Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Becoming the Scrooge

Or sometimes just maims.
I haven't been a very good girl lately.  With my money at least.  Last May I got incredibly ambitious and sought to overhaul my spending habits, dramatically annihilate my debt, and be more conscious consumer.

Well...I have had good moments here...and bad moments.  In the last month, there have been a lot of unexpected circumstances.  My eating out bill (which was always ridiculous) has been very reasonable.  However, I have been losing a lot of pay due to organizational bits, running errands, grieving, and stress-induced illness all related to a single event  (shouldn't really be hard for you to figure out if you look back one or two blog posts).  I've just missed a lot of work.  I've tried to make up time when I can, or do as much overtime as I can handle, but I took a big hit and I'm going to take on more in the next month.  

Let me be clear: I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  Except the getting sick part.  I am SO freaking sick of hacking all the time.  Everything I have done is out of love and necessity.  I am not upset; it was my personal choices that brought me here.  

The above coupled with the fact that my partner was unemployed for several months until about a month ago means that we were already up against the wall as far as finances went.  Our television died, and I had to apply for a credit card in order to purchase a new one.  I want to take my friend to his final resting place, and I had to apply for a credit card to subsidize the trip.  I didn't have to apply for credit cards, I chose to.  I decided that having a television and making an international trip were important to me.  I will pay for those decisions accordingly.

The upside is that by the end of this week we should finally be current on all our household bills.  Huge sigh of relief there.  Unfortunately, I'll have to be a bit late on a couple bills so I can make sure I have enough cash liquid in case something happens while I am abroad.  The potential interest or late fee is well worth the peace of mind if nothing happens.

It's weird to be in this place again.  It has me extremely stressed out and worrying about unknown possibilities (like the other night the kitchen faucet leaked badly and soaked the particle board of the cabinet underneath).  I don't know if bad things really always happen when I am financially inflexible or if things don't seem like a big deal when I can easily pay for them.  Probably a little from both columns.

The next few weeks in particular will be tight so that I can do the things I want to do.  After that, I'm going to really have to pare down for 2012.  It's going to get all kinds of minimalistic after the new year! I'm going to need to find ways of bringing in additional income so I can pay things down faster and have a little bit of play money.  I really want to get serious again about saving money and paying off debt before I reach a point where I really start to default on loans or lose my house or get sent to collections.

I am not in dire straights, I'm really okay.  We can put food on the table, gas in our cars, and we're not so behind that any terrible things are happening to us.  I'm just very, very afraid of terrible things happening to us.  I absolutely, positively do not want to get to that point.  I want to be smart, spend smart, and make my money work for me rather than scrambling to work for money because that is no fun!

No, this is a wake up call.  I want to be able to be generous with my money rather than be the scrooge.  I want to redevelop that desire for simplicity rather than spend for the sake of acquiring more.  Seriously, I hate dusting and more stuff means more dusting!  I want to be more flexible, and I can't do that if I'm indebted and drowning in stuff.  Gods, let me just get through the next month and a half!

PS: The photo above is an original photo I took downtown while playing with my photography skills.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Let's Be Honest

I am not handling things well.  I'm barely sleeping.  My work ethic is suffering.  Every part of my body is revolting against every waking hour.  I'm grumpy, I'm tired, I'm sad, and I really wants the headaches to go away.

When you're not looking, I'm falling to pieces.  When all the doors are closed and no windows betray me, I cry in silence.  I grasp onto things made of light to give me something to be cheerful about, and they turn to dust in my hands.

Nothing is permanent, consciousness is an illusion.  I know these feelings will pass.  Wounds will heal.  Anger will subside.  The problem with living in the present is not knowing when the darkness will pass; knowing that the darkness will pass is not enough when you're in pain.  I know I'm being dramatic, but this is how I am feeling.

When you ask me how I'm doing, I'm probably going to lie.  I will tell you "I'm fine" or "I'm doing okay."  Maybe I'll rattle off some insignificant minutiae or question to distract from the subject.  Don't read this and then push me into telling you how I'm really doing.  If I need to talk, I will most certainly let you know in a direct and obvious manner.  I need to move on, live on, and if I have to "fake it to make it" until I can properly bumble along, then I ask you to please humor me.  If I'm distracted, I don't need to be reminded.  I don't need to be mothered, I already have one of those and that's quite enough.  At the same time, I don't need you to protect me from the big, scary world.  Despite my physical stature, I assure you that I'm a grown up and quite capable of making my own decisions about what I can and can't handle.  I promise I will let you know when I can't handle something in a direct and obvious manner.

Having dispensed with all of that melodramatic bullshit, I  am trying.  Other than a few days of forced isolation due to an unrelenting migraine, I've been trying to spend time with close friends.  I have found renewed interest in cleaning out a bunch of my useless stuff in order to beckon fresh energy for new opportunities into my life.  I have been trying to get in a few hours of extra work to catch up on so many of the projects that have been left behind due to my absence or the eternally changing priority list not according to me.  I've also been trying to mentally prepare for my upcoming journey to the United Kingdom that I am very much looking forward to (despite the initiating circumstances).

I still don't know what I want to do with myself in a greater sense.  For the moment, I'm resigned to the possibility I may never know.  I'm more concerned with what I am doing right now.  That meant this past weekend I suffered from a lot of restlessness.  I wanted to spend some time reading and in meditation, but there was too much commotion and chaos and movement in the house.  I wanted stillness, couldn't find it and so busied myself finishing up several knitting projects (I've been a knitting machine the last couple weeks).

Nothing is permanent.  Change is the only constant.  Things will get better.  Things will get worse.  The unknown will manifest, and then it will fade.  I'm a worrier.  I stress out and make contingency plans.  I dwell on the what-ifs, and I let my anger get the best of me.  On the same coin, I am hopelessly and ridiculously optimistic.  I don't let the little things consume or dissuade me.  I am passionate and focused.  And even when the ground is bloodied and all seems lost, the sun dawns again giving life to a new day, new opportunities, and the chance to leave behind the dark...if even for a moment.

And I live and love.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Last night I went to a friend's house to go through some of my brother's things.  A couple days ago, I felt odd going through some personal items, trying to choose some trinket of his to hold on to.  Even then a close friend had to encourage me to take something home with me.  Last night, I was completely objective, deciding on an entire bin that would require closer examination than I had energy for.  It's mostly books, duplicates of items I already have, but there are notes and the like that need review.  It was strange in that I didn't feel overwhelmed by so much emotion as I had expected.  I felt guilty about that.

When we were done, I sat on my friend's porch thinking about that feeling.  Why wasn't I more sad?  Why wasn't I reacting much at all to this?  The events of the past two weeks are still very unreal to me.  It's like my brother has moved long distance, and I won't be seeing him for a while.  I believe firmly in reincarnation and I believe that those I have close ties to have been with me before or will be with me again.  I suppose it's desperately cliche but it does bring real comfort to me.  Don't get me wrong, I still miss him terribly, but this feels, at my core, to be a temporary situation.

When I got home, I took a long, hot shower.  For the first time in weeks I felt eerily calm.  I felt the stress and anger and sadness release from my body.  And all I could do was smile.  I didn't feel any guilt or sadness, just the release and I allowed myself to melt into the sensation.

At the same time, my future still feels dark.  Not dark in a doomsday, foreboding way, but as if I just walked into a room and need to turn on the light.  Whereas earlier this week I felt anxious and panicked about what would unfold, I now feel curious.  I don't know what the future brings, but I'm returning to a contentedness about letting it unfold around me.  I don't always need to have a direction to move forward.  I don't always need an end-goal to pursue my happiness or to feel like I'm growing.  I simply need to live in whatever way I find most fulfilling.  Perhaps I may at times have some path I must dedicate myself to, perhaps I may not.  Maybe I will change my mind, over and over again.  I'm allowed to do that, as long as I love how I'm living, it doesn't matter.

I need to exist here, in the present.  Not dwell in the past or a wishful or unlikely future.  Right now is what is important and the only time when I can really effect change in my life.  I know there are bad days ahead, they cannot be avoided, but there are good days on the horizon too, with good people, and fabulous new memories yet to be formed.  So for now, I remain hopeful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


There's no way around it: I am lost.

A few short hours after my upbeat birthday post, I was rocked off my high.  My close friend--who was more a brother to me--was dead.

A week and two days have since passed and it's still as unreal as the first time I heard the words, "He's gone."

I am no stranger to death and loss.  I've lost many close friends in my short lifetime.  This past year alone I lost my grandfather, an aunt, and my unborn child.  And now, my brother.  Lost and in despair barely covers how I feel.

I keep waiting to hear the, "Come here, sweetheart," and looking up to see his open arms and gentle smile beckoning me to fall to pieces against his chest.  I'm still waiting for the revelation that it's just a terrible joke, that somewhere all is well and we'll be laughing about this over beers and mead by nightfall.

It will be longer than nightfall.  It may never be in this lifetime.  And I miss my brother hopelessly.

I am so lost.  I had a plan or plans before.  Now life just feels empty.  Many of my closest friends (including my brother) have ambitions to take them elsewhere around the global.  A friend who seems rooted has been too preoccupied for months with her own ambitions and goals and has left very little room for me.  Understand that I fault no one.  I always have my eye on something, some motivating force giving me direction and a sense of purpose, propelling me toward some end result that will supposedly make me happier, more fulfilled, more full of life. I once was too busy, but now I can't seem to stay busy enough.

Now I don't know.  Through spring and summer I felt excited about the future.  I had ideas and plans (malleable plans) and so much to look forward to.  And one by one each thing has fallen from my grasp.  So much hard work, so much sacrifice, so much lost.  I believe in hard work, but can I have some kind of pay off?

I have never trusted people to stick around.  People come and go, often in tragic ways.  I suppose that's just life.  The loss of my brother just brings to light how much the landscape is changing or will change, my true lack of direction, and my utter exhaustion trying to keep one foot moving in front of the other for the simple sake of some kind of movement.

My brother left behind an amazing legacy and sea of people connected with love.  I am very honored to be a minute part of that.  I was worried that he had left so many desires unfulfilled, but after speaking with his family, I now know he really found himself in recent years.  His loss magnifies the reality that I have no idea what I want, or what I do want is overwhelmingly complicated to achieve and I don't know that I have the strength to pursue my desires.

Perhaps everything is still too raw.  There are still some loose strings to tie up, but I'm trying to go back to life.  After all, I have to go on living.  It is ultimately up to me to decide what to do with the time I have left.  I just don't know what to do with it.