Lounging on a couch with a massive puppy to keep me warm.
Sometimes, it’s pretty fucking tough…
I am now stunningly free of my previous occupation, which is, to be honest, a little bit beautiful in pretty much every way imaginable.
My original plan (because we all know how much I love plans) was to go off and be a truck driver for a while.
(That plan is absolutely still in motion. That is definitely a thing that I am pursuing. I have the fucking 500 page permit study guide now, and sweet fuck is that ever intimidating, but, I digress.)
The plan to become a truck driver has been tabled until further notice, in light of several health issues popping up in family members still living in my hometown. As I am currently unemployed, I am uniquely qualified to drop all of the nothing that I have going on to head up and do my best to help out.
I fucking hate my hometown.
I hate it.
And, it has nothing at all to do with the town, or the people there. I just. – It’s a fucking wonderful town. There are so many opportunities there, for so many things, it’s a great place, a lot of people are just really, really happy there.
I still have people who live there, who mean so freaking much to me. (Driftpartner and Tawanda, for starters, but also just. So many people that I care about.)
But I fucking hate that town.
It’s a classic ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ moment.
It has nothing to do with the place or the people and entirely to do with my own history.
Part one of it, is honestly just that I was so deeply unhappy there, for so many years.
Part two of it, that’s harder for me to explain is the part that I know is entirely in my head.
I grew up in this town, I know…virtually everyone there. Everyone knows everyone. I can run into my school teachers at the grocery store. – And that’s all fine.
It’s just that, for some reason, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had this feeling that success in my hometown…isn’t real.
– Because even if I managed to be the most successful person ever to be in that town, I just have this feeling that I’ve not actually learned to be successful in life.
No matter what I accomplish there, none of it feels *true*.
Because I haven’t learned how to be successful in life, I’ve learned how to be successful in this one, teeny, out-of-the-way town, where as much as it might be my own merit getting me somewhere, it’s just as much that people remember me being on the swim team with their child Back In The Day.
It’s like. Inescapable nepotism, almost?
I go back, and I feel like it doesn’t matter who I am now, because everything that changed happened where these people didn’t see it.
So suddenly I’m the exact same as I was when I was fucking growing up.
I hate it.
It’s fucking suffocating.
-Which is, of course, only compounded by the part where I feel like…anything I try to do there is useless. Everything gained is inherently negated simply by the setting in which it happens.
Because none of it is a reflection of my actual ability.
It’s all just…cashing in on nostalgia.
Getting somewhere because I know the people to call, because I’ve always known the people to call, because it’s a teeny fucking town.
Someone says ‘I know I can give you this job, because I know you’re reliable’, but really I feel like it means ‘I’m going to give you this job, because I’ve known you since before you were able to talk’.
Which has… absolutely nothing at all to do with my character now, and who I am, and what I can do.
It also has to do with patterns of interaction?
Because I don’t want to be the person that I used to be, I was so fucking miserable. It’s just so easy to get caught up in the same habits.
I feel like going back there is just… going *back*.
…which is absolutely overwrought and over-dramatic and what-the-fuck-ever.
I’m just so fucking tired of feeling like my life is stalling, and it feels practically impossible to move forward when I’m just… going back to my hometown.
Back into stasis.
Back to the same places I’ve always gone, and the same fucking things I’ve always done.
Which…is of course. It’s entirely up to me. I can make different decisions and do different things, and keep trying to move forward. That’s always going to be entirely on me.
It just seems so much easier to keep moving when there are no ruts to get stuck in.
I live in a strange town with really unique demographics, – which, is honestly really pretty fine for me, because I’m a weird kid and so oddities have a tendency to suit me fairly well.
I live in a Snowbird town, so most of the people who live here, are here for maybe about six months of the year, and most of them are solidly over the age of 60.
This is awesome for me, because it means that I’m meeting all of these incredible people who keep reminding me that like. – Everyone who ever says to a university student “These are the best years of your life” – like. They’re wrong.
About a million years ago, I wrote to my Wondertwin that I finally thought I understood what that meant. “These are the best years of your life” and she wrote back to me that no. It only stops being the best times of your life when you let it.
– Now, to be sure, there are extenuating circumstances. This past year for me has…absolutely, most indefinitely not been the best times of my life. At all, by any definition. It sucked for many reasons, most stemming from troubles coping with brain chemistry.
And that happens. And that’s fine.
Because life isn’t always going to be wonderful. Sometimes it’s going to royally suck.
Even if you’re doing everything in your power to make your life better, sometimes it’s still going to suck.
The thing is…
I guess it’s really about hope?
One of my best friends in this town, she’s seventy-four, and last week, we made a plan to go to the cinema and sneak into a film. Because she hadn’t done it for decades, and I’ve never done it in my life.
I think on some level…that’s it, really. It’s just a constant process, reminding myself that I don’t need to be defined by nebulous limits somehow put in place by ****society at large*** or whatever.
I think… maybe it’s to do with the idea that…whoever you are, as a person, you can continue to be, no matter how old you are.
It’s not that desires and abilities don’t change – they do, and they *should*, but perhaps it’s just… living with people who embody the fact that you don’t ever have to outgrow anything.
It’s good to have that in my life. I deeply appreciate it.
It’s a quote from Carrie Fisher.
“Stay afraid, but do it anyway.”
Last night I put in my two-weeks notice at my place of work.
I have plans – I *always* have plans – endless options, nebulous clouds of possibilities of things that I could do. Whether or not I actually manage to make any of them happen is always the issue though.
It’s not like I’ve ever been known for being particularly decisive in my life.
I remember a conversation that I had with my Driftpartner, when I first got back from Australia. I kept talking about things that I wanted to do, but I was using language like I didn’t think I could actually do it. I don’t remember what I said, but I remember that he looked at me and he asked ‘What happened? You used to be so foolhardy.’
I think perhaps it’s the nature of regret to be wistful.
It’s a pre-emptive decision to stop trying. It’s letting go of of hopes before ever attempting to bring them to fruition.
I think that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to reclaim something, and I think I’m learning to start looking forward more.
I can’t ever be what I was. Nothing can ever not change. That isn’t how the world works.
I think… for me it’s a matter of framing. It’s not about trying to be who I used to be, but it’s taking the things that I like about who I’ve been, it’s about figuring out what things have brought me to the places I want to go. It’s seeing those facets of my life, and bringing those forward.
Things will look different – as they should, because the only other option is pretending to be able to stay stagnant in a changing world – but it’s about remembering. I already have these tools. They might be a bit rusted or buried under layers of junk. It might take me a bit to remember how to use them properly.
That’s all okay.
The thing about “Stay afraid”… is that there are some things that don’t go away. Fear is one of them.
I have already lost things to fear.
I’m sure I will lose more.
That isn’t what matters. What matters is to do it anyway.
After all, there is no try.
The other day I was walking to the bus stop to catch the bus to work.
– I live in a very small town. I’m not hardly going to say that I know who *everyone* is, because that would be absurd.
I do walk a lot though, and at this point, I kind of recognize most of the other people who walk a lot?
So I was walking to the bust stop, and I passed this guy, and y’know. I’m from a fucking small town, and I do the stupid ‘smile and wave’ thing every time I pass someone. Or like – kind of give a nod of acknowledgement whenever you cross in front of a car? like ‘Hey, thanks. I know I might technically have right-of-way, but like. If you hit me I would still totally die, so thanks for letting me walk here, friend.’
I got to the bus stop and the guy walks up to me.
I had, of course never seen this guy before in my life, and he was slurring his words so badly I could barely even understand him, and – I’ll be honest, like. Dude was probably totally off his face on *something*.
Still, I was like. Trying to be friendly or whatever, kind of doing the whole ‘Smile and Nod’ thing.
He took my hand, and like, grabbed the back of my neck – (at which point, I definitely started freaking out a little bit because DUDE I DON’T KNOW IS TOUCHING ME AND HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS.) – and he starts talking about auras. – Which, to be fair, there is a significant amount of conversations about auras that happen in this town. There’s a very strong subculture for things like that.
And he was holding my hand, and started telling me that I have the aura of a wolf.
He paused for a moment to contemplate that maybe I was a little bit fox, but then shook his head, and decided that, no, I was most definitely a wolf. Because wolves, as he said, “They look out for the pack, but they know, they have to look out for themselves first. You care for the pack, but you have to come first.”
… and then the bus showed up, and I most definitely sort of ran away.
But the thing is…
I like that.
And maybe this is going to be my year of the wolf.
Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing for the past year. Maybe that’s the path that I’m on.
I spent so long thinking that my worth was what I could give to other people. That there was some kind of glory in sacrifice and martyrdom.
Those thought-forms…run really, really deep in me. I honestly think that there will be no point in my life where I won’t have those ideas lingering in my brain at some level.
But I have never in my life met a happy martyr.
I’m fairly certain I’ve written it here before, but the advice that first broke through all of that in my brain: “Don’t do anything for anybody else that you wouldn’t be willing to do for yourself.”
If you’re willing to drop everything and fly across the country for your friend, be willing to do the same for yourself.
How in the world can I support the people I love when I’m not supporting *myself*.
So here it is, I guess.
I raise my glass to Creepy Bus Station Guy, and here’s to having the Aura of a Wolf.
Today I was kidnapped by Punk Mentor and his cousin. We went to the Grand Canyon for New Years.
Because we fucking wanted to.
I have spent a great deal of time and energy on training myself to just fucking go when I want to.
I don’t need to have a ****reason****
– or more… it’s just that wanting to … that *is* a reason. That’s *enough* of a reason.
I remember when I was… probably around the age of 12? and I had this sort of… call-and-response thing with one of my best friends.
I would ask her “Why?”
and she would say “Because we want to!”
and I would say “Why?”
and she would say “Because we can!”
I have a friend – in my head, her name is Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory. I think maybe I was 20? and she was my FUCKING DO IT friend. She had an amazing answering machine message. It was Isaiah Mustafa – the Old Spice Guy – and he said something like “The Intelligent slash gorgeous slash sophisticated lady you have called cannot answer the phone at the moment as she is currently on the moon surviving on the air in her lungs given to her in a passionate kiss!”
I remember driving all the way out to the coast to finish a certification that I was taking, and I parked my car, and I was just… so afraid. And was just…frozen, in my seat. It was this thing that I knew I had to do, and I didn’t know if I had the courage to do it.
I knew I could always call her, and she wouldn’t even ask questions. I could just say “I need to do this thing…”
and she would say “FUCK YEAH. GO DO THE THING.”
I didn’t even have to actually reach her. I just had to make the call, and hear this fantastically . ridiculous voice mail message, and I would remember… that I had people. That there were people out there who would stand by me and tell me to JUST FUCKING DO THE THING, because they knew that I could.
(I called her. Reached her voice message. Listened to the whole thing, then got out of my car and knocked on the fucking door and got my goddamned certification.)
Nike still does this for me. My Wondertwin does. My Driftpartner, and especially my friend Tawanda. More people than I can honestly name. The people who remind me to fucking take what I want, because no one else is going to fucking do it for me.
There’s something different about it though, when you live a million miles away.
Because phone calls work, but they can’t knock on your door and say “Hey. Do you want to drive to Oklahoma with me next week?”
Punk Mentor – he moves around even more than I do, (which, to be fair, has been much easier lately, now that I’m reasonably settled in one place for a bit), and I think that transience is part of it. We’re not going to be in the same place together for long. We’re not going to be making plans for hanging out in the summer. It’s entirely possible that one or both of us won’t be living here anymore.
It makes things more immediate. It’s impossible to put something off until next week if the people involved won’t *be there*.
So instead we do it now.
We say “I want to go here.”
and then “I’m not doing anything on Thursday?”
…and then we go.
I wasn’t really intending to start this post in this way, but I logged in (after being gone from this blog for a very long time) and I realized…
The last fucking thing that I posted was George Micheal.
I guess that it’s just that things change? – or maybe. It’s not so much that *things* change as that the perspective with which we view things changes.
Or I’m just being incredibly soppy and cliched at the moment. (But with a title like ‘Reflections and Nostalgia, I feel like everyone knows what they’re getting into, at the very least.)
This year has been… Well. Certainly not always the most enjoyable, but I think, also, a very necessary step for me to move forward with my life.
This time last year, I was in New Zealand. I was working at Steampunk Art Gallery, and I was doing every single thing I’ve ever wanted to do in my life, and I don’t know if I have ever been so desperately unhappy.
And this year… The holidays have come, (and I will forever and always HATE every single ANYTHING that has even the SLIGHTEST BIT OF A HINT of being about Christmas*) but… it feels like victory.
The people I have in my life now aren’t asking for things I can’t give.
I am doing better at not asking for more than people can give.
Part of being in a support network – I always imagine it as a spiderweb. It’s strongest when woven together, but every strand of it still has to be able to support itself.
I think…that’s where I’m at right now.
Balance has never particularly been a strength of mine, but I also don’t really think it was a *goal* of mine, either.
I think that it is now, and I think that – as with many things, “balance” is a nebulous, ever-changing goal. People aren’t static, what we want, who we are – it all changes, and so “balance” will change with that.
I think maybe that’s kind of beautiful.
I think that maybe I like the kinds of things – maybe “goals” is the wrong word.
Perhaps it would qualify more aptly under the heading of ‘More Guidelines Than Actual Rules’.
Which is good, because I have significant issues with authority and have never really been particularly good at following rules anyway.
All this is really to say:
Hi! I know it’s been a while, but I’m back, and I am so fucking happy to be here.
Happy fucking new year.
I love the way that sunlight turns gold in the face of a thunderstorm.
The contrast of it; everything is bronze and the sky is that slate-blue.
It feels like energy. Something is about to happen when the light turns gold…
I think that one thing I have never been accused of in my life would anything remotely in the direction of being particularly well-balanced in my lifestyle. I have very strong tendencies towards ‘all-or-nothing’ (Or perhaps, more like ‘EVERYTHING-UNTIL-YOU-BURN-OUT’ as I feel is probably a little bit more personally accurate.)
A lot of what I’ve been trying to do lately is seek balance.
(Obligatory Dinotopia reference: Breathe deep. Seek peace.)
I’ve gotten a new job, which is good.
Really what’s happened is I feel like I’ve traded everything I was doing for an entirely new lifestyle, and that… was very much not my intention.
I need to figure out how to care for myself, and that involves having a job, and having that structure; that place in society, and filling that need of ‘being useful’.
I can’t do that at the expense of every other need though, and I feel like that’s most of what the work culture is in the U.S.A.
Just. Put the ‘work’ need in front of EVERY OTHER NEED, or even better, pretend those other needs don’t even exist!!!
I think it’s another one of those ‘life things’ that a person does forever, maybe. Because needs change, so balancing them changes too.
Right now, though, I definitely feel as though my pendulum has swung, and I am far, far away from where I was less than a fortnight ago.
My county has measles *AND* zika.