Sorting

Incompetent, lacking, slow, confused, weak.

New, misunderstood, grey area.

Anxious, nervous, determined, quiet.

Lost, learning, running, becoming better.

I do not know what I don’t know and that terrifies me. I do not know my place or my limitations. 

I do not feel comfortable asking “why” “how” or “when”.

I will learn, I know. I can’t rush this. I can’t memorize my way out of this. Only time can get me there.

But for now, I am drowning. Stuck in a riptide and unable to kick my way free.

Stuck in cliche’s and bad lunch decisions. Cynicism and false laughter. 

I am stuck playing the game again (still?).

And you’d think I’d be better at it by now. 

Advertisements

In Defense of Suburbia

Yeah, when I was 22 I thought the suburbs we’re awful, too. But, I also felt like being away from the dive bars and 24 hour pizza place was going to be a total destruction of my social life.

How cute.

I had no idea where the real destruction would come from. (Hint: it wasn’t living 15 miles outside of the city.)

But, now that I’m older and less interested in being puked on, hit on, hit up for money, drugged, and/or yelled at….I’m really ok with being away from the dive bars and pizza joints. And, honestly, I’m really sick of people shitting on me for liking life in suburbia.

Things I have in suburbia that I didn’t when I was in the “hip” part of town:

  • 3 gorgeous nature parks within 5-10 minutes of me
  • Places to ride my bike without feeling like I’m going to die
  • Quiet
  • A big yard, complete with dogs
  • A ton of local, non-chain restaurants that are delicious and varied
  • A garage

The stereotypical vision of suburbia is this uninspired, cookie-cutter, where-dreams-go-to-die, hamlet set far away from the ‘action’. But, honestly, I see more going on around me here than I did when I didn’t live in a development. I see people building and playing. I see gear-heads in their garage and runners out on nicely paved paths. I see people living their lives.

It’s all relative. Find where you fit.

But, really, don’t look at me with pity like I’ve somehow downplayed my life by choosing to move away from the chaos.

Finding a way

How do you know what you want? 

It’s a bizarre question, I know. But, I do wonder. I’ve made a lot of backtracks and turns in my life. Lots of false starts that just left me feeling like a failure. Lazy. But, at the same time how much do you push yourself for something you think you want if the process of getting there is not what you want? Terrible sentence, let me explain.

I would love to be able to deadlift 300 lbs., do one armed push-ups and run a 10K. But, I don’t enjoy the training for any of that. What’s the point? It’s mostly journey. The point in which I would reach my goal is miniscule compared to the time invested.

I would like to write more. It’s my only creative outlet. But, what am I really doing with it? It only seems to matyer to me if others read it. I don’t particularly care what they think or feel about it, but, if not for others to read, why write? I already know my thoughts. 

I just feel like if you want something, the work won’t feel daunting. Maybe sometimes, yes, but it should have some reward most of the time. If it doesn’t…why bother? 

But, on the flipside, if you push does it get easier, better, more rewarding? Do you have to be “good” at something at the beginning in order to continue? I feel that with anything creative you need to have an affinity for it to work out…you can’t learn or force an affinity. So, if you aren’t at least a little bit good in the beginning, if you don’t enjoy the effort, do you continue?

This was a ramble but I’m trying to just keep writing even if it’s pointless and maybe just for me. Perhaps I’ll arrive at an answer.

Of age

I am so drained from doing things I don’t really want to be doing. 

I work out. I don’t enjoy it.

I eat healthy. I don’t enjoy it.

I walk the dogs because they deserve it but, fuck, I can only listen to so many podcasts and stare at the same ticky-tacky suburban housing for so long before it starts to feel like some kind of psychological torture.

I work a perfectly respectable job helping children. I hate it. I get zero satisfaction out of it.

I like to drive…as long as no one else is around. So, that never happens. And, inevitably, at the end, I arrive somewhere I don’t really want to be.

I pay my taxes, vote, mow my lawn, clean the house…all that mature, civilized human being crap. 

I FUCKING HATE IT.

I’m trying to not be overly dramatic here because I am trying to make a point and not just have a pity/bitch fest. But, honestly…I can’t think of one thing I do on a regualr basis that I enjoy and I do just for me. Nothing. Everything has baggage. Everything feels like a chore. 

Occasionally I can lose myself for a few hours in a good book. Does that count? Because it sounds more like avoidance. I’m transporting myself out of my life. I also like to sleep…but only the dreamless kind (read: avoidance). 

Most everything else either frustrates or disappoints me. And I’m pretty sure that’s not going to change. I’ve been in therapy, out of therapy, on meds, off meds, on other meds, off those meds. I’ve had 2 careers and a room full of art supplies going to waste. I have a guitar that sits in the bottom of my closet. I go out and force myself to do random spontaneous things. I go out with a blank slate, expecting nothing but to go experience something and, 99% of the time it’s underwhelming. 

It kind of sounds like life just isn’t for me. I mean, look, I’m 32 and some days that feels old and some days it feels like this is never going to end. If I feel this way now, at maybe 40-50% of my lifespan, how the hell am I going to get through the rest? That feels like an eternity, and not in a good way. 

I thought I would have shit figured out by now but I think I may be just as lost as ever. I don’t think I can be found.

10/12ths

Yeah, that’s not a proper fraction and it hurts a little bit to leave it in that state but, whatever, for this purpose I’ll let it slide.

10 out of the 12 months of the year I am content with being child-free. This is my will. My choice. I’ve never entertained the thought of having kids. I think it was clear to myself, my family and my friends that being a mother was not the course my life would take. And, from January to October I’m sound in this decision.

However, once we get into the holiday months (Thanksgiving and Christmas) I start to feel sad. Lonely. Left out. It’s been a slow decline. Which is better than a fall, I suppose, but it happened so slowly that it took me a while to really figure out what was missing and what had gone wrong.

When I was a teenager the house was still full of life. I had friends and step siblings all over the place. We had cookie decorating parties and loud nights spent with too much booze and bad Christmas cover songs. It was warm. It was loud. It sparkled. I remember feeling so full of love and happiness.

As I got into my twenties there were still parties, sure. Nicely planned and structured. Good food. Good conversations. Laughter and silly games. Have your fun and be home by midnight kind of stuff. I enjoyed those, too. But some of the life had drained. It was less spontaneous. I still had a blast and felt surrounded by friends, but the gain was turned down. The sparkle seemed mostly limited to things on the tree. There was a subtle shift happening.

Nearing, and coming into, my 30’s was when it came full force. There were less friends. Less parties. And, what parties there were tended to be a bit more sparse. More people had family obligations and kids to get home by bedtime. The games were kid friendly, and frankly, pretty boring and the attention was being divided between conversation and monitoring the kids. There was no deep, full-bodied conversation. The spontaneity had been turned way down. People started to bring dishes with quinoa. (That’s kind of a joke, but, I think it makes a point.)

Distilled down, I was no longer spending time with kitchens full of friends and family and too much heat from the oven. I was sitting on couches struggling to make conversation with people I just met and may never see again.

And maybe that’s just how it is. And maybe that’s part of the reason people have kids. They can start the cycle over.

But, when you don’t have kids, and your friends have started to disappear or make families of their own, the cycle doesn’t start again. The cycle ends. You become ‘other’.

I’ve tried to recreate what I can with the boyfriend. Tried to have a quaint Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas ritual but, it pales. No, it does more than pale. It disappears. When you’re with someone for over a decade you become comfortable in silence. There is no loud kitchen full of people eating and laughing. Making a Thanksgiving meal for two doesn’t take long, anyway. And this isn’t to say we are boring, curmudgeonly people. It’s just that we’ve had the conversations. We’re all caught up on our news. We still laugh and joke. But, there is no sparkle to be had because, really, why spend the time to decorate for yourself? It’s more effort than it’s worth.

And I guess, there is something deeper I am trying to say here. Something more than just “I really miss my friends” or “I really miss having a big family”. Which are all very true.

I guess what I’m saying is, I really wish people would see me as a legitimate human being even though I have chosen to not have children. My life, my endeavors are still valid. My time is not spent frivolously. I still have hardships.

I still count.

I am still here.

Back again

Well, this isn’t the first time I forgot about the blog. Or, wait, remembered the blog…

Actually, I never really forgot about it. I just didn’t have much longform to write. I also kind of went into hiding from the internet/social media (see last post). I’ve since come back to Facebook, but not Instagram. I manage mostly by keeping my Facebook tightly regulated (just recently broke 100 ‘friends’) and not reading comments on anything other than posts that I know won’t send my blood pressure into the stratosphere and ruin my mood.

So, yeah, I’m back, again. I’m switching careers and finding that my creativity is starting to creep back in and I’m wanting to write again. I logged in tonight with the intention of writing but then I got all sucked into revamping the theme and names and colors (oh, my). So, I have sufficiently derailed myself.

Perhaps tomorrow night I will return in full.

The Accidental Resolution

I’m not one for New Year celebrations. But don’t throw me in with the grumpy, scrooge-y types. I will go to a party or two as long as they are something 16 year old me would have found completely lame (read: card games, proper food and alcohol is optional). What can I say, I’m embracing my impending oldness. I never much got into the sentiment of washing away an old year and ushering in a new. Never made any resolutions. I try really hard to continually reevaluate what’s going on in my life and what I can improve or where I can ‘trim the fat’, so to speak.

But something odd happened today.

I accidentally made a new year’s resolution. And, it was kind of a big one.

I quit Facebook.

And then Instagram.

I know what you are thinking “Oh, she’ll be back within the week“.

But, really, I don’t think I will. Habits are hard to break, yes. But, this habit felt so good to let go of. It was surprisingly emotional. It felt like saying goodbye to someone who is moving away and tells you they will certainly, most definitely, stay in touch but you both know this is probably the last conversation you will have. It felt like a tether was cut and a tightness in my chest eased slowly throughout the day as time after time, when I reached for my tablet or phone, I realized I no longer had to check-in.

Facebook is like this whole other world that goes on with or without you. I found that there was a constant pressure to check often and make my presence known. Much like the party that you don’t want to go to but have to at least be seen at. Show up, make a few remarks, shake some hands and take a picture as proof. For years I’ve been wanting to ‘go dark’ but I felt like it was social suicide. Then I realized that if going off of Facebook caused me to lose friendships than perhaps those weren’t actually friendships. Plus, I started to believe that my interactions on Facebook either bolstered or reinforced my relationships in real life, but, honestly, they didn’t. They were vapid, easily passed over bits of text and inane ramblings. I found that I often liked a status more to say “hey, I’m here, I’m reading this, don’t forget about me, we totally think the same.” While I stayed away from creating status that were totally pointless, I still often created things just as an attempt to feel less lonely. To try and prove that I was just as interesting as everyone else seemed to be. I was that person in the room that kept trying to talk louder and louder so that people had no choice but to hear, regardless of if they were actually listening.

We all know that Facebook crops life into these neat, perfect, idyllic little squares of life.Vacations, happy moments, perfect meals, etc…but, this can be so toxic. It shifts our perspective and causes us to judge others and ourselves against depictions of life that aren’t whole. I found myself often thinking my situation X or relationship Y ‘should be’ like this or that person’s other situation or relationship. I ‘should’ work out like she does or do more to help like he does. But, no matter how much I told myself that the picture was skewed I still absorbed all the self-imposed judgement. I no longer enjoyed certain situations for their inherent worth but as something I could share. Everything seemed to require outside validation.

LOOKAT ME! VALIDATE ME! MEMEMEMEMEMEMEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

Well, fuck that! I’m done.

Facebook caused me anxiety. It caused me to live outside of situations as opposed to just enjoying being in them. It turned me into a judgy, ugly person. It caused me to foster relationships less and talk less because I had already ‘said’ things on Facebook. I mistook ‘conversations’ on status posts as a replacement for actual conversations. I’ve sat at tables where no one talked but I ended up with a whole list of friend requests by the end of the evening. Instead of calling friends to catch up I’d send a “How are things?” message that neither of us really wanted to spend time typing out full responses to so it never went anywhere past “Oh, you, know…things and stuff.”

After years on Facebook I started to feel less like myself, less grounded in reality and very distanced from the people around me. By removing myself from the crowd of screaming, validation seeking, knee-jerk commenting world I am allowing myself to return to relying on myself for my own worth and validation. I will take each situation for exactly what it’s worth at the time it’s happening and not worry about getting my picture/comment/status up before everyone else.

I’m not saying that all of Facebook is bad or that everyone is just playing high school popularity contests with it. But, for me, that’s how it felt. Facebook to me was like a bad boyfriend I always had to check in with, describe who I was with, and provide proof of where I had been. It caused me to be sad and anxious about my life and what I was, or wasn’t, doing with it. It’s covert and insidious in the ways it can change they way you view the world, yourself and the ways you enjoy to spend your time. And, for better social life or worse I’m calling it quits.