Life Without Mj

I am loosing steam. Like a flower that wilts without sunshine the luster from his visit has worn off and I am becoming droopy and lifeless. When I first found out he'd be leaving for so long just five months into our relationship I was devastated but determined to be strong and just deal with it. His after Christmas departure left me with an ache in my chest and gloomy thoughts of the long months stretched out ahead without him. I wallowed for a bit, but not wanting to be sad and make this separation even more difficult I began my mission to keep myself occupied with friends, family, and various outings. By focusing on short term activities perhaps I can trick myself into forgetting that Mj is not around.

We missed what would have been our first New Years together, but we got Thanksgiving and Christmas so I have to be grateful for that. Happy hour here, get together there. I was a trooper for a while until about April. Only 3 months after he left, 3 months until I'd see him again and 7 long months until he'd be home for good. I let my negativity get the best of me and had a horrible birthday. To pass the time in May I focused on looking forward to an end of month visit with my sister. Last year Mj and I had so much fun at the fair together and I made the best of it this year but it felt flat in comparison. At the end of June, I had my excitement over his July visit to keep me going. The joy of our 11 days together kept me fired up for a while and the Joe's Jeans contest provided a welcome and exciting distraction. Two months post visit and any remaining embers have long been extinguished and I am left with only ash and smoke as I find my self in a rut again.

When I watch a really good movie I still wish he was here to share it with me and sometimes I save and re play his old voicemail messages just because I like to hear his voice. My enthusiasm to "get out there and have fun dammit" has fizzled out. I am so tired most of the time during the work week anyways that by the weekend all I really want to do is cyber date Mj. Is it weird that I would rather stay at home in front of my laptop with my not really there cyber fiance then to venture out and interact with real live people? I don't care if I go anywhere or do anything else as long as I get to see his handsome face for a few hours. When I go to sleep at night I imagine what it feels like to have his arms around me. When he is beside me sleep isn't something I hope for, it just happens. Every song I hear reminds me of him and that dull ache has crept it's way back into the center of my chest.

Every month that passes, every care package I've sent, every phone conversation we have is one step closer to seeing him again.

I have lived alone for going on 5 years and have always prided myself on my independence. So what did I do before he came into my life? I was a fully sometimes dysfunctional human being before we met so why is it so difficult to be without him now? Well, that was then. Before I knew any better. Before I knew how wonderful loving and living could truly be. Before he let the sunshine in.

Oh how I miss that man. Eleven months is a long time. Simply put my patience for life without Mj has worn thin. A part of me is missing and I can't get it back until he comes home.

Dunce Alert

I enjoy sharing and writing about the good stuff, but I am also willing to share the stupid stuff too. I definitely know how to laugh at myself. I generally don't mind if others laugh along with me as long as you make sure I'm laughing too before you start laughing hysterically at my expense! My car has had some electrical problems not too long ago so I was only mildly surprised when on Friday I noticed that my interior cabin lights were staying on while driving. I didn't go anywhere all weekend so I didn't worry about it until yesterday. I played around with the light switch to see if maybe it was on the wrong setting somehow. I carefully verified that they didn't stay on while the car was shut off and exactly how long it takes for them to turn off on their own so I could tell the service center. I woke up extra early today so I could take it to the dealership by 7:15 am and get to work by 8:00. Annoyed by the task, but glad to get it over with-and within my warranty period.

I pull up into the service line and give them my name as I prepared to take things I would need out of my car. When asked what the problem is I say, "My interior lights stay on while I am driving." Well, he fixed my so called problem even faster then it took me to tell him about it. He promptly reached through my window and turned my interior lights off the permanent setting with the switch that was designed to do just that. "Uhhhh....oops. I didn't realize I had switched it on to permanent, I'm so sorry. I guess I don't need to leave it then." The service guy was very nice and told me it's OK and that I must have just accidentally hit it. Now that service guy has a funny story for he and all of his co workers to laugh about today. Glad to be of service.

I felt like such a "girl." Well, to be fair not all women are like this but apparently I am one of those!! I do have my moments of brilliance [according to me] when setting up equipment, putting things together and trouble shooting certain problems. But, I am 100% girly girl when it comes to my car, household repairs, most complex technological systems. I don't even know how to change a flat tire even though I know it's probably something I should learn. My garbage disposal is still out. The lights in my kitchen went out months ago but it's a huge fixture with multiple screws. It looks heavy and who knows what kind of dirt or creepy crawly things are lurking inside that fixture. Needless to say, I really don't even want to attempt to do it by myself. Good thing I don't spend too much time in the kitchen.

So, I went to work early to do some overtime after my aborted vehicle drop off and that was that. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with my car and because I got to work so darn early I managed to get a premium covered parking spot which is helpful when I relax in my car for lunch breaks on hot days. The bad news is that I am so freaking tired because I got up earlier and that I am officially a dunce for the day!

Eyes Lips Face

OK, so I am not a huge wearer of make up. I go for more of the on the go minimalist look. At least that's what I call it! But, there are times when I do feel like going that extra step to make me feel more confident and radiant. Like a great outfit make up can make you feel just that extra bit polished. I am on budget and Make Up can be very expensive so it's not necessarily a place where I want to put too much money but I have discovered e.l.f. Cosmetics where make up is actually affordable.

Last year I heard about $1.00 make up on the radio. My co worker and I and every other woman in my city went onto the e.l.f. website and it promptly crashed from all the traffic. There was this frenzy to get on that site and get the bargains while they lasted but it just so turns out the prices are always that low. We had to wait a day while the site administrators unclogged the traffic jam but we managed to place our order. A few days later we were rewarded with tons of make up for less then $50.00 bucks. Just a single liquid foundation can cost close to that at a department store make up counter. I even bought some extra for my mom. Some of the the product sizes are a bit smaller but for $1.00 who can really complain about that? The quality of the product was great too.

I love modeling and so when I saw the casting for the face of e.l.f. cosmetics I was all over it. Their message is "Beauty at all ages" which I really like. I am on the "older" side for a model so in this youth obsessed culture it's great to see a modeling contest that is actually broken up into different age categories with the highest one being 40+. I don't have to compete against teenagers or lie about my age!

It is a long shot but that hasn't stopped me before. I did better then I ever expected to do in the Joe's Next Model Contest. I always say that if you don't play you can't win and I believe that no matter what you should do what you love. I may be an office assistant for a living. That is how I pay my bills, but I still want to do what I love. For me that is modeling and writing. I may not make any money at it but it makes me happy so I figure if I just keep doing it I can't loose.

I'm Not the Career Type

Photo Credit:  Jupiter Images
Monster offers a resume writing service. You can submit your resume to them and they will magically transform any irrelevant or non essential job skills and work history into something that employers will be interested in hiring you for. Well, at least that is what they would have to do with mine. MJ thinks it could be a good tool for updating his own resume and decided to throw my name in the hat for a resume make over as well.  My response. "Now why would someone like me hire a professional to work on my resume?" As far as I'm concerned my value in the job market is on the low end and no amount of resume doctoring is going to change that. I am not up and coming young professional with a bright career in [insert high power job title here]. At this point in my life aside from some unforeseen or catastrophic circumstances I really have no intention of even looking for another job. Getting the one I have wore me down enough.  "Well, resume writing service is an investment. You never know what might come up and it doesn't hurt to browse." Maybe for him.

The thing is, I have never had much luck when it comes to jobs. Perhaps I sell myself short. Maybe I haven't tried hard enough, looked in the right places or marketed myself well enough. I am just not that person who managed to snag that great job or passes their resume to a friend who knows someone at such and such company. I never knew what I wanted to be and I still don't. I majored in Sociology and all I knew was that I didn't want to be a teacher. My first job out of College was a Claims Adjuster.   Oh, how I despised that job. I wasted years in an industry that I no longer wanted to be in and without any other job skills I knew I was headed for a major salary cut.

Federal jobs have good benefits and the pay was better then what I was finding in the private sector so I relentlessly scoured website after website and applied for job after job. Their application processes is detailed, cumbersome and time consuming but I kept at it hopeful that if I was persistent enough something would come my way.  Over a year of that and I never even got an interview. Ever.  Thank goodness I finally got a break and got hired where I'm at. After about 6 months I continued to apply for Federal jobs and other state jobs that paid at least what I was getting until I finally gave up for good. Half the time I think they post those positions just to say that they did it because the person who gets the job is usually sitting in the office across the hall or someone who knows someone that's doing the hiring. Luckily, I got a transfer out of the office that originally hired me which was NOT a good fit for me and I am happy where I'm at. More money would be nice but you can't always have it all.

I still don't know what I want to do so getting a Master's seems pointless. I have settled in where I'm at. Right now, it's enough just for me to have a secure job with great benefits that doesn't make me want to jump off of a cliff at the end of the day.

In my shock of learning that a resume expert was going to be writing my resume I forgot to thank MJ for being thoughtful enough to even do that for me in the first place. I may have given up on the notion of ever making more money or having a "hot" job but he hasn't and I think that is so sweet.  New job opportunities just seem to fall in his lap and he is well qualified so he kinda has an entirely different outlook on the whole job and career thing then I do. I am so glad that MJ saw other qualities in me that made him want me. The employment gods may not shine upon me but the love gods did when they sent me him.

It's funny how I have this child like anything is possible mentality when it comes to modeling or winning that dream vacation but not when it comes to my career prospects. Without direction or a passion for something practical I am lost. Not everyone is meant to have a career and I may never make a living by following my bliss. So, instead I will keep content with doing what I love which is writing what I want and modeling when I can. Instead of wracking my brain trying to figure out what I want to be, I finally just decided to be who I am.

Another Tired Monday

I am about half way through my work day. Monday's are really rough for me lately. It's not like I exerted myself over the weekend. All weekend I was as I call a "shut in." Saturday I woke up early, cleaned house, got the car washed and stopped at the post office. I mailed my very last care package to MJ!! Yeah. This is one more step towards him being home. I spent most of Sunday on youtube. You know how one video kind of leads to another and another....and before you know it you've done nothing but watch random clips and documentaries for hours? Thank goodness for my new Macbook. I notice that I read a lot less then I used to but at least it's keeping me occupied. I hung out with MJ via Skype both days so that was cool. I didn't have any plans or anything I really needed to do so I knew I'd pretty much be in the house alone both days but I really didn't care one way or the other. I truly am a homebody.

On days like this when I am tired and can think of nothing else but running home and slipping into my pajamas I often consider what it would be like if I had a child at home. Instead of slipping under the covers of my bed I might be picking up my child from school, fitting in a bit of play time, getting dinner ready and getting him/her ready for bed. On weekends I wouldn't be able to just bump around aimlessly. It seems so exhausting. Do I have the energy and the strength for all of that? They say when you have a child not only do you find the energy but you really want to. Is the fact that I wonder about this a sign? Well, at this point that remains to be seen but I imagine at one point or another I will have my answer.

Football season is in full swing and poor MJ is a million miles away in a foreign land with a 9 hour time difference. He called me to say that he was going to bed early so he can wake up at 1 am his time to watch his team the Bills play. He should be up when I get home from work so I will hopefully have a quick chat with him before he goes back to bed. Instead of talking with him in my car on my lunch break I took a power "nap" instead. I rolled down the windows, reclined my seat, and closed my eyes. I don't usually actually fall asleep but I think it still helps...for a little while at least.

Well, almost done. Hanging in there.

Back To Life Back To Reality

Well, being at work again on Tuesday after a 5 day weekend is a huge dose of reality. Thursday and Friday I was a model. I was flying into LA for a photo shoot, getting my hair and make up done, dancing on rooftops, and sleeping in a swanky hotel room. It was fun and exciting. MJ was so proud of me and that felt good. Saturday through Monday was OK too. I relaxed Sunday and got my hair re done on Monday(thank goodness because the greasball look was so not working). I was still on my own time doing my own thing basking in the excitement that had come before.

This morning I didn't want to get out of bed. I had no clue what to wear. I rushed to drop off my Blockbuster movie and pick up some coffee on the way to work. I came into the office and turned on my computer. I ate my PBJ, drank my coffee and began sifting through the e mails that had come in while I was out. This quiet conservative world with it's cubicles, structure, and monotonous rhythm is a huge departure from the one I just left. The song "back to life, back to reality....." plays through my head.

Yep, back to real life where I am a Clerical Assistant. Definitely not something to brag to your friends about. It is a bit of a let down but it's OK because that's life. There are enough things that have changed in my life that I can seamlessly make this transition back to reality without spiraling into a black hole. In years past I would have been distraught beyond belief to find myself sitting at a desk dealing with claims and suffocated by the sadness that was my life. I am a different person then I was. I have a different job then I did and man who helps make even the grayest day brighter. This is just another day back at work. A sluggish and tired one; but another day nonetheless. I feel like I am sleepwalking-a mere shadow of myself. I just gotta get back into the swing of things.

Do I want to come to work? A resounding "NO." Might I feel a bit more motivated if my paycheck were higher or if I were doing something more meaningful to me? Perhaps. But, this is life. The majority of us have to work to live and I am just happy that coming to work everyday isn't something I hate like I used to. I have a good job. I get to wear jeans and work independently. My co workers are friendly. It allows me to go to the doctor if I need to, have a place to live, and enjoy some fun things in life. I've got many happy things to look forward to. There are those moments at work where I stare at the computer screen in a daze wondering what the point of it all is. Then I think about my bills. I think about MJ and the life I want to lead with him. The things we want to do together and then I remember.

The Day After

Saturday morning when I woke up it almost felt like the last two days in LA were a dream. I got up and grabbed my photos from the shoot. Yep, it really happened. I really did just fly up to LA to do a high fashion photo shoot and compete in a modeling contest. At first I didn't really like my pictures. They are raw non re touched digitals. They literally got these to us overnight so of course they didn't have time to re touch. I can see every single flaw in my face, and I don't like it! They are not your typical smiling beauty shots so they are kinda weird! The more I look at them now the more I actually do like them though. I can hardly believe that it's me.

I no longer have this big contest to anticipate and look forward to anymore so it was kind of like "now what?" at first but it's just back to regular life and on to the next thing. At least I am still technically on vacation and I am now just about 2 1/2 months from having MJ back. I've been anticipating that event all year.

So Saturday night I hung out with a friend MT. He is going to be going overseas next week so he stopped by basically to say hello and goodbye. Some people think it's kind of odd that he is a friend who also happens to be an ex but I really don't. I've known him for four years now and he was really there for me during one of the lowest points in my life. The romantic relationship kinda put me through the ringer but I am just not the type of person that can so easily just cut people out of my life. I don't see people as disposable. Our relationship started out as friends. He was just a cool person and we really clicked. He still matters to me as a person so I don't see the point of not maintaining a friendship with him just because it might be seen as "odd." It was never a question that no matter what happened with the relationship that we would remain friends. MJ trusts me and he knows I'm hooked on him. I'm not lookin' for nothin' anywhere else. I have made sure that MJ knows who he is and I always mention it to him if we hang out. I have other male friends and it just isn't a big deal. That is just another example of how so many things in our relationship is seamless. That could be a huge issue with lots of couples but not with us. MT is very respectful of my relationship and while remaining friends with an ex might not work for everyone it works for us.

I was so not up to going anywhere after laying around all day but he assured me the place he wanted to go to was a dive bar/club and that I could show up in cotton shorts and a tank top and not look out of place. So, I pulled myself together and we went. I'm glad we did. Sometimes I get so caught up in being my homebody kind of self that I will spend days at at time in the house alone so why not get out? Especially when I have no plans for the rest of this holiday weekend. There was this corny band with a lead singers that sounded a little like Karaoke. They did Journey, Abba and a couple of other corny songs that I just so happen to love!! We drank, danced, and goofed off. We got Jack In The Box on the way home. The good stuff-burgers and fries!! I NEVER do this. Eating junk food while under the influence is even more delicious and so blissfully guilt free. It was a fun night. Two more days of freedom and then it's back to work.

And Then There Were Five

I am filled with excitement as I board the plane to LA. I am in a great mood and just sort of taking in everything around me. After landing around 10:30 am I call the car service and soon after a black stretch limo pulls up. I felt like such a jet setting VIP as I step inside. I could really get used to this!! Three of the other male models are already inside the limo and before we head to the studio we pick up 2 more.

We arrive at Smashbox Studios in Culver City where our shoot will take place. It is this huge hollow open space with stark white walls that have no corners. The 4 other female models are already in hair and make up. They seem so tall and glamorous. There are flurries of activity coming from everywhere. Make up artists, hair stylists, crew, Joe's Jeans staff and a bunch of other people are all over the place. There is loud music playing making it a very upbeat atmosphere. There is a videographer floating around taking footage of everything.

Finally, it's time for me to get my hair done. I find out I will be given extensions to make a high very long pony tail. It is so tight I can feel the skin in my scalp stretch when I smile. My hair is now ruined and disgusting from all of the thick Crisco like wax used to slick down my hair. I have this pompadour thingy put in the front of my head. Definitely not your everyday look but it is so cool to being made up so differently then my usual [slightly boring] self. My wardrobe consists of black ripped tights, a long black sleeveless sweater top, and a cool biker type denim jacket. The shoes are stiletto Christian Louboutin boots that are super sexy but hurt like hell. I wait until the last minute to put them on. My eye make up is pretty dramatic with winglike eyeliner extending out from the corners of my eyes. There is a lot of waiting as the other female models shoot before me. I am starving by now. It's 2 pm and lunch has arrived but I don't want to ruin my lips and I am too keyed up anyways, so I don't eat yet. The photographer is Jiro Schneider. By the time I get on set I am no longer nervous-I'm just ready to get started. I catch a glimpse of one of my pics on the monitor but when they see me looking they turn it away from me. I know there are people watching but I am really not aware of it because I am so focused on listening to the photographer's directions and the bright lights make it kinda hard to see anyone. I am standing in front of a plain white backdrop. There are no props and you can't just stand there. You have to do something interesting with your body which isn't easy to do when you can't see yourself. I shake my ponytail, pose, and prance around. There are no smiles on this shoot. It's high fashion. I am having fun and then before I know it my shoot is over. I keep replaying the shoot in my mind trying to figure out if it went OK but I can't really know anything for sure until I see the pictures. We do group shots and then it's a wrap around 6:30pm. We have champagne, chocolate and strawberries to celebrate. The hard part is over and now it's time to let loose and have fun.

We are taken to The Standard Hotel in downtown LA where we'll be staying. The rooms are funky and very modern. There is a platform bed with a bedroom that shares a glass wall with the bathroom shower so you can literally see right through the wall and into the bathroom from the bedroom. Joe's is treating us to drinks and appetizers at the rooftop club/bar at 8pm. It is cool getting to know all of the models that up to now I have only seen on the website. Everyone is really nice and we are all having a good time. I can't believe I am out drinking and dancing on a Thursday night when I am normally in bed!! The night is warm and we have a great view of the high rise buildings that surround the hotel. I am soooo exhausted by now but having so much fun that I really don't want it to end. We hang for a bit longer then we all go to our own hotel rooms. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

The next morning we meet at 10am for breakfast on the rooftop. The mood is somber. The loud chatter and excitement of the day before is replaced with quiet murmurs as we all lounge around eating and waiting for the rest of the Joe's Jeans staff to arrive. One by one we are taken to meet Joe. He asks me some basic questions like where I'm from, what size I wear and how tall I am. More waiting. We are all getting pretty antsy by this point. It's well past 11 am and we just want to know who the winner is.

I am asked to go back over and talk to the owner of the Photogenics Modeling agency. She asks me a few more questions. I am only one of three who was asked back for a second chat-the other two are the winners. They say it was really tough decision to make as they ask all 10 of us to line up in front of the Joe's staff and judges and they announce the winners of the first ever Joe's Next Model Contest. Madeline and Craig will be the faces of their newest add campaign. We are handed plastic envelopes with full size prints of the pics they selected for us and told that we will be extended a gift credit to shop at Joe's Jeans online (in addition to the pair of jeans we were allowed to keep from the shoot). I am really excited to hear that!

Of course I am disappointed not to win. This was my last chance at an opportunity like this. I was hopeful but at the same time I had no expectations except to do a great shoot, have a good time and make my family proud. I'd say I accomplished all three. Madeline's shots were gorgeous and she is 5'11". I am honored just to be in the running with all of these other good looking people. I am much older then the youngest of the bunch but I fit right in and held my own. How cool is that? I am proud of myself for having made it this far. I had such an incredibly good time. Did I bring my camera? Yes. Did I take any pictures? No. I was a little bit devastated when my camera turned up missing. Unfortunately, one of the make up artist hijacked my camera by accident. She packed it up with all of her other supplies and took it. It figures that would happen to me!! She is kind enough to mail it to my home address but that doesn't do me any good right now when I am in LA. It really sucks that I didn't get to take pictures to document this amazing experience like I wanted to.

But I will always have my photo shoot pics. They are not your typical smiling beauty shots. I can't believe it's me looking like an add out of some funky fashion magazine. It was so out of my element but I think I pulled it off pretty well.

I am so tired right now. I am not a partier so just one night of being out on the town has worn me out along with the long shoot and the excitement of everything that's been going on. I am killing time in the hotel lobby while I wait for my 4pm ride to the airport. I am so glad that this is going to be a quick flight for me. I will have the car all to myself on the way to the airport which will be a nice way to wrap up this amazing experience. Joe's Jeans has really treated us so well and ran a great contest. I am just so, so happy to have been a part of this. I said that I would be OK if I didn't win and I really am.

Big Casting Tomorrow

-Super Edgy Joe's Jeans Add-
So, tomorrow is the big day. I have been provided with my flight itinerary and car service instructions. I have the studio and hotel information. I have the call sheet for all of the crew and other models on the shoot. I have signed my model release and been given information on what the look of the photo shoot will be. I have the schedule. I know that I will be taken straight to the studio from the airport for the photo shoot. I'll be getting my hair done after work. I know what I am wearing tomorrow and I am about half way packed. As the last of the details came in today a flash of nerves went through my body. This is really happening. The Joe's Next Model contest began in May. Here we are about 4 months later and having made the Top Five cut (out of 100's) I am finally on my way to LA to show the judges what I've really got. I told them I wanted to be Joe's Next Model and now it's time for me to show them that I can actually do it. There isn't anything that I can do at this point but show up, be myself, and hopefully have a great shoot. Oh, and I want to have fun too!!

I have been told that my theme is very editorial and edgy. Thus far I have always been considered to be a commercial model and so I am excited about the opportunity to try to show that I can be high fashion too. I am quite certain that much will depend on how the shoot goes. Joe's Jeans is definitely a High Fashion brand known for their edgy adds and if I don't look good in those shots I take tomorrow it seems unlikely that I would be selected as the winner. I usually start out a little stiff and nervous but once I get warmed up I am able to loosen up and just let myself go. Being in wardrobe and make up should get me in the right mood. Based on the schedule, I am the last female model to shoot so it's not looking like I will be able to see what the other ones do before me...which could be good or bad. I'm just going to try not to think too much about it one way or another. The only thing I have any control over is myself so that's what I have to focus on.

This is a once in a lifetime chance for me. I am so excited to have this opportunity and be going on this little adventure. No matter what I just feel so lucky to be able to do this. The main goal for me is to do a good job. I will be very disappointed if I don't win. I would not have entered the contest if I didn't want this. Of utmost importance though, is to be able walk away from this experience knowing that I did the very best I could...and to truly enjoy the moment.