drama

There Are Starving Children in Africa: Why I Feel Like a First World Brat

When I think about the things that bother me, I feel guilty that I’m even upset. In the grand scheme of horrible things going on all over the globe, I shouldn’t be upset about wedding details, or having to hound HR to confirm my employment. Just look back at those two issues: boo hoo wedding crisis, and wah you have a job. Seriously, it’s shameful. Yet, yesterday I was so upset I was brought to tears.

As you know, I’m getting married very soon. Well, soonish. We are getting into the 5-3 month window. It’s time for the bridal shower and bachelorette plans to begin. My bridesmaids are all family, three of them are underage and four of them don’t even live in the United States. My girlfriends are also all over the place. Luckily, my mother has agreed to host a small shower for me in my hometown with my aunts and some family friends. My maid of honor is my sister, who is 19 and a freshman at a huge state school with a good football team. All the festivities for the wedding will be during football season and she has a boyfriend who is really into sports…blah blah blah.

So, since I don’t live near my sisters and Blacksheep won’t be around to plan anything, I have asked a close girlfriend who lives near me to plan the shower and the bachelorette party. I asked her because we are basically best friends. We do everything together, and she seemed fine with it. REcently she was the bridesmaid in a girlfriend’s wedding, and she isn’t even that good of friends with her and helped organize a destination bachelorette party for the bride. I figured since we’re really close, I’d ask her. Well, there was no planning going on so I asked her if she wanted some help. She said she would help, and all of a sudden I was planning my bachelorette party and my shower.

There are a few upsides to planning everything yourself.

1. You have complete control and get to do it however you want.

2. See above upside.

The thing is, I don’t think it’s appropriate for a bride to plan these events on their own.

As FH pointed out last night, I should have expected this when I asked my 19-year-old sister to be my maid of honor. This is true. Still, why don’t any of my girlfriends want to do something like this?

I feel terrible and guilty that I want a shower and bachelorette party so badly. I mean, what’s the big freakin’ deal? Do I even need to have one? I understand why my girlfriends don’t want to plan anything for me, I really do.

1. I have no friends in my bridal party.

2. They all live far away.

3. Most of them are broke.

4. It’s a pain in the ass to plan parties like this.

5. It’s depressing to plan showers and bachelorette parties when you’re single.

Still, when I was asked to be my best friend’s maid of honor (she called of the wedding, but that is not the point), I was so excited to help her in any way.

I just feel like my friends and sisters are being so selfish. When I told my sister the date I was thinking of having the shower and bachelorette party, she freaked out.

“Seriously, why that weekend?”

When I explained that the month before the wedding was not going to work because of scheduling conflicts and holidays, she conceded. She then suggested the month of the wedding. I also felt this was not going to work because then those girlfriends who would travel to the shower, would then have to travel again for the wedding. This seems unfair.

“That weekend is a big deal in [insert college town name here],” she whined. “There’s a home game. I have tickets. It’s the worst.”

“Okay, whatever.”

“You couldn’t have possibly picked a worse weekend.”

“Awesome.”

I hung up the phone and broke down into tears. I hate to be all, “me me me,” but isn’t that the point? I’ve tried so desperately throughout this process to not be a diva. To not discuss the details of my wedding. To not bore anyone with talk of the wedding, when in fact, I’m fucking excited about it.

This is my first marriage. FH and I have been through hell back to be together. And I’m excited, God damn it. I grew up around the bridal industry, and like many girls I love weddings. Everything about them. Still, I’ve held my tongue. Not talking about it, as if it wasn’t happening.

When people ask me, “So, how are the wedding plans coming?”

My response is always, “Oh you know, nothing too exciting. Just trying not to stress.”

Well people. I’m. Stressed. And, it is exciting.

I’m also deeply disappointed in all the selfish people I have surrounded myself with, including my sisters, who don’t give a shit that their big sister is getting married. My sisters and girlfriends, who always need me, aren’t willing to commit to a weekend where we can celebrate something as lovely as a wedding and marriage.

Last night, while venting to FH I said, “I guess we should have just eloped.”

But you know what, FUCK THAT.

I have been a good girl. I’ve worked hard. I love FH more than anything, I’ve tried to be a good person and good friend who isn’t selfish.  Don’t I deserve a beautiful wedding and the festivities that precede it?

Still, even as I whine–boo hoo no one wants to plan my bridal shower or bachelorette party–I think about all those poor people in war stricken countries who can’t have beautiful weddings, and people who struggle to feed themselves and their children, and my mother who has freakin’ cancer, and all those people who are struggling with challenges far more important than a stupid bridal shower. I feel like someone should slap me and say, “Snap out of it, Barbie. There are starving children in Africa, you know.”

And even though that is true, I still can’t help feeling upset.

Last night, FH and I talked about how I try so hard to please others that I end up suffering. I know that with the wedding planning that has been the case. I am blessed with parents who want me to have the most beautiful wedding I can envision. My mother and father have said yes to almost all the vendors I’ve wanted to go with, and the colors, and the music, and the food. Both of my parents have told me that they are so proud of my accomplishments and they want to reward me with the wedding of my dreams. Still, I’ve done a lot to concede to what the family wants, and even what my sisters want. And honestly, this doesn’t really bother me. I don’t want to be a psychotic control freak. I really don’t. I let the girls pick their dresses, and even listened as one of my bridesmaid told me that no matter what dress I picked, she’d look fat. But that she’d wear whatever I chose.

I know a lot of this comes with the territory of planning a wedding, but so does a girlfriend or sister planning a shower.

Anyway, there isn’t much I can do, but it saddens me when I think about how I don’t really have any girlfriends (including my sisters) in my  life who will do this for me.

Nevertheless, the children are still starving in Africa.

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The End of the Hunt: The End End

I wept audibly for about twenty minutes before I was able to find the strength to call FH. The minute FH answered I lost it again.

“Hello.”

“Wahahaha…….job……teaching….credits….” Gasps for breath. “I…can’t….wahahaha.”

“What?”

This kept on for about ten minutes.

Somehow I managed to find the ability to speak and explained what happened. I was about to lose it. The thought of adjuncting and being broke was just not an option. I sounded like a drunk person who kept repeating themselves.

“I hate this life,” I repeated as I visualized my bottom-of-the-totem pole existence.

FH was encouraging and told me everything was going to be okay. He had my back. He told me all kind words I needed to hear in order to collect myself.

I was able to stand up and when the call ended I got in the shower and looked like Tobias Funke crying  from Arrested Development (see the “Fire Sale” episode).

I wasn’t about to let something like this be the end of a full-time job, so I called HR after I had cooled off.

“Hi, it’s me again.”

“Hello Ms. One Mean MFA”

“I was just wondering if there was anything I could do. I really, really want this job.”

“Well, there is one other option. We can hire you as a sub, then once you pass the subject area teaching test we will hire you laterally.”

“Oh okay.”

“The pay is $69 dollars a day.”

“Would I be retro-paid?”

“Yes, from the date of the exam.”

“Okay. That’s not ideal, but a job is a job.”

“The principal has to be behind the idea.”

I hung up feeling a bit better. The principal had hired me after fifteen minutes. This didn’t seem like it would be a problem. I emailed him and let him know what the situation was; his response email was one question.

“I thought you had a bachelors and masters degree in English?”

“I do…” was my response.

The next email read: “Call me NOW!!!”

I phoned him while he was on vacation. He told me he really wanted me at the high school and would do whatever it took. He also said he didn’t know one English major who had six credits in grammar. He even told me he’d personally watch my class if I ever needed a fill in.

The phone call ended, and I was relieved. I now had to make sure I knew exactly which test to take. Once again I was on the phone with HR. After two days of calling to make sure that I was definitely hired as a sub at my school, I decided it was time to just go into the HR office.

I got in the car, drove downtown, and found an empty building. Every door was locked. There was a sign on the door with a phone number for security. You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me.

“Hi, I’m looking for the HR office and all the doors are locked.”

“Oh, yeah the offices have been dismantled and are spread out around the county.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes, sorry about that.”

“Well, do you know where I can find HR?”

“I don’t. There might be a forwarding address on one of the doors.”

“Just so you know, this information isn’t anywhere on the website. They might consider updating that info.”

“Yeah. What are you gonna do?”

Morons.

I found the new address and had to drive another thirty minutes in the opposite direction.

After speaking with the receptionist, a licensure officer came out to speak with me. She then went to get the recruiter I had been speaking to for about two weeks. I heard them in the hallway talking shit.

I had to use all my politeness energy not to be a bitch. Sometimes I wish I was more confrontational. I just swallow shit and fester. I get this from my mother (who, I believe, has consequentially developed cancer because of this terrible habit).

I got my info and within forty-eight hours, I had registered for the test, met with a teaching licensure advisor at the college, and applied for a graduate teaching certificate program at the local state university. Still, I wasn’t registered for orientation and not officially employed.

Of course, because I’m impatient I kept calling HR to make sure I was employed. I still hadn’t told the college I wouldn’t be teaching in the fall, and because they had been so good to me I was worried about burning bridges. HR finally called me to schedule orientation.

“Oh wait, one of your references hasn’t filled out the online form.”

“Hmph.”

“Do you think you can have them do it by the end of the day? We can’t schedule you until that’s done.”

“I can try.”

It was done by noon. I had called to let them know and emailed. Still I wasn’t scheduled.

I called all day Monday and around eleven, someone answered. I left a message and was told the phone call would be returned by late afternoon.

It was almost three and the office was scheduled to close at four. I was freaking out. I had spent over three hundred dollars between applications for the teaching certificate, transcripts, and registering for the test. What if I had done this and still didn’t have a job? I stood outside (I was helping out at a camp at the school since I was “officially” employed) and just kept calling and calling.

All I needed was to be scheduled for orientation.

After half an hour of calling and calling, the HR recruiter answered. She scheduled me and before she hung up she said, “Thank you for being so persistent and patient with us.” I thought she was being sarcastic because I had been such a pain in the ass.

“Honestly,” she continued, “if you hadn’t been I might not have been able to get you registered in time.”

So after three weeks of hardcore persistence, I’m finally employed. The principal has assured me I’ll be teaching seniors–I even picked up the textbook and will be starting my planning soon–and have seen my classroom. I’m employed. It’s not an ideal situation, but I strongly believe things like this happen for a reason. Clearly, the stars have lined up to show me the way to teaching license. I’ve put it off for too long and it’s been holding me back.

While I don’ t want to be a high school teacher forever, I’ll stick around for at least three years (God-willing and if the county’s budget allows it). For the first time since before I started grad school, I’m actually not going to have worry about money and will have time write because I won’t be teaching an absurd amount of classes. Feels good.

I’m No Communist

So this week the president of my senior class created a facebook group to see what kind of interest we might have in organizing a reunion. At first, I was excited. Oh yes, here we go. If asked about what my high school experience was like, I would have to say it was generally pretty good. While I was not skinny, popular, or considered hot by any stretch (the same is still true today), I was a top student academically, a band geek and theatre nerd and had a pretty solid group of friends that even after a decade out of high school still keep in contact with. I’m not talking shallow facebook contact, I’m talking I can call them up and ask them to crash and they’re cool with it. But now, a few days of idiotic posts on facebook and I’m thinking I may have to pass.

I graduated with a pretty large class; we were about 300 people (Don’t say that’s small, I went to one of the bigger schools in town. It was big for the area. I can already hear people saying, “Oh that is tiny, we had over a 1000 graduates.” Get over yourself). The thing is if I was punched in the face by a fellow classmate who was not popular, in AP classes, band, drama or anything else that one might consider nerdy I’d have no clue we went to school together. Seriously. I remember at graduation (I was one of the top ten in my class so we sat up front, graduated first, then waited) thinking who the hell are these people. This may seem horribly shallow, as I write this I’m starting to feel like any Amanda Bynes character in all her movies, but honestly I only hung out with people in my classes or extra curricular activities. I also was banned from all parties and was way too afraid of my father’s wrath to sneak out. (See Black Sheep for Father’s wrath).

Well as the week has progressed, the thought of seeing some of these strangers is really stressing me out. Imagine, the event hasn’t even been confirmed and I’m stressed. The facebook group has turned into a full on internet brawl. Christ. People are freaking out about where it’s going to be held, is the event going to be free (impossible dream), is there going to be alcohol? Oh my God. People are literally arguing via facebook; not to mention the abhorrent use of grammar, spelling, and capitalization. If I was the class president I would shut the group down, call a few sane friends, and not ask any of these crazies for input.

People are posting about going bar and club hopping. They want it to “Epic.”

Have these people not seen Romey and Michelle’s High School Reunion? or any sitcom television? Do they not know that a reunion is basically a wedding without the bouquet toss, clanging of silverware on plates, and floral arrangements. It’s supposed to be cheesy.

I am a relatively opinionated person, but  my problem is I don’t speak up. I would LOVE to help in planning this thing and am good friends with the president so I’ll probably say something to him, but I refuse to post anything on that facebook page. Nope. Won’t do it. Forget it. I will not engage the behavior.

As I see people posting, and watch a virtual drama unfold, I find it sad that after a decade people still act like they’re in high school Of course, high school never ends. Look around your workplace, the same cliques that existed at your high school exist at your workplace, but it is not so extreme. Unless, of course, you work at a high school then you know that high school teachers act just like high school students. It’s true, don’t try to argue it. More than anything, I really hope some sane (and classy) people try to organize this event.

Gathering the opinions of too many people is never a good idea–unless of course it’s for voting–I’m no Communist.

Really, I think what this boils down to is the that facebook should have remained an exclusive club for people with .edu addresses.

You miss those days, don’t even lie about it.