I recently came across a quote by Paolo Coelho about living your life to the fullest, and it stuck with me.
I struggle a lot with being present. I’m rarely satisfied, always looking ahead for something new to pique my interest and keep me entertained. I think it all boils down to me not being present.
I can very easily try to blame it all on my mental illnesses, but if I’m being honest, that’s only a part of why I act this way. Accepting this, I can take the portion of my not-presentness spawned from habit and work on changing it. I can try to listen better when people are talking, not just hear. I can stop constantly looking into the future, worrying past the point of reason how things will turn out and wondering what I might have to do to ensure things go the way I want them to. I can give the people I love the attention they deserve. I can do all the things Coelho mentioned to try to make my life as vibrant and fulfilling as I’ve always dreamt it could be. This has all been said before; none of what I just listed are new ideas. But if I can commit to instilling them within my life, then they might just work for me. Because if I’m present—finally, truly present—then the whole world opens up to me.
Cats have weird habits. It’s really no secret, at this point. They’re a little like humans in their enigmatic capacities.
I don’t know if Tinkerbell is really against books so much as she views them as an open invitation to focus on her instead. Whenever we’re reading—particularly if we’re lying in bed while doing so—she uses radar senses to detect the smell of the paper, to hear the turning of the page, and sprints over from any corner of the house to visit. Then she’ll insert herself between us and the book, sometimes even crawling through the space between the book and our lap. If we try to move the book to see it, she’ll then move to block our view again, and she won’t rest until we pet her.
I don’t know if she just thinks books are weird, or if she’s so self-centered that she can’t stand the idea of us using leisure time focusing on anything but her, but it’s become clear that to her, time spent reading is wasted, and time spent petting is delightful.
I spend a lot of time on the computer. Too much time. I depend on computers, and am the first to sing their praises, but I still recognize that this dependency can be a little much. Granted, a good portion of the time I spend staring at a screen is working: I spend a lot of time writing, or drawing, or working on my blog… but the amount of time I spend surfing social media sites and looking at cat videos is probably too much for one person.
Then I discovered a project: Step away from the screen and make something. The creator of the project, Laurie, explained that it was designed “to change my relationship with screens. To make my time on the screen more mindful. And less mindless. To spend more time creating, and less time curating. To use screens more responsibly.” She set two goals for herself, the first being “to MAKE something every month in 2013. A real thing. A thing you can touch. Or stand in front of. At least one thing per month. If I made more, awesome. But at a minimum, I had to produce at least one real thing — something not digital — at least 12 times that year. Twelve projects in twelve months.”
While I’m starting this more than halfway through the year, I believe it’s better to start late than not at all. So, without further ado, here’s a bit of what I’ve been working on.
I’ve recently gotten into journaling, and above are pages centered around two Van Gogh quotes that really spoke to me.
Laurie learned that “making things is just as addicting as screens,” that creating things “generates its own kind of energy,” and that when people saw you making things, they were drawn in and wanted to participate. After creating things, I felt calmer. Happier. More like myself, which is sometimes hard to achieve in the midst of my depression. I hope to keep this project up, and I hope that I might even inspire a few of you to join me. I think it will be worth it.
My mom told me that I just “like to suffer,” that even though I’m in pain, it’s more fun to complain about it than to take care of it. I wanted to tell her that I know. I know. I know I don’t take care of myself. I know that I dig my heels in when somebody asks me to do simple tasks to take care of myself. I know that all I need to do is take my allergy meds or call my doctor, but I fight it and take half the day working up the energy to do so—because I’m depressed. I know that these tasks are simple, and once I do them I’ll feel better, but the energy required to do them, emotional or otherwise, is monumental. Sometimes I don’t even know why I’m digging my heels in; all I know is that these tasks are unpleasant, and the prospect of adding more unpleasantness to my life is, at times, unbearable.
So, yes, I know that it doesn’t look like I’m trying. I know. But I really am trying my best. I’m fighting against a disease that drains my soul of every good thing within me, that forces me to ignore the good and focus on the bad, that makes every small task monumental. I want to explain it, but all I can come up with are excuses.
Right now, every muscle in my body aches. I don’t know why. My head is foggy, and I’m drowning in bone-deep exhaustion. The tasks that I know I need to do tower above me, and everything feels so overwhelming I think I might cry. I don’t know how to fix this. All I know is that I don’t like to suffer, but it seems like that’s the easiest course of action. I know I need to get better, but I’m lost as to how. I know. I know.
…Well, happy birthday to my blog.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of this little blog. I had hoped that in this year, I would have gotten a firmer grasp on how to do this, but I still have no idea what I’m doing. Which is probably what you’ve all come to expect of me. All I know is that it’s still strangely fun/cathartic to write about my boring life, and that I’m very grateful to the people who continue to visit this blog. You’re part of the reason I’m sticking with this little venture, and I can’t thank you enough for wanting to take this journey with me.
If you don’t have the sort of relationship with your brother where you can…
…then maybe you should rethink your relationship.
Sidenote: this entire post is a grammatical nightmare, and I apologize. I don’t have the patience to edit it, as my stomach still hurts from the tire swing.
I was sitting on the couch when I saw a massive spider speed-walking towards me. Naturally, because I’m scared of them (not to mention very allergic to their bites) I screamed. It sped up, still moving towards me, and ducked under the couch.
Me: Holy crap we’re all going to die!
Mom came downstairs to see me standing on the couch, staring at the floor.
Mom: What is it?
Me: Death. Death upon us all.
Me: There was a spider. A very large, very ugly spider. Now it’s under the couch. Where I sit.
Mom, very unimpressed with my theatrics: I see.
Me: Don’t you know what’s going to happen now? It’s going to crawl up from under the couch, and sometime within the next day I’m going to find it on my shoulder.
Mom, still not taking the situation seriously: That seems likely.
Me: It’s happened before! Now I have to find a new couch to sit on, and it’s gonna be a huge hassle.
Ian, walking into the room: There’s a spider under the couch?
Me: Death upon us all.
Ian: Well, I could help you look for it. Or at least help you move your stuff away.
So, the two of us pushed the couch away from the wall and into the middle of the living room. We didn’t see it.
Me: Great. You know what this means? It’s in the couch.
Ian: The couch ate it.
Me: Now it really is gonna crawl up on me when I’m sitting there.
We moved the couch back, and a minute or so later, the spider (clearly training for a marathon) sprinted out from under the couch.
Me: There it is! Ian, grab something!
Ian: I have a bag of chicken.
I wasn’t sure if he was saying he couldn’t grab something because he was holding chicken, or if he was suggesting we somehow trap the spider in his lunch. I didn’t have time to debate with him, because the spider was headed for the other couch (probably in the hopes that this one wouldn’t be moved around or stood on by screaming twentysomethings), so I sprinted over to the kitchen and grabbed a large plastic cup to trap it under. I managed to catch it with minimal theatrics.
Me: Ha! Take that, sucker!
Then we called Mom back downstairs so she could take it outside. Because teamwork is essential.
Mom: OH MY GOSH!
Dad: What’s the matter?
Mom: There’s a bug in my wine! Ugh, that’s so gross.
Dad fished it out, and Mom took back her glass to rinse it and her mouth out in the sink.
Dad: Oh, it’s a little beetle.
Dad: To be fair, I can think of a lot of worse bugs to find in your wine.
Mom: It’s still gross.
Dad: It must have flown indoors and been attracted to the smell.
Ian: Must have been an alcoholic beetle.
Mom came back over, looking around.
Mom: What did you do with it?
Dad: Well, it looked like it was dead, so I just tossed it on the ground.
Dad: It was dead!
Mom: So a dead beetle belonged on our floor?
Dad: Fine, I’ll pick it up. It can’t have gone too far.
He pushed the coffee table and couch apart from each other, searching the floor.
Dad: Oh, it’s still alive. Oh, man, look how it’s walking! It’s just wobbling all over the place!
Me: You got a beetle drunk!
Dad: The beetle got fucked up!
Mom: Yeah, it would’ve gotten even more fucked up if I had swallowed it.
Me: We need to make sure it gets home safe.
So Dad put the beetle outside near the grass so it could sleep it off.
My family has a lot of clutter. It’s accumulated over twenty-some odd years of living together, and every once in a while, we get together to try to get rid of some of it. One of the biggest problem areas is the garage, and while every summer we say we’re going to band together to take care of it, it never actually happens. Until now.
Yesterday, my dad decided he was done with the mess, and so tasked my brother and I with taking care of it. He has work and Mom needs to study for a test, so we don’t have any help (meaning it will take forever and a day), but it’s something that needs to happen.
We worked on it for a little over an hour today, and in that time:
As the day wore on, the garage started getting very, very hot, so we gave up. We didn’t even get through a quarter of the stuff Dad had assigned to us, but I have high hopes that we’ll be able to do it. Hopefully before the spiders get to us.
Ian was supposed to go to his friend’s graduation party this evening, and Dad made the mistake of asking him if he wanted to bring a gift.
Ian: “Do you think he would want that shirt I mentioned he might want?”
Me: “Seeing as I’m not even sure what friend we’re talking about here, I’m gonna go with I don’t know.”
Ian, running upstairs to go get the shirt: “Well, we could get him a gift cart to Wal-Mart.”
Dad: “Nothing says I think you’re great like a gift card to Wal-Mart.”
Ian ran back down the stairs, holding up a black button-down shirt emblazoned with an orange car surrounded by flames.
Ian: “Do you think he’d like this?”
Me: “I’m not sure anyone would like that.”
Dad: “Well, it looks like it’s from Wal-Mart.”
Me: “Does he wear stuff like that?”
Ian: “He wears car stuff. Well, he likes cars, at least.”
Me: “I like painting, it doesn’t mean I like to go around in shirts with a bunch of paint splatters all over them.”
Ian paused to think about this for a few moments.
Ian: “So… Wal-Mart gift card?”
I have no idea what I'm doing.