I Dare You.

Today’s inspiration: the #kflayshow  What Am I Doing Here? – a microcast by K.flay – specifically episodes 3 &4

 

Music worth listening to: Coconut Records – Nighttiming (Yea, the whole album, but if you don’t have that kind of time, at least listen to “Back to You”)

 

If you read my post from yesterday, you’ll know I’ve been going through a bit of a creative crisis over the last few years. Or maybe something bigger than that. But either way my creativity, and my creative outlets, have been seriously suffering. Not unsurprisingly, when I finally sat down to listen to some more of the K.flay microcast, which I have been meaning to do for AGES but just…hadn’t?…for one reason or another, I get to Episode 3 and what is it titled buuuut the Crisis of Creation.

 

My brain immediately went to “Holy shit, she’s going to take on that big of a philosophical/religious question in a 10-minute microcast?” but then she said it would be a two-part episode, and I’m all, “Oh yea, that might at least be long enough to get in some good points.”

 

I’m an idiot sometimes.

 

Or maybe not. But either way, I was NOT on the right page.

 

What she was actually referring to was writer’s block, the blank screen, and how to get words behind the cursor. And the first guest that she spoke to about how she focuses her creativity talked a lot about loneliness and honesty. Which really struck a chord with me.

 

 

Honesty can be so difficult.

But it is the cornerstone of my creative process.

Someone whose opinion is insanely important to me, commented to me once that it amazes him how open and honest I can be. And that made me smile. But it also felt like a somewhat inaccurate description of me.

 

But here’s the big secret: more frequently than not I can pour out my true feelings into the written word SO much more easily than I can manage to look someone in the eye and say what I need to say out loud. The written word gives you the ability to focus on the things you need to hash out with yourself and let other things blur until you’re ready to deal with them. The written word is a place where you can choose to hide, but what you make is much more meaningful if it comes from a place of truth and honesty. And no matter what anyone tells you, most of the time, if you write things that you really care about, and share them with the people that truly care about you, good things will happen. People will see you and understand you in ways they couldn’t have fathomed before and that, my friends, is absolutely worth it.

 

I’m currently typing with one hand so that I can hold a bowl for my dog to lick, it’s really not the most functional thing I have ever done.

 

You really should listen to the whole album, but another definite must (assuming you’re short on time) would be “Slowly.”

 

Ok, he’s done licking now.

 

Letting yourself be vulnerable enough to tell the raw, unfiltered version of yourself is scary. It’s much easier to pretend that your brain is a sparkling ray of sunshine that never demands that you turn it off. That never demands that you do self-sabotaging behavior in order to avoid what it really thinks. That never questions the nature of its own existence, and furthermore why it deserves an existence at all.

 

Luckily, not every honest truth is depressing, sometimes you just want to tell everyone how excited you are that you finally had a breakthrough on a project your working on. Or you finally kicked that workouts ass and now you can move on to bigger and better things. Sometimes you remember a funny joke you heard yesterday and you can’t stop laughing. In fact, just last night I went out with a few friends from work to play some pool, and we had the most genuinely GOOD time I have had with friends in such a long time. We were all getting along so well, and evvveerryyything was funny. It is that energy that I wish I could always bring to the table.

But sometimes I just need to scream at the world that I’m a cutter, and an alcoholic, and there are times when I think that all I’m here for is to be the most high-functioning, depressed, drug-abusing person that you know. I want to yell that I suck at relationships and that I always choose to be with people that I love but I know I won’t be able to spend forever with because I don’t value my own opinions enough to choose people that do. And once I get done with all the screaming, I’m going to sob –like uncontrollable, curled up in a ball on the tile floor all alone, SOBBING— and then when I’m done with all that crazy person stuff, I’ll go back about my day as though nothing ever happened. And I’ll find three HUNDRED more things to laugh at about today than you will. And I will deal with customers with a genuine smile across my face all night long. Because honesty, well honesty just isn’t that simple.

 

This post has lost its focus. Partly because I’m listening to this amazing album. “Easy Girl” is another highlight. But really, at this point are you not at least a little intrigued and thinking you should probably just start at the beginning and listen to the entire thing?

Do it. I dare you.

It’s Been a While, but it’s Time to Live Again

Over the last couple of years I have had a bit of a hard time getting myself in front of the computer to write ANYTHING. Every now and then I will have a random spark of inspiration. I grab a notebook. I write a poem. I open a word document. I write an outline or a quick excerpt of something larger that I can’t quite find the energy to work on again later. I have one big book idea that I keep developing in my brain. There are random scraps of paper around my house and notes on my phone that are connected to the story. They have not found their homes yet, but they have come into the world, so at least they are alive. Barely breathing, but alive.

 

It has taken a while for me to figure out what it is that has made writing so difficult. I mean, don’t get me wrong, anyone who writes will tell you they have trouble writing from time to time. Hard to find the time. Hard to find the words. Hard to find a story. But it isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill writer’s block. It’s more like avoiding an old friend because you don’t want to have that awkward conversation about where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, and why you’ve been so hard to reach.

 

Oh, but it’s more than that. It’s avoiding the only friend in your life that makes you feel truly alive. Truly yourself.

 

And at that point, it becomes more an issue of avoiding yourself than anything else. So this is the story of where I have been, why it has been so hard to write, and how one person made me feel like being alive is worth it.

 

Multiple things have happened over the past few years that have made me want to avoid myself. I’ve forced myself to become a mere shadow of the person I truly am. Sometimes for friends. Sometimes for my boss. But more than anything it has been a coping mechanism to try and save something that might not be worth saving. A relationship that I’m fond of. One that used to make me feel safe and whole. It is hard giving up on something that you used to think was the only thing that mattered. But when you stop doing all the things that you once loved, choosing to be numb over feeling anything at all, well, maybe enough is enough.

 

This last year has been a transformative journey. I woke up one day near the end of 2018 full of energy. Energy I hadn’t had in years. A sparks flying –get me out of the house, throw me to wolves– kind of energy. I had felt like I was drowning. Drowning under the pressure of everything. The pressure of the stars. The pressure of the air. The pressure of the shower. The shower in which I would sit, crying for hours at a time, in order to avoid facing the outside world. There was so much pressure I could barely breathe. Most days I wanted to stop existing. To give in to that feeling sounded like such. a. good. idea.

 

But I didn’t. To quote a very lovely song: It isn’t in my blood.

(If you haven’t listened to “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes this would be a great opportunity for you to do so.)

 

I woke up one day, and I was no longer suffocating. And I don’t know what changed. But it gave me an opportunity to try and become myself again. I cycled out of the overwhelming depression, and I decided to go for a walk. I started taking photos. I still did not feel like myself enough to want to sit down and write. Not really. But I decided that regardless of any outside pressure I had at that point in my life, I could try and become the best possible version of myself, and, hopefully, that would help me figure everything else out. One step at a time, as they say.

 

It wasn’t that easy. Sometimes I would wake up with the energy I needed to do things. Sometimes I wouldn’t. Some days I was on point. Eating healthily, exercising, standing up for myself at work and in my relationship. Other days I would crawl under the blankets, or lay back down in my shower. Drunken screaming matches occurred on a pretty regular basis. In those times I would resort to things I am not proud of. Things not worth sharing. Things that would break my boyfriend’s heart into a million pieces if he knew the extent of them. Sad coping mechanisms. Unhealthy coping mechanisms. But slowly I did start making progress. I became stronger in certain ways.

 

2019, of course, would NOT bring an exciting new year in which everything was better. It just carried on the way 2018 had been going, as if the change in calendar date meant nothing to the cosmos. My boyfriend, maybe feeling me start to slip away, became more controlling, angrier. We had plenty of amazing days. At the root of his person, he is loving and caring. He tries so hard to make me happy. He wants so badly to be everything I need. But there were always more screaming matches. Most of them shitfaced. Insanely shitfaced screaming matches. Although they would normally happen late enough at night that I would have sobered up enough to remember them, and he, on the other hand, had little to no memory of them. At the time, we worked together. We had worked together the entire time we have been together, but it started to become one of the cornerstones of our arguments. How bad I was at my job. How I had no idea how to run a restaurant. How I let people walk all over me. And I would try to defend myself, briefly, and then I would just let him scream these nasty, soul-shattering things at me. Those fights would chip away at me. Make me feel like nothing. Less than nothing. But I would listen until I was exhausted, and then I would ask if we could go to bed. And then I would ask again. And then sometimes I would just walk away.

 

When we were sober things seemed to be ok. We would laugh. Make jokes. Have fun. Most of the time we were not sober. Most of the time we are not sober. And, quite frankly, we have a lot of fun when we aren’t sober. We have so much fun it can be hard to remember why it isn’t working. But then the floor shifts beneath me, and we’re in another fight. And no one knows where it came from. It’s not even really a fight about what’s happening at that moment. It’s a fight about everything that either of us has ever done wrong to each other. Neither of us even wants to still be mad about those things that happened. But we never actually got over them. Because we never actually resolved anything. We got drunk. We fought. We woke up and pretended nothing happened. Rinse. Repeat. And then one day I wake up and I’m so sick of being drunk and fighting. I just want a month of calm and peace and fun. And genuine fun. Not fun induced by these bullshit chemicals that we tell ourselves is real. And I want to have a conversation about something I care about. All I want anymore is just to have something REAL. But it’s hard to remember what “real” is anymore, and it’s hard to remember who I was before I got into this routine. This cycle.

(This would be a really good time to listen to “Sober Up” by AJR.)

 

And then. Out of nowhere. Someone from my past popped up out of the ethos. And he reminded me what it was like to be young. We can talk for hours on end. Sometimes about meaningless random thoughts, sometimes about deep serious things that we have trouble telling other people. He reminded me what it is like to feel like myself. Reminded me that it’s ok to be fucked up, but it’s also ok to want to try to be better. To work on myself. To love the things I love. And care about things. Really care about things. And I started journaling again. And I started writing poetry again. Just for him. He’s the only one I would even feel ok sharing them with. I still have so many things to resolve, and so far to go in life, and quite honestly, a bit of a mess to clean up. But through having conversations with this old friend, getting to know him again, getting to know myself again, I found a reason for living again. A reason to love myself again. A reason to write again. This life is a work in progress. And I’m ready to move forward, and embrace it. Because hiding in my shower just isn’t living. That’s not to say I won’t have bad days anymore. That I won’t lose my direction again. That I will figure everything out. But in this life that is full of things that feel entirely pointless and terrible, one thing is certain, and that is this: we are here to LIVE.

 

And what better way to live than with a cup of tea and a rather cathartic morning blog post.

20200103_105027.jpg

 

Remember the Shine

Don’t Stop

 

Or maybe do

Stop if you want to?

 

But stop what?

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is crashing in and suffocating you but there is no real reason for it.

 

There are so many people. There is so much suffering. None of the suffering I experience really matters except that it adds to the obnoxious pressure that is pushing in on this world from who the fuck knows where?

 

Sometimes I wake up and think that the whole world is beautiful.

In spite of the terrible things that happen, in spite of my mixed up emotions and the turmoil that lodges itself at the back of my brain. Sometimes there is a light that shines on everything. On those days, nothing can break me.

 

Nothing.

 

 

Blah-a-Saurus-Rex

The line that we draw as humans between cleanliness and dirtiness is arbitrary. I had a teacher once who surmised that many of our Western ideas of cleanliness come from the bible. As people, it seems very important to us that we keep certain things on the inside and certain things on the outside of our cleanliness bubble.

 

Animals clean themselves without knowing about human customs. Of course, an animals idea of clean might be very different to my idea of what clean means. My cat, for example, is quite happy with licking herself haphazardly until she feels the job is done. On the other hand, when I bath her in the more traditional human sense, she yowls and scratches as though I am sucking her soul through a cheese grater.

 

Perhaps, a certain level of cleanliness is necessary for survival. Not all animals clean themselves in ways that I am aware of, but they probably all have some built in hygiene mechanism. Or maybe not.

 

After that, for humans at least, it appears to be merely about how comfortable you are stewing in your own rot. I try not to stew too often or for too long.

 

My house doesn’t have dust bunnies. It has cat hair bunnies.

 

 

 

Each day is important. Each day is important. Each day is important.

Bed Bugs Are Sexist

It has come to my attention, in quite the incontrovertible manner, that bed bugs are, in fact, sexist.

 

It has been a tumultuous few months at my house with the bed bugs. First, I thought we had them but my boyfriend refused to believe me. My other roommate, Heather, and I were quite adamantly sure that we had them. So in the way of things, I called up Terminix and got an inspector to come on over and complete a free bed bug inspection.

 

The bed bug inspector was absolutely a piece of work. I don’t know if he was always a little off, but I don’t think inspecting houses for bugs for fifteen years made him any more…on? He was nuts. His manner was intense and slightly off-putting, but he was nice enough. Best of all, he confirmed our suspicions. We did have bed bugs. Now we just had to decide if we wanted to pay him a whopping $1,200 plus $300 extra if we wanted a 3-month guarantee that they would not come back.

 

Honestly, it sounded like an awful deal to me. So we looked up a large manner of things that we could do instead and ran the gamut on those nasty little critters.

 

  1. Take every material item small enough and put it in a sealed black trash bag.
  2. Leave black trash bags out in the Tucson summer heat for 3-days (just in case they don’t heat up enough after the first day or two).
  3. Clean and vacuum as many surfaces inside the house as humanly possible.
  4. Use diatomaceous salt in every crack and crevice available.
  5. Spray the entire house with one spray that your roommate buys
  6. Read the spray bottle and realize that it only kills on contact (has no residual effect) and is probably harmful to both pets and humans.
  7. Buy a new spray that has residual and does not harm pets or humans.
  8. Respray entire house.
  9. Continue to spray every couple weeks.
  10. Run all linens and pillows through washer and dryer on a continuing basis.

 

Okay, so I don’t know if we did everything possible. But it seemed like a lot of work. And for about a month and a half, we really saw not a single sign of bed bug life.

 

Apparently, bed bugs are more likely to survive the apocalypse than roaches.

 

Over time I started to see one or two bites. I would re-spray. My boyfriend did not want to believe that they were coming back, “It’s the mosquitoes,” or, “You’re probably just allergic to something.”

“Why,” you might ask? How is it possible that he doesn’t notice the bites as well.

HE DOESN’T GET BITTEN BY THEM!

Which, in itself might be what finally topples me over the edge into the oblivion of insanity.

 

Either way, I kept spraying. Faithfully hoping that the spray would be enough. Eventually, they would all just die. I would kill that female that keeps laying eggs. Something. Anything.

 

Well, I was wrong. Over the last couple weeks, they really seem to have made their resurgence. They are back, if not in as full of force as they were at first, certainly in large enough numbers that I am going insane.

I wake up itchy.

I can’t sleep.

I don’t want to be in my bedroom.

I find blood and carcasses. The ruins of the never-ending war. It’s their bodies I find, but they seem to be winning the war. But at least my boyfriend finally believes they are back.

 

In light of all this joy, we have decided it might be time to go to the professionals. We did get another quote that looks a little more reasonable at $800.

I sent a text to a friend that has dealt with them before: When you had bed bugs, did you end up having to go the professionals?

 

The answer was yes.

He also confirmed that when they had them in his house it seemed to be only the female residents that were getting bitten as well.

Oddly, however, I have one friend who is male that gets bitten as well. And so, I have come to the only logical conclusion about the whole thing.

He must be a lady, and bed bugs are irrefutably sexist!

In order to stop the sexism, I will just have to get rid of the bugs. It won’t fix the world, but hopefully, it will fix my current, rather itchy, situation.

Sometimes the Whole World Comes Crashing Down

Usually, life goes by relatively unnoticed. That is not to say that different things don’t stick out, or events happen and things get exciting. What I mean is the actual passing of life, the time, the seconds, the new lines, the gray hairs. These things usually just happen and I don’t think about them that much.

 

It’s the days when things go wrong that I normally stop and think about my life. Where I’ve been, where I’m headed, how different I am today versus five years ago even though I feel entirely the same.

 

Today, my cat woke me up at five in the morning. This, in itself, is not that big of a deal. But I am kind of a night person because of my job and I had only been asleep for about four hours. She used to get crazy at that time most days, but she hasn’t done it in a couple months so I was a bit frustrated with it. I had to be up at eight to take my boyfriend to work, so I was a bit grumpy with her for waking me up and then making me stay up with her for another hour.

 

Okay, so that seems like a really petty complaint.

 

The next thing that happened. I woke up to take my boyfriend to work, planning entirely to drop him off and then come home and drop right back off to sleep. Of course, sleep was not my destiny for today. I got in my car and turned it on only to have it promptly start beeping at me to tell me that my brake-system light had just turned on.

 

Oh, I didn’t know what the light meant and I started freaking out that some horrible diabolical thing was going to happen and I would not drive at a normal speed until my boyfriend took the book out of the glove compartment and looked it up. This annoyed him a little bit, he hates when I won’t drive properly.

 

 

So, next thing next, I go home and have to shower so that I can be seen in public. Find the closest mechanic, drive to the mechanic. Everything is fine. However, I will not be getting more sleep today.

 

 

Oh yeah, I guess the world has not come crashing down at all. I’m just so goddddaamn sleepy. If I fall asleep now, what if I never wake up?

 

I also didn’t really want to go to the mechanic today. Money, money, money.

 

Things to think about:

Do disasters make life feel more real?

If so, do people dramatize life for themselves subconsciously in order to feel more alive?

Same concept as making life boring to slow it down in Catch-22?

Perhaps I should re-read Catch-22.

I should really get my car washed today.

 

UPDATE: As it turns out, my boyfriend looked at the symbol incorrectly. Turned out just to be low-tire pressure. Had to take it in any way, I needed an oil change and it turned out my battery was low. Guess it was just one of those days.

 

I watched a movie when I got home. The Last Word. It was beautiful. A reminder to try and live. Really live.

Today, Tomorrow, Apples, and Oranges

While trying not to focus on the past, I believe I have gotten a little too obsessed with the future. today, I think I will try to focus on the now. Of course, the now is a little hard to grasp. 

 

My latest desire is to determine how to find a job that is fulfilling. I know what I am passionate about, but convincing someone to hire and pay you is just a bit harder than I imagined when I was 15. Back then I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force. Well, turns out dreams change.

 

If you could put your brain in a time-capsule and look at it in ten years, would you recognize it? Would you be delighted or disgusted when you opened it? How long would it take to pickle?

 

Working in customer service changes a lot about the way you view the world. Having been a server at various restaurants and worked in other customer service positions prior to this, I’ve had a lot of time to people watch and meet random people that I would have never otherwise interacted with. There are so many people moving around with ideas and thoughts, doing crazy things that you could only dream of. But at the end of the day, or perhaps 3-6 times per day, everyone needs to eat. The types of people you find in bars and restaurants has the power to both amaze and dismay.

 

The world outside is green. So green. It was brown two months ago. It will be brown again come September. For now, it is green.