It’s All About the Hustle

I’ve been hustling. And I do mean hustling hard. I’ve got two side hustles going on, on top of the full-time job (which I’m actively seeking to replace with a different full-time job elsewhere – never satisfied anymore, it seems).

One is the tutoring gig, which is frankly more trouble than it’s worth at this point because of an extended commute and a low cut of the pay. But I’m committed to seeing the school year through. They’ve got another month in these parts.

Second hustle is a writing thing I’ve been doing. Fluffy SEO padding shit to trick google. (They probably think I don’t know what’s up, but it’s fairly obvious it’s all bogus to do some hardcore SEO driving. You know, bolding keywords here and there. Burying a “moneylink” in a sea of non-competing, vaguely related links. Appending exactly three license-free stock photos and one embedded YouTube video. Yeah. Fun stuff.) But you know what? I’ve decided that I don’t care. I’m not screwing over any people with the BS articles and blog posts. I’m helping to trick a search engine that tricks people anyway. And while it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, at $15 a post…I can’t afford to linger too long on my reservations. I figure…keep this up a couple of months, and I’ll be back to salient. Quite frankly, that outweighs ethics at this point (to a reasonable extent, anyway).

What does bug me is that the hustle further stymies my own words, because damnit I’m churning out four to eight of those suckers a day on top of my day job. But I don’t know how long the little gig will last, so I’m gonna milk it for all it’s worth.

I think…I just needed to vent that. And say that, no…I’m not trying to disappear. Again. Doesn’t mean I won’t. But it’s not my intent.

One day at a time.

One day at a time.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some hustling to do.

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Adulting 101

  • Move across the country, leaving behind (nearly) everything you’ve ever known. Oh wait, that totally doesn’t count as adulting.
  • Job hunt for three months, because you refuse to settle (at least until your shekels run out).
  • Land a job from your shortlist of “dream” jobs…then promptly find the negatives (even though you actually kinda love the work – don’t worry. I anticipate rants aplenty.).
  • Commuting an hour each way, in good traffic – only taking one week to get sick to death of that aspect. To death.
  • Keeping your after-hours tutoring gigs because bills. Because money. Because adulting. Because your “dream job” is highly underpaid.
  • Become a slightly better-functioning night-owl/pseudo-insomniac and running on four hours of heavily medicated sleep-aid sleep at best.
  • Start adding a shot of espresso to your usual vanilla chai latte because tired as fuck, even though the taste makes you want to spew chunks.
  • Neglect the things you like, again, but this time with legitimate excuses (such as the schedule that has me running from 5 AM to 8-9 PM (which is usually when I finally make it back to basement)).
  • Get used to being abandoned by those whom once claimed they’d be by your side forever. Grow just callused enough to make it through the day, but sometimes still cry yourself to sleep at night. Whoops, that got dark. My bad.
  • What I meant to say was something along the lines of: being lonely as fuck. And also something else to do with that “fuck” word. I want a buddy, a companion, a partner-in-crime, a lover. I’m sick of waiting around for things that I thought were something they weren’t. And I refuse to join some dating service. So that leaves me…right here, bitching!

Hmm. I know there’s more, but I have to get back to work. I took a brief lunch break…a break from writing to write. Heh. Fuck, I’m braindead. I’ve written roughly fifty pages this week – stuff like newsletters, newspaper articles, ad blurbs, radio scripts, and now I’m about to start on blogging. I’ve helped perform interviews. I’ve assisted in ad-buying decisions and helped negotiate contract prices. I’ve improved departmental organization. And I’ve been here a week! I’m fucking tired! And pleased – with my job.

So yeah. Break’s over. Enough writing. I have writing to do!

Oh. And. HI!

That Time I was Adopted

In September.

Of 2016.

As in, four months ago. At the tender age of 36.

Back in August, when I was mainlining xanax to get through the immense stress I was going through trying to get the fuck out of Louisiana, one of my buddies from work came to chill in my office for a while. I’ll call him “Habanero,” since he’s the biggest RHCP fan I know (besides LE MOI. DUH.).

So we’re listening to the chili peppers and chatting about random shit, and finally we get into Oregon and Portland. Finally landing somewhere around this paraphrased bit…

Habanero: Dude, so I heard you don’t know anyone up there. I laughed when P. Whipped told me that.

Me: arches an eyebrow

Habs: No fucking way. Friends? Family?

Me: Nah. I don’t have anyone up there. I don’t know why everyone is making such a big deal out of it. shrugs

Habs: laughs and leans back. The whole Pacific Northwest? You know…nada? Maaaaan, P. Whipped thinks you’re nuts. Hell, everyone does. But me? I envy you. You got some serious balls. What’s your plan?

I give him the gist of what I intended – which was to spend a week in an extended stay, during which time I’d find a place to rent and take whatever job I could find.

Habs: Listen, I know a guy.

Me: If this is gonna end with me dead in the desert or in a Mexican prison, I’m not interested.

Habs: Dude, I think I saw that one! ANYWAY. I know a guy: Jalapeño. Jalapeño and I grew up together, and he has family in Oregon. I’m gonna hit ’em up. They’ll let you crash for a couple weeks, while you get settled. I’m tellin’ you. They will.

Me: My eyes must have been big as saucers. This is something I normally would have put the kibosh on I-FUCKING-MMEDIATELY. Really, Habs? You think so?

Habs: I fucking know it. I’ll talk to Jala. We’ll sort it out; you’ll see.

Me: Dude, even if this doesn’t work out – you’re fucking awesome for even suggesting it. For thinking of me. Thank you.

Habs: Nah, you my homegirl. I can’t stand the idea of you going up there like that, with nobody at all. These people are cool. I mean, nice. Like. Nice as fuck. You’ll see.

~

Habanero didn’t contact them until around the last week of August…as in right at the last minute. But he wasn’t kidding. They took me in, showed me around, and now I’m renting a room from them.

It’s weird. And uncomfortable. Awkward as fuck.

And I’m tellin’ you, these people straight up act like they’re my folks. They’ve even introduced me that way once or twice, “This is Stephanie, the daughter we just met in September.”

They text me when they think I’m out too late.

They text me when they think I’ve been gone longer than whatever errand I’m on should require.

I do their laundry for them (sometimes).

I dogsit for them (often).

They drag me to family functions (after promising my presence and tricking me into going by telling me we’re doing SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY THEN WE SHOW UP TO A FUNCTION WITH SEVENTY PEOPLE).

And…

They’re nice. And what I’m paying them in rent has enabled me to drag out the little bit I got back from the sale of the house…so that I can look for a job I actually want to pursue instead of settling for the first thing some agency could dig up for me. I had only been here a week when they approached me and asked me to stay. “The angels sent you to us. It was meant to be. We talked to our medium about you. She thinks you ARE an angel. Will you meet her with us?”

Yeah.

It’s interesting, alright.

And it’s a strange feeling. Being parented. At 36. After a lifetime of little to none of that.

They’ve taken me to the beach. They’ve taken me to restaurants my budget would definitely not allow. They gave me gifts at Christmas and cry and tell me they love me.

So I have to deal with some overbearing shit. So I have to deal with someone who may be at the beginning stages of dementia. So I have to deal with hugs and hovering and manipulation to spend time with them. So I have to listen to them repeat the same life stories over and over and over again for hours on end. So I have to deal with parents. Family.

I’ve also been given this two-fold gift of being able to take my time and pursue something better than “just a job.” And…as strange and uncomfortable as it is…it feels good, sometimes. To be depended on. To be…loved.

As grateful as I am, you’ll most assuredly get plenty of rants about how manipulative they can be. And how downright fucking mean-as-a-snake the man can be. But when I’m being fair, those times are few compared to how fortunate I’ve been and am right now. This is temporary – they both know that, though they’ve both also said they want me to stay for good. (Yeah, I’m serious. There’s obviously more I haven’t told in this little post: like how I think my very presence has acted as a balm for them and their loneliness, health problems they’re both dealing with, etc.) But I agreed to their rent proposition “for up to a year.” I’m not sure I can deal with the smothering that long, but hell. The way things are going, don’t ask me what comes next. I sure as hell don’t know.

Life is weird. And this new chapter book my life is writing is certainly no exception.

The Iron Horse

She could hear the faint groans of life stirring from the master bedroom.

“Fuck. He’s awake.”

With a heavy sigh, she struggled to turn her head toward the window. She could hear his soft approach, the door squeaking open. Will he ever fix that fucking squeak?

“How do you feel this morning? Ready for breakfast?”

“Would you just leave me alone? I can’t bear this ritual anymore.” Why must he torment me so?

“Look at me, Clara. Can’t you even look at me?” His soft touch caressed her cheek, brushed her hair back.

Her reply was less biting this time, her voice suddenly soft, tears streaming down her cheeks to wet the pillow. “I can’t stand for you to see me this way.” Please don’t look at me.

“How long will it take for you to realize I’m not going anywhere? Nor do I want to. How long will it take for you to see the richness of life still in your grasp?”

He realized his mistake as soon as it escaped his lips.

“Heh, my grasp. My grasp?!” Her eyes flitted down toward her motionless hands, then up at him.

“I’m sorry, Clara.” He cocked his head to the side, eyes suddenly flashing. “No. You know what? I’m not sorry,” he said in a stern voice. She couldn’t remember the last time this gentle man grew so stern. “I’m not sorry at all. I’m done tiptoeing around you, and you’re done existing this way. This is no life.”

She gasped as she looked up at him, eyes surprised as the tears slowly dried. He continued, “Right here. Right now. You make a choice. Are you going to live? Or are you going to die? If you want to die, you know she’ll do it. I can call her right now, and a simple injection will end it all. You have that right. But if you’re to live, things change. Starting right now. So what’s it gonna be?”

She eked out the barest of whispers, “Live.”

“I. Can’t. Hear. You.”

“Live. I want to live.”

He stooped over, draped her arm around the back of his neck and carefully lifted and carried her to the wheelchair. He smacked the wheel nearest him and smirked, “You think I haven’t heard you call this a fucking prison? This, my dear girl, this is your freedom. This is your steed. Your iron horse.” He wheeled her down the hallway, through the living room and carefully out the front door and onto the porch. “Now. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?”

“Everywhere,” she whispered. “Everything.”

“That’s my girl.”

What are you so afraid of?

Have you ever considered what bears and grocery stores have in common? I have. It’s fear. Bears and grocery stores have fear in common.

Some people are afraid of bears. I’m not. I have a healthy respect for them, and I know proper procedures to prevent bear encounters and protocol should I ever encounter one anyway (though I’m sure all of that knowledge would elude me at such a time). But I do not fear them. Not exactly. I mean, I was wary enough to avoid cooking when I stayed in Shoshone National Forest, or in GNP or Yellowstone, places like that. I was afraid to cook, but that was mostly because I was afraid of myself – of not being cautious enough or missing spots during cleaning. I was afraid I’d fuck it up. I didn’t actually go to sleep in fear. I happily climbed into my tent and into my sleeping bag, falling asleep nearly instantly after long days of hiking.

I’m not afraid of bears.

Some people are afraid of grocery stores. I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’ve figured out how I know. I am afraid of grocery stores. But I believe it’s less about being in public (which is a whole separate issue for me) and more about whom I may encounter there. I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area, which makes the chances rather high for running into people whom I’d rather not run into. Even so, it’s happened a disproportionate amount of times. Sometimes I’ve been so shaken up that I’ve left the store without making my purchases. I believe there was only once that I had a buggy full of groceries, and I left in a panic. But I’ve seen people I’d rather not with high frequency. My anxiety and fear ratcheted up to the point where I’d drive to the grocery (after allowing myself to run out of pretty much everything), then sit in the car in the parking lot for several minutes to an hour before finally driving away without ever getting out of the car.

I’m afraid of grocery stores.

This fear has caused me to spend more money than I can really afford (considering other shit I desperately need to take care of) and damage my health with fast food. There’s no risk I’ll run into anyone when I just go through a drive-thru and go home. But it’s not a healthy way to live, not for mind or body.

I went to the grocery store today. It sounds so simple, it’s nothing more than an inconvenience. Rightfully so. It’s pretty irrational to be petrified of grocery shopping. But I am. I have been. I went today, and I didn’t make a quick run, either. I started in produce and made my way around the store, selecting my purchases. I’ll need to go again tomorrow, as I didn’t take a list today (it was more about pushing through my fear and getting started with the basics). I got nearly everything I need. But I need a few more things. Perhaps I’ll make crawfish étouffée tomorrow.

I had a big day for me, really. I got up early (on a Saturday – what the fuck is the world coming to (I like to sleep until 3 PM or Sunday)), got dressed (that’s important to do before going out in public, or so I’ve been told), grabbed a bottle of water and hit the park. My foot still hasn’t healed (what the fuck, man), but I walked a trail anyway. Along a lake. It was so fucking humid, but it was lovely. It was lovely. The birds and the flowers and the water and the occasional breeze. Left there and went to a café (sort of), got a fruity iced tea thingy and a croissant. Then I went straight to the grocery store. I only sat in the car for about fifteen minutes (trust me, that’s good for me). When I got home, I didn’t stop. There has been zero bed or moping or bed moping today. Mowed the yard, fixed the new gravel that’s on the driveway, babied some suffering plants, and now I’m doing laundry. I need a shower so badly, but I wanna make sure most of the sweating is behind me before I do!

I kept a promise today. Promises are sacred to me. You don’t fuck with a promise unless you didn’t have a choice (and you pretty much always have a choice, so you better have a fucking good reason). I promised to work on myself today, push past the fear and do it. And I did. And I felt (feel) fantastic and optimistic afterward. I know optimism is a feeling like any other – it comes and goes with the days and moods. But for now, I’m enjoying it. And when it begins to fade again, I’ll have to push past the fear again. Today was one day. This is one weekend. I need to make it two. And keep going.

Because if I don’t – I’ll get to Oregon or Washington and nothing will have changed. I will go to work as I do here. I will drive straight home as I do here. And I will cry and mope and wish for adventure. And I will hold myself back. If I can’t push through it here, what makes me think I will there? I don’t want to move to the PNW just to continue the lifestyle I have now. What’s the fucking point of that? If I’m to live, I need to start living.

shawshank-redemption-movie-quote-dying-living-death-busy-quote

What else am I afraid of?

I’m not afraid of spiders – not majorly so. I have a massive fear of venomous ones. But little jumping spiders? They’re fucking adorable. The wolf spider I found in my garden made me scream like a little girl and literally run away. That was pretty funny. But I didn’t kill it. I let it be…and used gloves when I got back to it.

I was afraid of pubs. I pushed through it, and I’m okay there now. Not exactly comfortable, but okay.

I’m afraid of my nosebleeds. What do they mean? Dunno. But that’s the kind of thing I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of my neighbors. Not in any dangerous sense, but in the sense that they’re there. Watching me. Judging me. Talking about me. Hell, I should just say I’m afraid of people and have done.

I’m afraid of attachment. I crave it, and yet I fear it. Because allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable exposes your soft underbelly. And some people like to stab those, repeatedly.

I’m afraid of the government, and all of its agents, because of the power we’ve given over to it.

I’m afraid of the threat of tornadoes. Always was, irrationally so. But now that one has hit my house, the fear is greater.

I’m afraid of heights, but not to a crippling extent. Not enough to hinder me from walking cliff trails in the mountains.

I’m afraid I’ll die alone. Nothing I can really do about it aside from keeping myself open to possibilities and otherwise keep on keepin’ on.

I’m afraid of missing out. Of never discovering meaning or purpose. Perhaps there isn’t one. And if there isn’t, then I’m afraid I’ll never be content with that answer. Again. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on, and keep myself open to new ideas and possibilities.

I’m afraid of suffering. I’m afraid of cancer and heart disease. Too much of it in my family, and it scares me. I need to live more healthfully and mindfully.

I’m afraid of my bad memory and what it may mean for my old age, should I make it there. Yet another thing I need to work on improving.

I’m afraid of touching crickets. When I’d go fishing, I could never bait my own hook. I could never get a fish off of a hook, either. I couldn’t touch the cricket. I’d try and try and try, then squeal and back away. Yes. I’m such a girl in some ways. In more ways than I let on here sometimes, I think. And you know what I mean. Soft. Emotional. Sensitive. Gentle. Nervous. Bashful. Afraid to touch bugs, but don’t want to see them dead. Those aren’t purely feminine traits, but fucks sake why am I trying to explain this. Anyway. Yeah. I’m more of a “girl” than I let on.

Hm. I think that’s enough for now. I’m actually in a calm, gentle, smiley mood. So don’t let all this fear talk fool you. I’m looking inward and taking inventory as I am wont to do. Today I don’t find it depressing. Today it’s like cleaning out the cobwebs and taking stock.

Now to see what tomorrow holds.

A Glimmer of Hope

That’s all you need. Just a glimmer. A hint of a glimmer, even. That’s all. It doesn’t take much. All you’re looking for is one tiny hint of a glimmer…

To survive.

Life isn’t easy. Heh. What a fucking understatement. Life is a pain in the ass, that’s what. Especially when you’re an emotional brooder. I am one seriously angsty, existentially pained person. And I’m not the only one. You ponder the same things, don’t you?

Why am I here?
What’s the fucking point?
What is my purpose?
Why fucking bother?
Who am I?
What does it all mean?
What is my place?
Do I have one?
Am I even real?
What does it even mean to be real?

I don’t have answers to any of those questions. Sometimes I wish I could stop seeking them. But I also don’t wish to cease the quest. Because questing is part of the answer of “Who am I?” I’m a woman on a quest. A tiny speck in the Cosmos on my own personal quest for meaning and purpose. And when it isn’t breaking me down and crushing my lungs, it’s thrilling, exciting. The search, the quest…when I stop asking questions; when I stop searching for meaning and purpose and truth and beauty; then I cease to exist.

I just wish…that I could stop turning suicidal when I cannot find satisfactory answers to the questions that haunt me. Drive me. Push me. Tear at me. Claw at me.

I feel incomplete. And since I know not how to become complete, I devolve into a mass of emotional futility. I begin feeling that I wish I could simply cease to exist. For if there is no purpose for me, for my existence, then it should be extinguished.

But I know. I know that is the depression talking. The downswing of bipolar. What-the-fuck-ever it is. I know that’s what’s doing the talking in those dark hours of my soul.

And that’s what’s talking to you. When you feel like you can’t go another step. Take another breath. Eke out another heartbeat. That’s what’s talking: your depression.

Maybe the people in your life who were supposed to build you up and love you failed in their responsibilities to you. Maybe they taught you that you’re worthless. Useless. A no-account failure.

Maybe you made mistakes in your past, and you’ve never forgiven yourself for them. Even as everyone else around you has forgotten or moved on. Or perhaps their punishments far outweigh your crimes.

Maybe you’re all alone. Or you think you are. But guess what? If you’re here, reading this right now, you aren’t alone. Not entirely.

Listen, I’m no therapist. I certainly don’t have the answers. I’m a mess my damn self. Anyone who’s been around here a while knows that to be true. I’m a work in progress, and I always will be.

But there’s something I do know for sure: if you don’t grasp those tiny glimmers of hope, then you’re in big trouble. No one can grasp them for you. You have to reach out and grasp them on your own.

But we can show you. We can show each other. We can point each other toward the glimmers. Toward the “light.” Toward survival. Toward life.

I don’t have much. Disregarding all the first-world bullshit, I don’t have much in the way of what I think makes a complete life. But you know what? I have to recognize that part of that is my misconception of what makes a complete life. There is no one right way to live your life.

I feel alone. Completely and utterly alone. And you know what? That’s fucked up. Because I have you awesome people here. All I have to do is show the fuck up, and people come and say hi and talk to me and to each other. That’s it. No one can force me to be here. I have to do that part myself. But people point me toward this glimmer. One amazing friend in particular hassles me to show up and write. Hassle hassle hassle. And you know something? When I do, I feel better. Every. Fucking. Time. And I feel less alone.

I still go to bed alone. I still don’t get hugs and affection. I still don’t have someone to sit beside me and play video games with, or read and dissect the same literature with, or tickle each other until we nearly piss our pants.

But I’m not completely alone. And to say so would be a slap in the face to you wonderful people here. This is something I have to remind myself of daily.

I feel worthless. Pointless. Useless. I really do. It hurts, and I’m crying even typing this all out. But then I get reminded sometimes that I do have worth, even if I don’t think I do or I don’t think it’s enough. Because sometimes someone shows up here and says my words touched them. Or they understand how I feel and are glad to know they aren’t alone. And I know that feeling well. I’ve visited some of you and read your words, and I think to myself…I wish this person wasn’t going through that but fucking hell it makes me feel such a sense of relief to know I’m not alone in this. It’s not just me. I’m not some fucked up anomaly.

Maybe you feel trapped and hopeless, like you’re stuck in your current situation with no way out. Or you don’t even know what you want or how to get there. I’ve been there. I know that feeling, too.

I feel like this is all very rambly, but I’m pretty much freewriting right now. Because I had a conversation today, with one of the most important people in the world to me. And he said he was tired. Tired of life. Tired of it all. Just. Fucking. Tired. And didn’t feel there was any reason to go on anymore. And I said, you have to dig deep and discover what those things are that make you want to keep trudging forward. He said he doesn’t want to trudge. I wish I could do it for him. I wish I could do it for all of you. But all I can do is share my experiences and try to give you a glimmer of hope. And I hope with all my soul that you reach for it.

Each and every day, I tell myself: find one thing. Just one thing. And let that one thing be your one reason to get out of bed today. To keep on keeping on. Everyone can find one thing. Just. One. Thing. I got that from this beautiful post that I used to read every single day. Now I read it once or twice a month or as needed to remind myself. Please. Please read it. It’s important for those of you who struggle with me. Or if you know someone who does, maybe this will help them as it helped me. Hell it saved me. I found it because I was googling suicide. I think I googled something like, “give me one good fucking reason I shouldn’t kill myself right now.” And that showed up. And I’m still here.

Let me tell you the sorts of things I cling to, some “big” and some “small.” I put those in quotes, because anything that keeps you going is a Big Fucking Deal.

The things I “trudge on” for:

  • You. Yes, you. The one reading this right now. The community here on WordPress.
  • My friends. I actually have friends now, thanks to this space. And you mean the world to me.
  • The smell of freshly cut grass. Oh I love that smell.
  • All sorts of smells: rain, ocean, sweat, flowers, pot, clean skin, mountain air, pine…
  • The feel of rain on my face.
  • Mountain breezes and cold glacial air.
  • The crunch of autumn leaves underfoot.
  • Thick, dank forest air and the clean sweat from humidity.
  • Laughter, pure and uninhibited.
  • A purring feline nestled against me.
  • Books and words and thoughts and challenged perspectives.
  • Popsicles on 105 degree August days.
  • The new Deftones album I’ve yet to listen to.
  • I want to thru-hike the PCT.
  • I want to jump out of an airplane.
  • I want to sit on the steps of Montmatre.
  • I want to walk the cobblestone streets of Prague.
  • I want to kayak Class IV and V rapids.
  • I want to fix up an old sailboat myself, learn to sail and take that bitch for an epic excursion.

There are so many reasons, y’all. And all you need is one. One reason. One little reason for each day. Maybe it’s the same reason over and over. Maybe it’s something small. Maybe it’s something grand. But all you need is one. And I know good and damn well everyone has at least one.

Find it. Ask yourself what you live for. What your simple and grand joys and visions are. Find them. And then reach out. Reach out for those glimmers of hope. And once you’ve found them and reached for them, pursue them. I will never kayak Class V rapids, until I learn how to control my kayak in Class II and III rapids and overcome my fear of great depths in water. I will never accomplish that sitting on my ass or crying in bed all weekend.

Life is a bitch sometimes. It’s just a point of fact. It would be so easy to pull a trigger and end it all. So. Fucking. Easy. But you’re still here reading, because you’re looking for a reason not to.

Know this: the only thing that 100 percent CANNOT be changed or undone is death. Everything is in your power to change or improve upon. Except your death. You cannot change that. You cannot undo it. You cannot try again. You cannot start over. And you will never get that first kiss. You will never climb that mountain. You will never see that open air opera in Rome. You will never land your dream job. You will never learn how to bake that cake. You will never have that cottage near the forest. If you pull the trigger.

Depression is strong and deceptive. You have to fight it. Fight for your life. The glimmers of hope aren’t going to track you down and save you. You have to extend your hand. Reach for them. Then tomorrow, you can get up and take one step forward. And another step the day after.

And before you know it, you’re no longer surviving.

You’re living.

The Wallpaper

The Wallpaper was beautiful, ethereal. When you looked at it from a certain angle, it could make you erupt into fits of laughter. Tilt your head, and now you softly weep. Try another angle, and your heart would skip a beat. Another still, and your soul would soar beyond the corporeal. One might say there was a special magic to it, though there were but few capable of seeing it.

It covered a single room, smallish in size as far as rooms go. To say that the room was in a severe state of disrepair would be an enormity of an understatement. Furnished with two worn chairs, a small, stained and rickety tea table, a lone bookshelf overflowing and buckling from its burden and a dingy window showing only peeling paint and crusts of dirt.

There was a time when the chairs, so richly upholstered, would have been considered beautiful and welcoming in their comfort by anyone’s standards. There was a time when the varnish on the bookshelf was so rich and polished that you could see your reflection if you held your head just so. There was a time when the dingy window was carefully kept clean and crystalline, so that you could gaze upon the beautiful and wondrous lands of The Dreaming.

The Wallpaper made up for the room’s deteriorated state. In fact, only the room’s Inhabitant recognized what was happening. Only the room’s Inhabitant knew that the Wallpaper was next. The Keeper of the room, however, remained oblivious to the creeping neglect and the devastation it would wreak.

The last day of Autumn found the Inhabitant ensconced in the only chair ever used. One leg bent and tucked beneath the other thigh, the Inhabitant reached for a sip of tepid tea. The chipped cup forthwith dropped from a trembling hand as the Inhabitant saw it. The first crack in the Wallpaper.

Terrified, the Inhabitant bolted to the door and woefully wailed and begged for help. With obvious annoyance, the Keeper approached to inquire what could possibly be so wrong as to create such a ruckus. Choking on sobs, the Inhabitant pointed at the crack in the Wallpaper.

Moving closer to inspect, the Keeper fingered the new curl in the Wallpaper. Whirling back on the Inhabitant, the Keeper proclaimed that this was nothing. The Wallpaper is fine. In fact, the tear gives it character. When the Inhabitant pointed out that damage left in disrepair spreads and rots, the Keeper angrily chided and admonished against overreaction.

I am the Keeper! Not you! Only you would even notice such a thing! This is NOTHING!

With the slam of the door, the Inhabitant slowly stanched the flow of tears and sat back down. Keeping watch over the Wallpaper became the Inhabitant’s sole fixation. Slowly the tiny crack spread. Down, down, down, until finally an entire sheet had curled to the floor.

Once more, the Inhabitant begged for the Keeper to tend to it. This time, the Keeper showed a modicum of concern and immediately re-glued the curled strip back upon the wall. Mollified, the Inhabitant returned to unlocking the worlds within the precious tomes littered about the room. The Keeper stayed away, doing whatever Keepers do instead of Keeping, ignoring the Inhabitant’s warnings about the Wallpaper’s fading luster.

The day before the first frost, the wilting Inhabitant mournfully watched as the Wallpaper covering one entire wall crumbled to dust and slowly settled about the room. The Keeper heard a strange sound and finally checked on the room and its Inhabitant. The Keeper was alarmed to discover the Inhabitant keening and rocking and scraping at the thick crust of dirt covering the window.

“What’s the matter with you?”, questioned the Keeper.

The Inhabitant’s throat was coated in dust, and the response was gravelly and subdued. “I need to see. I need to dream again before it’s too late.”

“You see what I want you to see. This is My Room. And I am the Keeper,” admonished the Keeper.

With great trepidation, the Inhabitant pointed a gently accusatory finger at the naked wall and tried once more, “Look. Look at how you’ve Kept it. I warned you this would happen. I begged you not to neglect it. The Wallpaper. It’s dying.”

“It doesn’t matter. Nobody even notices Wallpaper. You’re crazy, and stop scratching at the window like some caged animal,” the Keeper scornfully returned. “I’ll paint over it. The window and the Wallpaper. So we can be done with this nonsense.”

Deep in the heart of winter, the Keeper suddenly thought of the Inhabitant and stormed into the room only to pause and look around with perplexity and great fear. The shoddy paint job allowed bits of irreparably damaged Wallpaper to peek through. The rest lay curled and crumbled about the floor. The books had gone to dust and every surface of the room thinly cased in ice.

The Inhabitant had faded: skin nearly translucent, head lolled to one side, breath coming out in slow, measured, white puffs of air.

Slowly meeting the eyes of the Keeper, the Inhabitant whispered, “It is time.”

“No… No, you can’t mean it! I forbid it!,” shouted the Keeper.

“But the Wallpaper is dead. It has suffered, and it has died. Only dust and decay remain,” the Inhabitant stoically replied.

“Why did you allow this to happen? You can’t let this happen,” implored the Keeper.

The Inhabitant shed a single tear and solemnly raised a mirror to the Keeper’s face. “Tell me what you see.”

“A Keeper. A Keeper that couldn’t Keep.”

The Inhabitant stood and touched the Keeper’s cheek. As the Keeper wailed and reached for purchase on the Inhabitant’s body, the Inhabitant slowly faded from the earthly plane. Returning home, to The Dreaming, with a faint twinkle and hope of Spring.

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The Keeper cursed and wailed and blamed and pounded the floor and begged the emptiness. And the vacuum created by the Inhabitant’s departure caused the door to swing inward, locking the Keeper into a room now devoid of anything worth Keeping.

Buncha Bullshit: The One Where Stephanie Rants About The Logistics of Making a Major Life Change (AKA:Whiny Girl Rants about First World Problems)

Moving across the country on a low budget is a royal pain in the ass. And the logistics of such are putting a mild damper on my excitement. It’s more epic frustration than woe is me bullshit.

I’m about as frustrated as a crackwhore without any crack or whorish shenanigans.
I’m about as frustrated as a woman in the throes of heightened sexual tension without a partner to take it out on.
I’m about as frustrated as a politician without a Lewinsky.
I’m about as frustrated as the CIA without a brothel.
I’m about as frustrated as. As. Uhm. As someone who is frustrated.

(I just reread this and realized most of the the frustration examples are sexual in nature. Don’t read into that, please. Or do. Either way, I’m gonna stop talking now. (Except I’m not. But it won’t be about sex anymore. Why would I talk about sex? This is a motherfucking clean blog, damnit. (Fuckin’ hell, I have sex on the brain. I’m human after all. Sexbrain is NOT HELPING, SO MOTHERFUCKING STOP IT, BRAIN. (I really should delete this ridiculous parenthetical that’s only making things worse. But I’m not going to. Because this is me. Hi. My name is Stephanie, and I have sexbrain. Hi Stephanie. Welcome, Stephanie. Keep coming back – it works if you work it!))))

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This Poor Little Fucker. That’s me. Seriously, that’s exactly what I look like. I had my portrait done. For seriouses.

It’s all a buncha bullshit. And there’s a whole lotta bullshit that has to be figured out and sorted.

Buncha Bullshit that has to be Figured Out and Sorted

Emotional Bullshit – Let’s get this bullshit outta the way first. My family sucks. Seriously, they can all go eat a giant bag of dicks. I don’t know where my mother is. She may or may not be in town. I’ve seen both her and my sort of grandfather at local grocery stores before. They both ignored me. Pretended I wasn’t even there. It’s no wonder grocery stores are currently my strongest triggers for acute anxiety. But the mother…is unreliable and an untreated bipolar. And she’s probably not even in the state anymore. Who knows. My siblings and my aunt (who was always my second-favorite family member – at least on that side of the family) won’t speak to me anymore, because I won’t “get over” the physical, emotional, psychological, sexual abuse and go to my so-called father’s side now as he lays dying.

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So yeah. Fuck them. I’m not even gonna tell them I’m leaving. For all they know, I’ve been dead for years. Fuck. Them. Fuck. Them. Fuck. Them. And for all the Fuck Thems I type, there are a hundred more tears. Motherfuckers. Fuck Them for making me feel this way. Fuck them for throwing me out with yesterday’s garbage. Fuck Them. I don’t even love them anymore. Do I? Fuckin’ hell, I’ve gotten scary good at compartmentalization. Don’t get me wrong. I know I can’t run away from the damage they’ve done to me over the course of my life. (This is not about running away. This is about moving on to a place I’ve always wanted to be but allowed people to tell me no.) And though I can’t get them outta my head, I can get outta this town of pain and tangible memories.

Whew. There. That’s dealt with. Let’s move on to financial bullshit.

Financial Bullshit – I know I haven’t spoken about my (failed) marriage, and I don’t intend to go into details now. At this point, it’s not something I wish to speak of here. I bring it up now just to make a single point: I was unemployed when we separated. But I was the one left saddled with the entire mortgage and anything else that goes into the typical running of a household. Since he took half of the savings account, it didn’t take long for me to go through every cent as I looked for a job in a shitty economy and shitty area for good employment opportunities. By the time I landed something decent, aside from little temp jobs, I had about 200 bucks to my name. And I seriously thought I was going to go default on the mortgage. I didn’t. In fact, I’ve never missed a single payment. But what that means for me now? I don’t have savings. I have some cash stashed in a box where all of my tutoring cash goes. But it’s “nothing to write home about,” as the saying goes. I’m fine. I pay all of my bills (except the student loan one which I simply can’t pay at this point). And they’re paid on time. I don’t do without food, water, shelter, books, etc. So I work full-time for an enormous corporation, and I’m broke. But only when it comes to anything outside of the basics.

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Let’s see what the news is today. Oh yes, still broke as fuck. Off to work I go, like a good little mindless citizen!

However, this does throw a big wrench into the logistics of moving across country. Do y’all know how much it would cost to hire a moving company to move one set of bedroom furniture, about twenty boxes of books, some dishes and a couple of chests? The lowest quote I’ve gotten thus far was about $3,500. Their competitors said $4,500. U-Haul would be about $1,700, but then there is mileage and fuel costs to consider on top of that. So. What it looks like I’ll have to do is drive myself up there with my cats and whatever I can fit in the car. Leave the rest in storage. And sleep on an air mattress in the tiniest, cheapest apartment I can find to start out in.

This also means that I can’t afford to let people at work know about this until the very last minute. Because I can’t afford to quit my job while I tidy up the house for the market and dig in deep on a job search in Seattle. It also means I can’t just move up there and find a job that way, because I’d have greater odds of landing something good if I were actually there. But I can’t do that.

Then there’s the question of where I’ll live in the interim.

Housing Bullshit – As the regular Peopleaneous know, I’m in the (lengthy) process of preparing my house to put on the market. This involves the ex, as his name is still on the deed. And the house is filled with a lot of his stuff. (Including the guns that I couldn’t get rid of, because they weren’t mine…and I did not want to deal with the explosion that would ensue if I’d gotten rid of them.) So. He’s been over a lot on weekends and evenings. Going through his stuff. Culling stuff. Fixing stuff (very very slowly) and occasionally sabotaging my efforts by doing shit like parking in the middle of the yard after days of heavy rain and rutting the fucker up. That will do wonders for the curb appeal. Fucking wonderful. Anyway. ANYFUCKINGWAY. This isn’t about him. And I said I didn’t wanna talk about him. And I don’t. So. The point is, this is lengthy.

And I have an issue that I don’t know how to resolve.

Issue the First: Selling the house is going to be difficult. First, the market it is in has done nothing but go down down down since I/we bought the place. Second, he never maintained things. And I wasn’t allowed to, in the sense that… No. No. I’m just gonna leave that there. I’m not going to make this about him. He used to be great, and then he lost his way. And then we both changed. I’m gonna leave it at that. Point is, the house wasn’t kept up. Things are broken. Things are damaged. Things have been neglected. Then the other day, the fucking city tore down a tree. Fucking ass sucking dickwhistles. And in the few years I’ve been there by myself, I was mostly so mired down in a bottomless pit of the darkest depression I’ve known. Too far down to even think it was worth getting out of bed to take care of the house. I was in total fuck you, fuck me, fuck the world, fuck the universe, fuck the house, fuck the job, fuck it all mode.

Issue the Second: What if the house sells before I land a job in Seattle? Does that mean I have to sign a 6-month contract on some apartment in town? That would make me lose a lot of money if I found a job just after moving. Plus, who the fuck wants to move twice?

Issue the Third: What if I land a job before the house sells? How do I finagle that? I can’t afford to rent property in Seattle while simultaneously paying a mortgage. Seriously, it’s not like I’m CEO material. I won’t be making that kinda money. So how does that work?

Which leads me to jobby bullshit.

Jobby Bullshit – Should I even be looking for jobs at this point? Is it premature? It’s premature, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be foolish not to? Maybe someone out there thinks I’m worth waiting for. It’s possible, right? Or maybe I could land a job and let them know that when the house sells, I’ll need to fly back down for paperwork and shit. But that brings me back to the issue of rent plus mortgage. No can do, buckaroo. The good news is that I’ve secured three solid references. Two of you read this blog on occasion. Be good to me, fellas! Pretty please.

Oh, yes. More Jobby Bullshit. Another issue I’m having is that I’d like to pursue something that I may actually enjoy. Something with writing or editing would be fucking epic. I can even write without using “fuck” all the time. Promise. The problem is, my deagent-orange-wasting-time-250x127grees are not in English or Journalism or any of those other “required” degrees for writing jobs. The problem is none of my work experience is writing related, aside from some freelance gigs on the side. The problem is, I don’t have writing samples to submit. And I sure as fuck don’t want any potential employers finding this spot: a. because of all the fucking that goes on around here and 2. because then I’d never be able to rant or vent about work!

But I don’t want to do the kind of thing I’m doing right now. And I also don’t want to do the whole Executive Assistant/Administrative thing. I’ve done it. I’m damn fucking good at it. But it’s no fun. It’s draining. It’s meaningless to me. And it makes me feel the time, my life, tick tick ticking away.

 ~

So I don’t know what to do. More specifically, I don’t know how to approach all of this. I’m sure there are other issues that I had in mind before I began this post. But I’ve been interrupted countless times because work. And also because my mind is in a dirty, dirty place right now. So it’s hard to focus. Anyway, this fucker is nearly 2,000 words already. Probably about 1,900 more than it really needs to be! But my name is not Concisephanie for a reason!

I would like to ask something of my dear Peopleaneous.

If there are any of you out there who have done this before and have a clearer vision on the logistics of something like this, please hit me up. I’d love some advice.

If there are any of you out there who have made major career switches without the official qualifications to do so, I’d love some tips there as well.

And if any of you are in Seattle and hiring, pick me! MEMEMEMEMEME!

In the meantime, I’m going to keep trudging forward. This is my year. I’m taking charge of my life. And I’m still holding on to Rollins’ words.

Rollins

 GO!

(Please forgive any egregious errors. I don’t feel like re-reading this right now. Ha! Some copy-editor!)