Two Weeks Later

Two weeks later
and I feel trapped in reality.
I keep thinking about
that time last summer
when I saw the world was crooked
and I keep wondering
is it still?

Or was that an off kilter moment
on borrowed time?

Or was it,
an indication of times to come?

Or was it…

I find myself
in a hopeless dispair
and I keep looking for strength
to coincide my friends’
anger
frustrations
and anxieties
but my patience wears thin.

I sit by the window in my room everyday
and I stare at the house next door
that might as well blend in
with the endless gray of midwest skies.

And I don’t want to create
because this still feels
like a nightmare
I’m desperate
to wake from.

And I feel
my privilege and entitlement
in saying it that way
because even without all this
many people’s regular lives
are smaller cages
then the one I find myself in.

but truly…
I don’t want to leave my bed
anymore then this cough wants to leave me.

my thoughts oscillate
between dispair
and memories of the sun
of its warmth
the smell of salt
and long lazy days

when none of this

was real

Two Weeks Ago

Two weeks ago, I asked on my Instagram, what should I write about next? The options were change and forgiveness. Change won.

Two weeks ago, I had put in my notice at the grocery store I have worked at for the last year and a half. I was excited to begin a new chapter, to have more free time, and to feel like my hard work had begun to pay off.

Two weeks ago, I took a road trip with one of my best friends to VA.  We went to a friends wedding (this was a joyous reconciliation between the bride and myself).  I drank a lot of wine and danced like it, the whole night.

Two weeks ago Covid-19 was another weird sickness in China. It was another news reel of people in face masks that I had seen before. It was a problem for them but not for us.

According to CDC, Covid-19 was in the US back in January but I didn’t hear about it until two weeks ago when the first death was reported in Washington state.

Six days ago, positive tests for Covid-19 were found in Michigan, in the same county I live in.

Three days ago was supposed to be my last day at the grocery store but, being the economy is effectively non-existent at this point, I thought it best to stay in the industry that is imperative to continue operation. Plus I have health insurance through them.

Hours ago, Canada announces the closing of its borders. We have nurses here that are from Canada. The EU is closing its borders. San Fransisco is under lockdown until April. They closed down bars and restaurants in Michigan – what is even happening?  

Anyway, two weeks ago I wanted to write about how excited I was about the new changes in my life and how I felt so positive about the future. I wanted to write about the totally, awesome things going on in my life. I wanted to write about my hard work, the times I wanted to quit but how it got me here.

Two weeks ago it was a different world.

I’m not worried about running out of food. I mean if people keep acting psycho, yes but if we all chill out, the food is going to be just fine. I’m not specifically worried about myself getting sick. I’m young and pretty healthy. Obviously, I would prefer to not get sick.

I am concerned about my 54-year-old, diabetic father who has smoked his whole life. I am worried about my 81-year-old grandma who has beat cancer like 3 times. I am worried about my sister in law going into labor any day.

I know we will all get passed this but what does the other side look like? I’ve never known a world where I didn’t have a general idea of how tomorrow would be – until now. I am largely unprepared on how to handle the situation. Do I have enough food? Should I get water? What does going into “lock down” mean? Do I need to stockpile wood and matches? Do I need to learn how to farm?  Live off the land? How far are we going with all of this?

None of this seems real. I didn’t think anything like this would happen so fast. It’s easy to see how things unravel and control is lost. I don’t want to talk about it but it’s everywhere around me (the shelves are empty at the grocery store, it’s creepy).

It is all I’m thinking about.

I don’t want to lose control over myself because panicking will get you nowhere but I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to feeling a lot of anxiety right now. There are so many things that keep running through my head and I’m not sure how to stop them or to think of something else. I don’t want to disregard a serious situation but I don’t want to panic either.

The truth is sometimes change is a process that happens through dedication and hard work to a greater goal that you believe in but sometimes change is forced upon you. I want all of this to be over and I want life to go back to normal but I think this is going to get worse before it get’s better.  I think I’ll get sick because I didn’t quit the grocery store but mostly people are keeping their distances and they’re not speaking much to anyone. It’s weird. I actively avoid getting close to anyone. My hands are raw from washing so much, I’m obsessive about everything being sanitized especially at the grocery store. The various food bars are shut down. I bought brownie mix today because I guess my ovaries are panicking too and saying – IDK JUST BAKE SOMETHING! PEOPLE LIKE CHOCOLATE! 

This shit is getting very real, very fast. I guess at this point the only thing you can do is hang on tight. In Florida they say – Hunker down

Whatever that means.

What will two weeks from today look like? 

hi 2020

I’m not sure how to begin or rather, where I should begin. I keep listening to my 2019 Spotify playlist that replays the soundtrack to my highs and lows of the entire year. I can look through my Instagram and see a catalog of my best moments. I can read through my public and private journals and feel the sadness of my worst moments as if the wound were fresh.

I consider where I was, and re-read last year’s reflection piece and wonder if I’ve made any progress. January seems like another lifetime ago, even the summer feels like an eternity from where I sit right now.

2019 became a year of intensity, at least in my version of reality. A year ago I was a cook, living with my dad and doing anything to feel some level of control over my life. It’s a challenge to move back in with your parents, particularly when they aren’t sure of who you became. The roles change and I think for parents it’s hard to accept that kids don’t always need you. I moved out.

Everything comes with a price, including the freedom to be your own person. In my case, it means I never have any money for anything at all. I moved in with strangers in an area I have been wanting to live in for a long time. It seems weird probably to live with people you met off the internet, but I’ve only been screwed over by 1 out of like 10 which is pretty good odds. This hasn’t been that 1 time.

I almost fell in love and maybe to a point I did, with smooth guitar riffs and empty words. I also learned how hard the concrete feels when you smack into it at full speed and don’t die. It was a lesson in manipulation, egos, and personal boundaries. I spent a long time being very sad about the level of disrespect I had received and wondered at length, what was wrong with me to have been so unlucky in love? The truth of the matter is that it wasn’t my fault and I’ve effectively been relieved of what would have likely been an excessively toxic relationship. I’m angry still at the amount of time I wasted on it all but not all lessons are easy to learn. This relationship taught me the importance of listening to my gut and not to compromise my personal boundaries at the expense of myself and, for the comfort of someone else. If something doesn’t feel right or a person’s words don’t add up, you’re probably right.

New York City stole my heart as I spent an entire week with old friends, wondering around that dirty, smelly city. I was fortunate enough to get pinkeye while I was on vacation in the City. It should be advised to not touch your face in NYC unless you’re in your own home and you’ve literally just washed your hands. Never touch your face after riding the subway. You can also walk down the street in a brightly colored, plastic poncho in the middle of a rainstorm and no one will pay attention to you. However, if you buy wine, the employees will be amused and ask to take a picture. I’m obsessed with the City and I replay the memories we created over and over, in my head and I scroll through hundreds of pictures that tell the story of the trip in frozen moments.

I turned 30 this year and John fucking Mayer played a concert in Detroit on my literal day of birth. It was too serendipitous to not go. No one wanted to go with me though which is the story of my life for birthday shenanigans but my best friend finally came around and agreed to go. Even though John didn’t propose to me, I still thought it was nice of him to play a concert for my birthday. It was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to and I honestly didn’t even listen to John Mayer that much before the concert. I spent $45 on a Hanes t-shirt though, just because I deeply enjoyed the show and wanted John’s face on my body when I slept.

Anyway, it’s getting weird now. I changed jobs a few times this past year and I’ll probably do it again next year. Life is a weird journey and I think about how much can happen in a year and how sometimes it doesn’t seem like time moves it all. 2019 challenged me for the better. I don’t know how 12 months can be an eternity ago, but I feel more sure of myself now than I have in a long time.

When I began writing about the past year, I was under the impression it had been stressful, full of heartache and depression but as I began to think back to it, the years been pretty kick-ass overall. I’m stoked for 2020, it’s probably going to be some Mercury retrograde bullshit but: bring it on bitch.

 – Neptune

bad self portraits

Allow me, if you can, a moment to be a bit…. dramatic. I have been profoundly sad for roughly 2 weeks. I want to cry all the time and I feel like I’m pretending to be someone else when I’m not crying. I want to avoid being alone at all costs and drink alcohol. Then I go out, however, and am annoyed by everyone and have 1 glass of wine and just want to go to sleep.

It’s weird going from having a very intimate perspective of a person to effectively  pretending like they’re a stranger while you try to forget the electricity you felt and still do, feel for them. It’s hard just being friends with them because what do you do with all the other stuff and how do you just ignore the elephant that’s standing in the room? I feel stupid because I didn’t know them for very long but they invited me into their lives, introduced me to some of their family, shared personal things with me, made me feel special and how do you forget that? How do they? How do you not feel a certain sense of inadequacy about yourself?

I suppose that’s what’s got me most upset, this feeling of not enough that’s sort of always screaming in the back of my head but only really gets loud when you show someone yourself and they reject it. For me, I spiral into thoughts of what’s wrong with me? How come the people I want to date, never want to date me? Why do terrible people get to have a bae and I don’t? Why don’t I know how to make good decisions? Why do I keep repeating the same patterns? How can I trust my judgment?

It isn’t exactly dating that’s got me so upset or the fact that yet another guy, doesn’t want to date me but rather it’s what it represents at this point for me. I’m going to be 30 in a week and I have nothing to show for myself. I don’t have a real career (I’m a bartender at a grocery store). I don’t own a home (I rent with 2 random women I met on the internet). I don’t have children (I don’t want them). I am single with not even a potential prospect. I have failed on all points of society’s perception of a successful life and I think oh that’s why: I have nothing to show for myself.

I don’t exactly mind that I haven’t followed the “American Dream” footpath because I think back to when my mom turned 30. I was 7 and I remember we had a house party and it was “over the hill” themed. Being 7, I didn’t know what hill she had gotten over or what that even meant and even now, I don’t really feel 30. I think about how at 44 she was a divorcé living with her parents and not eating.

I think about this customer that comes into my work, who in his late 40’s and is seeing a 27-year-old woman who told his now ex-wife about the affair causing him to get divorced. The same woman broke his foot with a flower pot when she was upset with him.

I think about this other middle-aged woman who told me how one day she came home early with her children to find her husband in bed with another man. She was unaware he was unhappy in their relationship or that he was battling with his sexual identity.

It occurs to me, fundamentally speaking, humans are messy. Life is messy and that’s okay. It is very hard to go against the grain of what the world expects of you. You do regularly have to answers questions about what is wrong with you? Why aren’t you doing this or that? To a point, you can say fuck society but when it’s all around you, at times your perseverance will be worn thin, at least that’s the case for me. Right now.

It helps me to consider the ways other people’s lives fall apart because it helps me put into perspective my pity party with a realization, life isn’t that bad for me. That’s not to say I don’t still battle with my insecurities of failure and inadequacy. I don’t know how to overcome these feelings despite the fact I know I have a lot of good qualities about myself but so often, I’m reminded that these things aren’t that important.

I went on a date with someone weeks ago who told me it was OK that I like to write, am into theatre, and do art but that I should also get into “cool” things like sports and partying. He didn’t care that these are things I’m proud of and things that I value more than sports and partying but that is so often the mentality I am met with.

I feel like I’m always being put into a box of “this how you should be” and there is no regard to whether or not that’s what I want to be or whether or not I want to accept that. I perpetually feel like I’m compromising my feelings and opinions about a situation for the comfort of everyone else involved. I don’t always know where my voice is and I’m sometimes afraid of using it.

I’ve worked jobs I hated because I wanted to not be seen as an unmotivated loser. I’ve put an unnecessary financial strain on myself living alone, because I wanted to prove I have my shit together, so to speak. I’ve gone along with things I hated because I didn’t want the confrontation despite those people wouldn’t do the same for me. I’ve remained friends with people who have hurt me deeply because I don’t want them to be sad too even though it can feel like my insides are falling out every time I see them. It’s still this box I’m shoved into or maybe I go willing into and the best part is, no one cares that you feel this way because it’s easier for them.

So I’m met with this sort of identity crisis at 30. I don’t know how to trust my judgment because it seems like I am wrong at every opportunity. Even though this episode was spawned by someone not wanting to date me, it’s more so about the perceived ways in which I am failing in life. I don’t know how to make peace with these things or how to overcome them. I think things will eventually turn around for me because at best, I am a stubborn sort of woman and perpetually curious about most things. I do know that I have people who love and care for me. I know that I do have many great qualities about myself and I know I’m not as much of a mess as it feels sometimes. Eventually, I will find the path I’m supposed to be on (or maybe I’m already on it) but in the season of life, in this current moment, I have lost the sunshine.

(anti)Acid

I’m aching in the anticipation
of your lingering kisses
that I want to save the feeling of.

And I hate,
that I can’t remove you
from all the space
that’s used to keep records
of all the lines on your face.

I keep writing about you
because I’m trying to find the right
words that are the accurate summation
of the things you are.

And I hate,
how haircuts will make you stop
in the midst of euphoria and,
you allow it power in this moment
even though they,
don’t give a fuck.

That is to say,
I’m not holding it against you,
and maybe it’s a store front
that makes you stop this time,
but I wish I could just
hold that beautiful face
and remind you
that hair cuts are only a phase.

Because I like when
the rooms melting
inside of a museum that ate time
seeing you,
standing there,
in that casual sort of way you do,
when you’re lost in your own thoughts
and I think about
how the light bounces
off your tossed aside hair
and down the folds of your cotton shirt
and how,
this is where you’ve always been
and how,
this is exactly where you fit
because you were the only thing
that wasn’t melting.

I don’t know how to tell you,
how completely naked I feel
and how,
I never buy cheetah dresses
except,
when I think about you
looking at me.

I don’t know how to tell you,
that you terrify me
because I don’t feel out of place
standing next to you
but I don’t want to be
in shadows of memories of someone else.

And I’m sorry,
I’m kind of a snob
and sometimes a bitch
about people I don’t know
and how,
I don’t know what a short box is
but if you’ll allow me to,
I’d like to spend hours
watching the skin around your eyes crinkle
because,
you’re probably laughing at me
or at least you’re smiling at me
and either way
I can take another picture in my mind
of the lines I missed last time.

****

And just like that,
the room melts away.
It wasn’t a museum that ate time,
it was a black hole
that ate time and the light
that bounced from your hair
and down your cotton shirt.

And you where always there
because you’d rather chase ghosts
that reside in the past
then see exactly what stood before you.

That is to say,
I hold this completely against you
because you’re not the first boy
to lie to me or to lead me on,
you are the first to be have been so cruel.

And I once thought you where beautiful
but now I can see,
you just had nice clothes.

And I think about how
I told you my truths
and how,
you used that vulnerability
and how,
you have the audacity
to say we can hang out and,
be copacetic because –
you’re sorry
and how,
you feel bad.
and how,
then you could feel better
if we pretended nothing happened
and were copacetic
because –
you like hanging out with me.

 

starting 30

I live in dichotomies
and reflect on the mile stone
of reaching another decade
around the sun.

I feel old
and then I don’t
feel old enough.
I listen to jazz
like a good intellectual
and say things like
Miles is so existential
and I want
to punch myself
in the face
when those words vomit
from my mouth.

I think about
the first 10 years of adulthood
and how I don’t remember
the first half
because maybe nothing happened
but rather, I was dead.

And the last half
has been a zombie
trying to be human again
melting the ice
that had gripped
a tired heart.
A heart thats still tired
but still beating.

I’m still chasing pipe dreams
and I hit that pipe every day
because while everyone else
was alive at 22,
I was drowning
in seas of gray,
further and further
until the bedrock
of the sea welcomed me
to my new home
where I stayed
shackled in muck
and blinded by darkness.

Only now,
did I find the surface
and gasped for air
and
only now,
do I feel like I’m actually
in control of myself.

Only now,
have I accepted
the role of ruler
of my life.
and I think about
how I’m not where
I considered I would be
at 3 decades deep
into this journey
through space,
but I think it’s okay
because even though
like Andre says,
everyone around me playin marriage
or paying child support
or buying houses
I can’t cope –

My tinder profile
is a sea of mirror selfies
and camo
with dead carcasses
and advertisements of hard working, homeowners
who’s only hobby is sports,
not playing, just watching
and its like –
is this really enough for people?

And if it is enough,
why isn’t it enough for me?
because I’m constantly hounded
with questions likes
Whats wrong with you?
When are you are going to get married?
When are you going to have a baby?
like there’s nothing better to do.

Sometimes I feel like
I’m being childish though,
with my pipe in hand
and day dreams of adventures
of a life
that doesn’t included houses, camo
or apple pie –
Because I’m chasing something bigger,
and sometimes I think
it’s a waste of time
and, perhaps I should acquiesce
to the kool aid before me.
Give into my consumeristic tendencies
and buy a big box
to put my camo shit in
and close the blinds
and the rest of the world away from me.
But I’m not ready
to nail myself
inside a coffin just yet.

And it feels like
everyone else wants me
inside these boxes
so they don’t have to worry,
and so they can tell their friends
she’s OK because,
she’s has the correct mile stones
accomplished in order
while looking at me to say
well there’s still time…

I hear people say
you don’t act 30
and I don’t know
what that even means
because what does it mean
to act 30 when I don’t even feel it?
like should I be honored or offended?
but mostly I don’t give a fuck
and maybe that’s what being 30 is.

validation

I joined a dating site (again) because I’m bored and a masochist, apparently. This morning I had the pleasure of speaking with Drew. Drew asked me a couple questions about the software engineering degree I’m pursuing, whether or not I was at work and who this man is in one of the Instagram pictures on my profile. I had initiated the conversation because he mentioned he was plant based in his profile and vegetarians and vegans love meeting other vegetarians and vegans and talking about it. By the time he asked about the mysterious man in the picture (my brother, btw), he expressed I wasn’t giving him much to work off of when I said it was a weird question to ask who the man is. He said he was grasping at thin air, trying to find something to talk about.

The way I understand how conversations work, one person asks a question or makes a statement, the other responds to you and the conversation builds; dialogue 101. Drew, however, asked me random questions that didn’t relate to each other and thus the conversation did not flow and it was difficult to build any deeper conversation. It was more like a job interview than an actual conversation. Still, I thought it was going fine until he really lost his cool with the brother question. At that point he called me a “minimum wage loser” for working at Whole Foods (WF) and staying in bed till 10:30 AM on my day off.

It goes without saying that Drew is in fact, an ass hole. I do not understand this idea that your value as a person is wrapped up entirely by what you do for money. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately as I continue to go deeper into the software engineering program and work more at WF.

I have had a lot of jobs since I started working when I was 16. Since I graduated from college 8 years ago, I have had 6 different jobs. I have been an account manager, a paralegal assistant, an office assistant, customer service representative, a dishwasher and a cook (to be fair the last 2 have been at the same company). I have hated all of those office jobs for various reasons. I hated dealing with the 9 – 5 traffic, I hated sitting at a desk, I hated staring at a screen all day,  I hated that I was completely and totally bored by these jobs and what I hated most was that I felt like I was wasting my life away and wasting my intellect on things I felt completely disconnected from. Everything about these jobs was designed to increase profit and that is what I chased at every one of them and I hated it.

Of course, I understand that a business needs to make a profit to function. However, my job at WF is to make food. It needs to taste good and look good so people will buy it but the goal of the profit is more or less removed from the actual practice of my day to day life. I can talk to cool people all day, or listen to music and get lost in my own thoughts. My best ideas for poems and stories and art come when I’m at work and can let my mind wander.

Drew made a lot of assumptions about me, based on his insecurities about himself. He thinks I’m a loser and unmotivated to better myself because I work in the service industry. To Drew, people who work service jobs aren’t smart enough or work hard enough to “make it” in more glamours fields. It didn’t occur to him, that I chose to work at a grocery store and it wasn’t because it was the only job I could get. It didn’t matter to him, that I had tried his lifestyle for many years and every time it made me completely miserable. I gained weight at these jobs and had anxiety dreams almost every night about being late to work. Some weekends I couldn’t even relax because I was too anxious about Monday. I would take a vacation and still be expected to be available if someone needed something in the office. I was never in charge of my time, at these jobs.

I’ve been struggling with whether or not I want to continue with software engineering because I know it’s going to put me back at a desk, surrounded by more Drew’s.  I know I’m going to be so mentally exhausted, that I won’t paint or write. Since I started at WF, I created this blog and made active efforts to maintain it, I’m doing more art, I’m more social and engaged with the world, I’ve lost 20 lbs and have started working on other bigger projects. I’m networking with more people who inspire me with my projects and set my mind ablaze. These are huge positive changes.

I’m scared, however. I’m scared of people like Drew who think I don’t have any value because I work at a grocery store. I’m scared of disappointing my inner circle that thinks I’m destined for great things and my grandma who wants me to be an executive because, in her time, women didn’t do that. Drew is scared too because Drew is unhappy and insecure about his own life. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t have felt the need to degrade a stranger on a dating app for no reason. He wouldn’t need to judge people’s income if he truly felt secure in his own. I’m sure Drew’s life seems excellent on the outside but he’s deeply unfulfilled and that’s what happens when you work a job that doesn’t have any value to you. The difference between me and Drew, however, is that I am finding the courage to jump over that fear and be in a place that allows me to pursue the things that make me excited about the world.

I don’t know what I’ll do with my education. It’s interesting to me and I can certainly become a freelance programmer as a side hustle if I felt so inclined to do so. What I do know, is that I haven’t felt this free in a very long time. Is my job perfect? no. Are there days I do kind of hate it? Of course. Does the good outweigh those days though? Absolutely. Drew will always be unhappy because Drew is living a life he doesn’t actually want, even if he can’t admit it to himself. I may never have the executive career my grandma wants for me and it’s very possible I will disappoint my entire family by building a career at a grocery store but what they don’t understand is that maybe then, I’ll be able to fly.

 – Neptune

signs

I think a lot
about this sign,
I saw in a coffee shop.

And I think
about that coffee shop
and how everyone inside
looked like a social media influencer
but seemed to lack
anything genuine

and I know,
I’m being judgmental
about people I don’t know
and a place I went to once
but even inside the shop
that played my beloved jazz
and had dark wood
paneled walls
and checked all the boxes
of what I like
in a coffee shop
it felt like a facade.
like shopping at Urban Outfitters.

The sign on the door
was a list
of all the different ways
you can be human.
the sign said,
all humans are welcome,
including humans with disabilities.

But, as soon as you came in,
there were 5 steps
one has to climb
in order to get to the counter
and buy a coffee.
So even though,
the sign said everyone’s welcome,
nothing was actually done
to ensure everyone is able.

So you can be welcome,
but you may not be able
to get in
based on your physical abilities.

and I think about
how thats how our world works
we say but never do.
we create “movements” online
but lack systematic change
for movements to matter.

And then when you question it all,
someone with fake glasses
points to the sign
and says everyone’s welcome,
and pretends
the stairs
can be willed away
with positive vibes.

dating

I like dating
because I like pretending
I’m the person
I wish
I was.

I like to see
how long I can
keep the facade
before
I crack
under my
self imposed perfection.

I like playing
a role
of the charming
curvaceous
redhead
with electric eyes
and musical laughs.

I like to think
my social anxiety
doesn’t exists
because with good company
and enough alcohol
anything is possible.

I like dating
because
then it makes me feel
normal.
because,
you can’t be
single
and 30.

But as long as you have
a name of someone
and a story about them
you can pretend
you’re dating
So no one thinks
there’s anything
wrong
with you –
even if
you’re just
fucking.

 

a hawk by the road

I saw a hawk today.
At first
I thought it was an owl.
because I never see owls
and I’m low key obsessed
for the day my owl sighting occurs.

When I got closer though,
it was obvisouly a hawk.
I wondered
How did I know
what a hawk was.
As in,
when did I learn
to identify
a hawk.

And then,
I was thinking about
My granparents
and I remembered
they had a hawk
for a long time.

It had been injured
and they cared for it
until it could do hawk things
and I realized
my grandparents,
are a defining influence
in who I am
as a person.

My grandma’s always been an artist,
my grandad a photographer
and musician
sharing pictures of
foreign tropical places
and the birds
and the flowers
that live there.

Their house,
is a Disney forest,
of all the wildlife
that has called it home
and a constant,
resident Doberman,
who was,
in my lifetime –
Brandy,
then Raven
then Jackson
then…
A new puppy
name: TBD.

They taught me
how to see beauty
and how
to express it
even when it’s ugly.

I saw a hawk today
and thought about
my grandparents.