Almost through the net

I had an extremely hard time in high school just trying to be one of the popular kids.

I had a fairly hard time trying to play the cool kid in college as well.

Now that I’ve survived both of those, and I now have a Bachelor’s degree in mass communication, something that so many people in my family didn’t achieve (I’m the first woman to have one!), I feel like that song in Mel Brooks’s musical Producers, where did we go right? In actuality, I did everything right, whereas Leo and Max were trying to do everything wrong in making a Broadway hit… and their show becomes anything else but a flop. So, where did I become a flop rather than a smash hit show?

I got myself out of high school alive, which I swore to myself I would. I promised my mother and swore on my grandfather’s grave, I’d go to college and get that degree in anything at all. And I did it.

I grabbed that high school diploma with a big smile on my face, sticking my tongue out at all the losers who thought they’d ground me, and went to a two year college first year out of my alma mater, Perry Hall High. It was also the year I was introduced to the universe of the Doctor and his blue telephone box, and in the very same summer that I played a very minor role but had the absolute most fun I’ve ever had in a summer community theatre musical. I still remember every word of “My White Knight” and I still can’t get myself to like only one song in the musical that centers around the ‘Wagon’ that Wachovia Bank soon named itself after. I hate Wells Fargo for that reason. Thanks, Meredith Wilson.

Courtesy of Hallmark Greeting Cards.

Courtesy of Hallmark Greeting Cards.

After my two year adventure as secretary of student government and studying my general requirements for college, I transferred to a four year college in my escape from too much drama. Three years later, I had my Bachelor’s in my hand, my best friend next to me, and my absurdly proud parents spoiling me with an Asian buffet dinner and a ‘Hoops and Yoyo’ singing balloon from Hallmark, shouting: “I see London! I see France! I see you, you smarty pants! Smarty Pants, Smarty Pants! You are a Smarty Pants! And don’t change ‘em! Yeah, keep them on your whole life!”

Within the next year, I thought I had a decent job all mapped out and life would only get better. But in the dead of the 2012 January winter somehow, things started to get so… snooze-y, to put it mildly. For a long time, I wondered if it was all my fault; maybe I should have stayed in school longer or build up a tolerance to coffee despite my total hatred towards the taste of bitter hazelnut and mocha grounds.

Then again, it might not have been my blunders at all; the recession had just started in the middle of my college education. Ergo, I just didn’t start to feel it affect me until I had the degree in my hand. And it’s not just the recession’s impact, it’s the ‘digital age’ as well, since I still scratch my head in befuddlement, asking, ‘how do I read these things if they’re so small on this tablet/ smartphone? Can I have just one readable size and a Mozilla Firefox browser, not Google Chrome, please?’

So I kept asking myself, what did I do completely wrong in my life to get to this point? Too many of my friends are married with children or married and about to have children, and yet I feel like Charlotte Lucas in the middle of Pride and Prejudice, where she is forced to marry Elizabeth Bennet’s dreaded cousin Mr. Collins… because she’s past her prime, according to Regency society:

"I'm 27 years old... I have no money and no prospects... I'm already a burden to my parents! And I'm frightened... So don't judge me, Lizzy, don't you dare judge me." (Focus Features, 2007)

“I’m 27 years old… I have no money and no prospects… I’m already a burden to my parents! And I’m frightened… So don’t judge me, Lizzy, don’t you dare judge me.” Sounds exactly like me. (Focus Features, 2007)

Well, I’m going to be 27 next weekend. It is getting pretty close.

I’m crocheting a blanket of my own design in preparation for a baby shower, thinking when this is all going to stop. This has got to be the last time I do something like this, for I don’t want to be forever known as the ‘always a guest, never the guest of honor’ person. The next time I go to a party, I better hope I’m not just any regular guest bringing a present for someone I just barely know, or some guest of honor who doesn’t even know me well enough.

I want to end up in a situation where Dermot Mulroney was right when he told Debra Messing in The Wedding Date that, every woman is in the perfect relationship she desires and deserves. It just depends on what she believes is ‘real’ as far as love.

“When you’re ready to let go, to be un-single and un-miserable, you will. Until then…”

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve been reading a handful of novels and magazine issues of Writer’s Digest, taking notes on each of them, both mental and hard drive copy. Right now, I have a library copy of Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction as written by renowned sci-fi author Orson Scott Card and other famed authors. The copy has to be returned tomorrow, July 19, but I fully intend to take notes on it to refer back and learn something from it.

NeverwhereIt still remains that although I have a full college education, and I still pore over materials about how to write and perfect the art of literature, this has got to stop… And I’ve got to start reading something else.

I still haven’t given any of my novels a second chance at revisions, not even my short stories, and I failed to finish reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere because I had to return it to the library just last week.

This time next week, I will be three years away from 30 years old. So many people, most of those I don’t even know who are trying to help me with getting welfare or what have you, keep telling me, “Oh, your birthday’s coming up! It’s not long now…” They have no idea how badly I want to age backwards, or at least have my 27th birthday next year. I need to be born in 1989 or later.

At the very least, if I was born into a different situation, I wouldn’t be here now and I’d probably be just fine. I’m not fine, I’m far from being well or even satisfied, but that’s ok.

You know why? Because when I’m ready to be un-miserable, I will.

Until then… It’s only another week before I turn 27. ‘Something’ help me.

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2 thoughts on “Almost through the net

  1. There’s no magic rule that says you have to have life figured out in your mid-twenties. I certainly didn’t; I had to hit bottom and then climb my way back up. Lately I’ve been watching a friend of mine — about twenty-seven — have a mid-life crisis in public on Twitter. How old is she? About twenty-seven. I think the mid-twenties exist to give us character.

    A week shy of my twenty-seventh birthday, I was an assistant manager for EB Games in Exton, Pennsylvania. That was the summer I got serious about my writing; I got a copy of David Gerrold’s Worlds of Wonder and started figuring out where I’d been going wrong. (I had the unfortunate habit of thinking I was a better writing than I really was. Cue a Game of Thrones character saying, “You know nothing, Allyn.”) Twenty-seven was the year where I met published writers, like Peter David and Keith DeCandido, for the first time.

    When I turned twenty-eight, I was managing that store in Exton.

    When I turned twenty-nine, I was still managing that store in Exton. I had also been offered a store in New York City (which I turned down due to monetary reasons). And I had written an outline for a Star Trek: SCE novella.

    Twenty-seven isn’t a bad year. It’s okay not to have “it” figured out. And it’s okay for things to go wrong. All you have to do is keep trying.

    • I know of David Gerrold and Worlds of Wonder. I know my dad wants me to read that book. Plus, I’ve known Bob Greenberger, Peter David, and Keith DeCandido for a long time, for my dad has brought me to both Farpoint and Shore Leave since I was a newborn. I’m still figuring things out, but again, it feels like it’s taking way too long.

      I don’t think I’m giving up writing. Not just yet.

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