Writing and Cringing and Feeling

“With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.” – Max Ehrmann

 

There’s a cafe in downtown Fairmont I’ve gotten used to visiting when I’m waiting on a bus. The little doodle above was created after one of these mornings, which would be this morning…words…there is a much lovelier way of saying everything I just said…

Speaking of words, I recently put a bunch of them in a particular order for The Writer’s Arena, it was…different. I’ve never done something public like that solo. 

I think I feel the same way I do about writing as I do drawing. If there’s a request/subject I struggle and fail to create something notable, I suck at focused fiction. I enjoy writing it, but only if it has nowhere to go and no one to answer to.

I did enjoy writing for the Arena, I enjoy doing pretty much anything for my HEPodcast amigos, I just cringe a little thinking about my story and what it’s going against. I don’t write truly frequently, I don’t believe I’m a writer, at least not the brand that does well on things like this. It’s the thought of an inexperienced 20-year old kid (moi) going against a real writerly hooman.

A couple months ago I recorded a podcast episode with one of the podcast fellows, I was unprepared and frazzled and completely dull and I was stuttering and stumbling. My brain had no real thoughts, at least no complete ones. I was so embarrassed by it that they were kind enough to never release it. It made me dislike a lot of pieces of my personality. My fear of looking stupid or unprepared, how overprotective I can be of my reputation, the fact that I didn’t even try to enjoy the book we were reviewing. And I should have, I should have tried to understand the series and the author and get attached to the characters. 

But I viewed it as a fun favor and didn’t bother to take the whole thing to heart, I actually procrastinated and didn’t fight to sink myself into the story, I just came up with a reward system to get through the book chapter-by-chapter. And I’ve discovered that when I jump into something half-heartedly I fail miserably.

I think I’m worried about doing that with the Arena. Because I’m not sure I embraced it with my whole self. And I wonder if I made excuses for myself, and made it acceptable to myself to not try harder to love the act and the process.

I’ve told friends before in the middle of advice rants that they can’t help what they feel, only how they respond and act on the feelings. But in a sense, we can control what we feel. It’s just too often I’m too lazy to attempt to do something about it. We can look at things differently and work harder to understand them. We can chip away pieces of anger or sadness and soften ourselves. 

I have a feeling throughout this entire post I am half right and half wrong.

I’m not sure, I’m not thinking very clearly. So it’s very likely I’ll read this over and shake my head.

I hope I stop being afraid of eyes and ears and the thoughts of others. It seems like a ridiculously simple thing to do. It seems simple to say I am my own personI am not what others see

Shake off what everyone thinks, and this and that and so on.

I have a fear of becoming too much of some things and too little of others. I’m afraid of being fat and careless and selfish. I’m afraid of being a nobody and of talking and being all talk and blinking and being an old lady with nothing to show for all my talk and young ambition. And I tend to look at other’s opinion of me (specifically, my close friends and family) to see how well I’m actually doing.

If I’m showing how much I care often enough, if I’m reaching out and responding and communicating and following through. If I’m doing right by the people who matter.

Anyway, I have a bus to catch back into Morgantown. So I will go ahead and publish this and see if I regret it later.

Stay groovy.

In Motion

Phooey, where to begin?

I’m in West Virginia.

I live here now.

I have an awesome roommate, I like my house, I’m happy about the job I recently got.

I’m worried about getting comfortable when it comes to the things I want to accomplish in life, I’m worried about starting to tell myself “I have time.” or “I’m so young.”

While being interviewed for one job they mentioned the benefits that employees get after one year of working for the company.

And I found myself actually shaking my head a little, the thought of staying with one job for a whole year is impossible for me now. I stayed with Toys “R” Us in California for a year because I had a very clear goal in mind, I had my list of priorities and getting my life straight and steady while prepping to move to West Virginia was at the top of my list.

And I’m here now. And I have the things I need (except for my car, which I won’t have for a bit longer, but the bus system in Morgantown is spectacular.)

I just need to focus on pumping out any type of creative content frequently. There is a large project of mine I’m going to try to finally set in motion, which will likely require a little help from my Internet peoples.

And I’m going to work harder at selling my stuff, and painting and drawing things that might actually sell.

I have hope. I just need to remember to never tell myself, “I have time.”

Art Hop and Other Jazz

ImageArt Hop Day 😀

 

ImageMy wall ^_^ImageImageImageTried out a blue hair streak. I’m in the process of making a documentary for my brother’s church, and before heading out for an interview with the pastor I followed an impulse. Blue hair and blue eyeshadow.

I think I’m embracing creative impulses more often. 

And I’m less terrified of taking pictures of myself and posting them online. I used to think that it would make me seem full of myself.
Now it feels like posting something I made. 

I remember when I hadn’t seen a picture of my profile in a while, perhaps 4 years. I have no idea how I managed this. But when I was 14 and saw a reflection of my profile I felt devastated. It looked totally different than what I had remembered. I didn’t recognize myself. My nose had lost it’s ‘ski slope’ quality and to me it looked huuuuuge. I thought I looked hideous.

Bagh…I feel weird typing about myself in between two pictures of myself…I wonder if I’ll read this in a few months and dislike it very much. But I’ll just go on and say what I was going to.

I think I’ve come to a place where I accept myself fully. And my appearance was the last thing I had to look at and say that I approved of. 

Besides the random blue periods (ha, blue…it’s kinda funny now because of the hair pictures…) I feel hopeful and happy, and I feel capable and proud of myself. This is the healthiest physically and mentally I’ve ever been.

I’m reminded of a piece of an essay I read once by F. Scott Fitzgerald: 

“And lastly from that period I remember riding in a taxi one afternoon between very tall buildings under a mauve and rosy sky; I began to bawl because I had everything I wanted and knew I would never be so happy again.”

I don’t feel I’m at that place, at least not yet. But I thought it was a feels-gripping bit, so I wanted to share it with you.

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I couldn’t afford a softbox for my documentary interviews, so I made one from cardboard, tissue paper, some foil, paint and cheap supplies from Home Depot.

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I felt like including this for no particular reason…this is a piece by Honore Daumier. And it makes me laugh. It’s called “Le Defenseur” and that facial expression on this woman…c’mon. Look at dat sly little face and tell me it’s not hilarious. 

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This is Kitty Outdoors indoors looking adorable.
Alright.
Carry on. 

 

The New, the Shocking, and the Benji

Today I stopped in at the toy store for the first time since I quit.

It depressed me. All of my favorite people had quit and vanished off the face of the earth, the few really hard workers who had stayed are down to minimal hours and they’re purposely scheduled shifts that don’t allow them to work with people they’re friends with. A couple of very friendly, loving coworkers who started working during season have apparently become arrogant and rude. This is what the place has become.

I walked around electronics with Benji, he talked about moving plans and I talked about moving plans. He’s transferring to a location in Visalia. He talked about how miserable the job had become.

“I guess I jumped ship just in time.” I said. He pretended to straighten merchandise.

“Yeah you did.” He said. “It’s a sad ship now.”

I felt like I had just finished the end of a really good book series. I felt a loss. Like while I worked there I had been witnessing some epic adventure without realizing it. They all really had been the best coworkers I’ve ever had. And that perfect group had dissipated and dispersed to better and worse things.

And I felt something that I knew was coming for a while.

The feeling that an experience, a period in my life is no longer current, but a story. The year I’ve spent in California, rebuilding and repairing and creating. It has become a story. It’s a thing now. In about a month this whole shindig will be “When I lived in Cali…”

And I feel the loss of an active existence in one place. I’m becoming a thing that floats on the surface again and waits to settle.

I’ve been dissociating here and there again. I haven’t dissociated frequently for a long time. The days to the big move are inching closer and closer.

And I feel a sadness that I wasn’t expecting.

The first time I moved out of my parent’s home I was angry and bursting with a thirst for independence and success and shouting ‘I’ll show you what I can do on my own!’

But then life did its thing and beat me into submission, and I was handed things better than I deserved but didn’t realize it yet and I grew up quickly.

Sometimes I think about a genie appearing and if I would go back and do it all over again.

Sometimes I say yes. Most of the time I say yes. But after I fixed it all I’d want to forget what I did so horribly wrong the first time around. I would want the second time around to be the only time as far as I knew. If I remembered everything from the first time, then I could never really feel free. Because to me, it would have all still happened.

I feel sad this time, about leaving. Deeply sad. It’s like when I think about it a black hole shaped like a twister forms in my ribcage and swirls about and sucks at energy and light and makes me feel a little emptier.

I feel so darn guilty about the things I do to people by simply existing. There’s no way to dance this whole thing through without causing anxiety and sadness and frustration.

Yes, yes. It’s life.

People change so much, and it frustrates me to no end. Some of them grow to be so selfish and bitter and they pity themselves so much. They seem to take pride in not having joy, they think that whining openly about the depths of their despair makes them special and deep and admirable.

I’ve lost so much patience for self-pitying behavior, specifically when people seek out reasons to exhibit this behavior.

It’s the world’s fault that everyone isn’t in love with you, it’s the world’s fault you aren’t a grand success, it’s the world’s fault that you don’t love yourself.

The amount of entitlement in young people is so ridiculous.The brats.

I feel so angry at these whiny little children at the community college. They’re complaining about the fact that they get to have an education. I want to poke them with forks and make them listen to me. There are people who would do anything to be as you are. Young with the world ahead of you, with a shot at setting yourself up for a great life, for a better tomorrow by just memorizing some stuff for a little while and learning amazing things. YOU GET TO LISTEN TO EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE TEACH YOU THINGS EVERY WEEK. APPRECIATE THEIR EFFORTS.

After stopping at the toy store I started driving home, when I saw a sign at a favorite bookstore in Old Town, it said ‘OPEN MIC FRI. 6:30’ I looked at my phone, 6:44. So I turned the car around and stepped into the bookstore, up some stairs to where I heard a voice reciting a poem.

“Even the silk swallows it whole…”

I tip-toed to the back of the space to listen as one older gentleman replaced the other at a wooden podium with a mic attached to it. This second gentleman gave a rundown of some characters in his novel before diving immediately into a story that made me blush before I could start to tip-toe away. “Oh, Jerry.” The older man raised his voice for the part of the woman, “Whenever we fight we end up making love.” I almost burst out laughing from surprise at how…well, unusual the experience was for me. It was shocking. 

And so ended my first experience with an open mic night at a bookstore.

And once again I have no smooth way to end these posts…

Goodnight.

 

 

 

 

Ten Seconds a Day of Dull Inspiration

“My greatest adventure.”
It’s one thought that randomly appears throughout the day. Even while I’m doing something like getting groceries or parking at the library. It’s like a mental twitch or tic. There’s no emotion paired with it, it’s said almost like a matter of fact by a nameless voice.

My greatest adventure.

I give it ten seconds of brainspace. And I feel a dull thrill, because I imagine my single action as one bead in a very long strand of actions. And then I go back to wherever I was before. And I don’t think about it again until the words pop up a few hours, or a day later.

My greatest adventure, the way I think about it, is my only adventure. My life.

I was scribbling something on a piece of paper when the thought struck a few minutes ago, and before I forgot I wanted to write about it here.

So there it sits.

What Retail Has Taught Me and Other Jazz

After working for Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Beall’s, Texas Furniture and Toys “R” Us, this is what I have to say about it all:

  • If you sign up to work in retail, you’re signing up for verbal abuse from customers.
  • Some of the hardest working people are the most underpaid.
  • When you work with the public, if you don’t find reasons to laugh, you’ll cry. (And even then, you’ll probably still end up crying at some point. Because people suck.)
  • Going to Target after your shift ends and keeping your red uniform on = bad idea.
  • Trust no one fully.
  • Daily hugs make a difference.
  • Daily smiles make a difference.
  • When the day is horrible as can be, use pointless optimism. Even as you don’t believe it, tell yourself the day will be delicious, the sunset will be beautiful.
  • Communicate.
  • Carry your own weight.
  • Jump at chances to help people.
  • Amuse yourself.
  • Throw fluffy things.
  • Know when to walk away.

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I move to West Virginia in 75 days.

I’m very ready.

And yet I’m not.

Soak it in now, that’s what a little voice is saying.

Make some more memories with your family.

Don’t be so eager to vanish.

Tonight was my last night working for Toys “R” Us. I feel odd.

I stayed with the company for a year.

I’ve been such a twister of anxiety and frenzied productivity. I need to do nothing but sit in an office all day.

Which is pretty much what my next job will involve. I am very happy about this.

I’ll tell you something, I’ve wanted to either be a librarian or work in an office for a very long time.

Librarian is still my dream job, honestly.

I want to work in a library so badly.

Argh.

One day.

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I’ve started making things a lot.
Or maybe I could have said ‘I’ve been making a lot of things.’

Fiverr has given me enough extra income to act as a second part-time job that I can do from my couch. And the fact that each order requires a piece of new creativity has sparked a desire to be creative in other ways.

(For those who don’t know, I sell letters. I coffee stain pages, wrinkle them, burn them, and I write encouraging letters using my typewriter before sealing them, wrapping them with string and sending them out.)

I’ve been going to the park and painting. I’ve always wanted to try to paint, but I never started because I thought I could feel in my gut that I wouldn’t be very good.

But then I started falling in love with art and artists. And I realized there’s a market for everyone. And no one has the authority to define what art might be.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Ze Frank, it’s that one should chase that happy and hold onto it. And making things makes me happy. And I think I’m getting over my fear of people ripping my self-confidence apart. Because I know it’s awesome. Because I finally feel awesome.

And so I have been drawing, and I’ve been writing, and I’ve been painting. And I want to start molding. A few years ago for an anatomy and physiology class, to explain certain brain functions, I made a brain out of clay.

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I miss making stuff out of clay.

So I’m going to start doing that again. And very likely try to make some money from it.

As for the paintings, they aren’t pretty. I repeat: are not pretty. But each has a story, and each one is an image of one of my feelings.

This is the feeling that I am feeling many things at once, and I feel a mushy mix of emotions. When I tried to think of an emotion to show, I just thought “I feel human.”
And so the name and the piece were created.
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And this one was inspired by the feeling of being overstimulated by your environment or mental chaos, and the desire for the world to go silent as someone shouts “It’s a flying house!”

A world of stillness.
Quiet.
A world of a single moment of curious suspense.
And awe.

A smaller voice asks, “Can we build one?”

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and this little bitty one was created for a friend, it is for their sister in bootcamp in the Navy. So I painted a dress, and an arm with an anchor tattoo (friend’s idea.)

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So there’s that. Along with my letters.
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I’m also still struggling to put together the first vlog in a series I’d like to do. We’ll see. This is going to be an excellent year. ^_^

Ruled

I sound so serious when I write lately, at least on this blog.

I never sound serious when I’m talking to someone, and I think I expected my blog posts to play out like some one-sided conversation.

Instead I sound a little…depressed? At least, I sound young and serious.

I think folks who know me might be a little confused by this blog if they get that impression.

The past few days I’ve been a very busy person, and I’m happiest when I’m busy and left alone to do the things I need to do. If I could sit a desk all day at home and just be productive I would be a very happy person.

I felt anxious at work tonight.

Though, I should mention, I’m an anxious person. I love more than anything being busy, but being busy makes me so anxious. I think that’s why I like being alone when I have a lot to do. When I feel very anxious, everyone’s voices seem so loud and grate on my eardrums like nails on a chalkboard.

Sshhhhh…be quiet. Close the door and leave the window open. I just need to work.

I felt anxious at work tonight, and I think it’s because my hours have been cut so much that the place is starting to feel foreign. Working at the service desk didn’t feel as natural as it usually does. I felt uncertain, like it was new territory. Like I haven’t been doing it all the past year. Almost exactly a year, in fact.

I feel strange around my coworkers. They have a lot of private jokes I don’t understand because I haven’t been around. 

I feel very ready to move. It feels like my environment is slowly pulling away and disconnecting from me, just in time for me to leave here.

It’s strange seeing these slightly pained looks on people’s faces when I mention leaving here. Maybe pained is too strong. It’s light sadness. A look of ‘I can feel what it’s like to miss you already, I think.’

I’m going to write each of my coworkers a personal letter on my typewriter, and on my last day just bring in the whole stack for everyone to sift through in the following weeks.

I’ve come to not trust people who seem eager to tell me their personal life stories right away. In my short life I have gotten to know four or five folks who right away tell me the most terrible things they’ve been through, usually on the same day I meet them, and every person has caused me to try to pull away from them because of disliking them for one reason or another down the line. 

Tonight as I pulled out of the “R” Us parking lot to drive home I saw one of my male coworkers walking across the parking lot, no car in sight. I started to pull back into the lot to ask him to let me give him a ride, but a split second after something in my mind made me jerk the steering wheel the other way. Even if I felt sincerely that I could trust him, there’s something about the details of the situation that would make me hate myself if something did happen. I would look it all over and think “How could I have been that stupid?” Even young males I feel I trust I don’t totally trust, even if emotionally I feel I trust them, there’s a part of my brain that doesn’t flavor my thoughts with emotion anymore that just says, “No.” It seems like a mixture of wanting to be safe for M’dear and finally learning something from experience. I think for the longest time I didn’t learn anything from experience, but I’ve finally learned something.

I don’t think I can say my life is ruled by emotion anymore, the more I read and think about my actions I think I should say that emotion isn’t the right word. Emotion makes it sound like I am swayed moment by moment, and act on every emotion as though each one is justified. I think instead I’m driven by affection. Affection for people and for the things I make. Or maybe by love. Since affection feels too light. I wouldn’t have stayed at one job for a year because of affection, I’m not mature or stable enough. I get bored and impatient. I stayed here for love. I stayed in one place for a year. I’m very surprised by this. I feel like this should be evidence enough when I explain how I feel about M’dear. I, Hannah-Elizabeth Thompson, the most impulsive and emotionally driven human being I thought I knew, who was an immature, impatient hopeless romantic whose interest couldn’t be held longer than three months, has stayed in one house, at one job, using one routine for one year, and has stayed in love with one person.

I feel very ready to move at this point, but there are still 97 days left.

I have to wonder what I want out of life at this point.

I know I want to firmly understand why I believe what I believe. At this point I just understand that unshakably I believe what I believe, it’s one of those things I know. But I feel that it’s not good enough. I don’t have an explanation, not one that I would know how to put into words.

I want to know near the end that I loved fully. I want to know I loved everything fully with the most open arms and the tightest, warmest hugs. I want to know that I loved it all and expected nothing in return.

I want to come to the point where I understand that I am owed nothing by the world. I hope I never keep score with my friends or M’dear. Folks who keep score seem so miserable. I am entitled to nothing in this life, I am owed nothing. Everything I have is either a gift or a blessing. When we’re very young it seems like we get it in our heads that someone, somewhere owes us. 

I want to be unafraid of sounding like an idiot. A girl in my anatomy and physiology class in high school was completely unafraid of being laughed at, she asked the ‘stupid’ questions without hesitation. I want that.

I’m anxious very often because I feel like there are days ahead where I am asked questions I don’t know the answers to. 

I have a fear of looking stupid.

I think I sound really ridiculous here. I think I sound silly.

It doesn’t sound silly as I write it, but I read it over and just dislike it.

 

 

 

Thank You

I feel a bit off today.

The past few days have been very, very, very good days. Actually, the past week and a half has been excellent. 

And it’s weird.

I feel like I’ve been sent from one story into another. I’m not used to feeling loved and accepted from all directions at once.

From what I’m working on, to the people I know everywhere, to even my job.

I always assumed I would sink into this feeling, like I belong here. I’ve been waiting for this feeling.

But it feels like I’m dissociating. I’m not a participant in my life in this way, I’m an observer.

I feel this way every time I suddenly have a very positive reputation, and I think it’s because I feel like a fraud. But this time it’s different, because I feel like I shouldn’t feel like a fraud for once. I feel like I am a pleasant person, I feel a little worthy of what people think of me now. I sincerely like myself, I approve of myself.

Once upon a time I was bulimic, and even after I was ‘cured’ there would still be relapses out of nowhere. I would have a really good month, and then some nights I would turn into nearly a robot while going through the motions of it. I would only be half aware as to why I was doing it, I felt like I needed it. 

Bulimia seemed to offer, or promise, two things for me:

1. A way to become beautiful

2. A way to control my life when nothing was within my control

It didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t supposed to have the figure of a 25 year-old at age 12.

It didn’t occur to me that being in total control of my life should not be my top priority.

But I’ve always wanted to be stunningly gorgeous, and I have control issues. And when you seem to be made of more emotion than actual matter, it’s incredibly easy to be selfish. It seems like a part of life is learning how to not be selfish. When we’re kids it’s just instinct to be this way, it’s for our survival. Baby cries light up areas of the female brain to act as nails on a chalkboard for us, that make us feel protective, like we have to do something. As we get a little older we feel sparks of empathy. But it’s up to nurture to fully grow what we were given by nature. 
Strong-willed child, that was the label they gave me. I think I’ve always wanted to control things. I was so darn bossy. Every unfair emotional reaction felt justified. Because when you feel things intensely, when you’re very young you just assume there must be a darn good reason for feeling what you feel, so you think it’s acceptable to express all of this very loudly and openly.

This turns you into an immature jerk. A very confused, frustrated, immature jerk, because you don’t understand why everyone is so unhappy with you. So you’re unhappy with everyone, including yourself.

My friend, Heather Weather, began raising me in little ways ever since I met her when I was 12 years old. Her bluntness, her sarcasm, her honesty. It had no patience for my bullcrap. 

I wouldn’t know how to express to her how grateful I am for being a massive part in making me who I am, this person I’m happy with.

Of all of the superheroes in my life, she was the biggest, the brightest, the sharpest for so long.

And then there’s the human being who has been present enough the past year to accidentally make me the person I am now, the person I’m happy being. I’ve never trusted anyone as much as I trust him. I’ve never admired someone as much as I admire him. His sincerity and intelligence gives me a “That’s what I want to be when I grow up!” feeling. There’s nothing scary about it. But it doesn’t feel simple.

I always expected being in love to feel simple.

But people aren’t simple, so why did I think love would be?

Maybe because it’s this one thing that seems very perfect, and it promises some of the greatest things you can experience in life. And great things seem to be born from simplicity. 

And love, real love, love that accepts everything complicated and flawed, seems like it would have the simplest intent. To embrace fully. To envelop completely.

And being a fan of hugs, this seemed like a pretty good deal.

And I feel loved.

More than my feelings I know I’m loved.

I know somewhere someone will think (and probably correctly) that I’m wrong about the definition of the four-letter ‘L’ word. This is what it feels like to me, though.

More emotion than actual matter.

I knew I would always be willing to travel thousands of miles over and over and over again to pursue happiness with someone, and a part of me is very happy to have been able to do that. To know I can say I would do anything for someone and feel as close to certain as possible that it’s true. I want to know I would do anything. That someone else’s happiness really is totally before mine. It would feel like knowing I’ve fulfilled a purpose in life.

I know I’m meant to love and be loved. And I want to know what it is to love fully.

I love the feeling of sitting next to him, and seeing in my far periphery when he looks down to look at me. I have no idea why. I’m sure I could guess if I thought about it long enough. It’s one of the most delicious things.

The greatest adventure. My greatest adventure.

It’s the most interesting, entertaining thing in the universe when he’s explaining something he cares about, or enjoys. I love learning things from him.

I want so badly to know that I am as grateful as I should be. That I’m sinking into all of these things that I have that I don’t deserve. My life is good. I am healthy. Everyone I love is healthy. I have more years ahead than behind me. I am crazy about the minds of the people I know, and the fact that I get to interact with them. I know the best people, the most interesting people. I have no right to be unhappy at this moment. 

And I am happy. But I want to be the happiest happy I can be, I want to soak this all in as much as I should. I want to paint a proper ‘thank you’.