Changes & Going Places

Just a quick note before this post begins. Longtime readers will notice several changes in the blog during the next week or so. I am going to be marking the “Chapters” of my posts. I’ve noticed I write in the exact same pattern for every post, and I have felt that my posts the past few months have been lacking in images and overall zest, so I figure ‘why not?’ Also, I may be changing the background, header and the way my posts are set up… In other words: change is coming, roll with it.

~Hannah-Elizabeth

We took turns taking bites of the world’s greatest quiche at The Cafe, breaking into personal and casual chats in between bites and sips of coffee.

Myself and a dear friend from my Kohl’s days (previously mentioned on my blog) by the name of Cali were in Downtown Keller for a few hours of antiquing. Cali Madame is one of those young ladies who can wear not a spot of make-up and still look beautiful. Her hair was braided on the side in a classic Cali style, and she wore a classic unusual-but-extremely-stylish outfit. In an odd way, I felt like being around her made everything simple and normal, in comparison to the rather hectic and stressful day-to-day routine I’ve fallen into. There was nothing to worry about or ruin a peaceful moment – there was just Cali, Keller and the kind folks of the stores surrounding us. Simple.

It reminded me how much I crave being around people who make things simple. No underlying dramatics or unresolved conflicts, just being present in the moment as it occurs.

Something I’ve noticed about Cali Madame’s presence, too, is that the simplicity of the conversation and her endlessly kind words and demeanor make her into sort of an instant, free-of-charge therapist. As if everything you say is safe and won’t be judged. Especially since Madame doesn’t build an emotional wall around herself and shares personal information, too. As a result, I found myself repeatedly opening up to her about the most personal moments and facts of my life. My struggles with my mother, my eating disorder, the whole Josh mess, my feelings of lack of support, ect., and, remarkably, she took it all in stride. Even when I ended up crying nearly bawling in her car, she immediately said, “Hey, you’re allowed to cry here. I have tissues in my purse if you need ’em.”

But, I’ve skipped quite a bit of yesterday’s story.

After the cafe we went to my favorite antique store in the potential multiverse, that I’ve mentioned millions of times in this blog. That’s right, say it with me: Whistle Stop Antique Mall. Madame bought a cute little white elephant key chain charm and oversized pink bow. After Whistle Stop we went to The Pecan, and then to a baseball game where I met a lovely human being by the name of Erin. Because of Madame’s persistence, I was talked into borrowing a pair of her shorts (I was wearing a red dress with lace tights and high heels with a grey cardigan) and changing into a brown blouse I had purchased at The Pecan. I’m convinced if I hadn’t changed I would have ended up dying of heat stroke, or worse – I would have ruined the dress and my shoes. It was my first time being at a ballgame in over eight years, and several times I actually reviewed my emotions to see if they matched up with what psychologists claim folks typically feel in the middle of a crowd at a ballgame – they didn’t, but I suppose the fact that I had no idea what was going on and the only emotional bias I had for a certain team was due to the fact that Madame’s boyfriend was in it (his parents were sitting behind us – very friendly, kind folks), so I suppose I’ll just have to learn more about sports and try again sometime. Or otherwise try to hush my inner psychologist more often.

_________________

After going to church this morning with Heather Madame, we went to Chili’s for a couple of hours of coffee and french fries. The place didn’t seem very busy for a Sunday afternoon so having a conversation wasn’t the challenge I had feared it would be. It was business as usual – equal parts what’s new with her and with me. We’ve gotten into a rather comfy weekly routine. Church, coffee, lingering at the park, Starbucks or a restaurant for an hour or so, and filling the time with talking about her wedding plans and my college plans. Mainly, how on earth I’m going to get to the college I’m going to (still top-secret for ya’ll, I’m planning to drop hints soon). As the scheduling figures at this point in time, I’ll have to leave right after her wedding to…well, that’s where it gets tricky. There’s the Amtrak, which is expensive. A plane, which is expensive. Or driving, extremely expensive. Not to mention the challenge of shipping my items to myself. It has been settled that about 90 percent of any money I make over the Summer is going into my savings account for the sole purpose of getting me from point A to point B.

______________

Now, let’s go on to the part where I tell you what I’ve figured out. I’ve noticed it has actually been a while since I’ve written in a post something that has completely changed my perspective.

While I was speaking to Cali, during the pleasant brunch at The Cafe, nibbling on scones and sipping on coffee, and while I was sitting in Madame’s car, crying and trying to explain myself in brief spurts of coherency, I discovered several things about myself that Cali Madame opened my eyes to.

  • There are some things (and people) that I haven’t moved on from. I’ve just mentally swept them under the rug and assumed that means they don’t exist. When truly, how could that sort of Descartes-esque justification of ignorance do me any good?
  • Just like when I lived in the mobile home and I used bulimia as an anchor when things felt out of control, I use vanity and false confidence to control how I look so I’ll feel like I still have something to hold onto in the face of lifeless support and extreme discouragement from the people I’ve come to rely on the most, instead of turning to God in the face of the discouragement.
  • I handle things that disturb and emotionally harm me by ignoring them or turning my back to them. And respond to negativity by shutting people out.
  • It is, indeed, possible to get a good picture of me outside (as long as Cali is the one holding the camera and telling me how to pose).

I’ve never mentioned this on my blog before, but every time I feel any amount of stress or sense any tension or negativity, even if I’m not going anywhere, I’ll spend a couple of hours doing my hair and make-up and dressing up. The feeling would just come over me to look pretty when things got ugly. I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection until yesterday.

So, just like with anything, now I must take it one day at a time and attempt to ‘rewire’ the way I think about myself and how I handle stress.

I heard once that it is impossible for a psychologist to heal themselves of mental malady, just like a doctor shouldn’t first attempt to diagnose their own illness. In a way I’ve come to think that my knowledge of human behavior would have torn down some of the one-way glass that is my perception of myself. That maybe knowing what makes people tick would help me to stop a bad habit in its tracks before it was too late. But it takes outside input to get the full view of anything. We’re all looking at the same box, just from different angles.

All of that to say, I may shut down The Last Classic for the Summer.

I would bring it back in August, in time to document Heather’s wedding and the trip to- well, you’ll find out. And I’ll just use the two other blogs I keep open in times of boredom, work on new readers and subscribers before returning to this one.

I suppose we shall see. But I will certainly inform all of you before I vanish.

Until I Write Again,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

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The Man Who Lost Everything

I shall try to keep this brief.

I’m terribly behind on a lot of things, so I haven’t had the time to focus on the PWRP post. I will post it tomorrow morning (I probably won’t finish it before midnight) because I am going to stay up all night and not leave this computer until I finish the new post, it drives me crazy when I’m late with anything. Thank goodness the PWRP series isn’t a weekly bit, or I would have gone mad by now.

I’ve applied for a job at The Book Carriage (one of my favorite places in the potential multiverse), I’m making it one of my personal list items. I have created a list of things I want to do before I leave Texas:

1. Spend a night at the Hilton in Southlake Town Square.

2. Go back to Farina’s in Downtown Grapevine.

3. Complete 20 Before 20 list item number #2 (Heather Madame and I are planning on completing this one in July after I turn 18 on the 6th).

4. Work at The Book Carriage – a dream of mine ever since we moved to Texas five years ago.

5. Swim in Grapevine Lake.

6. Buy one more hat from Whistle Stop (my favorite antique store).

7. Buy a piece of the world’s greatest quiche and a cup of the world’s greatest coffee from Harvest Pie Company (a place Heather and I have been going to for the past five years, right down the street from Whistle Stop, previously on my blog I’ve called it simply, ‘The Cafe”).

8. Record a video in Study Room A in the Keller Public Library. This study room is the most sought-after study room in the entire library metropac system. I’ve only been in there twice, the first time to study french with Heather, and the second time I was alone, and so excited about being there that I typed up a post .

All of these are doable, and most of them I’ve wanted to do for a while. I suppose it would be my way of saying goodbye to this part of my life. Heather and I are not big on crying, but we both agree that the night before her wedding (since I’m the Maid of Honor, I’m going to be on wake-Heather-up-on-time duty, and make-sure-Heather-keeps-facial-mask-on-the-night-before-her-wedding-even-though-it-burns-hotter-than-the-center-of-the-earth duty) we’re probably going to cry like little kids that just fell off of a swing set.

In the next couple of weeks Madame and I need to hunt down a dress for me to wear to her wedding. Which should be…ah…an experience. I have nothing against dresses, I just don’t like wearing them unless I’m at the opera or symphony orchestra (because then I can bring along my masquerade mask, which I have just taken a picture of so you can better understand why I love it so). I have decided that when I get married, I’m getting a dress of the same brand as Heather’s, nevermind that they all cost an arm and a leg.

Last week Heather Madame and I were sitting in Starbucks, pleased with our victory in snagging the two comfiest chairs in the place. And for the millionth time we talked about what our lives will be like in a little over four months when she’s married and I leave for college.

“I hope I don’t miss Chloe’s arrival in the next few years.”

Chloe is what Heather is planning on naming her first girl, and she’ll be giving Chloe one of my middle names, Elizabeth. When we were thirteen we agreed we would give our daughters each other’s middle names, so my daughter will have the middle name ‘Marie’. Fun fact: the hospital where I was born messed up my name on my birth certificate. If you ask my mother, I have two middle names, but my certificate says that my first name is Hannah-Elizabeth and my middle name is Noelle. I prefer this first name instead of just ‘Hannah’, because I think Hannah is rather boring…I believe I was doing my ‘conversation flashback’ bit…ahem:

“Me too.” She said, “But I’m really not looking forward to being pregnant.”

I laughed at her expression as she spoke, she looked down at her white chocolate mocha like you’d imagine a man who had just lost everything would look down at some alcoholic substance before downing it.

She looked over and smiled.

“Madame, go with your first plan and wait for at least five years.” I said, “You’re so young.”

She nodded, “Oh yeah,” she suddenly had a hick accent, “I ain’t having no babies right out the shoot.”

We just sat there for a moment, just thinking and being amazed at the very near changes. Bittersweet.

“What about your kids?” She suddenly asked.

I almost choked on my nearly unpronounceable drink.

My kids?”

She tilted her head to the left and looked at me with that Oh, come now, Hannah, don’t play dumb with me look.

I tried playing dumb anyway and stalled by sipping my drink.

“What if you meet a nice guy while you’re in college and it works out? Are you going to wait over a decade while you’re in school before having kids?”

“Well, there’s no guarantee that I’ll get married while I’m in college-”

“Hannah.”

“I know! I know!”

“You make the freakin’ pizza guy swoon! You think someone isn’t going to snag you up while you’re there?”

(Heather is referring to a running joke that I always accidently flirt with the pizza guy and make him forget something when I’m just trying to be empathetic… for the record it actually happened only twice. But my mother and Heather will not let me forget it because they were witnesses to both events.)

“Yes! Wait, no? I don’t know. I wouldn’t mind being snagged, I want to get married. It’s just…children. I love them and I want a million of them, but once they come along everything is over. My career, a lot of little pieces of freedom, at least for eighteen years.”

“I guess you’re right.” She said. She was starting to do that man-who-lost-everything thing again.

“Besides, can you imagine me being a mom? I’ll probably be making little Freud’s and Wundt’s out of them. Poor kids.”

She chuckled. “What happened to our plan from five years ago?”

“Things changed.” I said, it was my turn to be the man who lost everything, “We got older, Carlisle came along, Rye left and you got engaged. And I suppose on my end, I just want a fresh start, where I can find a life that I can call my own.”

_________

I should get to work on that post I just promised.

Until I Write Again,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

For Lack Of A Better Post Title

“You’re just like my mom; she doesn’t smile much, either.”

I blinked rapidly for a moment at the child in front of me. I thought I had become Smiley Sally for the past few hours, but apparently I wasn’t fooling Madison.

She continued, “And you don’t wear a lot of stuff on your eyelashes, too.” She studied me so carefully it was unnerving, the kid was too perceptive for her age. “You don’t dress like a teenager, too. And your hair isn’t super long.” She grabbed my hair clip and pulled it out of my wavy locks, studying first the clip, and then my hair again. I was still as a statue, intrigued, and she probably saw it. Watching her watching me watching her.”Yeah, you just need shorter hair, and you could be my mom.”

The mom mentioned above was currently at her chocolate shop for its last few weeks of business. Another victim of a stricken economy. Until the shop officially closes, I babysit her two children from 10-till-4.

I got this gig yesterday when me, Heather Madame, and my mom went to The Cafe after seeing the Cubist Experiment exhibit at Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth (thank heaven for AC). In the back of The Cafe sits a space about the size of a small livingroom, where a woman (I shall call her The Candywoman) sells chocolate, loose tea leaves and candy covered everything. She had been in business hardly a year when her and her husband had little choice but to shut down the manifestation of her dream.

“Thanks for stopping by again, I really appreciated your business.” She said from behind the register while we were checking out.

“You know, it’s too bad Hannah didn’t end up working here-” Mom started, I glanced over in a pleading look that said ‘please don’t do this right now’ but, so it would seem, she doesn’t read pleading glances, “She’s been applying for jobs and being interviewed left and right. She would have been such a hard worker.”

“Well, are you looking for a job for the next few weeks?” The Candywoman said half-jokingly. My mom chuckled, but then The Candywoman spoke again, in a suddenly serious voice, “Seriously, are you looking for a job for the next few weeks?”

“Yes.” My mom spoke before I did, “Yes she is.”

Before I knew it, though, a job in a chocolate store turned into a job as a babysitter four days a week as The Candywoman went on to explain her predicament. Training would take at least several days (she also sells every form of coffee and every flavor of hot chocolate known to Texan man) so it would be more logical to sit her two children while she attended to the shop in its final days.  I was grateful to be able to help her, something in her face gave me a soft spot for her and babysitting is as easy as breathing at this point (depending on the kid, it can be as easy as breathing in an open country meadow, or as easy as breathing as a murder victim.)

That night (well, last night) I had a job interview at a beautiful downtown bookstore called…Hm, I’ll call it The Book Wagon. About a week ago in one of my late night must. Get. Job. Need. Money. Moods I searched online for local bookstores and came across The Book Wagon, I saw the photographs of the interior and fell more in love with every click and scroll. Three words:

Dark wood everywhere.

Three more words:

Little bitty cafe.

Annnd for the bonus round:

On sale books.

Seeing the Wagon in person would have been a more exciting experience if I had insisted on leaving earlier and wasn’t 35 seconds late when we pulled up. I bounded up the steps, wrenched open the iron-framed door and looked for an employee. I glanced to my right and saw the coffee bar. A beautiful, tan, mid-20s chick was behind the counter next to a rounded, pale-skinned, eyeglass sporting young man.

“Can I help you?” He asked, looking half curious, half amused at my panting and frantic hair smoothing.

I swallowed, took a breath, walked up to the counter and explained, “I’m here for a job interview.”

“I see.” He reached under the register and pulled out a phone, “Who should I say is calling?”

“Hannah.” I was tempted to add on the ‘Elizabeth’ but held my tongue. I’ve been avoiding my full first name on applications lately. He looked over the numbers and repeated my name with an accent of no formal origin, pronouncing it as “Huh-nuh.” After a moment he put the phone to his ear and immediately spoke into it, “Hey, Angela? Hannah is here for you.”

He started to explain the way to the office, but stopped mid sentence and led me there himself. On The way up the steps I wanted to inquire about how busy the day was, how he was, ect., but I remained silent for some reason I’ve yet to name. I think maybe I was concerned about the time he would have to respond, or if I would be read wrong.

The interview was carried out by the usual small-business human being. Stern and sincere, honest and honorable. I could have squealed with joy when she told me that she needed a barista for the coffee bar, though when she asked how I felt about working as a barista and I explained that it was precisely the job I had been trying to get, her eyes narrowed for a split second in suspicion. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have believed me, either.

Altogether I felt it went well, though I won’t jinx it this time by saying I’m certain I’ve got the job. I’m just praying and hoping beyond hope I’ll get it. A job in a gorgeous bookstore with an adorable cafe on the inside… Certainly a step up from Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Well, I suppose that’s about it. I’ve got quite a bit of reading to do before my library books are due and (so I hear) they aren’t going to visually devour themselves.

Type to ya’ll later,

-Classic/Hannah-Elizabeth