Living the Best Day – An Ode to Alone

There is a notable difference now that I’m essentially living alone: I listen to music more at home.

I’d always listen to music in the car. But, that feels different than firing up the stereo, filling up my six CD changer, and turning the volume up with whatever catches my fancy. Or heck, the turntable is always achin’ for some vinyl.

My kiddo lives with me half or a bit more than half of the time, but she doesn’t care that I listen to early Dido albums at an inappropriate volume level. And really, my husband wouldn’t have minded either, but I would have.

That’s the difference. I now have the freedom, most of the time, to be 100% me. When you’re a protective introvert such as myself, being 100% myself living with anyone other than my own spawn, is tricky. I’m 95% myself with my husband (which is more than any other human being), but, there are elements of that 5% that truly define me; and I’m just now realizing how important it is for me creatively and personally to be 100%.

Living alone allows me to be 100%.

Sure, there are obvious caveats and potholes to living solo while married. But for me, so far, almost two months into this new way of life, the sacrifices are wildly worth any minor discomfort of not living with my spouse.

I’m sure this style of marriage wouldn’t be for everyone. Just like living together might not be for everyone. But I gotta tell ya, these last few weeks, I’ve reclaimed SO much of myself that I had previously shuffled around or put on a back burner to actively nurture a live-in relationship. I hadn’t even realized how much I had compromised or how much it affected my overall mood and zen being.

My attitude and choices might be considered selfish to some. Selfish because my husband and I have a daughter. Selfish because it’s not the “normal” thing to do. Selfish because…?  I don’t know about this selfish, but I do know that I feel like a better mother and spouse because I’m more content with my growth as an individual. And this lifestyle, that I feel fortunate enough to pursue, has allowed me to analyze what I need as a person, mother, wife, and to apply that to my forward momentum and truly own my life.

 

Sneaky Universes – An Essay

The act of finding yourself isn’t a notch that you’ll finally fit smoothly into once you’ve actually “found yourself.”

It’s one of those stupid “journey not the destination” jams.

Lets get this straight, I’m BIG on the destination.

I’m also working on that aspect of myself – as it’s not working out too well being solely destination driven.

You can try to make it fit into that notch, try to make your journey complete and therefore yourself complete.

Over and over like a crazy person.

You’ll never get that door open with that key. But you’ll want to keep trying.  Wholeheartedly believing that relief and relaxation are around the corner when you’ve “found yourself.”

Psych!

Your life is a goddamned circle. You won’t know the answer before the question.

Now what?

You’ve got this circle to work with. Build it as you will. But, where do you start when you don’t know what’s around the corner? Failure or success?

Damnit, that’s what life is.

Taking every step forward towards growth with a big ol’ fat leap of faith; while also trying to stay true to yourself.

To be specific, true to what makes you content. Happiness is often a/the goal, but, I find happiness is fleeting and not nearly as tangible as being truly content. Content is being at peace.

And here’s the kicker: when you’re content and at peace, you’re there. The journey and the destination are the same thing.

The universe is a sneaky bastard like that.

Guardian of the Beginning: Sunrise

I’m usually up early enough to catch a glimpse of the sunrise. This fact is both annoying and soul nourishing.

I don’t usually wax romantic about sunrises and/or sunsets, because, well, cliché much?

But I’m going to.

First, the fact that they last only a few minutes, well, damn nature – what a way to tease. Why, I ask, do we as human beings find these colors of the sun and sky so moving? Do other animals find this to be true? Are they moved by these brief moments in the day?

It’s then, at sunrise and sunset, that I find being human a gift. Because, we have the ability to comprehend such simple and ordinary beauty. To see romance in cause and effect and absorb it.

I believe the wonder of sunrises and sunsets can be simply condensed to our love for story and narrative. Sunrises represent a sweet and hopeful beginning. Sunsets represent a glorious ending (at least to that day).

They’re bookends. They hold our days together. They’re the guardians of the beginning and the end.

{I took these images with my iPhone – nothing fancy, just snapping the moment – I processed them in the VSCO app.}

Is There a Word For That – Living Separately?

Ok, guys.

I’m redirecting this blog a bit.

Not in any kind of monumental way, but, I want to discuss, sometimes in depth, this whole new lifestyle that my husband and I are embracing.

What new lifestyle?

It’s not a diet, it’s not a workout plan, and it’s not a new faith or belief system.

I believe I mentioned our plans in a post a while back, but to really pave the way, I’d like to write about our transition regularly on here. I’d like to write about what it’s like to be married and live separately.

I’d like to discuss the pros and cons. The ups and downs. The awesome moments and days, and the terrible moments and days. I’d like to be an open book and a road map for anyone to glance over at if they find themselves wanting to choose a similar path. Because, honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of information on the internet regarding this relationship/lifestyle path.

I don’t even know what you’d call it? It’s not separated. It’s really not divorced. I don’t know. I’ve been calling in “co-living,” but I don’t think that’s it either…

Anyhow, this post here, that you’re reading and probably waiting for me to get to the juicy bit, is only here to serve as an introduction of sorts.

So, hello, I’m a 31 year old, mother of one, married person, living separately from my husband, and I’m STILL trying to find the path in life that makes me the most content and happy.

I think that’s as good of place to start as any.

Winter Wonderworld

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Winter is truly being winter in this unofficial Shire of mine.

The power is on.

Some light sledding was enjoyed.

My toes are warm and my hands cradle a warm mug of tea.

The weather may not be the most efficient, and our daily life may be on hold, but if you take a second to take a step back, winter shines in her glory.

 

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My One Little Word and a List

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I felt compelled to write a post that I can look back on in the coming months and make sure that I’m keeping myself on track. A sort of lenient manifesto that is essentially a collection of words that equal goals, inspirations, and ideas that may or may not form my reality.

I’m also partaking (albeit wildy inactively in the One Little Word creative/lifestyle prompt – more about that HERE).

So here we go, to 2017 and beyond:

Make more art, look at iPhone less.

Connect with people that care and build more meaningful relationships with people who want to build them.

Read more at night with music playing and lamps glowing.

Light more candles and send more good vibes.

Watch more movies that pique my interest and veg out less on TV I’ve already seen (I’m lookin’ at you Parks and Recreation and The Office!).

Communicate more honestly. 

Take more pictures with my cameras and actually learn the proper way to use them.

Ferment more veggies and sauces.

Have a somewhat productive garden at my new house.

Cook more new things and make sure to do so with Daphne.

Emotionally let go of the feelings that bind me in a stagnant place. Or at least try to.

Be a more present mother and play more mini-golf and go bowling more.

Be more vulnerable and open.


Now, I may add more to this list as January slowly progresses, or, I may just leave it simple and straight up. I’m not quite sure just yet. But that’s part of my journey right now: to wait and see what needs to be where instead of filling the vacancy with uncertain objects that may actually impede my personal, professional, and spiritual progress.

Could you guess my ‘One Little Word?‘ It’s MORE!

I may not use it in any sort of scrap-book/memory keeping application, but hey, I do love working with paper and images, so who knows, maybe I will whip up some creative endeavor with my word. Mostly, though, I want to use the word to mediate on, and as a daily reminder of what I want to manifest my life to become. Passing the corner from my 20’s into my 30’s has really shined a light on what I want my future to be and has given me the courage to pursue it. Passively or aggressively. As weird and wonky as 2016 was, it helped me gain my bearings, and for that, I’m extremely grateful.

Leaping into 2017

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I usually start a blog post with where I’m physically writing from.

Well, today, I have failed to vacate my pajamas. My hair is in a newer sloppy bun than the sloppy bun I assembled it into when I went to sleep last night. I’m sitting on my sofa that has been pushed to one side of the room to make way for the boxes and the general disarray that accompanies a move that is nearby. Chaos. I hate packing and unpacking so many books and movies and music, but, I love them all so dearly – so, into the boxes they go.

I’ll be starting a new chapter of my life soon. And it seems fitting that it is also the start of a new calendar year. 2017.

To keep it simple and internet digestible, I’m moving 30 minutes away from my current home in the rainforest-y woods, to the town of Eugene, Oregon, into a tiny little two bedroom/one bathroom bungalow-ish house. Accompanying me are four cats (Dweenie, Gibs, ChoCho, and JujiBean), my daughter (for half of the time), and my enormous media collection.

My husband and I came to the conclusion that we enjoy being married to each other (we’ve almost put in 10 years!), we like parenting our daughter together, but alas, we absolutely do not enjoy living together. Felix Unger and Oscar Madison. The Odd Couple. I believe we have both reached a point in our personal evolution where we no longer want to sacrifice our goals and dreams (no matter how small or large), nor our particular brand of comfort for the image of marriage is supposed to be. We typically compromise so much that neither of us end up feeling passionate for the outcome.

I guess you could ask: “why would you stay married, then?” A totally valid question. But really, why not? We have experienced no loss of love or friendship – and most likely, with the impending relocation, I presume our relationship will only get better. Life being what it is, a total mixed bag, who knows though, maybe it will tank so hard and fast that we won’t know what hit us? That’s the gamble. But, staying stagnant is not an option for us.

The biggest obstacle to this transition is financial. Hopefully, though, as I’ve been told, “leap, and the net will appear.”

This leap is scary and exciting. Equal amounts of both. I’m incredibly excited and apprehensive. I’ve never been one to shy away from change, and I don’t mean to stop now.

I’ll probably talk more details of lifestyle in the weeks to come, but for now, moving and packing are on the immediate horizon – so pass all the soy lattes and donuts!

 

Embracing the Dark Season

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Sitting in front of a heater, cold coffee nearby, and watching the snowfall turn to rain.

I remember.

Snow always makes me melancholy. The acute silence. The stillness that mirrors the dark corners of my subconscious and beckons for an awakening.

Every season that passes, and every summer that transforms to autumn, and then every winter that ultimately finds itself at my doorstep, I remember what my soul screams ever so gently into my ear every October, that I, down to my core, am a child of the summer.

Summer. The sun burns away any gritty residue of thoughts that linger towards dreary. My heart can breathe it’s deliberate breath, and not be troubled with dirty memories and complicated loves. It can focus on what’s in front of it. Summer is the soul’s blessing. It’s clean and calm and steadfast. It’s kind and doesn’t hurt.

Winter is a cruel love that reminds you what you lost and what you may lose.

The snow is now rain and the trees are no longer painted in white. It’s still cold and I can feel it encompassing me. Winter tells us to bundle up or leave. And since I’m not one to take orders from a bossy winter, I intend to bundle up. Feel the snow on my red cheeks. Embrace the silent and dark corners of my soul, and walk on, through the snow and the rain, and make my peace with the cold – and know, that there is a reason for winter and it’s bitterness.

Every season is a chance to be born anew. Every day, really.

What will I be tomorrow?

 

Moon River Time Traveler

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When you get older ‘Moon River‘ is guaranteed to make you all kinds of messy emotional.

It’s one thing you can count on.

I don’t know if it matters if you’ve seen the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ but yeah, every single damn iteration of that song, I can feel my cheeks get tingly and my throat dry, I get these pesky goosebumps on my arm, and my eyes get unusually water-y. I don’t usually cry, but dammit, it’s close.

Moon River, and the like, is a brief pause, a chance to observe your life from an elevated perspective. Like watching a river wind back and forth, flowing onward, from the comfort and safety of a mountain. The glorious thing about it? You can play the song(s) as many times as you like.

Nostalgia. It creeps up, grabs you, and momentarily shakes up and dumps out all of that petty human bullshit you’re clutching onto. It helps you see the forest through the trees. It helps you see the beauty and the best of our humanity. It sharpens the lines, if only momentarily; often, it’s enough.

Music can do that. It can show you the past and the future all at once. At it’s core and at it’s best, music has the power to transcend time and gives us, the listener, the ability to truly time travel.

I believe that if you lay still enough, in a place of happiness, and wear a pair of headphones, music can take you anyplace in the universe. Truly.

So go, go time traveling, venture across the universe, see what you see and hear what you hear. There is no limit to the madness and the magic. After all, that’s what being human is for.


While writing this, I listened to Yann Tiersen’s eloquent and whimsical score for the film, Amelie. I also listened Audrey Hepburn’s simple and touching recording of Henry Mancini’s, Moon River – and I listened to Hans Zimmer’s, ‘Time,’ from the film Inception.