being all my selves

i was standing in the garden this morning, letting my mind wander while i watered. a neighbor ran past and shouted, "keep smiling!" i didn't even realize i was smiling. i tend to have chronic bitch face. also, right now i'm not feeling much like smiling. except i was. 

i spend a lot of time worrying. i worry about my friends, many of whom are struggling at the moment. i worry about my parents because i am an only child and i suffer the guilt that comes with being 2000 miles away. i worry about money even though there's enough. i worry about whether i am on the right path. then, i worry about my tomato plants that didn't get watered for a couple of weeks. i worry about getting another dog that will eventually die and break our hearts. i worry. i worry. and then i worry some more.

i may be worried about stuff, much of it invented. i may be letting the self doubt monster get the best of me. but i am also filled with gratitude. i am loved and supported. i know i'm on the right path and i'm grateful to have had the choice to take it. i'm also reminded of this:

the sound quality isn't the best but its worth listening to. joss whedon is one of my personal heroes. sometimes when i get stuck writing i think "what would joss do." (create a beloved character and then kill them brutally, of course.)  anyway, i listened to it right after it was posted and thought  "damn those lucky graduates."

this morning, this sentence came to mind: "peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace."  that's where i'm at. embracing all my bits. things may have just gotten a bit easier.

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We have a mouse. Or rather, we had a mouse. This is the first time we've been petless in 18 years so of course we had a mouse. Of course. Springmaus.

We discovered the mouse two days ago. Shawn was standing in the doorway to the kitchen, talking to me in the living room. Mid-sentence he stopped speaking and got this look that I'd never seen but let me tell you I wouldn't have been surprised if he'd followed it up with man screams. He looked FREAKED. A mouse had run from the bedroom into the kitchen and disappeared. So we did some poking around and some cleaning. We set traps. We were jumpy. I was extra jumpy.

When I was in high school, I rolled my eyes at my stepfather who was terrified at the sight of his first mouse. "he's more afraid of you than you are of him," I said. Where was that girl? I wondered. I was opening the pantry door and thought, really, what are you really afraid of?

Then I thought of possibly the silliest thing ever. A silly thing that kept rattling around in my head until after we heard the trap snap.

He had to go but he left me with a really great idea for a short story. I haven't written one in about 12 years. I'm excited. Thanks, Springmaus Deadmaus. I'm sorry it had to end the way it had to end. We won't miss you.

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grief is the worst (and makes you stupid)

before monkey died, our friend and shawn's former bandmate died. after monkey, shawn's aunt and cousin both passed away. too much.  sadness on top of sadness but i've been mostly doing ok. mostly.  

i am out of practice.

i was working a lot - that helped. then, got it into my head that i NEEDED to change all my shop photos and needed to do it immediately. what i really needed was a distraction so, i went with it. in 48 hours i took and edited 2500 photos, and then i spent a day replacing photo after photo in my shop. yeah, about that...

i know better. i used to work 40+ hours a week at a desk and computer. i haven't in almost 3 years. my body isn't up for that nonsense but i did it anyway. out of practice. last tuesday night my body said "fuck YOU." i had neck/shoulder/arm pain like nothing i ever experienced. i couldn't sew, type, write, wash dishes, stir food, wash my hair, put on my shoes. i spent 3 days in bed, whining and watching cartoons on netflix. i forced myself to go out twice over the weekend and each time i came home in tears. i spent sunday watching adventure time and trying to work. i worked only 15 minutes of every hour (one episode) and it went ok. i made a salad. progress. monday was similar - replace cartoons with 30 rock. tuesday, i did some more work, watched more liz lemon, left the house for tap class and a movie. no tears. more progress.

so, i work, ice, stretch, nap, try to do things around the house and try not to get to frustrated with myself for either causing this injury in the first place or for not feeling 100% yet.  i'm trying not to worry too much about my to do list - which includes things like returning texts and emails. typing sucks. typing this post has taken days. so, if you're waiting for a response, its coming. eventually. i promise.

on monday, liz lemon said, "everything is the worst." i hear you, liz lemon. i hear you and, this week, i agree. 

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8 minutes

so, i've been a little sad. instead of coping with a steady stream of pie, wine and naps, i've been ignoring the dishes. you have to understand, since i discovered adulting last year, i won't go to bed with dishes in the sink. waking up with a clean sink has been a delight. so, one meal passed, then two... yesterday was day two. more than once, i passed the kitchen sink and thought, "i should do the... NO YOU SHOULDN'T. FUCK THE DISHES." this morning, i woke up and when i walked into the kitchen and saw the full sinks, i though, "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? just do the dishes already." yet, i didn't actually do the dishes until about an hour ago. i don't know if its because the kitchen is where i miss monkey the most or what; i just didn't want to do the dishes.

i sat down to watch modern family*, having passed through the kitchen and, once again, ignoring the dishes. i sat down, paused the tv and forced myself to get up and do the dishes. i looked at the clock and 8 minutes later, i was done with the dishes. eight minutes. i put my pajamas on, returned to the couch and watched some tv. i had paused it just long enough that i was able to fast forward through most of the commercials for the rest of the night. 

its the little things. 

*what is up with me and the sitcoms? this is a fairly recent development. i was snobby about modern family for a few seasons and now i love it. don't ever get me started on the neighbors. its my favorite new show and i can't even talk about the season finale. mainly because it means no new neighbors for months. 

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we are different

shawn came home this monday night. often when he, or we, go away, he'll say "right! we live here," when he's back trying to get into the groove. he said it again one day this week and followed it up with, "but we are different."

i've been trying to write this post for awhile now. i can't. the words aren't coming. i love her and i miss her and it sucks right now. it will eventually suck less, i know. but it will always be different. i lost my shadow and i'm different because of that. i need to be ok with that. i need to be ok with not finding the right words. i need to cut myself a little bit of slack. i miss my dog. we miss our dog. we are different.

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dear universe,

things got ugly on the internet this week. ugly and mean. the steubenville verdict was announced and things went a little bat shit crazy. trolls EVERYWHERE. i spent a bunch of time yelling at my computer screen on monday. sometime that afternoon i decided to take an internet break because otherwise i was going to lose all faith in humanity.  i did my shop update and then vanished. i made things, did some cleaning, hung out with monkey. it was good. all that time i was thinking about writing a blog post about it. i spoke to monkey about it at great length. (shush. shawn's out of town and anyone who works at home knows that talking to your pets is totally normal behavior.) then, she died.

well, shit.

i started getting messages in all the ways one can send messages these days. old friends, new friends, family, former co-workers... someone from just about every part of my life appeared to say how very sorry they were, sincerely. a friend sent flowers. another friend dropped off flowers and cards her daughters made. so very nice. tonight there was a knock at the door. it was mars from lovebomb gogo, the marching band shawn is in. he hugged me and handed me a bouquet of flowers from the band.

why am i telling you all of this, universe? well, i'm deeply humbled. the universe is actually a really nice place filled with really kind people. no matter how shitty this week was, i appreciate the reminder. things are still hard but it has made it a great deal easier.



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after a perfectly lovely, perfectly normal day, my sweet girl had a massive stroke last night and died in my arms while i was on the phone with the vet. everyone knows how much i love her. most of you love her too. i often told her the internet had a crush on her but she just looked at me quizzically and wagged her tail. she had a few months of awful in the beginning, underfed and left by the side of the road. then she came into our lives. we loved her and squeezed her and called her monkey. she had ten good years with us and she deserves more than this short paragraph but it is about all i have in me at the moment. 

i miss her already.

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the sads

last night, we found out a friend in chicago died. he'd been sick for what seems like both a really long time and no time at all. he was young. he was an awesome dad and really one of the sweetest guys i've ever known. so good. and he's gone. 

so, today i'm sad. i don't feel like writing, making things or doing much of anything. unless its call and write everyone i know and tell them i love them because i sort of really want to do that.

like you. i love you.

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i ran

so, i started running again. this is kind of big news, at least for me. you see, i hate running. hate it.

i started running in college at the recommendation of a smart, older woman who thought it would be good for me mentally, that it would help me clear my head. i liked and respected her enough that i didn't just laugh at her.

i had been never been very sporty, you see. i dabbled a bit when i was younger - swimming, basketball, baseball, field hockey. nothing ever really stuck though. i was under the mistaken impression that you could not be good at sports, smart and cool. so i never really let myself get good and if i started to show signs of athletic ability, i quit. what can i tell you? i was an idiot. additionally, i was amongst the girls who almost always walked on running day in gym class OR ran it as quick as i could so i could sit in the locker room and read while ignoring the inevitable stomach and leg cramps. as far as i was concerned, sports sucked and running was the worst.

"shana, i think you would benefit from a good long run every now and then," she said. i said "ok" and dug my gym shoes out of the back of my dorm room closet.

i ran in the woods adjacent to my college and then in the park near my parents house. i ran in the hills surrounding our apartment in austin and then around a track when we moved back to chicago. i ran for about six years. i hated it but i did benefit from a good long run every now and then.

my brain never stops working and it excels at multi-tasking. i can be designing a necklace, planning the grocery list and writing a letter in my head all at once with what feels like the greatest of ease. but when i need to REALLY FOCUS on something, like say writing this blog post or choosing the proper homonym, my brain sometimes stalls. my thoughts will drift to my to do list or worse, to the nether regions of my brain where there are little boxes labelled "eighth grade misery" or "crippling self doubt." this has always been the case and running helped quiet my mind. it helped me focus, keep all the balls in the air and kept me from falling down a rabbit hole.

but it hurt. running hurts. sore knees and ankles and nighttime leg cramps when i forgot to stretch. so, i started to run less and less. i was running on a track, which i never loved. it was boring, painful and my brain seemed to be doing ok without it so i stopped.

lately though, i've been poking around in those dark corners on my mind. i've been trying to do more writing. i'm working my brain hard these days and well, its a little sore. plenty of sleep and reading help, as does yoga.

a few months ago while i was doing yoga, a serene little voice popped into my head "maybe you should start running again." i told that voice to fuck right the hell off and went about my day. i thought i was done with that nonsense but we live in a neighborhood that is overrun with runners. there is a big beautiful park nearby that people just love running in. there's no escaping them. i remembered that when i quit it was partially because running around a track is lame. i hated it far less when i was outside, in fresh air, surrounded by trees.

about a month ago, i saw pictures of people who had done color runs in chicago, san francisco and here in portland. i'm a little obsessed with holi so something about a color run was appealing.

a few weeks ago, i read marion winik's essay entitled "16,409 easy steps to late-life fitness." i totally recommend it because the next morning i laced up my running shoes.

i still hate it. it still hurts. probably more. the first time, i listened to the new tilly & the wall REALLY LOUD and took it slow. i wanted to die when it was over but it was done. the next day i decided to think about a problem i'd been having with some writing i'm doing. i felt like i'd written myself into a corner and needed to find a way out. when i walked into the house, i grabbed my notebook and made some notes before collapsing in a heap. i had solved my problem and created a new one. i'm running again and i need new shoes. 

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