Friday, December 16, 2011

My Christmas Gift to Myself

I just started my Christmas shopping this week, because I've been writing my dissertation, teaching, grading papers, meeting with my professors and students, working extra hours for my website job, and watching Law and Order reruns. I only go shopping on weekdays; it's easier and less crowded during the week rather than the weekend, when most of the tourists come out. That way, I'm much less likely to start head-butting any tourists that get in my way.

This year, I've decided to give a small gift to myself, because I've been going through some difficult situations lately. Not to sound too materialistic or anything, but I think that a Christmas gift might make me feel better.

I've been thinking about all the things that are on my Christmas wish list. Here are a few examples:

The guys from The Big Bang Theory would move in next door. I think they'd be fun to hang out with, and they'd always be up for eating takeout with me. They could also probably fix my laptop for me, like one of them did for Penny, the girl next door. Since they're all so smart, they could probably build a new computer for me.

A handsome, respectful, and kind guy (perhaps one who looks like Josh Kloss, the guy from the Katy Perry video) who says stuff like, "I hate it when girls are too thin. More chocolate?"

Free coffee for a year. Or better yet, my own personal Starbucks cafe, and only the people who don't camp out with their laptops while nursing one cup of coffee for four hours will be allowed to hang out there. And there won't be any rude guys trying to steal my table by putting their laptops on it after I get up for two seconds to grab a napkin. And there will always be enough glazed doughnuts, because whenever Starbucks runs out of them, I'm tempted to bite the hand of the person who takes the last doughnut, as well as the hands of the guys who try to take my table (I don't, though. But if I was a vampire, I would.)

But since I can't have any of these things, I decided to give myself one thing that I can have: time to write. I haven't worked on my novel in weeks, partly because of the difficult situations going on in my life, and partly because I've had so much work to do. Writing has always been very soothing and therapeutic for me, and it's the one thing that always makes me happy. So I think that one reason I've been so stressed out lately is because I haven't had time to write.

I went to a coffeehouse and wrote more than a thousand words, and I felt better than I had in a long time. It felt good to do something that was just for me,  and it only cost a few bucks.

What about you? What's on your Christmas wish list?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Greatest Fears

We all have our greatest fears. We're afraid of dying and losing our family and friends. There's also the fear of walking by ourselves on the street at night because of all the bad things that could happen. There's the fear of war, illness, unemployment, etc. There's also the fear that when the aliens come to Earth, they'll spend a couple of hours watching reality shows and say, "Well, if this is what humans are like, then never mind," before climbing into their spaceship and flying away, and then they'll never make me their queen. 

We also have our personal fears, many of which we hide from other people. Fear can be a good thing, because it can motivate us to protect ourselves and take action so that what we're afraid of won't happen. But it can also cause us to avoid anything that's risky, and it can make us put limitations on our lives and ourselves.

1. I'm afraid that I will never get married and have a family, and I'll never know what it's like to find happiness with someone I'm meant to be with. I'm afraid that I'm not meant to be with anyone.

2. I'm afraid that living in Chicago for so long has turned me into an angry, cynical person, the kind of person who says, "HEY! Turn down your TV or I WILL play Britney Spears' music all night! I have ALL of her albums, you know!" and "If you try to push me out of the way one more time, you'll be wearing my coffee on your shirt!" I'm afraid that that small-town girl that I used to be, the one who used to be thrilled by all the wonderful things that Chicago has to offer, is gone forever.

3. I'm afraid that even though I've spent years in graduate school, I won't get a full-time teaching position at a good school because I haven't accomplished as much as my classmates have. I hate the idea of failing to accomplish my goals even after I've done all this work and made all these sacrifices.

4. I'm afraid of cats, because they all seem to go into ATTACK mode whenever I'm around them.

5. I'm afraid that I'll never publish any of my stories, and I'm afraid that even if I did that no one would like them.

6. I'm afraid of clowns, especially Ronald McDonald. His big red mouth always makes me think of the way that Little Red Riding Hood says to the disguised wolf, "Why Grandmother, what big teeth you have!" Only in this case, it would be, "Why Ronald McDonald, what a big mouth you have!" And he'd say, "The better to scare the hell out of you with, my dear." And then he would give this big, scary smile right before he started chasing me and I would throw french fries at him.

7.  I'm afraid that online dating has made me lose hope that I'll ever find the right guy, because of all the profiles that say stuff like "I don't believe in monogamy" and "I love boobs".

8. I'm afraid that all the students who challenge my authority, blame me for their bad grades and refuse to take responsibility for their own work, text and Tweet during class even after I told them to stop, and keep asking me to "edit" their papers for them will make me overlook all the good students who make teaching worthwhile.

9. I'm afraid that I'll be struggling to support myself for the rest of my life, and I'll have to keep working minimum-wage jobs that don't even pay enough money to buy new shoes that I have to stand all day in. I'm also afraid that working all of these awful jobs will make me yell at a customer one day; I'll probably say something like, "Do you get extra points in hell every time you act like that?"

10. I'm afraid that I'll never have the courage to be truly honest with the people in my life and tell them the secrets that I've kept from them.

What about you? What are you afraid of? How do you deal with your fear?