wedding season

going backwards in time just a tad from going away to "mission college". very recently my brother shared some pics of his family. this month he's celebrating his 17th wedding anniversary. the year he married he returned to college and finished his baccalaureate degree. he also gained admission to a law school in texas and after getting married would move there.

you know what this means he's getting married and i have to join his wedding party. it was expected i suppose, but never something i wanted to do. perhaps it was the introversion as i knew eyes would be on me. well not entirely but my family both sides definitely had their expectations.

funny party was that i danced with someone at the wedding and cousin natalie who came up for the festivities just decided to force herself to giggle at every unfunny thing i said. wasn't in the mood for her no matter what. even funnier still no one laughed at a random remark she made upon learning i was going to a bar to meet with an uncle – who for some reason was absent from my brother's wedding. and i wasn't going by myself my mother and two other uncles were coming. i was still underage at the time.

now to set up what happened way before the wedding my brother and i had been at odds. my time in community college was a bit of a struggle, i wasn't working and my brother chose to ding me on both at the time. he saw something wrong with the picture. perhaps there was – and yes he was coming on too strong – at the same time well i was a bit aimless at the time. my brother never gave me something to work with at the time, no one did other than their expectations.

my mother during this period randomly suggest "don't you want to join the national guard?" not sure where this came from and besides i wasn't sure what i wanted to do, got this college thing stuck in my head. though ironically enough i did speak to the navy that summer, but never made a move at all. funny thing is we did discuss this and she was somewhat involved with my meetings with recruiters from the armed services, however, her expectation as wrong as it turned out to be at the time was that i'd be very successful in college.

soon the wedding was over and the "pretensiousness" of the new couple were moving to a whole other state. no more ceremony, pomp & circumstance, family, or even snooty bridesmaids. time to get back to reality.

which reminds me, during the course of that year after my brother and i had a serious falling out wholly unnecessary might i add i called an uncle who lived in virginia. we talked for a couple of hours and suggested at random that i come out there – perhaps a week, perhaps a summer. then i told my mother. became a whole drama that in small ways i attempted to quell.

didn't happen that way! my mother brought it at random to her sister in-law when i told her to "keep your mouth shut". then we went up to visit a great-aunt in wisconsin and it came up again. this time i said nothing but i really had no intention on talking about it. but it was something very exciting and again another expectation that i would go out east to visit with him.

my mother even told people at work and as i handed her my resume to look at just quickly changed subjects saying "you won't do what i ask you to do" quickly pivoting to making reservations to head out east. she mentioned someone at work asked her about the trip and my mother well had no answer as i was still at home and the summer was almost over.

my thinking on why i didn't just go out to visit my uncle. it may have had little to do with the fact that my mother starting talking about it. at the time i thought about money i had my savings account but it would be my first trip without my mother since my dad passed away. she would've paid for the ticket to go out there, however,, what else would i have to contribute. i suppose the random mentions of this when i least expected damped my interest…

one finally coup de grace was claudine my retired military officer aunt who started to take an interest in this. early that summer – before my brother's nuptials – my mother met claudine and her daughter in our southern hometown. at the time claudine lived in maryland and she was already talking about sites we could visit there.

and my thought really was i was out there to visit my uncle not you. what are you doing getting involved with me going out there and trying to convince me to come out. claudine even went so far as to note "you better come out here, the summer is almost over". she wanted me to come out there and made the same level of effort as mu mother.

meanwhile my uncle was silent we never talked about me coming out there at least since the phone call. he didn't encourage me one way or the other he put the idea out there and the women in the family after knowing about it started working on me. essentially it didn't work as i wanted to discourage this behavior.

btw, i never figured out how claudine found out about it. perhaps her and her brother talked about it or perhaps my mother brought it up to her at random. she decided to put on her own pressure. other than that the summer of that wedding, was laregely uneventful

no-go

going back to my stream of thoughts that began late last month allow me to give a timeline. during the month of july, there was a family reunion in georgia which came on the heels of my attempt to go away to school at "mission college". the liberal arts school that "mission" represents is in georgia.

that experience was cool but academically and financially it didn't do me a whole lot of good. had more freedom but little experience in dealing with it. even met a young lady – nicole – whom i wanted to meet again even if there was uncertainty if she actually did like me like that. though that story came to a very hostile end much later.

before going back home in a state of uncertainty about whether or not i'd be able to return i went to a family reunion meeting picked up by an aunt from campus. then was sent back to campus via cousin natalie and her husband who attempted to talk my head off the whole way back. then on to the reunion where i still had uncertainty about my eventual return.

not long after the reunion my mother went on a cruise so i was at home for a whole week as she sailed around the Caribbean with her sisters. even still have a t-shirt from that period of time. then eventually my mother came back and not long after that one quick question, "are you going to register for classes at the community college?" well my answer was negative basically and she mumbled under her breath that i needed to finish those last few credit. before saying very clearly "it's your life".

little did i know, this was a warning sign. she was setting her expectation without just coming out and saying that this is what she wanted. she already hinted at it before i left for "mission" i was a few credit shy of an associate's degree and had little interest essentially in attaining it. perhaps this was me being 21-22 years old and trying to have it my way.

then because i hadn't yet found a job right away she started sitting me down convinced that i needed help strategizing. she starts putting on the pressure, though sadly finding a job takes time. bottom line this would ultimately help me return to "mission" although it was decided at this point it wasn't going to happen that particular year.

one thing that came up during those "strategizing" sessions was i needed to have this sense of completion and finish the associate's degree. my inclination was to reject that to my mother's disappointment. and i came up with excuses to not go back and clearly this is something that was just on her mind no matter what i said. it really bothered her that i could get a degree just like that and i wouldn't do it! unfortunately trying to convince me didn't work.

when it came closer to registration it was less of a discussion than simply a command – "go and get registered". ultimately i did, however, it was only for just enough classes where i'd still be short of the degree. when it was time to pay for the classes i went to the college that afternoon just to wander because i hope that at the end of the deadline it would be too late to pay. so i came home and not long after arriving my mother shows up from work unannounced. she wants the phone number and when they close which i complied quickly, however, she expected more from me and in a huff told me that "i wasn't even trying". she went back to work to get those two classes paid for.

during my time at community college, she was never in a huge rush to pay for me classes. she was giving me everything and i offered very little in return, taking it for granted. however, i showed little enthusiasm and she wanted this more than anything.

sometimes i wonder if her family put a "bug" in her ear. two of her sisters called the house and outright asked me if i was getting my associate's, and for the most part i only offered a bullsh*t answer. put without proving it my first thought was she was telling them that i would return to finish my associate's and they decided to make it part of the conversation.

as my mother just made it clear i needed to finish the associate's degree she advertised this as a way to really help me find a job. she also used her future demise as an argument. and of course as my reticence to really have this as part of any job application – perhaps in light of my naive belief that an undergrad degree would solve everything it didn't – she merely suggested just leaving it off my resume which was a direct contradiction to this would help me find a job.

all the same at least i never had to answer for my response to this attempt at parental coercion. i was very tempted to tear up this degree in her face to show how i'm not proud of it at all. she probably wouldn't have been entirely moved by it as she got what she paid for. it was what she wanted and for my young mind that wasn't enough for me. thankfully this never happened.

to continue my stream of thoughts what happened when i returned to my community college in spite of myself. what was the difference between spending one term at "mission college" vs. starting my undergrad career and a community college.

masks

smiling-mask

natalie has been a feature of this blog off & on since roughly the beginning. natalie is my first cousin whose first post was regarding nicole – a young lady I met at “mission college” who attended the all-girls “hillman” – though that post was more about her asking about this fabled young woman i had told some family about. but nat making a whole deal about it made that situation ultimately uncomfortable.

the main reason i’m writing this post was to talk about a story my mother told me about natalie as a child. thanks to my rather cold and distant relationship to her – and believe me my reason for that is quite petty to be honest – i feel shitty for learning about this episode. i blow her off for my own reasons and now i recognize once upon a time she needed someone to reach out to her.

well not to disappoint you guys, but even though for the most part this blog isn’t known to my immediate family it would be in bad taste to tell the story relayed to me. there is a reason natalie told my mother whenever that was and not me. who knows who else knows this about her other than the other individuals involved. regardless i have little idea who else she told as my mother clearly hadn’t known.

what i can say is that in that initial post i noted that nat had a rough childhood and developed nicely as a wife and mother working in health care. that rough childhood involved a mother suffering from mental illness and natalie herself was raised by her grandmother in the family’s southern hometown. nat has a sister named tasha – with whom i had been far more close – found herself in the same situation except she ultimately remained in chicago to be raised by one of our aunts.

natalie developed to work in health care, get a college degree in nursing – from a southern college, and married with husband & children. my mother told me she had been at one point introverted and considering her background this makes sense. the nat i know and has been illustrated on this blog overtime is often extroverted or gregarious.

so i note that often in the moments where she can come on too strong trying to relate to me she may force herself to laugh. she may even force herself to get excited to see me and often i’m not feeling the same way. at some point she learns to back off – the story about nicole from “hillman” is one case. now i can see this gregariousness as a mask, she’s probably still suffering some pain from her childhood.

my general relationship to her will likely not change, but my view of her will be significantly different. it won’t be pity, but with the realization that her mom wasn’t in a stable mental condition to raise her daughters i know for sure she had a rough childhood. furthermore, now i somewhat understand her better now than i had ever. often she’s just a happy family member who seems to seek attention, now she has a truly sympathetic background. which now helps me feel quite sh*tty for our relationship.

when i learned this story i wanted to publish it immediately and then i realized it’s bad karma but my decision was to let some time elapse. now it won’t see the light of day and the post i wanted to write was overwritten by the post you see now. it’s good karma to keep this to myself.

BTW, let me clarify something. this blog isn’t known to my immediate family although names have been changed on this blog, the stories seen here are base on true stories. it important for me to take some pains to not allow anyone who knows me to connect the dots as to my identity however i do what to fudge the distinction as far as what character written on this blog represents as far as a real life person.

august 2014

during this month back in 2014, my job search began to heat up after a two-month dry spell. i got two interviews with “gotham bank” and no job offer to my disappointment, though finally i had some optimism.

at work well same old same old immaturity and conflicts abound with some of my young female coworkers and to a lesser extent a young batch of new hires. things didn’t seemed to have degraded like they have before. sooner or later i would begin not to recognize half of the new people coming in. some were cool and great to talk to and in one case gave them a brief history lesson, however, it was time for me to leave increasingly.

sooner or later the bat attitudes of my fellow work associate’s and perhaps the need of some managers to do a tense of job of managing me – with great unprofessionalism – made it easier for me to accept a future job offer at a neighborhood “gotham” branch. and again in spite of what would later happen i still look at it as more money with benefits after a probationary period and hopefully more hours than i had at “the show”.

i still spoke to anthony on occasion. earlier in the summer he had me speak to a manager at his new assignment – a bed and bath store near downtown. it was essentially a screening interview. anthony claimed that they will call me however by the end of the year i had never heard from them. he even said if i hadn’t heard from them give the store a call, however, i had simply moved on. if my performance in interview kept me on the backburner it wasn’t important for me to nudge them forward.

another thing we talked about was he claimed he had an interview with the national theater chain – with whom i later had an interview to be a manager – to become essentially an operations manager. he would attain the job equivalent of “the show’s” house manager. he evidently didn’t get it because he wanted them to come to terms as far as pay there was a $10K difference between both sides and anthony seemed to have sneezed at the benefits he wanted more money. so thusly he had to turn them down or they decided he wasn’t worth it. whom do you believe?

in the hopes that they could “come to terms” i asked him to keep me in mind. initially i had told him that i interviewed for a bank branch near o’hare and ultimately he found a job at a warehouse up there himself. his only answer was that he’d rather i went to o’hare “i know what’s going to happen before you do” he says. he also suggested this left-field job idea and worse than his idea for me to do security with him – airplane fueler…..WTF???

he tried to sell me on good pay, it’s UNION, with good benefits. i simply told him i got to think about it and promptly didn’t consider it much after that. one while he was keen on me working at a bank because he believes it suited me though he still has no idea that i crashed and burned at a bank later on. though i did let on as far as “quitting the bank” that i just had a hard time and ultimately couldn’t stand the assignment that i had accepted. though he’d still blow it off and say i could’ve been a personal banker…

i don’t know how many times i’ve told this part of my story it was time to start fixing my teeth and started doing so during the course of this month. mainly just with deep cleaning that involved numbing my gums. i never got many comments on my smile, but when i did they almost always seemed negative. at that point with newly purchased dental insurance it was time to get started on fixing my teeth.

beyond that as it turns out leaving the show was only two months away though it took another three interviews for that to finally happen.

future tense

for the moment i’m taking a brief two post break from my current stream of thoughts. mainly to announce that it’s about time to start retiring as a storyline for this blog anything involving “the show”.img_4541

it’s past time to let that portion of my work life go. sometimes when i do talk about that experience my attitude which i hope to go towards the positive begins to take a backslide to the negative. for a while it took me some time to just finally get some of that out of my system. not that it will ever entirely be out of mind, i just know that some other more pressing issues will take precedence in the future.

if  i ever bring that place up again beyond this month and the next it will only be in reference not to some past incidents but only for something that has happened recently. for example i saw one of the new senior managers open the doors to “the show” fairly recently. he had recently been promoted and i was already in the area as i was shopping in the complex where the theater was located. you will see that in a future post.

perhaps some incidents that i have intentionally left vague will be hashed out a bit more and hopefully not to the point where i will only rile myself up all over again. otherwise no sense in rehashing something that has already happened with no way of changing it. it happened and at this point i should know what needs to be done differently.

someone had to tell me that in some of my behaviors back then i often seek to avoid interacting with the more temperamental and immature of the coworkers i worked with back then. of course with varying degrees of success there were also some failures that resulted in more drama. in other situations where i didn’t avoid those types it just backfired on me regardless and i couldn’t help but feed into whatever preconceived notions they already had.

also as i could state many of these individuals with very few exceptions only merge together with nothing that truly distinguishes them. in many cases the drama they created are really just silly immature drama and the things they want to complain about aren’t much different from all the individuals involved. meaning many of the dramas and the individuals involved aren’t really worth writing about!

as of now the blog needs to go back to some form of positivity. if i stay mired in any negativity from the past, then i’ll be right back to where i was by the time i left “the show”…stagnant and miserable.

it was something of a small victory for me back in 2014 when i finally handed in my two weeks and had a victory lap where it didn’t entirely matter to me who did what. after so many interviews and no job offer it felt great to know that someone was willing to take a chance on me. “the show” kept me in place, but leaving finally assured my future and growth.

this blog will continue to be about my future!

past tense: the ride back to “mission”

funny-memes-awkward-moments-awkward-moment-quotes

right now i’m in the mood to reminisce. tonight jack v discusses again the period of time after his first semester away at “mission college”. let me assure you the above image doesn’t entirely reflect how i view the situation.

the summer after i went away to school at “mission college” there was a family reunion. i briefly told one story about attending a family reunion planning meeting hosted by my aunt laura. this meeting was where she decided to see if i wanted to speak where i briskly said no and she jumped in her seat as if i struck her with lightning.

my aunt nadine had picked me up at “mission” and then brought me further out to a local restaurant for this meeting. after the meeting nadine went home and sends me back to “mission” with cousin natalie. had no choice in this instance as i didn’t drive myself needed to go back to campus and my aunt does a lot of driving so perhaps she was tired.

unfortunately with natalie & her husband nathan this ride wasn’t going to be a quiet one. natalie wants to have a conversation and i likely wasn’t that interested. probably was tired myself as it’s a long ride to where the restaurant was. as often as she could both her and her husband forced themselves to laugh at whatever weak witticism i seemed to have. i tried to be funny, but honestly i was in an uncomfortable situation and was unwilling to adjust to it.

she tried hard to get me to talk about the women i met from “hillman college”. if you remember natalie tried to get me to talk about essentially “nicole” – who i actually met during this first semester away from home – almost two years or so later. when i return after a year-and-one-half absence i attempted to make some moves and it didn’t work out for me – may tell that unfortunate story one day.

as for this particular period of time with my roommate introducing me to women at “hillman” i was a long way from establishing anything remotely resembling friendly relations with the ladies. unfortunately my cousin wants know about my romantic life it was her primary expectation. however if she was starting to decide if i was going more and more anti-social perhaps she was wondering if i wasn’t able to form a bond with women as i was unwilling to bond with her as a cousin.

here’s the thing, natalie likely knows that i was close to her younger sister. she tried to really stir something up in me with regards to her. at first mention, her husband responded.

nat: tasha is coming to town later this week.

nathan: oh yeah?

nat: jack?

yours truly: yeah?

nat: tasha is coming to town later this week.

yours truly: i heard

you know to explain i can’t remember if my aunt or mother told me she was in town or i just heard this for the first time from natalie when her husband responds. the fact that she brings this up is trying to change the dynamics of the conversation hence when her husband answers she merely calls my name and repeats what she just said.

in a few short minutes we arrive at my dorm. nathan wants to know – likely being nice – if he should drop me off in the back. i tell him he dropped me off in the right place….in haste. get out and acknowledge because they were expecting me to wave and they drive back to the burbs. meanwhile after that adventure near the end of the term back to reality and finish my semester as it turns out not so strongly.

perhaps another time, i’ll discuss the family reunion. there will certainly be more to say about this particular summer. especially before eventually talking about my senior year of high school.

spoiler

by september i hope to talk a little bit about my senior year of high school. i’ve grown to realize it was a period of great disappointment in a variety of ways. at the same time it sets the tone for how life has been at this point. it’s hard to believe it’s close to 20 years since graduating from high school.

before i talk about senior year how did i get there. well the story really starts when i leave the 8th grade. perhaps this is where i could’ve started to peak but found myself intimidated by a number of things.

to start, i will admit i didn’t go to a good high school in a large urban district as we have here in chicago. my mother was more concerned about safety going to and from school than the caliber of school. she figured there was no big difference whether a magnet school or a neighborhood school. me on the other hand i didn’t work very hard to assure a different result.

my dad was around but he wasn’t that engaged in the process. he might have had the same mind as my mother as far as these city schools there is no huge difference between them. now he had been an employee of the school system but it’s not like he did much interactions with school teachers and administrators.

also i never concerned myself with how the system worked at that point. for example could i have gone around my 8th grade teacher? was there a possibility that i could have gone over his head to the school counselor or perhaps the school’s assistant principal who was formerly my third grade teacher. my mind only runs about that, but no idea as this was a course never pursued.

my 8th grade teacher i’ve concluded was a man who at least towards me never had anything nice to say to me. the last time i ever saw him he essentially ignored me and i never tried to keep his attention and remind him who i am. he showed attention to another former student who he got along with much better. it’s safe to say he didn’t care for me that much and didn’t mind threatening me with holding me back a grade.

only reason he gave to not go to the neighborhood high school where my parents wanted me to attend was – i’m going to get messed with and they’ll take my lunch money. i was standing right there and he told my parents this. it was never he could do much better than this high school. just absolutely negative to the core, then again what did i show him?

so either way whatever he tried to convince my parents of it didn’t matter. to the neighborhood school i go instead of anywhere more safer much better academically. no concern about commute between home and school and any weird thing that was going to happen in between.

to set this up by my freshman year of high school my mother would be laid off from her job at a bank in downtown chicago. she didn’t know this was going to happen in the 8th grade so therefore if she was working downtown and i was on my way to school or on my way home she had little piece of mind. it was just the overriding concern for her more than i could’ve gone to a better school.

she also thought my dad could eventually find a job close to what he had around the time i was born. he had worked in manufacturing before becoming a grave-yard shift worker for the public schools. she hoped he could find such a job again although by the time i came around those jobs were disappearing. with no high school diploma and his inability to stay focused to get a GED the clock was ticking on doing better than he had been.

the lesson here that i should’ve learned back then is that sometimes while your parents should have your best interests at heart they sometimes don’t. sometimes it’s all up to you as far as what you want to do. as with a lot of things – and possibly not knowing – i left my future up to others. at least as a grown man now i can at least determine my future.

in the meanwhile soon it’ll be time to start talking about my senior year in high school. perhaps in general my time in high school.