.M. yesterday. Only one was shot and fatally wounded. She worked at the Children’s Museum. The same place my sister used to work.

This guy who had just gotten fired from his job earlier that day opened fire and killed this girl.

It’s all so senseless I can’t wrap my brain around it.

I wonder how she felt. You go to work one day not knowing you’re not going to come back home. So many missed goodbyes. So many dreams and wishes left. So much pain.

I only know a couple of people who knew her. I can’t imagine their loss as they try to make sense of this.

No one can, though.

America is the laughing stock of the world. We’re fat, loud, and obnoxious. We love our guns and have a peculiar obsession over our flag. We spend more money on national defense than most countries do combined.

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It’s staggering. It’s absurd.

When is America going to wake up and try to fix this problem?

What is the solution to this problem? The killer at Coral Ridge had made a post not even more than a month ago stating how he needs to have a gun to protect himself and others if there is an at-large shooter.

THE GOD DAMNED SHOOTER WAS THE SHOOTER AT-LARGE.

I AM SHAKING BECAUSE I CANNOT TAKE THE HYPOCRISY OF IT ALL! I AM SO MAD THAT SOMETHING LIKE THIS COULD HAVE HAPPENED!

I’m thinking about how that girl felt as she took her last few breaths. I’m thinking about how others nearby felt as they ran for their lives. I’m thinking about how this is going to hurt the community. I’m thinking about how most people will now opt to shop elsewhere for Christmas even though this is one of the largest shopping centers in Iowa out of fear. I’m thinking about all the people that have been emotionally scarred after being witnesses to such violence.

I know so many people don’t want to take a stance on gun issues because it is so politically charged. You say you’ll pose stricter laws and require background checks and people say you’re infringing on their rights. You say you want your gun to protect people but you have to answer to the families of those hurt by gun violence. There is no winning in this game. It shouldn’t be a game. Death by violence is not a game.

Do you ever hear of someone who has a gun shooting the shooter except for policemen or the shooter themselves? No! Because it simply doesn’t happen!

The second amendment is archaic. It no longer fits into our society. We are not living in a place where people come with weapons to steal our land. The right to carry a gun was relevant 200 years ago, but it is outdated. Now, we live in a place where a short fuse can be the end of a person’s life. We live in a place where it is too easy to obtain firearms and the laws surrounding them are too loose.

I am all for people having a gun in the home if they are properly licensed, have had a sufficient background check, and use guns for hunting purposes or simply keep the god damned thing in the house. But I think people with guns should need to pass mental health screenings on a regular basis and kept under close eye. Obtaining a gun should be a lot harder than it is.

I understand this man had a gun because he was a security officer, but why wasn’t he forced to hand over his gun at the time he was terminated from his position? That’s another thing I can’t wrap my brain around. Obviously, the shooter is responsible for his actions, but shouldn’t those who made this tragedy possible be held accountable? Isn’t our society so incredibly messed up?

I’m trying to make sense of this but it is senseless. I don’t think that girl was killed at random since she was the only one shot and the scum fled from the scene. To think, that man could be right across the street from me now in jail.

This isn’t right.