Life (Well, Winter 2012) in Pictures

I’m starting to think it’s the worst idea in the world to organize my pictures by which iPhone I took them on.  I guess that, when I set up the system, I was mentally organizing the phases of my life by which iPhone I had.  That was stupid.  I should be doing them by year.

I wanted to find an amateur photo shoot I did while at Treat Design Group of Cheryl’s diamonds stacked with tile samples for the guest-house bathroom.  All I could remember was that I’d taken the pictures in late 2012, so I decided it was just time to sort through iPhone pictures from late 2012.  What I found was a section of pictures completely devoid of Carmen, and suddenly I saw a part of my life completely devoid of Carmen.  It made me think about what defined my life in that odd period between when my life in Houston changed and when I moved my life to Austin.

1) Different people, different places…Let me be clear: A lot of the people in these pictures were friends with whom I already hung out.  But I found that the nature of my relationships changed.  I mended old wounds and pursued people more deeply.  I made my home in different houses.  And I spent a lot of time with my bosses, whom I adored (and still do).  I knew that I was on the verge of leaving, but I also craved social relationships, some of which I knew I would not maintain.  I branched out while disentangling my roots.

2) Christmas, Christmas, Christmas…I threw myself into making homemade coasters for everyone.  It was one of the most fun, most exhausting, most satisfying projects I have ever done.  Here is some of my work, which I want to one day sell on Etsy (yeah, that’s its own thing.

3) Those two actually pretty much cover it.  Sorry, but I have to get back to work.  :P  …Oh, wait!  Here’s a link to my diamonds photo shoot, among other things.

What I’m Doing Right Now.

I wish I could change the title of this blog to “Manifatlanta”, because that is where I am now trying to move.  After a crappy 2013, I’m doing a change of scenery again.  And I’m traveling a lot.  Here are some of the things I am doing, have been doing, and will be doing so far in 2014.  This is going to be kind of disjointed.  Major life transitions disjoint my brain.  So does my on-the-road diet (CAFFEINE IS JOY!!!!!!!!!!).

This is a Walking Dead joke. But it’s also what I’ve been up to: “I’ve got stuff. I’m doin’ things.”

I’ve been watching The Walking Dead.  I like it very, very much.  That show just gets me.  And I get it.  We love each other.  I’ve also been looking at a lot of Walking Dead memes.  I love those too.  Most of them are hilarious.  Like the one above.

I’ve been scouting a new life in Atlanta.  I went in January, and I’m here now.  I’m couchsurfing.  I’m looking for a second job (I got a first one as editor and ghostwriter).  I’m looking for a place to live in mid-April.

I’m moving in mid-April.  I’m moving to Atlanta.  I have an internal tantrum about twice a day because I don’t really want to grow up and move away.  I want my entire life to be the same forever.  Except not.  I’m scared.  Of course I’m scared.  If I wasn’t scared, this would be a safe path.  But adult me has to tell little girl me that several times daily.

I’m going to NYC in April.  My mother’s and my birthdays fall on consecutive weekends, so I’m going up on a Friday, spending the weekend with friends, staying for the week, then hanging out with my mom and aunt.  It’ll be pretty amazing.  I’m taking the bus.  And I’m going to read poetry at The Bowery.

I’m auditioning for Jeopardy!.  That’s right: I took the test, and I got an audition.  It’s in Chicago.  So I’m going Austin–>Atlanta–>Chicago–>Austin–>Atlanta–>NYC–>Atlanta in the space of about 5 weeks.  I’ll let y’all know if I get to go to San Francisco to maybe be on the show (or wherever it shoots–California’s really big).

I saw 300 in IMAX and 3D and was depressed for an entire day (so was Aunt Kathy, who saw it with me).  It was 300 with more gore, more unhealthy sex, less art, and less hotness.  We finally got some ice cream to cheer us up.  It kind of worked.  Man, that was so depressing.

I saw snow.  It was Snowpocalypse, Part II, during my January trip, so that was pretty cool.

Seriously.  I can’t oversell this: I look up Walking Dead memes every day or every other day.  I can’t post my favorite here, but this one is the one I quote most (yes, I’ve taken to quoting memes).

Ok.  Carmen’s on her way to pick me up from Octane, so I’m posting this as-is.  More sometime, but just so you know, “I’m doin’ stuff.  I got things.”

National Novel Writing Month

It is very likely that I will, in the coming month, be posting quite a few updates about my progress with my novel.  “Which novel?” you may well ask.  And I would reply, “I have no idea, but I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo on the prayer that there’s one sitting in my brain that is worth putting on a page.”

Let’s back it up: apparently November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  It is a time when writers all over the country gather together in coffeeshops and digital community spaces to write together and to encourage each other in its titular endeavor.  And, as someone who has taken to referring to her craft as a “writing career”, I felt that I should participate.  The problem is that I have no earthly idea what to write about.

I have a couple of fantasy stories knocking around inside my brain.  I have a story about current military controversies, as told from several sides.  I have an unconventional-family drama.  I have the novel I abandoned last year, once I realized that the story arc was DOA.  I have an interracial love story that I’ve been toying with since I saw Aida at the age of thirteen (it’s nothing like Aida).  I have a story about an Iñárritu-like convergence of strangers.  And I have the story of Alexandra Cole, the woman that I would’ve loved to have been in another life.

I have my semi-autobiographical novel about high school.  I have a serial drama about odd episodes in my life.  I have a highly-romanticized account of my eventual film career.  And I have the story that I have not yet thought of, the one that exists in some existential story-space in which a writer must believe in order to craft a truly authentic story.

Anyway.  Once I hone in on a story, I expect that I will let you know, dear reader.  I expect that this will be the substance of my conversations in November.  I expect that I will solicit your interest in my proposed writing career.  But I expect most of all that my enthusiasm will simply be impossible to constrain.

Wish me luck, &c., because I have apparently resolved to write a novel.

Go Fix Yourself. Or Not.

It’s not easy being green.

I’m not sure why.  I mean, yes, Kermit would stick out because not everyone is green.  But many frogs are.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that Kermit is considered normal in the frog community.  I would like to propose instead that it’s not easy being flawed.  And it’s not easy to know what flaws are okay.

My therapist seems to think this is a priority.  She says that my therapy journey is to be “90% self-acceptance and only 10% self-improvement”.  But every fiber of my being rails against that.  And here’s why: As a Christian and as a crazy person, I accept that I am, based on empirical data and personal moral code, deeply and irretrievably flawed.  But I have been taught to strive to be my best self (mostly by Little Women, which I, in my youth, regarded as a greater authority than the Bible).  So I should root out—I should strenuously labor to correct—all of the flaws that stand in the way of that.


Well, I guess that’s therapy precluded.  I want one hundred percent self-improvement, one hundred percent of the time.  I want to be good and lovely and kind and joyful.  I want to be someone who is a pleasure and a blessing to all who come in contact with her.  And I want to have the self-confidence to know my merit, without needing validation or over-analysis to verify that I have achieved these things.  Not only do I want to correct all of my faults, I also want to stop thinking about them.

This is not going to happen.  Thankfully, I trust my therapist as a best-self authority, so I’m willing to open myself up to this self-acceptance thing.  I’m not sure, though, how to know what flaws need to be changed.  There’s no guide for any of this.  I have a misperception of what I should be, and I have a misperception of how I can become that; and I have a misperception of these misperceptions.  So I’ll conclude with yet another open resolution, yet another vow to solve a problem to which I’ve already admitted I lack the solution.  Sigh.

Today I resolve to figure out what needs to be figured out and to figure out how to figure that out and to figure out how to live my life.  Somehow.

“Gee, could you vague that up for me?”