This is a phrase that I've used to describe myself for years. I think it accurately captures my upbringing, my socio-economic status, my fashion sense (to a small degree) and some of my phrases. It captures what I'm comfortable around and my flaws. It captures a lot of my positive personality traits as well, including my "well, fuck it" attitude towards adversity. But the phrase is wrong. White Trash, as opposed to what? Black trash. Trash in general. But if I just say "trailer trash", that isn't exactly the vibe I'm going for. The fact that the phrase is racially awful is part of the point. Incorrect, insensitive, well meaning, but just wrong. Also, White Trash alone isn't the only phrase that fits.
Lumberjack North Trash. This is a phrase I want to create to imply a certain strain or flavor of trailer trash, or trashy levels of poverty. Lumber Trash? Great North LumberTrash. If you have any better ideas, let me know. This leads me to think of self fulfilling prophesies and the stories we tell ourselves. When I use this term, I use it as a shorthand way to sum up a lot of issues in my upbringing as well as a lot of good traits from this level of poverty. Who am I harming with this summation? Some would argue that I'm harming myself, but what about those people who have lived the existence with me? What about my cousins and my friends "back home". I don't even have a "Back Home", but would they recognize themselves and feel that I am insulting them?
What do you tell yourself about you up-bringing? Do you think that putting labels on things is bad (we all know someone who believes this, I know you're out there!)? Is this summation a good way to skip over the broad strokes of a life or place, or is it a way for us to conveniently be vague with strangers? To me, it seems expedient and useful ways to describe situations in order to hurry up and get to a larger point, eg: why did you eat that can of beans cold when there is a microwave RIGHT HERE. Answer: because, Lumber Trash, remember? By telling others this, am I giving an impression that is not self serving? Am I giving an impression that is inaccurate? For that matter, I was also raised by a Texan, a pagan, an atheist. What connotations or first impressions do those give? Are they different than the intention I have to begin with?
What has gotten me onto this chain of thought is moving into a new town. Fairbanks seems to be very homey to me and I can't understand why. The town is lively, but there is also a burned down strip club right outside my temporary residence. It made me smile. The burnt out truck in the parking lot adds a flavor to the whole scene that fills my cold, dead heart with joy. Why is that? Is it because I'm Lumber Trash and the scene is familiar and dark? I went to our first hockey game in town, and was immediately reminded of Spokane as a middle schooler at the roller rink. It was a place the kids went when we still needed a ride from our parents. A place we went to when we wanted to meet other kids and the height of flirting was *gasp* couples skate! We were too young to drink, and too old for the park. So we went to the mall and we went to the roller rink. The difference being, this was also filled with drunk-ish adults. It was like running into a whole pack of people who still went to their own high-school football games in their 30's. It felt nostalgic and sad and familiar all at the same time. Like the smell of old leather seats in a car that has been chainsmoked in for decades. Decidedly a bad smell, but one that reminds me of comfort and home and vague amounts of safety.
After leaving DC, I already feel the stress of surmounting doom lift from me. People are preparing for winter here. Normal, everyday problems. How long before I feel isolated and bored like before? Maybe this time will be different, but if past experience tells me anything, I'm going to need to find something to engage me entirely or else I risk feeling claustrophobic up here. I can feel it getting dark behind me, and I feel like it's time for me to leave the starbucks in the local barnes and noble and head back to the close and cozy room at the extended stay where my husband, children, and cats are. Soon, I will be in the business of making a home. For a time, that is enough to be getting on with.
On Depression and Life Goals
It is now January. Looking over 2018, there have been lots of ideas for projects. Things to knit, things to crochet, things to sew, things to embroider, things to paint, things to write and things to record. Not to mention things to research. So, this year, I’m going to try to take pictures of things that I’m working on in hopes to keep myself somewhat accountable in regards to actually finish them.
When I’m feeling particularly introspective (or naval gazing) I wonder why I haven’t moved forward towards work after my child-rearing years. I ask myself, what I would like to do (ugh, writing “I” too many times, shame) and it turns out, I like to write in journals until I get bored, do needlework of all types until my hands go numb (side effect of my current meds) and generally putz about the house touching up things here and there. So, basically, lonely kindergarten. I like arts and crafts, taking naps, snack time, petting furry animals, and not being restricted to one activity for too long. It sounds self-indulgent. I feel useless typing it out. But it’s what I like to do. It’s what I’m capable of doing. As long as I give back to my community, am I a complete waste of space if I wander about for the rest of my life?
Check out the projects tab for a look at what I mean when I say that I’m in lonely kindergarten. Each is a project I’ve either started or have yet to start, and all of them are incomplete. So hey, maybe you can relate.
After a few months of many many changes, it seems that our family has settled down into its rhythm once more. Since that is the case, I've had a chance to settle into my life and now have time to think and to write again. So, since I've last reported in, I've stopped interacting on social media entirely, had a baby, moved states, and reassessed my duties and responsibilities as a human. Whew! A lot of change is still coming down the pike, and I wonder if I will ever be settled for anything longer than 2 years. It might just be the case that I never will. If that's true, it's what I know, and it doesn't concern me much.
I do look around at other people, though. I notice the difference. They have hometowns. Friends from childhood. Places where people know them and their family. I don't have that and never had that to begin with. Perhaps it's one of those "grass is greener" situations. To them, they may look at my life with a level of envy. Without being in their heads, I'll never know.
Overall, life is good. My depression is under control, my children are happy and well adjusted, and my marriage is as awesome as it always is. Although we are nowhere near rich or blissfully happy all of the time, and we have our ups and downs, we are comfortable, we are relatively secure, and there is much love here. If I believed in a deity, I'd even call myself blessed, but let's go with lucky. Comparing myself to the world as a whole, I am very very lucky, and I strive to remember that. Not to diminish my good fortune, but to keep my lows in perspective as well as my highs. If I had a magic wand, I'd make it so my brain could appreciate my good fortune as much as it deserves, but it is the brain I have.
That's all there is to report, and I'll let you know if anything interesting happens. In the mean time, take a look at all of my half completed projects and reviews of my only link to the outside world: podcasts and video games. Go Team Recluse!
If you're like me, this past election season has left you in a place where you never thought you would be before. For me, the election of our new president has left me in yet another depressive slump. Questions of equality and the beliefs of our fellow Americans have been answered. I've caught myself saying things like "there can't be THAT many people who condone his sexism, can there?" and having the answer be a resounding "yes". For the non-white people I've spoken to, my surprise is insulting. Apparently, a very naive part of me believed that there were only a select few powerful hold-outs who were driving racist and sexist policy and narratives in our country. And after the election, I feel the need to apologize to every person of color I meet on the street for being that naive. Unknowingly, I've disregarded every single anecdote that makes up their day to day lives.
You'd think, as a member of the LGBTQ community and a feminist and an atheist that I'd be more than painfully aware of the amount of discrimination that exists for each of these communities, but no. Racism is something that is hard for me to fathom, to understand, and to see in my own actions and beliefs, that I wonder how many people who did support and vote for President Elect Trump don't see their own racism simply because they're not actively lynching people in their town squares. If someone like me can find a huge blind-spot in her own character after at least TRYING to look for blind spots, I wonder what the middle-America equivalent of me is missing.
So, publicly, I'd like to admit my own blind spot. My own privileged life (insofar as I am a white female with some education) and culture still requires a lot of slaps in the face like this election to look at the fellow human beings around me and take note that in the grand scheme of things, I'm doing fairly well and this election will hurt, but not as much as it will continue to hurt those who are already shat upon enough.
Whenever I have these moments, I wonder what other people do when they realize they have a blind spot. My first reaction is indignation and "nu-uh!" but when that feeling shows up, I have to check it immediately. If I feel that much about anything, there's something underneath it that isn't pretty. What is your first reaction to your own ignorance?
Cruel Cruel Doubt
Doubt is something rarely thought about as a physical sensation. Crippling self-doubt has prevented me from opening up my own webpage for months, writing anything more than a sentence, calling my friends, driving further than a few miles from my home, and kicking out my mother. If a cringe and the hissing intake of air before the lash falls can be rolled into a single consistent feeling and extended over an entire persons life could be accurately described, it would be called depression. There is that moment before doing something where any normal human would say "I want to do this thing" and then they do it, that I experience over entire weeks and months at a time. "I want to write a post about this book I just read" is then followed by everything OTHER than writing a post about a book I just read. Yesterday, I sat at the keyboard of my computer and lightly tapped keys, afraid to even push down on the damn buttons. And man, did I have shit to say! Like the monkey at the keyboard, at least ONE of those ideas would have been worthy of something! Instead, I was afraid to make noise with my key fondling in my own home.
So, today is a new day of embracing the suck. Today, I gave my mother an eviction notice. Today, I put on pants and a shirt and rode my bike to the corner store for smokes instead of driving. Today, I turned off the damned TV and told my kids "be bored. It's good for you" despite my mother sobbing in the shed, sending me text messages about what a horrible mother I am. Today, even though I feel like the most worthless piece of shit in the sewage plant, I did stuff. I made decisions, and I actually intend to stick to them. Because really, nobody cares. But I care, and that's enough for me.
What kind of stuff am I working on now? Right now, the goal is to brush my teeth everyday, and then shower, and then put on pants. All before 1000. I make lists of the life I want to lead instead. Action packed days of cleaning and cooking and parenting magazine stuff, and sewing, and painting, and then one blog post a day and then working on my podcast and crafting myself as a real adult instead of this mopey bathrobe with legs. I finish the list, the schedule, the plan, the idea. Then I yawn, roll back over, and mope some more. I look at that list later and cringe. Who am I kidding? That's for the productive folk. So, back to the basics and build up from there. Step one: Get out of bed. Step two: hygiene. Step three: pants and shirt. Once I can do this consistently everyday for about two weeks, I'll add steps. Like, food. Then I can do something radical, like an activity involving movement.
One step at a time baby, one step at a time.
GOALS ARE IMPORTANT
Currently we're in PHASE 1 of the website launch. The site is open for you to poke around and see what the general layout is, but I haven't posted any content yet, but that is about to change. Over the course of the next few months, your input is going to be crucial, so keep an eye out for new content as well as surveys so that I can make something you'll want to read.
You're probably wondering "It's your website, write what you care about", but alas, the problem is that I care about a ton of things. I'd like to narrow the list down and keep the meandering to a sane minimum. First, I'd like to address what the goal of this entire website is in the form of bullet points. You can take the girl out of the Navy but you can't take the Navy out of the girl, apparently.
1) Because I need to write and share my thoughts and feelings, even if nobody is reading it.
2) I need a public space to clearly identify my morals and beliefs and have my friends and family beat it down into a refined code of laws. This may sound lofty, but improvement seems to come from taking a raw belief and chiseling away the parts that don't fit or pollute the pure idea. Also, I'd say most people are more intelligent than I am in many different ways, so if my thoughts and ideas sit inside my own head and don't get aired out from time to time, I'm afraid my brain will mold over.
3) You know how I pick up a hobby and learn everything I can about it until I burn out? Well, sometimes the results are so beautiful, they are worthy of selling to someone else who can also appreciate the effort that went into making them. Currently, it's historically accurate or semi-accurate gowns for my daughters. As I get better, I will have an excess of well-made princess dresses and I know my daughters aren't the only ones with the princess fever. Knowing how fast kids grow, I'd like to sell my pieces for about the cost of how much money it took to make it. Also, my friends have art too! Sam has some lovely pieces that I think my friends and family will appreciate.
4) Already mentioned is how I need to write and how I need my brain to air out, but the final goal for this website is to improve my writing. As my father mentioned last week, it will forcefully input a filter. Finally.