let’s make up dances.

I’m into defining my years. Naming them. Calling them out.

I’ve had the bad year: circa 2009.

bad_year

sad sketches of me from a friend. and the appropriate end to 2009.

Then there were fours years in between that escaped official titling. I was feverishly tornado-ing through life and the west, looking for purpose, creativity, love, adventures, paychecks, and more purpose. I picked Evan up on the way and we kept on spinning.

Then there was the year of survival: 2013.

surviving_year

so much scar maintenance.

Then the year of thriving: 2014.

thriving_year

lots of smiling. lots of winning.

And then there was 2015. Well, January 21, 2015 through January 20, 2016. [I go by my accident anniversary to ring in the new year.] So we’re coming up on the time to call it.

Evan and I recently came home from our honeymoon in Maui. It was so many wonderful things, but—maybe mostly—it was a gentle, invigorating, beautiful time for reflection.

van_window_ev_2

a quick snap when I went back to the van to get the camera. it’s not the best photo, but I love so much about this moment. love.

Relaxingly sitting on the beach or in this van was the best place for some 2015 reflection, because even thinking about the last year is exhausting.

So much happened. We made so much happen. I’ve figured out, it wasn’t the worst year, it wasn’t the best year [though some incredibly good things happened].

It was the year of change. Things changed.

And a lot of that change began on January 13, 2015. Today—a year ago today—I was offered a job at MERCURYcsc. We had made many a sneaky trip to Bozeman to interview and expand on the opportunity and on January 13th, the conversation of picking up and moving ended with an exclamation point… and then a question mark… and then a period.

This job is—hands down—the best thing I’ve done for my head in a long-ass time. The people, the work, the laughs, the opportunities, the learning. But we had to leave Missoula. We had to leave so many of the amazing friendships we had made. It sucked. It sucks.

The move wasn’t all good, it wasn’t all bad. Change.

And things were so crazy [exciting! devastating. surreal.] changing in the last year, that I didn’t even look hard at a lot of them. So that’s what I’m doing now.

In an effort to jump-start some of my resolutions [drink less! write more!], I will recount some of those changes, these things, for better or worse, on this here blahg.

Here we go. Let’s look at this change. Reflect. Write some things. Connect some ways. Look 2016 in the eyes and dance with it… no matter what song it sings… there’s a dance for every note…

[thank you, ashely, for the heads-up on the kanye song. on the pulse, as always.]

[let’s make up dances.]

 

 

gorgeous and affecting.

Three years ago today, I didn’t have today.  I didn’t have a January 7th.  I lost that day in the flight from Austin to Sydney.

So much has changed since that day.  It’s hard to even compare my life then and now… so different.

Sydney changed me… for the better.  But it was so hard.  It was a journey.  It was aloneness… a long, tear-filled, conversation with myself.

I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

[sent from the gorgeous, emma, with the note: This made me think of you and your time in Australia and many other things in all of our lives. love love love.]

an australian evening.

It’s been a very Australian evening.

Last night, I came home to a package from such a sweetheart of a friend, Katrina.

It was FILLED with the sweetest Australian goodies.

So, tonight, I made myself an affogato.  It’s a treat that I would constantly order in Oz that consisted of espresso poured on top of vanilla ice cream… to. die. for.

And I put it in my new, amazing mug of Sydney.

notice the necklace, too!

She also gave me the necklace that I’m wearing that bears a strong resemblance to the necklace I wore constantly in Sydney: Magic Presents.

It is so nice to be taken back to Sydney, Australia tonight.  The time there was overall shitty.  I had nothing.  No friends.  No idea who I was or who I wanted to be.  I had to rebuild myself from the ground up.  Isn’t that amazing?  I did it.  It was such a beautiful time of finding myself.  BEAUTIFUL.

I started writing.  I started dancing.  I started loving.  I let go of so much and grabbed hold hard of the things I want in my life, inside of my soul, forever.

So, tonight, I’ll probably make another affogato, take some time to dance in my kitchen, write, write, write, and spend sometime with myself.

Thanks, Katrina, for all the wonderful presents…

she also gave me this wallet that i'm ob-sessed with.

…and for helping me remember such a beautiful time in my life.

I love you dearly!

a song i was mildly obsessed with in oz…

and another, that will always make me think of k$

fighting a hard battle.

I am a bitch.

It’s true.  I find myself so quick to judge, so quick to be ugly, so quick to not care…

– Oh, you got a new job?  That’s great, really.  Oh, it’s your dream job AND the first job you’ve ever applied for.  Awesome… for you.

——–

– If that guy doesn’t stop talking so loudly on his phone, I’m going to dunk it in his flamboyant double soy peppermint mocha.

——–

– Girls who put up profile pictures of them posing with their boyfriends after dating for a month have no self-built substance.

——–

See?  I told you.  Bitch.

And then I was standing at the sink today, washing dishes, and I remembered an interaction.  One I had forgotten about.  How do I do that?  Just forget about such powerful things…

When I lived in Australia, I was invisible.  I almost not kidding.

I lived there for six months and a large amount over 99.9% of Australians have no idea I was there.

If you’re one to believe that some higher power puts you through trials to make you stronger, well, this was one of those times for me.  Loneliness tightly book-ended by the Pacific Ocean and the [even deeper] sea of Sydney residents.

And after attempt after attempt to make friends, I just stopped caring.  I would just start talking to people like they knew who I was, or they should know who I was, or [probably the most popular] I was crazy and likely homeless.

– You should watch your kid, she’s about to run in the street.

——–

– I would live at Hogwarts if I had a choice to live anywhere.

——–

– That dress is adorable!

——–

But no one noticed me.  I really might have been invisible.

And the phenomenon that came from this was that people started to just say things to me.  I was the American that obviously did not like it here and was leaving soon and didn’t have any friends to tell anything to anyway.

I became an invisible friend… who you couldn’t make eye contact with because then you would be acknowledging you were talking to someone who didn’t really exist… then who’s the crazy one?

– Sometimes I pocket some of the tip jar for myself just because my boss is such a dick.

——–

– I really do love my girlfriend, but sometimes to seal the deal, I have to picture my ex.  [i apologize for my younger and/or easily offended readers.]

——–

– You wanna get some dinner?

——–

Okay, that last one was not a secret, just an amazingly blinding invitation from a girl I had met once before.  It was a few nights before I left Australia and I was just wandering… wandering around Newtown… an overly hip part of Sydney.  I was thinking about going to see my second movie of the day at a pub theater and drinking my fourth beer of the day.  [it was around 5:30.]

I ran into Chloe* on the street.  She looked very upset.  We had met at a party I attended on a whim.  I had this round-about connection with a friend from America and well, long story short… I went to a party where I knew almost no one… like an idiot… and met Chloe.

Chloe was 20 and H-I-P.  And gorgeous.  And had such a great smile.  When her tiny, tan, blue-eyed self flashed you a gorgeous smile, you just couldn’t help but hate her a little bit.

– Hey, Chloe.

– Oh, hey……..

– Rachel.

– That’s right… sorry.

– No worries.  [i was still trying real hard to keep up with the lingo.]

– How are you getting on?

– Eh, I’ve been better.  Going back home in a couple days.  How ’bout you?  You doin’ alright?

– Eh, not really.

– Oh, I’m sorry.

– You wanna get some dinner?

And in my head, I thought, What?  YES!  A friend?!  Why is this just coming right before I leave?!  But I said.

– Uhh… Yeah, sure.

Chloe was upset.  For sure.  She took me to a Greek hole-in-the-wall restaurant and I had to pretend I knew what to order.

We started to eat.  Okay, I started to eat.  Chloe didn’t eat.  She started crying.

– What’s the matter?

– Oh, just everything.

And it really was one of those “just everything” situations.

I had known that she and her boyfriend had broken up… he was the round-about friend that a friend knew… so, I figured that maybe it was about this boy.  And, well, it kind of was.

Chloe proceeded to tell me how her and Kyle* were having a rough time.  Doing different things.  Growing different ways.  But they had been together for so long, been each other’s first loves, that it was really hard to face the fact that it maybe wasn’t working.  She told me that Kyle decided he wanted to see what else was out there…

– So, we broke up.

– Oh, I’m so sorry, Chloe.

– And then I found out I was pregnant.

My god.  What a horrible thing.  I can’t even begin to imagine finding out that I was carring a human, a life that was from a man that didn’t want to be with me.

I couldn’t believe she was telling me this.  But, then again, I was her invisible dinner companion that would be gone from the country in a few days.

– Kyle wanted me to get an abortion.  I wanted that too, actually… I can’t say that it was just him, but he was just so quick to say it.

She told me about how he helped pay for the procedure and how it was the worst thing she’s ever gone through.  She was crying.  And then she told me about how Kyle stuck around about a week afterwards and now has gone and found himself a new girlfriend… and won’t even return her calls.  And she started crying harder.

– It’s just so lonely.  Everything just crumbled so fast.  And now he won’t even talk to me!

– Oh, Chloe.  Have you told anyone about this?

– No.  You’re the first.  We decided it would be best to not tell anyone.

I couldn’t believe it.  Such pain.  Such raw sharing.  With me… no one.  I told her she HAD to tell someone.  Talk to someone about this.  It’s her life… her pain… she had the right to share it with close, loved ones.

We talked for a lot longer, through a bottle of wine and more cheese.  We even laughed a couple times.  Chloe flashed that gorgeous smile and I didn’t hate her at all… my heart swelled at her loveliness.

We walked out of the restaurant and hugged before parting ways.

– Good luck getting back to the States.

– Thanks.  Hey, good luck with all of this.  You’re strong.  You’re going to be great.

Walking back to the train station, I started to cry a little bit.  And I promised myself that I would NEVER judge a person before knowing their story.  I would never be ugly again, cynical… a bitch.  I would realize that quote that’s on corkboards around the world…

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  ~Plato”

I guess I’ve forgotten.

I’m remembering now.

[*Names changed to protect people I don’t keep in contact with and probably have no clue this here blahg exists.]

alive, alone, not lonely.

It’s April Fool’s.  I got nothin’.  Sorry.

I had this elaborate plan to convince the doctor at my routine check-up this morning that I was a hermaphrodite, but I chickened out… and she would’ve figured out soon enough… it was a ladydoctor appointment.  [TMI?  mehdunno.]

After my appointment I disappeared to a small coffee shop that serves flat whites and delightful pastries… all on precious, mismatched, vintage china.

I felt alive, alone, not lonely, present reading a book.  Such an amazing book.  Maybe a new fave.

And I started underlining things as I became wrapped up in this book.  I couldn’t put it down.  I meant to stay at this café for a hot second [approx. 20 min.] and all the sudden I was there for an hour and a half, turning page after page… frantically starting another chapter after the final period of the last… scared of reading too quickly because if I wasn’t careful, I would read right to the finish… without realizing [preparing myself for] the end.

I picture me singing loud to my new favorite song and then the power goes out and I’m left singing without music… hearing myself… knowing how bad I really sound… the song has stopped.  The book is over.

All that to say that I was taken back to Australia… and I’m sure you’re over me saying that.  Over me talking about the shitty year, that hard time and all the glorious invisibility it gave me.  But sitting there, drinking my flat white, I felt like I was in Australia… and then Alison Espach wrote this:

“There was something about being in a foreign country that validated and glorified your own sense of isolation.  My loneliness felt epic…”

Ugh.  I felt so close to her.  So close to myself.  My Australia self.

And it made me want to find that again.  In a foreign country.  She also said:

“I’ve never felt more like my unself.  People should really say, I’m going to Europe to find out who I’m not.”

And I wanted to go to Europe… more than before.

And I couldn’t stop reading.  Couldn’t stop being there.

And I just wanted to share.

And then I drove home and listened to Jessica Lea Mayfield:

[happy april first.]

 

the remnants of the good of the darkness.

The last two nights, I’ve had vivid dreams about moving back to Australia.

My friend, Andrew, says…

– Dreams are like pictures: If I’m not in them and no one’s naked, I don’t care.

Well, some of my good friends were in the dreams, as well as the family I used to work for: The Vincents, but no one got naked.

So, you probably don’t care… but…

Australia was such a hard, dark time.  It was like I couldn’t take a right turn; just became more and more lost.

That’s what my dreams felt like.  With that feeling and saying out loud in my dream…

– I came here to make it right… but I just want to go home.

Woke up and made coffee.  Made it in the percolator Evan gave me… one like I used to drink coffee out of in Australia.

One featured in this: http://en.sevenload.com/videos/NbUcslm-William-Kentridge-Journey-to-the-moon

[only place i could find the video… it’s long, but it’s beautiful.]

Felt scared/refreshed/alive/comforted.

Finally made a good cup of coffee.  Haven’t in so long.

Got to work.

Sat in my bed/desk.  Home.  Felt comforted to not be in Australia.  To be home.  Drinking the remnants of the good of the darkness out of an owl cup.

Worked on designs.

Found an ad in the paper that had designs I recently made for a T-shirt:

Smiled.

Turned on KHOL.

Love my fellow DJs and how much they love good music and their community.

Found new loves of songs:

Remembered old loves:

Worked more.

Wrote reviews:

Dom – Sun Bronzed Greek Gods EP
Lo-Fi Noise Rock
RIYL: Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls
“Remixed and Remastered” rereleases only fly if your music is downright wonderful, which Sun Bronzed Greek Gods is. The songs may sound familiar but the magic is still there with every play.  Dominic, the mastermind behind the band who goes by “Dom”, declares, “We want to be the Madonna of garage rock.” They are not far off at all. Dom is garage rock if your garage contains a disco ball, the decor of neon spray paint and a dance-only hopscotch: awesome. The lovechild of Robyn + Menomena = Dom.
PLAY: 2, 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 6
http://www.myspace.com/dom/

Wye Oak – Civilian
Indie Folk Rock
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Cat Power, Heartless Bastards
If Civilian were a played as a concert, I picture a lot of hip suspenders and/or high-waisted skirt clad people in the crowd swaying along to the beautiful soundtrack to their favorite all-night coffee shop.  Every so often they would nod their heads in a near aggressive manner as Wye Oak steps it up and rocks out a bit; as much as Folk Indie “rocks out”.  The Maryland duo Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, backup vocals) and Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars) do not disappoint as their third full album release brings spooky, delightful, intimate tunes comparable to those of Sharon Van Etten, Cat Power and Heartless Bastards.
PLAY: 2, 5, 7 [but all are good and dreamy.]
http://www.myspace.com/wyeoak

All in all, a good morning.

[realizations of a photo developing from darkness to a bright, beautiful picture of home.]

 

…but i’m gonna live.

I was very scared last night.  A feeling too familiar.

Hurting, in my side.

Oh, no… My kidney’s trying to sabotage me again.

Two years ago I had a kidney infection and didn’t know it.  Thought it was something else.  Denial about so many other parts of life lead to denial about my health.  So far that I could not stand.  Could not help myself to the kitchen, to the bathroom.

Woke up in the middle of the night shaking, crying.

It was the sickest I’ve ever been.

Last night, the pain, in my side, too familiar.  Terrifying.

So, I made an appointment at the Urgent Care that I went to two years ago for my kidney care.  [they were unbelievably loving to me in one of my most broken times.]

I sat their waiting for the urine test to come back, the doctor to look me in the eyes.  I expected to hear…

– You have a horrible kidney infection.

…again.

But instead I heard…

– You’re all clear.  Lay down, let me feel around.

[insert witty, mildly sexual joke.]

She felt around, I winced a little, she almost half smiled and said…

– You have gas.

– Pardon?

– Have you been holding in some gas?

– What?  Well… Okay… They had this cheese sale at the Meat and Fish Market!

[she laughed.]

And I was pretty dang embarrassed… But mainly excited that I was gonna be alright.

I told her details upon realizing that maybe I was just a bit backed up.

– Yeah, your colon is just a bit irritated.  Eat some fiber, drink a lot of fluids, stay away from cheese… You’re gonna be fine.

I laughed at myself with joy.  I’m okay!  I’m okay!

I could not stop thinking about the Royal Tenenbaums for the rest of the day.  Royal, himself, to be specific.

If you don’t know the story…

Royal is an a-hole father who left his family [wife and two kids].  When he finds his wife is going to re-marry, he wants to reconnect with her and his [now] grown children.  His way of doing so is by faking stomach cancer.  It works.  They sort through a lot of life, get mad, get confused, find love, find family… and then Royal gets caught faking and they get mad, get confused, find love, find family.

One of my favorite quotes comes from a conversation with Royal and his son, Richie…

Royal: Richie, this illness, this closeness to death… it’s had a profound affect on me. I feel like a different person, I really do.
Richie: Dad, you were never dying.
Royal: …but I’m gonna live.

I love it.

I’m gonna live!

– You were never dying.

– But I’m gonna live!

I’m gonna live.

I also love this…