So I’ll write

I see WordPress has changed “New Blog Post” to “Write”.

A simple command.

I pushed the button.

Right…

It’s January 3rd, 2017. I’ve been sick since before Christmas. I went to dinner on New Year’s Eve with my roommate (cheese plates, roasted duck, and “that one drink Skot made that one time”). After dinner we went to a quiet little house party. There were two cats, a dog, and a couple humans (Skot not among them). It was nice to be somewhere other than my apartment or cubicle or car. It’s been ages since I’ve been at someone else’s. My life is boring and small; I’m working on it. It’s the start of a new year; a point at which we humans decide enough is enough. When the clock hits 12:00 AM on January 1st, procrastination is a thing of the past. A new year – a new beginning – so that’s what they say.

Outwardly, 2016 looks like a great year. It found me graduating college, traveling overseas, and finding my first job out of college (a great job). I’ve made new friends. I’ve discovered myself in leaps and bounds. I made amazing progress in 2016. But I wasn’t happy. I spent most of it lost in heartache, confusion, doubt, and crushing loneliness.

Well, guess what. Fuck that. 2017 is going to be different. Now that I have my financial situation stabilized and I’m on my own, I’m going to concentrate on making my world as big and rich as I want it to be. I’m going to learn violin again, I’m going to study, I’m going to go somewhere/do something new every week. Listen to more music, go to more concerts, read more books, write more, learn new things, meet new people. Stop hating myself. Now is my time for exploration and expansion; I am finally ready for it. I am tearing down the walls I built myself and I am going to continue making amazing progress.

2017 is going to be my year. It’s not going to be perfect, but it’s a start.

I am going to listen to myself.

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Pulling through

Something just happened. Something that’s never happened to me before and may have just changed my life, at a time that could not have been more perfect. This blog post is an attempt to not forget it.

It, along with other things that have happened in my life recently, has deepened my understanding that the universe is working very closely with us. The Universe/God/Source Energy/whatever-whomever-you-want-to-call-it is rooting for us, putting things in place, moving things around, making sure it all comes together alright in the end and we learn the right lessons.  Everything happens for a reason and there is no such thing as coincidence!

When it comes right down to it, humans are so good. I will not let this idea go. I refuse to give into the idea that humans are inherently bad or wicked or dangerous. What happened tonight could not have happened if that were the case. We are all a mixture of good and bad. Life isn’t pretty all the time; it isn’t ugly all the time. We are just tiny imperfect human beings bumbling along the best we know how, making choices and decisions when all the information hasn’t been presented to us.

So, the story of today:

It had been a rough day. Around 10AM I’m sitting at my desk wondering if I’m going to be sick and if I need to go home. I feel as though I’m in a constant panic attack. I sit at lunch and can barely eat my food, but start to feel better after I do. I go to a meeting and listen to one of our ambassadors tell her story – she is amazing – so many words of wisdom that correlate so well with what my coworker and I have been discussing.  I get home from work, I’m tired like I am every day when I get home from work. I decide to forego dinner and take a walk. It’s dark; I like walking when it’s dark; it makes me feel alone; I like feeling alone; I’m a miserable human being; look at me go, so utterly singular in my loneliness. What else makes me special?

I keep walking, I get into my music, I’m feeling okay. I see an old lady on the ground in front of her door, behind her wheelchair. What is she doing… I almost don’t stop I’m so focused on what I’m doing… “Do you need help?… Did you fall? What can I do? Can I call someone? What do I do? You’re welcome, it’s okay. I can’t lift you. Should I get a neighbor? Is there a neighbor who can help?” – all words coming out of my mouth as I’m trying to help this poor lady back into her chair, which weighs about 100 pounds and which I’ve finagled in front of her. She is incessantly apologizing and thanking me, but I just feel helpless, and a little impatient too. I can’t lift this old lady. She can’t lift herself. She keeps falling. She’s not making any sense. There’s no one around – it’s dark and it’s deserted. I don’t want to call 911. I ring the neighbor’s door bell, no answer. I ring another. While I’m waiting the old lady tries to get in her chair and falls again; I tell her to just stay there; I’m panicking; I hear noise from inside the apartment I rang at; a woman calls out “who is it?” and I say, “your neighbor fell, we need help.” She says hang on a second, she has to get some clothes on, she’s in her pajamas. I tell the old lady, “she’s coming, hang on, she has to put some clothes on.” The lady comes out a few seconds later, still in her pajamas. She’s old. The first thought in my head is, “oh great, she’s old too; we’re going to have to get more help; I’m never going to get home.”

Humans aren’t always pretty, remember.

But then the woman (her name is Isabel) rushes right over to the old lady, hugs her, holds her head in her hands, asks if she’s okay, asks what she can do, asks what happened. She asks if I’ll help her, I nod. Together we lift the old lady into her chair and get her into her apartment.

We can’t leave her alone, not yet. Isabel is so good with her, asking all these questions to try to get something coherent out of her. Meanwhile I’m just standing there like a deer in the headlights, wanting to help, but not knowing how. Isabel is trying to get her to call someone. She can’t remember the number. The phone rings; it’s her boyfriend; thank god. Her boyfriend calls her daughter; her daughter calls; her daughter is in the middle of cooking and won’t come.

Her daughter is in the middle of cooking and won’t come.

We go to leave, Isabel sees something on the floor that ends of being dog shit. She cleans it up, assuring the old lady that it’s just poo-poo and it’s totally fine; she cleans her grandbaby’s poo-poo all the time. We close and lock the doors and leave; the door opens again, she calls us back; we go back in; she wants my number; Isabel finds a pen, I write it down. She keeps saying water, water, water, so we get her some water. Someone’s at the back door, but it’s just the dog. Isabel lets the dog in; the dog is running and jumping all over the place. We get the lady situated in front of the TV. We leave again. She opens the door. We go back in. She asks for my number again. She has Isabel write her number down too even though she has it already. The dog gets out. Shit! Isabel gets some meat; she’s walking everywhere, trying to find this dog. The dog is lost. I stay with the old lady. I see the dog running back, I yell at it, “Get back in here!” It bolts into the apartment. I close the door and try to find Isabel. She’s out looking for the dog. Oh great. I can’t leave the old lady, but I can’t leave Isabel out searching for this dog who knows where. Then I hear her, thank god, and yell out that we found it, it’s back. We leave after that and the door stays closed.

Thank God.

Isabel and I are just exhausted, hugging each other, flabbergasted. She asks if I want to come in, I say sure. Her house is impossibly perfect. We wash our hands then sit down and talk.

That talk is one of the best ones I have ever had. There is no way for me to express to you how I felt, but it was just what I needed. She showed me a picture of her great-grandbaby that she watches every day; I showed her pictures of my nieces and nephews. I told her about Daniel. She told me about her children who have passed away. She told me to tell my sister that she’ll be okay,”you push through it; you stay strong; it’s life.” I was looking at a picture of my sister’s family, telling her how my sister is pulling through, doing so good for her kids. She has to be okay for her kids. I never cry. If you know me you know I never cry. But I cried then, looking at that picture. Madie and Jonah are so beautiful and perfect.

Everything happens for a reason.

That week Daniel had with Jonah happened for a reason.

Life is no mistake.

Isabel told me something and she told me to listen to her. She told me that life is full of choices and the consequences of those choices. She said,”you could have seen her and just kept going. You didn’t have to stop. But you did, and you went and knocked on my door.” She said these kind acts are the reason we are here. She said I’ll go to bed tonight feeling at peace. She said I’m on the right path, like she knew me and what I was going through. How did she know I’ve been told I’m on the wrong path?

I always want to choose to be kind, to learn, to keep an open mind and listen with a ready ear.

Now, I did something almost any other human would do, and didn’t do it super well at that. This whole experience has been so humbling. But I do have to wonder what would have happened if I wasn’t there. Isabel said she would have just stayed there because all the neighbors are old, no one is outside at that time of night. She may be right. If the universe hadn’t brought me out walking tonight, past that lady’s door, she very well could have stayed there all night in the cold. And what would have happened if Isabel hadn’t opened the door? I couldn’t lift the old lady without her and she handled the situation so much better than I ever could. So who knows what could have happened? I don’t. The Universe, God, whatever-whomever-you-call-it, does. It put me in a position to find the old lady and then it gave us someone who could really help, a complete stranger who I formed a deep connection with.

Life is made up of these connections; I am so grateful to be making them every now and then.

More than one person has been helped tonight, and I would call that quite a successful day!

 

 

Honesty

The past 6 weeks have been hard. The adjustment to working full-time has been difficult and has made my depression and anxiety flare up, not to mention that I’m exhausted 100% of the time, but it has also been amazing. I love working. I have been learning new things every day, not only about my job and the company, but about myself and the people I work with. My coworkers are so nice and lovely, from the people I smile and nod to, to my boss who is a real mentor to me, to the coworker I feel a deep personal connection with, who has told me (a part of) his life story and challenged everything I think and offered and given me the support I need.

I am so grateful and humbled to be given this opportunity.

I am growing so much. I am learning how to appreciate the little things in life and just be myself. This morning, once I finally got out of bed, I made breakfast and then went on a walk, then came back and went swimming. I sat in the sun and read, and then came inside to take a refreshing shower. I used my new sugar scrubs and soaps and I cannot stop smelling my arms. Last night I was just sitting in bed and feeling the pages of a magazine I already read, thinking about how happy I am that I’m alone; I love having time to myself when I’ve been working all day. I’m living very simply; I don’t have a lot, but at the same time, I have so much. I have books and sun and soap and food; I have a great job and a few people who care about me. In a few more weeks I should be self-sufficient.

Now, that isn’t to say I don’t wake up in the middle of the night with a crushing weight on my chest, or I don’t sit at my desk and stare off into space wondering if I’ll ever feel happy again, wondering if I’m bipolar. I’m too private, I can’t express myself properly, I make mistakes nearly every day, I beat myself up. I’m a royal mess and a fuck up. I don’t have it figured out at all. But life isn’t about feeling happy all of the time. It’s about learning from your mistakes and expanding your mind. It’s about appreciating the moments that  you do feel happy, and figuring out life a little bit at a time. Last weekend I took a painting class, because I’d never painted before and I wanted to try something new. It turned out really good (I think)! Probably only because I’m good at following directions, but I’m proud of it. I put it on my desk to remind me to be happy and that I can do cool things.

The post-it note is on my monitor, not the painting. lol. I haven’t forgotten to clock in or out since I put them up!

Friday night I saw my favorite band live. Sigur Rós. It was beyond explanation. The raw emotions that I experienced during that show… amazing. Half the audience was crying. I felt like that feeling is why I am here, why life is worth living. It was definitely a monumental night, one that I hope I never forget. The theater was beautiful, too.

 

sigur-ros

But, there is something else I need to say. Actually, two things. They’ve been weighing on me for a while and I need to let that weight go. I feel the best when I am able to just be myself and be honest with people about it. I am not ashamed of it; I don’t feel guilty; so why do I keep it a secret? The answer is fear. I am done living in fear. It’s really not a big deal anyway. How people react is beyond my control, so out with it already.

  1. I am attracted to men and women. It feels right. Tell anybody you want; it’s not going to tear my family apart.
  2. I have left the church, as of a few years now, and probably for good (though I do want to stay open to all possibilities). I cannot stand behind such a sheltered culture, and I do not want to be affiliated with it at this point in my life. It used to be my entire world, and I get why people love it, but it’s not for me right now so I’ve let it go. I still believe there is some higher being out there and that our loved ones who have passed are still with us, but I do not believe that anyone can know the mind of God in total and claim anything to be the One Way To Salvation. I am excited to learn about other theories and approaches to spirituality and life! This article explains it pretty well.

First days at work

Why hello there! It’s been a while since I’ve provided any sort of update on my new job. I simply don’t have any time anymore! Where does it go? I am amazed by people who have full time jobs and kids and/or school. Are they superheroes? And the people who work two full-time jobs… how is that even possible?

It’s been the good kind of busy, though. I feel important and needed and worthwhile. Empowered, really. I’ve been told I’ll be interacting with the president and CEO quite often, so that’s exciting! I’ve already met the president a couple times and shook his hand, so *squeal*! I started on Tuesday so I’ve worked three full days so far. They’ve been absolutely amazing. Not only is the job itself quite fun but the people I work with are all fun and super nice and friendly! Not to mention supportive. I’ve had people tell me that if I ever have any questions and my boss has stepped away to feel free to ask them and a few people have let me know they’re here for me. The employees take care of each other. Yesterday another girl in my same space got flowers delivered to her and I was the one who got to take them up to her because I had been sitting down at the front desk training with one of the receptionists (he was doing my job before I got here, he had kinda just took the project on even though it wasn’t his job, so he knows all the tricks). It’s such a fun environment!

My boss took me to lunch on Tuesday; apparently the company pays for everybody’s lunch their first day! We went to this really cool salad/bowl place that is now on my favorites list; being on the Paleo diet makes finding a good restaurant a big deal, especially if it has organic options. It’s called Flower Child, if anyone wants to look it up! I got a salad to go last night after work because I was too tired to make food. It was amazing! Tuesday I got the curry bowl with chicken, boiled potatoes, and veggies, and that was great. Anything with potatoes is great.

This week has been a lot of training, talking, and meeting new people. I’m exhausted, all the time. Especially since last night was the first night I actually got 8 hours of sleep (though I woke up feeling like a zombie because my body wanted to sleep for like, 16 more hours).

I set up my signature on my e-mail today and honestly I feel so fancy. My boss said that I’ll probably get business cards in a few months. BUSINESS CARDS. BUSINESS CARDS. CARDS FOR ME A BUSINESS CARD FOR ME MY OWN WOW. And they give all the employees these little tag cards to get into the doors and I clip it onto my belt and feel like the fanciest person on the planet. I feel like my advancement into “mature adult” is on fast-forward!

Also, my boss had me study company material after work on Tuesday and I recited it to her the next morning and she was just blown away, so… *sunglasses emoji*

I’m learning so much! About the company and how to do my job, but also about how to interact with people and present myself. It’s been good! I feel like after a few years of this I’ll have it down pat and be a real professional!

As you can see, I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

Which is good, since I had quite high expectations. I had written a post on Sunday night, but didn’t publish it because I was going to add more (but then didn’t), so I might as well publish what I have now:

9/4

This evening I was feeling morose, depressed, gloomy, anxious, unsettled, etc etc, for no apparent reason.

But as I started thinking about why I might be feeling that way, I realized that my main cause of anxiety – starting my new job on Tuesday – was what I was most excited about, so why was I wasting my time with all these negative feelings? I mean, I’m sure I’m going to be a nervous wreck tomorrow, that’s only normal before starting a new job, but what isn’t normal is wallowing in what feels too much like self pity when there is absolutely nothing to feel pity for.

What I feel now is excitement, gratitude, and pride. I am proud of myself, and I am ever ever so grateful. I’m grateful for the opportunity, the people who led me to it, and the people who gave me a chance. It’s hard to explain, and I hesitate to be this optimistic before I’ve even started the job, but I have a really good feeling about it. I’ve never felt this way before. I mean, this isn’t like my dream job or anything; I’m not getting paid to travel the world and resolve international conflict through my good humor and quick wit, but I feel like this is meant to be. That my life is finally, finally, going in the right direction. Like there is infinite possibility, a world of opportunity,  all starting here. Right now. That if I work hard and be the best possible version of myself, I can do anything. I can have everything I’ve ever wanted. The talent acquisition person I’ve been working with even told me that when my boss eventually moves up, I’ll be in a great position to take over her job, which is just astounding. There might even be possibilities of transferring internationally; my boss and her boss know that’s something that I want. The company is growing quickly and it just seems like there will be so many opportunities. I am so excited to see where this next step in my life will take me!

I also feel pride for the person I am. Like most people in their early twenties, I have been discovering more and more about who I truly am, and you know what? I like that person. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but that’s what makes life exciting. I am living life for me and I am coming to terms with my identity; I am who I am; I like what I like; I am enough, and only I have the power to dictate what that entails. I have lived so much of my life feeling bad for who I am, or wanting to apologize for it. Those days or gone, or at least I live every day trying to be just that much better. I may have a life that seems boring to some, but I have family and friends and a variety of interests that I love. I am excited for when I can buy a vinyl player and start my vinyl collection and grow my book collection and attend symphonies and art shows and musicals and concerts. I am excited to travel, to experience life in new cultures and meet new people, to collect music and books and knowledge in foreign languages. I can’t wait til I have a steady enough income that allows me to do all these things and most importantly, to give back to the people who deserve it so much more than I.

Coconut Flour Cookies

My favorite paleo cookies! I’ve made them several times and I’m gonna make them again tonight because why not? (Update: I shouldn’t have asked that, as I immediately got an answer: I only have one egg. I’ll make them tomorrow then!)

Crustabakes

These cookies were actually made for my toddler.

coconut flour cookies

But they tasted so good that i find my hand dipping into her little “snack catcher” repeatedly.

If you are a mom, and you didnt know what a snack catcher is, you’ve been seriously missing out.

A snack catcher, is like a bowl. But instead of a tight fitting lid, it comes with these neat plastic flaps that allow your toddler to reach into the snack without having to fuss over how to loosen a lid.  As the name implies, the flaps also act like a “catcher”. They stop the snacks inside the bowl from falling out should your toddler decide to rattle it about.

Anyway, enough about snack catchers. Let’s get back to cookies.

coconut flour cookies 3

Because these cookies were for the most part healthy, i do not feel all that guilty reaching for an extra cookie or two. What i do feel…

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The Bone Clocks

Change is sort of hardwired into the world… what’s real changes. If life didn’t change, it wouldn’t be life, it’d be a photograph. – David-Mitchell-in-Holly-Sykes

I just finished The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. The passage I quoted is near the very end of the book; it wasn’t until I read it that I realized this book is where my last blog post came from. That particular message, that life changes (one I have spent quite a bit of time pondering, one reason why I enjoyed the book so much), came across to me before it was ever explicitly suggested. That is a sign of a talented author if ever I’ve seen one!

And my is David Mitchell a talented author.  He strings together seemingly random characters and ideas masterfully into an interconnected maze; a loose conglomerate coming together in the end to form a complete structure.  It’s quite remarkable considering the importance of mazes in the story.

The best books are the ones that make you think, and think again. The Bone Clocks was certainly a clever examination of mortality and life. It got me invested in the characters and left me wanting more. Holly is…  I have no words for Holly.  She’s just wonderful. And I sure hope Oshima shows up in Mitchell’s past or future novels!

I checked out two of his other novels, Slade House and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, from the library,  so those are next on the list.  I think I’ll start Slade House tomorrow,  in fact…  

Update: *spoiler warning* I realized I didn’t say anything about the last part of the book, “Sheep’s Head.” I felt it was a bit contrived. It didn’t so much as add to the plot as advertise the terrible effects of global warming and depleting oil reserves, which is fine, those are both very good and appreciated points, but I think it could have done well as a separate novella. For example, in my opinion all of the major points of the book would be the same if that passage was completely left off. Sure we find out what happens to Holly, and we wouldn’t have that glorious quote that I used earlier (that could have easily been added elsewhere in the book), but all of the other characters in that passage were created in that passage; they weren’t part of the book before that (which is the pattern of the different sections of the book, but it seems an odd choice for the end; ends of books are usually spent tying things up, no?). Those characters were interesting, but again, I think it would have been better as a novella because, simply put, turning the book into a dystopian novel at the last second seems like a sell out and a terrible way of cheapening the rest of the book. The “maze” had been completed, why tack on this extra part that doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of it?  I would much rather have seen the last part of the book tie up the Crispin Hershey end, which I feel was left dangling… or did I miss something?

Regardless of all those quips (which I hadn’t even included in my original post), it’s obviously still a remarkably spectacular book. It’s rare that a book captures my attention as wholly as The Bone Clocks did! I will definitely be reading it again, as I think it’s one of those books that will be even better the second time.

Everything changes, nothing stays the same

Everything changes, nothing stays the same.

I like to think of that as a little life motto. Even the things we would like to keep the same change, like the love shared with another, and that’s okay. Just because love changes doesn’t mean it goes away. It might even end up better in the end – sometimes it’s hard to imagine how much better something could be than it is now,  or was before – but even if it doesn’t, life goes on. Life evolves, people adapt. Things change. That’s just how life is. I take comfort in that fact, and also the fact that as relationships fall apart, others can be built.

And then, of course, the things that we would like to change can, and often do. Just over a week ago I was despairing because I thought I would never find a job. Applying to dozens upon dozens of jobs, never hearing back, further burdening my parents, watching everyone else around me being successful… it was all becoming too much to bear. But now, a week and two interviews later, I have a job!

Yes, I have a job!

It all happened so quickly. My aunt messaged me on Facebook that her daughter was looking for an assistant, I emailed her daughter my resume, she forwarded it to the HR person, he called me and scheduled an interview, I interviewed, he called five days later to schedule a meeting the next day (today) with my boss’s boss, and shortly after that meeting he called and made me an offer. I had to fill out the online application and the thought that I won’t have to fill out any more online applications for quite some time is a good thought indeed. The job hunt is over! I’m scheduled to start September 6th. My pay is more than I expected for my first job out of college and the benefits are amazing – full medical, dental, life insurance, 401k, etc.- and it’s at a growing, international company so there should be good opportunities to advance.

It also feels pretty good to know that there were other candidates that I beat…

So point is, even if you think your life is going nowhere and there’s no hope for you, there is. There really, truly is. You never know what could be just around the corner.

I know that eventually this weird feeling in my chest that keeps me awake at night is going to go away, and that it will come back and go away again, because life changes. It’s okay to not feel okay because nothing stays the same; you just have to have hope.

Pertinent to the topic, one of my favorite quotes, from a man who changed my life:

Don’t give up, don’t give in, there’s always an answer to everything – Louis Zamperini

And one of my favorite songs, a true classic: “We’ll all float on, good news is on its way… Don’t worry, even if things end up a bit too heavy, we’ll all float on”

On the merits of books

Books are places of comfort. Not because they are not capable of bringing out your worst fears and anxieties but precisely because they do just that. They bring out your worst fears, your biggest dreams and wildest of hopes, and they stay with you through it all. Books can never leave you, see. They will never leave you. You can bare your soul to a book and it will hold you tighter. You read each word and each word turns into a sentence which turns into a paragraph which turns into a page. As you read each word you create a story. The author creates the bones of it, but really and truly, you create the story (Neil Gaiman explored this idea in a talk entitled “The Pornography of Genre, or the Genre of Pornography”), so as you read a book you can rest assured that it is your own. The words in the story as they’re written don’t belong to you but the journey the story takes you on does, because you created that. You used your imagination to take yourself on a journey with the book through a blacked out hotel in Baghdad, escaping death from car bomb solely because you bent down to pet a cat, or across the windy Brighton Pier during Planet Con, frantically searching for your missing daughter. You went on a journey with the book and the book went on a journey with you. You learned from it and I wonder…. What did it learn from you?

***

You get to the last page and you start at the beginning, all over again, with the promise that the words will always be there. They won’t run off the page when the going gets tough. In fact they may appear to hang on all the harder. But you also keep the words, stories, and ideas with you in more important ways. In your heart and in your brain words and stories never die.  As a certain character named “V” said in an 80’s comic: “There’s no flesh and blood within this cloak to kill. There’s only an idea. Ideas are bulletproof.”

Ideas never leave you. Stories never die.

Books are the most loyal of friends.

***

A transcription of Neil Gaiman’s “The Pornography of Genre,  or the Genre of Pornography” talk can be found in his new book The View From the Cheap Seats.
If Baghdad or the Brighton Pier sound intriguing to you,  I recommend you read The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell,  which is the inspiration for this post. 

Interview update

I think the interview went really well! She said it was “great” and “fabulous”! She has other candidates she’s interviewing but she’ll let me know on Wednesday! !!!!! This job seriously sounds so amazing. Fun job + nice boss + great benefits = amazing.

Wednesday, wednesday, you’re only 5 days awaaaay!