This again

From David Whyte, Sweet Darkness, found here.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

I’ve been feeling small, and now I feel alone, but it’s a hopeful, sweet aloneness that feels, for now, like the right thing.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One Difference

Dating in my 20s: “Ugh — he lists his favorite authors as Ernest Hemingway, Charles Bukowski, and Jack Kerouac…  Probably a misogynistic jerk.  No, thank you.”

Dating in my 30s: “Ooooh — this guy seems literate!”


Not-so-brief update:  Still going on dates. I notice that I either feel a.) grossed out and can’t wait to go home (I almost run away, dodging end-of-date kisses or hugs), b.) bored but manageably so, or c.) pretty excited. I try to only have second dates following third-category first dates, but they are rare. I’d rather be alone than bored. I’m finding that more men than you would imagine who are on dating websites are not actually single. This is frustrating and hugely disappointing. They are in “open relationships,” “recently separated but still married,” “actually living with someone who is not just a roommate,” or “trying to figure out if we can stay together” (read “seeing if there’s anyone I like better before I risk actually being alone”). That’s real nice (not at all). I’m slowly getting better at sniffing these things out. We can file it under skills I’m sad I’ve had to develop.

But I don’t date 24/7! I am working a lot — in an inpatient facility and in a tiny private practice I’ve been working to build for the last few months. I love most aspects of the work, save: bureaucracy and office politics (never my fave, so this isn’t surprising), and dealing with insurance companies.  But the heart of the work? The therapy sessions and getting to know what makes a person tick and then helping them get closer to being who they want to be? It’s is pretty much my favorite thing to do, and I’m so glad I’m doing it.

A few months ago I decided to stop drinking completely — probably for about a year, maybe for longer if I decide to. I’ve already had an exception — craft cider at my cousin’s wedding and sips of other people’s flights of beer at breweries on the same trip, but otherwise I’ve been alcohol-free since late spring. It wasn’t that I had a big problem (at least compared to so many stories I’ve heard and read). I didn’t hit any sort of bottom, and no one told me I needed to stop. I was just feeling like it had become the go-to elixir to handle so many emotions: sadness, anger, anxiety, stress. Even positive emotions: celebration, or as a kind of lubricant to express joy.  Let’s face it — drinking can be fun!.  It just wasn’t feeling right for me — it felt like alcohol was moderating all of these feelings that maybe I needed to experience in an unadulterated way. I have been known to engage in long, emotional confessionals when intoxicated — not usually harmful, but say professing my love for a favorite friend, reaching out to someone I haven’t seen in a while. I look back on these with a tinge of shame (even though I doubt most people were aware of the context if they were written). I realized I’d been confusing disinhibition with intimacy. They’re very different. What if I didn’t need alcohol to say all of those things? Would I still say them?

I’m finding that I do still feel and say what needs to be felt and said. I’m living pretty sincerely, and I like that a lot. Alcohol, certainly when I overconsumed but even in “normal” amounts, was putting me on this emotional roller coaster of feeling really, really great in the moment, then crashing and getting really, really down on myself. It’s nice to feel more stable in that way…  It’s not that I don’t still feel down on myself now and then (I’m kind of a depressive, you guys!), but it’s a lot less frequent and a lot easier to deal with. When I express my emotions now, it comes from a more solid, thoughtful place, instead of spilling out everywhere.

And I’ve been pouring a lot of energy into running. A couple of friends got me running in 10ks last spring/summer, and I’ve signed up for a half-marathon in Las Vegas in November. Every other weekend I run the farthest distance I’ve ever run — 11 miles yesterday! It’s been challenging and fun and a little painful. I’m slow, and I’m doing it, and it feels so, so good.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The conflict

  1. An oldie but goodie (maybe?): Marry Him by Lori Gottlieb. I have my strong doubts, but sometimes I wonder. I think with a tinge of regret sometimes about men I’ve dated, and whom maybe I could have made it work with (maybe easily, with some compromise on both parts). Sometimes I get very sad and feel like I’ve missed a ship that has sailed, especially when I’m feeling lonely (or frustrated with the absolutely ridiculous world that is online dating anymore, or even just dating in your fucking 30s). But: in preparation for moving last year I went through a lot of old papers and discovered some typewriter-typed notes (obviously very legitimate) that made me remember why one of these relationships I was being so sappy about didn’t work out. It’s easy to gloss over the slightly intolerable in retrospect. It is **much** harder to come to terms with being content on your own.
  2. Lines of a poem discovered today:
    Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
    confinement of your aloneness
    to learn
    anything or anyone
    that does not bring you alive
    is too small for you.
    — David Whyte (via Brain Pickings)

I guess the jury is out, but I think I’m leaning towards being alive. This song comes to mind.

I’m probably your brave friend who says, “I don’t care if forever never comes, I’m holding out for that teenage feeling.”

If this topic concerns you at all (I feel like many of my semi-known still-readers aren’t in this boat with me!), Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, by Kate Bollick, was a very, very good book. Though I do wonder how it all translates to life in rural Montana (or even in not-New-York/Boston). Maybe that’s my book to write.


Filed under Uncategorized

home and away

Word of the day:

philopatric, noun. (Of an animal or species) tending to return to or remain near a particular site or area. (thanks, Oxford Dictionaries)

Something brings me circling around arid mountains and high valleys, year after year. I settle in desolate places, for seemingly unclear reasons.

Landscape becomes part of us, and we seek familiar settings. In elementary school geography classes, this was tied to occupation (people who fished in Europe settled in coastal American towns, miners in mining towns, etc.). I think it runs deeper than that — there is a sense of comfort, familiarity, home, in an socio-ecological system not so far removed from your own. I belong in places with thin, dry air, with sun that will burn you if you aren’t vigilant, with wind-borne dust, cold summer nights, and excessively cold winters. I belong in towns that were once important, that try desperately to cling to their history to the point of shunning the future. I belong with people who work with their hands, who utilize nature, who might be seen as villains for it but may actually be the most honest humans you’ll meet.

The reasons for my presence here aren’t so unclear.

It’s hard to fit in, though. Maybe because it’s not the exact place I continually return to (as philopatry would dictate), but approximations. All of my locales have been approximations, though — I have roots, but I have deep roots nowhere. Perhaps I should find that liberating.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

May 2016

Maybe I’ll just write every year or two and comment, “wow, two years,” and this blog can stand in for the Christmas cards I don’t send any of you.

The issues here are that most of what I am compelled to talk about these days is at least a little bit (if not a lot) confidential, or it’s something personal that I wouldn’t want strangers to know if they ever discovered my little web life.  The likelihood is that they will not ever think to discover this, and if they do — so what?  They’ll know that I’ve lived and dated and been happy and disgruntled, that I went to school and went to school again.  And most of all they will know that I’ve had a whole lot to say about nothing very important.  I get bored reading through it, and I wrote it!  Also, I was a lot more interesting, and I’m glad I have some kind of digital proof of that.

I am living in Montana, in a town with rich and sad history, gorgeous buildings, and the real-est people I have ever known — I know that’s not a word, but I don’t know how else to describe it.  Some say “salt of the earth,” but I don’t actually know why that term exists.  My work is difficult but meaningful and for the most part I don’t regret leaving art and libraries behind (though occasionally I’m exhausted and fantasize about going to a darkened office and looking at art images all day — I know that wasn’t exactly what my job was like before).  I live in the most gorgeous apartment I’ve ever had, and also the second cheapest.  I hike and go running and read and make friends and cook.  It’s pretty good.

Some pictures:

IMG_2468View from my back porch

My lovely apartment — that’s right, French doors and two bay windows.  I’m in love.  And I have unpacked in the eleven months since moving in, but I guess I haven’t taken more pictures.

One of my new town’s quintessential headframes.  Underground mines reached as far as a mile beneath the city.  Not they’re filled with water (and toxins).

IMG_2704From a camping trip to Cliff and Wade Lakes

I pass this scene when I go running near my house.

Pretty doors on a mine building.  There are TONS of interesting buildings here.

An abandoned building.

IMG_3091I finally bought a TV, and was possibly more excited about finding a suitable stand.  If anyone finds a vintage Singer treadle, let me know — that’s what I’ll put the DVD player on.

I finally made it to Marfa, Texas.  Pictured is part of Donald Judd’s 15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984.

IMG_3257More Marfa — actually a few miles away, just outside of Valentine, Texas.  Elmgreen and Dragset, Prada Marfa, 2005.





Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

May 2014

So eight months later, I’m still alive, much like the undergraduates I’ve been working with.  And I’m about to graduate myself.  It’s been a tough, rough, year.  Or few years, maybe.  It’s May now — sounds spring-like, but it’s definitely still snowing here.  School is out, and I’m working 3/4 time at the state hospital, which I love so far.  Technically I graduate this week, and also technically not, because I have a couple more months of internship left. In September you can call me Dr., though.  Which is totally freaking weird.  And awesome.

Things:  I should be excited about graduating, but instead I am more worried about fitting into a dress that I bought for graduation (and eternity) six months ago.  The truth is that I have gained about 35 lbs getting this degree.  I would like to think it’s like having a kid.  But it’s not.  And the weight shames me.  I’m going to be a doctor!  And yet my weight makes me fret like I’m Barbie trying to maintain something I never attained. Fuck this.  I am too feminist and pro- health-at-any-size for this.  And yet it gets to me, that number on the scale / dress size.  Bleh, fuck, bleh.

I love Montana, its glacier-carved landscape…  It’s like Colorado, only once you pass through one mountain range and valley, there’s another…  and another…  and another.  And it’s so green.  I miss the desert, sometimes, but on the whole this is amazing.  Everyone: move here.  Only not into the sprawly suburbs of Bozeman…

But the sprawly suburbs of Bozeman do kind of look like this (from the Target parking lot):


And this (not really a suburb at all, but part of Yellowstone National Park, not far away):



& come visit.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Still no Internet, and now they’re saying two additional weeks… !!!!???

Luckily, my life in Bozeman is looking like this:


And this:


And this:


And this:


So things aren’t so bad at all. Loving the internship so far, and happy to be seeing clients again. Missing my own family and friends a lot, but I can’t imagine a better place to feel a little lonely. This place is magical. Some things:

* I’m starting to like country music again. I think it’s behavioral conditioning — that’s what’s on the radio as I’m driving around seeing all of this incredible stuff, so I associate it with pure aesthetic loveliness. Also I feel like the post-9/11 country phase of “put-a-boot-in-your-ass” American pride/xenophobia has faded, which certainly helps.

* I have seen at least two vehicles with camouflage paint jobs. In both cases a lady was driving.

* I am on a waiting list for a skeet shooting class for women (keep your fingers crossed for me!)

* I have and use a video rental card. There is a Hastings here — anyone remember those?

* I can wear jeans to work. But now that I’ve lived in DC I don’t know that I can actually do it.

* it’s super easy to eat gluten-free here. Almost every place has an option or even a full gf menu, including beer. On the whole it’s an easier place to be healthy, and I love that.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized