In 2001, I used to follow Thomas before I met him to chemistry class. I have terrible sense of direction so I would wake up early, loiter outside my dorm building, and when he left for class, I’d trail behind him. Like a creeper. Today, I call him when my GPS fails and he always guides me to where I’m trying to be.
In 2001, I found a girl who mentioned living in a dorm at the University of Texas when I was browsing Diaryland blogs. Her roommate also had a blog and I remember liking her perspective on life more than the original blog. Her roommate was Kim.
Thomas and I toured Austin in 2005 through happy hours. The first time I rode a jet ski was with him. He was the first person with whom I experienced progressive meals.
Kim and I have Marfa and Paris and Brussels and Istanbul. And we carry the other’s stories of hopes and broken hearts as if they’re our own memories. I often feel if I could just find a man who is half the person Kim is and could love me back, I’d be set for life.
Somehow along the way, I introduced Thomas and Kim and now we have years of memories together. It’s not often we’re in the same city but every Thanksgiving, we have an email thread that basically start off with someone saying, “What kind of magical day should we have?” I think what I love about the three of us together is that we all have big appetites for food and life. We’re never too cool or too mature to try something silly. Like folding dozens of of origami cranes or blowing up balloons to fill up a telephone booth. We’re kind. We’re open. We invite others along. We simply just say yes.
I hope you say yes to the good things in your life. I hope saying yes leads you to your Thomas and Kim.
As mentioned in the vlog, today we had our third annual Friendsgiving potluck picnic. This photo was taken by Thomas and we all happen to be holding one of my mom’s egg rolls. I kind of love this photo.
Wednesday night, I picked up Bob the dog and gave up my keys to the old apartment. It was surreal.
This week’s moments of bliss: ♥ three hour friendship dates ♥ being reunited with Bob the dog ♥ Friendsgiving ♥ progressive Indian snack time ♥ early dismissal from work ♥ mom becoming less scared of Bob the dog ♥ reading time ♥ playing match maker and being successful ♥ being away from Austin ♥ eating noodles for breakfast, lunch, dinner ♥ hot pot with the family
me:Nico, I’m trying to blog every day in November. I’ve done this for 4 years now. The first three years, I did not miss a day. This year? I missed 4. Suggestions for blog post? Sent at 3:53 PM on Tuesday
Nico: Were you around for the “golden age” of blogging? Right around the start of Twitter and the rise of 20sb? Sent at 3:54 PM on Tuesday
me: I was around, yes. Nico: Because I have the feeling that when people made their own homes on the Internet, we came to each others’ sites like how you’d visit someone’s house. But now that there are common meeting spaces, it’s like New York – you don’t spend time at your place, you meet in public. And it’s easier for people to shrink back into the shadows when we all have to share this common space. So the prompt > how does one make a “home” on the internet nowadays?
I’ve been sharing my life on the internet since high school. My last home before this blog was Diaryland, which I had from 2001-2005. During high school I owned my own domain with my best friend; it was called healingstar.org. Before that, I blogged on someone else’s domain. I am almost too embarrassed to tell you it was called sweetessence.com but please remember I was 14 and it wasn’t mine! I still have a few friendships from those days which means they’re some of my oldest friendships. I made my home by sharing my small life as consistently as I can and reading (and listening and watching) the content of others as they share their lives. The internet has changed my social life. I make it my home by keeping it respectful. I try very hard to not air the dirty laundry of people I share a life with. This was something I had to learn as I have a history of over-sharing. I make it a home by taking things offline. If there is a spark in public forum, I’ll send a private message and meet for coffee or bubble tea. Before I knew it, the first meetings grew to vacationing together and sharing heartaches.
I have seen people say personal blogging is dead. People don’t share too personally anymore. Really, after Diaryland, I myself don’t share too personally. Maybe it’s true as a trend, but I’m glad I’ve found a tribe of friends who still show up and who still tell their stories. It has been such a gift in my life.
I have bruises on my hips because I’m adjusting to walking around my new and unfamiliar bedroom around a bed I haven’t slept in over two years. This bed was the first grown up purchase I made for myself and it has a foot board. We tucked this bed away in the guestroom and I’ve missed the soft mattress. Now, I keep walking into that foot board and the corners mercilessly align with my hips. I know that with time my disorientation will dissipate and I will learn to avoid those sharp corners. I still wake up with a dull chest ache and go to bed with a dull ache. But since I’ve moved out, I haven’t overheard or seen a football game. I have seen countless episodes of Ally McBeal and aside from one Friendsgiving potluck, I haven’t had to worry about cooking for or feeding someone else.
I get it from my mom, my nurturing gene. In relationships, I put the needs of others equal to or above my own. Their entertainment, their appointments, their living conditions, their health, I take on as my responsibilities. For the first time in almost six years, I’m my only responsibility.
A decade ago, I was dating my first serious boyfriend. We were fighting. I can’t remember about what but he fell asleep during it. I was still hot with anger with no outlet. So I wanted something soft and warm to eat. Food that requires little chewing often brings me comfort. I wanted something I didn’t have to cook and would fit my college student budget. So I drove around and saw the Church’s light was still on and ordered myself a medium tub of mashed potatoes. I sat in my car and ate it. It was the only comfort I found that night. That was the last time I had Church’s.
A year or so after that fight, we were fighting again and he fell asleep again. I was still seething and upset and needed an outlet. I grabbed a book of his that his parents gave him. The Five People You Meet in Heaven. I read it from cover to cover while sitting in the floor of the walk in closet.
I completely forgotten about these two memories for years. I am reminded of them when I was wondering what I’d eat for dinner and all of a sudden I felt an urge to eat Church’s mashed potatoes.
Nov 14 (4 days ago) to me
I am happy for you and a little jealous. It seems like you’re pursuing all the stuff that I’ve been too afraid to do for the past…forever. I have been entertaining the idea of throwing all my shit out and being free from it. Free to move wherever, whenever. And I saw your post and your changes and facing your fears and I am reminded of how awesome you are and how inspiring you will always be.
Nov 14 (4 days ago)
I don’t really feel inspire-y. I’ve been feeling very messy and sobby and frantic. I’m probably pursuing these scary things as a way to distract myself from feeling sad. I should call you one day and make the sound I make every day when I drive to work. It sounds like a dying whale. And that’s just how I feel.
BACK TO PACKING. Movers come Saturday morning bright and early which means I only have tonight and tomorrow night. Cue panic.
Nov 14 (4 days ago)
It doesn’t matter why you’re doing the scary things in life. The point is that you’re doing them. I often cope by eating copious amounts of transfats. Your way seems much healthier, physically and mentally. So don’t discredit it. The whale noises will morph into dolphin sounds. And then the cackling of seagulls. Actually, the last part seems like a backslide, but you know. The good parts give us hope, and the hard parts give us the strength and tools to ensure longer periods of the pleasant.
Feel stressed. Feel lonely. Moan like you’re 8 tons and all warted and barnacle looking. It’s hard to break from the status quo. But at least it means your life won’t always be what it once was.
A couple of weeks ago, I took Bob on a spontaneous walk to a scenic overlook called Mount Bonnell. We happened across an elaborate proposal of strangers. I sat down with Bob and was struck by how starkly it juxtaposed where I was in life. Later that same night, I ended my almost six year relationship to Alan. To stumble on a proposal a couple hours before felt like a punch in the gut. Breaking up with him is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and it’s confusing to me how something I know is the best for both of us can hurt this much.
Yesterday, I moved out. And the heaviness of my decision to divorce myself from a life I thought I’d be living for the rest of my days is weighing down on my chest. I have six years of memories to dull down and compartmentalize. I have to let go of the dreams I harbored for our future. And in the place of these dead dreams, lives this void called the unknown. So on top of the grieving and the pain of a broken heart, there’s the worry, “what will become of all this?” and I’m an absolute mess.
There’s a lot about minimalism that appeals to me. There’s the not buying things. The money I used to spend on buying clothes and projecting this false image of me as someone who is on top of her sartorial life, is now channeled towards paying down debt and traveling. I like the idea of not owning a huge home where I’d feel like I’d have to then buy all the furniture and things to make it feel and look like a home. There’s the idea that I don’t have to spend so much energy to heat and cool more space than I can ever need. I like the aspect of not spending my time maintaining the upkeep of things. Things that need to be dusted, stored, and packed when I move.
I have stopped clothes shopping for fun for about two years now because I wanted to channel most of my disposable income into paying down debt and traveling. I used to really enjoy clothes shopping but after I stopped, I found that my life didn’t change. Instead of being a happy girl who loves to shop, I am now a happy girl who doesn’t shop. I didn’t look critically at my ginormous closet with my ridiculous shoe collection. Now that I’m moving to a place with a significantly smaller closet, I was forced to really look at the stack of shoe boxes storing boots I haven’t worn in about 3 years. I had to look at the dozens of scratched up pairs of stilettos that I used to wear to bar hop on weekends from another lifetime. As I’m frantically packing, I finally had to admit that I own over 200 DVDs and have seen maybe 10 of them in the last 10 years it took for me to build the collection. I came face to face with the guilt that motivated me to keep all the stuffed animals and snow globes and other knick knacks that I’ve been gifted by people in my life. A lot of these gifts I’ve kept not because I like the items but because I love the people who have given me these things. The space these things were occupying isn’t reflective of how I feel for the people.
In my desperation to fit my life into boxes, I’ve let go the false assumption that I need to keep the stuffed animals or the snow globes that light up in neon colors to prove that there was love. That I don’t have to keep everything to honor the people who gave it to me. And that as much as I thought American History X was an amazing film, I will not ever want to re-watch it. The same goes for Requiem for a Dream. And Heat. And Goodfellas. That my indoor grill and chocolate fondue set have been moved to new apartments more than they have been used. In the last two weeks, I’ve gotten rid of at least 60 DVDs, threw out five pairs of shoes, gave about 15 of my snow globes to my coworker whose kids love them, and started many Goodwill bags. And it feels good.
My friend Ashley published a collection of essays about Minimalism that was a great companion and inspiration to me during this month of paring down. If you’re looking to simplify your environment and creating your own meaning with the space that is cleared, might I suggest you purchase her essays? It’s a whopping $1.99 on Kindle. It gets bonus points for not taking up space on your bookshelf.
Questions: What is your relationship like with your things? What is your favorite possession?