Adventure

Life is an adventure and most of the time it’s safe to say that I get frustrated with my particular adventure. whether it be that my job is stressing me out, my meds aren’t working, and sometimes I just plain feel like I’ve stalled out.

I have to keep reminding myself that this isn’t it, it’s not the end of the line. I am more than I am right now… and yet, it’s hard to remember even that much. I’m 23 and I live with my parents. That feels, yet it’s where my life has led me to.

I’ve been trying to think lately about when people stopped asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. When did I stop thinking about that? When did I resign myself to being a cog in some corporate machine instead of a space ballerina or a Mac n cheese critic? When did I stop dreaming? Over the last few years I’ve been trying to figure out where my passion went, what passion even is and let me just say that those are some of the most difficult answers in the world to come up with.

I’m sure that I’m not the only person in the world in this stage of life right now. That stage where we have just a little bit of save the world left in us that the overlords haven’t managed to crush out of us yet, fighting desperately not to give in. Personally, I feel like every day I get a little bit closer to that. A little bit closer to putting away my pencils and paper, closing that word processor for the last time… I think maybe I was too young, not ready enough to graduate college when I did. Three years was too fast. I feel like I skipped the tutorial and went straight into the game.

It’s like all those heroes that go off a quest and get lured into some kind of faery trap. They get stuck in a paradise and years and centuries pass and they never leave because they don’t realize what’s happening. They’re too comfortable where they’re at and though they know they should be continuing on their quest, they’re still there on Calypso’s island…. or whatever place comes to your mind. By the time the hero escapes, if they don’t die first, it’s either too late or they’ve lost many a year without realizing it, thinking it’s been only a few days or hours.

It’s a terrifying thing to be self aware in that portion of your quest, depression and anxiety don’t help either – they just cloud your judgement throughout the whole ordeal. You’d almost rather the siren had you completely under her spell so that you don’t realize what’s really happening to you… what you are doing to yourself.

I’m starting to fight. I’m indecisive about it, but I’m starting to put together a picture of my life. I’m starting to struggle against the siren’s hold. The call of peace and cushioned comfort.

Part of that is latching onto my faith, and part of it is trying to move forward. Not fighting the siren directly, but pulling away from her. For me that is taking the shape of getting my portfolios together, writing and art. I’m hoping that by January next year I’ll be able to start submitting again to magazines and contests after I’ve had some time to get things together. I’m getting Xanadu together and I’m getting materials ready to put in applications for art school, get a second bachelors, and I’m going to apply for some masters programs while I’m at it, hopefully start in fall of 2020 at the latest. I’m going to try and get further in my writing. I’m starting to formulate what I want my life to look like.

I want to write, that’s an integral part of who I am, always has been. I also want to draw and paint. I want to be an illustrator. I want to illustrate stories for children, teens, young adults, and adults, whatever I write I want to be able to illustrate it and strengthen it with other forms of storytelling. I’m such an unfocused person that I don’t want to do only one thing. I don’t want to settle for one of my interests. I want to meld them and make them work together, enough moving parts and my brain will shut up and just work. That’s the kind of person I am.

I’m taking an online art course right now and I’m looking into local classes and programs as an adult learner. Even if I don’t get a degree in it I think I might benefit from doing some kind of program or class. I’m also looking for a local writing group. It would be nice to get together with other writers and talk shop, get encouragement and help with tricky bits.

The world is a big place and I’m hoping to explore it a little more and maybe brighten it up with a few good stories.

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I’m not Feeling Well so Here’s What’s Happening in my Head because I am Incapable of True Creativity when I Feel like This

I don’t feel well tonight, decided not to go to a Kid’s Ministry Meeting because of it but I don’t want to sleep. It’s been a while since I posted anything here so I figure it’s time for a thought dump.


For the last two or three days I’ve been in this fog. I went to the county fair both Friday and Saturday. Friday to treat my mom for her birthday, and Saturday I went to the demolition derby with friends.

I do not understand the attraction of watching a bunch of cars crash into each other on purpose. I watched one girl get carried off the track and put into an ambulance, and I watched one vehicle completely burst into flames. Then a few others just smoke so much that you couldn’t see the field. Watching the crowd was even worse. They enjoyed the brutal crashes and the things that might possibly kill a person more than I could understand and when we were waiting for them to pull the girl from her car to get her unconscious body into an ambulance they were speculating about whether or not she were going to be missing limbs or how bad she was hurt as if it were just another evening’s entertainment, a scripted part of the show.

For one thing, I didn’t realize how many demolition derby fans we had in this county. For another I apparently just don’t have enough red neck in me to enjoy that sort of thing. I just kept flashing back to the one not so bad car accident I had. I lived, the car is still running, and you can’t even tell it was in an accident, but my creative brain has an ability to latch onto details as well as enough knowledge of physics that the scenario can play out a thousand and one terrifying and brutally violent things that could have happened instead of what did happened.

And all I could really think about, watching the crowd and watching the cars crash into each other was about the Romans, whom I’ve been researching for a story I’ve been brainstorming. It reminded me so much of the whole bread and circuses thing at the end of the Roman Empire. Especially when the announcer/referee guy used the word Gladiator to describe the cars. That was exactly what it was. It was a gladiator arena and the people watching seemed to have lost all sense of the world outside of the destruction in front of them.

The world has been bothering me a lot lately. There are so many thins that are just plain wrong with it. People are dying, being refused help, refusing help, hurting each other for no reason, oppressing and being just generally unkind towards others for no reason other than that they can.

I turn on the news and all I see is people bashing one another, politicians trying to cover up one scandal or another, people complaining about situations but not doing anything about them.

I hear and see so many hypocritical points of view. All I want to do it lose myself in a gladiator style battle, and forget for a little while about all of these problems, but God didn’t make me with that ability. Instead, He made me with a brain that latched on to just about everything and remembers it like nobody’s business.

I got a new job finally. I’m out of the one that was trying to kill me and I’m in a better one now, but I’m still confused and frustrated by so many things. The world makes me angry.

I’m on meds now that are helping me to make sense of my emotions, and I’m getting better at being an adult and that is making me restless. I feel like I should be doing more, but I also feel like I’m just not passionate enough, like I lack the confidence to function beyond my current lot in life. It feels almost like I’ve given in to the bread and circus lie – just not the same way as everyone else.

In Kids church this summer we’ve been talking about confidence – living like you believe what God says is true. I mean, actually living it, speaking out about it, acting on your faith instead of keeping things quiet and to yourself.

Maybe it’s just because I don’t feel well right now, but this lack of confidence in anything makes me frustrated with myself. I’ve had more than one person I know completely quit writing, art, creating in general. There are people I know from high school who were incredibly talented artists and they don’t create anymore.

I hae friends who are having kids with guys that don’t love them, or only pretend to love them, they’re drinking, probably getting high, doing things that are just generally damaging to their physical and mental health, people who had such bright futures who are throwing it all away.

Then there are the ones that are moving forward with their lives in a positive direction. I feel like people look at them and then look at me and just think I’ve stalled out. Yet again, probably the not feeling well thing talking there, but it’s a genuine concern of mine.

You know, I don’t really know what I want to do with my life. I have plans and scenarios, but I feel very lonely in all of them because so few people hear them and think that they’re good ideas or plausible ideas. I feel like I’ve fallen into that “stable job” trap.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy my day job. It’s a great place to work and I need to pay my bills so why not enjoy it while I do?

I don’t even know where this is going anymore.

Long story short: I don’t feel well, I’m uncomfortable with the world and where it’s going. I’m working on a story that’s turning into a straight up commentary on the world that makes me uncomfortable, and I’m creating other things again, drawing and painting.

On top of all that, I feel like even though I’m going somewhere creatively I feel as though I’m missing passion and direction. I’m missing the confidence to go forward. And right now, I can’t do anything about it…

This has been my thought dump.

The State of Things

I’ve been struggling for the last week or two to come up with something to write here. There’s a lot going on right now with my mental health, my physical health, and trying to figure out the future and what I’m doing with my life.

It’s been a whole year since I graduated college and I can honestly say that I didn’t expect to be where I’m at.

I didn’t expect to be working at Lowe’s still.

I didn’t expect to be living in northern Indiana still, let alone at my grandparents’ house.

I didn’t expect to have taken out a car loan.

I didn’t expect to have to go to my doctor 4 – almost 5 – months after the fact to have my back injury treated and to talk about my mental health.

I didn’t expect any of this.

But, I look back and I don’t even know what I expected.

I thought I’d have a better job, be living on my own – possibly not even in Indiana anymore.

God has a funny way of working in our lives. He puts us right where He wants us, whether or not we want to be there or intend to be there. He forces us into these situations, into our lives, for one reason or another.

I don’t know what His reasoning is behind where I’m at. I’ll tell you right now, though, that I never would have done talked to a doctor if I’d been in another city or state and not near the doctor I have right now for whom I am able to shake off my anxiety long enough to place some trust in her.

I’ve been having problems lately because while in my head I know that there’s a purpose for what’s happening in my life, for the way things are shaping up, it’s always a long journey – that 18 inches – from the brain to the heart. I can’t always make the little chemicals in my brain cooperate and reassure me that it’s okay.

When I was a kid I would spend hours and hours planing out my escape, my runaway. The day I turned 18 I was going to disappear at midnight and I was going to drive west, or east, or anywhere but home. I was going to have a life. I was going to join the Marine Corps or travel across the country with a dog and a truck and pretend that I wasn’t terrified of people. I wasn’t going to go to college, I wasn’t going to let anybody tell me what to do ever again.

Now – I don’t let other people dictate my life. I’m an adult and I make my own choices. But, I’ve started planning again. I have at least a dozen different escape plans typed up and ready for me to try one of them. Maybe they’ll end up in a story I write one day…

Or maybe one of these days someone will say or do something and I’ll just go. Just throw a few sets of clothing into my backpack with my gear and just disappear for a while, following one of my plans or making one up as I go.

It gets harder and harder, the more I hurt, the more stress I’m under, to not just pass by work and keep going – driving until I either run out of gas, money, or both. Whether or not I like where that takes me.

As a writer, and as an artist, this appeals to me. This idea of freeing myself from the responsibility of every day life. Of taking a new and exciting path.

As I want to do this – I’d prefer it be thought out and planned a little better. I’d prefer to do it on my terms, rather than terms set by the chemicals in my brain that aren’t doing their job the right way.

I’ve been asking myself all year, and especially now that Facebook has so kindly reminded me that one year ago I graduated college, what I’m doing with my life. College is done and over with and I’m still in the same spot – at least geographically and professionally – that I was 12 months ago.

Heck, I’ve barely been able to bring myself to create most of the time. I’ve been getting better, getting things to where I want them, working hard on making myself create again. Let me tell you, it’s awesome to feel that again. But, there’s something missing.

I don’t feel motivated. It’s harder than it should be to dig out and dust off the passion I once felt for my creative work.

There are days when I don’t even know if I really remember what it was to feel normal to feel like I could get out of bed in the morning and tackle the world. It’s an odd feeling – not knowing what I’ve rally felt, what I’ve really done. Not truly remembering years of my life.

It’s kind of depressing too, knowing that I missed out on so many milestones and experiences in high school and college that everyone else got to have while I was in a haze, convinced I was fine, but really I wasn’t.

I find myself worrying about younger me. There are times when I want to go back in time and take her in my arms, no matter how much she fights being embraced, and tell her that it’s not alright and that she needs to get herself together and figure out what’s going on before it’s too late and all of her chances to be a normal kid are gone.


I read this back to myself and I ask now, why I’m writing this. Why I’m going to share this on my blog. What’s the significance of it? It’s not something I’m looking for encouragement or reassurance on, and I’m at a point where reassurance and encouragement would just make me angry.

(Ever felt that way? It’s a ridiculous feeling.)

This is my state of the union speech.

This is my update because I know that there are people in my life who care.

This is me telling myself that it’s going to work out.

This is me just trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

In the last year I’ve said that I want to go back to school for teaching, so I can teach English on a high school level. I’ve said that I want to go to graduate school for creative writing, or maybe literature so I can teach on a college level, or maybe just for the heck of it.

I’ve even thought about pitching an idea for a travel column/food blog type of deal. (Not completely out of the running yet.)

But, let’s be honest, none of those feel right. No matter how much I pray, no matter how many times I ask God what to do. I always seem to hear a “I have something else in mind.” kind of response.

I apply to any job I can find that I remotely qualify for that uses my degree in an interesting way, but I never get any calls back. I never get asked for an interview.

That’s okay, but the discouragement is real and there’s not much I can do about it but keep trying, keep praying, and hoping that it works out.


Right now, my greatest joy in life – teaching first grade Sunday school.

There’s nothing quite like it when you see something start to stick in their heads, when you start to see them understand God’s love and how they need to have it and show it in their lives.

And, honestly – I think I sometimes learn more applicable things from the Kids’ lessons than I do from going to the adult service and sitting through a sermon. (Even though I’ve been trying to do both.)

God’s got a plan, and while I’m antsy to figure it out, I know it’ll work out. There’s a reason I’m where I’m at, and a reason I haven’t had all the experiences I think I should have had by now.

There. Is. A. Reason.

It. Will. Sort. Itself. Out.

God’s. Got. This.

I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Adjustments

Yesterday marked two weeks.

img_0371Two weeks since we said goodbye to our beloved beagle, Toby. He was 13 years old and the BEST dog I have ever known. I never had a bond with him like I feel with Charlie, or like I felt with Max, a dog that died when I was eight. But there was something about Toby. I blame it on him being a beagle. Just the right amount of ornery and sweet mixed together in one adorable package.

We’ve all been adjusting to his absence. I don’t think we realized just how much our lives orbited around him. Late night barking sessions outside, needing to go in and out and in and out over and over again, baking pumpkin muffins to hide medicine in, setting our plates down to be licked clean, all of it – our schedules worked around him, just to make sure he received his medicine at the right times.

I ate an entire box of mashed potatoes by myself in just two days after he died and Charlie has helped me to eat my feelings, a little too enthusiastically, these last two weeks.

The day it happened, the day he died, I didn’t know. I knew it would be sometime soon, but I hadn’t realized it would be that day. As I was lacing up my boots to go to work only one phrase kept running through my head. “Es muss sein. Es muss sein. Es muss sein.” German for “It must be.” All I could think about was how ordinary everything was. Lacing my boots, turning the key in the car, driving the same route to work that I drive everyday. Going about my day. It was a rainy day and there was a double rainbow outside of work. The only thing out of the norm that day. It just felt wrong that the day wasn’t marked by something extraordinary, something earth shattering. Instead, at least from my point of view, the world just kept spinning.

There was no pause in the universe, no weeping, wailing, or great gnashing of teeth, none of it. It was just a quiet, cool, rainy day at work. I’d gone to my volunteer session at church and when I came back he was gone and I didn’t even realize it until Gramma told me. It felt wrong that I hadn’t known the moment it happened.

I came home that night and was greeted by Charlie, and I waited for Toby to show up at the top of the stairs like normal to investigate, but he didn’t. So I ate the mashed potatoes I’d picked up on my way home, watched Star Trek, and went to sleep. I woke up a few hours later and went down to let him out, assuming that was why I’d woken, and then I realized he wasn’t there. I went and cried myself back to sleep. In the morning I thought I saw him in the chair in the corner of my room, it was only a blanket. He wasn’t there. I started to call his name, even though I’ve known for a long time that he was all but deaf. And I remembered he was gone.

Just a few days ago I realized that we were out of pumpkin muffins and was about to ask if we needed more, got half the words out and said nevermind. When Grandpa asked me what I was going to say, I told him, and then tried not to cry again. Every once in a while I start looking for him, trying to remember where he is – and every time it hits like a knife to the gut. I’m sure my grandparents and my aunt feel the same way, I don’t know for sure, but I can’t believe that I’m the only one.

For the first few days I kept catching myself talking like he was still here, about to walk into the kitchen and demand his biscuit and Cheerios. I forced myself to start thinking in the past tense and every time I hated myself for it. I never wanted to write in past tense again – yet here I am, writing in past tense and present.

It’s been an adjustment, and it’s still something I’m working on. I think we all are.

There’s something about beagles, just the right mixture of ornery and sweet.