Friday, May 05, 2006

Autonomy Wars IV: A New Hope

It has begun again. I knew it would strike again, but when or where was difficult to determine. Common side effects include: swollen eyes, screaming, fist clenching, headaches, dizziness, frequent need to rant and emotional numbness. In most patients, these symptoms were temporary and did not deter the patient from continuing to do exactly what they had done before. In fact, studies show that after 4 years, the typical patient had dealt with enough and decided to take matters into her own hands.

Another battle with my parents rages.

It all began a few nights ago when my mother called about my bridesmaid dress. Apparently, the dress my father picked up looks like it could fit 2 of me and requires severe alteration. Mom was not pleased for a few reasons:
  1. This would be costly and they've already paid for the dress.
  2. I'm not at my parent's house often and the alterations would take a few visits to accomplish. A scheduling crisis looms.
  3. The dress tag read "6" instead of "2."
  4. I must have measured myself wrong - according to my mother. Since I could not travel 2 states north to have measurements taken during the school year, I did it over the phone. I asked the seamstress very specific questions to avoid things like this. Granted, this was over 8 months ago and I couldn't recall exactly what the woman had said to relay it to my mother. I attempted to retake some of the measurements over the phone, but although the ones I took matched with what was on the dress, my mother still swears that I am wrong.

So, basically, this is all my fault. I have a few reasons of my own to think otherwise:

  1. They wouldn't let me pay for the dress. I had written a check and stamped an envelope.
  2. They haven't taken the dress out of the plastic to really look at it. I know from personal experience that a dress can look hideous on a hanger and beautiful on the body.
  3. The dress tag was handwritten and it could have be a mistake or poorly written. I've played with this - you can make a 2 kinda look like a 6. Its hard, but it would be enough to panic my mother. Or, it could have been a 4. That seems a little more likely to me.
  4. Most dresses are made about a size up when they're ordered that far in advance. You can't fix a dress that is too small.
  5. I don't know how else one measures at the bellybutton. Now, I didn't pull the tape overly tight to get the smallest reading possible, but I have a pretty good idea from opera measurements that I'm not way off here. And I want to breathe. I'm hoping this can double as my next recital dress.
  6. The dress will look long as the seamstress had no idea what shoes we were wearing. Hemming up a dress is the easiest alteration possible.
  7. I told her I wore a size 2. I asked about a 1000 questions on measurements and such to avoid this argument. If its as wrong as my mother thinks, then its not my fault.

This "discussion" on my irresponsible tape measuring skills quickly bridged into other ways that I'm irresponsible and take advantage of my parents. I write "discussion" because I don't usually define the word "discussion" as a situation when one person literally yells over the phone to another, but my mother thinks the whole phone call was a "discussion." Whatever.

So, back to being irresponsible. I have yet to have found a second job. There are some strong possibilities including Hallmark and private teaching, but nothing is set in stone. I have been asking and applying since early March to no avail. My parents put boundaries around where I could apply including but not limited to no late night shifts, no "creepy" parking lots (um, take that as loosely as you feel) and it must enhance my nonexistent social life. Well, just fuck my chance of getting a job. I've ignored that policy and applied anywhere with a help wanted sign.

In case that method doesn't work, I've created flyers for tutoring and teaching piano. It takes far less students to make up for a 20 hour part-time job, so I figured this might be a good option. I think my mother's ok with this for the time being, but my father abhors the idea. Keep in mind, that to them, music is not a real job; its a job for married women whose husbands earn the real living. Their kids are in school and the mom is bored apparently. Every time I go or call home, my dad reminds me how fabulous I'd do in law. Yeah, not gonna happen.

My father will accept the teaching gig only if I get enough students and they've all signed contracts. Now, I'm not stupid - of course you create a payment contract so that you don't get screwed. Piano students are notorious for that. As far as numbers, I'm working on it, but I view this very opportunistically. The job that works out first will win. The trouble I'm having is that I already work one job and have to tell every possible employer that theirs will be my second. Very few have seemed pleased with that. And I have 2 weddings to attend and a few random doctor appointments. Not that I won't switch with someone, but its harder with two jobs.

The most promising situation at the moment is the Hallmark store. I applied about a week or so ago and had a good conversation with the manager there. I checked the status of my app yesterday and talked to a completely different manager. She said that they hadn't started going through anything yet, but they would pull mine out and look at it that day. I should expect a phone call.

The other related conflict is that I won't make as much money as my brother, Joey, does at Harris Teeter. I tried to explain to my parents that Joey has worked there for about 4 to 5 years and I'm starting new. I couldn't pull that same trick because the doctor wouldn't let me work for 2 years. My library wage will be raised in the fall, but probably not by much. Joey also doesn't live in the frat house over the summer and therefore, saves my parents on rent and such. His frat is part of student housing - he has that option. I would have to move out for 3 months and find a new apartment since mine wouldn't be there when I came back.

My parents do pay for a lot. They pay my tuition, rent and utilities. I've been taking on a bit more every year, but 2 years without work has done a number on my checking account. I've offered to get student loans to cover it all and that was rejected. In the last conversation, my mother threatened to confiscate my savings account. It doesn't have a whole lot in it, but I definitely need it for graduate auditions. That was the last straw. My savings since 2nd grade could be gone because they got mad at me. But I'm not supposed to apply for student loans to pay for anything - how am I to handle this???

I have a plan and I've enlisted several friends with financial aid wisdom to aid me. I'm going to the Financial Aid Office on Monday and applying for some type of loan. The trick is that I supposedly need my parents information which I've never had and they'll never give. That's why I've never been able to fill out a Fafsa form. I've heard that I might be able to file without them. I hope so. If not, I'll go to Bank of America. I already need to go there to see about transferring my savings account from the little church bank its in now. The loan shouldn't be as much as a burden since I should have instate residency in June. Tuition is much less expensive that way.

A few of these friends have literally kept me from emotional explosion the past few days. I have always felt like I was inadequate and incapable of taking this kind of step. Well, and a lot more than just that too. I'm fighting to overcome what was instilled in me. I can make good decisions for myself and follow through with them. I can do what I want to do without it making me feel like I'm some sort of selfish toddler. I am worthy of love and happiness. I have to re-evaluated myself and my place in this world to make it all happen.

So, say a prayer or five and feel free to leave any tips on the comments page. I've also set up a few Affiliate links from which I'll receive some sort of commission. I'm trying in every way I know how to prepare myself for the storm to come. The war is not over, but the turning point is coming...I can feel it this time.

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