Living for me, looking for no one

The last time I remember real emotions… (or what they now call “the feels”) is in Ames, my junior year of journalism school. I was on my parking ramp in the drunken college neighborhood called Campustown. It was in the middle of winter – six inches of snow surrounded me. I was blaring “Crush” by David Archuleta and in tears, pounding on my steering wheel, dreading the lonely walk down a metal staircase, across two parking lots, between a fence opening, and into the madness of life without him. I remember telling myself it wasn’t fair and that life sucks. I remember screaming in my car from physical pain that no one was inflicting on me in reality. I remember that I couldn’t breathe.

I pressed the << button uncountable times. And even though I knew it was a pretty stuffy, dumb song, it was speaking the words that for a long time needed to come out of my mouth. I felt dumb. I felt broken. I felt it.

I reminded myself that he wasn’t my world or the real reason I loved journalism. I reminded myself that even without him I would have become editor and lead the way for many. I convinced myself that I was good at so many things without him, mainly just one thing: work. That was a big part of our relationship: him pushing me to do better in writing, editing, and getting it right and first. After I taught myself to breathe evenly again, I dried the tears, walked inside and washed the pillowcases that smelled of him. The next day, I went to work, hoping for some breaking news.

I asked for more responsibility, helped develop the Business section of my college paper, I managed rookie reporters (even though I was basically a rookie myself), and stepped up, leaving behind the emotions. That spring he graduated and moved away. I always tease that my heart is buried in the boxes from junior year in with my football shaped beer mug I stole from a frat party and Cy face tattoos from football games.

Honestly, it’s probably still there.

Anyway, after that I had a couple boyfriends (at different times, I’m not a hustler), but I never count those times because the relationship, if you could even call it that, didn’t last long – two months top and six of those weeks, he lived out of state. This is when I learned I like the idea of a boyfriend instead of the actual, in the flesh boyfriend. He came back in the fall from an internship and I was so excited, ecstatic even. Two weeks later, I was working on deadline and he was calling my phone, asking me where I was and if we were still hanging out. We weren’t; I was working. I was good at copy editing and loved it and how much the entire newsroom depended on me – especially this particular night when all other copy editors called in and I edited the entire paper. What a rush! I made that my priority, declared him as too needy, and moved on, unfazed. Resume obsessed.

You can make your judgmental face now because many of you who have someone to love or have the “feels” whenever you watch “P.S. I Love You” or “The Notebook” might not understand. And some of you might clean your glasses and understand me a bit more. Either way, this is America and you can stop reading anytime.

So my resume was great and growing and I was looking at going big or going home after graduation. I freak out from a boyfriend wanting to spend every night with me, yet I moved to New York City over a weekend, slept on a futon in Brooklyn, mainly homeless with no plan except Craigslist-searching for an apartment. #Craigslistkiller And damn, it was quite the dream job at the time – children’s educational publishing, corporate Barnes & Noble, Park Avenue, skyscraper, and opportunity. I thrived. I’ve never been so in love. New York was the first time I started loving things more deeply than people. You could point at this incident and place blame for my coldness or insane attachment to this city or my work ethic. I didn’t become an alcoholic out there like some of the famous chums I bounced with (*shakes head* I didn’t have any famous chums…), but I did become a workaholic. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I gained purpose, proved my reliability, and reached for more. Even the middle of Manhattan wasn’t enough for me. Well, for one thing, the money was tight—woof! I felt bored sometimes in the midst of the entertainment and lights. It wasn’t big enough. My college resume got me there, now I wanted to see where this addition to the resume got me next. I challenged myself to a marathon of resume add-ons with the perk of keeping busy and productive at the same time. My favorite kind of crazy.

I never dated anyone in New York, unless you count my boyfriend for two weeks around Valentine’s Day. It made complete sense – college friends for three years, we made out at a wedding, and a really nice, trustworthy guy – but the moment he was on my NYC turf from Iowa and with me 24/7, I was over it. Almost immediately. He even made me spaghetti for lunch after I worked at church on one of my only days off and held my hand down Broadway – you feely people like this. He’s still a great guy and will make some woman really happy one day, just again, not me. I lived among more than eight million people and not one made me blink a flirty eye. I was living for me, looking for no one.

That could be my sad/hilarious title that just came out of my subconscious writing brain… “Living for me, looking for no one! on the next Maury.” Basically, yes, that. So let’s recap… Jenn can’t commit to anything except her job, but not for the lack of trying. Oh, and she’s crazy. Let’s explore the current sitch.

First year teaching high school English after declaring I shall teach young people and it shall be grand and everything I could hope for! Huzzah! So I did that school thing again… this time all the financial loans were on me and only me. I enjoy paying for two apartments every month when I only have one. #debtcrisis To get this first year teaching gig, I sat down with the principal at a career fair with more than one thousand people waiting in lines behind. He asked me a list of questions on a worksheet he did with every other applicant, but after watching five needy college graduates go through the line, I knew that when he stopped at question three, pushed the paper aside and said, “Okay, talk to me… what’s with this resume. It’s impressive,” I was different.

The smile I smiled at that moment reinforced I was on the right path. Among a thousand others, I stood out. I got up on a Saturday during student teaching, and sold myself, and landed a teaching position in the city I wanted. I turned down four other schools with which I had interviews. I don’t say this to brag because I’m not a braggy person, I am just giving you background… ya know, writer stuff. So that year I partnered with a teacher I trusted and we killed it. I worked my ass off. I planned week to week, adjusting for pacing and differentiation. I thought of my students first and my sanity second. I was now determined to make a difference and teach them some cool shit along the way… that sounds too cool, I followed the curriculum guide and tried to do some cool shit to make them pay attention, like rapping Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise,” because the students didn’t believe I knew it. I showed them.

Then get this… a new high school finds me out from another teacher and asks me if I would be interested in having my dream job. #goonbrushyourshoulderoff Teaching journalism, senior English, AND advising a student newspaper? Uhhh, yes! Wait, let’s be real, there wasn’t an “uhhh” in there; maybe for a minute when I freaked about leaving my coworker to whom I have serious attachments.

So here I go into another school year, turning 27, having more serious conversations with family and friends about when I’ll settle down. Jokes about grandchildren float as jokes but not really. I pray often that my mom will live long enough to have grandchildren. I joke about getting around to it, but that’s how I feel about it all. I’ll get around to it. Or I won’t.

People say God will put your soul mate in your life when He sees fit. I believe it completely because well, I’m not going out there voluntarily, am I? But I have to question if I’ll ever be ready or open to even looking twice. My personal resume says I won’t. I have thought about going to eHarmony to write a personal resume. I’m a writer. I can write myself into any light – even an unfavorable one like this one maybe. #YOLO I look great on paper, I always have, even back in j-school. I’ve worked my ass off for this career path, for this two-page worthy stacked and jacked resume. It’ll take someone extraordinary to make me prioritize it differently… which is sad and not sad at the same time. It is what it is. ß I say that way too much.

To be cheesy, it’ll take The One to make me change my objective to “Looking to spend life with someone who supports current obsession at being the best I can be at my career and sometimes reading hundreds of pages at once on the one night we see each other.” Or to be more emotional, “Looking to be someone’s other half.” There ya go! It gives you the feels, doesn’t it? No? Me neither.


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