Morning Pages

Current Jam: “Distress Signal,” Tiger’s Jaw

Do you ever feel like, if you had fewer interests, your life would be so much easier to construct? If you could just narrow down the things you thought were cool, things that you wanted to try your hand at, you would be a more complete person?

I apologize in advance: this post will come off as manic stream-of-consciousness, much like an insane person blabbering at a cornhusk doll… or maybe a can opener. Since my brain is still technically on the a.m. side of things, I’m treating this post like a batch of morning pages, a la The Artist’s Way.

For a long time I’ve been having, for lack of a better description, a crisis of creativity. I’ve been super busy, not carving out enough time to nurture some self-discovery and imaginative exploration, but yatta yatta yatta – I’m always super busy. I heap commitment after commitment onto my schedule, until I feel like Stretch Armstrong, but on the verge of cracking because instead of staying limber, he’s been left in the blistering heat in the backseat of a black Toyota Camry in Orlando for three months. So it constantly catches up to me. I’m frequently anxious, stressed, unsatisfied, exhausted, and ultimately guilty because I do this to myself.

There isn’t enough time or space or energy to dive into all the things I find fascinating. What’s worse, the second I express a particular interest to someone, I’m usually met with a two-fold experience: 1) oh you are? Well what do you think about *insert commonly known or obscure – how would I know which is which? – practitioner of said craft*, and 2) judgment when I admit that no, I haven’t.

I was helping set up stuff for a local play the other night. I’m not an actor, not much of a live theater goer, but a lot of my friends here are, and why wouldn’t I support them? At one point, Ralph asked me if I was an “artsy” person… not only did I not know how to respond, but before I could stammer out an ineffective answer, Sheryl brightly dropped in, exclaiming that no! Of course I wasn’t! Ralph was simply fooled by my nerd specs and my beanie…

I know Sheryl. She doesn’t mean any harm when she makes comments like that. I think at worst she suffers from a head-mouth disconnect, her foot perpetually skirting her lips. I love her, she’s a great person. Now, with all that preamble shoved your way: what the hell, man??

Ok, ok, I know I’m really sensitive about that shit. I suffer from an insane amount of fragile, barely-held together, pride. But it really made me wonder what kind of facade I present to the outside world. I work at a fucking art museum, for chrissakes, yet I’m perceived as what?

And ok, ok, I shouldn’t give a good god damn what people think of me. Just because I don’t flaunt my poetry, my prose, my doodles, the various projects I undertake or burgeoning ideas for new ones, doesn’t mean I don’t wade in creative juices (…ew…). But, I *do* care what my friends think…. I care what my family, my amours, think. And often, I feel as though I’m surrounded with people who are smart as shit, confident, and simultaneously, incredibly judgmental. Which is messed up, man. Why would I show you anything I try to do? The act of creation is submitting to an intense level of vulnerability, and you’re gonna shower that tentativity (yes I just made up that word), with snarky commentary? Fuck that.

I post on here, but even that tenacity has wavered so much lately that I often consider the point of this thing. What’s its purpose, for me? It used to serve one, but I’m not sure that it does anymore. My albeit brief foray into online publishing (here and beyond) hasn’t yielded much in the self-affirmation department (though I suppose it has – ever so slightly – improved my vocabulary, grammar, and vernacular intent).

Sometimes I’m no better, either. I feel that inclination to judge, and not only do I struggle to quell it, but again I feel guilt because I try to be an empathetic person, and that combination? That critical predilection? It does not bravery make, it does not bravado inspire.

And then I think, there’s more to it than this, just this, this sense of imposteriness. It must be some manifestation of life’s regrets as I make the final lap in this decade (the big 3-0 is right around the corner, less than 3 weeks out). I regret not finding a niche when youth made failure (more) acceptable. Sometimes I look at the wrinkles encroaching on my plump, freckled, otherwise youthful visage and wonder if I’d been less lazy, less prone to fantasy (which seems to yield little tangible fruit), and more prone to action, to swagger, to unabashed self-confidence in the face of limited artistic skill, if I’d be happier, more fulfilled, less anxious. If I’d feel better equipped to lead the life I dream of (in which I’m generally like 5 inches taller and don breezy boho inspired frocks that don’t actually swallow my petiteness whole). If at some point I would have untapped a uniqueness.

Yeah yeah there’s time, 30 is not 40, is no 50, 60, and so on. Don’t worry I’m self-aware enough to recognize the absurdity of this wallowing prattle. There’s limitless hope-inspiring online fodder to quell my very un-unique, accomplishment-dawdling fears (here and here, for example). As always, I just needed to get it out of my head so that I could get on with my day, i.e. be distracted from the task(s) at hand by something else, for a change. (There’s your purpose, L’s!) Yeah… I’m not convinced. *closes laptop on a resigned shrug*

 

Clever chaos

Yeah… yeah… that’s it… that’s how I live my life…

I… have to share this story with you, gentle readers. Mainly because it exemplifies the occasional idiocy under which I operate. Ok, here we go:

My buddy Dan’s birthday was coming up. Well, in reality it had already passed, but he went out of town, so we were having a small, belated celebration. Since I only moved here a couple of months ago, I still don’t know my PA friends all that well. I haven’t gleaned the nuances of their personalities yet, at least not enough to feel adequately informed when purchasing them gifts. But this, at least, I knew: men love carrot cake. Practically all men love carrot cake. (I don’t know why, either, but I swear, start a poll amongst your Y-chromosome-bearing buds: it’s uncanny). I knew for a fact that Dan fell into that majority, because I asked him a few weeks back (the topic came up in conversation, and I made a note of his answer). Well, I worked at a European style cafe over the summer, owned by a girlfriend of mine (check it out here; and if you’re ever in Gainesville, Fla, GO TO IT IT’S GREAT!). She happens to have an amazing recipe for carrot cake, so naturally I stole it (for good, not evil! I swear!)

Since all of my jobs happen in the later hours of the day, my circadian rhythm is a few hours later than the typical 9-5-er desk jockey. So I concocted this cake in the wee hours of a Friday morn, trying and failing to refrain from eating a sizeable amount of the batter. As it baked away I danced around my apartment, attempting to work off a massive sugar high. I waited until the next evening to frost it, since Em, Dan, and I were planning to meet up around 8 for scary movies (and cake! Little did Dan know…. mwahaha). I intended to take out the butter and cream cheese to soften while I was at work. Unfortunately and predictably, I forgot, scatterbrained as I dashed out of my house, already 5 minutes late. By the time I returned home I had a few short hours to get everything finished. I had planned to bake a loaf of bread while I was icing away, so I preheated the oven before jumping in the shower, and placed the butter/cream cheese on the stove to shake the fridge chill off. Squeaky clean, I returned to the kitchen, slightly dismayed but not all that surprised: they were still a long ways off from becoming adequately warm. Then, I had what I thought was a Eureka! moment: I decided to place the packages of cheese, with the wrapped sticks of butter on top, on the racks in the pre-heating oven, only for about 30 seconds! I cracked the oven door, silently congratulating myself on a life-hack-well-done…. until I reached to take out the first stick of butter, which swiftly rolled out of its paper and onto the floor of the now 425 degree oven.

I imagine Benny Hill playing on my life soundtrack as I panicked. Despite the idiocy that got me into this predicament, I am mildly proud at my subsequent quick thinking: I grabbed a pair of tongs from my utensil drawer directly adjacent to the stove (look at me, efficiently organizing my kitchen!), and after 3 attempts, removed what was left of the butter blob, slammed the door and turned off the oven, all without igniting the puddle of fat pooled beneath the heating elements. I glanced guiltily at the loaf of raw dough patiently awaiting its tasty metamorphosis. There would be no freshly baked bread tonight. Not without inciting a neighborly riot from the smoke filling my apartment and the caterwauling of my well-meaning detector. As my heart rate slowed, I actually looked around to see if anyone witnessed my slapstick (guys…. guys I live alone). And then I said, aloud, “Ya know? I’m kind of glad no one saw that, because that was pretty embarrassing but… I’m gonna tell that story later, because it was actually pretty funny.”

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I did manage to salvage what was left, and that turned out pretty fuckin’ BOSS, if I do say so myself. *wipes dirt off her shoulder…. then steps ankle deep in a puddle of muddy water.*

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Current Jam: “Quiet Little Voices,” We Were Promised Jetpacks

Coming up for air

….Hi guys.

It’s, ah, it’s been a while. You look good! I know, I know, I never call, I never write. Life’s been busy as shit lately, 95% of it for the right reasons. I’ve been swept up in work and various career-related pursuits. I went to my first museum-related conference, I presented my own research at a conference for the first time, and I’m quickly becoming proficient in setting up and running tents at booze festivals, as well as orchestrating cider sales, drink in hand. It’s very stressful. Constantly thrust into a situation where I don’t innately know how to do something, constantly having to wing it until I get the hang of *insert random task here*… but it’s good. Despite the occasional frustrations, and the wavering confidence in the face of novice-hood, it’s good. All of these instances are like little building blocks, and I’m slowly constructing a valuable skill set. And even though I often feel like an idiot, I’m trying to remind myself that soon, I won’t.

So… obvi the job front has stabilized… I now have 3, count ’em, 3 gigs. The museum is the bulk of my time and energy. Oh how I wish the cold card cashola would rain down as much as the career experience, but thems the breaks. Luckily, living in a small town means (apparently) that word-of-mouth is actually a thing. My director got me in touch with the campus box office, and our education and public outreach guy directed me toward a local cider bar. Much like a Millet-ian gleaner, I’m trying to cobble together enough work to make ends meet, and slowly whittle away at the mountain of debt I’ve incurred since graduate school. The cider bar is a particularly fun extra: I’m back in the food and beverage industry (which I missed!), I get to tend bar, learn about making cider (which I like exponentially more, now), and simultaneously work and enjoy area food and drink festivals. At the last one, I made friends with some like minded punks at three beards brewing, and orchestrated a sale/collaboration with Rusty Rail! BOOM!  L’s is crushin’ it!!

Overall, I’d rather be busy than not, but of course having my hand in so many fires… pots… how does that expression go? No time to Google – soldier on! – can be at least confusing, at worst exhausting.  I’ve always been on the scatterbrained side of the mental organization spectrum. That predilection only intensifies as more balls come into my court (Jeez, I’m all over the place with those spinning phrases today – ha, see what I did there?). Ergo, keeping focus on the task at hand is difficult when half of my attention is trickling onto the next 5 things on my to-do list. Unfortunately, the pitfalls of a short attention span seem to be affecting my writing most of all. Not only do I feel as though I have no time to write, but any time I do carve out, well, case in point: I’m trying to write this post while in the back of my mind I’m considering what to make for dinner, when to go to the gym, the million little projects for the museum, finances, and whether I can swing subleasing my apartment to move in with a buddy to further gain a foothold over the aforementioned monies.

I guess that’s everyone’s life. We’re all constantly being pulled in a million different directions. It bothers me so much, though, because of a seemingly innocuous assumption that strangers make when they meet me and find out what I do:

Person A: *sips cocktail* “So what do you do?”

Me: “Oh I work at an art museum as a curatorial fellow at the moment, I want to be a curator.”

Person A: “Oh, so you’re an artist?”

Me: *ashamed* <– (but why??) “Oh, no, haha. I can’t draw or paint well or anything.”

Person A: ……

Me: *takes big ol’ slurp of cocktail* “I mean, I like to write, that’s my main creative pursuit.”

….Are you pickin up what I’m puttin down? I know that part of that assumption stems from people who don’t have an intricate understanding of what curators do, but it’s still not all that far from the truth. Most curators I’ve met started as visual artists in some form or another, and their careers evolved as such. It makes me feel like a bit of an impostor that I’ve never been very artistically inclined (that gift fell to my sister). That I enjoy writing is not a stretch, either. I like to tell stories, whether I’m crafting a post, surrounded by friends at the bar, or creating an exhibit. I like to verbally explore the nuances of our humanity and how they inform the intricate nature of our relationships to each other. But…. when I don’t feel like I have time to devote my chosen craft, or I can’t maintain my attention to it when I do make the time… well, then can I honestly say that when someone asks? Plus, I take intense pride in whatever it is I choose to do; whatever it is, I want to be good at it. I’m not that a great of a writer at this point, but the only way I’ll improve is to keep plugging… and yet it’s become clear that I’m not determined to keep it a priority… so what does that mean??

I was particularly distressed by that brain train the past few weeks (incidentally, during that giant gap you’ll notice between this post and my previous one). Luckily, my friend group in this town has quite the creative bent, be it visual art, film, acting, music, etc etc. I finally admitted my fraudulent feelings to the University’s resident print-making TA. Thank goodness, she knew exactly what I was talking about! “Think of it like writer’s block,” she said. “Sometimes you have to step away and funnel those creative juices into something else for a little bit. That’s totally normal, don’t worry.” As I pondered her much appreciated words of wisdom, their relevance rang truer and truer. Maybe the writing has taken a backseat, but I’m still creating! I’m learning guitar (finally!), I’m cooking so much more than I have in years (the fruits of my labor to follow soon, perhaps, gentle readers). I’m even crafting a teensy bit, in an effort to live on the cheap as creatively as possible. And, um, DUH – my job, my chosen profession, is about as creative as you can get. I guess that’s a transition I haven’t acclimated to yet, but when I finally realized that, I got kind of excited. My storytelling will most certainly continue, I’ve merely adopted a new medium! Eeek – perhaps, in a way, I am an artist (of sorts)!

Another ego bruise of the interpersonal variety came nipping at the heels of the dip in my professional confidence. The short version is, I snagged attentions from someone who was utterly and hilariously out of my league for a hot minute, there. It had no long term potential, and so pragmatically I knew the situation would run its course. Well, it did. The severance was perfectly amiable, but it was still a form of rejection, if a mild sauce, baby kinda one.

I will always have shaky self-esteem, I think. I’m a real sensitive gal who constantly needs reminding of her worth to the world. So I was a little bummed (Plus, the lower half of my mug looks like it’s eating itself right now; thanks perioral dermatitis, argh. C’mon, Face! You’re not helping!). However, I handled it as I initially intended to handle it. Calmly. While 2012-2014 L’s would have flown off the handle or self-destructively wallowed, 2015 L’s retreated a bit, licked her wound, slapped a band aid on that bitch, and got over it. My emotional sea refused to form a tempest… and that… that was an immense relief.

For the past few years I felt out of control of myself, completely at the mercy of the external world, that harsh mistress, that sadist. But these days? I feel…. I feel normal again. It almost chokes me up when I think about it, because I was so afraid that I would never, ever feel that way again. I thought that’s just how I would be, and I hated myself because of that expectation. I now know from personal experience that self-hatred viciously affects how we handle, well, everything. The negativity becomes cyclical: we hate ourselves, which in turns influences a string of crappy choices, and then we hate ourselves even more when we reflect on those choices. I wish I knew how to break that cycle. I’m not sure what changed for me… I guess I just had to dig through some crazy, and eventually break through to the other side. I don’t miss it, but I don’t think I’d go back and change it, even if I could. All those little things that happen to us build who we are. We’re all just walking parfaits, chock full of sweet and savory, and perhaps some salty, layers.

Anyways, to top off this all-over-the-place post, I finally had a day off yesterday!! I rolled over at noon, jumped out of bed in my birthday suit and shouted, “Today, I am beholden to NO ONE!!” I took a luxuriously long time to leave my apartment. I painted my toes (who cares if they’ll be hidden beneath boots for the foreseeable future!), listened to the latest episode of my new favorite podcast Lore (it’s perfect for a pre-Halloween atmosphere, go listen to it! go now, I’ll wait!), I scoured Target’s clearance rack for lacy underthings (these days I can only justify a purchase of a *new* clothing item if it falls in the underwear category). I found my favorite seasonal brew at Weis, and spent the afternoon in the company of new friends on a sunlit porch.

And now? Here I sit, finally putting in some quality time with you, gentle readers. No, I suppose things aren’t that bad, at all. ❤

Current Jam: “Bad Blood” Ryan Adams cover of T-Swift. I have been listening to this entire album since it came out… had I gotten off my ass and posted something sooner, this wouldn’t seem so behind-the-pulse. Oh well.

Struggles

I really like drinking, guys.

I also like being healthy.

I also like smoking cigarettes.

I also like being able to run a few miles without feeling like my lungs will explode.

….

These interests do not exactly conflate well. Since I moved, I’ve been pretty good… well… I *was* doing… good…. (sorry about that grammatical error but my desire for symmetry prevailed). And then I made friends.

Not that I’m ungrateful.

The group I’ve found has been welcoming and wonderful, and they make me feel as at-home as I could, while still being 5 states removed. They are hilarious, and creative, and delightful, and completely in-step with the kind of people I cherish most. The downside, is that ugly proclivity of mine has raised its head once again, like an unwelcome blemish on my self-control’s carefully curated facade. I spent the bulk of last week socializing, imbibing, and regretting the next morning as I struggled to re-hydrate, a task ultimately futile when you pour that next cocktail less than 24 hours after the last one. It’s a frustrating, constant battle for me, to keep that balance. I’d like to think that everyone has that problem, but somehow I reallllllyyyy don’t think that’s the case. And after 6 straight nights of drinking (my general goal is max 3), you’d think I’d be more than ready for a break. But it’s an enticing routine that is so hard to break once it’s established. At least for me. The first… 1-2 days intended as sober days are… they are more difficult to accomplish than I like to admit. And I know why, but I hate why. It’s because the change in my mood is positive, with alcohol. It always is. I equate it with a good time, however that manifests. Coming off of it, that inevitable drop in mood, is hard to deal with. Even when I recognize the pattern, it’s so hard to break…

Maybe I could chock it up to another “routine” of mine: For every 3 weeks that I’m on “good” behavior, I’ll have 2 weeks where I’m “bad.” These labels are completely self-ascribed and probably a little harsh, but I can’t seem to keep a lid on my discipline. It’s like an unruly teenager hellbent on getting laid in a 10-year old Honda Civic. Ugh. GOD. Case in point: last night. I couldn’t sleep, my insomnia most likely an aftereffect of a week’s worth of fermentation sliding through my system. I could have worked on my first ever conference presentation, I could have cleaned my shower, I could have finished this fucking blog post. What did I do instead? Said “FUCK IT,” took a bunch of shots of vodka and furiously danced around my apartment to Less Than Jake, growing more homesick with each passing Gainesvillian lyric, until I collapsed, finally spent. I awoke this morning, not with a hangover, but a head-bang-over… because once again my tolerance is creepin’ on up there, as my distending liver swells my omnipresent lil’ gut.

My friends back home used to joke that my catch phrase should be “don’t worry about it,” accompanied by a mischievous grin. I guess it’s still relevant though, since my friends here have finally discovered that I… I am the worst/best/worst again influence you will ever have. I’m almost thirty goddamn years old, and yet I still make the worst decisions sometimes. Jebus… at what point do you accept certain aspects of your personality, instead of vainly tilting at windmills, Don Quixote style?

Current Jam: “Overrated – Everything is” LTJ (classic rock is soooo outdated; though, in truth, I’ll *never* consider sex to be “overrated”)

And this…. because we’re allll just tryin’ to turn hard work into chicken nuggets, amiright?

BEST. WEEK. EVER. And Horoscope stuff – DEAL WITH IT.

Last week…. damn y’all, last week was fucking AWESOME. I had all the bases covered: feeling good, looking good. Kicking ass at work, social butterflying for days, making some money. Got lots of positive attention. The only downside is I’ve barely carved out any time to write… which sucks, because when I don’t do that I end up ADD as hell. My ability to focus is thrust into hyper-difficult-drive, and I can’t keep a thought in my head, let alone follow a conversation. So tonight, god dammit, I said to myself, “SELF. GO. GO WRITE NOW.” And here we are guyz…. ok so,

I know, I know, I’m new age-y and dumb. I *KNOW*, now let’s move on. I treat horoscopes kinda like Tarot: no, they don’t tell the future. Yes, they are incredibly, ridiculously vague. But they give me shit to think about. They provide entrees into brain trains, brain trains which force necessary introspection, and in my personal opinion introspection is a good thing. It fosters self-awareness, and occasionally, change. So. Two things:

1: My horoscope for today read like this: “Do you see yourself the same way others do? At today’s deceptive Sun-Neptune opposition, you may want to borrow someone else’s high opinion of you. Your so-called flaws can seem distorted and magnified—yet they are virtually invisible to others. So why the heck are you fixating on them, Pisces? Be stern with yourself and stop this time-wasting habit. It’s just a way of procrastinating so you don’t have to own your greatness. You’ve been busted. Now cut it out! The world needs your compassionate heart to shine.” (Aaaand obligatory plug: See yours here).

Yeah: despite coming off a stellar week, I felt a little low today, a little off. I was distracted, frustrated that I was so distracted, and I felt anxious… and since I’ve successfully kept that anxiety at bay since I’ve been in PA (like a victorious lion tamer, giddily keeping that lion (Baby?) in the corner (oh wait no, I’m not supposed to do that)), I felt even more anxious. I was scared it was coming back… but eventually it passed. Running helps. I guess that’s something I’ll just have to continue to deal with. Like any stubborn disease it may never ever truly go away… Ugh, anyways…

2: For all you with way better things to do than read up on astrology stuff, Venus has been in retrograde lately (specifically, from July 25 through September 8). Ok so, what the eff does that mean, L’s? Well, you can read extensively about it here, but the gist is this: Venus retrogrades, supposedly, are periods of intense reflection, specifically regarding the worth of your relationships, past, present, even new ones. As my buddy Fran would argue, this can cause exes to come back in droves, for better or worse. Everyone’s wrapped up in their own shit, re-analyzing how they’ve acted, how they’re acting, and sometimes that manifests in people from your past making a re-appearance, even ones you never thought you’d hear from again.

And so, tonight I got an apology… one that I needed. One that I had been waiting for, for a very, very long time. Tears ran down my cheeks before I was finished reading it… because… well, because that particular person hurt me so badly… and I had resigned myself to never, ever getting closure. I had finally, finally, released that aching need. And now, here it was, completely unexpected and without any pretense, no preamble. I won’t relay the entirety of the convo, out of respect for privacy, but the one line that stuck with me was, “I hope you find a really cool person, because you were really that cool.”

*Takes bow.*

Thanks, man. I hope so, too.

Current Quote: “Everything will be ok, whether you like it or not.”  -My new PA uncle, Chip

Current Jam: “Whatcha got?” Red City Radio

Oh, and this: (Because my friends have the best senses of humor)

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Time to grow the fuck up

I jokingly said that to a neighbor at my going-away dinner. We were talking about the impending move, and how I was actually excited (mostly), to get outta town. I’d been wading in immaturity for too long, and it was time to move on…

I thought about that today as I looked back at the changes I’ve fostered since I’ve been in PA: my drinking and smoking have dropped substantially, I’m exercising at a pre-graduate school level, and I’m eating pretty damn healthy. I’m engaged in my health at an unparalleled level. I joke with my friends that the culprit is ennui: I have nothing better to do! Not enough work, no friends here, what else but perfect my smoothie game and craft those abs I haven’t had since 22? (and! so far so good: I got into a pair of shorts that have been a liiiiiittle too tight for about 2 years… and gasp! This time, they *weren’t*! WOOT!)

I’m making an unprecedented effort at my mental health too. It helps that I’m not (as) bat-shit crazy, but beyond that milestone, I’ve thrust all those creative or self-fulfilling pursuits I’ve felt too busy to pursue – wanting to read more, to write more, to practice photography more, to (finally) learn another instrument – to the front of the priority line (second fiddle only to finding that second job). I still get a bit scatterbrained when the evening arrives, when I’ve exercised and eaten, and then… well… then what? I still have to take a breath, and remind myself that there is no rush to pick up one c(h)ord or another. I have nothing but time… at least for the time being… ha. I’ve become preoccupied with a self-betterment program (I literally just started calling it that, at this moment), because I realized I was neglecting those parts of myself for so long, mostly because I was trying to find that satisfaction in other people and things.

The exclamation recurred to me yet again while I was perusing my email this morning and came across a message from my lovely grad school wifey, V. She was forwarding me an article called, “How to Spot an Emotional Grown-up.” Her synopsis read thusly:

“Sometimes I read goop, even though it is often pointless and/or classist. But I like this article on emotional maturity in relationships. It made me think of relationship bingo and my upcoming blog post on tinder messaging.” (Coming soon, gentle readers).

I had some time to kill… literally, I was in a waiting room, so I took a gander. The hosting interface and the debate over it’s intrinsic value aside, this piece was well written, informative, and thoughtful. Naturally it gave me stuff to ponder, an additional level-up on the emotional health: it made me aware that I was very emotionally immature until just recently (I hope and pray). I spent too long agonizing over my breakups, picking them apart like carrion. I was a pendulum of extreme reactions. I would swing from a self-deprecating “it was all my fault” melancholy, to enraged, bitter, shoving all the blame onto them. They weren’t blameless, exactly, but neither was I. I participated in a level of behavior that I abhor in other people: refusing to acknowledge when you’re wrong. And, according to this article, “emotional grown ups own their shit.” So I’m trying to do that these days…

All in all, there were several components to this article that I had gleaned already: EGU’s use language thoughtfully (learned that one from watching my parents: they always fought fair. There was no name calling, no keeping score, no hitting below the belt), EGU’s have empathy for others (I seriously don’t understand people that can’t do this. It’s like, the first thing you learn in kindergarten, the golden fuckin’ rule, ya know?), and there were some nuggets that I needed reminding of, specifically, EGU’s love and care for themselves:

“In the end, people need to be responsible for their own well-being.” Historically I have been pretty selfless, and pretty needy in my romantic relationships. I blame it on a constantly wavering sense of self-worth and a fear of feeling lonely… I think I will always battle with those emotional landmines. I will always struggle a little bit, navigating my social needs with self-preservation, reminding myself that I am worthy of a committed relationship, that I deserve unconditional love. But one of the things that PA has done for me is forcing me to be independent again, and to be content with my own company. The journey began before I got here, but my routine has really solidified it lately. I have a hard time getting myself out there, not being reclusive. I’m not sure why. I like going out and doing shit. I think, sometimes going out and doing shit, though, amplifies the thought that I am alone, and that, right now, I have no one to share those experiences with. And that kind of sucks.

The silver lining, is these days the healthy mind and body changes keep me stable, and they keep things in perspective for me. I kind of look at it like, by devoting this time period to myself, I’m effectively distancing myself from those emotional immaturities. It’s like weening off an addiction; sometimes you gotta go cold turkey. Plus, (and I don’t think this belies my previous statement) I think of it as making myself that much better, that much more deserving, for the next relationship, whenever it comes about…. ‘Cause, ya know, I can’t have a healthy, adult relationship until… well… until I grow the fuck up.

On a lighter, warm and happy note, here’s a whimsical nugget of an article I came across the other day, that made my heart smile: “I Want to be Single – But With You,” by Isabelle Tessier. I felt like it was the heart to the previous article’s head approach to an emotionally healthy relationship. Love and logic, two sides of the same coin.

 

Current Jam: Still obsessed with new Death Cab: “No Room in Frame” (and still “Little Wanderer,” let’s be real).

How to Move from FLA to PA

The short version: It takes a little bit of moxie and a lot of rope.

And now, the Long version: Finally, the time had come. After two months at home, I had to pick up the truck, load it, and set off to the wilderness of central PA. I was apprehensive, to say the least. This would be the second major move of my life, the farthest away from home I’d even been (with the exception of a summer study abroad). I didn’t feel particularly “ready,” but I doubt I ever would have felt that way. The change was imminent, whether I liked it or not.

Despite the evident anxiety, part of me was relieved. As I anticipated, I was back in a routine that wasn’t good for me; too much drinking, not enough healthy living. It’s not that I want to completely leave that part of me behind, exactly… Gainesville is a wonderful place, with wonderful people, and I will never believe otherwise. But it’s also a kind of Neverneverland. You float on in a happy bubble of Sunday Fundays and nightly pool crashing, the accompanying white noise the crush of a beer can or the clink of a bottle as it jostles around in your messenger bag. I don’t have the liver, the metabolism, or the psychological stamina for it, and part of me is thankful for that. As much as I love my time at home, I also waste too much time, too much of myself there.

Well…. it wasn’t all wasted….

Anyways, I tried to stay awake through my last night, since Ed and I were headed out bright and early. I didn’t make it, and fell into a fitful sleep at 2 am… awakening with a panicked start at 6. I had one last hour. It wasn’t enough time. It wasn’t enough… but then it never would be, because it never is. Not when you must pull away from your home, and your family, and your friends… and those who occupy that exciting, and exhilarating, and precarious place between friend and more.

The final embrace, the first time Ed hit the gas, the first turn onto the highway…. all those moments came and went with sudden, painful pulls deep in my rib cage, the dual sadness of loss and the encroaching fear of the unknown. I struggled the first leg of the trip, trying to stay upbeat and positive as Ed and I navigated through a plethora of topics, our conversation bouncing back and forth as it does when best friends are left in sweet solitude to their own dialogic devices.

In totality the drive was beautiful, and fun, and eventful. I was nervous about driving, not so much about the size of the truck itself, but the size of the truck with Greta attached, via a shoddy tow dolly. I kept looking in the rear view mirrors, utterly paranoid that the next time I checked, there just wouldn’t be a car there anymore. Before we even got out of Florida we were accosted by a horn blast and a trucker in the lane next to us, gesticulating wildly. We pulled over, to discover the pin holding in one of the metal ramps to the dolly was gone and the ramp grated against the asphalt….. and in comes the rope I mentioned earlier:

 

 

This is why you keep a length of rope in your car, kids.

Surprisingly, that held strong for the rest of the trip.

We rolled in to Lewisburg around 4 p.m. on July 4th. Amidst the sporadic bursts of firecrackers (which never failed to startle me), we unloaded the truck, hit Target for the essentials, and celebrated the holiday at the closest open bar, as only we Gainesvillians can. The night ended with Community, eating eggs and sausage out of the one clean pan we could find, the stretch of open windows in my living room keeping us connected to the drunken revelry below (reminded me of home right away! I could have been outside of Loosey’s or Boca).

The next day I dropped Ed off at the airport… and continued on solo….

It’s been about two weeks now. I love the job, but my bank account is suffering greatly without a second means of income. I’ve been applying for additional work, but this being a college town, business in the summer slows, so I may not find anything until classes start again… oof… my wallet, it burns!

Aside from the stress associated with my hazardous financial situation, I’ve managed to build a relatively healthy routine. I don’t drink during the week, and I’m working out regularly. I’ve lost 5 lbs already! (Thank goodness, because holy GOD I was a lil’ chunkster when I left; yet another downside to the party-girl lifestyle I indulge in at home). I’ve got some social plans arranged over the next few weekends, which I’m thankful for. This is the second weekend I’ve had to myself. I can’t spend money (duh), which trickles down and creates problems with my normal, tried-and-true people-meeting techniques… well… my main people-meeting technique: bars. As a result, I’ve been very reclusive when I’m not at work.

Two years ago, this scenario would make me an anxious mess, battling crippling panic attacks, popping medication like tic tacs in a futile effort to cope…. this time… I’m still lonely, but for some reason I’m also not as interested in forging new ties. I’ve been trying to articulate why I feel the way I feel, trying to understand why I’m actively isolating myself. I think there’s a few reasons, which seem to converge around the lifestyle I want to lead, versus the lifestyle I usually end up with…. the same old tune I always sing, about wanting to drink less, mostly. I guess I’m hoping I can build new relationships that aren’t centered around that insidious activity…

Even that explanation though, seems incomplete…. I’m still depressed…. but it’s not over the whole picture. Like I said, the job is great; it’s a pivotal puzzle piece for my future. I’m confident that I’ll learn a lot, and it will prove a huge growth in my career aspirations and professional confidence. Perhaps what I’m struggling with is coming to terms with the way my life is, at 29, and how it differs from the way I imagined it when I was younger…. bear with me for a second, ok?    

…so, I was on Pinterest the other day, absent-mindedly looking over the boards I had, when I came one that I’m sure is nearly ubiquitous to every female on this interface: the future wedding board (mine happens to be called, ‘One day…’). I must have started it years ago, because as I perused it, I saw subtle changes occur in my taste. Not that surprising, when I considered the board’s age. That small variance, though, stuck with me through the rest of the day. I thought about how (maybe this is too pessimistic, but somehow I don’t think so), that life event may have passed me by. At least, the way in which I first envisioned it. If I ever do get married, it will never be how a younger me pictured it, because that time has simply passed. Things change as you grow older; things you used to like no longer retain that same shimmer of appeal. Activities, people, even cocktails you once adored fade in fascination. These changes are necessary and inevitable, of course, and some of them I gladly dismiss as they pass into memory. But at the same time, I feel like I’ve missed out on some of these rites of passage, and I’ll never have that opportunity again, because time, at least as we conceive of it now, is linear. There’s no way to move but forward, and that constant affects every aspect of your life, whether you want it to or not.

That sentiment gives me comfort sometimes, especially when I think about the choices I’ve made regarding my career. I’ve been ambitious, to a degree, and it seems to be paying off (in experience and opportunity, if not in greenbacks yet, haha). My family is proud of me, and I’m proud of me, too. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for certain aspects of my personal life. I know I sound like a broken record; I’m sure several of you roll your eyes, thinking, “oy, not this sob story again. We get it, you’re lonely.” Well, you naysayers can just deal with it, because this is my soapbox and I’ll say what I damn well please.

Anyway, in a roundabout way, what I’m trying to convey, is that my depression probably stems from the very fact that I’m choosing to isolate myself. Historically, I would be obsessed with finding the next guy to fill that emotional void, which is no good, I know. Now, it’s as if I’ve resigned myself to the seclusion. And that resignation is what depresses me. It feels like I’m giving up, like I’ve finally dropped the romantic ideal that I’ve clung to for so long, that he’s out there. That my *best* best friend exists. That timing doesn’t matter; if it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I’ve lost my faith in those meaningless platitudes. Timing is shit. Timing sucks, and I don’t inherently trust that he exists anymore. Even if he does, I’m so jaded, and I’m so distrusting of my intuition now, that I probably wouldn’t even recognize him if he was standing right in front of me. So, instead of putting myself through yet another heartbreak, I’m trying to just… focus on other things… but see, that’s what depresses me, if that makes sense. I’m depressed because I’ve lost that idealistic aspect of my personality, that innate trust in the universe, that it will give me what I desire if I’m a good enough person, if I try hard enough, if I trust, and continue to hope. Time is linear, right? I’ve shed the skin of that optimistic young girl. She’s quickly fading into memory. The pragmatic me that has taken her place has decided, apparently, that staying in and watching Downton Abbey, a peppermint tea by my side, is as good as it’s gonna get, and I might as well get used to it.

Hahahaha. I’m re-reading this, and I have to say sorry, gentle readers. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer as fuck right now. But these are the thoughts I’ve been mulling over lately. I promise, next time, I’ll post beautiful pics of my new ‘hood (because silver lining, it is actually quite beautiful).

Current Jam: I finally started listening to the new Death Cab album, which I am now obsessed with. Combo of “Little Wanderer” and “Good help (is hard to find)”