factory settings. april 24th.

yesterday was kit's birthday.

today the celebration continues, in a bigger way. more festively.

and in honor of her birthday, i'm stealing something from her.

she posted about her factory settings. and posed the question, 'what are your factory settings?' i've been thinking about it a lot since i read hers, because i really liked the post.

the thing is, in my newfound single-ness, i'm terrified. like i hit the reset button, and midway through wiping everything clean, realized that there was a lot of shit i forgot to protect and save.

i know who i am. and i know my patterns. and i don't want to continue to be that person, making the same mistakes repeatedly.

so what i think i might do, is think about my factory settings as they were. the ones i'll most likely return to.

and then really try to think about which of them i want to not return to, once the reset is complete.

so. without further ado... my factory settings:

1. i overthink EVERYTHING. i am a head case. since i was 19, friends frustratedly tell me to get out of my head. and i cannot.

2. i am stubborn. i always have been. i get it from my dad. once i decide something, it is decided. and if i realize i'm wrong, then i'll punish myself by sticking to my guns.

3. i am impatient. especially when i'm driving. or waiting in a line at a store. or walking behind people who take up too much space to be able to walk around them. sometimes i don't give people a chance, because i think i know them before i have a chance to, and don't take the time to get to. also i jump to a lot of conclusions before hearing something out. and i have a bad habit of trying to finish people's sentences. i used to think it was cute and kinda romantic ('i can finish your sentences! we think alike!'), but now i cringe when i do it. because it's almost almost never what they were going to say, or were getting at.

4. conversely, i also give people too much credit, especially when it's not due. i tend to put people on pedestals without really knowing them or what they believe in.

5. i always opened my mouth to speak, and watched the boys run. i say too much, too soon. and usually put it in writing.

i'm working on this one. i love writing letters. i love writing love letters that i'll never actually send. i usually keep copies for myself if i do send a letter.

i have a shoebox full of letters i've received, and copies of letters where i spilled my guts to boys and promptly found myself alone. i go through the letter box less often than my journals. maybe once every four or five years. but it has the same illness-inducing effects. and the 'what the FUCK was i thinking's.

6. i love with all of my heart. i give my heart away too quickly. i gave it to someone a long time ago, who wasn't exactly deserving. and i intend to take it back in july. or at least the majority of it. but i'm afraid it will backfire. like it did in december.

7. i re-read all of my old journals start to finish, about once a year, usually when i'm completely unsatisfied with my life.

i think of this one as being the most important of the list.

the thing is, i really beat myself up. because i read them knowing the outcome, obviously. and i see where i fucked things up. i always wish for reconnections. and i can always see exactly where i went wrong. it is PAINFUL. it is torturous. and every time a relationship ended, i wondered why i let it go, or why i left, or how i got left behind.

i usually wind up depressed for a solid week after the couple of weeks it takes me to read them. and also during.

i want to write a memoir. and then seal the box of journals and never open it again. or at least not every year. i tried to start one, but didn't know what approach to take. so i stopped the same day i started. until i come back to it...

i do the same thing with photo albums. i go through my old photo albums and laugh, remembering. and also cry. about once a year - usually immediately after i read the last journal.

and just remember.

8. and then wish for a time machine to go back and change things.

9. i latch on to things in an addictive way. a game on facebook (bejeweled, then farmtown, then farmville, now scrabble). facebook in general. a friend. a boy. places.

10. i overuse words that make me seem less smart than i am: 'dude', 'duder', 'like', 'anyway/s', 'fuck/fucking', 'shit', 'thing', 'stuff', 'bummer'.

ever used to say 'tea. use your words.'

like i was a child. yeah, he was an asshole the majority of the time, but his point was also valid. i'm really good at talking around things instead of about things.

i also say 'i don't know' pretty often.

11. without being diagnosed as bipolar, i have manic and depressive phases. i write prolifically, or not at all. i sleep for a couple hours, or for ten. i'm really excited and giggling, or crying for days on end. i don't read, or i read five books in a month (like this one).

12. i have stalker tendencies. and i get jealous. facebook is the best worst thing for this problem. wondering what someone really means by what they say. someone standing a little too close next to someone in a picture. seeing pictures of people together, when i didn't go and missed out. things i missed out on when i left home. etcetera, etcetera.

13. i do my best writing when i'm heartbroken. or have a muse. which is usually both. i wish i didn't believe this. but i still haven't been able to escape writing only what i know. i need help with this.

14. the most important one might actually be a tie. because the one i am actively working on, that i want to banish from my factory settings is that i let other people decide my happiness for me.

say i like someone. if that person isn't all about me, i cry. if that person flakes on me, i cry. if that person shoots me down, i cry. if something doesn't work out exactly how i hope for it to, i cry.

i've never let myself be alone. i've never been happy alone. i always defined my happiness by the person who is making me happy at the time, and it doesn't even have to be a boy.

right now, i keep saying that i want to be alone. but i don't. not at all. i'm just FORCING myself to be. because i know that i have to. plus, i believe that if i just do it, i'll get better at it. there's only one way to find out. august 14th is marked on my calendar. that is six months from the day ever and i split. september 6th is also marked. that is six months from the day i moved out.

i will not do anything that resembles this thing called dating until then.

august 12th is the meteor shower at dark sky park. hopefully i'm not tempted to drag a boy there with me...though that is doubtful. i can't think of a better 2-days-before-deadline-first-date. luckily, i have a date. her name is kit.

separate, but also related:

i feel like i didn't have a best friend during most of my marriage.

one day, about a year ago or so, i was talking to ever, and i said something about feeling like i don't have a best friend. he was really hurt by it, because he thought he was my best friend. but he really wasn't anywhere near it. and sometimes i don't think he really knew me at all.

and it really got to me.

i felt completely isolated and alone. i'd been unhappy for years, and had no one to talk to who didn't know ever. i hadn't reconnected with nina yet, i hadn't met kit yet. i hadn't reconnected with nate yet. and the rest of my past friends/best friends hadn't called me to check on me, or returned my phone calls. and if they talked to me, it was all about them, and they never even asked how i was.

so i spent a lot of time feeling really hurt. only i didn't do anything about it. except wallow and hold grudges. (maybe now i should make a 14.5 that reads 'is passive')

i feel like i usually put more into my friendships and relationships than i get out of them. and when i don't get out what i put in, i feel like people don't care about me as much as i care about them. and that makes me really really sad. which is why i was depressed for the majority of the last seven years.

i was always better at being friends with boys than girls. but because i was married, i didn't think it was okay to be like that anymore. for the most part, my best friends have been girls. but the girls that i met here just didn't seem like best friend material (during the first six years, i should specify, because alice and kit are amazing, but i didn't know them then).

it sounds so childish to label someone as my 'best' friend. but it's my history. i could tell you every best friend i've had, every year of my life. it's pretty crazy. apparently i've hated being alone for as far back as i can remember. since i was four?

15. i suck at playing hard to get. if i want something, i have no shame and say so. i hate the games that people play with each other. if you like me, tell me. call me, spend time with me.

don't act all aloof and uninterested. because i'm going to take it at face value, and start trying to get over you.

it's why i think i am being honest when i say that i never 'dated'. because i never treated anyone casually. and i like being in relationships. i like taking care of people. especially my friends, but also boys. and when people tried to 'date' me, i just got hurt every single time they chose the other person to spend more of their time with. or the fact that i wasn't awesome enough to only want to spend time with me.

i have been saying for about a week now that i will know i've found my next boy when he wants to take care of me. everything else is a waste of my time and feelings. because i like leeches who suck the life out of me. i have a few in my past. i will not have any in my future.

i develop crushes in nanoseconds. and there's nothing else i want to do with my time.

16. sometimes i forget to come up for air. i like to drown in things. see #9. see #15.

17. i procrastinate. luckily, i also work well under pressure.

18. i keep waiting for the hollywood ending. i am a hopeful romantic. someday, i believe it will happen. i'm working on the waiting part. my impatience is how i ended up married.

i fall in love fast. and out sometimes just as fast. i want something that lasts. but then again, who doesn't?

19. i love to cook. i hate to clean. and baking is my meditation. and i'm really happy when i do it.

i love to see the look on someone's face when they genuinely like something i've made. and i used to get really upset with ever when he wouldn't eat dinner with me after i spent a lot of time preparing it. because as soon as it was hot and on a plate, he'd leave me to eat the meal alone, to go smoke. after having a 30 to 45 minute countdown. every single time. and a yell up the staircase with only 10 minutes left. and then an 'it's ready'.

followed by 'i'm gonna smoke'. followed by the argument.

(which just reminded me of the name of the album i couldn't think of all week. i used to listen to it driving from home to ever on repeat for two hours. sigh...everybody wants somewhere.)

i love to send things i baked to friends in the mail. i try to do it at least twice a year, usually around christmas and at some other random time.

i'm about to do it today. i'm excited.

and i'm baking kit a birthday cake, too. she doesn't know.

today is going to be a great day.

20. i'm a recovering flake. and now i have no tolerance for flaky people. if i say i'll be somewhere, i'll be there. even if i feel like shit. even if i don't want to. because i said i would be, and someone is counting on me to be. i'll kill myself to make it where i'm supposed to be.

and if you tell me you're going to be somewhere or do something with me, i'm banking on it. and it sucks to be disappointed. i always take it to heart. i always take it personally.

i'm working on this, also. because when i say disappointed, it feels more like devastated. and i need to tone it down a little. cut people some slack. not everyone has the life i have, and the priorities i have, and the same belief system. and i should be more forgiving.

21. i love to make mixed cds. i've been doing it since it was mixed tapes. calling and requesting songs on the radio, and listening with my finger to release the pause button, while the record button was depressed, when the song came on.

i love to turn people on to new music. i love to be turned on to new music by other people. giving someone a mix i made is like letting them inside my head, in a way. it's usually what i'm listening to at the time. and because of my mindset, it's always pertinent. getting a mix from someone is really flattering. i love that most of my friends think of me as a source of music. i feel like i have an ear for it. i wish i could make music.

really, i just love music. for most of my life, i haven't been able to sit anywhere without music. i'm just now appreciating silence.

22. i hold grudges. i'm spiteful. i'm vengeful. i will give you the world. but if you fuck me over, i'm never speaking to you. ever again. or for at least seven to ten years... it's like a collections account on a credit report.

i need to stop there. i could go on for days.

it's a beautiful spring day in the northeast.

but no one needs to know any more about me, really.

besides, i've got baking to do.

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