Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I've been feeling less creative lately, probably because I'm slightly anxious. It's a good anxious, but this is the week of changes and change is never easy for us humans! Here are just a few things going on in my world, though. 1) I am returning to the Scandinavian tradition of 4-6 hour "events" with friends. For those of you who know about my experience in Denmark, you probably know what I'm talking about. Lunch was an event that you had to block out half of your day for, if you invited friends. Talking, eating, drinking, and laughing were prioritized over everything else. I find myself returning to that lifestyle. I can spend three and half hours at coffee with Fiona and four hours for lunch with Matt. It's amazing! 2) (In a similar vein) I have begun to realize that I moved to Portland because Portland is the closest approximation to my life in Denmark only in the United States. 3) I'm (evidently) a boisterous conversationalist. I blame my family for this one. 4) I've had a couple of occasions where I've noticed that my friends use the phrase "Oh man!" and it always cracks my shit up. For example: "Oh man, if I had Gandolf on my team, the others wouldn't stand a chance!" and "Oh man, I totally didn't get that comics job in Hillsboro." I would say this is a Pacific Northwest thing, but both of these examples were said by people from the Midwest. Maybe that's the common thread. Doesn't matter. There's just something funny to hear someone say "Oh man! __________" Like, you know that they are so disappointed or passionate abut something, but they say "Oh man" and the phrase doesn't accurately encompass their disappointment or passion. And that somehow makes it funny... to me.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I secured myself a house today. Yay! I have two male roommates, which I'm actually pretty thrilled about and it's near the Hollywood neighborhood, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods. So, things are finally coming together for me. That's not the real reason that I wrote this post, though. Each time a piece of my life falls into place here, I know that it's going to work out before it does. There is zero logic to it. I mean, it's not like I have evidence or a strong argument for why I'm going to get this job or that house-- I just know. I knew it when I got hired with Vermont Hills Family Life Center and with Athleta. Yesterday, after I left the house I will now be moving into, I was still holding out on a house in North Portland. That house was in a cool neighborhood, near some friends, but a little more than I wanted to pay and perhaps a bit far for my job. I really wanted it, though, because of it's proximity to all the cool people and stuff. I told my now roommate that I would get back to him by the end of the day, because I was still hoping to hear about the North Portland house. But weirdly, I woke up this morning and thought "That house on 77th? That's my house. I just know it." I waited until 3 in the afternoon just in case I heard back from the other house, but I just knew. I knew that my new home was in Northeast Portland. This keeps happening to me and I can't help but think that this is what fate and faith are. I've never been much of a believer in either. Maybe it's my age. Maybe it's all the books I've been reading lately. Maybe it's my quarter life crisis-thinking. But I am starting to believe that some things are, in fact, in the cards.
Monday, August 27, 2012
I've been wanting to talk about my trip back to Colorado and volunteering at the Portland Zine Symposium for a while, but then I starting fretting about my life situation and forgot. Well, here's a little bit about the observations I made while I was in Colorado. First, I want to say that my family is the shit! We haven't talked often since I moved to Oregon, but that apparently is not a problem. I thought it was. I thought they didn't like me or didn't really want to include me in their family unit. I have no rational reason for believing this except that sometimes I get insecure. I have this weird habit. I am not insecure with my friends (I mean, my really good friends like Julie). But my family is this force. I don't even know how to describe it. We are an amalgamation of really strong personalities (my dad and I being probably the weakest of those personalities, but not weak by anyone else's standards). It's easier for the less-strong personalities to feel less-than or left out (it's similar to the concept of "eat or be eaten"). Basically, most of my life I've been the least sure of who I am or what I want and that has made me pretty insecure when I see my mom,sister, and brother all pretty damn comfortable with themselves. So, I am always evaluating who I am in relation to my family. Portland has eased that some, but as my trip to Colorado neared, I found that feeling bubbling up again. Here's what I learned, though: I am the only person who is unsure of my position in my family. Upon my return, I easily fell back into a rhythm with my brother and sister with the bantering and obligatory sibling heckling (I will say they were gentler than they used to be when I lived near them). They didn't seem to be riddled at all with any uncertainty about whether or not I was still an important part of the family. I was, but those are my issues. I still feel that there are some unsaid tensions between my sister and I, but after going back to Colorado, I feel fairly confident that we will deal it those tensions when we're ready. In the meantime, I've realized that I shouldn't worry that we won't be ok. We'll be ok.
Hey there! Not a lot to report, but a few random things going on in my personal development. 1. I have decided to journal what I create each day for my "Let's Make Shit!" quest in September (and part of August). I'm considering turning this journal into a zine, but we'll see how it turns out. If it's got some deeper learnings or at least some good quips, then I'll probably publish it. Otherwise, it'll just be documentation for me to remember what I once created in a month. 2. I finished drafting my zine about zines today! I just need a better title and it needs some revision, but my hand hurts so, even though I'm all amped to do it now, I should give it a rest. 3. I learned about the concept of de-schooling or unschooling on Saturday and I've been scouring the interwebs (I stole that from my buddy Jonas. It's hilarious to me that he calls it that since I call it "The Internets"!) looking for zines about it. The person who told me about it said she'd lend me her zines when she was finished, but I'm impatient.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Sorry, today is blog-bomb day. That's just how it's gonna be. So, two things. First, I realized today just how self-involved I have been. I mean, I try. I try really hard to be cognizant of others, but my shit's been all over the place lately, and that makes it hard for me to think of anyone else but myself. Today, Maria yanked me out of my self-centered haze. I spent the whole day looking for potential places to live. About 1pm, I finally descended from my room and Maria was visibly in a panic and uncomfortable. Her mother and aunt arrived last weekend and we've all been living together. Since my Spanish is pathetic, I mostly say "hello-how are you?" and try to keep to myself, so as not to make them uncomfortable. I've felt like I'm not as welcoming as I could be, even though that's not at all the case. However, after Maria's mother and aunt leave, her mother-in-law is coming. Paula (that's the mother-in-law) is formidable and neither Maria nor Mario are particular fond of her. She's meticulous, scrupulous, and highly critical of their lifestyle. Mario recommended that I be out of the house by the time she arrives and I said I would. Frantic, Maria approached me and asked me when I would be out of the house so that she can "deep clean" the room for Paula. I was miffed. I've already felt like a huge inconvenience since I arrived here (not because of them, but because that's just how I feel) and, for whatever reason, Maria's comment made me feel like I was no longer welcome. I proceeded to go to my room and pout/pursue viable living arrangements. But then I thought (and this is from knowing Paula and speaking to Maria and Mario extensively about her presence in their lives) "Maria is simply panicking about how she will never meet Paula's exacting standards. This really has nothing to do with me." In fact, given Helena's reaction to my leaving, they would much prefer me imposing on their house than their mother! Maria wasn't trying to kick me out of the house. She was merely trying to make her life easier by making sure that the house was as perfect as possible when her mother showed up. I felt instantly guilty. I'd been so consumed with my own job and living arrangements that I'd forgotten about the people who had so generously opened their homes to me in my time of need. I feel like a huge butt hole right now, I will tell you that. The other thing I wanted to tell you all is way more inspirational. I read an interview with Fred Armisen (yes, SNL and Portlandia Fred Armisen) today and it really got me thinking. He said that he tries every day to create one thing. It can be making a piece of art, writing a part of a script, or learning a script. It just has to contribute to creation. I have recently learned (through Helena) that I am happiest when I am creating something. Some days it's writing, some days it's publishing, and other days it's painting a matryoshka with Helena. It doesn't have to be big, but the act of creating something makes me feel good regardless of the instability I am experiencing in my life. So, I have to agree with Fred here and I have decided that I will create something everyday. It might not be creating something to completion, but I will engage in the act of creation every day through the end of September. From there, we will just have to see...
Yesterday evening I was reading a zine about a female busker in Canada. It was hands-down one of the best zines I've ever read, but I think mostly because it captured some of things I've been contemplating in my own life. That got me thinking... Zines have completely transformed how I think and live my day-to-day life. I know that's a bold statement, but had I not exposed myself to zines, I would never have exposed myself to the politics, ideologies, and activism that changed my life forever. So, I decided to write a zine about how zines saved me as a human being. Right now, the title is "How Zines Saved Me (and How They Can Save You)" but I find that title boring. Really, that's more of the theme than it is the title, but I figure the title will come as the zine develops. I love this zine so much already because I am so emotionally invested in the content. My connection to zines is such that, for each life event that I've had in the past two years, I can name a zine that either related to my experience or helped me through that experience. And I feel deeply connected to so many of these zine writers, most of whom I've never even met. Anyway, I just wanted to share what I'm excited about right now.here.
I've always been into dreams. I mean, who isn't? Dreams are cool. I'm not as into them in that whole "interpreting-them-to-determine-your-future" way, but more as a gauge for what's going in your life and your head. My dreams have definitely come down with a case of multiple personalities since moving to Portland. Sometimes they are completely absent or they make no sense whatsoever. At other times, they are vivid and absolutely indicative of my place in life. This past week, they have been extremely vivid and chalk full of emotion. I'm pretty sure that this is because I am spending so much time processing some big life changes. I'm starting a new job, I'm doggedly looking for a place to stay and running all over town meeting potential roommates. I'm thinking about packing and how that will go down and, with all of this, I'm navigating the whole crush situation. It's a lot and it's overwhelming. Not in a bad way, by any means. It's just I am definitely in system overload mode. My dreams are helping me sort through that. Here's the general feeling that I get when I wake up from these dreams: Happiness-- chaotic happiness-- and also, a sense that everything is going to be ok. My financial concerns will be ok, my romantic insecurities are just not that big of a deal, and my life in general will turn out to be fine. It may not look the way I'd planned, but I will be happy. I am already happy, if the dreams I am having are any indication. So, I'm going to trust my dreams here and stop worrying like an old woman about money, and housing, and finding the perfect timing for various life events.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I went to look at a house and meet some roommates this evening. The ride home was pretty interesting. First, a ginormous boat was on the Willamette so I had to wait for the bridge. In the process, I got to see the Morrison, Burnside and Steele (I was waiting at the Steele Bridge) Bridges elevate. It's pretty cool. I saw the Hawthorne bridge elevate for an itty bitty sail boat with a giant mast the other day, so now I've seen all of the bridges that move except the Broadway in a matter of two days. That and the house/housemates was the good-interesting part of the ride. Then, I went to the Skidmore Max station. There was a drunken homeless man laying face-down on the pavement with a Portland Police Officer straddling him. He was flailing his legs and the officer kept punching him in the neck. Then, a flurry of cop cars came driving (or flying, it was so fast) up the tracks, braking violently,slamming doors and sprinting toward the man and the first-responding cops. It was brutal and violent and, even though I was never in any danger, it really frightened me. I have historically had extremely visceral reactions to any kind of violence and this was no exception. Portland has a couple of really active Police Watchdog groups and I can definitely see why. This man was clearly mentally ill, and while I understand that cops in Portland deal with a lot of shit (there are an obscene amount of addicts, mentally ill, and homeless here because of the temperate weather), it did seem like excessive force. Literally, the man was dragging his feet and the cops basically had to carry him to the cop car. He couldn't possibly have posed any kind of a physical threat to anyone but himself. This isn't a political or philosophical post, but it's moments like these that lead people like me to view radical politics as a viable option. Actually, I've been wanting to write a zine where I interview zinesters who are progressive and/or anarchists to find out what events led them to their (invariably) unpopular political beliefs. This evening was definitely one of those moments where I remembered why I have the politics I have.
Monday, August 20, 2012
I accepted a job today. It's part time, but it's for a non profit organization that provides preschool and before-and-after care for children. I can get about 33.5 hours a week if I want, so I'm just trying to navigate the system(s) here to figure out what benefits me most financially. Yup, I'm that bourgeious. I had an interview with a division of Gap Inc. that went really well today. So, I can either have two part time jobs or take on the before care session in addition to the after care session at the nonprofit to fill in the economic gap. Hmmmm... Also, I'm attending some open houses to find a roommate/house situation. So, I'm cautiously beginning to believe that my crazy-ass dream might actually become a reality. We'll see. I start training next Tuesday and I hear back from a few other prospects next week, so.... In other news, I went to Kinko's to copy my zine and-- woohoo! It worked. Thanks to the Northeast 7th Avenue FedEx Office store for helpin' a sista out! They rocked-- even had a long-arm stapler (that kept jamming, but they helped me with that, too) that I could staple my zines with. So, there are now officially 15 zines for sale/distribution. I don't care whether people buy my zine or just get it. I simply want people to read it. So, if you want it, let me know. I sent three off to my best friend who will be distributing them to my friends in Colorado and one copy went to Chicago to my new penpal (the author of "Cheer the Eff Up", which is an amazing zine by the way). That means, for you mathmeticians out there, that there are 11 left for anyone who wants them. I'm considering consigning them at Portland Button Works, but I'm not so confident about them yet to gamble on that. I would prefer to distribute them and then have people tell others how great it is (if it is, in fact, that great). That's about all I'm willing to report right now. I've promised many an embellishment post, where I elaborate on various events in my life (i.e. my realizations about my family and PZS) and I haven't forgot them. I'm just not quite ready to talk about that yet. But soon, I promise. Soon...
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Yesterday was a really good day. I went to the Columbia River Gorge and went swimming/frollicking on gigantic logs. I also got a call for a job offer working at a nonprofit childcare program. You'd think I'd be feeling pretty good by the end of the day. But as evening settled in and I found myself, once again, eating at a restaurant alone, I became quite melancholy. I didn't understand why, though. I'd had such an amazing day filled with beautiful and promising things. Feeling sad and mopey, I did what any mature, nearly 30-year-old woman would do-- I called my mommy. My mom has a way of knowing when something's up even before I utter a complete sentence. This is probably due to the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve so much that, when I'm sad, I can barely utter a complete sentence without the tell-tale quiver in my voice. Anyway, I cried a little and spent some time processing what I think the cause of my melancholy was with her and then we talked about what was going on in Colorado. It reminded me a lot of when I was an exchange student in Denmark and I'd call home out of homesickness. Homesickness is a little different this time around, though. When I was 17, homesickness was about missing your favorite restaurant or riding in your parents car with your best friend. With age, homesickness has a lot more depth and is more psychological. It's also more complex. I don't miss any particular places or moments in Colorado. I miss being able to go to my parent's house when I had nothing to do and was feeling lonely. I miss knowing that I could see my best friend Julie in a matter of hours instead of weeks or even months. I miss going to Julie's house and just lounging there for hours, feeling completely comfortable and at home in her home. I miss old friends that I felt comfortable crying and confessing my feelings to. I miss the stability of having a routine and a place that I identified as home. The truth is I came here for a life of instability. I wanted to make myself uncomfortable because there were a lot of things about my comfortable life that I wasn't happy with. However, I didn't expect things to take this long to settle in. So, I'm beginning to understand that Portland is my lesson in patience. I expected Portland to be about adventure and it is-- just not the adventure I expected. I expected crazy long nights out with punks and dumpster diving and ridiculous camping trips. Instead, my adventures seem to be happening in the development my identity. I am coming to understand things about myself that I never thought I was or could be. It's a tougher adventure than I expected, but there's also this comfort with who I am becoming that is something I've never quite felt. I feel like myself now more than ever-- erratic emotions and all. The other adventures will come. In fact, they are already beginning to. I am going to "Trek in the Park" on Sunday with my friend Kristin (google it or watch Portlandia-- it's awesome). That will definitely be an adventure! My crush and I also plotted some new adventures like hitchhiking up and down the coast and camping on Larch Mountain. There will be plenty of adventures to come! But for now, I'm learning to settle into the version of me that I've always wanted to be. Also, I've included some pictures from yesterday's shenanigans in the gorge and a package that I got from my friend and fellow zinester, Jonas.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Hey Guys! I'm back. Once again, I've been MIA. To be honest I've been avoiding the blog and, especially my last entry (I won't even read it and have considered deleting it-- it's just too raw). The thing is, there just wasn't much to report. Still looking, still waiting, still hoping-- other than that, there's just not been a lot to report. But I know that some people rely on this blog to hear about what I'm up to, so I figured I'd at least check in and give you some information about what's going on in my world. Here are some happenings and observations in my life: 1. The head chef at Gallo Nero Trattoria remembered me when I came in today! He said the guys were all on vacation, but come September they'll be back and I should start frequenting the restaurant on Sundays for a good Italian time! 2. Cemeteries remind me of Iowa. I learned this on my way to an interview today while passing a cemetery. I think it's solely because anyone I've known personally who's died is buried in Iowa. Still, kind of a weird and morbid realization. 3. I volunteered at the Portland Zine Symposium last weekend and had a really great time. I will be writing more about this later, once I feel ready to seriously blog again. 4. Trading e-mails to make friends and going for coffee is an actual thing in Portland. I had several people at the Portland Zine Symposium say "We should totally trade e-mails so we can hang out!" I don't know about anyone else, but I'm used to people trading phone numbers, not e-mails. I just thought it was funny. Also, people here suggest going to coffee to hang out as a serious thing. I feel like in Colorado people suggest coffee, but that's just to cover for the fact that they'd rather go for a beer but don't want to look like a lush (or is that just me?) But the coffee is just that good in Portland that it rivals the beer. This really is a city of liquids. 5. I have a pen pal in Chicago now! He's the writer of the zine "Cheer the Eff Up" and I'm so excited to trade letters and zines with him. 6. I've learned that I'm old-school when it comes to establishing new relationships (friendships, romances, etc.) despite my social awkwardness. When someone gives me their phone number, I never start by texting them. I always call first. It just feels more genuine. You know, like your actually putting in the effort to start the relationship? This sucks because talking on the phone scares the shit out of me. I'm terrified of talking on the phone! It's a weird paradox for me. 7. Getting established in Portland is hard. I've spoken to a lot of people lately (people I am confident will soon become friends) and they've all said the same thing about my frustrating experience here. Portland makes you sweet talk her and it will take you a long time to find a job with which you can stand and a home that you actually identify as home. 8. I want to go to the ocean... and I might actually be going... with a very special someone! It's weird how this happened. I had the thought this afternoon that I really needed some time from the city and that a trip to the seaside might be beneficial for me. It's been terribly hot here this week and so the girl I've been pining after suggested we get out of town, possibly to the beach for a swim. I will not be filling you in on the details of how this exchange transpired, as I believe that, at a certain point, it's important to protect your private life. 9. To that end, I find myself craving some quiet in my life. What I mean by this is simply that I am eager to feel more settled. I want the routine of a job and a place that I picture when I say "I'm ready to go home." I think my increasing age has made me a little less tolerant of instability. I'm just looking forward to feeling more established here soon. I'll talk to you guys soon. I promise I'll try to be a little better about what and how I post on the blog!
Friday, August 10, 2012
You guys haven't heard from me in a while. It's been a crazy week and a half. I'm home in Portland. Life isn't easy, so I've really had to dig deep and make some difficult decisions. I am running out of money (at least from conventional sources like a job) and I need to be out of my friends' house by the beginning of September to make room for their mother/mother-in-law to come visit from Mexico. All of this got me a little depressed while I was in Colorado, but also Colorado makes me depressed. Sure, it was great to see my family. I really love them and being around them makes me feel good (more on that later). However, there is something about Colorado that always makes me depressed and anxiety-ridden. I don't even understand why because it isn't logical that a place (especially such a beautiful, sunny place) could make a person feel so yucky. Maybe there's just too much history there for me (being it's the only place I've lived). Anyway, I started contemplating if I should move home where I would at least have some security. During this whole process, which took place over the course of two days, I felt weary, depressed, mopey, and like I couldn't catch my breath. Then, something in me turned. Out of my despair came a very distinct sense of determination. I was going to do whatever it took to live in Portland. I then had to question why. I mean, it's crazy what I'm doing. In many ways, I am living an incredibly unstable lifestyle and throwing all reason out the window. That's kind of crazy. But I do know why I want to risk everything to live here. Portland has made me a happier, healthier person. I am a better person in Portland. I see other Portlanders and how they take care of each other and I find myself emulating them. Then, I asked myself how the hell I was going to fund my stay in Portland. I will be taking money out of some of my retirement plans to tide me over. I know you're not supposed to do that, but that money is my money and I need it now. I mean, who the hell knows if I'll make it to retirement and honestly, this is my dream now, so I should embrace my dream and my life now, rather than wait. In an effort to move forward with my life here, I decided to accept a part-time cashier job at the Dollar Tree. The manager wants me to apply for an assistant manager position (which I have), but I figured I would start making money now and get in the company. I thought that would help me. He called me in today and told me that if I wanted a management position at a higher pay right (which would be nice), I should actually hold off on starting work. Evidently, he could only increase my pay about 50 cents from minimum wage ($8.80) if I start internally and then move up. I have never heard of this! Most places I've worked want you to start at an entry level position and then move you up and you're not monetarily punished for that. Hmmm. Then, he said he would call his district manager, but I probably wouldn't have an interview until the end of the month. Ouch! I could kind of use some money now. He also said I would have to "Get a more natural hair color." I guess I shouldn't be shocked. The world just isn't ready to accept pink and purple hair yet-- not even in Portland. I'm also applying for a substitute paraprofessional position at Portland Public Schools but school doesn't start until the beginning of September. The timing is just all wrong and I'm kind of freaking out! So, I came home. I cried to Maria and then I laid down and meditated for about 15 minutes. I took many deep breaths and I thanked "God" or whatever being is driving this crazy journey for this beautiful Oregon day, and for giving me my time to volunteer at the Portland Zine Symposium this weekend (rather than me having to work and missing something I've been looking forward to for months), and for teaching me patience and perseverence. Then, I acknowledged and released each anxious thought that entered my head. I know meditating might seem hokey, but it helps me find my center. This entry doesn't make much sense, mostly because I don't make sense, but I guess here's my conclusion: I like me better here and I'm all in. I hate the term "Go big or go home" but I guess this is as good a time as any to go big or go home. If I'm going to fail at this, I'm going to fail big... because at least them I can say that I gave it my all.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Alright people, I'm going to make some noise right now, so if you're not a big fan of The Rant, skip this blog post. What the fuck does it mean to be over-qualified? I mean, when it comes to jobs, you're one or the other, aren't you? And if you have additional skills above and beyond the qualifications, shouldn't that employer be lucky to have you? I don't understand how an employer can not hire someone because they're overqualified. The line of thinking (which I totally disagree with) is that people who are overqualified will get bored and leave the job sooner. The truth is that employees leave for a myriad of unpredictable reasons and their skill set being above average for the job description is not an indicator that they will be more likely to leave. The only employee who will leave an organization is someone who is independently wealthy, and let me tell you something: they're not the ones looking for jobs. It's us common folk who really just need a job-- any job-- because we live in a capitalist economy that requires money to survive. Most of us have a job because we need the money, not because we're "so passionate about customer service" or other such nonsense. I have decided that any company should be so lucky to have my wide range of skills, knowledge, and personality qualities, damn it! Why the hell am I begging for a job? Furthermore, we human beings created these employment institutions and yet they run our lives as if they are real. Companies aren't really real, as in they don't have an identity and they can't make something happen. It's the people in a company that make something happen. Yet we constantly hand over power to companies and beg for employment from them as if they are a living entity. People make themselves unhappy in jobs they loathe because they're afraid of the instability of leaving, interviewers pine after and sweat out that phone call that determines whether you have the job or not. It's demeaning and inhuman and unnecessary. I am so angry at the system right now for causing so much anxiety and unhappiness in my life. I am fearful that in 30 days I will have no money and I'll have to abort the pursuit of my dream-- living in Portland. An economy should exist to help people get the things they need and want. I'm not talking strictly about things that you consume. I should feel free and supported by the economy that my fellow human beings created to move to Portland because I love it there and I learn to become a better writer, and self-publish and become a part of the radical community. It seems wrong that I might be forced to leave the city I love because no one will hire me there-- particularly when, quite honestly, I am pretty damn valuable and there is no reason that someone like me shouldn't have a job. I'm sure you can deduce how the job hunt is going. I have a fall-back, but it's not good. It's minimum wage and part time-- they want to promote me to management as soon as possible and that isn't minimum wage and is full time, but who knows how long that will take. Feeling sad and scared and really REALLY pissed off.