grrltastic: (summer)
Lately, I feel very in control of my life. The significance of this is not lost on me, and I find myself marveling at how different this is from the complete tailspin I was in just four years ago.

Part of the paperwork included in accepting my first internship rotation was to compile my last 10 years' worth of work history. This involved digging through old pay stubs and diary entries. I got to walk backwards through my move from Austin, getting fired from Heart of Texas, losing my family at AECCT, getting divorced. And then before that: getting married, fucking up a succession of shitty dead-end jobs when I first moved to Texas, and taking the first big steps to leave Iowa back when it was the only place I'd ever really been.

I got to revisit the very tail end of 10 years ago, the middle of 2005, when I thought my life was falling apart for the very first time. And it was, in some senses. The restaurant I'd worked at for the last 3 years had just closed, and I was manic and desperate and trying to find anything that represented a direction for my life to take in the absence of any real skills or goals. I was rapidly alienating everyone around me and had no idea how to stop.
 
---
 
On a Wednesday afternoon back in the spring of 2011, I was riding bikes with friends. I rode a lot, then, and I rode almost strictly for pleasure, so I would load up my iPod shuffle with a mix of whatever suited my mood. It was mostly a bunch of hipster bullshit: Cibo Matto, OutKast, Arcade Fire, Beach House, Kings of Leon, Missy Elliott, The XX, Sleater Kinney, Edward Sharpe, Ratatat, Bikini Kill.

That particular day, as we rode up a hill just east of I-35, my friend Adam asked what I was listening to. "Modest Mouse," I told him. "Because I'm finally old and bitter enough to really relate to the lyrics."

That statement was very true in the midst of that shitstorm of a life stage, and it's equally true now:

"As life gets longer, awful feels softer;
well, it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss
then I feel pretty blissfully."

Modest Mouse - The View

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So it's interesting to me to think that 2010 was as far away from now as 2005 was in 2010. And it's interesting that in that same sense, 5 years can feel like nothing and 10 years can feel like eons. But the most interesting is the way that all of these distinct people are still me, and they are all still very much within me.

If I try, I can still tap that desperate, terrible lostness of being 21. So I absolutely understand the significance of knowing that I am safe, and feeling that I have control over my life. I know how much that means.
grrltastic: (grandma)
 I've been missing my grandma a lot lately. I'm sure there are several factors combining to bring up these feelings, not the least of which is that last week was the four year anniversary of her passing. But more than that, I find myself frequently wishing she was still around so I could share my recent successes in life with her - as a kid, she was one of the biggest motivators in my life to succeed grade-wise. She always took a very vested interest in my school work and progress. I know she'd be proud to see me excelling in a math- and science- heavy curriculum.

But a couple of nights ago, my overwhelming nostalgia motivated me to pull out the Austin volume of my paper journal. I read over everything from around the time that I got married, until just after I moved to Portland.

It was interesting to see, really, just how far I've come in terms of self-love and acceptance. I did not always like me; I thought I was weak, needy, damaged, and largely inconsequential. Then, after my divorce, I filled up page after page with forced self-affirmations. I wrote words about how I was worthwhile and deserving, event though the conviction behind them was shaky. I was blown away to see how much energy I dedicated to learning how to love the imperfect person that I am. And now I am at a point where I am my own biggest fan. I am the most important person in the world to me, and I prioritize my health and well-being in ways that I was never able to before.

I know that I am not perfect, and that just because I think I'm the best thing since sliced bread doesn't mean that everyone else will. But I know that I am a valuable, worthwhile person.

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grrltastic

August 2017

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