Friday, November 28, 2008

HOW STERGER GOT HER GROOVE BACK

Thanks to the stalkerific technology that are status updates and away message, anyone anywhere can know exactly what you're feeling and doing at any given time. I've never been one to find the need to lie about or hide my personal life. And why should I? My real friends want to know what's going on in my life, and if anyone else reads it, well.. So what? They want to judge me based on some status remarks and blog updates? Hell, if people are going to talk, I should at least make sure they have all the facts straight, or in some cases give them something to talk about. I figure the better majority of them are experiencing a lot of the same things I am anyway. People forget it wasn't too long ago that I was just your average college student, going to classes and tending bars before my life took a turn for the unexpected. This journey has had its ups, its downs, and certainly its price. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

When people write me and ask if this profile is really mine, or if I check it personally, nine times out of ten, I try to respond back, even if it’s a simple yes or no, because I'm happy to know they cared enough just to write. In some instances I have made pen pals, even great friends from perfect strangers, because I was there to listen when they needed someone and vice versa. Why on earth would I bother conversing with someone I don't even know?? I guess because I'm polite, nice, and I would expect the same in return.

One of the many criticisms I have been given since relocating to the big city is that I'm too nice. Too nice? I had never heard such a thing. Since when had treating other people the way I wanted to be treated ever been considered a flaw? Had "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" joined dinosaurs on the list of all things extinct?? I began to think.. Maybe I just wasn't cut out for this place or even this career path in general. I had to escape, if for nothing else.. My own personal happiness.. And sanity.

When most people think of "clear your head" vacation destinations they think of warm sandy, beaches. Or if you're in the Hollywood line of work... this wonderful place called rehab, where "happy drugs" are all inclusive, and the padded rooms have a view. Not wanting to end up spending my time at Lindsay Lohan's time share, I opted for skipping town to a quiet place in the Midwest, my own personal sanctuary.... Indianapolis.

I have never had a bad experience in Indy, partly because it still exudes that southern hospitality feel, and partly because a few of my favorite people in the world live there. Whenever I have felt lost or lonely, I could always count on a trip to Indy to clear my head and set me straight.

For months now, I haven't really been myself. Sure, I've done my job, taken my meetings, and smiled at most everyone I met, but I simply wasn't happy. I love my apartment, but it’s been the only place I have really seen other than the inside of an office building or the sideline of the meadowlands. In short, I was pretty miserable. I feel sorry for the people that have only met me in the last few months, because they really haven't had the chance to meet the real "Jenn." Instead, they met this cyborg femme-bot Jenn Sterger. Just a machine going through the motions of every day life. I was Sterg on auto pilot. And for anyone that knows me.. You know I'm anything but that. I pride myself on my outgoing fearless fun loving nature. And I missed the old me .. The girl with the pajamas on, the girl in the cowboy hat, the girl who threw caution to the wind... More than anyone.

My usual reasons for going to Indy would have been sufficient enough to put a smile on my face, or at least deliver a bitchslap back to my old self. This trip however was a little bit different. Aside from the usual faces (Will and Barb—who have taken me in like a stray dog), there were new characters added to my Indy experience: an old friend from college, and … a pen pal.


OK, before you start with the “Know how I know you’re a gay… because you have a pen pal,” I say… “shut the @#$! Up.” Sometimes it’s nice to have someone to converse with, from a completely different world than yours. They don’t have to know all the gritty details of your day to day life, though most would sit around if you wanted to tell them. My particular pen pal does just that. He listens.. or reads, I guess. There’s absolutely nothing in it for him, but someone to shoot the @#$% and trade stories with. And he’s okay with that. Even from a thousand miles away, this person has the ability to change my day for the better, especially considering how lonely I have found living in NYC to be. They say there are people you meet along your journey that significantly change your life for the better. They come into your life not necessarily at the best of times, but at a time where a few kind words can make all the difference and a smile can tell you.. That everything is going to be okay.

This past weekend I got the chance to sit down and meet my pen pal face to face, just to thank him for all the times he has pulled my head out of my butt when I was in a bad mood, or all the times he made me laugh. I thanked him for being honest with a perfect stranger, and genuinely caring when sometimes I felt like no one else did. Not that our conversations were super deep, but they were a welcome distraction from my everyday life, something we could all use a little more of every now and then. At the end of the weekend, we both went our separate ways but we’d always have Indy.

The other welcome face this past weekend was an old friend from my college days. He and I had bartended together back in the day, but he had always been too cool for school to hang out with me during our Tally days. Back in college, he had been the bad boy, and the trouble maker, but now.. he was different. He had moved to Indy to be with his college girlfriend, but his relationship had dissolved, leaving him in the middle of a city he didn’t really know well, and a city that really didn’t know him. (Sound familiar??) At first things had been tough, but somehow he had persevered. As I sat across the table from him and listened to his story, I realized the person sitting across the table was a changed man. Could I really start over, in a city I didn’t know, and make it so I could call my own??.. It gave me hope to see someone in such a similar situation thriving under some not so ideal conditions. Maybe there was hope for me yet.

Indianapolis was just the medicine my soul needed. It felt great to be around people I love, but more so… it just felt great to be wanted and appreciated. We all deserve to be surrounded by people that have our best interest in mind, the kind of people that will be there when things aren’t so perfect.

I have spent the past few months of my life, as a girl, interrupted. I’ve been so scared of moving forward, that it had made me almost scared to live. But somehow this weekend had changed me. It was about time someone or something knocked some sense into me. It was about time.. I got my groove back.

3 comments:

Bob Mantz said...

Wow. So I can actually tell folks your site is updated now...

Happy Thx.

Bob

Doug said...

It took a lot of courage to move, (especially to NY), leave longtime friends and family behind, and start a new chapter in your life. At first, it's not an easy adjustment, but you do settle in and feel comfortable after a bit of time. You'll meet a lot of new people and have new stories and adventures to add to this exciting new chapter of your life. Some of it will be good, and some not so good but you'll be a better person for it in the long run. The nice thing is (as you noted) your old, true, friends will still be there to give you a pick-me-up when you need it most.

You seem to be a down to earth woman that is well grounded. From what I can tell, your friends, and those that meet you, are lucky to be such a good person in their life.

As for the people saying you're too nice, don't change a bit! (Based on what I've read here, I'm sure you won't). I've heard the same thing too and don't understand it either. It's nice to know that someone else out there still values "please", "thank you" and the golden rule.

Veritas said...

Well for starters I want to thank you for the opportunity of being part of your life and that you are willing to share a part of it with me.
I believe honestly that the changes in your life as brought you happiness as well as sadness, its part of this journey called life.
And believe that “too nice” stuff happens all around the world, in my line of work I also have to deal with allot of people from various parts of the world.
Sometimes I wish to find a country that I visit where people wouldn’t judge a person just because they are simply strangers to that city or country, but that never happened anywhere.
More and more I’m beginning to think that people are falling more and more apart, the examples that you referred to are some of the best, on my own city you see that constantly happening.
I think that more and more people expect that a person should be there for when they need them and they don’t give value to the persons that are with them daily.
Yes is true that words like “please”, “thank you” and “excuse me” should never go extinct but its also understandable that especially in the big cities that is happening, and in your case that extinction is trying to force itself on to you because once a person reaches a certain status on life other people will expect more and more from you, and being nice, to those peoples is a sign of weakness, in their minds you are there to conquer the world and that you should step on anybody that gets in your way.
And this is not a faire world, if you don’t play by their rules then they will find someone to replace you, I’ve seen and still do, these things happen to people.
I’m sure that even the fact that you are willing to spend time with pen pals or simply the fact that you are willing to talk to your fans is not well seen by many people, that’s the price of the status that you have reached and many think that if you don’t behave like a diva they are wasting time on you.
That maybe you lack the will to reach the top.
I think you did well just getting away from all that was consuming you from the inside, even if it was just for a while.
It’s always good for people to find their center, to simply find oneself, better that than you start to lose what makes you unique, because once one loses oneself hardly one will find the path back.
I also have allot of pen pals that I talk for hours about all sort of stuff, but still I have my family and my home friends, they are always with me wherever I go or what I do.
If I was in a situation like yours I’m sure that people would say the same about me to, that I’m to nice and that I care to much about the problems of those that to me are my family.
Because I prize my family above everything else, and meaning family a mean all those people that are important to me, whether they are blood related or not my family are my friends that are with for the best and the worst.
And in this case I believe we are the same Jenn, and that’s why people may see us in a different way like where not even from this planet.
But I tell you something, I prefer to live and die by these ideals than anything else.
You found yourself again and that is great, don’t ever let people dictate how your life should be or shape you into another commercial doll.
You are Jenn Sterger, for everything that you are and do, and for everything that you where and did you should feel proud of yourself and don’t ever let anyone throw you to the ground.