Self, selfie, selfiest

So, I've had this website and blog for nearly four years now and I've barely touched it. I still remember when I asked Ted Angel to build me a site, how urgent I felt about the matter. I needed a site now! I need the site yesterday! I needed it for posting my work, for networking. I'd use it to sell myself as a writer, I'd use it to archive the work of which I was most proud. I'd use it to just post random musings. You know, I'd use it for Internet-y things.

And then he built it and I was happy and I blogged once or twice. And then, nothing.

Sometimes he'd ask me how it was going and, embarrassed, I'd say I'd been busy, but just-you-wait-I'm-going-to-blog-regularly-soon-I-swear.

And then I didn't.

And truth is, I have been busy. With work, with school, with trying to write a book, with trying to have some sort of life.

But I've also missed blogging. At some point, I'll have Ted host my old site so that, just for kicks, I can access my 2000-era self.

Speaking of "self," this is kind of what this is all about.

Me. Me. Me.

I turned 44 in December and in the weeks since, I've been going through a bit of a mid-life crisis (more on that in future posts) and I've been trying to figure out how to deal with it.

I don't have money to buy a red sportscar and I'm far too responsible and uptight to quit my job, sell everything and backpack through Europe (that and I'd miss my cats too much) so, instead, I'm turning to other platforms of self-expression.

I recently joined the BlogHer community (I've followed the site for years) and just registered to attend BlogHer '14 in July.

I've also tasked myself with BlogHer's NaBloPoMo March challenge. This month's theme is to write on "self" and as it turns out I can pretty much talk about myself for days. What can I say, I'm a writer, I have issues, I have opinions and, if I'm going to be completely honest, I'm a bit of a narcissist (don't front, we all are).

So, self it is. More blogging to come. This time I mean it, for reals. No, really. OK, fine, we'll see.


The ghosts of friendship past.

I've seen Frances Ha twice now and have seriously had to practice self-discipline to not go see it a third time in the theater. The first time I saw it was with a friend; after we got a beer at Tower Cafe and tallked at length about the film's central themes of female friendship, change and the concept of growing up.

These are things that often cross my mind. I have many good friends in my life. A bona fide best friend. Several people with whom I'd trust my deepest secrets. And yet. I often think about the friendships that have fallen away, been broken irrevocably or slowly drifted and shape-shifted into something that either party no longer recognizes. While a few people I know have dismissed the film pointless, meandering and self-indulgent on the part of its writer, actress Greta Gerwig. Gerwig's portrayal of a 27-year-old New Yorker (by way of Sacramento) struck deep nerves. The scenes in Paris resonated in particular. As that song by Hot Chocolate plays, we see the title character: moored alone in a bed, wandering the streets and finally, anchored at a cafe table. These reminded me so much of being around that age. When I was 27 my life changed radically (that's fodder for another post) and I found myself having to build (and rebuild) relationships. Old bonds were broken and new ones were strengthened, sometimes so intensely that it felt like I was forming a new layer of skin, a new sense of self. It was heady and gratifying and lovely.

When one of those relationships shattered, however, I felt as though I'd broken up with a significant other. The heartbreak was just as palpable, the dissolution left me as mired in sadness as if we'd signed divorce papers. 

Not every shift in friendship is dramatic of course. Sometimes they just change, ever-so-slowly, over the course of time until suddenly you realize things are different than how they started out. That's not always a bad thing. Lives changes, priorities shift, people grow up and move on. If you're careful you find ways to hold onto old ties, however lightly. You find a way to include the past with the present and the future. Sometimes of course you just leave someone behind, purposefully. Some people must be left behind.

Of course, it's kind of hard to remember that when you're the one left in the dust. Sometimes it hurts like hell even when it's not particularly acrimonious. Sometimes you don't even know it hurts like hell until something reminds you of what once was--an old photograph, a ticket stub. 

And then sometimes it's all just pleasant nostalgia. Those, of course, are the best kinds of memories about the ghosts of friendship past.

Around the world in 80 payments

Ever wonder if you're at a crossroad or just a meandering set of x's? That's how I've felt lately--like there are choices to be made but I'm not quite sure what the choices are or, even if I did, which direction to go. To that extent, I'm feeling very nostalgic about last year's visit to Texas--I want so badly to board another train and spend it crushed up against strangers as gorgeous Southwestern scenery whips by. Really. But that's not in the cards. What is, however, is our upcoming trip to Europe. So. Damn. Excited. And expensive. By my calculations we'll be paying this off for about the next year-and-a-half --which puts off saving for a house. Which is mostly OK. I don't mind being a renter--I do mind watching housing prices go up again. Still, it's nice to call someone else when the water heater or air conditioner go out. And, too, not owning a house and thus dealing with all the costs that go into it means we do, finally, have some money to travel (well, theoretically: see payback "plan" above). After Europe (Glasgow, London, Brussels, Bruge, Antwerp), we'll fly to Seattle for my brother's wedding. Next year I'd like to either visit my aunt and grandmother in Austin (South by Southwest!) or maybe Nashville, just because. Because I need new perspectives and faces and people and places. I need change and sometimes that means not uprooting home but rather changing the way you get back there. Crossroads?