26 July 2015

just keep making more.

three years ago today i moved out of the huge and beautiful apartment that i shared with my ex - staying in a tiny one room cabin on a friend's property for a few weeks until my new place was vacant. i had the two cats with me and almost all of my belongings were in a storage unit.

one year ago today i was less than a month from moving out of my tiny one room apartment and at the two month countdown to moving across the country - gearing up to dogsit/couchsurf/stay with my parents until the morning i drove off. 

there's less than 8 weeks until i go back to maine for a few days. 
it will have been a year.  
in visiting during september, i will have accepted another year ahead for myself without family & friends at the holidays. i will have accepted another year ahead for myself of trying to make ends meet and figure it out on my own. i know that by the time september hits, i'm going to be feeling really emotional about what the past year has really meant.


i had a pretty shitty day a couple of days ago. i reached out to any friend that i thought might listen, because all i wanted was comfort. i'd been sick for a few days already with a nasty head/chest cold, i hadn't left the house, i hadn't showered, and my brain/heart started to play all kinds of mean tricks on me. a moment of weakness in an otherwise strong existence sometimes feels like the world is caving in on you. my soul sister told me, "you ARE tough, but maybe you don't have to be tough ALL the time."

today i woke up with absolutely no voice. my housemate, who came back from her last trip of the summer yesterday, saw me this morning and said, "well, you look better." when i tried to tell her i'm still feeling crappy, nothing came out. no words, just a squeak. i put myself back to bed with a cup of tea and my laptop and am forcing myself to rest today. i'm bad at being lazy - even the past few days while i haven't felt well, i was sewing up a project. i don't like to admit defeat, clearly.


yesterday morning i couldn't stand it anymore, so i pulled myself out of bed greasy hair and all and drove myself twenty minutes up the hill to a lake. i sat there for a couple of hours in the early morning sunshine before the crowds showed up, listened to one of my favorite albums from almost ten years ago, and got some fresh air. it had been a few months since i'd visited that spot, but each time i go i'm always so pleasantly surprised by the thick woods and the view. it almost looks like new england. almost.

for a woman who is so deeply ingrained in and connected to the desert, recently i've been feeling a pull from the woods and mountains. i don't know if the initial newness and novelty of the desert is wearing off, and closing in on the one year mark my native landscape is trying to call me home... maybe its because the arizona desert isn't really the one i'm in love with, its the joshua tree desert - and nothing else compares. maybe i find peace in both of these landscapes, just at different times and for different reasons. maybe i just am not sure where i'm supposed to be. maybe i am starting to get weary of being alone, and a need for change/wanderlust is the only thing that curbs that feeling.


i got my etsy shop up and running again this weekend, which was something i could do from bed. there is nothing more scary and annoying than trying to price your work. especially within a platform where everyone else who is selling within your medium is totally underselling themselves. they're charging for a finished project what would barely cover my supplies. so, i tried to compromise and keep my prices reasonable while still placing value on them. at least as much as i could for now. when you're charging ite3 or 4 times more than everyone else, its a little bit nerve wracking. 

...even when you're confident your work is worth it. by the time i plan/design a unique project, choose/acquire fabrics, cut and sew up the fabrics, make the back, sandwich/baste it up, quilt it, bind it, photograph it, and write up a listing for it - that is a huge process that feels a little impossible to put a real price on.

it does feel good to get my items back out there on the market though, it had been about four years since i've sold that way - hard to believe anything i'd sold in the past four years was custom work only (except for that selling spree i went on just before i moved).

i am selling some quilts that have been around for a while. i've recognized that their emotional value to me has worn off, and right now they've just become things i carry around. the good thing about being a quilter is that i can ALWAYS replicate a project later on. as it goes right now, my need to sell and bring in income outweighs my need to hold on to these projects. in a way that bums me out, but in a way i know that its a) necessary, b) responsible, and c) no big deal. at the rate i'm going, i'm putting together a new project every couple of weeks, so i'm hoping to continue the forward momentum. if items start to sell, i'll be pleased. if they don't, i'll just keep making more. if nothing sells, i know what everyone is getting for christmas this year...

22 July 2015

little sparks;

there are a handful of songs lately that when they come on i practically crumble into a tiny heap on the floor. i thought i smelled a familiar smell yesterday when i was lying in bed, nearly delusional with fever and a headcold. i've spent a LOT of time in the past week talking and listening and connecting and loving and missing and its all a little exhausting but absolutely worth it. i have never been sadder, never been happier, never been more me. the photo above was taken last weekend in the woods after i'd been camping for three days with no makeup, no running water, and sleeping in a tent. it might seem completely cliche to say i was bare there - but i was bare there. and not just because of the lack of eyeliner. there's these little strings connecting some of us, no matter how far, and they've been tugging me everywhere. i've been feeling things hit me hard and big and in some of the best ways, like a punch in the face, like a whisper creeping up from behind you when you least expect it.

i know that you hate this place
not a trace of me would argue
honey, we should run away, oh someday

i spent three days with total strangers that felt like family. heather is homesteading up in flagstaff, a town that i'd always been drawn to for reasons i really didn't understand and had not yet had a chance to explore. they're building tiny houses, on their acres upon acres of land. i put up my tent, and she and i did not stop talking other than to sleep. this is the second time since being in arizona that i've felt a fit that i did not expect. a fit that felt effortless and seamless, in the way that they've maybe just always been there. 

i've never been fully sold on the concept of previous lives, but in the past year i've not only felt like at some point joshua tree was maybe where i used to be, but i've had experiences with people that have had me convinced that either time or space or some damn thing has seen us together before. maybe it sounds crazy, but those little sparks don't follow me around everywhere - and i'm not sure i'd ever felt them until i got way out here. maybe someone somewhere is trying to tell me something. maybe i've just opened myself up to letting things in.

i laid in my tent on the last night there while it poured buckets of rain down for something dumb like eight straight hours (even though i had the option of sleeping in the trailer with everyone else), and i thought about how previously in my life i'd never have even set foot in a soggy tent in the middle of nowhere in a place i'd never been with people i'd never met before. what in the world am i doing? what in the absolute hell... its just a little rain. we all start as strangers.

getting to watch heather & her family's plan of tiny houses get put into actual action with cement mixers and craziness, and talking about our mutual love of the entire concept and the why's, only solidified for me that i'm headed in that direction. someday. and to see what they're doing up there was mindblowing on the most basic level - they're doing that stuff that i sit and obsess over. they're doing that stuff that i really want to do. they're not going to be mobile the way i'd want to be if needed, but the basic concepts are there and jeeeeez i was in love. although i've realized now that with a solar panel i wouldn't have enough power to run my sewing machine, SO THAT'S A PROBLEM. 

heather and i talked about all things girl-talk related. things that the guys were like okay we'll leave you alone now... things you don't really talk about with someone you've just met like the day before. what its like to be the weirdo women who only want to wear eyeliner and Captain America t-shirts forever. what its like to have to be strong when all you feel is weak. what its like to need and want and give and be. who we are. who we want to be. how we get there.

i've realized recently that coming into this strong and trusting and self-aware woman in myself, i'm attracting others who are strong and trusting and self-aware. it takes a tough woman to be friends with a tough woman. it takes a secure man to be into a secure woman. these are personality traits that i would have found intimidating a few years ago, and right now they're the only things i'm identifying with. heather just picked up and moved from TX a few short months ago. the last two people i've connected with here have been geographical transplants, much like myself. this is probably not accidental. 

we hiked a mile down through a 700,000 year old lava river cave, in total darkness, so cold you could see your breath. we hiked into Priest's Draw and i watched them climb. i reveled in the amount of pine trees. i wondered what it had been about that city that had been so mysterious to me passing by previously, a weird sense of home that i didn't quite understand. and all of a sudden with these new people i understood. maybe i belong there, not now but maybe someday - or maybe its just that they belong there. i'm not ready to move again yet, but its an option that i'm leaving open for myself for six months or however long down the road. one of the things i'm missing here in my little town is a true girlfriend. a bestfriend. a sisterfriend. 

sometimes i feel like i'm still not in the right place, but i'm trying to remember that its all really fluid. things take time. its not all point A to point B and bingo you're there! i've changed so much and so many times in the short ten months from maine to los angeles to prescott, and tomorrow i'll wake up and change some more. sometimes i flip out over the silliest most ridiculous things and can't get a grip, but the hardest weirdest biggest things ain't no thang. like, what???? but mostly i'm powering through like a boss. (or only sharing my total downfalls with my closest friends - and my mom - so that everyone else thinks i'm a total champ.) but honestly, the truth is, i'm doing pretty damn good considering the obstacles. the biggest obstacle i think in this entire thing has not been money or self-preservation, its been patience.

what happened when i shed everything i thought i knew and i started over, what happened when i cast aside anything and everything that was unhealthy for me and opened new doors, what happened when i tried not to be so damn scared of failing - is that i'm here. right this second. with these people, these moments, these memories... and i'm looking ahead. to asking for what i want. to gaining perspective. to allowing myself happiness. to not holding myself back just because thats maybe what someone else would do. 

i'm a blank slate looking to set a whole new life's worth of goals for myself. my core values have changed. my priorities have shifted. i'm 35 with an entirely new outlook on where i want to be, and thats scary. its hard to put yourself out there into the world and say OKAY HERE I AM PLEASE TAKE ME FOR WHAT AND WHO I AM. its hard to ask for love. its hard to ask for commitment. its hard to be rejected. its hard to not know where you stand. its hard to hold on. and its hard to look back and not wonder if all that time was wasted.

but here's the thing. i'm slowly making progress. i'm rewarding myself for every effort made, whether or not it works in my favor. i'm being gifted these friends and lovers and collections of sparks. 

i miss J Tree. the highway on my usual route got demolished in a huge rainstorm and is closed, so next time i go mother nature is forcing me to step outside my comfort zone yet again. and i'm reminded that even the little bits of comfort i've managed to accumulate for myself, even just this year while being out on my own far far away from any twinkle of my life in maine, will be challenged sometimes. but J Tree will be waiting for me in the fall or winter when its time to go back. 

i'm strangely looking forward to a winter adventure either here or colorado or somewhere with a shitload of snow. a nostalgic trip. a hint of "hey, remember what this white fluffy stuff feels like when you're not totally not sick of it for five months out of the year?? -- its damn magical."

so tonight i can think of about a dozen things i'd rather be doing, but i'm writing and drinking a vodka tonic (or two or three) and trying to convince myself to leave the hair/bleach alone this weekend (even though i really want bright orange tips or something equally ridiculous). there are people i'd rather be with. there are conversations i'd rather be having. but tonight is for this, and for this i'm happy. 

16 July 2015

lets keep going;

so many friends from back in maine have posted links about the longtime video store in downtown that is closing up after thirty years. i used to go to that video store weekly when i lived downtown by myself in my twenties - to rent movies (there was no netflix yet), and to visit the cute guy that worked next door. this was probably ten or twelve years ago now, but i remember it well. the shop was quirkly, the employees were quirky, and they had just about everything you'd ever want to rent (and then some). i blew through seasons of the L Word, The OC, Six Feet Under. i rented Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for the first time from that shop, and went out to buy a copy the next day (which is still in my top five favorite movies). its strange to think that by the time i get back to visit in september, it will be closed. i likely won't get to spend much time downtown anyway, but just knowing these little things are changing makes it seem like a whole new world some days. 

i remember back not quite as far, to maybe five or six years later; around the time i turned thirty. i was in my long relationship, we were going to weddings, friends were having babies. it felt like everyone around us was settling in, and we were still struggling. i've never been one to benchmark where i should be in life based on those around me - i'll take note of what they're up to but have always had that feeling that i'd do things slightly differently and on my own time. but these were things, the weddings and the babies, that started to pick at nerves i didn't even know were there. i made a wedding board on pinterest, i started talking about it. even four years into an almost six year relationship he gave me things like a Coach wristlet purse and a Tiffany ring (not a diamond, silver only, for my right hand) - these were things i'd asked for because at the time i thought that those kinds of gifts showed love. i could show my friends and they would be impressed. i could have something of monetary value to tuck amongst my antiques, thrift store finds, and handmades. i still have both the purse and the ring but they haven't been used or worn in years. i've moved with them three times and across the country and still can't quite get myself to part with them. not because they are sentimental, they are anything but. 

i remember when i saw my ex's sister for the first time after we broke up, and she told me about a conversation they had when he first got there - about how he wondered if i'd left because i thought he'd never marry me. and yes, that was absolutely part of it. we weren't working through our problems diligently, and i personally wasn't taking responsibility enough for what i was contributing (to the problem or the solution). i still find myself not blaming him. i still find myself often blaming myself. i've always known myself well, and i should have been the one to end the cycle long before i did. but with weddings and babies and everyone around us being so happy, how could i not hold on just a little bit longer....

i left him because i wasn't happy. because i knew, somehow, that i was not going to find what i wanted and needed with him. that was in no way his fault. ...i moved across the country because i wasn't happy. because i knew, somehow, that i was not going to find what i wanted and needed there anymore. that fault fell on no one. and here i am, ten months later. 

i still think sometimes about what it will be like to maybe finally settle in. somewhere. with someone. get married, have a baby. at 35, i'll admit, i think about it more than i used to because some days it feels like the clock is ticking. getting situated in a new town and meeting people, everyone is always so surprised to find out that i've never been married, never had any children. when i tell them i was in a long relationship, then stayed single for a while, then moved across the country, they are all baffled. "you? but you seem so great!" its not a matter of being great that gives you these things. its a matter of opening up, letting go, accepting in, and not making shitty choices. lets face it, i've made some shitty choices. but we're moving on from those... ;)

in my life thus far, i have done very little that would be considered rebellious. i was a good kid. i was a smart kid. i had some questionable friends growing up as a teenager, but don't we all? i was terrible at and always failed math class (which E will tell you "its just because you had bad teachers", and he would know since he is one). but i never got detention, i never skipped school, i never stayed out late. i struggled through college and being away from home and struggled so hard that i had to change schools halfway through and take some time off. but i graduated eventually (still got those school loans to show for it!). i never partied significantly, though i could do shots with my lady friends with the best of them... i've spent some time and money getting tattoos, but i've never been on drugs. my life has generally been very easy. 

i have never had to struggle with things that i have seen some of my friends (some close ones) struggle with: coming out as gay, coming out as trans, dealing with sexual abuse, dealing with their parents' divorce, dealing with their own divorce, dealing with their parents' deaths, addiction, self-harm. every day i try to refocus on how lucky and fortunate i have been. 

and recently i have reminded myself that so many of the issues that i have struggled with have been mostly basic fixes, even if in the moment they have felt impossible. heartbreak always heals. bills always get paid. eventually you realize you're worth happiness. eventually you understand that there's more than one way to find it. i'm getting more graceful at acceptance, and i'm getting more graceful at letting go of what is not meant for me. (okay, but yeah, i still freak out sometimes. and i still get jealous. and i still can't figure out why some people are such total dicks. but, i'm getting better at it.)

i know that moving forward i'll encounter many new people in my life... when i think about how many i've met in just the past few years - and so many just through social media! - i feel blessed. there's always someone out there who will "get" you, they just might not be around the corner or down the street or even in the same state. when i think about how many friends i left behind back home, or all of the buddies i've made in california, and all of the great ladies i've met at work in the past six months... the childhood friends i've been able to visit that also ended up here in AZ, the barrage of instagram and facebook friends who are never afraid to comment on something going on in my life, total strangers who come up to me in the grocery store to ask me about my sewing tattoo... i have never been alone even when i have felt like there couldn't possibly be another soul out there who understood that deepest darkest most awful thing i was thinking. 

i've learned that should i ever find a partner i'd like to keep forever, i hope for them to enjoy their parents and siblings the way that i always have, i hope for them to have hobbies and passions that keep them interested in life the way that i always have, i hope for them to have a slight hint of wanderlust so that we can travel and see places together, and i hope for them to understand what has gotten me this far. (and you know, all the other things like enjoying pancakes and oj in bed on a saturday morning.) if you had asked me ten years ago what i'd want in my partner, i wouldn't have known how to answer. part of this journey has been learning about myself, and part of it has been learning about those around me. when those two things click....

later today i am headed north to visit a badass lady that i was put in contact with through a mutual friend. suddenly we've realized we have a lot in common and could pretty much be sisters. we're only separated by a couple of hours, barely, and she's in a town i've wanted to spend more time in anyway. she's in the middle of the woods, though, off the grid; and i've packed a tent, sleeping bag, quilt, hiking shoes, my camera, and a good book for the next couple of nights. the introverted part of me is still tugging at my sleeve begging me to stay home, stay in. the rest of me knows that i can't do that anymore. opening up, letting go, accepting in - remember?

my last post caused a couple of friends some concern, i got a handful of texts checking in to catch up. and you know, sometimes i have a crappy day. sometimes it all hits at once and i have to give in to it. but i've reminded myself lately, that in ten months i've only had maybe three tearful phone calls to my mom. that if i step back enough i can see that its all relative. and that if people are meant to be in your life, they will stay no matter what. the speed at which we are all traveling is high, even if you feel like you're not going anywhere. yes, i have times where i wish i wasn't doing this all by myself. but i know that if i don't do it by myself and for myself, no one will do it for me. 

my five year plan is still on my mind, but its been bumped to a six year plan so i can take one more year to get some finances paid down before consolidating the rest and then getting in to the five year stuff. the etsy shop is coming, i hope within two weeks. that money is going directly towards paying that stuff down, as i just mentioned. its part of the six year plan. i'm sewing like crazy this summer. (and actually feeling slightly guilty that i'll be gone all weekend and can't work on anything - but i'll be sketching up ideas while i'm in my tent.) making quilts solely for profit was something that i've said i'm not sure i can do, but i know that this isn't a longterm thing. this is a little fix that lets me kill two birds with one stone: i get to sew, and i get to work towards what i really want. i'm keeping it in perspective, and still giving my projects meaning when i can.

this road is long and windy and neverending, until it stops. and when it does, i want to say that i did everything and spent time with everyone that i wanted to. no regrets. lets keep going.

10 July 2015

find your wild.

three months ago, _____ told me that i was needlessly stubborn, uneducated, refusing to get out of my comfort zone thus refusing growth and maturity, that i “didn’t get to like what” he was saying, and that i was constantly wasting everyone’s time by not getting out of my own way. he told me that i could muster up whatever pity i could find from online friends, but that i would not get support from him.

it was never about me.

i picked up and moved clear across the country almost ten months ago, nearly as far as i could go from coast to coast, and that wasn’t enough. i saved and planned for a year before i left, and said goodbye to everyone i knew. i worked hard to get myself on track to a more meaningful life, one that i really wanted; and once i got to LA all he said was, “stop being such a victim.” i just needed some help. i wanted that safe space that i had expected and earned but never received. all i heard from his mouth was, “i want you to be better.”

part of me started to question everything i was doing. i started to question my move, where i lived, the people i was friends with, the art i was making. i started to question if he was right. i started to think i was crazy. this whole thing was crazy. what was i doing out here? what had i been doing for a year, two years, leading up to this point? who had i been living for in the first place?

i don’t know how long it would have taken me to open my eyes and realize that i deserved a real and human and intimate connection and interaction. that was what he couldn’t give me, no matter how long i waited; that is what i had been wanting all along. i had been wanting someone who could at least try to understand what was important to me, try to listen to what i was saying, try to appreciate what i was making. all they had to do was try.

we’ve all got our baggage, we’ve all got our shit that we don’t want people to know about, we all have mistakes and pride and egos that are hard to deal with. but isn’t it better when you can admit that and at least create some kind of safeguard with someone else for all that crap. it doesn’t have to be out in the open, it just has to be acknowledged.

its been three months, and i’ve worked on a handful of projects. i finished one big one that was nothing like my old work – out of the box and way out of the usual. it has since been photographed all over AZ and sent off to its new home.

i did some small commission work. i’m working on a couple of non-emotional projects, disconnected solely for the purpose of work and getting things done and using up supplies, getting ready to get back to selling online again.

and then there’s this new piece. a big quilt top that was just waiting to be put together on my studio floor. it came to me in a dream last week in the middle of many restless nights. in the dream, i was laying on a quilt in a cabin (with this handsome arizona man) after having just been swimming (lake river creek i have no idea). he and i together were comfortable, but that was not what i woke up from the dream thinking about – it was the quilt. the colors. the design. it didn’t look like anything i would make, but i knew somehow that it was mine.

i started to research the colors: lavender = femininity / gold = compassion, passion, love, courage / green = balance, growth, renewal / black = secretive, unknown, protection, independence, strong-willed.

i cut the pieces from fabrics in my collection and put the blocks together feverishly, realizing this quilt that had visited me in my sleep was not really a quilt at all – it was me. in all of my processing. in all of my feeling. in all of my longing. in all of my new getting tougher woman-ness. in all of the ways i have just now come to terms with how so much of the past ten months  hardly ever about what was really best for me. in all of the ways that i’m just now understanding the kind of balance i need – between my desire to be alone and my desire to be wanted.

this handsome arizona man is inspiring in ways that i wasn't expecting. or maybe i was expecting i would find it at some point, but wasn't quite sure where to look. (i miss you!) i fully welcome in anything positive that can get me to see things differently. not all change has to come from something so hurtful and negative and difficult.

despite days where i don't want to get out of bed and go to work, days where i am not sure that any of this has been worth it or important - i know that its getting better. i'm badass and independent, even when i'm feeling needy and clingy. when i think about how many miles i have driven alone, the places i have seen, and the list of places i want to get to, i know that i've come a long way in a relatively short amount of time with only a few minor (outward) freakouts. i have found a way to safely feel wild and free, and most days i can keep the demons (and obsession with my budget - i'm still scared to death that i'll run out of money and have to go back to maine...) at bay. i know where my safe spots are - in my best girlfriends and in myself. i've also learned, quickly, where my trigger points are and the things i need to work on. they will likely be life-long projects.

progress is slow sometimes, and i remind myself that whatever is worth having is worth working and waiting for.

whether your biggest challenge of the day is not buying takeout for lunch, climbing the side of a mountain, or admitting you need help; i think the biggest thing is to accept that its not about being "better", its about doing your best. not for someone else, but for yourself. it sounds so cliché, but the second i felt like i was being heard and appreciated, i valued that above all else and recognized that i felt stronger. but it also made me realize that i felt it all along, it just wasn't being pushed down and out of the way by someone i didn't need to keep in my life.

i'm proud of where i've come from and where i've been. i'm excited to see what lies ahead. i'm nervous every damn day that something will fall apart, but i choose to look for solutions and stay positive. when i can feel myself start to get manic, or depressed, or rough around the edges, i put myself into my studio and i lock the door for the weekend. i am never ashamed of the creations that come out of that room. they're not complicated, and it seems lately i've strayed a bit from the creative path i thought i was on, but i know that whatever they are they just need to come out and get made and say what i need to say. its a practice i'm happy to have, and one that i need (just as i need the mountain views and desert drives that they often come from).

balance / growth, in all things.

today i hiked eight miles, just a few miles from home... and even though i've done a bit of talking about how i'm maybe not loving this town, i changed my mind for a few hours this afternoon. i barely passed another human but was surrounded by dragonflies, butterflies, cows... and beautiful blue sky that went on forever. how can you hate that?

30 June 2015

manic panic.

today was one of those days where i woke up completely manic. 5am, wanting to continue purging belongings and i could barely decide on an outfit to wear to work. at some point last night i'd woken up and started writing a list of things to get done: projects to finish, stuff to clean up. i had done a lot of this kind of thing a few years ago when i was transitioning out of my relationship as a coping mechanism, trying to learn how to function alone, i got obsessed with cleaning and organizing. in the back of my mind i knew that i was leaving. 

the thing thats interesting is that despite being anxious on a "normal" level these days, and being happier than i think i have actually ever been in my life overall, i still feel unsettled. its not because i am feeling like i have too much stuff (what if i need to pack up my car and go again?! its not all going to fit! --- thats a byproduct of moving from spot to spot for four months before getting an actual place to live, which is not really a place of my own). its not because every time Matt Nathanson's "kiss quick" comes on my ipod i'm all kinds of sexually frustrated and missing that handsome face for the summer. these are things that are both easily soothed with a glass of wine or a good thunderstorm. 

talks with two lady friends and a not-quite-close-enough-in-proximity good guy friend today while totally caffeinated brought me to the following conclusions: its all relative and not everyone is going to actually "get it". you can feel like the ceiling is falling down on you but some people are going to think its because the sky is blue. i'm getting better at letting things happen as they will. i'm getting to a better place, emotionally. no matter how much someone cares about you, everyone's lives are different and we're not all going to see things the same way. "normal" cannot handle me. some of us settle, some of us take forever to settle in. i need that passion to explore and do whats important to me, and i need my partner to have that too. sometimes i need a nudge to remind me of that. talking about hard stuff is hard but important and worth it. i need to blog more. sometimes life feels like a series of distractions just one after the other to band-aid situations and emotions, instead of actually facing things head on - i'm getting better at admitting to myself when i'm actually enjoying something for the pure fun of it, and when i'm enjoying it simply because its taken me out of some other feeling. i will likely never outgrow the feeling like i need to downsize, but lately i've definitely felt like i've traded up. i'm not feeling connected to this little town but i've got to give it a lot more time and a hefty fighting chance before i decide whats next. i kind of don't care about fireworks.

i've been writing a letter in a notebook for weeks and the handwriting is awful and i'll need to rewrite it more neatly before i send it off, but this chunk sort of screamed at me today. "life is such a culmination of experiences (good and bad) and its not always about instant gratification (though isn't it awesome when you don't have to try so damn hard?!). i've really learned that i am not necessarily what people (guys) expect. sometimes i love to be independent and strong-willed, i don't want help, and i'll climb that fucking mountain by myself thanks. sometimes i love to be pampered and want flowers and to feel pretty. i can take care of myself but sometimes i just want someone to tell me its going to be okay."

part of waking up ready to run a marathon for a week means that i'll get a ton of projects finished in the next few days. i'll make a to-do list and i'll work on it and cross stuff off because i love that feeling of accomplishment and productivity. i'll crash when its all over, exhausted from overwhelming myself. i'll rest for a few days and then i'll do it all over again. this is not anything new. its just how anxiety flushes itself out of me, especially when i don't feel like its coming from any one place. how frustrating to not be able to explain why you are feeling uncomfortable. how frustrating when on the outside you look calm and collected but on the inside you're scrambling to pull together some kind of explanation. scattered. stop putting expectations on your friends. stop putting expectations on yourself. 

the things i have learned this year: what i want. what i don't want. what i never want again. 

i've gone from feeling completely unwanted and misunderstood to completely desired and ample. completely unattractive and introverted to risque and unreserved. thankyou to both types of men in my life who showed me the difference. good ridance to the former. the latter, the type that could pull anything from me in the best way. i felt like i'd waited my entire life to be myself in those moments. all i needed was a safe enough place. all i ever wanted was someone to give that to me. 

sometimes i struggle with the fact that i don't feel lonely. shouldn't i feel lonely after having spent so much time alone? shouldn't constantly waking up alone, constantly going to bed alone, constantly traveling alone, constantly having to text,... shouldn't that all make it feel worse? but i've done all of those things with people who didn't appreciate what it meant, and that felt lonlier. but still, i struggle with it - i want someone to be with me the way i've now learned i need, shouldn't that hole feel empty? have i really gotten so good at taking care of and hiding myself that i can turn my head to that? when you've felt so messed up for so long that anything good seems like its too good to be true. relationships are damn hard. but being alone is harder. you can't blame anyone else. 

but right now.

right now.

despite all of the things i can't help but feel like I NEED TO DO, i am content. even in a place i'm not sure i want to stay, i'm happy. even in a house where i can't walk around naked in my kitchen, i'm staying put. i've gotten myself this far. freak-outs or empty spots are to be expected. every single day for almost ten months i have had a moment where something has made me cry, made me question what i'm doing, made me confused or angry. but every single day for almost ten months i have found resolution somehow. i've held on to things for too long, the queen of not letting go, and i've let myself sit in things that were pulling me apart piece by piece. 

but now. right now. even feeling like i know i'm not going to be able to fall asleep tonight. i'm good. i'm brave enough to face all of this shit thats constantly bubbling up inside of me, because i'm determined to make a better life for myself. i'm determined to let good people in. i'm determined to stay happy. and this manicness is just pushing me towards that nextt thing. a reminder that i can't get lazy. i have to stay present. that all of the wrongs i've put myself through will bring me to all of the rights. that someday i can have that tiny little house. i can have that dreamboat boyfriend. i can take all of the drives i want to. 

but i've got miles to go.

so here's to progress. and to-do lists. and to still loving the people who don't understand.

29 June 2015

to the one who's traveling:

dear ____,

i feel like theres a lost art to letter writing. everyone (including me) is all about facebook and instagram and texting but we hardly put pen to paper. i guess thats why i always loved blogging, it feels a little bit like talking to someone - a letter never sent, i guess. i have a real handwritten letter waiting to go in the mail to you when you get a quick address to me in your travels, but i guess in a way this is to you, too. i always write better and more honestly when i have someone in mind. i haven't done in it quite a while, this writing to someone thing. i've just been putting it all out there for anyone.

its thundering and pouring outside tonight, like last night, and it reminds me of home. well, i guess arizona is my home now (or at least this is where i get my mail and where i sleep). but it reminds me of maine evenings as a kid watching lightening in the sky through the screen door, of weekend afternoons in my tiny little apartment with the curtains open and something mellow playing on my stereo. i knew that i would miss the rain once i moved to the desert. everyone told me i would. mostly i just miss the way it smells. i think i'll be a big fan of these monsoon seasons.

i feel like there are so many things i didn't get a chance to tell you yet, like how sometimes i feel colors or about how i've really picked up on some seriously positive energy lately. its starting to get too hot to do some of the drives i want to do, i might have to save them for fall, but i'm addicted to that feeling of getting in the car to just go. i'm more interested in that than spending time in this little town, and i can't tell if thats just because i'm still really excited about the possibilities around me or if i'm not happy here. i drove through Flagstaff a few weekends ago and got such a "home" feeling from the mountains and the trees and those tiny little patches of snow still hanging on even though it was in the 80's. i know that this is where my stuff is, but i'm not sure this is it. 

i've started working on my five year plan. i wish you were around so i could talk to you about it. i think you'd be psyched... i've been in touch with my loan officer at my bank back in maine and we've been talking about condensing all of the rest of my debt (something i did before, about six years ago). if i can condense down all the debt i still have remaining (including some i racked up while being unemployed for four months and then only working part time, and you know, living), i can have it all paid off in five years. one of my student loans will be fully paid off in four years (the other i'll be paying foreverrrr). once i have these payments put into place i will actually be able to save a little bit of money monthly again, something i haven't been able to do since i moved. ...i left home with $3,000 in the bank and that took a year to save - it only took six months to spend most of it.

my five year plan means i can be relatively debt free by then (2020! - doesn't that seem like an unreal year?), and i can work on plans for a tiny little house. five years gives me time to think about where i'd want to be. do i want to stay here? do i want to be in joshua tree? do i want to be in portland oregon? do i want to go back to portland maine? when i think about what i've accomplished in the past nine months, i know how much can and will change in five years. but i'm putting myself on that path. i'm asking the universe for signs, i'm staying open to ideas, and i'm reading all the tiny house books i can get my hands on.

i went to tucson this past weekend to see friends i hadn't seen since i was a teenager. we used to live next door in maine as kids, and now we live three hours away in arizona. she has little kids of her own. i thought about how when i was in my six year relationship, i thought that getting married and having kids weren't all that important to me (because they weren't important to him). as i got older i realized that wasn't so much the case for me. i don't need a bunch of kids or a fancy wedding - i've gotten simple in my old age, but in all of this searching and traveling and doing i have left out so many things that i do want to do eventually. and i love that i still have time. 

and the best part is that when i finally settle in, i'll be ready. i will have done all of this other stuff and have amazing stories to tell my kid about how their mom was a rockstar in her mid-thirties. battling nasty mean boys and driving cross country. about how i finally learned about honesty, and fear, and trust. about how i learned to let go even when it hurt. about how i finally let the good things in and never took them for granted. (thankyou for being a good thing. i have appreciated you, even every day that you have been gone with so many more ahead.) i'll tell them also that when you take a tumble on a desert hike and go ass over tea kettle, you might get a big bruise right on your ass and a cactus needle stuck in your finger; but you can brush that shit off like its nothing. (yeah, i did that the other day. ouch.)

for such a long time i only looked ahead as far as my move - i planned a year before and everything i did worked towards it and revolved around it. when i got to LA everything i did was about whether or not i could stay there, and when i knew i couldn't everything became about getting comfortable here in arizona. since i've been here its all been about working at my dayjob, sewing projects, and long drives. i think what excites me most is that further on down the road there will be more. different. it keeps me going, it keeps me from getting too comfortable. i love my bed and my blankets and curling up with a good book, i love knowing how to get from point A to point B with no problem, i love getting takeout from the taco place down the street - i fit into little towns really easily. but theres more. i know there is.

but i'm reminding myself that this summer its okay to rest, too.  i have to remember to rest.

remember that book project i was telling you about? i managed to get some good quilt photos for it this past weekend. a little bit at a time. 

part of me still wants to have a little boutique someday. part of me wants to have a vintage trailer that i can set up a studio in and just sew. part of me wants chickens. part of me wants to take vacations to big cities with lots of lights and tall buildings and champagne (with a handsome man) so that i can go home to my quiet little place and remember what home feels like. part of me wants to hike and camp and not shower for a week and only wear bikinis and hoodies. part of me still misses all of the books i had to give away a year ago. part of me never wants to buy anything new again (like, stay out of Target forever, girl!!!). part of me wishes i could sew faster more longer better and finally use all of that fabric i have on my shelves so i can start over. 

(i miss you. there aren't enough familiar faces here. i've gotten used to this being alone business and i've gotten damn good at it. my housemate will share a bottle of wine with me any time, but you know, thats different. i love that if i wanted to talk seriously, you would; if i wanted to talk about silly stuff, you would. thankyou for always letting me put conversation first before anything else.)

i took two trashbags of clothes to goodwill and one to a consignment shop, my closet feels a little lighter. my goal is to do it again in the fall. the rest of my goals for fall: trips! & travels!, finish at least three for-fun quilt projects, enjoy my quick visit back to maine, and save up enough to buy one of those fancy memory foam things for my mattress - i may not want to buy much lately but the stuff i do want is pimpin'. if there's anything i've learned its that a good night's sleep is totally worth it (and hard to come by).

theres still three months of stories and photos and projects i want to collect before i see you again - and i know this time is good. i've got so much to do. i just wish you were here to do some of it with me. be good to yourself, and i promise to do the same. 


20 June 2015


in the six years that i've kept this blog, i've written almost 850 posts. just about one a month. sometimes far more frequently, sometimes there were months i didn't post at all. but one thing i know, math estimations aside, is that each has been so different - and if you go back to 2009, completely different. six years ago i never in my wildest dreams thought i would be writing from 3,000 miles away, tucked in the desert. (i know i've said that before, but i swear it never really sinks in, and bears over-repeating.) 

its hardly 6am right now, i watched the sun come up from my bed/window as i always do. i'm tucked under my summer-weight duvet, eating yogurt that the handsome man i was spending time with got me hooked on (all natural from colorado). i had a restless night, one of many recently, where sleep came easy but did not stay; too many dreams knocking at my door. i've been scribbling them down in the middle of the night after they happen so i can go back to them later on. but, i think for the most part, they're pretty easy to figure out.

the desert/west is softening me. 

i used to think the world was way out at arm's length, just beyond my reach. recently it has felt like its become so much smaller.

i am trying to appreciate everyone that has come into my life, and those who have been there all along. everything. i'm trying to appreciate where they are in their lives and who they are - but lets be honest, not everyone deserves that appreciation. not all of the time. and i'm trying to understand that also... even when it seems that i appreciate someone too much, perhaps, just know that it is because i am processing something, learning something, taking in something that they are giving me. i have friends in my life who fulfill very situated and specific roles in my life - those who provide comfort and stability, those who are always around for girl talk, those who check in from time to time, those who are always up for an adventure, those who know just what i'm saying when i'm not saying anything. but we're all doing our own things - and there are days that i find it difficult to focus on what everyone else is doing (and appreciate it!) because i simply am feeling too much of my own experience. its a balance. 

The Thinking Quilt, in progress 2015

i have connected most lately with those who have a similar sense of wanderlust - which is not a thing i ever really thought i would possess. now, the thought of getting in my car to drive four hours out of the way just because is something i can't live without. if i could magically get out of debt and pick up in a refurbed vintage trailer/camper and just drive, i'd do it in a heartbeat. (i'd like to add that into my five year plan, but i don't know if five years could see me being debt free on the paychecks i bring in these days.) the people i've been staying up late talking to in the past few months are those who have picked up and moved, just as i have, from various places - some far, some not as far. they are those who travel over the summers, and in between work shifts. they are those who understand what it means to find yourself on a mountain top in the middle of nowhere, or overlooking a canyon into an open abyss - and just how small it makes you seem. but how very large you are simply to be there.

Horseshoe Bend, Page AZ
from Horseshoe Bend this week, i sent one "WISH YOU WERE HERE" text to a friend doing his own traveling, who will prob not get it until cell reception shows up again wherever he is somewhere between here and the pacific ocean, and a photo to a couple more friends who appreciate that kind of thing. the average temp was 100°, upwards to 104°. like a new englander with something to prove i hardly ever use the a/c in my car, even in that heat - all the windows down and music up. i had not been that far north yet, and the last time i was even in flagstaff (only about 1/3 of the way to HB) was last fall very briefly - again on my way to somewhere else. driving back down through flagstaff on the way home, i looked around, surrounded by trees and green, and realized i need to make an effort to spend some time there this year. it is a spot, that in the two quick pass-thru's i've done, that has had a home feeling to it. maybe it was because it was ninety degrees outside of the car, but there was still snow on the tallest mountain peaks in view. snow! (the heat the past two weeks has been unseasonable - this is august weather. steamy and sweaty and i'm loving it. its taking some getting used to, but i'm trying not to let it slow me down. but... snow. something i know i will forever be nostalgic for, in the kind of way that the past lies to you and tells you something was incredible when really it was miserable.)

there is one thing about the desert and the heat that i'm embracing - i've got to be okay with my body. i generally don't struggle with this. but the other day i had to go out and buy a bunch of shorts, because i didn't own enough for a summer like this. shorts are not my favorite thing, i have never liked wearing them. back in maine i could struggle through the hottest part of summer in jeans with holes in the knees. a few weeks ago i was hiking back to the parked car on the side of the highway from a creek in my bikini (and sneakers), and i got honked at - and laughed it off. i'm wearing little dresses, crop tops, unpadded bras, and pretty much when i'm not at my dayjob i'm wearing as little as possible. the desert is forcing me to be okay in my skin. the skin that i've tattooed and covered in pretty little permanent reminders of things that are important to me, the skin that i always nurture with sunblock and spf, the skin that is much tanner than it has ever been. but still my gut reaction is to hide it. not because i am ashamed but because as soon as its out there: you're known.

i have been fortunate to start knowing people here, very slowly, one by one. i am thankful for the few that have taken the time to listen to what i'm about, despite my particular appearance (which i admit feels fairly "normal" right now, brown hair and all). there have been a couple that haven't worked out and disappeared as quickly as they came around, and honestly its no loss. not everyone "gets it". but yes, those that have stayed and embraced me, i appreciate. coworkers, acquaintances, housemates, partners in crime, lovers. there are not many, but they are good people. there is spirit here.

colors have been abound. 

not just the orange and red of the rocks, which are visually overwhelming; a color i'm not used to in landscapes and am in a love/hate relationship with. 

but i have been experiencing so much of the way i feel things through color. the eye-opening royal purple of the man i trusted myself with. the soft yellow flash i see when good memories of joshua tree come into view. the way that even when i'm driving through the most desolate and colorless tan sand for miles type desert, everything feels green. 

its harder to explain this experience and feeling than i wish - i wish i could put into written words what it feels like for you be able to feel to feel it and see it too... but i suppose thats where my quilts come into play. for along time i was pretty sure i was just taking what i kind of felt and finding somewhat appropriate fabrics and making a project with a witty title. but recently i've realized that infact what i have started doing is showing what i see. no, the desert doesn't look green. it doesn't feel green. to me it IS green. i found out that only 5% of people with synesthesia (0.024% of the world) see/associate personalities with color and only 1% see/associate emotions with color. i have both - i'm a freak ya'll... it isn't all the time. i don't have it all the time with everyone i meet or everywhere i go. for me, its mostly with extremes - when i'm extremely happy, or extremely the opposite. which works out well, considering that its when i have the most desire to create. but i don't really have the means to control it, it just happens when it happens. sometimes i'm laying on the side of a mountain in a shady spot in good company and all of a sudden i get a wash of turquoise. like a blink of an eye.

i've been overwhelmed in some of the best and worst ways these days, but sleep will catch up and theres never fewer than five projects (two commissions right now) on my table at any one time. i have been seeing and feeling some beautiful things, eating too much take-out, and thinking of all the places i want to go when the weather cools back down. i still contemplate getting a second job. i still wish some things were different. but i am trying to get out there and do everything i can. 

"you've got too much soul to be handled by someone who has never been passionate."

13 June 2015


a friend recently shared an article with me about 15 women's perspectives on solo travel and what it has taught them. in all of my blog posts i think i touch a little bit on things like that, but so much of what i've written about has been about personal interactions with other people. yes, that has been a big part of it. but there's a lot more. 

i've been gone from maine since september. thats nine months - some people have children, grow and birth babies in the amount of time that i have been gone. moving and starting a new life has been my baby, but it hasn't always been like starting a new life -  a lot of times it has felt just exactly like the old life i came from, and more like correcting a lot of the choices i had already made. before eric left recently on his four month trip for the summer, he told me he'd see me, "if you're still around in the fall when i get back."  i said something to the effect of, "where else would i go?" - because honestly, i know this is where i have to be for right now. i may have moved here knowing only one family, having very little idea of what i really wanted to do here, and a lot of remorse over not staying in california - but for now this is where i live. i've decided that i need to give myself a couple of years to settle in before i make any changes. patience. travel is always there for me, i can pick up and go every weekend if i want to. but be patient and figure out what i need to do make a life. i'm 35 years old - what kind of goals do i need to set for myself? moving across the country was kind of a big one, but what comes next?

when i made the decision to move, it was december of 2013. it took me months to tell my parents of my plan... but i will never forget the moment i made that decision, almost randomly, while standing on the second floor of the hospital i worked at, filling a bucket with supplies to bring to one of the nurses. i had sent a text to my dude-bff here in AZ about the winter weather and how much i was ready to get away from it. how depressed i had been. i half jokingly said that if he could help me find a job, i'd move in a heartbeat. i had yet to visit LA, i had not met luke or angela in person. i had only spent time with tim during the wedding where we met. i had only visited AZ twice, and neither time with the intention of moving here. but once i spent time with all of them, in these places, it started to evolve fast. even when i started planning and figuring out logistics for real, i relied heavily on all of their inputs. a lot of it was "you can't figure that out until you get here," and i hated that - my nature didn't allow me to wing it. i wanted to know that if i was picking up to travel 3,000 miles from home after quitting my job and leaving my friends and family with only what would fit in my car, that it would be solid.

although i have done a lot on my own through all of this, i am still very reliant on keeping in touch with my closest friends - daily texts about the most mundane things. a couple of friends from back home have humored my continual need to share things, and my CA soul sister has been my biggest lifeline. i have lost and gained other partners in daily or weekly texts, swapping stories and photos - that and social media are what have kept me connected while being otherwise mostly alone. i am not the life of any party, and have never been one to seek out a lot of friends in my life, always having just a few really close relationships to count on. that kind of (lack of) social life has helped, mostly because i don't always feel that urge to be around people. infact, a lot of the experiences i have had with people while out on the west coast/midwest have been disappointing. when its just me, i have very few expectations to uphold. i've had no choice but to be independent. even with the help i had in finding a job and friends who were willing to give me a place to sleep while i was looking for an apartment - i have never been more thankful for help in my life, and i know that i would not have moved without them to fall back on. i'm not sure if i would have ever left maine without a place to land.

part of me knows that a lot of the things i went through with my time in LA were necessary, a way to clean up all of the fantasy plans i had spent so much time thinking about. i had to see what would happen in reality, how people really were, and how i would actually react. i owed it to myself to try - and true to how i am most times, i over-tried long after i should have let it go. a major thing i have learned is that moving 3,000 miles does not change your core - you are still you and you will still react the way you always would, until you just can't anymore. everyone has their limits, and i reached mine. i've learned that i hold on too tight, i have high standards, and neither of those things are wrong - its just that most people can't live up to that. i've had days where i have done nothing but sob and cry, but those days have been very few. in nine months, i think i can count the amount of times i've done that on one hand. at the same time, i can also count on one hand the number of times i have spent travels out and about with someone else. thats almost one every two months. thats a lot of solo time.

as someone who only learned to drive six years ago, driving has become my biggest ally - its one of the only ways for me to clear my head now and the only way i have been able to experience anything out here. taking a roadtrip alone doesn't phase me in the slightest. i don't have to worry about anyone but myself, i only have to stop for gas or when i need to pee (or photograph something). but, just because i'm used to being alone and experiencing things alone, doesn't mean i don't get lonely - and very often the first thing i do on these solo trips is send photos to friends. so many times i have wished that i had someone there to share the moment with. a few years ago i never imagined myself driving a hundred miles out on a desert dirt road with no destination in mind just because i had nothing better to do. i can't count how many times i've pulled over on the side of the road to snap a photo in the middle of nowhere, or stopped to watch the sunset - two things i hardly ever cared about doing when i was home. i catch myself looking at things so differently - every time i get in my car to go somewhere, even if its just to work on the same road i take every day, i see something i haven't seen before. i don't take the views for granted ever. i've driven the same road to california and back a dozen times and each time i stop to photograph something i had wanted to the time before. each trip has had me slow down just a tiny bit more.

i went from being someone who relied on a partner to do everything with me - in my six year relationship i relied on my ex to drive me everywhere, to be with me everywhere, and to do everything with me. when we started to work opposite shifts and started to drift apart, i took the bus or i walked or i did things with friends when it was convenient. and for a while, i stopped doing most things altogether except for going to work. i had taken pride in organizing our lives to a T, whether we were doing it together or not. we had everything figured out except for how to coexist peacefully. i was worried how i'd figure it all out if we broke up, it had been so long since i'd had to do it all alone, and before we were together i was so much younger and priorities were so different. after i left him, i lived alone for two years in my tiny little apartment and i had gotten good at taking care of myself. i had made budgets and was just finally paying all of my bills on time. i was selling quilts and enjoying taking vacations to the west coast. i distinctly remember asking myself in the beginning if it would all lose its luster once i picked up and moved - and i was very scared of the unknown (things had been so routine for so long). i think the biggest thing picking up and moving and traveling solo has taught me is not to be so afraid. i still have situations and times when i can't help but worry about whats down the road for me, but i am less lead by fear. i've learned that i am indeed responsible - i know how to feed myself appropriately (unless i am nervous or carsick), i know that i need 8 hours of sleep at night to be pleasant (good luck with that, i still toss and turn most nights), and i know that money can be stretched when it needs to be but i still rely on credit cards in a pinch more often than i should. but, i know that so far i have not encountered anything that i could not handle - mostly because i know how to make good choices for myself based on the information i am given. 

i trust myself so much more now that i used to, but that doesn't mean that i don't still get hung up on things. i'm trying harder to just own my decisions, even when they turn out to be mistakes. even when i know better but do it anyway. i've learned to trust that everything happens for a reason. (but i still never head out on the road without a full tank of gas and knowing exactly where the nearest gas station is along the way - because i don't trust myself to not break down in the middle of nowhere - note: this hasn't happened even a tiny bit. my gas light never even comes on.) i've learned that my gut is usually right and my heart is usually overindulgent. but i've learned to be patient with myself. that things take time. i suppose that doesn't have much to do with travel but more to do with the people i've come in contact with along the way.. but so many of these roads i've traveled have been long, and i think they've been metaphors in a way.

i'm not sure how all of this solo travel and time has changed my personality but i do definitely feel different than the woman that left maine. i'm stronger for it and have purposefully (and accidentally) put myself through a lot of personal stuff that i probably could have done without. but navigating from state to state and hiking alone has given me a confidence i didn't have before. its given me a reason to connect with people when i can. its not only given me a crazy story to tell and write about and photograph and share, but it has also given me a way to relate to other transplants, of which i have met a couple. all of our stories have been different, everyone has a different reason for what they do and somehow we're all here in each other's lives. sometimes the world seems so small. i've grown thankful of this journey, even when i was pretty sure i wanted to turn around and go back early on, for the way it has let me nurture a spirit in me that i wasn't even sure i had. when i woke up in the back of eric's truck to watch the sun rise over the hills in chino valley a few weekends ago, it was like i'd never seen the sun rise before (and i see it most every day on my way into work) - despite any misgivings or misfortunes i have been through, i have not lost touch with being thankful for something as gorgeous as a sunrise next to someone who understands. that is one thing i have wished for more of. 

the things i love have not changed: paramore, white sheets and comforters, cheesy motel signs, my green thumb, quilting, and long baths. but the list seems so much more infinite now: palm trees. views of the desert from atop a mountain. joshua tree. quiet. empty highways. drinking water. cell phone reception. gps. a freezing creek on a 90degree day. margaritas. the way my housemate bakes cupcakes at 5am. 

some things that have bothered me have been purely situational, and i have learned that sometimes i need to step back. the bigger picture isn't always so big. sometimes its not about you. sometimes its not your fault. but i'm getting better at forgiving myself. i'm getting better at knowing when its okay to be selfless and when i should be guarded. i've learned that when i'm feeling like shit because of something that someone said, its better to just get in the car and drive for four hours instead of laying in bed feeling sorry for myself. karma comes. and i've learned that if i hold out long enough, something better always comes along to make up for it. 

other than the visit i have planned for this coming september back to maine, i'm not sure when i'll get back there again in the future. could i just give up one day and decide to move back? that i've had enough of the novelty of being away? i don't know.. i'd like to think that if AZ doesn't keep me amused the way i want to be, that there are an infinite amount of other places i could go in this country and make it work for a while. i don't necessarily want to be a nomad, i like to put down roots. i still have a pipedream of finding my partner in crime and settling down. my five year plan secretly involves moving to a cabin joshua tree and quilting for a living or owning a tiny shop or whatever i can do to get by, but the responsible five year plan tells me i should think about having a kid and someone to spend holidays with as a happy family. those are things i've always wanted and have not been able to have yet. whatever road this journey is taking me on, i'm just along for the ride. i get to drive, but i'm not entirely sure that i'm at the wheel anymore.