So about living alone…

So, because my life can only be in a state of constant flux, 2014 has proven to be a pretty major year already.

Initially I thought that everything was going to be great. I got a second job as a independent contractor for an SEO company as a writer almost immediately at the beginning of the year. And therefore, assumed this was going to be my year.

In February my boyfriend of 6 years left me. He decided that he no longer loved me and hadn’t been happy for a long time. There was a lot of villianization of me on his part.

I suppose things had not been all the could have been for awhile. 2013 was a pretty rough year for us and I found myself trusting him less and less as time went on. And found myself less and less happy as time went on. But, I kept putting it off as a general displeasure with my job, lack of money, lack of friends, lack of confidence, lack of anything remotely resembling my former self. It occurred to me once or twice that he might be the issue. And I don’t mean that he is a bad person exactly. Just not right for me and the direction my life needs to be moving in.

In any case, the break up came as a bit of a shock to me. I was supremely distraught over the whole thing.

For about 3 days.

I was somewhat distraught for a following 11 days.

Then I was over it. I was still angry. I am still kind of angry. At myself, at him, at anything.

That will pass in time as well.

I’ve been living in my new place, alone, for a little over two weeks now. Granted I was living alone at my last place, but I had shared that with him for 3 years. There were still so many things around that had accumulated during the relationship and still so many associations with him in that apartment. In a way it felt like he was still present. It really didn’t help that he was still paying rent there and I could assume that he would show up at any given moment. Which, he did. To get his stuff or to take stuff that wasn’t really his to take or to argue with me about rent. So that was pretty distracting.

But now I have this beautiful apartment in a house that was built in the 20’s. It has real oak floors and tons of windows and light. There are old-fashioned qualities that took a moment to get used to, but each two-pronged electrical socket, each scratch on the floor, and each pull string light adds a delightful piece of character.

The porch is huge and the paint is peeling and the boards are bowing. The mailboxes are tiny and have metal hanging doors decorated with engravings.

It’s just this beautiful old place with cool neighbors, a huge antique store down the street, and a large cat named Fabio who roams the yard and surrounding neighborhood.

 

Empty bedroom :)

Empty bedroom 🙂

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Loving this kitchen.

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Mountains in the morning.

Even Holden seems to like this place more. Or maybe he just likes the fact that I let him roam freely more than I used to since the place is small enough that I can’t really lose him. Either way he runs around here like crazy. I don’t have air conditioning, so I bought him a fan. He lounges in front of it pretty much constantly and seems pleased with it.

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I’ve also received a promotion at the grocery store, after transferring to the new store in order to have a shorter commute. And I’m now the floral specialist! Not exactly a career, but I really enjoy making the arrangements and gift baskets and getting to have some kind of creativity throughout the day.

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In any case, things appear to be looking up. It occurred to me today that I have definitely realized things about myself while living on my own. And I have to say that I seriously suggest that everyone do it. Being comfortable alone is one of the biggest assets you could hope to have. Anyways, here are some things that I have concluded about myself in the last few months (and especially the last 2 weeks).

  • I really can do things alone. For the longest time I have had this anxiety about doing anything alone. That ranges from sleeping to shopping to even driving. I felt so self-conscious and uncomfortable. It was so much more validating, for whatever reason, to have other people constantly with me. But now I know that I really can just do things by myself. And actually enjoy it. In fact, I am about to start planning a week long vacation to take by myself.
  • I enjoy cleaning. And keeping a clean living space. It is so much easier to clean when you live alone. You’re the only one moving things around or leaving things out. So it becomes so much easier to . My apartment is much smaller now, making it a whole lot easier to keep up with.
  • I eat more healthfully. Now that I don’t have to worry about someone else’s (let’s admit, somewhat childish) taste preferences, I can make whatever I want, buy whatever I want, and eat as much as I want. All the time! Thus making it a lot easier to eat better foods.
  • I have more friends than I thought I did. Without having to account for another person’s schedule or needs or quality time, I can leave whenever or have people over at any time. I can suddenly decide to go to the farmer’s market and drink mimosas with people one Sunday. Or spend Thursday tanning and gardening alone. It’s very refreshing.
  • I get so much more done. I am writing more, reading more, sleeping more, thinking more, walking more, and having more fun than ever before. Again, that other person (whether it’s a partner or a roommate) isn’t around to partially dictate chunks of your time. It’s easier to focus and easier to get things done.
  • I’m ready to move. In a year, anyways. Asheville has been a delightful city and a huge part of my formative years. Now it’s time to go.

And it goes on, maybe I’ll continue another time. But, the point is, I feel like this whole, complete, breathing person. I’m 27 years old and I just remembered that I’m actually alive for the first time in years. And it’s beautiful.

 

That is not to say, of course, that I will want to live alone forever. I’m past the point of ever wanting a roommate again, that’s too much hassle with too little gained. But living with a partner is not written out either. Regardless of the past experience with it.

I think that in a truly good relationship, each party feels comfortable being exactly who they are and with exactly who the other person is. Everyone respects everyone else’s alone time or personal friendships. No one feels suffocated or ignored. Intelligence and wit are well-matched and complementary. Each person still has their autonomy and they have it with each other. There isn’t this weird thing that happens where the couple gloms on to each other and morphs into one rather obnoxious entity. I’m pretty sure it exists somewhere.

Navigating the Interweb.

I am woefully incompetent when it comes to these newfangled internets all the kids are raging about these days. Well, at least compared to most of my peers.

They stole my face? Herbert, come in here! This book is filled with stolen faces! It must be black magic! Get the cross, it's time for a witch burning!

They stole my face? Herbert, come in here! This book is filled with stolen faces! It must be black magic! Get the cross, it’s time for a witch burning!

Compared to my 70 year old coworker, Gloria, and the women who come through my check out line, I’m a genius.

I don’t use Reddit or Instagram. I have a Twitter that I haven’t been on in months. Outside of Facebook, Google, WordPress, and a few others, I don’t get out much on the internet.

And why should I? Especially when all my contemporaries are posting the same thing on Facebook. I can just appreciate it there and like and share and whatever else and move on.

This is all leading up to announce that I started my new blog The Wee Wanderer. But it took me about an hour to figure out how to link the damn thing to this blog and this blog to that one.

Mostly because I was trying to figure out how to make it all as fancy as Ms. Katie has it on Sass & Balderdash. But then I got annoyed and chalked it up to being broke and not blogging enough to justify getting a premium membership or a domain or anything. At least, just not right this moment.

In any case, go check out The Wee Wanderer. You can look at my snazzy and super free theme and a beautifully composed About section. Of course, by the time you read this and inevitably click that link, I might have added a post. But still make sure to note how well I take advantage of all the free stuff WordPress offers…

Gloom & Doom

I’ve been so exceedingly gloomy the last few weeks.

Gloomy. Vampires probably live here. Real ones, not that sparkling, flat-faced bitch.

Gloomy. Vampires probably live here. Real ones, not that sparkling, flat-faced bitch.

It doesn’t help that I found out that my trip to Ireland won’t be a paid vacation even though my year is up at this job in October because the company goes January to January with benefits.

And that they are working me to death and paying me shit for it. I’m quite literally a specialist in two departments and a cashier and still only get cashier pay with the only chance of a raise in October, which will be a whopping 2% of what I made in the last year…

And that people all around me are getting better jobs and getting married and moving and all of that.

I had reached a certain level of contentment earlier in the year. There was a point I had come to where I was like “oh it doesn’t matter that my job is terrible and I don’t make any money because I have a great life outside of work.”

But then that died the last two weeks.

I think I’m back on the track to being okay again, though.

Planning this trip to Ireland will really help keep me from going nuts. I just have to remind myself that each shift that I work and each day that I spend there is one drop of cash closer to going to Ireland. Because, while the trip itself is already paid for ($999 a person for 6 nights and 7 days including a rental car, hotels, and airfare), we still need spending money for food and gas and trinkets and pasties. Plenty of pasties. Actually, I just like the way that Irish people say that word.

So I’m thinking of starting a separate blog for my adventures there. We got a fancy ass camera (Canon Rebel T31) so there will be tons of pretty pictures to post. And Steven and I literally can’t go anywhere without some sort of misadventure. Especially if it involves a car.

I think I shall start it soon and go through the whole planning and countdown process as well. Won’t that be fun?

Hmm. I think I'll get white girl wasted while I write this bullshit piece on the must see aspects of...where am I again?

Hmm. I think I’ll get white girl wasted while I write this bullshit piece on the must see aspects of…where am I again?

And in connection to this new blog I’m going to take a class starting in June on Travel Writing. It seems a little hopeless to think of getting a job in something like that. Lot’s of people want to do it these days because they think that they will get to take a lot of free vacations (which is a lie) and get paid to have fun (also a lie). But I do think it could be interesting and maybe bring a lot more life and professionalism to the blog itself. And maybe I’ll be realllllllly lucky.

You never know.

On that note, I need a really catchy name for the travel blog. I was thinking of doing something related to the traveling gnome since I’m (legally) a little person. But then I figured that has been waaaaay over done. Thoughts?

2013:Year of the…?

2013 new year sparkler     Originally, I’d had high hopes for the year of 2013. I had this feeling that I was going to  do really cool things and make the most of my life, no matter what.

I’m a little torn on how that is turning out.

On one hand, I’m still working at the grocery store. Only now, I have three departments fighting over where I work every week.

On the other hand, I’ve Seen Flogging Molly with Skinny Lister in Charlotte and Mindless Self Indulgence in Atlanta. I’ve gone to the Atlanta Aquarium, gotten the boyfriend a super fancy new camera for our anniversary, and…we are going to Ireland in November.

Those are all really super things, I think.

But there’s that damn “job” getting in the way of everything. I had reached this point of contentment where I was okay with what I was doing as long as my outside like was rich and fulfilling. But it is getting to the point, once again, where I spend so much time at work and all of that time is miserable that it is becoming difficult to separate one part of my life from the other with any real success.

So I wanted to look into some tips for keeping yourself sane when you’re closer to 30 than you are to 20 (or past that, even) and still working a dead end job.

  1. Turn your phone off or to silent. This may seem like a no-brainer to some people and it may seem like an impossible dream to others. But everyone needs time to unplug their brains and not handle calls from work or desperate text messages from someone trying to get rid of their shift.
  2. Actually unplug. People are SO connected to everyone and everything all of the time these days. When I’m waiting for something or standing in line I automatically pull out my smart phone and start scrolling through Facebook, even if I just looked at it and no one has posted anything new. Or rather, they posted something new but it was just a share of that same stupid picture that has been going around for weeks or a site begging Like “BLABLABLA” if u luv ur mom. And, ain’t nobody got time for that. We need to remember to let our brains cool off from all the overwhelming, and constant, information. A quiet mind leads to a happy mind.
  3. Find an addiction. A healthy addiction. Whether that’s yoga or running or stretching or meditation or whatever. Find something to focus your mind on that allows you to become more connected to your own body. Focusing on that not only makes you physically healthier, but mentally as well.
  4. Join a group, club, volunteer organization. Too frequently I realize that I only have 2 friends and my boyfriend. ALL of the rest of my face to face human interaction is with coworkers and customers. This is enough to make anyone start to question their insanity. Especially once you start holding conversations with the flowers that you’re cutting or the candy that you’re stocking…
  5. Remember that if you are at a dead end job, like a grocery store, that no matter how much you need the money, it is just a job. It is just a grocery store, restaurant, creamery, factory, whatever. Nothing that you’re doing is life-altering to anyone else. They might think that it is…but it isn’t. And while this can be depressing, focus on the fact that this lack of real responsibility leaves you free to take classes, hang out with friends, plan a trip to Ireland, and not given any shits when a customer screams in your face.

Why haven’t they invented teleportation, yet?

Um, which one is the engine?

Um, which one is the engine?

There’s a very specific reason I always make my boyfriend call the car shop when I need anything done.

He has a penis and an adam’s apple.

Plain and simple.

See, when I call I get some gruff man on the phone who tells me that whatever I am saying is incorrect and is as condescending as possible about the whole thing. When Steven calls, they’re BFFs by the end of it.

It’s one of the oldest forms of sexism. I am a woman and therefore can’t possibly know what happens when an alternator goes bad on my car or when the starter isn’t working. My starter is the reason I called them. Over the period of a few weeks my car has been getting progressively worse. I would go out to go home or go to work and my car wouldn’t start. The battery would work, clearly, because all the lights and the radio would immediately come on. But no matter what I did, it just wouldn’t connect to the starter and START the entire car. It didn’t even make a noise like it was trying to turn over. Or thinking about it but struggling with the follow through. Just nothing. Initially if I just tried repeatedly the car would finally come to life after a good 10-20 minutes. This last time I went out, on Christmas Eve no less, and boom, nothing. Well, something I guess. There was a loud TICK coming from the engine when you tried to start the car. So we gave up and Steven has been driving me to work ever since. So when I called them today and explained the issue and they told me it was the battery, I was dubious. I just got the battery 6 months ago when these jackasses fixed my alternator (see below for that fiasco). Unless the battery is dying at an alarming rate, I don’t think that is the issue. I never leave the lights on or just sit in my car with the battery going…

Of course the car started, though. But I’m still skeptical. It’s been sitting for almost 2 weeks and had plenty of time to decide to screw me over. Plus the combined juice of 2 batteries could have easily just forced the thing to come on. Plus, the aforementioned problems with the car suggest that the battery is, in the end, not the culprit.

Like when I needed a new alternator. I was complaining for YEARS that my car was doing this weird jerking thing when I turned the AC on. Or tried to accelerate. Then in started this loud ticking from the front of the car. Eventually it would get to the point where the car was just shutting off while I was freaking driving it. I went repeatedly to the shop telling them the problem. Every time I got “well we can’t duplicate it so we can’t fix it because you’re a crazy lady and nothing is wrong with the car.” I told them, point-blank, it was the alternator. Instead they decided to rewire the entire thing. I told them, again, it was the alternator. Nope. 3 new batteries and a huge pain in my ass later the whole thing just died on me completely enough that Ford couldn’t argue the point. And, hey, guess what it was? The alternator.

funny-found-cat-kitty-male-female-park-car-sterotypes-bad-comic-picsMy point here is this, I am a woman. An educated, 20-something, woman. Who owns a car. And who would like the men of the automotive industry to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that I’m not totally insane. Or unintelligent. Also, I have a boyfriend who knows things. And I have this really cool, new thing you may have heard of. Called Google. It’s crazy, I know, but if I type in something like “2005 Ford Focus ZX4 SES won’t start and loud ticking.” I get all kinds of neat stuff that agrees with me about my starter malfunctioning. Strangers on the internet aren’t usually the best place to get information. And if you try hard enough you can usually find some moron who agrees with you. But when the first 50 topics tell me that I am not deranged in thinking that the problem is my starter and not my battery, I have to wonder if these people are disagreeing with me because my sexual organs happen to be placed on the inside of my body, rather than dangling around between my legs asking to be kicked repeatedly.