Subjective Reality

There comes a time at the end of each journey where I realize, much of what I was experiencing was a narrative I played out in my head. A narrative that quickly dies once I realize nothing that I’m thinking is even reflecting what’s happening. I know I’m not the only one that does this, I watch plenty of my friends lie to themselves about what is actually going on in their lives too, whether we use it as a coping mechanism, some sort of denial, a way to make our lives seem more grandiose than they are, I don’t know, you can choose your flavour of the week depending on which pill you prefer to swallow.

I have dated men that didn’t want to admit the relationship was over when it was and men have dated me when I didn’t want to admit the relationship was over when it was. I have moved and traveled to places and loved it, I have moved and traveled to places and hated it. I have worked jobs that pay me $5.25/hour, I have worked jobs that pay me $25,000/year. I have paid $50 for plane tickets, I have paid $700 for plane tickets. I have traveled rich, I have traveled poor. There are two sides to every coin and if you’re lucky enough in this life you get to experience both sides so you have a more well-rounded perspective of all lives and all that life offers.

In the end life becomes whatever you take away from it, whether you see the good or the bad in any given situation, that’s exactly what you get. Personally, I am trying to get to a place where duality no longer exists, so that subjectivity can die along with it and all that exists is the objective, all encompassing dot.

Girls and the Boys that Like Them

A strange occurrence happened on my way back home. I passed a house that said Private Property. The front door was open and through the screen I could see the floor plan, the man inside. Then I stopped and gazed in awe and amazement because this was the house. A house I’d never been sure where it existed, a house I sat and explored with a neighbour boy I locked lips with.

Then I flashed back to where it all began, the middle of the street, a tempestuous flirtation, “she bit me!” How he liked it, how we walked hand in hand down that stretch of railroad track land.

I thought about all the boys I kissed with girlfriends who did the same. I felt bad for a brief second and let it go, because I realized we’re all just trying to figure it out.

The Celtic Knot

On my way home I passed these bushes, a well-groomed front yard; excavation supreme for this business front on 5th Street. A thought suddenly popped into my head, “throw the ring.” I kept going, unable to let go of my past. I kept walking, thinking about how this ring has been on every single journey since its discovery on the back lawns of the UO campus, that summer 2012. I kept walking, thinking about how I had a free reiki session last summer and the woman asked me if something was going on with my left hand, how the only thing going on with my left hand was that ring. I kept walking, thinking about how this sparked the idea inside of me that I have to return the ring on this trip, that maybe the ring is the cause of all these trips, that maybe I’m carrying someone else’s karma around with me and it’s time to let it go.

Suddenly it surged up from inside of me, I turned back and threw the fucking ring. I don’t know where the thought came from, I don’t know where women’s intuition sparks from either, and maybe I don’t want to carry anyone else’s karma around with me anymore, but the Celtic knot ring is gone.

Relationships

I spoke to two of my oldest friends for hours on the phone last night. Both conversations revolved around relationships and men from our past.

What I’ve learned over the past couple of years, is that relationships are often impacted by other people surrounding a couple. It’s the people that are talking in your ear about what you should do, how you should act in the relationship, always giving their personal opinion on whether or not it’ll work out, that debilitates the relationship to a point that it no longer feels natural because both parties are now only acting in a way that other people are coaching them to. There is no more intrigue or curiosity, no innocent wonder because the relationship is now a strategic chess match, each player now planning their next move.

It seems the only way for a relationship to last is for two people to be strong enough in their love for each other that they rise above all the noise. To add to my running stint of quotes, I was watching The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel the other night. There was a perfect quote in the finale that made me cry straight away because of it’s depth, it’s purity and it’s truth, that, “In the end, it’s all very simple: to look into someone’s eyes and to say ‘yes, it’s what I want’ and for them to say ‘it’s what I want too and there’s nothing to fear.’”

If only every relationship were this easy in real life.

Ophelia by The Lumineers

I’m gonna sound like I’m on a quote binge, but seriously, I heard the smartest quote yesterday, “It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.” There’s this feeling that I don’t know how to fully describe, but if you’re a woman, you might understand me.

I was driving home, windows open, breeze blowing in, my dog, Smooch, hanging his head out the back, drooling down the window. I started changing the radio channels and this song came on. I listened to it a lot a few months after things ended with my ex, so for awhile I could no longer hear the song without being sad about this period of my life. Well, today I heard it and it didn’t hurt anymore, I didn’t feel anything extreme, almost like a void where there used to be intensity, but it came through as though it was just another song on the radio. I enjoyed reminiscing for a brief moment about how much the song used to mean to me and old memories, but felt strange that it didn’t cause any reactions within me anymore. It’s such a deep feeling when you express it, when you’re feeling it, as though it’s the literal feeling of passage of time, but it feels like nothing at all.

Do you understand what I’m feeling? Is there a word for this feeling even?

Then another song came on the alternative radio station from my childhood and I felt just like my dad. If it was possible to channel and embody someone, and I think it’s quite likely seeing I’m his daughter, I felt like I was him for a brief instant, like I finally understood him. That was a completely new feeling for me too. It came with a sense of pride, like my own inner power was shining through and I finally understood for a brief moment why I always become calm when everything around me is chaotic. I saw exactly why my dad married my mom, she’s fucking crazy (a good type of crazy, but she’s neurotic as hell, I love her to pieces, absolutely adore her), honestly she started screaming at me when I came home and I just felt this sense of calm, like everything was fine and I started laughing. It made her more mad, it gave me real perspective of why my dad chose her and how their energies were completely different but perfectly complementary and I understood him from his own perspective. I could feel the depth of their energetic relationship.

These are both very unique feelings, but I know I’m not the only one who’s ever felt them. I don’t know if there’s exactly one word that describes these feelings even. I’m not sure that words accurately depict any feeling with extreme depth, like ‘I love you’, it’s honestly the most profound thing you can say to another living creature, but not backed by genuine feeling it means nothing, it’s a feeling that’s best shown, not told. Maybe that’s all true emotions.

Sweet Spots

I heard this cool quote the other day, “Slow down, if you live long enough, eventually life teaches you how to live it.”

Now that I’ve almost spent 30 years on this planet, I finally feel like I’m in a good place in my life where I can grasp things more steadily. It’s been a constant ebb and flow on a monstrous emotional roller coaster, but for the first time in years I finally feel like I’m starting to get a hold of things. I’ve spent the last ten years caught in the turbulent aftermath of my dad’s death right as my 20’s came roaring in. The truth is, that even though I spent a good portion of the time feeling like I was trudging black sludge, lost in a subconscious haze of a carousel of characters from Alice’s Wonderland, regrets feel moot. Yes, I was on a high speed train of universal experiences, but through various time frames, various lives lived out in various places and stories shared a long the way, I’ve learned a few of my own sweet spots.

If you don’t know what a sweet spot is, it’s like this perfect amount of time exposed to something where you really enjoy the thing thoroughly that you want more, but you also don’t get so much of it that you are just bored to tears or angry that it still exists in your life. According to the dictionary, a sweet spot is defined as “an optimum point or combination of factors or qualities.” I love this definition though, because it’s so simple and perfectly to the point.

Well, along this period of time bouncing from one thing to the other, life has surely started to teach me how to live it, by revealing to me my very own sweet spots. I’ve learned that I can only take two hits of weed to get that perfect serene high without spiraling into a paranoia hole. I’ve learned that 3-4 beers creates a perfect buzz where everything is funny and things start to flow more fluidly. I’ve learned that any time liquor enters my body, I don’t know why, but the chemical reaction causes me to disappear.

When I got back from South America this time, I realized two weeks is enough time for me now. I don’t need these grand journey’s abroad, they don’t make me happy anymore. I just get irritated that I’m still somewhere else that isn’t home and that I can’t be productive. When I move to a new city it takes me 1-2 months to build a beginner network of friends and colleagues before I start to actually enjoy my new home and it takes a full year to build a real life there.

I’ve realized that all of my best friends came to be that way because of one massive blow out fight. That arguments are natural and healthy in all relationships, it’s just how we respond to these moments that direct the nature of every relationship. We either rise above together and grow closer, or we say fuck this shit, it ain’t worth it, and sometimes it isn’t and we move on.

I like this idea that life teaches us how to live it, a natural pace, natural rhythm, magical numbers that create various moments of perfection. I’m excited to see what life further reveals to me in my 30’s 🙂

Being Honest with Yourself

It’s fucking hard. It’s really fucking hard. It’s easy to tell someone else they’re fucking up, but when you know it’s you that’s fucking up and something has to change? It’s a pain in the ass, because if you really want to change you have to pull your own self up by your bootstraps and climb your ass out of the emotional shit hole you’ve dug yourself into.

I just got back from a month long excursion to Colombia//Peru. I love traveling because I get to silence everyone else’s voices and listen to my own. I get to be in control of every decision I make. So when I realized that I keep making the same stupid mistakes that I was making when I was 25, it’s a wake up call for me. Realizing that my life has been on repeat since I was 25 is just fucking obnoxious to me and something has to change, because I’m not happy in this cycle any longer and that’s always my first cue that some shit’s about to change because I just don’t like being unhappy.

That’s not all I learned on this trip tho.

I finally learned my fucking worth, and that’s amazing. I’ve learned that I have to love myself first and foremost. I have to love myself enough to let go of everything that drains me, everything that distracts me, everything that pulls me down. I have to love myself enough to give myself what I want out of this life. I have to love myself enough to listen to what my soul is telling me: it’s time to grow up and move on.

What I want out of life is always changing, always malleable, always shifting, but what I’m drawn to hasn’t shifted: love, art, creative writing, travel, music, philosophy, psychology, intellectual conversations, dance parties, nights under the stars and millions of sunsets from anywhere.

So here’s to shifting the sails, changing directions and getting the fuck outta this shit hole 🙂

 

Closure

We went down to Grafton today to meet my aunt for lunch. We were telling each other quotes when I said to her, “the best way to clear muddy water is to let it be.” To which she responded, ‘yeah, but then you’ll never get closure.’ It really got me thinking, how much closure do we really need and when is it time to just cut our losses?

 

Spring Cleaning Came Early this Year

I’m sitting on the floor in the entrance of my bedroom and my hallway, listening to ‘6 Weshoosh’ an Egyptian song I fell in love with in travels, sorting through everything I’m finally ready to shed from the past 10 years of young adulthood. Caught somewhere between my new life and my old one I reminisce on all the memories that flood back to me from each outfit:

That Italian jean jacket I found in the men’s bathroom when I was drunk on a random floor of my students house in London 2011; it always reminds me of Finin for some reason, maybe it was his. That green sweater that Christopher Marvin wore out to the bars and threw up all over in Camden Town when him, Heaz and Bryan came to blow out my last week abroad. That yellow polyester shirt I found in grandma’s old bags that I wore the first time I met Adam Shea in summer 2004 at that Perkins where he scammed that free coffee and we kissed goodnight outside his house. A dress I never even remember buying, maybe Maria gave it to me, but the only memory I have is when we took a roadtrip to Vegas and stopped overnight in San Francisco. Marissa wore it out while Maria told people she was the bathroom attendant and only one scared white guy actually gave her $1. That plaid shirt I wore all the time that I got in Minneapolis with Jessie and Andy Kittel at that bourgeois boutique in Uptown after the Noah and the Whale show. I actually just found the photo of me today, jumping in the backyard wearing it with that orange tank top I found in the hallway that Lizzie left behind that spring semester at Steiner Hall.

My favourite outfit that I always in the end refuse to get rid of because it’ll fit again one day and I just don’t want to fucking part with it! Those scarves, those fucking scarves that I bought when I was inspired by Ari Solar’s bestie’s friend photo in the middle of the desert during Burning Man. That turquoise Hello Kitty zippie that I rocked at the rave party when Ashlie McGaw and I drunkenly danced to Soulja Boi in that basement where we spent all those parties in 2008. That sparkly mauve party dress that I turned into a tank top so I could rock it like a tank top at my voter reg job in Eugene, Oregon fall 2012. That ABSOLUTELY HORRIFIC tank top I made for Betsy and mine’s going away party summer 2013 before moving back to Oregon, where I cut up all my old t-shirts from youth and sewed them on like patches, which maybe wasn’t so terrible, since I did end up with that hot bartender after it all 😀

Those terrible scarves from 2005 that we all used to wear around our necks when hardxcore//thrashxcore//anythingxcore was cool. ALL of the scarves from college that I bought in St. Mark’s Place when I went through my hipster phase fall 2008. ALL of the scarves and hats Jessie and I found lying around campus spring 2009. Those jeans I used to wear to Naomi’s house parties, and Naomi, wow, someone I don’t think about too often, but that flashes me back to ALL of those hotel parties with student government, jolly green giant, pink fucking boots, Oshkosh, Kenosha, Richland Center. We carry all these memories with us. My senior prom dress that I wore to Lutheran High prom 2006 with Christopher Marvin, when I had my wisdom teeth removed only on one side and half my face looked like a chipmunk. That green plaid shirt that Mamaro hated on the rack but loved on me, reminds me of always harassing Josh Mann at the GA in Stevens Point back when Megan and Mark were dating. That Day of Silence t-shirt the students designed for 4/20/12 and all the events that took place after work that day: Christian Moody, shots, beer, Daniel, breakfast nook party, ‘we’re going to the butte, daaaniieell!!’, never go to the butte, end up at some under the sea mario party at some bar that ends in me smoking cigarillos on the front lawn of my house with Kunu.

That ridiculous fuschia dress I ripped the arms off and rocked like a skirt under my clothes. I’ll always remember Hannah Cook telling me it wasn’t fair that I could wear anything I wanted and people would just say, ‘oh, that’s just Libby, but if Hannah does it they’ll be like, ‘what’s wrong with you, Hannah?” I don’t know where the book went, but half of the book cover to my ex’s copy of Brave New World, the only thing that still exists of him. Lucas Worley’s sweater that kept me warm on the walk home after we madeout when I was running from the cops. Thanks Doug!

A few things that maybe never were mine and a few more that never felt like they were mine, returning them all to the ether so they can find their own place in this crazy mixed up world<333

The Revolution is Here

It was 2011, the Walker protests were in full force in Wisconsin. We were the leaders of the movement on our campus. We rented out three buses every day to take people from Stevens Point to Madison to protest in the streets of the capitol. I’ll never forget walking arm-in-arm with Gregs on the first day of the all campus walk out. We thought nothing was going to happen that day, but we got to the sundial and a rage of students marched around the NFAC building and we were filled with absolute joy, that people finally gave a shit about what was going on around them and using their power to stand up and resist it.

In this emotionally charged time it is not these protests that spark my current memory, but more of the words of a psychology professor whose class I was failing. One day I stayed after class to tell him that I was failing. He asked me if I was sure and I told him it is impossible that I am not, as I’ve failed both tests and haven’t turned in any assignments. He did the calculations and it turned out even if I got a 100% on the final and turned in my last assignment I still wouldn’t have enough to pass the class. He gave me a reprieve though, if I turned in everything and got 3 or less wrong on the final he would pass me regardless.

He told me, “Listen, I know that the reason you’re missing class all the time is because of all the protests and walkouts, but you can’t let that distract you from getting what you want out of life. It’s a great thing what you students are doing and it matters, but you have to take care of yourself too. You’re supposed to graduate this semester, don’t lose focus of that for this because when this is all over, where will you be?”

This is important right now because we’re all losing focus. We are all getting wrapped up in the ignorance and hate rhetoric of both sides. It feels like we’re riding the swell of a tsunami that’s about to come crashing down around us and it feels terrifying and worrisome and awe-inspiring and beautiful all at the same time. And as I see myself getting wrapped up in the whole messiness of the situation I find myself now asking the same question, when this is all over, where will I be? Where will we all be?