in recent years

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no i won't make my bed

I’m 34. I’ve been 34 for a little while and I’ll be 35 fairly soon. I’m an adult. I own a house. I get oil changes when my car tells me to. I get up and go to my job five days a week and work 40 to 50 hours. I help keep two animals and two adult people alive. I pay my bills on time. I successfully use most of the fresh food I buy. I get a flu shot every year. I have a skincare routine. I usually have clean clothes when I need them. I’m never late to things.

I will never, ever, as long as I am alive, make my fucking bed every morning.

First of all, I’m not doing anything because a fucking Navy Admiral tells me to. Second of all, making your bed prevents your sweaty sheets from drying out adequately enough to kill the bacteria and microbes that thrive in them. Third, and most importantly, I. Don’t. Want. To.

And, like always, I am here, not to shame the bed-makers (Do your thing, whatever makes you happy, etc.) but to tell you that you also do not have to make your fucking bed every fucking morning, especially not just because a whole bunch of people say you should.

I do all those ‘adult’ things up there without making my bed in the morning or, actually, ever unless I just changed the sheets and am feeling fussy/fancy/froggy. I do all of those ‘adult’ things despite and in the face of my sometimes debilitating depression and anxiety. I do all those ‘adult’ things to keep myself alive even though sometimes I’d rather not be alive at all.

So many of our conceptual notions of adulthood are based on some Baby Boomer’s idea of what you should be doing at 25 and 30 and 35, but 2019 isn’t 1979 and I have zero desire to base my lifestyle habits on the opinions of people who believe in bootstrap ideology and think c+ping a block of incoherent text somehow protects the intellectual property rights for the Minion memes they share on Facebook.

Life is so, so short. Please stop beating yourself up because you can’t or don’t want to do things that other people say are necessary for success. If you woke up this morning, you’re already ahead. Figure out what feels like success to you, what feels like achievement, like progress, like action, like functioning and define yourself. Everyone’s normal looks different and there is such a good chance that you’re doing just fine in life, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

You ultimately have so little control over the way life plays out, decide what adds value to yours whenever you can and ignore what other people have to say about it. You don’t have to make your bed. You don’t have to define success with other people’s words. You’re doing just fine.

glasses raised, we all say cheers

The new year can be a hard time for people, a lot of people, myself included. There’s pressure to renew and to change and to feel suddenly refreshed, to be a blank slate because the new year has come. But even more so it’s because we live in a world steeped in diet culture, in fatphobia, in orthorexia and impossible beauty standards and so there is immense pressure to make this the year you finally become the person you are told you should be. It’s exhausting and it’s stupid and you shouldn’t do it to yourself.

You were great last year and you’re going to be great in the next.

And if there ARE things that you want to change about your life, don’t let the pressure of the new year shape your goals.

Years are arbitrary! Months are made up! Time is fake!

Change or adjust or do things on whatever time feels right to you.

I have fallen prey to the new year a lot in my life, sometimes the new month, often even just the new week. It’s always a chance for a ~FRESH START~, right? Always a new chance to erase your mistakes and start over. But in 2018 I tried to remember that each mistake makes me better and my history is too valuable to be erased. I have woken up today; I couldn’t have without yesterday. I’ll keep trying to remember that.

Regardless, I think resolutions are ultimately mostly okay, if we can divorce them from the social standards and pressures and really think about them in terms of our own ~growth.

In 2019 I’d like to read more (30 books!) and write more (every day!) and watch and listen to new things. I’d like to keep journaling and use my planner more efficiently and reach out to friends more often than I do.

But most of all, I am going to try to focus on my ~word for the year, like I did in 2018.

2018’s word was unclench, which I tried to interpret in all the ways I could: physically and mentally and socially. To calm down and relax and release. It went alright. I definitely got better at noticing how physically tense I was and eventually getting better at releasing that tension. I got pretty okay at letting go of petty grievances and I made a valiant if minuscule effort toward unleashing myself on other people when the opportunity arose. Mild successes that I will gladly celebrate.

2019’s word is fortify.

While journaling and trying to listen to myself in 2018, I realized that I have felt desperately diminished in recent years, as though my personality has faded and shriveled, starved out because we live such an isolated life here. So this year I’d like to fortify myself, to shake out the husk of my once bombastic personality and try to figure out what that person looks like here and now when I stop unintentionally reining her in.

I want to fortify my mental health with journaling and meditation and the organization tools that keep me calm. I want to fortify my relationships by reaching out more often, regardless of the response, and getting back in to sending cards and letters. And I want fortify my cultural knowledge with new media, books and tv and movies and music.

I want to strengthen and secure and encourage myself and the world around me. Including you!

I hope 2019 is kind to you. I hope you feel love and joy that makes the pains and losses worth it. I hope you find peace and comfort. I hope you always know safety. I hope you grow in ways that you like. I hope that you’re able to summon the perfect, biting “Fuck you” when faced with someone or something that deserves it. I hope you share a memorable meal with someone you like. I hope you have a really fun nostalgia spiral about something you loved with all your heart when you were young. I hope you smile more than you cry. I hope you laugh so hard your body aches. I hope you remember that you are worthy of life and love and comfort and pleasure even when the world or the mean voice in your head is telling you otherwise. I hope to see you ring in 2020, whole and happy. I love you; I like you; I believe in you. 💜

nuclear anecdote

i was trying to shorten this anecdote into a manageable thread for twitter but i couldn’t, so now it’s here. YOU’RE WELCOME.

so there are missiles in north dakota – this is p common knowledge, there’s even an abandoned site called the north dakota pyramid that was literally operational for like three days that you can visit – about 150 of them, minutemen i guess, and they’re just… scattered around this big relatively empty state. fine.

well, there’s a silo p near the highway from williston (where i live) to minot (where target lives) that crystal and i have passed prooooobs about 100 times in the five years we’ve lived here. we talk about it maybe 1 out of every 4/5 times we pass it, mostly bc one of our coworkers had a flat tire near there once and a military vehicle appeared out of nowhere, changed her tire, and escorted her until she was well on her way again, which is, obviously, both kind of understandable and creepy as fuck.

ANYWAY, we drove by last week on our way to get our fog light fixed from when crystal hit a raccoon the last time we drove back home on that highway and i noticed that there were a couple of military vehicles at the silo-ish area and i didn’t think anything about it because there is occasionally one or two there, doing whatever they do to ensure that a freakin’ MISSILE SILO is functioning optimally, i assume.

but then on the way home, i looked again because when i’ve seen vehicles there before, they’re usually only there on one half of the trip, but this time they were still there. like a lot of them. like a half dozen military vehicles at the underground MISSILE SILO next to the highway. and i took mental note of it, but went on with our drive because i have the memory of a goldfish and the tiny attention span of the millennial that old people write op-eds about.

it took me a couple days, but like, there were military vehicles at the side-of-the-highway underground missile silo in middle-of-nowhere bumfuck north dakota because our piece of shit president is a FUCKING WAR MONGER and if he decides to launch NUCLEAR WEAPONS there is a very good chance they’re going to be launched from a missile silo very near me.

it’s one thing to know there are 150 nuclear weapons in the ground near enough to your home. it’s another thing to suddenly realize they might actually be launched, used against other living people across the world.

i am, to say the least, unsettled.

also, just for funzies, minot air force base that is in charge of those nuclear missiles AND bombers that drop the more traditional weapons of mass destruction is one of the worst maintained with the worst morale in the country! drug abuse! domestic violence! missile scandals!

living in a country at the whim of a violent man-baby is just the best!

my president is black

I’ve been sad and angry and overwhelmed since the night of November 8th. I’ve cried and missed work and alternated between furious and hopeless and been both at once. I’ve even blamed myself for the results of the election because I let myself prematurely write a tweet about electing the first woman president. (My elementary school teachers regularly told me I’d be the first and I wanted to thank Hillary Clinton for making it seem like I failed because I was too young, not because I turned out to be a huge disappointment.)

I’ve been all those things because the 2016 election results are garbage. Because I’m angry that I’ve now lived through the Electoral College taking the presidency from the Popular Vote winner TWICE and this time by a margin so massive it embarrasses the entire institution. Because the election was meddled with by foreign powers and no one cares. Because the man who will be president tomorrow is a bad man, a stupid man, an ignorant, hateful, and petty man. Because misogyny won. Because fake news won. Because women and POCs and the LGBT+ community and disabled people have lost massively. Because people still insist that Bernie would have fared better. Because people are demonizing Clinton for losing, for running, for daring to try to serve her country further in the highest office. Because no one is adequately interrogating what they read and believe. Because the arts are going to suffer. Because the environment is going to suffer. Because real living human beings are going to die.

Today I am all those things, but I am mostly sad. I am enormously sad. Because, while President Obama’s politics do not align with mine perfectly and while I disagree massively with many decisions made while he held the office, I never once doubted that he had the best interests of the American people in his heart. Obama is educated and smart and supremely well-spoken*. He reads for fun and because he believes it helps him better himself. He’s a phenomenal writer. He loves his wife and his kids and his dogs. And he has always, always struck me as kind.

I just keep thinking about what the last eight years have looked like with the Obamas in the White House. How proud they have made me feel just by doing the best that they can with what they have. Eight years of congressional obstruction and we still got the ACA that saved my life. Marriage equality. A stronger economy and corporate regulation. Environmental protections. A record number of clemencies.

And it makes me happy and proud and miserable. Because our future looks nothing like the last eight years and the people I live and work with are responsible for it. I hope that we’re overreacting. I hope that it isn’t as bad as it seems. I hope and I hope and I hope. But I also #resist. I refuse to normalize. He wasn’t popular, he isn’t qualified, and he doesn’t have a mandate. And I will take whatever action I can for as long as I can to try to prevent him and those who have put him in power from destroying an America that functions for all the people who live in it.

After eight years, I am still surprised frequently that I lived to see the first black president. I lived to see the first black president. I lived to help elect the first black president. I lived to re-elect the first black president. I lived to see the first black president.

And I hope I live to see the second.

*I know that isn’t a compliment white people should direct at black people and I keep Googling, trying to figure out if it’s ever okay to say, but I would feel like I was leaving out one of the things I have loved most about him if I didn’t. Obama’s speeches have always been phenomenal, his off-the-cuff answers are sharp and thoughtful, and his actual speech-making is stunning, elevated without ever sounding pompous. I’ve never heard a president more skilled.

current nightmare: home-buying

Things I Have Learned While Trying to Buy a House:

   1. Don’t buy a house. It’s terrible. Find somewhere with rent control and stay there forever.

   2. Real estate agents vary widely and you should probably not pick one based on the recommendation of your very polite coworker.

   3. Loans are stupid. There are lots of words that are totally nonsensical and even by the end of the process it is unlikely that they will ever actually make any sense to you. Math is stupid. Money is stupid. Interest rates are nonsense.

   4. People are gross. Everyone’s basement is stupid (No doors on the bathroom! Five-foot ceilings! Literal tree roots coming through the concrete!) and no one’s bathroom is clean enough.

   5. It’s stupidly hard to come up with names for houses so that you and your buying partner know which stupid house you’re talking about at any given moment.

So, yeah, hi! Crys and I are trying to buy a house right now and it’s honestly my worst gentle nightmare. We’ve gone to see one place twice and are trying to make an offer on it, but business in North Dakota often works on some sort of time-space continuum that we have not yet been invited to join. The real estate market is super weird here right now, so it’s not that I don’t partially understand, but like, we saw this place for the first time more than a month ago. Momma’s tired. Momma’s ready. Let’s have a house now, thanks.