living out loud

schedules shmedules.

THIS is the kind of crap that makes my brain want to implode. This kind of organization. This…LIST MAKING. Serious to god, I’m already starting to hyperventilate. I need to stop looking at it. omg, WHO ACTUALLY DOES THIS???? People with control issues, that’s who. I mean, if you’re squirming and kind of offended right now because I just said that, sorry. But for real. (No, for real. I bet there’s a pill for this.)

Well, I have good news for this place (for once), and my good news is that I officially see light at the end of a very long, very dark tunnel I’ve been in for several years. It affected my chipper outlook on life (and other people), I (personally) believe it played a part in the death spiral of my marriage, and just…it’s just never really been where I wanted to be. It started as a temporary situation done as a favor for a boss I loved with all my heart, and 4 years later it’s got me in tears and stress levels I can’t even describe, Internet, and god knows I’ve spent numerous blog entries attempting to for at least two years. But it’s probably also been where I NEEDED to be, and really that’s what’s kept me going for the last 4 years. That and some truly amazing people I’ve had the honor to get to know and work with. And crossed my path with some little people I will keep in my heart forever and ever.

That’s all I can say for now – I don’t want to jinx it by going into more details, and also there’s a 10% chance it might not happen and if that happens, then I’ll just you know…light a little candle and say a lot of prayers in as many human languages I can find. Fingers crossed by the end of March I’ll know for sure and then I can breathe, you can breathe, we can all breathe.

The thing I CAN talk about is that I feel, now, surrounded by love. I can’t tell you how important this is to me, because for a very very long time I did not feel surrounded by love. I mean, I knew I was loved. But knowing you’re loved and FEELING you’re loved are two very different things. It’s become really important to me to give love and be loved, in genuine ways. I’ve always been someone who wants other people’s interactions with me to be pleasant (barring all driving and internet stalking/harassing situations – because I think, if you’re acting like an asshat behind the wheel of a car or on the Internet, all pleasantries are OFF). But lately, I’ve been thinking really hard about how to give love in a way that won’t cause someone else to think there’s more to it than just, you know…you’re offering love. Not a life-long commitment and forever walks on the beach. How do you love freely and let yourself be loved freely without needing to, like, put a ring on it? Or stick it in a gilded cage or something. I don’t that I will ever know, so I think I’m just going to be a loving person but in a much more careful way. If that makes sense.

At any rate, I’ve got really tremendously amazing friends, and I am grateful that I have them even if we don’t talk every day, even if weeks go between our visits, even if I forget to email or text or call them back because I can’t focus longer than 2 seconds or stick to even the simplest of schedules. I know quite a lot of kind, gracious, non-judgmental people, and I don’t even know what I’ve done to deserve them. But thank god I have them and I’m going to keep them.

Did you guys know back in 2012 I taught a special departmentalized 3rd grade model class? It was Science/Social Studies. So I’d get 4 classes of 3rd grade, we’d split them up higher ability/lower ability, and then I’d teach 8 classes of Science or Social Studies a day – 4 higher ability, 4 lower ability. (I know there’s a lot of controversy about splitting kids according to ability level, and this controversy is always generated by people who don’t work with kids all day long. Kids need to be met where they’re at, and as someone who was erroneously placed in a very low ability reading group when I moved to Kentucky in 3rd grade, I can tell you it is quite possibly the most psychically painful thing on Earth to be stuck in a situation in which you fully realize you do not belong.)

At any rate, I was completely in my element. Seriously, I could teach Science and Social Studies all day. Or Reading. Or Writing. (But not Math. ) All day long. But this doing a little of this, then a little of that, and then combining these five things all at once…argh. Whole lotta NOPE for me. Don’t even get me started on data collection and analysis – I get it, data does matter. Not arguing the importance of data (she said, thinking about her bank account’s situation at the end of every month). But it’s the bizarre worship of it, and the extreme need to be incredibly organized with it, that is making a lot of what I do a joyless task. And that’s coming from someone who worked in a fast food restaurant one long and painful summer.

One thing I have learned about me over the last 4 years: on a professional level? I am a specialist, NOT a general practitioner. That, and I’m resentful about being held accountable for things I can’t control. Also that I probably should have been a high school English teacher, because departmentalization (for me) rocks. Only problem with teaching high school: I keep thinking about all of my high school English teachers, who were like Emily Dickinson disguised as the Scottish trickster Mrs. Doubtfire. I’ve always wanted to be more like Elizabeth Barrett Browning disguised as the Greek muse Calliope. And high school students are really mean. And I know that because I didn’t like high school students when I was a high school student.

As I type this, I’m watching an old Sex in the City episode. According to, this show started in 1998. I so hearted this show when it aired, you guys. I watched it faithfully, every week, for about almost the entire run, and this is a rare thing for me to do with a TV show. I think it was because I identified so deeply with Charlotte, but desperately wished I had Carrie’s life and secretly desired Samantha’s liberated sexual freedom. (Confession: very little has changed since 1998.)

All of this got me to thinking about television: I don’t really watch it. When DIG (on USA!) was on, something magical kind of happened. First, it had one of my favorite thespians in it. But also I think it grabbed me so hard because it was about things I am, and have always been, personally fascinated by: history, mythology/religion, and ancient stories. So I started, well, digging, and learned a lot. And I still wish to sit at the feet of writers such as those and learn all their tricks.

DIG also aired at a time that Life was really sad and hard for me – I was completely checked out of my marriage, struggling to stay checked in at my job, and just…it was a bleh time, you guys. DIG was a good distraction, something to look forward to each week, and something to get my mind off sad things that were broken. I’d hop on Google and go online spelunking for whatever was fascinating me that week, based on what had aired previously on DIG.  Because seriously, I am – by nature – a researcher-y person. If I become intensely interested in a topic or, yes, a person, I will take to the Internet and start chip-chip-chipping away. Like putting pieces of a puzzle together. I’m not real big on board games (though I do love a good game of CLUE and sometimes Scrabble), and I don’t do puzzles very often. The 1000+ pieces ones make me feel automatically tired, and I’m pretty sure the 3-D ones would melt my brain. But if you convince me to start putting a puzzle together with you? I will sit for a ridiculously long time helping you figure it out. Once I’ve found about 5 matches, I’m totally committed and now I’m determined to figure out where all the pieces go.

DIG was kind of like that for me. Big puzzle. Started with one piece, then another, and before I knew it: bam. Obsessed. But not in a creepy way. Just in a: holy crap how does this WORK?! kinda way.

But to be honest? I don’t watch a lot of TV. When I’m at home, I’m either hanging out on a social media site (which is not healthy, I promise), I’m writing, I’m reading, or I’m getting my hair done in bizarre styles and having to watch endless performances of modern jazz dances set to old Michael Jackson songs. So I get all my TV stuff long after the series airs. Like I’m in love with Breaking Bad (series ended by the time I realized what awesomeness it is), I keep meaning to watch more of Orange is the New Black (series will probably BE ended by the time I get to it), loved the one-season-show Awake (found it 2 years after it was cancelled), and my family and friends are trying to get me into The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones (I am waaaaaaaaayyyyy behind, so I want to watch and get into these too so I know what everybody’s talking about but just the thought of having to watch 10,000 previous episodes to catch up is exhausting me). And I started an addiction to Once Upon a Time, but got distracted by other things. Don’t even get me started on Outlander. I love those books. And they did such justice to the marriage night scene between Jamie and Claire that I still require cold showers whenever I think of it.

But current-running TV shows? I can’t be on a schedule. I’m sorry, I just can’t, and I know because I’ve tried. Watching a current-running TV show simply doesn’t work for me. If I could live my life off a schedule completely, believe me: I would. The only schedules I can ever manage to keep are my job’s schedule (I’d be fired if I didn’t) and Miss M’s (she’ll never learn to swim, get exercise, or you know – learn, in general, oh and also? eat- if I do not keep her on a schedule). Left to my own devices, I would go to sleep between 1 and 3 AM each morning, wake up right before lunch, casually shower and dress about 2 PM, and then start whatever work or home projects I needed to right after dinner. Something like that. Having to plan to have a TV on at 9 PM on Wednesday nights or whenever is simply not my thing; the DVR was invented by someone just like me, I am certain of it. Online streaming, too.

Which is one big reason I pulled out of writing reviews for The Expanse (the other big reason was major life poop bombs and I knew I would not be able to overcome them enough to do The Expanse the right way, with the respect and care it deserved). And I knew it would deserve a lot of respect and caring because I watched as it was promoted long before its airing and I could tell: a lot of love went into making this. And it was awesome. It’s an awesome TV show and I know because I watched the 1st two episodes but then couldn’t pull myself together to show up for the actual TV airings of it…but now that the first season is over, I will probably watch it finally. If I can remember to, which is also a big problem.

I think what I’m saying is: I love Science, Internet. But not the confusing scientific formulas that combine numbers and letters, just the information part of Science. And also I wish Neil Degrasse Tyson wasn’t already married, because I would like to date him and maybe he could explain Trigonometry and Calculus to me in a way that makes sense finally. But I also love Social Studies. And ancient things. Why didn’t I become an archeologist? Probably because it had too much Math. Why is there so much Math in Science and Archeology?! (I bet you’re going: Well, Amy…you could have majored in History then. No! You are WRONG. I could not have majored in History then because back then I dated a guy who actually had a degree in History and he’d only take me out for McDonald’s dinner dates because he couldn’t find a good-paying job in History. That’s why I voted down majoring in History – History is notorious for being cheap and I like to live in places that are relatively cockroach-free. And also: don’t eat at McDonald’s. You’ll get bleached meat poisoning.)

I really like focusing on one thing at a time. When I am focusing on JUST ONE THING, I’m not kidding you guys – I have razor-sharp focus that’s practically otherworldly. So TV shows need to have more flexible schedules for people like me. And they should also set up personal reminder texts for you so you don’t forget to watch them. Books, too. Books should be able to text you to remind you that you still need to finish Chapter 11 – don’t you want to know if Character X makes it out of the doomed castle STD-free?! (So much more helpful than a mere bookmark.)

But most of all, I love not being on a schedule. I have way too many schedules in my life. I’m the kind of person who makes lists of things that need to get done so I can stay on schedule, but then I need to make a list of the lists I made to do the things I need to do to stay on schedule and then I either forget where I put my lists or I get online and forget I even made some lists. Because I really hate schedules.

In conclusion, I wish there was an online streaming option for Life.