Sunday, December 30, 2012


Tonight was the annual Christmas/holiday party at my godmother's house--the last, at least on Stratford, as she will be moving into a condo soon. It was a nice time--everyone was there, the food was all eaten and everyone seemed to have had just enough, the audacious young cousin was audacious, we sang carols at her command and listened to a story from my godmother's childhood, and a poem. And, toward the end, my cousin Megan, after complimenting my shoes, my scarf, then my bracelet, told me that she loves the way I dress. I wouldn't put this here except that I want to remember, because it's something that I never thought would happen. So many of my female cousins (particularly on the other side of the family) could be or are basically professional thrift store shoppers, and have amazing style. I am not naturally that way, and always admired the way they dressed, their confidence, the way they always looked so effortlessly put together--and I thought I could never do or have those things. I asked for help for a while and then just started to go for it. Looks like maybe I'm getting my wish, at least a little. And that's pretty amazing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Apparently it's that time again

I wish I wanted to post here more. It seems like I always find myself wanting to look back on something that I feel I must have written about, and then find that I didn't.

Things have been okay. I've been dreaming a lot--daydreaming sometimes about this idea I've had for a while about becoming a counselor, and daydreaming a lot more about designing and building and sometimes even living in tiny houses of the variety that can fit on an 8x20' trailer, and be hauled around the country. I have such a love of efficient design, and of the idea of efficient living--living without the unnecessary accumulation of the mounds of stuff that perversely ensnare our affections and weigh down our lives without enriching them at all. More recently this has expanded to include the desire for a small, high mpg car. I'm tired of using up gas to lug around all this car that I'm not even using. I'm using the driver's seat and maybe the passenger's seat too, and yet I'm pulling the weight of both back seats and a trunk halfway full of crap that was left there by the family members who drove the car before it came into my hands.

Anyway, I've been funding the daydreaming by still working part time at that daycare I thought I had quit back in the spring, and doing some odd jobs for various people, mostly extended family members. I am tired of this, and I want to find doorways into something new, but I don't know where they are. And I don't know how to stop being afraid of committing to a plan.

And I love Christmas, and it's my favorite holiday, but I am tired, so tired of getting depressed every Christmas season. Back when I was with David (Oh Lord, his name is still like honey. Will that ever fade?) I thought that my issues at Christmastime were due to strife--some new one each year--within our relationship, but it doesn't seem to have changed. Or maybe it did, and maybe I am just in another doomed relationship and I can somehow feel it and it is hurting. I don't know. Was I sad like this last year? The year before? I can't remember. Lately I feel like I can't remember anything. And sometimes that's okay. Sometimes I feel like I just live in the present, I just am where I am, and maybe that's okay. But sometimes I feel this void where memories should be, and I feel like I am surrounded by nothingness, and it's a frightening thing. Obviously I don't exactly have alzheimer's, but I was listening to this radio special last night, and a man from Ireland was talking about his childhood Christmases, citing memory after memory after memory, and it was lovely--but I don't have that. I have a handful, but for the most part it's all a haze. Everything runs together. Why? Does that happen for everyone? Does everyone's mind feel like a chalkboard in the rain?

I admitted to myself tonight that I've been unhappy. It's been going on a while--weeks? Some months?--but I have not been seeing it. But sobbing on the floor (apparently that is my red flag of choice this past year or so) is difficult to ignore. So. Now what.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I feel that I ought to remind myself that I love days like today. Days when work is almost unnaturally smooth, when the kids are so self-sustaining that I can actually read a bit at times, when even my worst bus run is tolerable, when homework time is blessedly quiet and we suddenly start making bats out of construction paper, and that carries us through the rest of the evening, and then suddenly there's a bat garland in the art room and they all loved it.

And then I get off work and the air is cool and clean and clear, and the sky looks like a three hundred and sixty degree fairytale. It was beautiful.

Tomorrow Ian and I are going pumpkin picking, I think. I ought to do some planning for carvings tonight. Doctor Who will probably be involved, because I'm suddenly obsessed this fall, and I've dragged him down with me. Evidence? I drew this in my shower sometime last week:

A few days later, when I wasn't looking, he drew something else in my shower and then went home, leaving it for me to find. He drew this:

I laughed through the first ten or fifteen minutes of my shower, and responded (with slight spoilers, if you are a fan who hasn't watched all the Eleventh Doctor stuff).

In case you can't read my shower-crayon writing, that says "Would you like one of these souffles? They're killer."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's that kind of day.

Do you ever just...collapse on the kitchen floor, and start sobbing over things that happened years ago?

Right. Me either.

Forgiveness. Is that a thing?

I did a really stupid thing this morning, which probably in the long term, grand scheme of things wasn't a big deal, but for me it is so symbolic of my personal eff'ed-uppedness that I am very ashamed and I don't want to talk about it. And I sent Ian a text about it, and he, in an attempt to be kind and helpful, sent back (among sympathy and other things) reasons why this wasn't my fault. The same reasons I had come up with myself. But really, the bottom line was and is that it was my fault. Entirely. Yeah, things could have been different, could have been easier for me, or the other people involved could have made more of an effort, but they shouldn't have had to. I wasn't where I needed to be, doing what I needed to do. I was the irresponsible, lazy one. No excuse will change that.

While I was going on about this, Ian pointed out that I have a tendency to beat myself up. And while I guess that's true, I don't feel like I'm doing that right now--or at least, I don't feel like I'm doing it more than I deserve, which I guess is the issue.

I realized, not for the first time, that while I am pretty good at forgiving other people, I am really not good at forgiving myself. And that's pretty normal, I guess. But it still isn't healthy or good. I don't ever do it. There are some things, a lot of things, I think, that I sort of just let slide--I consider them to be an acceptable symptom of an issue that is "in progress," or whatever, I let them go, I move on. But then sometimes I do things that are much more difficult to let go of. Usually this involves breaking/losing something irreplaceable, doing something unfixable, and/or doing or failing to do something really stupid that would have taken little or no effort to do correctly, if only I would just be where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to do.

So instead of dealing with this or forgiving myself or whatever, I obsess over it for a while, and then I push it away and forget and refuse to think about it until the next time. And today I realized--or remembered--that while I do a fair job of convincing myself (when it comes up at church or in conversation) that 'I have got that shame thing under control; that's not an issue for me,' I don't. In actuality, I have a denial complex and I am pretty good about temporarily forgetting things when I want to, and what looks like a clean slate is really a sheet thrown over this big ball of unresolved shame and anger that I carry around. Doing stupid things like I did this morning, or obsessing about having done them, brings back memories and more negativity about stupid things I did as a child, even, and spins in circles of why-am-I-such-an-idiot?

I don't write this as a pity party. I write this in hopes that I will remember it this time so that I can work on it and so that one of these days I can, I hope, find a solution.

Sunday, September 30, 2012


There is a different tenor to cut grass in the fall. The smell has mellowed; the feel has changed. It's difficult to tell whether there is a real, physical difference, or whether the fall fund drives and the warming leaves and the cooling air have all colluded to make the last few mowings of the season seem strangely significant, like a soft, wistful, anticipatory turning from the picnics and the green woody cathedrals and the barefoot splashes in the mountain waters of summer toward the soft mittens and snowy eyelashes and warm, chocolaty mugs all sprawled out in the glow of the fireplaces of winter.

Ignore my grammatical errors. I am taking poetic license. I have been listening to the News from Lake Wobegon.

There was talk of a "travel club" in which the members met every month and took turns speaking of their imaginary travels, and showed slides borrowed from the library, and sang songs from the host country, and ate its food, and imagined. And sometimes, imagined moments are what we need. Sometimes they are nearly as good as the real thing. He said,

"Sometimes, you just need to look reality in the face, and deny it."

Everyone laughed, and I laughed and clapped alone in my car where I sat trapped by my unwillingness to miss any of the News, and it was just so true.

In church today, or the weekly meeting that I generally attend each Sunday that roughly approximates a church service, one of the questions brought up was this:

What if we learned to stop objectifying people based on their sexuality or behavior? What if instead we learned to see the humanness of each person we met, and to recognize, about each one, that this is somebody's baby. That this is someone's beloved. How would that change how we thought about and treated our fellow humans? How would that change the world?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11: This is not a reflection on the date.

It seems like bad form to write a depressing entry about depression and then disappear for weeks, but nevertheless I continue to do just that. To anyone who may have been concerned by this, I apologize. I obviously have not been doing much writing lately. Things are okay, not great. Not awful. Emotionally it is, of course, all a matter of perspective. Financially it is not good. I don't currently feel depressed and stressed, per se, but at the same time my motivation has been quite low, and I have had basically no sense of humor at all. And Ian, bless him, has put up with it like a champ.

On Ian: as I tend to do when in relationships, I have been changing my mind about "us" all the time. But I don't say so. And he doesn't read here, though he has been invited to. He doesn't want to snoop. But aside from that...we have been baking. Isn't that something? In the past I have been the one in the family that only cooks when forced, let alone baking. But put me in a relationship with someone who has never baked and suddenly I am the expert and we are making cookies. And he wants to. "We should do cupcakes next," he says. "Man, now I wish I were baking and watching the doctor [Doctor Who--we like Matt Smith] with you," he says. Where did this come from? And we do dishes together and make chicken parmesan for dinner together (not necessarily in that order, of course) and clean the house together because I think it needs cleaning and he is a good boyfriend.

My sister came over last night and we talked about depression and this book that our uncle gave her about "The Work," which she had been having mixed feelings about. It turns out that I read an article about it years ago and had been wondering about it ever since, so I'm excited about it. She wants us to kind of read it together, and talk about it as we go. I'm game. The basic premise is that all (says the author) of our suffering is caused by our desire to fight with reality, and that therefore our suffering can be alleviated by deciding to accept reality instead. I'd say that that would probably apply more to "first world" problems, and that it is a bit of an oversimplification. But still, I like it. Translated into terms that are somewhat more interesting/meaningful to me:

It is thought that our right brain takes in sensory information--everything we see, hear, smell, touch, taste--and then our left brain has the job of making sense of that information and fitting it into a framework of everything else that we have ever seen, heard, smelled, touched and tasted, and fitting it into our own personal timeline, and (here's the rub) deciding what it means. I would say that that last part is the blessing and the curse of mankind. That capacity for abstract thought. What does it mean? causes us no end of trouble. We often assign meaning where no meaning is due. We also tend to forget that our sensory input doesn't include, you know, everything, and so we often assign meaning that is simply wrong. What does it mean that Sean was rude to me this morning? It must mean that he doesn't like me, right? No. Really it means that Sean couldn't sleep last night and had a rough morning and thus wasn't really paying attention to interpersonal niceties when we ran into each other. You know the story. So anyway, I guess the idea behind "The Work" is that there is no good reason to hold on to meanings or thoughts that are making us miserable. And it is a system for analyzing your own thoughts and miseries and deciding what is worth keeping, and what isn't.

And now for something completely different:

It is nearly fall. In the evenings now, the air begins to smell of it. The world begins to feel like it. I am so happy that it is coming. My cousin and I are planning (I use the term loosely) a Harry Potter party, to be held at my house, probably around Halloween. Should it actually happen, I think it will be great. There will be movies and butterbeer and God knows what else. A lot of the "planning" thus far consists of pinning things to a board on pinterest. Don't hate.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oh. I see it now.

And here is an ugly little thing, unwelcome guest in my home of a being. He has been here a while, having snuck back in after a long absence, cleverly disguised and under cover of darkness. He is the feeling of being unclean, unhealthy, small and dark and rotten on the inside. I feel like I need to be broken open and my insides scraped clean and washed out and dried in the sun, but instead I am stuck with all this decay locked inside my skin, like an overripe apple.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

here we go

I have no idea when I last wrote, and I'm on my phone, so checking isn't really worth the effort. It's been pretty rough lately--death and depression in the family, joblessness (that my fault), lots of confusion--and I can feel myself sliding. The ambient sadness is settling in, the constant irritability, the poor attitude. And my heart is cold, and growing colder, and thusly is the confusion multiplied. It has been such a great victory for me to be able to allow myself to rely somewhat on my emotions, and watching many fall away and many of the rest degrade into pettiness again is difficult to take. I need to find, or make, a way back out of this. And I need to do it now.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Two Weeks

I turned in my written resignation today, which is a little bit terrifying, but I am fairly certain that it is the right thing to do. Probably more than fairly certain, but it is difficult not to second-guess when the prospect of being jobless is as scary as it is. I think, though, that if I am responsible about getting enough sleep and taking my vitamins and watching my attitude/time management, getting a new job (or finding enough tutoring clients, which amounts to the same thing only probably better) shouldn't be too big of a deal. We'll see how it goes.

For now though, I need to tie up loose ends and finish these two weeks, and then I think I'll be heading out to California to visit my cousin Pierce. She's lived out there for ages and I've never been, and she'll probably be moving back East soon, so now seems like a strikingly good time to go. She's near a few other sets of cousins too, so hopefully I'll get several different visits in while I'm there.

Once I'm back: beach with Ian & co.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The River

Sara and I (and Brian, but he doesn't come into this story) have lived by the river for nearly two months now, but until this evening we hadn't gone. So today after everyone was awake and fed and had sat around watching the cat and wasting time on the internet for a while, Sara and I changed into swimsuits and headed off down the hill. It's a very short walk--maybe half a mile--and well worth it, because the parking down there is horrendous. We walked past lines and rows of waiting and parked cars, right down to the water's edge, and then upstream along the bank until the people thinned, and we found a spot to leave our towels. The water was deliciously warm, and the rapids relatively soft, and we waded and stumbled and half-swam, laughing, halfway across through the current until suddenly deciding to make camp on a half-submerged boulder. We sat in the sun, half-in the water, and talked and people-watched and drank in this gloriously beautiful setting-sun landscape in our backyard, and after an hour or so we collected ourselves and walked back up the hill toward home.

I hung my wet skirt and sarong on the back deck to dry, and was bombarded by a wave of childhood memories and nostalgia for all the countless days I walked to the pool and walked back, or walked to the creek and walked back, and hung my wet things to dry.

I smell like the river. It is the most perfect smell there is.

What's Going On

I may not have mentioned that I've moved into this place with my best friend. Most days I love it. I love having my own space, I love having a washer/dryer literally inches from my bedroom door, I love having a kitchen stocked with things that I bought, etc. I love that we're walking distance from the river, and I love that some nights when I drive home, the air is swimming with fireflies.

I thing I have mentioned that I've been working at this daycare-type place, but it isn't really for me. I've told them that I want to leave, but have not officially put in my two weeks' notice. I don't have another job yet. Some moments this seems incredibly reckless and misdirected; other moments it seems reasonable and necessary. I am not the person they want or need for the program, though I know that better than they do. They are not a program I want or need to be a part of. It plays up my weaknesses and does not utilize my strengths, and possibly more importantly, it does not help or encourage me to move toward my goal, which is to be a counselor/therapist. I will miss the children, though.

I didn't get enough sleep last night, and I woke up feeling discouraged and somewhat depressed. Floundering a bit, where earlier in the week I felt confident. I need to remember how important it is for me to make sure that I don't blow off my sleep schedule, as has been my habit for almost my entire life. When I do, my performance and my mental health suffer. And my attitude suffers. And attitude is everything.

I was browsing Pinterest a week or two ago and saw a link to a video of a commencement speech delivered by Neil Gaiman, who is one of my favorite authors. He's a rock star in my book, and he seems like a pretty wise guy. Toward the end of the speech he said that a woman he knew had called him once, and asked how he thought she should go about doing something that she considered to be quite difficult. He told her to pretend that she was a person who was capable of accomplishing her goal. It can be difficult for me to remember to pretend that way, and it can take some energy, but honestly, this is some of the best advice I have ever heard, and it has been helping me greatly. Attitude is everything.

About Ian: he's not perfect, we don't always see eye-to-eye, and like just about every other relationship I've ever been in I'm not 100% sold, but he is pretty awesome in a lot of ways. He is caring and funny and sarcastic, complimentary and generous, forgiving and flirtatious and attentive. And I really appreciate those things.

But back to the job issue: probably tutoring would be wise for me to get back into. I'm also looking for flexible hourly positions that would make it somewhat easier to a) hold multiple jobs, should I so choose, and b) take classes. Not that I know what I'm doing AT ALL when it comes to researching and applying to graduate schools. So if anyone knows of good companies to work for, or if anyone has any advice re: higher education, feel free to let me know.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Crucial reminders

I used to walk around feeling like (and saying) I had no life, and maybe for a while it was true. Then gradually I began to realize that in actuality I did have a life. I was reluctant, but this realization was forced upon me when it became impossible to ignore the fact that I hardly ever had free time on weekends. And it got worse from there. I've tried to calm things down a bit--working full time will do that to a person--but I just realized that, several times recently, I have had to remind myself of something shocking:

When I have free time, I don't have to fill it with other people. I am actually allowed to go do things by myself, even if it might be possible to make plans with someone else. When did I become a person who needed that kind of reminder?

In other news, one of the girls on the bus--a kindergartener--said something a little bit heartbreaking this morning. Justin Beiber came on the radio, and so came up in their conversation. One girl said, "The funny thing is, my mom loves Justin Beiber." Then another said, "My mom hates Justin Beiber because he's white. She says white people are stupid and make bad decisions."

What do you say to that? Do you let it pass? Do you get upset? I said something about how people are people, regardless of skin tone, but that won't change the environment she lives in. Why do people perpetuate racism?

Friday, March 30, 2012

From Friday

1. Today was the last day of petsitting--I've been taking care of a litter of black lab puppies on weekdays since January, and the last will be sold this weekend. I'll be glad to have my afternoons back, but I'm a little sad to see her go.

2. Here is what I'd write about inchworms if I felt affection for them, rather than revulsion at their mission and massive numbers: I would say something like, everywhere I walk, the air is filled with shining threads of light, strung gently to and fro from tree to car to fence to jungle gym, to the tiny t-shirt of a small boy in my P.E. class on Tuesday.

Also if I liked them I probably wouldn't throw them out the window of moving cars.

But since I do not feel affection for them, and instead feel revulsion, here is what I'll write instead: the fucking things are everywhere. It's like a damn plague of inchworms, and their sticky little threads crisscross everywhere, all over the place, across the driveway, across the doorway, across the playground at work. When I get in my car, if I've left the windows cracked to prevent a little solar oven from forming, there will be an inchworm dangling inside my window. GO AWAY. And if one more child at work comes up to me talking about how great the damn things are or how he can't find any and Jackie won't give him the one she found, it is possible that I will freak out.

3. Today, while I was driving the bus toward an area elementary school, I suddenly realized that I was happy.  Happy. That I had a job and a boyfriend and this new phone, so many friends, this great kindle thing...I'm making it sound like a shallow happiness, and maybe it is in some way, but I don't really think so. It isn't like everything is perfect, or like I have everything I want, or whatever. It's more like, for the moment, I was satisfied. What I had, what I have, was enough. And increasingly often, it is enough. And that is the kind of person I want to be. And the kind of person I've wanted to be for so, so long.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Giving 110%. ish.

So I'm all smug as shit because I just finished putting up a bulletin board, like I'm supposed to do every month (this is the second that I've done since I started in January). It's decent but not even that awesome...but after I put away the stapler and stuff I was dripping swagger on my way back through the library. I was all like BRUSH



Also... my old phone has been breaking, and my new one just showed up in the mail, so excuse me while I go and, as the package says, "master my device."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I really need to stop doing this to myself.

It's incredible how much fatigue and illness (even such slight illness as I have at the moment--which, by the way, was caused by fatigue) can affect things. How much they can drag everything down. I need to go to bed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I ought to be in bed

But Chloe is home. My beautiful baby sister, who turns twenty in just over two months. I'm not sure how that happened. Neither of us is really okay with it.

But yesterday I was so worried that she might not be able to come that I made Ian sit and listen to the whole saga of her transportation attempts on our way home from the beach. (By the way, we went to the beach with his friends.) And today when came home from work and saw her I danced over and hugged her and she started laughing, because I looked so happy. We eventually took Miley for a walk, and when we got to the creek at the bottom of our hill, we stopped to listen to the water and the peeping frogs, and then we sat, and then we lay in the dirt and looked up through the trees and the stars, and she took and held my hand in silence, and I was so grateful for the place and the moment and for time with my sister that I wept a little, in silence.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I would like to take a moment to complain.

I'm leaving for the beach after work tomorrow, and, as I will be working from 7am to 7pm,* I will have exactly zero time tomorrow to pack or shower or nap, or eat for that matter, so these things need to happen tonight. And I LIKE TOTALLY do not feel like doing anything at all except reading for a few hours and then going to sleep and then sleeping in WAY past 6:15. And then just teleporting to the beach, rather than hanging out in a car for four hours or so.

*Okay, maybe 6:45. 6:40 if I'm really lucky.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Perhaps it is silly and ill-advised to begin everything I write about the workings of my mind under the assumption that it won't make sense to everyone. Maybe my mind is much like most other people's. Or maybe, even if that is the case, the assumption of misunderstanding helps me to write more clearly. I don't know. I don't know what it was that I had been planning to write about when I thought the above, as I started up my car to come home from tutoring. It needs an oil change. And some stop leak.

Something I was thinking of earlier, though (today? yesterday?) was that when it comes to my having to interact with the emotions of others, I feel like a bull in a china shop. I do. It's fine with me for you to feel whatever way, and I can celebrate with you or hold and comfort you or commiserate, or listen. I have no problem with any of those things. But if I am in some way actually involved in your emotional whatever, I get uncomfortable. And if, God forbid, any part of your emotional well-being is affected in any real way by the state of my emotions, then, though I may hide it fairly well, I'm probably losing my shit over here. So that's been the case somewhat often lately.

I've remembered what I was thinking before, I think. It was about outlook, and attitude I guess. Or about the way depression works. I'm not really depressed, but I am getting my emotions tangled with another person's, lately, and also I am exhausted and also I am sick, and those together can roughly amount to depression if I am not careful about keeping them contained, controlled, and brief.

My life is pretty good right now. I have a job, I have a sweet, sarcastic, funny, and attentive boyfriend, I have great friends and a good support network, I have trips coming up that I'm looking forward to, and soon I'll be moving in with my best friend. But still, on days like today, during weeks like this, everything is dampened by a smoggy haze of negativity and frustration. It's not that the haze can't be broken--today, on the way to tutoring, a man rode past on his motorcycle, and the sound made me grin like a fool, because that motor noise sounds like the beach, and childhood happiness to me--but thirty seconds later my mouth was a thin line again, my eyes were grainy again, and I stared with mild annoyance at the road ahead. On hazy, smoggy days, the film will always seep back and fill the cracks and holes. That's why I felt so blessed yesterday and Monday when I woke up unhappy and phlegmy and hating the world, and, following some brief, silent prayers for assistance, somehow managed to find a way through into a lighter place.

And on light-filled days, metaphorically speaking, almost nothing can stop it. Working ten hours? No problem. Nothing good to eat? No big deal. Pouring down rain? I love rain. What a gorgeous day this is!

I was thinking yesterday about how careful I tend to be about my attitude, and I started to wonder why other people aren't similarly attentive. And then I realized that it's probably because most of them can afford not to be, and the others don't know how to do it. A bad attitude is a trap. There's no two ways about it. A poor outlook is a trap, and the deeper you get, the harder it is to get free. And the more you spread it, the greater the number of people you can pull down with you. I can't allow myself to do that for long. Unless I want to find myself back where I've been before, where I was for so many years, I can't allow myself to wallow in fatigue or anger or frustration for any length of time. I can't allow myself to play the victim.

Of course, I can't just ignore those feelings either--I'm fairly certain that my unconscious habit of ignoring emotions as a matter of course was what got me started on the whole depressive cycle in the first place. Which, if you think about it, may loop back around and explain a little bit of the "bull in the china shop" paragraph above. I'm still working it all out. I guess I probably always will be.

In other news, I saw my first bumblebee of the year this morning. He* made me smile.

*Technically speaking, all worker bees are female. But I still think of them as hims, because I can, and I do what I want.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Look, I never said I was cool.

The other day (alright, a few weeks ago) Ian and I had dinner with my best friend and her boyfriend, and camp came up. Specifically, the fact that this new job I've got will mean that I can't work any sessions, and that I will therefore most likely be spending a lot of weekends up there. And Ian, in an attempt to be all wise and mature and winning (and maybe a little condescending), said something along the lines of, "maybe it's time to accept that the door is closing on that part of your life, and move on."

And that seems like a totally reasonable and obvious thing to say, I guess, but I was floored. I was so floored that I just keep talking about this story. I'm honestly getting a little sick of it, but I keep thinking about it every so often. Because it just doesn't work that way. I was writing about it the other day, in the van, on the back of some papers from work. Here's part of what I said:

"It is difficult to explain and a little embarrassing to admit how shocked I was. In truth I am actually sickened by the thought of 'the door closing' on Alkulana being a part of my life. How could I explain that sometimes a place, a community, an adopted family will get under your skin, and that Alkulana has seeped into my bones? I feel like Wolverine, except that instead of adamantium, my skeleton has been infused with the love of Christ." Because of camp. I love the way I do (and, considering the person I could be, I think I love rather well) because of this community.

Probably nobody cares who hasn't been there, and that's okay with me I suppose. Why should the cool silk of the creek at midnight hold any sway over you? Why should you feel warmed by the early morning sun swimming through the mist and touching down on our daily prayer circle? By the smell of campfire on all your hoodies? By the blissful quiet of rest hour or the welcome relief of a raucous late-night kitchen after staff meeting?

I can't make him, or you, understand. That's how life is. But I hope nothing ever changes the fact that when I am at my worst, when everything is unbearable and I can't find any light, I am sustained by this. It seems ridiculous. (Maybe it is ridiculous.) I know that. But those memories feed me when I am starving. I don't plan to put them away any time soon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

An epiphany in the morning

Driving home from work this morning I had the sudden realization that Ian is, I think, washing away the bitterness I hadn't even realized I still retained over all the stuff that happened with David.

I feel like major emotional crises (that breakup, for me, would fall into that category) are like landslides. Or they're massive floods of emotion that cause landslides. Everything you've worked so hard to build is washed completely away, and you're left in the valley, drowning in muck and wreckage and sewage. And then, hopefully, eventually things start to dry out, and you can finally start to climb again, to build again, to painstakingly carve stairs step by step back into the side of the mountain. And at first it's the most impossible task in the world, but it gets easier. You learn to build. You get stronger. You find a rhythm. And one day you realize that life is moving forward, and you are moving forward, and things are okay.

Monday, February 27, 2012

From last night:

The moon is a Cheshire grin, and I am as confused as Alice.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Probably the best thing I've ever eaten

Pasta (in this case, thin spaghetti) with olive oil, garlic, a little parmesan, salt, and pepper, and sriracha, eaten with chunks of ripe avocado. It is AMAZING.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quotes from the bus

Every weekday afternoon I pick up three girls from an area elementary school. The two in question here are in second grade.

SB: I can't see anything without my glasses.

SS: Just poke your eyes!

SB: That doesn't work!

SS: Well that's what Geronimo* does!

SB: He's a mouse!

me: ...And a cartoon.

SS: I don't believe that.

She was dead serious. She went on to explain that if you believe something enough, that makes it true. I told her, "I don't think that's how that works," but I'm not sure she believed me.

*I have looked him up just for you. She talks about him all the time.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What's going on these days

Possibly this isn't the best time to write, as I am rather exhausted at the moment, but for once I have the inclination and so I will run with it, and keep the reactionary emotionality out of it as best I can.

Work: I'm still doing the with-kids stuff and also still doing some odd jobs (tutoring, babysitting, pet sitting, whatever). My attitude toward my "real job" varies, often depending on my energy level and on whether I have done anything really flipping stupid at work lately. Regardless, I'm about to start picking up more hours by teaching P.E. and movement to preschoolers, so that should put me at full time. I'm utterly stressed out by it all at the moment, but we'll see how it goes, yes? Yes.

Reading: I am incredibly lucky to have 40 minutes or so every day during which I basically get paid to sit in a van and read while I wait for kids to be let out of school. I have been enjoying the kindle I received for Christmas.

Interpersonal interaction (read: light exercises in hedonism*) : So, though I seriously doubted that they would, things have ended up going with this guy (mentioned at the bottom of the link). Ian. We spent three and a half months hanging out a lot and texting a ridiculous amount and kind of liking each other and being indecisive (because, let's be real, we only have so much in common), and appear to have both decided to quit overanalyzing our lives and just give it a go. we go, I guess. Anyway, he's one of the main reasons I'm so deliriously tired this week, and he is quite a good Valentine. I have a dozen long-stem roses, and candies from Italy and New York, and more honesty than I might have expected. I'm so unromantic; I feel like I inadvertently cancel out his sporadic attempts to be so. I am so unused to being given random gifts (I guess Valentine's Day is a typical gift-giving time, but I'm still not used to it) that I never know how to react. But he is witty and sarcastic and sweet and thoughtful. And I like him.

*Look, I'm being emotional like I said I was, okay? "As best I can" doesn't mean "perfectly."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Here is the thing that (currently) I find most disappointing in myself: sometimes--far more often than I would like, or like to admit--I follow, when I should lead.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The air is just so delicious tonight.

Temporal displacement

We keep having these warm days lately, and I keep thinking I'm about to go to Louisiana. Today there's zydeco music on the radio (in Virginia!) and that does my heart good. And Festival International just released their Festival Wednesday lineup. Just waiting on the Thursday-Friday lineup, so I can figure out how much time to ask off of work...

I have a new job, by the way. Working with kids. I was enthusiastic about it, but now I find that I have a bad attitude toward the whole thing. It's a pretty nice place, and they are nice people, and I find that I don't want to be a person who makes a living by working with kids anymore. Or not again. So now I really need to step on it. Pick a direction and get going.

Also, I made a Pinterest, and that is eating my life this week. Last week it was Words With Friends, and now I have at least a half-dozen abandoned games that I'm trying to work up the motivation to finish.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I feel like this shouldn't be news.

My sister Chloe and I discovered the other day that a woman we know struggles with an eating disorder. I wouldn't normally mention something like this in a public forum, and I do not do so lightly now. I share it only because of the conversation this discovery prompted between Chloe and myself.

I don't remember the entire course of the conversation, but I remember saying, "well, refusing to love yourself until you deem yourself worthy of love is never, ever, ever going to work. That's just not how that works."

I said this expecting something along the lines of a nod of assent from my sister, but instead she said "Oh."

She didn't know.

Is this a thing that people don't know? Have I somehow been lucky enough to stumble into this patch of truth by accident?  Do you punish and withhold love from yourself?

I asked her whether this was something I should have said years ago, and she told me that I should write it. So hear is what I need you to understand:

Refusing to love yourself until you are "worthy" is never going to work. It is never going to make you better. It will never work because it isn't possible to build yourself up while you are tearing yourself down. It will never work because you will never deem yourself worthy until you are perfect, and you never will be. It will never work because people don't reach their full potential when they are living in the shadow of disgust and disapproval and criticism--they reach their full potential when they are forgiven, loved and encouraged and supported. So try this for a change: love yourself. Respect yourself. Forgive yourself.

When you royally screw up--like you will and like I will and like everyone else--apologize, set right what you can, and carry on. What good comes from flagellating yourself?

Forgive, encourage, and support yourself--as you would a beloved child--and see how you grow. See what you can do.