Ramblings: February Reflections

I find that the beginning of each new year is usually a time for reflection on my life, for some changes and also a time to relax a little and think about what I want to accomplish over the rest of the year. 2012 was an interesting year in terms of change and life in general and in a way I want to continue along that route, pinpointing the issues that tend to bother me and get rid of them for good, while at the same time focusing on the things that make me, and others happy. Of course there are moments when I feel like I am doing everything wrong, moments where I feel like I am a failure at everything, as well as moments when I just want to give up and go and live somewhere else away from everything. There are also moments when I feel like everything is worth it, and there is no place better to live than where I live now.

I feel like I am finally miles away from all of the gossip mongers that tend to be in any place that you live. People who spend their lives talking about other people, deforming stories and passing them along, just because they don’t know how to stop and focus on their own lives. I hear snippets of things here and there, random stories that I supposedly told someone else (how I wonder, seeing as I haven’t spoken to said people in well over six months), but I have decided that there was a reason that I moved on from all of that and decided to remove myself from it all, for better or for worse. Nowadays it doesn’t hurt me as much as it used to, because I am surrounded by people who really care about me and my well-being, as much as I care about them and theirs.

Sometimes in life you spend a lot of time with a certain person, and think that they will always be there for you, as much as you have been there for them. This person will be the first person you call to tell good or bad news to, the one who will answer your text at 5am when you are suffering from insomnia and need a friendly ear to listen to you. This is the person who you will pick up every time they fall down, even when you are tired of doing it and wish that it was the other way round for once. But you continue to do it because one day you know that it WILL be the other way round. Or so you think… Sometimes that person decides that they don’t have the time or the energy to help you. However painful that may seem at the time, in the long run it is all for the better. At least you are now aware of the one-sidedness of your relationship, and in the end, you are better off without this person in your life. It gets easier, and honestly your life takes a turn for the better. I feel lighter and happier nowadays. I’m not worried about that other person’s mood swings or anger or happiness anymore.

Hmmm… I don’t really want to finish that last paragraph anymore, as I started it last week and things have changed again. Yet another sign of how life can often surprise you, especially when you think a certain part of your life has gone forever, it pops back up and decides to give it another chance. We will see how things pan out in the long run, but in the meantime I am putting all reflection on hold so that I can see it with an open mind instead of being bogged down with past feelings of hurt and anger and betrayal as well as nostalgia and memories. Maybe that’s a sign of growing up (finally) – the ability to be able to forgive and move on and not to just cut someone out of your life for once and for all. Although I have to say, it doesn’t work with everyone. Some of the people I have cut out are never coming back in, and that is just so much better that way!

I’ve now been living in Bushwick for 5 years and in New York for nearly 8. Our landlords decided to raise our rent $250 this year, and although I feel like the raise is extortionate, it’s still going to be less than what most people are paying in this neighbourhood for the space and the amenities that we have. We were able to negotiate a complete revamp of the apartment (fixed windows, paint, bathroom regrout) and are staying another year here… I don’t want to move, and in any case, how would I ever be able to sign a lease nowadays with my credit as it is? I’m still not paying anywhere near as much as I paid when I lived in that tiny studio in the West Village, and this apartment feels like home. It’s also been incredible to see how the neighbourhood has changed over the past 5 years. Who would have thought that this quiet, not really very safe, area would become full of new buildings and interesting restaurants and bars. I never have to fight with cab drivers to get home anymore, and even more surprising, they actually know where my cross streets are without sighing and getting out a GPS or asking for play by play directions. This apartment feels like a home and looks like one. I couldn’t even imagine having to pack everything up into boxes and moving out now – so I suppose that means that I really have decided that New York is my home. As long as I balance it out with more travel and less time spent wishing I were elsewhere, I really don’t see myself moving to a different city or country anymore. 

Based on what an old (not anymore) friend told me via text message that bartending was cool when you were 20, not so much when you are 34, I should probably think about changing my line of work, but to be honest I’d rather not. In my opinion, living is about being happy and content in what you do, and my jobs make me feel happy. Maybe not the most mature of professions in some people’s eyes - but then again, what is? Are you all of a sudden supposed to remove all of your tattoos, put on a suit, stop having fun and do something boring for a living just because you hit the age of 35? I was pondering on that mean text message I received for a while, until one of my friends deleted it from my phone as there was no point in thinking about it anymore. I’m happy at work, and that’s the most important. Most days I come in with a smile. I am given different types of responsibility, now have some managing shifts at one job, and get to meet lots of interesting people (and many assholes too), and make new friends all of the time. What better job is there for a writer? I have enough material to write about for the rest of my life, and will continue to accumulate said material every day. Lesson learned – don’t read into hateful text messages that only contain a projection of the sender’s own life on your own. As long as you like what you do and you aren’t hurting anybody, there is no reason to feel like you are not living your life “properly”.

There has been so much good music released over the past few months, and I feel excited to see what else is to come this year. The new Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album is epic (no surprise there), there is to be a new Suede out soon, a new Yeah Yeah Yeahs album, a new BRMC album, as well as many new bands that are right up my street. I need to start working on new playlists for the bar as well as for myself. And I need to make an effort to go to more shows again, starting with Knoxville Morning who will be playing at Mercury Lounge this coming Friday. I’m sure they are just as brilliant live as they are recorded. I have a pinboard above my desk where I stick notes of all new album releases, book releases and gallery exhibitions in an attempt to be on top of everything I want to do and see everything I want to do and see, but I’ve been too lazy recently. I feel like it’s time to go back into hermit mode for a while, finish off the pile of books that is growing by my bed, add to my poetry collection, finish off this newest collection of short stories and get some more photography collections together.

It smells like early Spring outside. I’m glad, as this winter has been a tough one again. Not really so much weather-wise, although it has been cold enough. For the second year in a row January and February have been plagued with the death of people close to me and of people close to people I know, and it just makes me really sad. I wanted to finish this piece of on a positive note, but I’m honestly finding it hard to be super joyful and happy at the moment. I think that all I can really say to this is that I need to keep reminding myself to always let people know how much I care about them, and to live life in a way that won’t lead me to regret too much along the way. Focus on accomplishing everything I want to accomplish, and help others feel happy with their lives too – that’s seems to be the most important take away from all this sadness and grief.

Ah Spring… I am really looking forward to feeling your warm sun on my face again!

Sweet Surrender

Day 11.

Positive things: I feel great. My skin is beginning to glow again and I have more energy. I think this all comes from the combination of not drinking, getting more sleep and eating better. And, of course, not constantly working 15 hours a day. I feel more productive at work too, a lot more motivated and positive.

No negativity.

Difficulties: leaving my friends at 10pm last night, knowing full well they were all staying out to have fun - it was harder than I thought it would be, so I just listened to Calla on the way home, and once I was there I felt a lot better. Nothing can beat Tim Buckley, a good book, my bed, ginger tea and Luna :)

So I am feeling a lot happier and more positive already. I promised the girls that I would get a therapist, and I will. There re too many issues I have kept too far inside and haven't dealt with properly. BUT I need to do it on my own time. People don't understand that I have actually dealt with clinical depression for so many years that I don't remember when it started. Sadly this is often a hereditary affliction, and I don't want to be on medication for the rest of my life. Sometimes I fix it by curling into myself and becoming anti-social. Other times I tend to drink until I forget. Other times I channel it and use it productively. I need to learn to do the latter, because the self-destructive attitude just plunges me into deeper pits and doesn't really solve anything.

Winter is tough in New York, especially January. It's freezing cold, always dark when you leave work and pretty depressing. I want this January to be different, I want it to mean something. Change? Definitely.

I miss Dylan already :(

Monday morning

Last week was hellish - with work being even more insane than usual and having to deal with going to court again, but I had a lovely weekend. I managed to clean my whole apartment, something I have been wanting to do for over a month (but impossible to do while Karli was here), relax, have fun, and not drink myself stupid. Not that I didn't drink, but I was a lot better than I usually am. I've already been at work for an hour and am feeling ok. It's going to be a good week.

Yes - I am trying to motivate myself into positive thinking. However, right now I really need help with this because I still am drained and exhausted. I can't look after everyone all the time. Sometimes I wish I could be looked after just for a day. Or maybe not. I think I just need a day off work!!

I wish I were going to SXSW - so many people I know are going to be playing there. Maybe next year I will be able to afford it.