Why Bro and I Can’t Have Nice Things

 

Wednesday July 1, 2015

( I promise I will get a recap of the other days up, but this was crazy bizarre and I had to record it all first so I didn’t forget it)

It was Brian’s last day visiting me and due to it being so hot I had put off downtown because that just felt like an invitation for passing out. So I figured we would hit Pittock, the Rose Test Garden, park at Cascade and then MAX to downtown, AKA the BEST plan ever. Or so I thought (Spoiler alert? It wasn’t)…

 

Pittock Mansion – I know it seems trite, but when I moved out here my mom and I went to Pittock Mansion and I stood under the Weeping Willow and started crying because I was so happy I was finally home. So whenever someone visits, or whenever I have a choice of somewhere I want to visit, I always mention the Pittock Mansion. I took Brian there and we walked around for a little bit. I happened to have two quarters that I gave to a little girl that was visiting from California to put in the binoculars and of course they got stuck and didn’t work. It was a short visit, but a good one nonetheless.

The Rose Test Garden – Brian and I spent a surprisingly decent amount of time here, considering it was 86 degrees out and we were already covered in a coating of sweat. We ambled through the rows of fragrant and vividly colored hybrids before finally giving in to the desire to be back in an air conditioned car.

Cascade Station – I completely overshot the airport because I wasn’t paying attention and we ended up in Vancouver for a little bit. We waved to everyone I know in Washington. You’re welcome. Then we got to Cascade Station and parked in a nearby area. Getting unto the MAX wasn’t difficult at all and we enjoyed each other’s company before getting off at 10th.

Powells – Obviously, this is something you have to take a friend to. Especially if they enjoy reading and mentioned they needed something to feed their eyes on the plane ride. We spent a little bit of time in there before walking around aimlessly. Originally, we planned on stopping for Indian, Lebanese, or Asian food, but we ended up somewhere else.

Mi Mero Mole – I originally found this place with Kat when Jon was touring with TMBG in May. We liked it so much, we went BACK to it the same evening to have a full meal. Brian and I ordered food. He underestimated the amount of food that would be in the burrito. I was almost proud that he was able to finish it and the taco he ordered.

Waterfront – We headed over to the Waterfront and I mentioned that I was potentially interested in visiting the Whiskey Bar near Skidmore Fountain. While we rested on the grass, I tried to find out when they open. I even went as far as calling the line Google had listed and had a fantastic conversation with a fax machine, that is, until it called my mother a whore. Then we became enemies. Nobody talks bad about my Mamalyn. Not even my Mamalyn. So I looked up where the Multnomah Whiskey Library was located and we hopped on the MAX. As soon as it left the stop, Brian realized that his books fell out of his pocket. So we got off at the next stop, walked over, and the books miraculously were still there.

On our second attempt, there were these adorable little girls talking to one of the Sheriffs on the train. He had given them all stickers and they were asking him questions and he was patient and kind. I could see the faces of the adults around him and they all had genuine smiles on their faces.

Multnomah Whiskey Library – We entered and were immediately told it would be 10 minutes before we would be seated, so since we were cutting it close I requested a menu. After seeing a glass of Whistlepig priced at $55, we both decided to try elsewhere.

Rock Bottom Brewery – Because it’s so close to the MAX, it was ideal for us to finish off the trip with a bourbon and a scotch. I asked for a 10oz cider afterwards and the bartender said that the 8oz beer backs were free with our orders, so that was awesome. We finished up and headed to the Eastbound side of things.

Yamhill/3rd MAX Station – While it’s not in the most promising looking areas, I’ve never really had a problem with this stop. However, when TWO Blue line trains come through and no reds come through (and Google Maps keeps telling you another one will be there in minutes), I started to get worried. I figured it would just be easier to grab whatever was next. So we hopped on the next MAX (another blue line) and they announced that they would be stopping due to issues with Gateway. As Gateway was the last Red/Blue stop before the split, I got a little nervous.

The train would reach a stop and stay there for 10 minutes. After looking at the map, I determined that it would take 120 minutes at that rate and Brian needed to be at the airport in 30 minutes. So I sucked in a deep breath and ordered a Radio Cab to meet us at the Convention Center. It was at this point that Brian realized that his wallet had fallen out of his pants. His stupid, treacherous pants. He said he had his passport in his suitcase, so I sighed and told him he wouldn’t make his flight if we went back. We got into the cab and $40 later got to my car.

I stopped quickly to grab some cash for him to have for checking his bag and getting something to eat if needed before dropping him off. Originally, I was planning to wait until he got through TSA before leaving, but I figured I would try looking for the wallet. I called Rock Bottom and they scoured their bar area for us as I drove into the city.

Yamhill/3rd MAX Station – Dag, that stop is well-lit. I did a walk around and even circled the block to see if someone grabbed the cash and threw the wallet (yes, I even went in the garbage, so obviously I have hepatitis now). Sadly nothing was there. So I headed home and made sure Brian successfully cancelled his credit cards before getting on the plane.

 

There was, however, a happy ending. The following morning I received a text from a woman named Julie who had found his wallet and found him on Facebook. We arranged a time to pick up the wallet and when I met up with her, I offered to pay for their admission to the Japanese Garden.  Her brother Brian also met me there. He originally spotted the wallet at the MAX station. She declined with a smile and said to use the money to send his wallet Express back to the east coast. She only asked that I pay it forward.

 

I hope you like ramen, bitch!!!

One of the things that no one is going to tell you, because it all sounds really bleak, is that life is going to continuously kick you. Feeling down? Have another boot to the psyche! Feeling stressed? Surprise! You totally forgot about that annual bill and it just over drafted your account! Hope you like ramen, bitch!

While the whole prospect of it is incredibly daunting, people still go through massive amounts of sad. Sometimes when everything feels like it’s never going to get better, people often wonder why they even bother.

But you know what? Things improve and give you a moments respite from the dark walls of depression. Maybe it’s a hug from a friend, maybe it’s a baby using you as a jungle gym and then a place for vomit. Maybe it’s dressing like a pirate and blockading a Krispy Kreme to get some free doughnuts.

Sadness is real. It is the yang to the yin that is happiness. What is so hard to remember when it feels like you’re drowning is that there will eventually be a breath of fresh air.

The difference between those that give up and those that soldier through it is hope. Or stubbornness. Either way, there is a phenomenal sense of accomplishment when you make it through. While my initial mindset is to be pessimistic, there is optimism somewhere inside me telling me that there is so much more I need to experience while I can. So yeah. Hope. That’s awesome.

Today, I wrote for the first time in a year. A YEAR. I’m not talking about blog posts as you get those every now and again like lovely little reminders that I’m not dead yet. I mean that I started writing something for a story I wanted to start writing. Confused? GREAT!

I got the biggest complement when a coworker offered to read it. I sent her something completely fictional and her reply was “I’m confused. The email you sent me sounds like it’s a news article.” That is EXACTLY how I wanted it to read and it gave me such a sense of accomplishment. I had forgotten how much I love writing.

I think I stopped due to the fact that I have been doing all of the things during the beautiful season in Oregon. I’ve also succumbed to the wanderlust and am murdering my summer with travel.

In two weeks I will be headed to California to see a bunch of friends and have every intention of murdering live band karaoke. Any requests?

Sorry for the strange update. That’s all I have for the moment.

How I’m Feeling Right Now, aka Who You Gonna Call?

Have you ever played the game “Telephone”?

A phrase is uttered, and then it is passed through a circle of people until it is returned to you. What typically returns is warped, twisted, and not at all close to what it originally was. It is a lesson in finding out if people are actually hearing when you speak. It is often translated by their own thought process and is altered to make sense to them. Sometimes it is just tweaked because someone has their own agenda. Maybe they don’t like the person that started the round or they think it’s boring and want to spice it up. There are so many variables that result in the alteration of the phrase. As a game, it is a lot of fun.

Through listening, I have learned that a lot of my life has been passed around my friends like a game of telephone. While some of it is amazing to hear (ie. The story of Elfie and I running from a bear morphing into me cage fighting a black bear, or the time I stabbed myself turning into me removing my whole hand), there are things that have recently happened in my life that I really didn’t want to talk about. Things that really friggin hurt. Things that I needed to contemplate. Those that I needed while it was happening were most definitely spoken to. But they know that I’m not about to start a game of telephone that would affect someone else.

The best part about my friends is that when the “telephone phrase” reaches them, they genuinely want to know what was originally said/done/thought. I have so many amazing people in my life. The fact that they all feel comfortable coming to me for clarification, even when they may not even be a part of something, is a good thing. I’d much rather clear up any confusion than let something continue to escalate into something that it isn’t.

So, if you happen to read this and have any questions about something going on in my life, ask me. Taking the word of someone not vacationing in my head will result in misinformation.

I don’t broadcast everything that I do because
1. I lead a very busy (albeit interesting) life
2. Often my thoughts/feelings are fleeting
3. I am not the only person involved.

I don’t just walk up to friends and unload everything onto them. I am a relatively guarded person (regardless of what you see on the internet. That is me being reserved.) Those that I go to during tough times are people that have at one point or another asked me about a situation prior to coming to a conclusion about my character.

A Letter to Myself, On My Thirtieth Birthday

So hi, future Ali. I guess at this point you’re present Ali and I’m past Ali but regardless… We’re the same person.

I just wanted to let you know that you may not be exactly where you want to be at some points in your life. No, you’re not a famous singer. No, you aren’t a famous author. No, you still can’t afford to splurge on one of those ridiculously expensive and awesome cameras with all of the attachments. No, you’re not in a relationship (wait… are you?).

Life tends to throw a bunch of detours when it comes to planning.

I just wanted to remind you (well me…) that you have come SO FAR from who you once were.

 

It’s not just a distance thing. Yes, you did move 3,000 miles from home and you (at this point) are flourishing. You’re making new friends. You’re experiencing new things. You’re being creative and using your imagination.

 

You also have started tearing down those walls you built around yourself. People are seeing more of you than most ever have.

Also you play with fire. That’s pretty cool too.

 

Photo by Photography.Naturally. Click on the picture and like their facebook page!

Photo by Photography.Naturally. Click on the picture and like their facebook page!

What I hope most for.. for us… is that you continue to do things that both interest and scare you. Life is what you make of it, and at the moment I’m writing this, you have just modeled for your first photoshoot. You have gone to a bunch of comedy shows (and have been recognized by the comedians… still strange, BTW.)

 

I know that there are people in your life that will not only defend your honor, but if they had to they would probably help you bury a body. Several WILL avenge your death, so don’t die a stupid one, okay? No falling off of the bed and rotting, only to be eaten by the ghost cats in your apartment.

 

Whenever you feel the urge to hide, shine. Yes, the safety blankets will be there, just resist the urge to go all hermit and grow a beard. Nevermind… grow a beard. I think you’d look absolutely smashing.

No, you’re not a famous singer. But you do have people that watch you on youtube when you play the ukulele and you love karaoke with friends. You even sing jazz with a live band every now and again. You should do that more.

No, you’re not a famous author. But you do write, have ideas, tell stories, and generally entertain people.

No, you can’t buy a camera. But you do have your own apartment, food, and so many coffee places you probably need to stop going to them. You also will get there in time. See how many people would be willing to chip in. Start a gofundme or something.

No, you’re not in a relationship (or you are… I have no idea). But… I’m gonna get cryptic here. B-o-D, fondue, borrowed voice, UBG… There are people. Relationships are scary and as I’m writing this I know I’m not in one for a reason.

You waited so long to start really living.

Live.

Happy Birthday, asshole. You get to see your parents in a few days!

Also get more tattoos. You like that.

I Love You, Beantown.

In the aftermath of the tragedy that befell Boston, I have spent the last 24 hours reflecting on the things I had done there in the past.

I would regularly visit friends in JP during my childhood, my 21st birthday was a drunken weekend there, I met a bunch of Betties, I made regular trips to the aquarium, I met a bunch of nerds through Chris Hardwick, so many trips to Quincy, my friend started her business there… Laughs, love, memories of blisters from really inappropriate shoes, getting hit on by homeless dudes, bar hopping on St Paddys, waking up and wondering where my pants were, ridiculous trips to Framingham to get $2.99 wine at Trader Joes, conventions, mischief.

Boston was always my “go to” destination over NYC. It wasn’t because I hated New York. It was because it felt like home.

A part of me considered moving there before finding and falling in love with Portland.

Last night I was so angry at the Internet that I turned off everything and went to bed very early. Some people took to devaluing the situation, saying that this stuff happens all the time. It shouldn’t be a priority over everything else.

Instead of telling them to go fuck themselves, I went to every Facebook page of a friend that either lives in Boston or works close and made sure they were all right.

I am one of the lucky ones. So many people in Boston are hurt and scared right now. Telling them that their feelings don’t matter is more horrific than letting them take a breath to grieve.

Human tragedy isn’t a contest. Oftentimes, things are prioritized. For as much time is needed, they should be able to reflect on the events that transpired. It doesn’t mean that they have forgotten the rest of the world. It means that they are watching their sons and daughters and husbands and wives have to deal with the fact that they have lost their limbs.

I am not afraid of Boston, or ever going back home. Mainly because what I saw when seeing some of the people running was many of them running to the site to help. Runners continuing to the hospital to give blood. Off duty Emergency response personnel rushing to do what was necessary to ensure that the death count didn’t rise. Military finishing a race in full gear and then banding together to find every person that needed help.

I flashed back to 2001 yesterday, when I couldn’t get ahold of my friends in NYC. I spent ten hours in and out of panic attacks. To tell me to “wake up” and that it happens all the time is fucked up. There is no limit to the expanse of empathy.

That being said? I love you Boston. I’ll be around to hug you soon enough.

Quick Note About Today’s Event in Boston

Now is not the time to be asking “who”. Now is the time to ask “what can I do to help?”

1. Give blood if you’re in the Boston area.
2. Don’t call people, just text. The phone lines are saturated.
3. Pay attention to the news, but don’t assume they are 100% correct. They would rather be first to report and have to retract than to actually research the lead.
4. Live. Laugh. Love.

My heart hurts for those that have lost, and those injured.

Still Alive!

Hi everyone!

I know it’s been quite some time since I last posted something.

Life has been hectic. As I type this I am trying to do three things and I’m anticipating what my plans are for the evening.

No. I’m not ignoring anyone 🙂

I’ve been very fortunate to have found a bunch of people here that want to hang out and there are so many things to do here I haven’t been home long enough to write anything.

I sing almost every other week at a Jazz Jam in Hillsboro. I am currently an apprentice with a fire performing troupe. I’m getting invited to tabletop RPGs (finally). I am so in love with my job I want to have babies with it.

That being said, I will try to schedule some time to catch you all up. So… you may have a week of new posts or just random posts.

Miss you!

– sent from my stupid phone.

Regarding Depression and Suicide (Obviously This Gets Dark)

On Wednesday, I had a discussion about depression with a friend. I have removed their end of the conversation as theirs is not my story to tell.

I am choosing to post this today because someone I have never met killed himself. And I fucking get it. I get it so much it hurts sometimes.
Fair warning. I get dark. I also am just writing this on the fly, so it may just be a bunch of thoughts that I put down.
I’m a tad fucked up. [Another friend] kinda unintentionally set me on a day of a downward spiral this week.
(I’m better now, just needed to process how truthful I was)
They asked about my scars, depression management, and my compulsions/triggers… and I spoke honestly about them.
Forgetting that occasionally that IS a trigger.
Yeah… They were like “you really handle your depression well. Do you take medication?”
I was like “nope. I use my sense of humor and love of adorable things to get me out of it.”
It is absolutely jarring how sometimes your own depression can catch you off guard. You know that it exists and acknowledge it exists, but the extent of how you feel sometimes pads the actual physical reaction your body has.

Depression, for me, can be several different physical reactions. A panic attack, scratching at my skin until it bleeds, punching the insides of my thighs, wanting to curl up in a ball and watch… anything that will make me laugh.

During my conversation with this friend, I actually wrote “It’s okay. I still am not sleeping with a knife in my room, so I know I’m okay.”

Logically, that seems fucked up. It really does. But, back east, I would have a knife in my room (in a box) as some sort of safety blanket. The idea that I could always kill myself later gave me an additional option to feeling terrible and therefore took a bit of the depression away. That object permanence was enough to calm me.

While that is an incredibly dark comfort, it kept me from killing myself. (Now? I can understand why my parents got me help and why I got myself help as well.)

The worst part of hearing about someone killing themselves is that I almost always internalize it. Like “fuck. That could have been me.” And it could have. I could be self-depracating and talk about how I always get distracted and never finish anything, but I really think it has to do with the fact that no matter how terrible it got, the Pandora’s box in my head still had Hope clinging to it.

Depression is a lot like arthritis. Some days are fantastic. Some are meh. Some are catastrophically painful. The only difference between the two is that there is no way to physically tell that someone is working through severe depression unless their face reflects sadness or anxiety. And I was really good at masking how I felt about things. Because I knew I didn’t want to hang out with the suicidal girl, I knew everyone else wouldn’t want someone that is perpetually Eeyore in nature. So I lied. I manipulated the muscles in my face into an emotion that I wasn’t sure I could feel anymore.

But you know what? For so much of my life I hated myself. Absolutely HATED myself. I felt like I was a phony. I felt ugly. I felt like I was lying to everyone (and I kinda was, by not sharing how I felt). I have reached a point in my life where I can look at myself in the mirror and not want to break it. People here throw me compliments (you’re beautiful, you’re so much fun) and I still have a hard time allowing myself to believe them, but on the days that I do… It’s like being kissed by the sun. Sometimes I forget that I thrive with conversation.

I have someone phenomenal in my life over here that exudes this incredible calm. I was at a party, found out that I would be staying over, realized I had no idea where I was, and was on the verge of a full blown anxiety attack. This person saw the almost-feral panic in my eyes and immediately grabbed me by the hand and forced me to focus into their eyes. That connection was like being grounded.

I had forgotten that touch and realizing that people aren’t just things that I observe is essential for my brain.
If there is anything that I have learned in my 29 years on this planet, it is simply this – You will not be helped if you do not ask for it. If you do look for help and feel you aren’t getting it, look again. Do not give up. This is YOUR LIFE. YOU DESERVE TO LIVE IT.

 

 

Resources:

  • Suicide Hotline:             1-800-SUICIDE       (2433) – Can use in US, U.K., Canada and Singapore
  • Suicide Crisis Line:             1-800-999-9999
  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline:             1-800-273-TALK       (8245)
  • National Adolescent Suicide Helpline:             1-800-621-4000
  • Postpartum Depression:             1-800-PPD-MOMS
  • NDMDA Depression Hotline – Support Group:             1-800-826-3632
  • Veterans:             1-877-VET2VET
  • Crisis Help Line – For Any Kind of Crisis:             1-800-233-4357
  • Suicide & Depression Crisis Line – Covenant House:             1-800-999-9999

You are not alone.

What Do You Want in Life?

Recently, I had a conversation with someone that has been eating at me. It’s been less than a week and I found myself focusing on the conversation when I didn’t have any music at work. It was a simple question, one that I wasn’t prepared for and I didn’t realize why until I drove home today.

“What do you want in life?”

A completely simple, straightforward, and direct question threw me completely off guard. To be honest, it kind of depressed the shit out of me. It gnawed the ever living angst out of me before I realized that I HAD answered their question, only I was vague. I didn’t explain things, and I think I left something out for fear of being judged by someone I’m attracted to. Hell, I think all of it was curbed slightly to prevent myself from thinking that someone was judging me (when they were probably just thinking about elevator music).

So I have decided to expand upon what it was that I said those few days ago.

Ali, What do you want in life?

  • Adventure – While the idea of jet setting or backpacking across Europe sounds fantastic to me, that isn’t the only kind of adventure I want. I want the adventure of trying new things, learning new things. The majority of my life I have lived in this self-created bubble and spent so much of my time afraid of letting people watch me fail. It prevented me from auditioning for roles. It prevented me from approaching a possible career in music. It has even prevented me from learning how to play an instrument (and I desperately want to.) All of my friends here love camping. I think I might give it a try some time to see what the hubbub is. I want to try surfing. I want to try ski blading. I want to hike somewhere and watch the sun set (and not die or be eated by a bear. That’d be super.)
  • Challenge – I want something to challenge me. I have never really gone for something that I haven’t been good at, so the idea of trying something and failing is absolutely terrifying. I want to not be afraid to rise to the challenge.
  • Romance – Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a sucker for the guy getting the girl and vice versa (or guy/guy, girl/girl. I’m a fan of love not gender). I am a romantic. Sadly, the hopeless kind. The books I read, my Netflix queue, some of my own writing… It’s moderately embarrassing to me, as a woman who is perfectly capable of doing things on her own, to want someone to come in and do something for me. It’s not that I need someone to do it. It’s the feeling that comes with watching someone do something so inconsequential (i.e. Taking out garbage, cooking dinner, rubbing my back) and being completely moved (and ladies, let’s be honest, a little turned on) that they did it because they didn’t want me to have to.
  • I want to finish my book by November of next year. I rarely ever give myself a deadline, but this has been sitting in my brain for years now. It needs to come out.
  • I WAAAAYYY DOWN THE LINE want to be a mom. I have had the opportunity to be an “auntie” to many a youngin, and I find that it plucks at a particular quadrant in my heart. Not an “aww look at that. How cute” sort of way. More of an “I’m going to make you feel like you’re on the verge of a panic attack” sort of way. I know that I’m not ready now. See the next bullet for reference.
  • I want to love myself the way my friends love me. One of the worst things that ever existed in the human psyche is that… The people you loved in childhood start this domino effect clusterfuck. I don’t blame anyone from my past for how I feel about myself in the present, I feel that my perception of other people’s judgments directly relates to how I feel about myself today…

 

Example: Who I was in 2008 vs who I am in 2012: Most times, I don’t see the difference in appearance. I still feel like me prior to 2009. (I am clarifying this for a friend who is going through a similar experience.)

 

… So… Everything that is told to me now by new friends is tinged by the experiences of me so many years ago. It is hard to differentiate who I was then vs who I am now as I don’t feel like I have changed much (except for the fact that during this dip into depression I am STILL happier than I ever was on the East Coast). I STILL feel like I constantly need to apologize to people. It took a complete stranger in Studio City, CA to tell me that I was loveable before I realized that I was justifying the negative reactions towards me in the past. If I don’t have a grasp on this mindset I do not think I will be a parent because there is no way I would want to subject a child to this.

 

You all know that I do not make New Year’s Resolutions.  Instead, I will tell you what I have missed since July of this year.

 

I miss the feeling of touching people (in a completely non-sexual way).

I miss sitting with Paddy on the porch at the InSiana Asylum (not a typo) and just talking and staring at the stars** and bouncing creative ideas off of each other. I also miss family holidays with the family S.

**OH MY GOD PATRICK! The stars are brighter here! Brighter, clearer, and they will dry hump your periphery if you get on a hill too!

I miss walking Bro out of an “IMMA STAB A BITCH” stupor.

I miss sitting on a couch with my bestie, drinking coffee and telling life tales.

I miss Elfie, V, Marissa, LL, and the other ladies of the Stitch and Bitch.

I miss being able to call my mom and dad when I’ve been in a car accident and not freak them the fuck out because I am 3,000 miles away and there is no way they can pick me up.

I miss bonfire friends and dapper dressed gentilefolk that would fill my hours with amusement and my belly with Scotch.

I miss my sister-in-law and my brother.

I miss sitting on the jagged rocks at the beach near my friend’s house. I miss talking to the waves and feeling like I had just let it out to a therapist.

I miss driving to New Haven and taking the train into NYC to see Mel.

I miss having the $$ to visit friends all over the country (and out of it too!)

 

I didn’t mean to end this with such melancholy. Honestly, the conversation with this person inspired me to write and that hasn’t happened in quite some time, so that’s much appreciated.

 

I constantly feel the need to reiterate that I am HONESTLY the happiest I have been in years. I have just hit a snag, but the snag is manageable.

 

Oh and Wendy? Go fuck yourself. I miss you, wifey.