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There is No Manual

There is No Manual

It’s eight forty-five and I’ve just converted my bedroom into a “hang out space” for the day. You see, I sleep on a futon in my mother’s house like any proud twenty-nine divorcee would. The futon is actually pretty dope; as you can see in the picture for this post, couch mode is easy-peasy and only requires a small lift and a push to convert it, so when you have your sad divorcee company over (that your mom has approved of), you can all sit in comfort. But today the space isn’t for company—it’s for playing guitar.

I rag on myself a lot for my situation, because on paper, it’s quite sad. It’s a stereotype. The only thing that’s my saving grace is that I do not qualify for the “divorced dads club,” otherwise, I’d be part of a cycling group or some shit. My mother and her condo saved me, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I know that it’s temporary and exactly where I need to be to line up the next portion of my life. A lot of people in my generation need help like this; if you look at the statistics for people of my age, my situation is almost a new normal—which is utterly terrifying and does a lot to squash my desire to want children. But that’s beside the point.

I’m not actually ashamed of where I am right now, because it’s healthy. There is no “normal” for life, there’s just an image we’ve been shown. The image that started as a nuclear family of five with a husband who works all day and wife that maintains the home and children; the image that has transformed into a two-working parent household, single parents, co-parents, single people without kids, couples without kids. There’s a lot of depictions of life out there and some of them will feel so close to home, it’s like looking in a mirror. It’s important to remember, though, that no matter how close it feels, it’s not you. There is no guide book for this; there is no manual.

Social media has become a silent killer of the ego for us all. Every single morning, I find myself scrolling that dead-eyed scroll through Instagram, looking at how great people’s lives were while I was spending another night hunched over a keyboard at mom’s. I am lucky, in the fact that I figured out that everyone cherry picks the best of the best for the internet a long time ago. I’m not wrapped up in the front that everyone puts out there, but I was for a long time. Years ago, it would have eaten me from the inside out, but now I know that it’s a greatest hits album.

My sister and her boyfriend put it into perspective for me at Thanksgiving. I had mentioned how I don’t go out a lot, getting down on myself as some sort of loser, but they just looked at me like they didn’t understand what I was saying and said, “yeah, but you’re a writer,” and pointed at my desk. Oddly enough, it’s a line from South Park that sticks in my head, I’m not even sure what the episode was about (I’m not the biggest South Park fan), but I want to say it was about video games or something like that. Stan’s dad was talking about spending all your time doing something passive that you love, and then waking up one day and realizing you’re thirty with no real skills.

That rattles through my head when I’m not writing. Nights that I just get high and watch movies, it screams itself at me, making me constantly remind myself that I write every day, whether the blog reflects it or not. I have dedicated myself to this, but balance is important. I’ve been slowly increasing the amount I write daily, because in eighteen days, I start work on a novel. I’d love to be finished my short stories by then, but the novel is like a train—it can’t be stopped. My friend told me about National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November. The bones of it is that you write at least 1600 words a day for thirty days and end up with a novel on December first—and I unconsciously started planning one this summer, so it seems like a no brainer to take part myself. It’s a great goal with a ton of work involved, and one that I feel could push me into a new level of skill.

I don’t know anyone else who is doing this, or rather, if I do—I haven’t talked to them about it. That gives me an advantage of not stacking myself up against the masses and makes me truly feel like I’m on my own journey. The reason I’m not ashamed of my current situation is this. I have been afforded the ability to think about doing things like this because I’m not scrambling at two jobs to pay the rent. I have the privilege and the luxury to be able to pursue a creative goal with a full belly and a roof over my head. I’m lucky. While I know countless people struggle with mental illness, a lot of them also do it with extreme external pressures. These, I do not have. I constantly remind myself of the head-start I have—the support network, my job, and my economical situation (as dire as it feels at times, I guarantee there are people who wish they had my debt/credit instead of their own. These three things form the corner stone for success, if I can just get a handle on them. I have the mental space to attempt it, because I’m not fighting the material world. I kid myself that I don’t—falling into old patterns of being addicted to my sadness and beginning to wallow, but I’m set up. Nothing in the world, but me, is against me. I just need to remember all of this and get over myself, which seems to be a moment-by-moment process.

See you tomorrow/later tonight.

Yesterday was a doubly-whammy, outfit wise. For work, I wore a wonderful dragon-fly printed shirt from Simons under a burgundy blazer from RW&CO. on top of grey chinos with a black belt and black shoes, complimented by (what I imagine to be) Russian bears on lil’ bikes. My glasses are Pro Design.

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After work, we had a dinner to celebrate a successful (and hectic week), and I wore a navy cotton t-shirt under my blue blazer from RW and some good ole Levi’s with the same black belt and grey runners, my Toni’s (got them at the shoe warehouse, brand name: Braxton). My glasses are Dolce & Gabbana.

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