Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Come find me!

So now I'm going to post at janelblanchard.com. Find me there. I'll try to format it at some point but I'm not good at that.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lotions, Emotions, and Ruminotions. ("Ruminations" does not really rhyme.)

A few weeks ago, I bought some lotion that was on sale at Victoria's Secret. (No, I didn't need it. It was on sale and smelled nice. I will use up all my lotion eventually, I promise.) Tonight while washing my face I noticed its name. "Confident Body Lotion."

Now, either the body lotion is confident, or it is supposed to make me confident, cf. my new Jergens Firming Body Lotion. (No, I didn't need it, but I was hoping it would do more for my dry skin plus help me prep my body for the upcoming summer months-- hello, 70 degree weather next week! Also, it was on sale and came with two travel size lotions.)

Back to my point about confidence-infusing body lotion. Does it smell like Confidence, thereby inspiring me to be confident? Or does it smell just Generally Good, thereby convincing me that I am worthy of self-confidence?

It doesn't matter, although I think it must be that it smells like Confidence (which incidentally is defined as "mandarin orange") since I also bought Energize Body Lotion, also on sale. Side note-- Please name your products consistently. You can't name one lotion "Confidence" and then the other "Energize." It needs to be "Energy," to keep them as nouns. Leave verbs out of this.

Wow, enough tangents. I apologize. My thought process is as follows:
1. If smelling like mandarin oranges gives me confidence, how easy is it to lose? Or why do I need a lotion to make me confident? It doesn't add any substance. Whatever I am confident about due to the lotion will be a part of me whether or not I smell like mandarin oranges. (Why have I never seen a valencia orange-fragranced lotion? What's so special about mandarin oranges?)
2. If I, or others, buy lotions based on my/our needs (confidence, energy, relaxation, etc), what else do we buy or buy into in order to quiet our anxieties over what we lack? Where am I looking to complete me?
3. If all purchases are made for needs or luxuries, then what we don't need we want. Why do I want new clothes? The latest iPod? A sweet ride/designer perfume/a boyfriend/a job/friends? Now, that might be a little harsh (some would say they "need" a job and friends), but I want to take this to the logical conclusion. What do I think I lack?

I suppose if I look at my wants (which I wrote about in my last post, actually), it looks like what I want most is purpose and significance. I want to matter... to matter to the public (job, a championship, NASCAR, success in some arena), to a man, to myself. Isn't that what we all want?

So what is my mattering, my purpose, my significance? I think dwelling on my wants rather than the reason for my wants has caused me most of my uneasiness over this life stage. I hate being idle, but I hate it because I want instant gratification through recognition of my value in a workplace. If I can't even be unemployed for a little while when it's common, socially acceptable and I have so many fun things to do, how am I going to be content to stay behind the scenes and raise my children? If I don't conquer this now, I could become one of those mothers who live vicariously through their kids' successes and failures, holding them to impossibly high standards and putting my own desires for recognition and validation above their need to grow up, make mistakes, and follow their unique passions.

Weird... I thought this blog was going to take the course of "we buy iPods to feel cool; we buy designer labels to look successful; we buy lotion/perfumes/makeup to make us feel attractive when really it's what's behind that that makes us attractive or not." I guess I'm so self-obsessed and narcissistic (my blog, facebook, & twitter all are evidence to this point) that I can't even write a philosophical entry about the tendencies of the consumeristic American culture to use things to fill their empty hearts. It always has to be about me, I suppose.

Now, I'm off to address the reason behind my many wants and uneasiness... and then I'm going to bed. I also want to apologize for the profuse sprinkling of parentheses in this entry. I'm not usually so grotesquely liberal with them and I don't want to abuse your patience.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I hope that by naming these things to the world, they will have less power over me.

"Things of which I am jealous"
aka "If you have these things, I'm jealous of you"

steady jobs
comfy apartments
championship rings (especially Super Bowl)
designer perfumes
size 0
famous acquaintances/friends
pretty/fat babies
artistic talent
musical talent
dramatic talent
really impressive athletic talent
hybrid luxury cars
spot on NASCAR circuit
the ability to eat noodles, bread, bagels, cookies, brownies, cake, twizzlers, soy sauce, pizza, etc without repercussions
international savvy
multilinguality (I know that's not a word)
private jets
odd but super-cool fashion sense
the ability to buy cheap-and-comfy sexy shoes
law degree
doctoral degree
various other advanced degrees

Friday, January 16, 2009

Square One

You're in control/Is there anywhere you want to go?
The future's for discovering/The space in which we're travelling

Too bad it seems as if I am just discovering tread-upon ground. I'm retreading the "sphere in which [I've] been brought up." (Maybe if I'm wise, I won't quit it, eh, Lady Catherine?)

I spent all day, with the help of my good friend, Jeremy, packing up the remnants of my life on Medalist Drive and delivering it to my family's home in Chapel Hill. I have mixed feelings, not because I dread living here, or I think I will feel like I'm 18 again; rather, I always feel somewhat anxious when the future is unclear. I haven't had to deal with that feeling very often in my short life, despite all the moves. At least I have always had my family there, and that constant is not in the least unappreciated. But not only have I moved back in with my parents like myriad other recent college graduates, but I also have no idea how long I will be here or how long I will be unemployed. I want to hold out for something amazing, but I may have to settle for something to pay the bills. God knows what I need to do and how I need to spend my time, and what will prepare me for the calling he has on my life.

I'm ready for another adventure. Should I go off to Turkey with Mom's friends? Should I apply for jobs in another city? Which? I can pick any city... the hard part is actually getting hired.

As I wait to answer my questions, or better yet, to have my questions answered, I will take it a day at a time. I am closer to Tiffany&Joe, Becca, Kristine, and Katie, and now I'm within walking distance of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods! (Again.) My furniture is in the same exact layout as when I left at 18, but I believe I'm a little wiser and more appreciative and less self-centered. (Yes, it is possible that I was more self-centered than I am now! Shocker, I know.)

Who said you can't go home again?

I just did.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Conversation, or 3+4=7 (DCB reference), or the Diary of Life

me: ok so you want to know what just happened
nick: i just clicked on your box to type you something...
and then you already said something else
me: ok you tell me first then
i'm sure you thought of it first, but i was too quick for you so i beat you to it
[redacted because it's not very nice]
nick: hold on, that does sound interesting
me: shut up
so i sold my couch today
nick: congratulations
[redacted because it's not interesting or funny]
me: yeah i suppose
ok so now it's my turn to tell you my story
nick: hit me.
me: so i had been a little jumpy when my phone went off in the past 5 minutes
but then my speaker started making noise like my phone was going to ring
and i noticed, and then my phone rang, and my heart skipped like 3 beats and i said out loud "freaking a"
and nobody's here
but I HAD NOTICED and i still jumped
nick: ...that was possibly the most confusing story.
me: really?
nick: so your phone didnt ring, but then it did? and then you jumped?
me: it did ring
no this is what happened
my mom texted me, and i jumped a lil
nick: why
is your phone scary?
me: b/c i'm jumpy! and then she texted me AGAIN, and before it came through and the sound was made and it vibrated, the speaker started being fuzzy
and i thought to myself "i bet my phone will ring"
and then it DID ring
and i jumped a LOT and shouted "Freaking AAAA!"
and no, my phone is not scary
nick: hahaha
you need to journal that story. if anything from your life is worth passing down through generations, its that story.
me: ok i'll put it in my blog
nick: hah good
me: actually i'll just put this whole conversation in
oh crap, i cant
the [redacted because it's not very nice] should not be preserved
dang it nick, you screwed everything up
nick: hahah well just edit that part out
me: it wont make sense then
bc the first thing you say is that you were going to say something, and then i will edit
out everything you said
[redacted because it's not interesting]
nick: i was actually be facetious
me: no you were right
nick: i was being snide.
me: facetious
what?!? you?!?
nick: snarky is probably my favorite adjective
or snarkily as an adverb
if i was on a spelling bee team, we'd be called the snarks
me: yeah i could see that
only a spelling team?
can i be on the snarks?
i'm a grade-A speller
one time my cousin and i were going to be in a talent show and she said "what can you do?" and the only thing i could think of was "i can spell!"
nick: well what other team would appreciate the snarks?
me: it's true
nick: thats awesome
me: yeah, she didn't think so
nick: that is entry 2 to your diary of life
me: she was like cmon janel there must be something you can do... and i was like, nope.
nick: how old were you
me: um, 14
nick: this wasnt in college?
oh wow, i was thinking like 8
well you could have always fought in a battle of wits
thats talent show quality
put on a suit of armor and verbally berate some 14 year olds
me: that is brilliant. i would wax the floor with the spittle from their braces-filled mouths
nick: haha spittle

Nick, I can't thank you enough for the constant inspiration you are to me. For example, the above snippet of conversation.

To my faithful readers: If you were disappointed by the lack of substance to this post, please lodge your complaints with the administrator at administrator@gmail.com. If you thought this glimpse into the everyday occurances in the life of the author was worthwhile and insightful, please feel free to leave complimentary comments.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Myself When I Am Real

A brand new year that is full of... potential. What an ugly word.

I used to think "potential" was hopeful but now it's more scary than anything else. I find myself praying that I will be able to go a whole calendar year without a dear friend dying suddenly and tragically. (If I were feeling optimistic, I'd be thinking it's already been 10 months since the last death, so only two to go!)

I don't think I'm a negative person in general. I turn to pessimism as a defense mechanism when I care about something, like when I was in middle school and would insist we (Carolina) were going to lose a game so that if we lost, I could at least say, "I knew it." So silly. But I don't want to get my hopes up. As my ex so foolishly but unforgettably said, if you don't have any expectations, you can't be disappointed.

This is not a happy way to start off the year, but it's what I'm thinking. I'm afraid. I fear not finding a new job; I fear moving out of my apartment (logistically and regarding what it means for my comfort/selfish lifestyle); I fear being alone or having to move to a new place later in the year. This last fear surprises me, since generally I'm up for adventure and new scenery. I think I've adjusted enough to life-after-college that I have a good balance with my friends and I'm okay with being in North Carolina because it still offers new things and people and when I need to get out, I can.

I don't want to be afraid. I'm generally brave and strong. But I'm learning that I can't know what will happen, I can't control it, tragedies happen, and "life is full of such trials, as our sister Mary reminds us daily," as the incomparable Elizabeth Bennet says in P&P.

A (not) profound bumper sticker I saw today declared, "life is good." I was surprised that tacky Christian marketing companies haven't yet commandeered that logo and inserted "God" rather than "life" in the vein of "Got Jesus?"-type ad campaigns. After all, life is good only sometimes, and thankfully, God isn't just good once in a while. He's always, always good, even when it doesn't look like it. And the ability to trust that that's true is called faith.

I think I see myself and my life more clearly than I have in the past, and although that's small progress and, unfortunately, often results in disappointment in myself rather than increased faith in God, I can live more honestly and openly and can be vulnerable, waiting for the conquering strength of the Spirit to finish the work He's begun.

Bebo Norman, whose earlier cd title I stole for this post, has a new song that encapsulates my current soul location...

laying flat upon my back, all the world in motion
everything goes by so fast, i feel like i'm frozen
after all is said and done, did i fail to mention
everything i haven't done, all my good intentions?

have no fear of height or depth, have no fear of crashing
the single thing i fear the most, simply feeling nothing

this is my holy hour; this is my world on fire
this is my desperate play; this is where i am made
this is my kingdom come; this is my freedom song
this is my helpless state; this is where i am saved

let my ruins become the ground you build upon
let my ruins become the stars
let my ruins become the ground you build upon
from what's left of my broken heart...