Things That Have Gone On

In my true, undisciplined fashion, I have once again let this blog languish for a couple months without updates. I’d like to say I didn’t have the time, but though there has been plenty going on in my life, the truth is I have also had plenty of time to plop down a few words, and I just haven’t done it. I mean to rectify this now!

I won’t be so bold as to say I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to write regularly, as making that kind of statement seems an almost surefire road to failure. But I have, after a couple months of creative stagnation, committed myself to filling up three pages of my fancy-pants Moleskine journal every day. It’s a very modest goal, and I could do more if I chose, but I just need to get myself back into the rhythms of daily writing, even if that writing only comes in brief bursts. I’ve made no such commitment to updating this blog, but I would hope that a desire to blog more is a natural consequence of my setting pen to paper regularly.

Though I don’t use them as an excuse for letting my output dwindle, the last few months have been a little odd, for lack of a better term. Since my last posting:

  • My boyfriend and I adopted a dog, Duke. No one can agree on exactly what he is, though we suspect he is mostly Redbone Coonhound, and when we take him on walks around the apartment complex, we are frequently met with comments on how attractive he is. We feel very much like proud parents now, and are quick to forgive the animal, even after he ate an entire loaf of bread off the kitchen counter while we were away.
  • Shortly after rescuing the dog, I reached a level of frustration and anxiety that convinced me I needed to go back on antidepressants after a four-year hiatus from them. It was something I had been mulling over for a while, but I was determined to be better all on my own, determined that I had gotten past that stage in my life when I needed better living through chemistry. It got to the point, though, where I started to recognize the signs of depression that had snuck up on me all through my adolescence and into my twenties, which five years ago transformed into a perfect storm in which I had a total breakdown at work for no reason at all and finally decided to go to therapy the next day. My mental state had not gotten quite that bad this time around, but I could see the worst coming, and decided to head it off at the pass by reluctantly going back on medication. And regardless of what the skeptics say, it very much helps me. The feelings of panic and despair that so often ate away at me during normal daily activities has subsided, and I feel much more clearheaded and ready to take on whatever challenges lie ahead. I am far from perfect, but I am much better.
  • Meanwhile, my dad officially started to come out to people as a transgender woman. This has been common knowledge in my family for several years now, since my parents’ divorce (which was precipitated by my dad’s newfound commitment to his true identity). There are a lot of things I could say about this, but at present I’m not confident enough to put any of my thoughts together in a coherent fashion. All I can say is that I’m glad my dad finally feels comfortable enough to be who he truly feels he is, and at the very least I am grateful that my parents, though separated, can still get along quite well, spending holidays together and quietly commiserating over their delightful children.
  • Four months after moving in together, the week before Christmas, my boyfriend and I moved yet again, to a different unit in the same apartment complex. If possible, it was a more harrowing experience than the first time we moved, from two separate apartments miles apart on the hottest day of the year. The distance moved was smaller, but it seemed greater, as we moved from a second floor walkup to a third floor walkup in a different building, this time with a 72-pound dog in tow. Despite the aggravation of the experience, though, it was a worthwhile change, as our upstairs neighbor in our previous apartment had the infuriating habit of stomping back and forth across his apartment for hours at a time like some kind of power-walking Frankenstein monster. To this day we’re not sure what the guy was doing, but to give some context, when we were almost done moving out, our downstairs neighbor appeared shocked, having no idea that we had been moving over several days. At the same time, our upstairs neighbor made enough noise that we thought for sure he was moving out, though that was hardly the case. We are now on the top floor and much happier, more relaxed people because of it.

Other things happened in this period, obviously. I went to NerdCon: Stories (perhaps the last one ever?). I got a significant raise at work that makes escaping my office job any time soon seem much less reasonable. I have deleted all the games off my phone and committed myself, along with writing more, to reading more this year instead of idly poking at Candy Crush. I am currently almost finished with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which despite its intimidating size is an engaging, fantastical read.

Looking back, there has been no real lack of activity in my life lately, though I do keep waiting for something else to happen. I’m not sure what I’m waiting for, but I’m frequently keeping an eye out for the next thing, the next step in my life, whatever that may be.

I’m looking back on this blog post and thinking to myself that it’s sloppy and not particularly engaging or well-written, but part of my commitment to writing more requires not overthinking what I do write. The practice is worth a lot, even if the execution isn’t the best. (At least until the execution really does matter and there’s a six-figure advance in the balance. But that’s not going to be on the table for quite a while, if ever.)

So I will remain sloppy for the time being. Sloppy and searching, and hopefully learning a few things as 2017 progresses. Here’s to the process, whatever form it takes!

Blank Walls

It’s been a couple weeks now since I moved out of my charming one-bedroom apartment—the one with the eroding stone wall and the upstairs neighbor who vacuumed at least four times a week, usually at ten o’clock at night—into a two-bedroom that I now share with my boyfriend. Moving weekend was brutal, as we chose the hottest weekend in twenty years to haul all of our belongings up and down stairs all day, but the pain of that experience is now a distant memory, and the bruises I incurred are at least 70% faded. Of course, they have since been replaced by other mysterious bruises, but that’s just how my anemic, olive-skinned self rolls. It is not uncommon for me to look like I’ve recently been in a fight with something about as tall as my shins, like an angry goose, or a fire hydrant.

It’s been a few years since I lived with anyone else, so there is an extra level of adjustment in this relocation, a constant checking of the more self-centered habits I’d gotten used to indulging in when I lived alone. Despite that, and despite the fact that I’ve never lived with a significant other before, so far things have been…comfortable. As anticipated, the change of setting has been simple enough for me to adapt to, and I’ve fallen easily into my new routine, which includes a seven-minute commute to work and, so far, no need to adjust my sleep schedule to accommodate my neighbors’ obsessive housekeeping. So far, so good.

Buffy posterIf there has been any source of angst in this move, it has been in the fact that I am aggressively no-frills in my home decor aesthetic. For a long time I’ve had a strong aversion to the collection of crap. If something isn’t immediately useful, I don’t want to waste my time or money on it. As a result, for the entire first year I lived in my previous apartment, I hung up perhaps one picture, leaving the rest of the walls bleak and bare. For a long time I didn’t even have a bookshelf, leaving my books stacked up in piles on the floor.

My significant other belongs to the “more is more” camp, and gets more satisfaction out of the art of interior design than I ever will. Thus, I now find myself in a position where, to be equally represented on the walls and shelves of this new apartment, I need to grit my teeth and invest in more art and *dramatic music* tchotchkes.

It seems like such a silly thing to be angsty about. There are certainly worse things to spend your money on. Like drugs. Pyramid schemes. Crocs. That burger where the buns are replaced with fried chicken. As someone who presumably appreciates art and has a reasonably developed aesthetic sensibility, you would think I’d be thrilled at the opportunity to decorate my space with objects and images that inspire and delight me. Somehow, though, my frugality and laziness merge with a latent sense of utilitarianism, and the end result is bare apartment walls and an office at work completely devoid of personal items. If I had a nickel for every time someone walked into my office and said, “You should put up some pictures in here!” I’d have…well, at least enough to feed the parking meter.

So to fight against this tendency towards sparseness, I’m keeping my eyes open and thinking about the things that, while not useful in the strictest sense, still serve a purpose in the memories they evoke or the feelings they inspire. I find it all too easy to get caught up in asking what the point of things are, asking why I do the things I do, and sucking any potential joy out of experiences in the process. I still think it’s wise not to spend time and money recklessly on things that have no positive value, but at the same time I have to remind myself that it’s possible to simply enjoy and appreciate things and experiences for what they are, whether or not they have an immediately apparent utility.

The new apartment is a lovely, comfortable, quiet place, and I think we will get along just fine here. In the meantime, though, I need me some more art! STAT! (Or, you know, whenever I get around to it.)