finding my light

my last trip of 2018 is behind me; it's a healthy time to pause and reflect on the passage of time and the personal growth stuff. though i in no way want to diminish the accomplishments of the year, i'd like to focus on my inability to say something amazing and grand about it.

my growth is my own. what i feel is felt because of my previous experiences, and i can and do find it difficult to communicate that to other people. i think i get in my own way, and i felt that on more than one occasion while speaking with k in portland. it was our first introduction to each other, though i've heard wonderful things about her from r for a while now. k is a woman who is smart, thoughtful, well-spoken, and hard-working. i have this memory of sitting opposite from her and searching for the right words to say to communicate a thought. try as i might, i just couldn't nail it down. it seems at times that the inner perfectionist gets the upper hand and my grasp of the english language falters and fails. in times like those, i envy spock. "here, just connect to my mind directly--do you understand what i mean? do you see who i am?" k was patient and kind; she never made me feel less-than, and our conversation moved on.

i think that is probably the most poignant lesson/observation in my forty-first year on earth: listen, accept, advance. it's improv meets real life up in here, and i've connected with remarkable human beings who infuse me with a joie de vivre that i wouldn't trade for anything. to all the new and old friends in my life: thank you. 2018 wouldn't be what it is without you.


for your consideration

it's sunday, traditionally a day of rest, and i'm sitting on my sofa with my laptop propped on a pillow. moxie nests himself between the keyboard and my abdomen, resting his chin on my left wrist; i can feel the vibration of his purrs through my skin and bones. i've just finished reading blair tindall's memoir, mozart in the jungle*. i've kept this book too long and managed to incur a fine from the local library along with a block on my account. this seems to be a necessary fact to share with you because it's a first in my four-year relationship--since when does a book forget to be renewed or returned except when one fails to note a reminder or read through it in the allotted three weeks? time has been slipping through my fingers lately, a blur of working overtime, cooking, cleaning, and wondering when i won't have to do all this work to keep myself so dutifully engaged.

allow me to regroup.

on the matter of the book. tindall does a magnificent job of not only memorializing her life, but calling out the difficulties of the modern orchestra (which is an understatement, and an all-too-abrupt summarization). upon reading the final sentence on the final page, i am struck by where she leaves me.

tindall was 44 when she completed her book. i am 41. yes, of course this is me trying to relate to another human being. it is what i do when i read a book. how do i relate to what i just read? what affect does it have on my life and what i am doing with my life and how i am living my life? this remains to be seen, i think, but i can tell you as someone who has spent the last decade sans life-partner i am once again encouraged to bear witness to someone who is going it alone.

it's fucking hard as hell and some days i hate it.

i write that and i instantly want to apologize for my profanity (mom, dad, nephew, niece, sister, sensitive readers). but you know what, i'm going to leave it there, which is really hard to do because i think i spend/have spent a great deal of time trying to make other people comfortable. there's certainly a time and place for that degree of diplomacy, but i will not have it on this blog. i will not.

for those of you tackling life hand-in-hand with a partner/spouse/commune, i applaud your support system. i don't deny that i have a safety net of family and friends scattered across this earth (though mostly in the united states, with a concentration in california). but each and every day that i get up, it's just me and my cat. there may also be dirty dishes, a pile of sheets and towels in the hamper, a yoga mat in the living room, a layer of dust on the television, and clean clothes wrinkling in a laundry basket. my cleaning motivation comes (and goes) in intervals. right now i'm writing this and not taking care of any of it. i need to write this though, and so i do.

i have to figuratively laugh and shake my head because i think that's all i really wanted to get off my chest. i could vamp on how hard it's been, but it's pretty easy for me to imagine and acknowledge how hard it can been for anyone regardless of their life's circumstances. thinking of things that way really takes the wind out of my ire and provides an odd sense of comfort. i had this desire to complain and now that has all but left me.

instead, i'll focus on tindall's persistence, overcoming countless internal and external obstacles, conquering times of stagnation, devoting herself to personal growth when a part of her surely wanted to succumb to the stability of performing in a broadway pit. within that snapshot of her life, i find something relatable that i want to cling to so that i remember to keep going despite the times i feel tired or lonely (&c). i've been pretty damn successful at keeping my life full and fulfilling--i don't see any reason to give up on that now.

*blair tindall is an oboist cum writer.


thoughtful thursdays

i am so deeply happy content right now. (happiness doesn’t quite capture the sentiment.)

lest i be accused of vague-posting, it concerns all the work that i've done during the last ten-ish years.

work means both career-building and personal-life-building.

career-building means my bachelor's degree, paralegal certificate, and the financial crimes career that arrived in late 2013. opportunities have evolved beyond my imagination as i've been challenged in a variety of endeavors that feed the perpetual student living inside of me.

personal-life-building means therapy and learning life-skillz. it means dating and learning what i want (but not before i learned what i don't want, which was a painful and repetitious process). it means developing an exercise routine that's kept me migraine-free for the past six months. more than those things, it's about being able to experience life as fully as possible by way of seeing the wide world, and touching and tasting it. it's new york city and sweden and destinations yet to be determined.

i did a fair amount of work to get here, but i recognize that my opportunities have been plentiful; i'm not short on gratitude for those doors that were opened for me and for the others that i persistently knocked on over and over until they opened.

it all means that it's possible for me to work a 10 hour day and have energy left over for myself . i am terribly grateful to make it to my forties and to be ... happy, content, hopeful, independent. there were certainly points over the last decade where i was depressed, anxious, and/or envious of other people's lives.  now i envy my life--which i suppose isn't envy at all, but enjoyment. it's not perfect, but i'm building something that i'm pretty damn proud of.

song of the day...


a divorced woman's guide to wanderlust

i confess to being intimidated by the prospect of exploring this great big world as a singular figure of the female persuasion. nonetheless, the past year is showing me new ways of getting out and of figuring it out in such a way as to keep myself safe; i try to limit the parental stress my adventures have a tendency to induce. maybe for you these concerns seem archaic and underwhelming. if that is the case, i wouldn't mind possessing some of that superpower you're tucking under your arm.

last month i went to sweden. it's the farthest i've gone since getting divorced and it was fine. my friend met me at the airport and welcomed me into her cozy home with visiting family to boot. and it was more than fine. from that experience i learned that not only can i travel by myself, but that i weather challenges with ease. i also know how much i appreciated being able to come "home" at the end of a day's wanderings and enjoy the comfort of a houseful of (old and new) friends. were my travels entirely solitary, a week is an awfully long time to go without meaningful conversation. i think i can tolerate about a day or two before i start to itch; i blame the extroverted introvert within.

consequently, i'm actively pursuing opportunities to travel with friends (or a friend). up next: a three-ish day whale-watching expedition out of montauk with one of my dearest friends. after that? who knows. my sis, brother-in-law, and i want to head to england, france, and ireland. i'm brushing up on my french with the duolingo app, and i'm trying to keep swedish in the mix as well. it's going to be a couple of years before the family trip happens, so i'll look to go to places where i know someone in the meantime.

reader, are you a solo traveler? what's your story? what works/doesn't work for you? if you see this and care to share some thoughts, please do!

taken at göteborgs botaniska trädgård



good lord i miss sweden. it's been nearly two weeks, one trip to IKEA, and countless photographic tours since i was there. i sit at my kitchen table (an IKEA purchase made nearly three years ago) listening to bo sundström fill the air with svensk jazz and plot my return, as well as my future endeavors.

actually, i don't. i don't because i'm writing this blog; i'm sending out a message into the stratosphere for everyone and for no one. also, it's been about two weeks since the book of faces left my daily browsing radar and i haven't been gripped with fomo. that's a relief. it means i have time to listen to music and take several seconds to watch my cat's ribs expand and contract with his breath (which i just did). it means i don't have to spend any time trying to curate my newsfeed into something the least bit relevant by reducing the ire that was making my eyes cross almost every day. maybe you can tolerate it, but i think i just gave up. between that one episode of black mirror, dave eggers' the circle (the book version--skip the film), and the weird timing of the  cambridge anayltica news, i was ready. anyhow, it feels good to have turned that corner, if only because my mind often feels so crowded by random thoughts.

at any rate, it's sunday evening. i'm trying to wind down in preparation for a full week at work, so this is all i've got in me for now.