findings.

There’s a lot of What am I doing here? happening lately in my life. I sit down at my desk at work each morning and it’s one of two types of What am I doing here?

It’s either the, Alright. What am I doing here? where I scramble to figure out how to juggle my workload efficiently and sometimes literally google how to do certain aspects of my job.

Or it’s the bi-monthly, What am I doing here? that is part of the constant existential crisis I have of wanting to be more and do more with my being.

Today, as I sat down next to the only other person in the office today and we both put on our headphones to indulge in our separate screen worlds, it was both kinds.

So I did what I do when I’m overwhelmed with first-world identity problems and I went for a walk to get a latte.

On the walk, I saw a young (age five or six) blonde girl sitting on a bench. Next to her—very closely—was a pretty rough-looking guy with tattoos up and down his arms. I almost didn’t give it a second thought until I heard him say…

– So where are your parents?

I stopped in my tracks and showed up to this scene.

The little girl wouldn’t say a word. And this man kept pushing. I figured out that he was truly trying to help, but he was being kinda scary. He would look to me every so often and say…

– I just found her walking down the sidewalk by herself!

With still no peep from her, I gradually got closer to the girl with each question. I saw a glimpse of trust in her eyes as she looked at me after a while and then I made the executive decision. I reached my hand out to her and said…

– Okay, c’mon. Let’s go to the coffee shop and find your parents together.

She edged up and almost took my hand before looking past me and darting off. She saw her brother down the sidewalk a bit and ran towards him. I then saw the two of them sprint to their parents—who were VERY far away, by the way.

The rough looking man and I kind of shook our heads and smiled to each other before parting.

Waiting for my latte, the little girl’s family came into the same coffee shop. She was a part of a gaggle of children—no wonder they lost one! I watched them trip over each other in line and navigate their worlds at different latitudes—the parents’ eyes on the chalkboard menu, the children’s wandering yet down. The little girl found me looking at her. Quickly embarrassed, she hid behind her father.

We almost had a grand adventure together. We almost had coffee together. We almost sat and solved mysteries together over hot chocolates and muffins. But instead we’re embarrassed of each other now. Almost strangers is always more uncomfortable than strangers.

———

This evening I procrastinated going to the garden until I was challenging daylight. I went out to a pretty muddy plot, since the sprinklers had already gone off. There were still a handful of tomato starts to plant and many weeds to be pulled. So I put in my headphones to listen to a podcast and took a few sips of wine out of my coffee cup and got to gardening.

About a half hour in, a man yells at me from the path. I take out an earbud and express that I didn’t hear him the first time.

– Have you seen a little girl??

– No. No, I don’t think so.

I study this man in these seconds. Oh my god, is this the same dad?? Did he loose her again??

– What does she look like?

His first descriptor knocked the wind out of me. The ones following did not help…

– She’s autistic. She’s probably in just a diaper and a t-shirt.

– No, I haven’t seen her. I’m sorry.

And with that, he sprinted off in his shorts and flip-flops.

Immediately, I regretted my answer that mimicked how you would answer the question, “Have you seen my sweater? I think I left it around here.”

Why didn’t I say, “Oh my god, do you want me to help you find her?”

As he took off, I threw my gloves down and pocketed my headphones all together and took off down a second path he left undiscovered. Running in my muddy sandals, I heard a child of some sort across the way and sprinted towards the sound only to find myself in a neighborhood with children abounding.

I walked along the stream praying I didn’t find her. Not like this. I wandered in circles. Looking. Scared. Confused. Looking. In tall grass. By the stream. Down roads. Down paths.

I didn’t find her. I don’t know if she was found. I went back to my garden and my podcast.

Finally, after a whirlwind search for a girl I’ve never seen, I went back to my garden and my podcast.

———

As I drove home from the garden, so close to dark, dusk holding on by spider web strings, this song came on the radio…

And like out of some indie film I want to make, I saw a neighbor girl run down the street barefoot in her navy pajamas. Her youthfully perfect blonde hair was flowing in the innocence of summer. She ran and looked at something before smiling and yelling back at her dad, back at their door. She turned on a dime and ran back to him, into his arms.

I parked the car and let the Lumineers finish as I cried a couple tears. So many little girls running, lost, found. I couldn’t help but wonder why they all intercepted with me today—found or not found. I couldn’t help but think of the niece who feels so lost from me. I couldn’t help but wonder if she’ll ever be found. I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ll ever find a little lost girl and help her find the world. If she’ll find me.

Would it be easier then to answer to all the What am I doing here?s

[who knows.]

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.]

 

 

frictioning geometry.

Tonight felt so much like what this used to feel like.

Evan is gone. Backpacking. And this feels alone like I used to be. Alone.

Staying up late, working on projects, drinking wine, listening to this:

This whole album.

And flipping through an old friend of a book, trying to help a commenter who got lost in the mix. Remembering the power of this:

“Because secrets do not increase in value if kept in a gore-ian lockbox, because one’s past is either made useful or else mutates and becomes cancerous. We share things for the obvious reasons: it makes us feel un-alone, it spreads the weight over a larger area, it holds the possibility of making our share lighter. And it can work either way – not simply as a pain-relief device, but, in the case of not bad news but good, as a share-the-happy-things-I’ve-seen/lessons-I’ve-learned vehicle. Or as a tool for simple connectivity for its own sake, a testing of waters, a stab at engagement with a mass of strangers.”

– A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.  [Dave Eggers].

It rings so true and affirms decisions to turn harboring weight into art. Use it. Mold it. Be it. Show it.

We all got things to hide.

Lovely.

Sitting in this seat. Working. Staring at a screen. The windows open. Hearing people at the park down the road. Cheering. Laughing. Yelling. And just sitting here. Staring. Listening. More wine, please. Don’t mind if I do.

Photos of myself. Just like it used to be. Just like it used to feel.

likeitusedtobe

It’s just a reflektor.

Making sure I’m still here. Like it used to be. Still in a kitchen.

Is my kitchen messy? Is it messier than most? Every single drawer is open. Every drawer in my life is open at least a little bit… some are spilling; some only hanging on by frictioning geometry.

Do I look older? Shit, I am older. Wait. Am I old? No. Right?

It’s time for the night.

ohmygodthankyouforbeinghere.

real life flourished.

I can’t let 2012 slip into the memories without genuinely declaring it the best year yet. The blahg took a hit, I know I didn’t give you much here, but real life flourished.

I got to…

ski in Missoula with friends old and new.

• celebrate my amazing manfriend with many Missoula friends at the 2nd Annual Eye Patch Olympics.

• race my first triathlon.

• be a part of the most. fun. bachelorette. party ever.

• get in a REAL LIFE Mario Kart battle… like in an actual golf cart.

• spend quality time with my family in Texas and watch my baby bro graduate.

officiate the wedding of two of my favorite people at the most amazing lake house after days of water tubing, trail runs, and laughing.

• dance the night away with fabulouses during Chicago’s Gay Pride week.

• TRAVEL ITALY, GREECE, AND LONDON WITH MY BEST FRIEND IN THE WORLD. [gosh, i still can’t get over how amazing it was.]

• Cycle the beautiful hills of northern Italy.

• drink the night away in a small, dark, Irish pub with old community radio friends.

start a graduate program that I absolutely love.

• dance and sing my heart out at a Macklemore concert in Missoula with one of my favorite friends and my bearded manfriend.

• surprise a dear lovely down in Texas for his 30th birthday/engagement party.

• and much, much more.

All the smiles and toasts and love and dancing and adventures. 2012. Ugh. I loved it.

I also had some of the hardest times. There was so much that 2012 taught me. About love. About family. About leadership. About being brave. About pushing myself. About pushing others. About people. About myself.

The feeling of gratefulness washes over me when I think of how much I’ve learned this year. I definitely feel older, maybe even wiser.

With newness, comes resolution. To be better. To be brighter. I’m very much in love with this project: To Resolve

Print
[print by Aaron Eiland. found from Ashely.]

There are plenty resolutions that I’ve made for myself this year, but one that I want more than most is to find a mentor. I feel silly saying that, but I really do. Someone to bounce ideas off of, give me advice, live up to. I have so many people I look up to in life, but I want an official mentor. Like a Liz/Jack from 30 Rock relationship.

I’ve learned a lot about leadership this year. To be a good leader, it doesn’t mean you have the most power or even the most knowledge. To be a good leader means encouraging those around you to be their best, try their hardest, create their dreams. I strive to constantly do that and I respect the hell out of people leading like that.

I want to find someone who’s down the road doing what they love, raising a family, confidently moving forward, creating beautiful things in life, kicking ass at life, and encouraging those all around them. Mentor Me. Help make 2013 even better than 2012.

[now accepting applications.]

top eleven of twenty11.

[happy new year’s eve, y’all.]

Oh, 2011… What a crazy year you’ve been.  In looking for the music I listened to most this year, I perused the whole last year of this here blahg and at one point had to say aloud to myself, “It was a damn good year!”

And with the newness and the sameness, there will always be music.  This year so much different than last, though.  At the beginning of this year, I still lived in Jackson, Wyoming and still had two shows at 89.1 KHOL.  This time last year I did my…

I was constantly surrounded by music and my top album was a clear winner.

This year was different.  There was a move to Missoula, Montana and leaving KHOL.  Training at 89.9 KBGA and picking up a couple shows there.  Music was still constantly on, but in a different way… in a different community.  So, this Top Eleven of 2011 was oh, so different than last year’s… but still so beautiful.  A different kind of beauty.

So much music.  So many jams that I cannot get enough of… and I hope you’ve gotten your hands on…

AND…

Click on those and getya some… if you haven’t already.

Life has been beautiful, but different.  Still dancing, but differently.  Less talking about music these days and more listening… just listening.  Reflecting.  Smiling.  Dancing.  Being.

It’s all so great.  Yes and yes.  So, now I present to you… not the Morning Scramble’s top albums… not any radio station’s top albums… but mine…

My Top Eleven of 2011

[eleven] We Are Augustines, “Rise Ye Sunken Ships”

These guys came later in the game for me, but their album is solid… and wonderful.  I felt like I wanted to share this music with everyone, just everyone.



[ten] Jessica Lea Mayfield, “Tell Me”

Oh, pretty Jessica Lea Mayfield.  The beginning of this year was defined with her comforting voice and raw lyrics.  There’s no replacing songs that bring you back to a vivid time.  A realization.  A feeling.  A drive over the pass to ski with friends and look at life, laugh at each other.



[nine] Thao & Mirah, “Kill Rock Stars”

“When love is love, don’t let it go away.”  I was introduced to this album by reviewing it for KHOL and I listened to every track over and over.  Addicted.  Love it.  It’s something special when albums work out like this.



[eight] The Decemberists, “The King is Dead”

This is definitely the longest love on my list.  The Decemberists.  College called, am I right?  But I just love them.  And after surprising my boyfriend who helped me look for apartments ceaselessly in Missoula with tickets to The Decemberists at one of our favorite breweries, these guys have stolen my heart again after so many years.  We danced under the Missoula stars and sang along to almost every song, reveling in everything… everything from their gorgeous concert posters to double fisting brews to stories of Missoula to “The Mariners Revenge” antics.  Love.  Love it.



[seven] Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”

These guys really have something.  As much as I tried to not like this album because aforementioned boyfriend liked it first [not dysfunctional, just a condition of oldest siblings], I could not help myself.  I would come into the apartment and say..

– Oh, really?  You’re listening to Fleet Foxes again?  Ugh…

– Oh, I can change it…

– NO!  I mean, whatever… It’s fine… I’ll live…

And then sneakily turn it up.  It’s just too good not to love.  And so good for the winter time.  Try it.



[six] Adele, “21”

Not sorry.  Not at all.  I mean, come on…

And then…

But, I won’t lie to you, what really did it for me was the Glee Mash-Up…

You can stop judging me now, cuz I’m just not sorry at all.

[five] M83, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”

“Midnight City” swept us all away…

…and I was so scared that this would be a one-hit-wonder album.  But, no.  The whole thing is gorgeous.  In fact, “Midnight City” might be my only “play on repeat” jam that had it’s album make it to the list.  Because with lovely, childhood-yearning hits like this…

…how could it not?

[four] Head and the Heart, “Head and the Heart”

There’s no denying how this band is just amazing.  I knew every word to this album in about three days.  And while they might not be the most original band on the planet, their beautiful lyrics and stomping beats will win their way to your heart without even buying you a drink.



[three] TV on the Radio, “Nine Types of Light [Deluxe Edition]”

This is a solid album all around.  TV on the Radio does it again.  I don’t have much to say about this album, really.  Don’t know why.  It speaks for itself, I guess…



[two] Foster the People, “Torches”

It’s a shame the teenie-boppers got a hold of this one.  If I hear one more thirteen-year-old singing, “Pumped Up Kicks,” whilst obviously not realizing it’s about plotting a shooting, I’ll freak out.  That being said, damn-you-me, I could NOT stop listening to that song when it first came out.  I couldn’t stop listening to the whole damn album.  I LOVE IT.  And maybe it’s because I’m part teeny-bopper, but I was/am obsessed with this album…

And my dad said they weren’t so bad live at Austin City Limits either… not bitter… in the least… at all…

[one] tUnE-yArDs, “W H O K I L L”

This was not a clear winner, but when it came down to it, I don’t think I enjoyed any other album more than this one.  So unique.  Such jams.  It might move you.  It might make you move.  Makes you sing along.  Makes me excited about everything.  Makes me wanna break things.  Makes me wanna practice some high-fives.  Makes me wanna dress up.  Makes me wanna wake them up and dance.  Makes me wanna create.  Makes me wanna share.

It does good things to me.  Hope it does good things to you as well.

Welp, that’s it folks.  There are many, many runners up.  And maybe I’ll compile a mix of favorite jams that weren’t on fave albums.  And I must give a shout-out to my, “Fave Jam that Wasn’t on a Top Album”…

And Runner Up Album Artists…

Generationals
Matt & Kim
New Division
Oh Land
Zola Jesus
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Florence+The Machine
Bon Iver
Sharon Van Etten
Fiest

Thanks for being here!  Thanks for listening!  Thanks for being part of this kickass year!

[may your 2012 be filled with many more great songs, much more great times, and too many smiles to keep track.]

i was from portland.

I ran a half marathon yesterday.

It went much better than the half marathon I ran two weeks ago…

most embarrassing thing that has happened to me on a trail... falling HARD before mile two in front of, oh, i dunno, 200 people.

But don’t worry… they took care of me oh so well…

drinking beer whilst two people attend to my scraped knee... by the way i was squirming, i should've been drinking apple juice from a sippy cup.

Anywho, yesterday’s was harder than the one before.  Don’t know why.  But later in the day, driving back from a pot luck in Wilson, I reeeeeally wanted to go sit in a hot tub.  I was already getting sore from the run and just wanted to soak.

My bathing suit was in the car, so it was go time.

I pulled up to a local hotel, changed in the driver’s seat… pretty sure some tourists saw my boobs… welcome to jackson!

Waltzed in, grabbed a towel, hot tubbed.

Twas amazing.

Gosh, I need more hot tub in my life.

The funny thing about hotel hot tubs, is that they’re the place for adults to get away from their families for a whole second.  To talk to other grown-ups.  The kids are in the pool, dunking each other and firing squirt guns at each other… and here we are, the adults… talking about where we’re from, what we’re doing here, what we’ve done here…

I was from Portland.

I had lived in Jackson for a couple years before.

I was here on business.

I was a graphic designer.

It was crazy how the answers just flowed from me.  Lying without hesitation about the life I don’t live.

Well, I wasn’t going to tell them, “I’m a dirty local that lives a couple blocks away… I’m just real sore and have blisters all over my feet from running.”

– So, you came out by yourself?

– Oh, yeah… My fiancé had to stay in Portland to work.

Well, look at that… I’m engaged… Who knew?

How long have you lived in Portland?

– Two years.  I moved out to work for an energy conservation company.

– Oh, that’s great.  How do you like the rain?

– Jeez, I wouldn’t say I like it.  But the people there have made it bearable.  There are always things to do, people to enjoy, during the rain.

Gosh, I’m good.

And it continued.  And I kinda felt bad… but not really.  I had just listened to a good ten minutes of talking about the awe of “Grand Mountain” and how “scary” it is on the lift ride up and down Snow King.  Not that I was exactly making fun of them in my head, but they had entertained themselves with vocalizing their feats of the day and now I got to entertain myself with my fantasy life of the day.

And it’s all silly because I love my life.  I love this place.  These people.  I don’t want to be in Portland.  [well, not right now.]  I don’t want to be engaged.  [well, not right now.]  I don’t want to be traveling away from my home for “business”.  [well, not right now.]  Right now.  Right now, I want to be here.  I am here.

I want to be in the place where I’m in awe of the people, the life of the surroundings.

I want to be in the place where I slap my collarbones in the shock of the beauty by day and handsome cowboys entertain me by night…

for so long.

Yes, yes… What you’ve read in all the gossip mags is true: I’ve bought the domain “www.wullhay.com“.

Professional, right?

Yes, I’ve officially spent money on a non-profiting website… outlet… a blahg, if you will.

…and I’m psyched.

It’s a very symbolic [i don’t think this is right but i’ll roll with it] part of my life now.  Spending time/energy on the things that don’t make money, don’t make résumés, don’t make grandparents proud… but make myself selfy.

It’s awesome.

The teacher of my print class…

– Feel free to call me anytime if you have any questions… except not before 10am… cuz I’m usually hungover.

A line from a fellow programmer at KHOL

– I was getting pretty burnt out on Jackson… and then I started volunteering here… now I don’t know if I’ll ever leave.

Refreshing.

Busy.  Fur sure.

But beautiful.

Today, walking, I thought, “Wow.  I am the person I’ve wanted to be.”

Narcissistic?  Nah.  Okay, probably.

But, no.

A realization of the importance of living in the now… loving the you in your vessel… being the truth of the only moment of now we have… yes and yes… being you.  me.  us?  us.

Wanting.

I want to be the girl with the red shoes.

I want to be the girl that asked/said, “How’s your walk going?  Good?  Ohp!  Too late to answer!”

I want to be the human exclamation point.

I want to be your Valentine.

I want to be his friend, “the one with that ‘wull hay’ blahg.”

I want to be that girl you heard on the radio.

I want to be the girl that you thought of because you saw/read/heard…

I want to be the girl with her mom, laughing, smiling, at the bluegrass show.

I want to be the girl with the shitty print that’s still smiling about learning.

I want to be the girl with the fancy drink.

I want to be the girl you saw dancing up there.

I am.

I’ve wanted to be me for so long.