Exhaling — Personal
The store that I managed and ran has finally closed its doors after eight months of "store closing". When the year began, before the owner decided that she wanted to close the store, I had already decided that I would quit in the spring. Swahili was a great experience for me but after a while it was like locking myself in a cage for 8 hours a day, literally. It was a small store and I was the only one there, I couldn't leave or use the bathroom without locking up, I dealt with tourists all day long and never interacted with another human being on any kind of personal social level. And the amount of actual crazy people I had to deal with on a nearly daily basis was astonishing.
I worked there for a little over two years and by the end of year one I started to go a little mad with solitude and cabin fever. The last eight months tested my patience beyond anything that I could imagine. Answering the same ten questions day after day, I slowly sank into this deep calm accepting that the redundant and repetitive nature of my life was part of a cycle that I had to get through to reach the next level of awareness. Some days I didn't buy my own bullshit and the wrath that perfect strangers had thrust upon them was impressive, even to me. My last day at the store was last Thursday. It felt like what I would assume getting out of prison feels like. You understand that you're free but there is a shadow of a feeling like you have to go back, either because it's so familiar to you now that it's a part of you and even though you don't want to be there you can't shake the feeling that you HAVE to be there, or that someone somehow will force you to return. In any case, your time isn't served, no matter how far away you walk from those doors.
That feeling stayed with me for a few days. I didn't realize how relieved I was to be done with it all until that night when my friends and husband took me out to celebrate. Drunk isn't quite the word I would use to describe my behavior for that evening. I think maybe, a spastic dancing happy monkey who had one too many vodka crans would be more accurate. Thankfully I don't have a clear remembering of the last hour or so of the night, and it's probably best that way. All I know is that I was a human pogo stick. The following day was a Friday and like any good hangover it kept me on the couch in the dark for the entire day and night. It was a cathartic process, one that needed to be done whether I knew it until after it was decided or not.
Sunday was our fifth year wedding anniversary. Since Adam and I were together for six years before we got married it felt unfair to stop celebrating our original anniversary in lieu of our wedding one, so now we have two. They are both very important days in our past and both have very unique and very humorous or horrific stories attached to them depending on your disposition. At any rate, every year we try to do something special for our anniversaries. This year Adam had the fantastic idea of spending the evening and night at a local nearby place called the Kennedy School. The Kennedy School was a former large one level elementary school that was bought and converted into a unique hotel. The classrooms were converted into guest rooms (complete with original chalkboards and cloakrooms), the auditorium was converted into a movie theater, and other spaces were converted into various bars and restaurants. There is a on-site brewery, a heated salt water soaking pool, a gymnasium that you can rent for special events, and a library. We go to the Kennedy School on a semi regular basis because of the unique bars and atmosphere but never before have we rented a room for the night. It was awesome.
We spent the entire evening bar hopping throughout the school, grabbed dinner at one of the restaurants, took cocktails out to the soaking pool and in the chilly cloak of darkness spend the next hour outside in heated saltwater surrounded by palm trees and bamboo trees and a black sky. The pool was packed. For overnight guests it's free but it's also available for non overnighters for a $5 charge. Everyone in the pool was our age, groups of friends and clusters of couples, everyone casually laughing and talking and drinking as they sat or stood (it's only about 4.5 feet deep) in the heated water. Sure, it wasn't romantic because of all of the people but it was lovely to be a part of a secret Portland night community of people our age, all tattooed and socializing in their bathing suits. Afterward we dressed and moseyed over to the movie theater where we caught a (movies are free to overnight guests) late night showing of The Prince of Persia. Popcorn and beer were consumed while watching the flick (I love McMenamins bar/theaters). After the movie we went to another bar, had another drink and some late night tater tots, the perfect drunk food, and ordered cheesecake to go. Back in our room we played Patty Cake, chatted and ate cheesecake in bed at 1:30am and drunkenly fell asleep.
I had awesome dreams of the hotel that night. I dreamt that our friends and Adam and I were all staying at the Kennedy School and I woke up to find a pile of black hair in the bathroom sink, soaking in bloody water. Soon after every space of wall, ceiling and floor was covered in soaking wet black hair, hanging like thick vines. (Yes, it's your classic Asian horror flick - gross). The hotel management claimed it was a plumbing problem and ordered an evacuation, so the rest of the dream was spent with my friends and I traversing the labyrinth-like tunnels of the basement through soaking wet hair vines trying to find the exit. Then I woke up at 3:40AM and was convinced, CONVINCED, that if I got out of bed and turned the corner to the long hallway that led to our room's doorway that there would be a little girl standing there with soaking wet black hair covering her face. So despite the protests of my bladder I stayed in bed, you know, just to be safe. The next morning we had a quiet breakfast before checking out and then spent a leisurely day around the apartment napping and watching Dexter. Now I feel reset, reborn, cleansed of the bullshit that has shrouded my life for the last eight months (at least). So what's next? Good question...
First up is some time off for good behavior. I'm spending the month of September getting back into my workout routine which has sadly fallen wayside for the last two months. Running non stop and recording every morsel I put into my mouth for a year and a half took its toll on my motivation and my "two weeks off" turned into two months off. I needed the break, it was a good break, but now it's time to get back on the horse. It was only two months but I don't feel as fit or as strong as I did before the break and I miss that feeling more than I enjoyed my break. September will also mean more writing time for me. I hope to blog more but what's more important is I hope to finally get a hold on my story The Door. It's a story that has lived in my head for years and after finishing the second chapter last year completely stalled out. It's time to murder my darlings and start anew. Also on the list is reading, reading and more reading.
I have a stack of Rue Morgue issues that I haven't touched, a back log of graphic novels, and no less than three books I'm currently in the middle of. I have the most recent Tomb Raider installment that needs to be played. And a trip to NYC for a wedding. But first up is cleaning our enormous apartment. I used to be a diligent cleaner but lately I'm more in the class of a maintenance cleaner which means the apartment is almost always guest ready but never take a closer look ready. The dust and layer of cat hair and grime are at maximum capacity right now, drawers and cabinets are cluttered and packed, closets house random discards and things with no home, the floors are ... oh god the floors. Mind you, my idea of clean is different than most people's idea of clean so it's not like I'm living in squaller by anyone's definition but my own (and anyone else's with this clean & orderly handicap). Yesterday I spent nine hours cleaning and reorganizing the bathroom and kitchen. Today was supposed to be the rest of the apartment but it's already 2:00 and I haven't showered or ran today and I have to meet a friend at 6:00 and clearly this blog post won't finish itself.
This is the downfall with being at home with a huge list of things to do and no time limit in which to do them. Sometimes, you just spend the day in your pajamas instead of getting shit done. It's something that I have to actively avoid doing because I easily spiral into the sleeping late doing nothing all day staying up all night mode and that is a destructive mode for me to be in. Depression and lethargy insert themselves into that mode so while it is occasionally fine to indulge in I cannot do so for more than once a week. And since it is so easy for me to slip in to I have to set up schedules for myself because without structure I am chaos (which is why I so obsess about cleanliness and orderliness) and when I am chaos I am like an untethered kite adrift in a storm.
In October it will begin, my timid steps into the next stage of my life, of our lives. The goal: to open a small movie theater that shows horror and macabre themed movies. I realize the idea sounds narrow with the possibility of a greater appeal limited, but in truth that small narrow idea is only the foundation on which a grander structure will be built. Over time I will share more details with you but for now none but for the theater needs to be known. So I will start educating myself in ways of film and theaters and business and slowly make my way into finding a location and applying for a business loan. I'm not sure how long this process will take, I want to do it right, want to be educated and confident when I finally get to the ownership part, so it could be a matter of months, or maybe a year? It's all just so unknown right now. But for the first time in my life I know, am positive of, my professional direction. It's exciting and terrifying. And I can't fucking wait to begin.
I really, really, really needed to read this post today, so thanks for writing it. I'm going through a whirlwind of desire to change my life and I'm beating at the windowpane of the future like a crazed bird. We've set a 5 year time span to tie things up here (I'm in a very permanent job) that I need to escape, and head northward. I can't wait to see where you take your goal :D
Just like "waiting to jump" fortitude and patience are your allies. Do your homework and you will pass all the requirements for success. I believe in you Lamar.
Excitement is around the corner, as in Life...put your ducks in a row and stay on track,listen to your gut feelings and it'll guide you right. I'm right by your side no mater what, and I know your fearless....from your first baby steps to sliding down the stairs on your belly in your p.j.s....Fearless from the get go!!!Love you to the moon and back....Mom
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