98 days later

I’ve been writing, a lot, nearly 70,000 words of narrative since late August when you last heard from me here. Which may be part of the reason I haven’t felt like updating, but not the entirety of it. I’ve been getting all my words and emotions out in other spaces. I also felt like I needed a break from all of my public social media accounts. Though I have to say I’ve missed some of my friends dearly because that was the main, or only way, we communicated. Social media had been my job, and trying to stay active felt like a job because I didn’t have a lot I wanted to share. Life wasn’t exactly going well.

Now, I’m in a different place and I’m adjusting still to being a student again, to not having money, to working and doing things at odd hours of the day, to not having a set schedule, to needing to be everywhere all at once. It feels like now more than before. Before I lived in a nice little bubble never having to run more than 5 blocks away from where I was. Now I have 3(4) different areas of town I have to be in on any given day. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Let me first do a quick recap in no particular order since the last week in August:

  • my plans for an RN has morphed into a PTA – Physical Therapy Assistant. I’m going that route for a lot of the same reasons I was going to do my RN, but you know me, I do movement. So this makes more sense
  • I’ve been really active in fandoms again, this time on tumblr, because I wanted a stress free creative outlet
  • I’ve been writing, a lot, almost every day
  • Because of these last two things I’ve made some new friends
  • I got to see Amanda Palmer again, and meet up with friends I haven’t seen in over a year
  • Amanda Palmer’s book is amazing and I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to finish it yet
  • and apparently I’m getting old because I keep deciding sleep is more important than reading
  • I turned 28
  • I’m going to start teaching aerial yoga
  • I have a bunch of photos to process yet, so I may do another update soon if I get the chance, who knew school would take up so much time. Clearly I’ve blocked that memory out.
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Cat and I after the concert + signing line for the Amanda Palmer book tour in Portland. It’s midnight, and I’m clearly exhausted.

 

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aerial yoga silks! I’m really excited that I’m working towards getting to teach, hopefully come January….

 

And although things are going better I’m behind on a lot of things, mostly catching up with friends and reestablishing friendships. I’m still mentally recovering from last winter. So if you haven’t heard from me lately it isn’t because I don’t want to talk, I probably do, I probably miss you. I’ve just been so overwhelmed realizing that I kind of dropped the ball on keeping up with anyone around me that I don’t know where to start picking back up again.

Honestly I’m not sure what’s going to happen with this blog. I’d like to keep it going but I’m unsure where we’re going. That’s life though. One never-ending adventure propelled forward by the unknown. That’s what makes it interesting though, no matter how much we plan we never really know where we’re going to end up.

Changes Afoot

Everything I want to say keeps coming out in song lyrics and clichés, so I’ll put it simply: I’m switching careers and going after my RN. I’m going to be a nurse. I can imagine this might confuse a lot of people who know me as I’m highly creative and I do things like dance and write and play with social media… which are all awesome, so let me explain.

I was (am) very good at my job. I like the psychology and theory behind what I do with social media. It fascinates me, but unless I’m doing it for the right people or the right reasons it feels forced and fake which goes against everything I believe it should be. And having to sit in an office, even a fancy one with great perks, for eight hours every day kills a part of me. I get lost in my head. I need to be moving and physically doing things. It has taken me a good portion of my life to realize this. I will always have these skills, and if my new career doesn’t work out I have a breadth of abilities to pursue in the future.

Being a CNA and then an RN allows me a job where I get to move around, I get to help people, and I get to hone a skill set that is tangible. I grew up around medicine and have always been grateful to the medical staff that give part of themselves to their patients and patients families. I want to give that to people. In constantly moving and doing I don’t have to get stuck in my head. Also, nursing will open up for me a world I’m not accustomed to in terms of financial stability and job security. Things which, at this point in my life I need to focus on to get where I want to be. As artistic and creative as I am there is a rational side of my brain that feels neglected. Don’t think for a second I’ll let it flip around and focus on the science of being a nurse so completely that I let my artistry die. I will still be reading up on communications, and writing, and dancing. Those are things I could never give up, and honestly I think will only make me better at whatever I do.

This past six months have been a lesson in patience. No matter how many times I reinvented my approach, I never managed to connect to the right people at the right time in the right way to interest them enough to talk with me about work. Maybe I didn’t look in the right places, or my timing was simply off, or I just don’t know the right people. Though the people I do know are pretty great so I don’t know if being connected to other people, or other types of people would have gotten me anywhere I wanted or needed to be.

This past six months made me question a lot about how I evaluate myself. How much stock do I put in my education? my work experience? my hobbies? my (lack) of social life due to having friends all over the world? the amount of hours I spend on tumblr? or the ones spent writing? the hours I spend dancing? how many pairs of pointe shoes I go through? how healthy I eat? What are the things that define me? yes and no to all of these. Each is only an aspect of who I am, and I cannot let one thing however good or bad define me completely. I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if it was time for a new Plan A. And if making a new plan was giving up or moving on and if there was even a difference. Perhaps, but I’m making a decision to change in the hope that I will do better and sometimes that is harder than continuing on with what I have done, which is comfortable, even if I will fail.

This past six months not a lot happened. Everything rolled to a screeching halt as I searched for a job. Slowly I started doing things I had set aside, like writing. Although I’m not nearly at where I had hoped, I just passed 40k on my first novel and still have another 30k+ to write I estimate. I also keep writing poems when I’m not trying. I kept dancing, and got back into aerial yoga. I feel more like myself than I have in a very long time. I feel more aware and in control (or at least willing to roll with whatever comes my way).

In essence, perspective.

This past week I feel that everything has happened. I officially decided I’m going back to school next month. I’ll be getting my CNA license (Certified Nursing Assistant) this term and starting my prequisites for my BSN (Bachelor of Science: Nursing). I’ve been offered a couple of jobs, and am in the running for a couple more. Strangely enough none of these jobs are in “my field”. I rewrote my resume to focus only on customer service/management, dropped my masters degree (sorry future employer if you’re reading this I’m hella educated, which really shouldn’t affect your decision anyway), and BAM phone calls for interviews. If I had tried this six months ago I don’t believe it would have worked. I needed this last six months of struggle to realize what is really important to me. It’s in that confidence that I believe everything finally started coming together.

I made a decision. I did something (that wasn’t passive and just sending out resume after resume). Maybe this is the universe’s way of saying I made the right decision, or that I opened a door so I found the tools I need to succeed.

Whatever it is,

I’m going on an adventure.

 

Monica Sellers, marvel t shirt
future health professional, and forever geek, thank you everyone for your support! This adventure is only just beginning. 

 

A Wish For Each Year.

My mother and I, Christmas 1989
1989. 25 years ago.

Today is Mom’s birthday.
This is the sixth time this particular notification has popped up on my laptop since she died.
I can’t bring myself to delete the entry on my calendar.
It’s been
5 years,
1 month, and
4 days
since she died.
That’s 1,860 days.

I’m fairly certain not a single one of those days has passed that I haven’t thought of her since she passed, even if it was just for a fleeting moment. More often than not I have something I want to tell her, or ask her, or share with her. Today she would have been 60. It’s weird to think that she’s been gone for five years. It might be even stranger to think that this year would have been a huge milestone. I wonder how we would have gotten on as adults, now that I’m settling into myself and figuring out what is really important to me.

So much has happened in the last 1,860 days. And since I can’t directly share this with her, I want to share five wishes, five things I wish I could have shared with her, one for each year she’s been gone.

1) I wanted to share France with her. Then Belgium, The Netherlands, England, Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Scotland, and Australia. I originally decided to keep this blog going so I could show her all the wonderful things around the world, things I knew that she would never be able to travel and see, but maybe if I saw them for her she could experience them too. Somewhere along the line I decided to just keep writing anyway.

2) Social media. Just before she had her first heart attack we were talking about getting her on Facebook. I think she would have loved it. I think she might have gotten Twitter, too. I know she would have loved the chance to talk with old friends more often and keep in touch with people who had moved away.

3) Music. These past few years I have grown increasingly engaged with music. I have so many bands and songs that have had an incredible impact on me. I feel like she would have enjoyed the music and the people behind it. And what I wouldn’t give to have been able to introduce her to Amanda Palmer, both her music and as a person/thinker/friend.

4) My writing. I’ll finish this novel one day. I’ll write more stories. I think the last creative piece she read of mine was a poem I wrote when I was 15.

5) Dance. I started dancing four years before she passed away but she never saw me dance outside our living room. She never saw me on stage. Since I’ve danced as a guest with Eugene Ballet Company three times. It’s the one thing I truly wish I could change.

Reminding Myself

I’ve been keeping the words in my head.
I think I’m afraid of what will spill out if I start writing again.
I keep starting and stopping, wondering how many people are reading and if that even matters. I know I have these words that want a life outside of my head, all these thoughts that need to be put out loud. Even my private diary’s pages stay blank.

That’s a lot of I’s and introspection. Self thinking when all I’ve been doing is trying to lose myself/find myself.
books, video games, dance, aerial
some things very me, an escape outside and inside myself depending on my mood.

I’m afraid to post my thoughts because some random person might not hire me because I’m not afraid to post the truth in the hell that is long term unemployment. I’m afraid to be not afraid. I just want to be me again and post the things I think and do the things the make me alive. I miss sharing these words even if I often question that they’re read by anyone but me. And of all the things that life has thrown at me I’m sitting here worried about doing one of the few things I’m good at because of some potential what if.
It isn’t right.

I’m running blind and I need some perspective.
i just looked up at a photo tacked to my wall. A reminder to myself I’m so used to seeing, that I forget:

Amanda Palmer quote do what you're drawn to do
A much needed reminder to myself

I’m stuck in my own head and something has to give. It won’t be me. I should listen to the advice that I’ve passed on to so many others. Even though they aren’t my words an inevitably it all comes back around.

Maybe one of you needs this too.

Mountains and clouds, from the trenches of job searching

This job search thing comes in waves. I’ve done this enough times that I can see the pattern in the ebb and flow, my resolve pulled and pushed by unseen gravitational forces. My meticulous data keeping on jobs applied for and replies received can be read as a direct correlation to my state of mind. It’s a constant wondering what I’ve done right or wrong or if it’s simply bad timing.

Some weeks are a consistent trickle of applications, other days hit like a hurricane, scattering my resumé to the wind in hopes that it sticks someplace nice. Though throwing digital resumes out to faceless website forms feels feeble. I’m trying to dig through a mountain with a cloud. But clouds have a purpose, they rain, and after time water wears through rock. Not exactly efficient, but these are the tools I have been given and until there is a better way this is what I will do.

Each job application is an exercise in letting go. Some jobs I’ve wanted more than others and have spent days weeks working on finding just the right words. Others I throw through a quick revision and send on their merry way. But no matter my commitment I have to let each go expecting to never hear back from them again. Really I’d like to fill in that final column on my spreadsheet. Hired? Yes or No.

I suppose I really only need to fill that box in once. A nice pretty yes to a new adventure.

Today I needed something concrete and fulfilling. Sending out resumes is taxing, and like screaming into a void – it’s rare that any sound comes back.

So instead. I made something. Feel free to download and use as a wallpaper if you’re so inclined.

If you’re on the blog, you’ll notice I updated the look too. I’ve got a new project in the works that I want to share soon. And yes, it is fantastic.

photography - me lyrics - Amanda Palmer
photography – me
lyrics : Ukulele Anthem – Amanda Palmer

Refinishing & Catharsis

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before, scratched & peeling

The dresser in my room has been in my family since my dad was in high school back in the 70s. Rumor has it, the thing was bought second hand. I inherited confiscated it a few years ago, the yellowing ivory paint starting to peel, letting the pale wood beneath show through. It was rough with dents and scratches and stains from decades of use.

I’ve had it in my mind to repaint it for a while now. I’ve just never put down my foot and said today is the day. Finally last week I did.

I had to sand down the paint and scratches into a smooth surface. As soon as I set to work the task seemed to double in size and my arms protested. But there was something cathartic in working through the layers, scratching roughly away all the imperfections until an imperfect smoothness rose up. Each day I went out to sand I could imagine the thing frustrating me the most and that gave me energy to keep working, by the end of the work I found I had let a lot of things go.

Then came painting, for which I need both patience and a steady hand. My preparations had overlooked the necessity of painter’s tape. In the end though I did a pretty good job for my first time refinishing a piece of furniture.

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Done at last, and the books are back where they belong :)

On a whim to Canada

31 hours
900 miles
2 countries
1 epic show

I returned from Canada last night
after barely 12 hours in Vancouver.
My co-conspirator in this crazy adventure and I still aren’t sure when our plans went from ‘oh that sounds cool,’ to ‘so, we’re going to Canada’.
It probably happened sometime around the time Amanda replied to this tweet.
Snacks and passports in hand we filled up the gas and started north.

Our drive up was punctuated by torrential downpours in the fog
and me locking my keys in the car at a gas station when my car’s speakers started making demonic noises
it was actually a little terrifying
and AAA was able to break into my car in under a minute,
which was amazing and a bit worrying
(we seem to have either placated or expelled the possession thankfully)
Some pre trip google street viewing showed me a parking garage 1 block from the hostel,
and the hostel was 6 blocks to the venue.
I survived driving through Portland and Seattle and Vancouver.

We splashed water on our faces and tried to feel alive again.
Ten hours in a car is enough to make you question your sanity and if the reflection in the mirror is really yours.
Before we parked we had seen the line, stretching 6 people deep around an entire city block.
An hour until the door and already almost 1000 people in line.
But a tweet I’d sent to Amanda Palmer
(the ringleader of this almost organized beautiful chaos)
had us on the guest list. We were bringing boxes for food collection,
and volunteering to help with the Vancouver Food Bank.
The gig was free, but still raised almost $10K for the charity.

Before the show we caught Amanda at the bar for a quick chat.
She had recognized us, and said hello first.
Then she saw my tattoo and kissed it.
I love what this brought about.
me too, Amanda, me too.
She asked us if we thought things were too organized
This was a ninja gig after all
But it had a massive guest list of professionals from different disciplines
People that made chaos seem easy and planned.
A beautiful mess.

Before the show started, the show started.
Vancouver’s Orkestar Slivovica brass band played and people danced
(read more about the show’s phenomenal line up here)
Kristen, my co-pilot in this adventure, and I found a friend, Lauren, from the house party
She lives in Vancouver.
Life is beautifully strange sometimes.
She saved us by lending us some Canadian money so we could buy drinks,
there’s nothing like driving to make you crave water.

Then we realized Lauren was sitting in front of Imogen Heap.
Well, Kristen realized.
Lauren and I were too excited about the gig and all the special guests,
we didn’t realize
I had to come back and kneel down next to Lauren and whisper
do you realize who you’re sitting in front of? you’re sitting in front of IMOGEN HEAP.
I am? Thank you for telling me.
Her eyes went wide.
I turned to Imogen and caught her attention
The three of us chatted for a moment.
Life is surreal.

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singing a cover of Psycho, Neil Gaiman looking particularly scruffy after his writing retreat

Then Amanda came out on stage, the second beginning of the show
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to our fucking mess
what a beautiful mess
Amanda sang, Neil sang, Neil read a story about ducks.

Amy Cuddy (of TED fame) and Amanda Palmer
Amy Cuddy (of TED fame) and Amanda Palmer, shortly before she fangirled over being on stage with Amanda.

Some people TED came out and talked
a former football star talked about virtual reality and empathy
Imogen sang and turned the audience into her backing vocals, we didn’t sound too bad
more people from TED spoke, the head of safety at Twitter came out
I’m probably getting the order wrong,
but the chaos was beautiful
and I just let it wash over me, absorbing as much as I could.

After a quick intermission they brought out some TED fellows,
incredibly talented musicians that did things with instruments I’ve never seen
(the things they did, not the instruments themselves)

Imogen Heap!
Imogen Heap!

Amanda took stage to sing another song,
she asked for requests and the audience erupted,
you always do this and I can never hear you, raise your hands
I giggled, a punk rock gig, and here we are politely raising our hands. I loved it.
my hand shot up
Monica, you see me all the time
I thought it was a playful dismissal
No, no, I’m not dismissing you, what do you want
Oh

I got name checked from stage,
and stared at by the strangers around me,
because a rockstar knew my name.
I counted later, 10 shows in 2 1/2 years
3 of which were private house parties.
Yeah, there’s a reason.

The astronaut himself! Chris Hadfield!
The astronaut himself! Chris Hadfield!

Jason Webley sang about wanting a Giraffe and then a super special guest that everyone had guessed but had not been officially announced.
Chris Hadfield.
I’ll just let that sink in,
the astronaut.
He sang one of his songs
and then after having been told we only had time for one song,
he sang Space Cowboy anyway.

Amanda singing Astronaut to an astronaut
Amanda singing Astronaut to an astronaut

Then we watched Amanda sing Astronaut to an astronaut,
I’ve seen her perform it before,
but this was acoustic, Webley played the guitar, it made it different and special,
and there she was, living one of her dreams
probably thinking, is this real? is this my life?
yes it is.

She had opened with In My Mind.
so really. yes, circular and chaotic the show fit together.

After the show end, the security gently ushering everyone out because we had passed curfew,
Amanda yelling at us to go and be good citizens, obey the law, so we can do this kind of thing again.
Kristen and I made our way to the stage where Amanda was still chatting with the other performers.
She beckoned us up
and I took pictures of her wrapped around Kristen’s back and new tattoo.

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Amanda, ukulele & Kristen!

Can I have a hug?
You can always have a fucking hug,
she whispered into my ear.

Floating around cloud nine
at one thirty in the morning
wandering a strange city
that was strangely clean
we made our way back to the hostel.

It all happened on a whim.
A glorious memory that we had witnessed something completely unique.
The feeling you get when you’re surrounded by people
who resonate with you
colorful people full of life
who are kind.

I feel more like myself now.

 

Oh, and my favorite part? All the guests sat on the sides of the stage and watched everyone else do their thing.
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