21 September 2014

on the other side - six days.

i keep feeling my wheels spinning on things that are pulling me down. on any guilt i have about leaving people behind. on that weird little broken-hearted spot i still carry around with me. on trying to keep a level head and not set my sights too high. on trying to be realistic. on never getting enough freaking sleep!

starting over always is a crazy combo of gratifying and freeing, and utterly terrifying. i'm not looking for some kind of total transformation, i'm just looking to be with my people. or, should i say, the rest of my people. because my friends & family back home are my people too.... i'm having a hard time explaining to friends at home why right now i'd rather be with my friends afar. it isn't about liking someone better or not being a good friend. it isn't about leaving people behind - how do i explain this?!

since january, when i secretly made the decision to move 2,500-3,000 miles away, i have found myself trying to be excited. my excitement has always felt bumped out of the way by something negative, which has made the whole experience less enjoyable than i'd hoped it would be. i think i had this lofty dream when i decided to move that i would be able to spend the next nine+ months planning and saving, without realizing just how much of a physical and emotional toll it would take on me.

the extra work i've done to make all of the money i've had to save. the decisions. the trying to answer the question, "why are you moving?" - over and over. you spend all of your time trying to get people to know you, to understand you - only to find out that the only one who knows & understands you is YOU. social media lets you spill every little ounce of yourself out into the world, and still people don't know you. some of your friends do, but even they can only dive in so deep. some of your friends are not really your friends at all.

people can say, "oh i'm so happy for you and your adventure". but i'm finding that words, while nice to hear at the time (i love the little pep talks!), are only comforting for so long. its the people who take the time to give support in other ways, who have helped me the most. who have given me a place to stay, who have planned get-togethers and who brought food to my going away party. who have given little tokens and candy and cards. who have taken the time to help me plan. who have been willing to put aside whatever else has been going on to put in the effort with me. it has not gone unappreciated.

i heard my dad tell my brother (in context of the two of us driving across the country), "you know none of this is about you." and he's right - its all about me. a selfish thing to do, to only talk about yourself for almost a whole year. but the entire time i've been talking about myself, all i could think about was how it would affect everyone around me. how it would change relationships and friendships and what people would think. all i could think about was who would be waiting on the other side, and who would care to see me go. 
"be willing to go alone sometimes. you don't need permission to grow.
not everyone who started with you will finish with you."
i've tried to stay present in my friends' lives, with all of their things going on - to be happy for them with good things and to help them sort through bad things. this has been a struggle for me, with so much of my own stuff on my mind. i've tried to help my family when needed - to listen to my mom when she has had a particularly bad day or week. even though i've been living back with my parents' for a month, i haven't been able to spend much time there. 

but, not once since i made the decision to move have i regretted it or felt like i was going to change my mind. not for a single second, even when the news was not well received. with six days until i pull out of the driveway and start on the drive, i still have not one little fleck of regret. you only get one life, and sometimes it takes a long time to figure out how to live it. 

i'm nervous about finding where to fit in. i'm nervous that my people won't really all be my people. i'm nervous that i'll hear "i told you so" before i'm ready, and i'm nervous that all of this time spent really getting to a solid and OKAY place with myself will have been in vain this time around. i'm worried that i'll make all of the same mistakes, just in a different location. (i picture it being a little bit like starting at a new school: people already have their close circles of friends, you're inevitably going to crush on the hott jerk/popular guy, and everyone is going to think your hair is weird.)

i have two more days at work. i'm going to miss my coworkers and friends - people i probably would never have come into contact with otherwise. i will not, however, miss my job. in the beginning it was easy to look past the type of work for the pay and benefits. towards the end it felt nearly impossible. moving forward, come job interview time, i need to remember that spending 40+ hours a week somewhere is a lot of hours. and even if the pay is pretty good, its not always worth it. this is not to say that i expect to land my dream job, i don't even know what that would be... but, make enough money to be comfortable if you can - and work somewhere you are comfortable, too. (never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.)

i'm looking forward to a winter where i can be outside and not be miserable. this is important to me. northern AZ will get a bit of snow, but it will melt quickly. we'll get chilly temps, but it will be nothing like maine. we will get seasons, but maybe not the four i'm used to. i'll miss the fall foliage and the fall farm fairs, but i'll get desert hiking and Sedona views. while i'm in CA, i'll get warmer temps and the beach if i want it! nightlife, if i want that too. 

i think both AZ and CA will pose totally different sets of obstacles for me. i'm not sure i'm ready for any of them. but, thats the whole point, right? i don't think (nor do i want) any of this will be empowering or life-affirming. i don't want to have to worry if i'm trying too hard or not trying hard enough. i have nobody to impress - my people like me just the way i am. if you don't like me the way i am, or maybe you don't have time to care about whats going on with me as i go through all of this, then i won't chase you. i don't have time for that. 

i'm lucky that 90% of the time, i can find comfort in the little things - my sewing machine, the photo of me with paramore, my camera, a good book or a new nailpolish. i can take these things with me anywhere. i can share them with anybody.

this week i have to: do laundry, finish up at work, return a couple things to the store, pick up travel supplies (h2o, snacks), clean out my car, get an oil change, finish up two sewing projects, finish PACKING!, go out to dinner with friends twice, apply for health insurance, figure out the glitch in my student loan forbearance, and say goodbye to everyone. six days til i leave for the other side. 

15 September 2014

a week & a half.

i've been feverishly making music mixes. last weekend i decorated & coordinated a wedding. this weekend i put on my own going away party. 

there has been very little rest, with dinners and get-togethers. there are seven days of work left and three more days of dogsitting. 

i'm tired.

but i'm letting myself finally start to feel excited instead of feeling stressed. the big tasks have passed, and now its just the little stuff to finish up.

i'm getting excited for: bright red hair dye, wide open desert spaces, far away friends being closer, simplicity of not having so much stuff (physically & metaphorically), portability, compactness, that feeling of making your own new space amidst everyone else's chaotic and routine lives, warmth and just a little bit of snow in the middle of winter. i'm getting excited for chilly desert nights and hiking in combat boots. i'm getting excited for a reason to use my real camera.

none of this is anything new, but instead of distant wishlists, this stuff is nearly 11 days away from me (plus four days of driving). 

two summers ago, there were jokes made about an overly filtered photo of a photo on instagram, and now people i never knew existed are about to help catch me as i jump. my best friend is about to be in the same house as me instead of two time zones and 2500 miles away.

my grandmother cried at my going away party, and so did one of my friends/coworkers. i teared up a little driving home from work tonight while listening to a mix cd made by a friend. but i'm not at the outwardly emotional part, yet. i don't know if/when i will be. i've struggled with so many inner emotions about all of this for nine months - in the time that most people make/have/grow babies, i have planned and plotted this move. this move is my baby - a new life. a new opportunity to do more. maybe for some people this sort of thing is easy. i would not say that for me it has been difficult, but it has involved difficult parts. there will be difficult parts to come. 

i'm excited to show my brother a couple of quick little bits of arizona once we get there. we'll only have a day before he has to turn around to fly home. but not without first visiting Watson Lake and Slide Rock. two of my favorite spots. 

my california friends have all been complaining of crazy heat over there, while its been in the 40s in the morning here in maine - and i've been wearing socks to bed at night. a little part of me is going to miss the whole fall thing - the foliage change, the chilly temps, cold hands. but i'll be gaining the sound of owls hooting at dusk in arizona, and friends i'm dying to hang out with in california. 

i haven't had much, or really any, time to sew this past month. i've spent more time cleaning out my car, vacuum sealing clothes, double checking cash funds, and scrambling to make plans. my sewing machine still isn't working great, but it will do for now. i'm in the middle of the slowest project at the worst time in the smallest space. but in a couple of weeks i can set up my machine in my best friend's house and finally get to the piles of fabric that luke sent me to work on for him. i'm excited for this. 

really, i'm just excited to see how all of it pans out. i'm excited to see if i can figure it all out. i'm excited to see what comes first, what comes next, what comes last. i'm excited to see who and how and when. i'm excited to give myself the chance that i've really been wanting. i'm excited to be on a mini vacation to start and then buckle down. i'm excited to see places i love and places i haven't seen yet. i'm excited to get going. 

to do before i go, this week:
target with JW
dinner with chris
lunch & shopping with loren

to do before i go, next week: 
lunch with meredith
my last day of work
oil change / tires
vacuum out my car
pack my stuff!
pack it all in the car!
get some sleep.

27 August 2014

30 / 19 ;

the number of days left in my hometown. with my family.

the number of workdays left at my job. with my friends.

these are the things on my mind lately:

it hit me today that, although i am not the only single person i know, i am one of VERY FEW single ladies in my circle of friends & acquaintances. i wondered why this all of a sudden seemed so important, while i was shampooing my hair and green dye was circling the drain at my feet. it honestly has not been something i've thought about in the past two years - that i don't gather up my single lady friends on the weekends and hit the town. i have not ever really been a group person anyway - i prefer my one on one time with my friends. i like the conversation better when four other people aren't trying to chime in over you.

getting ready to pick up and leave my friends doesn't seem nearly as surreal as i thought it would. of course, i still have a little time and that may change. but in the past six months i have felt a significant shift in my friendships - i think part of me kind of started to say goodbye to some degree quite a while ago. there are a small handful of people i am trying to spend time with while i can. they know who they are, and i have been trying to make a real special and serious effort to let them know what they mean to me and how they have impacted my life. 

a friend recently told me that after having not being able to spend time with me in a while, she noticed that i seem more sure of myself and maybe more grown up. i suppose in theory this is true. i haven't decided if this came as a result from my decision to move, or if my decision to move was because of this personal change - but either way, i'm trying. to make healthier decisions, but be more conscious of how people make me feel and how situations affect me, and to breathe a little more deeply. another friend has mentioned how much i've grown to be more confident, more self loving. the fact that i have friends who have noticed these things really makes me feel like all of this work has not been in vain - because even though i know it and feel it and thats what really is the most important, being validated out there in the world is essential to knowing you're on the right track.

so many people in my life are on much different paths than mine. they are married, have children, have careers. there have been many many times in my life that i have wanted these things for myself - and i continue to want them - but i have realized that none of those things can happen until i do what i'm preparing to do next month. it can be a little alienating to be one of few who hasn't set these life goals into motion. its no surprise to anyone, though, that i'm a little different. i've kind of always gone against the grain, for good & bad. where friends had succeeded, i have not - but i can do so many things that they can't. a bunch of people have told me that they're jealous of this big adventure i'm about to go on, and while yes indeed it is an adventure of all kinds, i'm trying to look at it as less of an adventure (which to me means frivolity and a little bit less structured than i like) and more as a necessity.

from the Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton

there have been times in my life when a handsome guy has liked me, and the first thought in my brain has been "why the heck would this guy choose me?!". and many times, this has been slightly out of self-loathing, out of self-doubt. possibly because often that guy who could have any girl they wanted chose me out of convenience. my opinions and my style and my self-expression and my personality  used to be weaker, quieter, more messy. it wasn't until earlier this year that one of those handsome guys expressed how he just wanted to shake me and make me realize how amazing i am - how everyone is always trying to show/tell me that i'm amazing - i am not sure i still even believed it then. 

but i do now.

and in finally "getting it", making this big decision to leave, setting aside all of those "normal" goals (heck, i don't even have a job lined up into the foreseeable future!), i'm finally taking control of a life that i let kind of slip away from me. seven+ years ago i got caught up in making the perfect home, the perfect garden, the perfect everything from the outside - i didn't nurture my relationship and i certainly didn't nurture myself. even after leaving that behind, i got caught up in the mundane everyday things - like going to work and trying to find a date - and in turn struggled with the things that really are important to me - like being creative. i go to work everyday to a job that doesn't allow me to really be who i am, and i'm reminded of a quote i saw on pinterest :

never get so busy making a living
that you forget to make a life.

i feel really blessed for whatever turn of events caused my creativity to take such a dramatic turn this year - whether it was being inspired by distance or music or strength or weakness or all of the above - i wake up every morning with ideas in my brain that i can't wait to see turn into something. eventually. and thats not to say that it all may turn again and end up something completely different by the end of the year, but right now i'm pleased with the inspiration to sewing ratio. this feels like the first time that i've really truly been able to show who i am in my work, or at least part of who i am. a work in progress.

i think anyone who has doubted me through this decision, or who has had ill opinion of what i've done and what i'm doing, has not truthfully and clearly sat down and looked at their own life with the kind of strength i have. i have said to myself and to everyone around me - I AM NOT HAPPY. I NEED _____ TO BE HAPPY. I REFUSE TO BE UNHAPPY ANYMORE. I AM MAKING A CHANGE. changes have consequences. changes hurt and are hard and affect people besides yourself. but being happy - to any degree, even if its just the tiniest bit - is what life should be about. so many people focus on being unhappy. on why and how. i have done this for years and years, choosing to give all of my energy trying to remedy broken things with even worse fixes just to hold myself over for a little while. but at 34 years old, i want out. i've hit the wall too many times.

this is my window of opportunity, and i am taking it while i can. i'm done with feeling bad for people, and i'm done worrying about what they think of me. your life is yours, and my life is mine.

i finally finished the patchwork for the top of the #beabadass quilt. my machine is still being fixed in the shop, but i borrowed a vintage oldie machine of my mom's to get it done last weekend. you might remember in the post i made about it last month, that it was definitely inspired by one of my favorite ladies and her confidence and boldness (and her hair colors ;)). but honestly, it was really kind of inspired by my own. be awkward and a little hard to figure out, if thats your way. be tough and strong and bold, if thats your way. be mismatched, aqua-haired, and a little punk if thats your way.

as i get ready for the next 30 days - full of busy days and nights, mostly geared towards other people and what i can do to help them out - i'm trying to just be my regular self. going through the motions until this part of my life wraps up and i move on to the next part (and better winter weather). i have been exhausted, haven't felt well, and have at least two moments per day where i freak out and say i'm just going to get in the car tomorrow, screw the next month! but i'm no stranger to frustration and i can barrel through this stuff. i've made it this far. 

and now, what i've really been thinking about:

how do the weekends go by so quickly but the weekdays drag on, always? the importance of reproductive health, and the side effects of taking care of business (ouch!). i would never be able to fit all of this crap into my car without those vacuum seal bags. when will i have enough clothes?! as much as i love photographing nature & wilderness & travel, i know i didn't do nearly enough of it in my own home state, which is gorgeous. patterns - give me as many patterns & prints as you can, just cram them in my face and let me roll around in them. what am i going to do with my hair color? will i ever be unattached to this stupid cell phone? the photo of paramore & i at the meet/greet is still f-ing amazing (i still look at it every day). living back at home with parents is strange and weird and do i have to ask to do things? planning your own going away party is also strange and weird.

22 August 2014

close, closer, closest.

i survived the quick move to my parents' house, and here i'll be over the next five weeks. i'm setup in the little guest room, my belongings still in bins and organized just the way i packed them. 

my sewing machine is in the shop getting fixed, and although i have not been able to sew over the past week i've been brainstorming and sketching and pulling fabric (mentally & physically).

there is not much going on until early september, so i'm taking these couple of weeks to fuel up. i have plans to finish piecing the skull #beabadass quilt top that i was ready to complete just as my machine shit the bed. i have plans to cut out at least a million (probably no joke there) 3" squares for YES yet another half-square triangle quilt i've got in the works.

a couple of people have told me that i should consider straying from the norm and make something in a different style, but i can't bring myself to do it. i see things in HSTs. and right now, i've gotta make what i see. 

recently i've been less attracted to color and more attracted to pattern - though this should not surprise a single person out there. also, if you follow me on pinterest your feed has been blown up by exactly what i've been attracted to... my last couple of projects were very color based, and all of a sudden i can't squeeze enough pattern out of life. i dove deep into my mom's rejected fabric pile (post massive sewing room cleanup), i pulled things from the bottom of my own stash, and i hopped on etsy to purchase a handful of small cuts of prints i couldn't live without (and i'm still waiting for a few to show up on our doorstep any day now!). 

there's a new project in the works. because i can't sit still right now. because i can't sit still ever. i don't anticipate getting much of it done before i move, but i hope to move with at least the little cut pieces to save space.

this new project, which i'm calling "Close, Closer, Closest" is one that i've had brewing since sometime this past winter. in february and march i started sketching some ideas out and even started piecing a couple of things together, but i just COULDN'T GET IT. whatever was in my brain was stuck and i couldn't quite get it right. 

i was driving to work a couple of days ago, it was a chilly 60 degrees out and feeling more like fall than mid-august. i was blaring songs randomly on my ipod, and "closer" by tegan & sara came on.

i was suddenly sketching out new ideas in between jobs at work, and texting friends excitedly as i usually do when a new project starts to form.... except, i really thought this project was going to be completely different. it looks nothing like i originally had thought. the fabrics look absolutely nothing like they did when i had first started putting thoughts together over the winter. thats how i know its perfect. you can't rush it. sometimes it takes a solid six months to even plan something. in my case, it takes at least six months to plan anything.

so let's make things physical
i won't treat you like you're oh so typical
i want you close, i want you
i won't treat you like you're typical

i think sometimes if its too soon and you're too in the moment and you can't get out of your own head enough, stuff just stays crammed inside there with its arms folded throwing a temper tantrum. it doesn't come out. it doesn't want to. i think in my case, i was trying to transform an emotion so literally that there was no way in hell fabric was going to do the job. too literally. i needed six months to step away and regroup and get inspired by patterns and a song (per usual). 


background fabrics for around the orbs:

each chunk of fabrics will be a HALF of each orb,
and some (my faves) will repeat:

so, in the beginning stages this looks like a vomit of colors and fabrics and craziness. but, the whole idea of this project is to pair styles of fabrics that don't "match". there's vintage, brand new designers, bold prints, tiny prints, text, calico, ETC ETC ETC. so, for instance, the plaid pile on the top right might get paired with those bold 80's florals on the top left. i haven't decided exact pairings yet - but i will once the rest of my ordered fabrics get here .

and of course, as i start getting to work on this, i'll share a little more insight into the emotion behind it and where it came from and where its going. 

stay tuned!

13 August 2014

the last night.

tonight i'm spending my last night in the tiny little apartment. i moved here just over two years ago, with no other options (i only looked at one other affordable apt and it was terrible), newly single after such a long time, and what felt like a whole new life ahead of me. it took me a little bit of time to adjust, but eventually i made this one room into a home for myself. i filled it with pretty things, i spent countless hours rearranging furniture to make it comfortable and useful, i set up a workspace for my sewing, and i have been within walking distance to work (and good restaurants and friends' studios and homes). 

this little room has seen me go through a handful of non/relationships. heard me argue, seen me sleep beside handsome men in a twin bed, listened to hundreds of long-distance phone calls, sat quietly while i sent thousands of texts, and gave me a spot to cry when i needed to (and oh how i needed to, on so many occasions). a space that was mine and mine alone. a place to be while i figured myself out and what i needed to do to move on. a place for singing off-key, dancing in my underwear, staying up late, getting up early (except on sundays).. a place for what few secrets i had.

this has been an emotional week leading up to packing the last of my belongings and getting ready to clean every inch. i made this little room a home slightly reluctantly. i can vividly remember when i first got here i didn't want to sew a single stitch for months. the cats and i laid on the bed and drank beers and plotted our escape in infinite daydreams.

i called my grandmother yesterday. she has a harder time than i've ever noticed getting out sentences and finding her words, its hard for her to remember things. she did her best to reassure me that i still have plenty of time to do what i need to get done before i go. i know that in leaving i risk so many things changing in my absence. with my family, with my friends. i won't be coming back for the end of the year holidays - thanksgiving and christmas normally spent with family will be spent with new friends without snow. people that normally rely on my helping hands to do things more easily, will have to adapt to helping themselves while i focus on new opportunities.

i'm finding that in my last weeks here, it is harder (not easier, as i thought it would be) to say "no" to people. get-togethers with people i haven't spent time with in so long feel like starting over, there's so much to catch up on. when someone cancels plans with me, they have to understand that perhaps i won't have time to fit them in later on. the days are filling up faster than i can comfortably keep track of. my iPhone calendar has tiny dots on 80% of the dates left before september 27th. and though there are projects i wish i hadn't agreed to take on in the next few weeks, i know that its those projects that will get me just a bit closer to my departure. 

my bins and my suitcase are packed. and although my sewing machine is recently busted, it is packed as well. my refrigerator is empty. the walls are bare. the room is looking much the way it did when i moved in - empty, slightly overwhelming, very small, and without personality. its ready for the next person to come in and make it theirs. this is my last night in my own space and living alone for quite some time. maybe six months, maybe a year, maybe indefinitely.

in the past week i've had a couple of crying fits, a night of nightmares, a few "i miss you already"s at work and with friends, and very little sleep. luckily, i've also had some awesome conversations with great people, some good laughs, a perfect traveling to the west coast music mix sent my way, and support in all the best forms. i expect the roller coaster to last as long as i let it, which likely will be until i'm high upon a mountain in arizona and can stop to take a deep breath. i've been there before, i know what that feels like.

watching the news on the tv at work today during my lunch break felt like watching the world fall apart. reading articles on robin williams and knowing how many people are out there that feel like there is no hope and no help and no other way... has left me feeling humbled and motivated to keep going. sometimes i need a little reminder that i can do this, because while its not really all that difficult, it really is all that difficult. i thank my dude-BFF constantly for putting me up in AZ without question. today i thanked my buddy LUKE for giving me a place to stay and a chance to do what i love while in los angeles. without them, i couldn't be doing any of this. i have so many people to thank. {how can i thank everyone? ...i think the only way i can thank everyone who has helped me and cheered me on and supported me, verbally and physically and emotionally, is to just do my best.}

really its not about leaving my apartment or going to live with my parents for a bit to save money or not being alone or how i'm going to say goodbye to everyone appropriately. all of these things will happen. its not about how many belongings i can fit in my car or how many miles i have to drive. its about the same thing it was about when i moved into this tiny little room - change is necessary to stay happy. change is necessary to live up to your potential. and you have to be proactive to see any changes. 

i've gotten better at loving myself, i've gotten better at not giving in to struggles, i've learned to embrace my weirdness and that not everyone will "get" me. i've learned that honesty is always best even when it hurts like hell and means you have to spit out a million words and get very few in return. i'm still learning to be patient, but thats next. i'm saying goodbye tonight to just one piece of this big puzzle. just a room full of memories, making space for so many more to come. i'll drink to that, right after i finish scrubbing the bathroom.

june 2012.
tomorrow evening i'm off to dogsit in the woods for a few days before officially moving back in with my parents for the rest of my time here.

44 days.

07 August 2014

these are the things;

five years or so ago, i acquired an obsessive affinity for old antiques, something i had never been even remotely interested in before. i had collections of pieces that interested me: cameras, books, linens, decorations, dishes. i know now that it was because i craved anything that had a story - because i did not have a story of my own. "its not you, its me, " i'd always say, taking the blame with some kind of lamely executed apology. it felt as if we had jumped ahead fifty years - tired and disconnected, locked into a rhythm of dispassionate indifference. 

after time that i had to count on two hands, i finally made our goodbye. and i cried afterwards - not out of sadness, but out of the guilt of watching him cry - and because i was scared for myself to start over.

when i decided i was going to move across the country, i knew it was time to part ways with a lot of those antiques i had collected - realizing i now had started writing my own story, and it meant that i no longer needed anyone else's.  i saved just a few of my favorite cameras to box up and take with me. i'm hoping that someday, once i decide where i'll be making my new home, i'll have a pretty place to display them again.

for now, pretty things have to be compact, folded up, and unimportant. for now, pretty things don't hold much weight in my world (unless its my perfectly executed liquid eyeliner or the unfinished and untouched quilt project on my wall). i have one more week in my tiny little apartment, and then i will have to relearn how to live with people again. its empty in here, or as empty as it can be while i'm still living here. i leave 50 days from today. i still have so much to do but i'm trying to give myself time to reflect on what all of this means to me before the insanity of actually doing it is in full effect. i'm not scared to start over this time.

mostly i found that living alone when you're 22-25 is much different than when you're 32-34 (as i'm sure living with a longtime boyfriend is much different than living with your parents or a family of six or a couple of dude roommates. i guess if anything i'll be able to say i'm flexible). 

i'm looking forward to fulfilling some goals for myself in these travels: 
  • using my Canon camera every day
  • designing some new quilt ideas based on inspiring sights and feelings
  • spending quality time with my dude-BFF regularly (daily!!) in the same time zone and IN THE SAME ROOM! this hasn't happened since last october.
  • traveling down to southern AZ in the first month (i've only spent time north of phoenix)
  • meeting all of my social media/California sewing peeps
  • doing a bit of sewing for LUKE! and learning how to use the long-arm quilting machine
those sound like a bunch of easy and fun basic things, but honestly most of them are things i don't give myself a chance to do very often, and are all the backbone of this entire move. i'm really looking forward to embracing the change (for good and bad) and growing as a person. letting new people into my life, letting them help me, and making new decisions for myself. i've been making the same decisions over and over and over every day for years, with the same outcome. you can only be so open-minded in a place where you feel stuck and boxed in (even if thats a self-perceived feeling).

i have to remember that giving up my own apartment doesn't give me less freedom. i'm going to be gaining freedom of another kind. the freedom to be unemployed for a few months (which i've been saving pennies for). the freedom to see and do things that at other points in my life i haven't been able to do - and may never be able to do again. the freedom to be myself in new places.

this freedom doesn't come without consequences, some of which have been and will be harder than others. leaving family, friends. leaving pets. leaving coworkers and comforts of home. leaving routine and habits. i feel like i'm going to try to describe that a thousand different ways and never quite get it right. i know that once i get there, it will probably feel different than i anticipate. i know that part of me will always wonder what it would have been like if i'd stayed, just as part of me has always wondered what it would be like to leave.

i cried my eyes out for weeks after my trip to LA this past winter, because i had no idea when i'd get a chance to go back and see those people again. i had no idea what would be waiting for me there when i did get the chance to go back, and i still have no idea. but i am so eager to find out, so that i can soothe those tear-filled days that felt so unbearable at the time. i cried my eyes out for weeks because i felt such a connection to those friends - connections that have taken me years to find and trust here, and have been very few. i cried my eyes out for weeks because a snow-filled winter kept me inside away from the sunshine and warmth and air that keeps my spirits up. i cried my eyes out for weeks because i fell in love with so many things that i had to say goodbye to, so quickly. going back to even just a couple of those things feels like getting what i've earned my whole life - it feels like winning the lottery.

my posse. the opportunities. that sunshine.

and arizona. oh, that home away from home. the first time i stepped foot off the plane in arizona, i left a little bit of my heart there. my dude-BFF's kids will have grown up by another year by the time i get there to see them. he and i struggle to stay in touch as often as possible - sometimes its just me texting and texting and texting. his work life and home life are crazy busy, but i'm so happy to get thrown into that mix for a little while. our hiking adventures are some of my most favorite memories ever. his crafty and awesome wife will be so much fun to create with. staying with them is going to be such a perfect segue from leaving home to LA.

every time i have a stressful day or a negative moment, i remind myself to keep my eye on the prize. i remind myself that negativity breeds negativity, and the more positive i stay about everything the happier i will be. the little panic attacks are starting to get less frequent, i have my to-do list mapped out for the next seven weeks. because once that to-do list is done, i'll be out of lists and onto the open road.

one week at a time, one thing to do at a time.
  • this past week: helping my parents move things in their house, bringing over a few of my items that they'll be keeping for me. 
  • week 1: dinner with friends, emptying out my apartment and dogsitting for four days. 
  • week 2: a dr's appointment that will put me up for a couple of days, officially staying at my parents', and cleaning/scrubbing my apartment.
  • week 3: a free week!!!! GASP.
  • week 4: coordinating and setting up a friend's wedding
  • week 5: my going away party
  • week 6: dogsitting for three days
  • week 7: my last day of work, and heading out.

my brain wants to fall in love with a new guy at the very last minute, but my heart is like, "psshhh, we don't have time for that." my body wishes i could get just a tiny bit more sleep. my sewing machine is pissed because its getting dusty and i don't have a desk anymore to work on.  
these are the things going on.
these are the things i'm balancing.


26 July 2014

two more months.

over a year ago, we were talking about a good friend of mine. who was flying back and forth from ME to LA to visit a guy who wanted her to maybe move there.
i asked something like, "how does that even happen?"
"pay attention," he said, "...this is your future."
and i laughed  nervously, because a year ago it seemed like the most ridiculous idea ever. too scary, too far, too much. perhaps my reasoning has changed since then, helping it seem only slightly less those things; but still, this is it. this is my future. he was right....WTF?!

my girlfriend never moved to LA (she went to central america instead), and here i am: two months away from driving across the country to make a one month pit stop in arizona to live with my dudeBFF & family, before driving another six hours to LA to sew for at least a couple of months and live/visit with friends..

a couple of times a day now i have a quick moment where i realize i can't breathe, my chest is heavy, my perception of my surroundings is distant and fuzzy - typical little panic attacks for seemingly no reason out of the blue. i remind myself that people make this kind of move all of the time.

i've been spending a lot of time on pinterest lately, adoring photos of Sedona, AZ and Joshua Tree, CA - my desert spots. because for all of my punky pixie parts that like to be inside at my sewing machine and listening to loud music by myself, i have never felt as at home as i did standing in the middle of the warm and quiet desert looking out into the giant abyss of land, or simply just driving through it. i kind of felt like i didn't really know who i was until i stepped foot in the desert; like in another life i'd spent all of my days there in love with the most perfect man and waking slowly every morning with him.

(also , get me to Havasupai Falls, RIGHT NOW.)

TOWARD THE EMPTINESS by yougo jeberg on Flickr
this morning i woke up and thought, "who will go see the 50 Shades of Gray movie with me when it comes out in february?"... silly little things that would never even be a question here at home. its both equally exciting and unsettling to have so much unknown ahead of me.

i'm really pumped to get out with my camera again. the last time i really gave it a workout was while hiking through devil's bridge in Sedona with  my dudeBFF. we got there for sunset and moonrise and it was just nice to be creative in a way that doesn't involve fabric. i think its going to be really fun to roadtrip down to southern AZ and check out new places i haven't seen yet, and also get out in downtown LA to find street art etc. my interests are so varied, its nice to know i'm heading to places where they can all be nurtured. its nice to know i'm heading in the right direction.

3 weeks left in the tiny little apartment, 1 of those weekends away dogsitting.
sell furniture, clean apartment, finish packing my life.
move to my parents for 6 weeks:
1 weekend away dogsitting, 1 weekend coordinating a wedding, 1 weekend for my going away party.

details, details; they'll get knocked off the list one by one.

coming up on the final stretch.

20 July 2014

the #beabadassquilt, so far.

i originally started brainstorming this project as a sister quilt to my ToBeHonest quilt. i wasn't quite sure the statement i wanted to make, yet; but i knew it would be slightly more subtle than the first. 

if you follow me on Instagram, you know that one of the hashtags i use often on my selfies is "#pixieisastateofmind". on the inside and outside, i embrace my own pixie-ness; which Urban Dictionary defines as: a beautiful, sexy, ebullient, graceful, captivating, petite woman with short hair (...Though she was the smallest of the group of women, her beauty and style made her the most noticeable. A true pixie.). 

and despite being "a true pixie," i also have also acquired a very bad-ass side. 

i find that my bad-ass-ness has very much come from my friends and role-models, all unique and distinctly themselves in their own ways, and very much unafraid of who they are. to me, thats the definition of being a badass. unapologetic. cool. tough. very much whatever, hence being sisters with the #TBHquilt.

my number one bad-ass role model is hands down hayley williams. anyone who knows me even remotely well knows this to be true. this quilt took on a whole new life when i met her a month ago. 

things that have always been important to me about her, aside from her voice and bad-ass music, is that she always comes across as tough and dainty at the same time. she holds her faith close and doesn't make a secret of it but its subtle, woven into lyrics and her tattoos. she dresses the way she wants to - bouncing back and forth between girly and edgy punk effortlessly. she does what she wants with her hair, she's no kardashian. for ladies like me who always feel just outside of the current trends and don't have the body shape for a lot of styles, its so comforting to see that ripped jeans and leather jackets can be sexy. 

my mom describes hayley as my "kindred spirit", and upon meeting her i knew that to be true. she was approachable, told ME that I was adorable (what?!), and commented on my "awesome skirt". i could barely get two words out but that seemed so crazy to me - my fashion idol commenting on an outfit that took me days to choose, and when i look back at it now i think what the hell i have wayyyy cooler clothes in my closet. i don't remember a lot of the few minutes i spent getting that photo taken, because honestly it was so fast and i was still so surprised that it was even happening (i didn't know i'd be doing this until just beforehand - thanks Kyle!).. but i remember looking at her glittery eyeshadow and thinking that i'd just hit the life jackpot. she was down to earth, and i think in the entertainment industry its very bad-ass to be able to stay that way.

i'd been through some crappy emotional stuff in the previous month or two, a lot of it self-made but some of it just circumstantial. life is all over the place here these days, as you can imagine. but, a friend of mine made the comment that it was just "movement", and it put it into perspective for me really quickly - all of the shitty dumb stuff that i'd felt up until that very second was bringing me to one of the most important and comforting moments of my entire life thus far. and strangely, just a few months before embarking on a huge life change. 

i had originally planned to make the skull orange, and the background black & red somehow.  but once i started to see her hair transition from bright orange to turquoise, i knew that i had to use those colors. the quilt had suddenly changed from a typical skull quilt to a secret emotional hommage, much like a lot of my other projects.

and so, the quilt went from being a plain old punk skull to being a BAD-ASS reminder for me: that i'll always have that moment to take with me regardless of where i go. 

...and that being a pixie bad-ass is pretty much the best thing. i can't imagine myself being any other way. somedays its harder than others to be confident and strong - but i think a lot of times, for me, bad-ass-ness is on the inside. sometimes i don't show it on the outside. its a work in progress. much like this quilt, which is now only half done.
so, secretly this quilt means a lot to me as a person & artist - but i think when its finished it will be very much like its sister - a bold quilt with a lot to say. i'm not quite sure of all the words yet, but i'm sure there will be some.

if you want to see what makes me feel bad-ass and inspires me, check out my current favorite Pinterest board that i've been adding to regularly.

14 July 2014

on the not-so-fun parts of a plan like this.

when i first started planning my cross-country move, i knew there were going to be things that would be not-so-fun that i would eventually have to do and figure out. for the past six months, i've been able to avoid those things. but, the time has come to deal with what needs to be dealt with. these not-so-fun things range from things as mundane as doctor's appointments (which ended up being not very mundane and actually very frustrating) to things that really kind of suck the life out of you (like bringing my cat to the shelter).
My last morning with Rockie.
when i first started planning my cross-country move, i knew there were going to be these things - and i decided that this would be a perfect time for me to try to get over my anxiety. anxiety about decision making, about not having control over things, about no being able to plan things into the ground RIGHT NOW. i struggle with this kind of stuff and it bogs me down in ways that i absolutely can't stand, but previously i've felt like i wasn't necessarily tough enough to handle it. in the past few years, i've started to show myself that i indeed can handle more than i think i can. i've grown a lot in dealing with things like a breakup after six years, living in a one room apartment, having to give up one sick cat (and now my second), numerous stupid heart-related relationship/non-relationship bullshit... 

 i am tougher than i always thought. and braver, and more awesome. but i'm still human, and i have to remind myself to be kind to myself. to be gentle with myself. these are not easy decisions that i'm making. these are decisions that are taking me 3,000 miles away from everything i have ever known, straight into the arms of a lot of things and people that i don't know very well at all. that takes a whole other level of strength and courage than i have ever had to use before. 

so, sometimes i cry and freak out and call my mom to sob for a half hour. sometimes i text my friends for a bitch session, or post to social media about the frustrations. but i am trying to remind myself that for every crappy thing that happens, there are several good things happening simultaneously. just because i can't see the future clearly doesn't mean that i won't be able to very soon. 

spending the past two months trying to plan a procedure at my doctor's office that i found out today i can't actually have done because of a problem between a pharmaceutical company and my doctor's office (even though my insurance covers it 100%), is frustrating and TOTALLY OUT OF MY CONTROL. so, i complained about it for a little while and now i have to get over it and move onto the next plan (which hopefully won't take two more months).

there have been one or two people who have not agreed with the way that i've progressed on with my plan. and i've had to learn that i am the only person i need to answer to at the end of the day.  i have had to realize that these people are not friends, no matter how long i have known them. anyone who is going to give you unsolicited inflammatory advice without the facts or even flat out asking me for my side first, is not a friend. i don't expect anyone to support me, but i certainly expect them to go about their own business if they don't. luckily, 99% of my friends & family are behind me all the way.

i'm learning slowly how to let go. of a lot of things. control, friends and people i thought were my friends, possessions, things i thought i loved, things i know i loved, things that have kept me company for a long time. 

Arizona, 2013.

the crazy thing about all of this is that in the process is that once i get to where i'm going  i'm going to have to do the same thing - just let things happen as they will - while at the same time taking total control of my life to try to find a job and make things work. can i do all of this with a mimosa in my hand?!, because i'm gonna need that...

but until then, these not-so-fun things are starting to happen, with a few more of them on the horizon that have yet to come about. my goal is to focus on the good, to be happy while i'm still in maine, and to not let the little/big things get me down.  i've noticed that i'm changing already, little by little - the old me would have had the driving route planned long ago and would have already (like, months ago) started to look into motels along the way. i haven't even started that yet, but just dug out the maps and AAA books today to put that towards the top of the to-do list. 

the reality of it all has hit, the shitty stuff is starting, i've already lost a friend or two (you really do learn who your true friends are when you do something like this), and its no longer this romantic idea in my head to travel off into the distance with the wind at my back that i think about before i go to sleep at night. so... here's to not worrying, saying WHATEVER, letting it all happen, and checking things off the to-do list. this is my chance to be who i want to be. so if you see me and i look like i'm freaking out and you ask me how i'm doing and i say "i'm okay," you don't really have to believe me but please pretend like you believe me anyway. 

because, i'm okay. mostly.

09 July 2014

...i got this. (in the details.)

as many (most) of you know, i'm moving clear across the country - Maine to Arizona to LA - 3,000 miles, in two and a half months. 79 days from today, but who's counting. 

in the past couple of weeks i have given my landlord and my boss notice of my moving and quitting dates. SHIT IS GETTING REAL.

a decision like this comes with up's and down's - like anything else in life. but holy heck, soooo many up's and down's. when i first made the decision, i was worried about what people would think, what my family would say, how i would say goodbye to everyone, what would i bring with me, what would i do with my cat, where would i live, how would i find a job, how would i meet people, what would the drive be like, would i go alone, would i fit in...would i be making a huge mistake... how would i know how to do any of this?!
"fool me twice".
 one by one, i'm crossing things off of my to-do list, and answering a lot of those questions. i realized i couldn't worry about what anyone else thought and had to go with my gut and my heart, true friends & family would follow suit. i can fit 7 big plastic bins and one suitcase into my car, so everything i can take with me has to fit - everything else has been sold, given away, or stored with my parents and brother. 

i made plans today that my cat is going to the shelter this weekend. so far, this has been the most emotional part for me. i'm sure there will be more as it gets closer, but having given up my other cat just a year ago because of her medical problems still doesn't make me a pro at this part. keeping my eye on the big picture and knowing that this is necessary doesn't make it any easier. she's been with me for 7 years, through good and bad. she's a tough one, not very nice, can't be with other animals or kids. but she loves to sleep with me at night. 
i have a short term place to live in AZ, and a temp living arrangement with the possibility of permanence in LA if necessary. if i decide to go back to AZ after my two month stint in LA, i can go back to my short term place until i can find an apartment. i'm lucky to have friends with space for me. i have a sewing job to hold me over until i decide where to stay and can find a regular day job - and i'm not going to be limiting myself in what kinds of jobs i'll look for. as for meeting people, my friends have friends. facebook has been slightly helpful, both in meeting people and also in networking. the drive will be likely four days of 10 hours of driving each, with my brother and i taking turns and sleeping in cheap motels along the way.  i'll fit in, somewhere - anywhere.

i'm not making a huge mistake. I HOPE. and i don't know how to do any of this, but i'm just going one day at a time. i'm asking for help where i need it, and am finding myself humbled by the help that my friends and family have been able to give me. my parents are letting me live rent-free for my last month here (september) to help save some cash. friends old and new have been buying up some of my stuff, both to help with my savings account and also so that they could keep a little piece of me behind - i've sold fabrics, books, trinkets, decor pieces, curtains, and hand sewn goodies. even at the very last minute of needing something random, people have been able to help. 

my heart is so full, i don't know how i possibly can leave here without taking that with me. and i have a couple of months to gather up even more of it.

and still, not really knowing what to expect, nothing feels like i thought it would. i'm excited, more than i can tell you. and i'm scared, more than i can tell you. the cast of characters is ever changing - people that i thought would be really involved are nowhere to be found, and people who i had no idea cared so much have been front & center. a couple of my california lady-friends (we met via instagram and have turned into texting friends who seem like we've known each other forever) have been so helpful in keeping me sane and less nervous. my LA quilting guy friend who will be putting me up during my stay has been helpful in more ways than i can mention, and our email exchanges never fail to make me a) laugh, and b) figure something out (out of pure train of thought usually). my friends at work give me the sounding board i need, daily. aghh, its nice to have SO MANY people behind me, cheering me on.

some faces from years ago have popped up recently, in good & bad ways. with everything going on and so many things to get done (like, when on earth can i sit down to work at my sewing machine?!), i'm trying to be slightly selective with who i give my time to. i don't want to burn too many bridges, because i have no idea when i might need to come back home. but certainly, i have changed in the past, oh i don't know, ten years. two years, if i'm being honest. 
part of the reason i feel like i have no idea how to do any of this is because sometimes i feel like i have no idea who i am right now - its like i woke up one day with this crazy idea and NOW I'M DOING IT. and look at all the weird shit i've got to leave behind.
as soon as i walked away from hugging him goodbye, i thought to myself, "i should have hugged him harder. longer. better. more." i hugged him like i was in a hurry, even though i was so scared to leave; the tears in my eyes came as soon as he was barely out of sight... but i think i knew, even then, that i was hugging the thought of him. i was scared that i was always going to be left with just a memory. i knew it then - and still it surprises me now, as i say goodbye in my own way all over again.
before i move, i still have two or three dog/house sitting jobs to do, furniture to sell, a friend's wedding to help coordinate, some custom sewing to do, and a goodbye party to plan. but what i really want to do is SEW. after the TBHquilt project, i ended up with a little list of sister projects. i (very silly-ly) started one, regardless of the lack of time i have to work on it.

the BE A BADASS quilt...

 it doesn't have quite the social statement, but its definitely in the MAKE WHAT YOU WANT & LOVE category, that i'm totally obsessed with currently.

other things i'm obsessed with: 

the fact that after seven years of listening/living to their music,
i can't even explain that right now, (it was epic) so i'll save it for its own post later on...

the fact that i recently managed to finish two quilts for myself,
so that while i'm bouncing from state to state, i'll have a piece of home.
there's just so much to say. so many details to put into place. so much to do, but i can only do a little bit at a time. so, if you see me and i look like i'm screaming on the inside but smiling on the outside, just high-five me and tell me YOU GOT THIS. because, i totally do. i got this. i'm not worried anymore, just going through the motions. (currently dog/house sitting for two weeks without my sewing machine, and substituting OCD sewing with binge tv watching and bad cable, and hours on Pinterest. .....whatever works!)

a friend mentioned to me that she hopes i write a book someday.. but before that happens, i hope to keep updating here with everything as it gets closer and starts to happen more quickly and awkwardly and awesomely. right now, its all in the details. but soon, it will be all in the EVERYTHING.