21 September 2008

Fed-Exing Puppies

I spent part of the morning trying (most likely unsuccessfully) to convince a certain someone once again that Fed-Exing puppies between the two of us is a horribly bad idea. And no, Fed-exing two puppies is even worse. What happens when the one I've gotten attached to dies? If we want to get a puppy together, it's probably best if we wait until we're in the same country, preferably in the same town....

Since the whole "fed-exing puppies is a bad idea" is an on-going challenge, I also cleaned my apartment today. It was the first time since I've moved in that I didn't have company or wasn't too incapacitated by mono to clean. I'd kept it picked up, but my place was dying for a dusting and a vaccuuming.

It's a lame challenge, I know - damn mono. I'm working on a list of more exciting challenges to come once I'm completely recovered. Any and all input is welcomed...

14 September 2008

Smart....and....Beautiful?

I was talking online via g-chat with a friend at work on Friday. I know, I know - for shame! (But, in all fairness, it's the only chance I get to stay in touch with some folks, and obviously if my client's boss is asking me to assist him in addition to my client, I must be getting some of my work done...)

Somehow, in the conversation, we got onto the fact that I generally hate myself in pictures. Close to 87% of the time (rough estimate), I'm blinking in the picture (Thanks Mom!). In the few that I'm not blinking in, 68% involve me making a horribly odd face or is just an unflattering pose. Thus, there are few pictures that I like myself in.

Given that I also believe that pictures are as close as you can come to seeing yourself through the eyes of others, I've always thought of myself as average, looks-wise. Usually cute in that average girl-next-door way. Never really thought of myself as ugly, but not really beautiful either. Occasionally, with the right light, the right outfit, and some magic, I look pretty in pictures.

As I've gotten older, become more comfortable in my skin and with myself, I seem to hear people use the word "beautiful" to describe me more often. Other than when a very select few people call me beautiful, I tend to rankle and not believe them. Somewhere along the line, I started believing you could either be smart or you could be beautiful, but that the two were mutually exclusive.

Given that I'm smart (I mean, not to brag too much or anything, but I did get all A's in grad school...), I've just assumed beautiful was not part of the equation for me. So unless certain people (those who love me dearly) say I'm beautiful, I tend to not believe it when I'm called "beautiful". As such, I have a hard time accepting compliments on my looks.

In our conversation, without knowing all that I've just explained, my friend scolded me. He said, "You're a looker and you don't even know it. You're beautiful, but you don't believe it. You need to start accepting that, and start being able to graciously accept compliments on your looks."

After giving me a minute or two to mull that over, he continued, "You have this spark that's just incredible. When it gets captured in a picture, your picture just becomes absolutely captivating."

Wow.
That's a hell of an awesome compliment.

Challenge one, to accept that compliment graciously. I think I did quite well.

Challenge two, to start accepting compliments on my looks graciously and without suspicion. (And no, I'm not going to start fishing for compliments to practice challenge two.)


Challenge three, to start believing that being smart and being beautiful are not mutually exclusive (without blowing my ego out of proportion either).


01 September 2008

Heart to Heart with the One Who Stole My Heart

Following the request I got in Joe's reply email, I was choosing to not reply right away and consider our options and our future. I planned on calling him on Monday.

However, after a morning out with my Mama, who does such a great job of wearing me out, and a lazy afternoon nap, we were bumming around my apartment just gossiping and talking when I realized that my Facebook chat window was open. I was originally irritated to see I had a new message (I thought it was from someone who has been a bit annoying lately), but was delighted to see it was the one I'm in love with.

We chatted a bit - he's opted to continue his service with the Peace Corps and is being reassigned to Albania (ironically enough, his original number one choice of a country to serve in) - so we discussed the logistics of his transfer and his excitement about his new placement.

Then, thanks to modern technology and Mark Zuckerberg (or whatever his name really is), we had a long heart to heart and really opened up to each other. It was a conversation we probably should have had prior to his departure, but in this case, it was much better late than never at all. We don't have any answers yet for how we're going to handle the next two years; we'll figure it out as we go along. What matters right now, is we both know, finally, exactly how we feel about each other and how the other person feels about us.

It's horribly awkward to have such an intimate conversation via instant message and emails, but I can't even begin to imagine how awful the wait would have been had we had to carry out such a conversation via letters and snail mail from a developing country. Evidently, we both had a lot to say.

By the time we ended the conversation, knowing we'll try to figure out our relationship as we go along, that we love each other, and that we do have something worth fighting for, I couldn't believe two hours had passed.

I'm thrilled we were able to talk. I'm thrilled we were able to open up honestly. It was still difficult, even after opening up so much just a few days prior in an email, but I'm proud of myself. For as much as I wear my heart on my sleeve, I'm still pretty guarded once intimacies (with a friend, a lover, an accquaintance) reach a certain level, so to continue to open up so much made me quite proud of myself.

Of course, I'm delighted that being so open has worked out so well...

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

After Thursday's seemingly impossible challenge of opening myself out and holding my heart out in my hand, I didn't think it could get any harder. Yet, since I knew this email I sent was going halfway around the world, to a very different time zone, to someone who most likely was not expecting such an email and would need time to think about all the things I said, I had to put the thoughts and anxieties out of my mind.

I think I did a good job (Mama will have to weigh in on this) of putting my fears of saying the wrong things, or too much too late, or being badly hurt by being so open, out of my mind and enjoying a day of adventures with my Mama.

Then, I got home late Friday night and checked my emails.

For the dear readers interested in my personal life beyond the daily challenges, his reply basically was, "Wow, I didn't realize you felt as strongly as I did. You're right - we have something special, and we should give ourselves, our relationship, a fighting chance."