Thursday, January 9, 2014

Movin' Out

On Saturday, I officially moved out of "the big city" into "the much smaller city" (they don't really call Pleasantville "the much smaller city"). I say officially because I have essentially been living with Justin for the past few months, just without paying rent (alas) or contributing to buying toilet paper (alas alas). I'm excited and so happy, and not just because this life change gives me the opportunity to sing a particular Billy Joel song every time someone asks me what's going on in my life (but you all just KNOW I am doing that every chance I get). This is my first experience living on my own. Unless you count the one night I lived in a dorm room before I very literally went crying home to my parents. But, no, we're not counting that.

I'm excited about developing a new lifestyle - learning how to manage my time and creativity in this space, finding favorite places in this small town, meeting new people. I've even already done a bit of the latter two. It's been nice to ease myself into this change because, as we all know, I am a fan of little baby steps. And anything that makes the gigantic Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-giant-sized monster step of moving out of my parents' house (dramatics) is quite welcome.

One of the most exciting parts about the move (aside from not being able to see out of my rearview mirror the whole drive up and my desk LITERALLY falling apart piece by piece as we [my parents] carried it into the house) was the prospect of decorating the place. I have to say I was a little worried, though. Buying an apartment together is one thing, but moving into someone else's is different. I was worried there wouldn't be space for me. That this home, that was for so long only Justin's home, would be difficult to transform into our home. It has been an actual joy, and a very easy one at that, making this place feel like my home, too. It has also been an actual joy rivaling Justin's porny movie posters with hand-drawn motivational Tolkien-inspired doodles, let me tell YOU. I'm planning on doing some other posts featuring particular areas of the apartment that I love the most (like my desk nook and our little library) as the place comes together (and as I try to figure out what this blog even is anymore?), so those should be popping up soon. As soon as we vacuum. And as soon as we buy a vacuum. The photo above is a little slice of our living room - including my beloved desk and less than 1/8th of Justin's beloved movies.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Old Year, New Year

This time last year, I drew up a list of resolutions I hoped to accomplish in 2013. Some of them were vague ("put myself out there!!") and some were specific ("focus on getting my poetry published!"). Like a lot of people, I get caught up in the emotional meaning of the new year, the planning and goal making of it. There are a lot of things on that little marker-written list that I did accomplish in 2013. I learned that to spend time by myself is invaluable, and necessary, but that to talk to people I don't know is also essential. I got my first poem accepted for publication and proved that I can write outside of an educational environment. Not long into the year though, I learned that my lists and plans were, well, sort of irrelevant.

This year was not at all the year I expected it to be, which is sort of how all years go I guess, unless you're a psychic medium/time-traveling magician from space. There were the changes I expected: graduating from college, finding new jobs. And then there were all of the things I could never have seen coming. Change is usually the sort of relative that doesn't text you that it's on its way, or even that it's waiting in the car outside to take you to Smashburger. It just sort of knocks your door down and asks to sleep on your couch for a week or two (or longer), especially on the days when your couch is covered in a bunch of clothes and junk you've been meaning to put away.

At the end of February, I was invited to a concert by my friend, who was really only a friend of a best-friend-from-New-Hampshire. I went, surprisingly enough, ("put yourself out there!!") and met his friend, who tbh I hardly even spoke to. Three days later we were dating. Ten months later we're still dating, I'm moving into his apartment, and we're buying toilet paper and 50% off bags of holiday chocolate together. I know more about film projection, Martin Scorcese ['s eyebrows] and how to love and grow with someone than I ever thought I would. I'm in a relationship where I am encouraged to push myself, but also nurture myself, and where I'm able (for the most part) to reciprocate that encouragement. I'm in a relationship with someone who has faults too, and who can work with me to improve both of our failings. I get to be with someone who makes me happy (except when he is farting on me) and that makes me so, so happy (except for the farts because, come on).

Two weeks later, my sister went for a CATscan. Later that day, we learned something was wrong. Later that month we were in a hospital emergency room waiting for a surgeon to tell us that the surgery was successful, and what the mass on her brain really was. I don't really know how to talk about learning that my sister has cancer. I still have trouble talking about it to anyone who isn't my mom, and sometimes even that doesn't work. What I can talk about is how amazing my sister has been, and how I keep learning to love her more even when I think I've reached the maximum level of love (that sounds like an 80's album title but I'm not even sorry about it). It has been strange and so difficult and in some ways amazing, seeing my family morph and grow, seeing my sister struggle and win. She is doing great, and she is strong, and we are going to run a 5k in the spring together.

In 2013 I broke down. I was strong for other people, and learned to let other people nurture me. I loved more than I ever have before. I was lazy. I worked hard. I hurt other people because I couldn't deal with my own emotions. I soared. I learned. I saw my family change. I became a better, louder, more honest, more passionate person. It was not the year I expected, but is it ever? It was worse than I anticipated, and better than I could have ever dreamed.

I have a lot of creative and personal goals swimming around in my head for 2014. To be honest, most of them mirror my 2013 goals, and I like that. I feel like I have a direction, and a solid grip (I actually keep picturing one of those weird tubes filled with shimmery liquid goop that were really hip in the 90's, which is probably more accurate) on the kind of person I am becoming and want to become. Writing, making, growing, loving - that's what I want in 2014. And pizza, always pizza.