poor little rich girl

I’ve long felt guilty for having had the indulgence of growing up both depressed and relatively wealthy. Society seems to have this message that “back in my day, we didn’t have time to be depressed! We were too busy walking uphill both ways in snow and we liked it.”

It’s only recently that I’ve realized that the only luxury my family’s money afforded me was that I didn’t die. When I collapsed, I didn’t end up resorting to homelessness or prostitution. There was a safety net. I lived.

The Catholics are going to be subsidizing my mental health care this time around. I’ll still end up paying a bit of money out of pocket, but not nearly as much as I would if I were going it alone. It’s one of the advantages to living in a city, there are programs for the poor and unwell. It’s hard to find, and you have to be patient and persistent and spend a lot of time on the phone, but it can be done.

If you’re dealing with depression, or have in the past, it’s good to do some research on one of your good days to find out where you can get help when one of the bad days rolls around. It’s hard to do the work required to get help when you’re really depressed. So get yourself set up when you’re well.

You’re worth taking care of. I’m worth taking care of. Stay alive.

a still life, gone cinema veritè

I have been home in Carmel for over a month.  I got my old job back and am working full time.  My life is fairly good.

I have gotten fat.

For awhile today I was thinking I might be pregnant, but I took a test and it turns out I’m not.  I’d have to be about four months along if I were, and I think I might have noticed sooner.  I thought maybe the weight gain and some of the weird symptoms I’ve been having could be attributed to being knocked up, but the discount pregnancy test from Save Mart tells me that I am not.

I’m just fat.

I was in the bathroom trying to tame my unruly mane of hair, and I started noticing all the features of myself that I don’t like.  I have acne.  I’m chubby.  My glorious D-cup boobs are back, but so is my gut.  I hate my jawline.  I have fat, stumpy legs.  My hair seldom behaves.  I’m not very graceful.  I don’t have much tact.  I tend to alienate people.  I can be highly abrasive.  I am often too quick to take offense.  I often don’t notice when I’ve offended people.  I tend to burn bridges.  I judge people harshly.  I’m too forgiving sometimes.  I can be passive-aggressive.  I don’t follow things through.  I’m too sensitive to noise and environment.  I can be a bit of a spoiled princess.

I can say all these things and not feel bad.  That might be because I’m totally wacked out on Vicoprofen. We’ll get to that in a moment.  But while I was doing this honest appraisal of myself, examining the things I don’t like about myself, and I felt fine.  At peace.  I love myself anyway, fat and tactless though I may be.

So, about the painkillers: I’ve been getting terrible headaches for the last month or so, and it seems I might have something called Post-Concussion Syndrome.  Confusion, headaches, mood changes.  You can see how, coupled with the recent weight gain, I might think I’m preggers.  But nope, not that, just a lingering head injury!  You should try it, it’s awesome.

So I’m seeing a doctor about that in two weeks, and she’ll probably send me to a neurologist, which I can’t afford, so I’ll have to call Daddy.  Again.  And they’ll say, yep, sounds like Post-Concussion Syndrome, nothing we can do, drink water and get enough rest.  And then they’ll charge $1200.

DESPITE ALL THIS: I’m fairly happy.  I love being back at work.  I’ve been sleeping well.  I’m getting along with my family.  I feel fulfilled, I’m thinking about and planning for the future, I have hopes and dreams again!!!!!

And I am resolutely single for the first time in my life.  For the FIRST TIME in my LIFE I am not chasing after, pining for, trying to satisfy, attempting to appease, or trying to coerce anyone into loving me.  There has never been a time in my life that I haven’t been trying to chase one boy or another.  Now I’m at over three months of being absolutely, gleefully free.

I’ll love again, I’m sure.  But I’ll be smarter when I do.

And hopefully I won’t have a headache anymore.

Gee, but it’s great to be back home

Home is where I wanna beeeeee.

I’m back in Carmel.  I’m no longer in Portland.  I’ve been home for nine days, and… well… I was expecting a huge adjustment.  Instead I find that it’s easy to be here.  After all, I’m in the same house we moved into when I was 10.  Some things have changed, but mostly it’s exactly how I remember.

I can see the stars at night.  So many stars.  I’m spittin’ distance from the mighty Pacific, and a mile from the high school I graduated from.  My brother moved back in last year, and now we share a bathroom.  It’s different, but it’s very much the same.

Once I found out my living situation in Portland wasn’t going to last, it took me less than an hour to decide to move back home.  I didn’t want to, but it was something I chose.  Does that make sense?  I knew that I would miss the city, I was really unhappy to be leaving my amazing friends behind, but I knew that I was making the right decision.  I’d been aimless for a long time, and for the past two years I’d ached to just come home.  Portland wasn’t working for me, and I wasn’t working hard enough to change that.

I thought it would be harder to be here.   I thought it would feel like failure.  And I do miss Portland, and I do miss my friends, but what I’m feeling mostly is relief.  I have a lot of things I need to accomplish to get my life back on track, and I don’t want to stay in this tiny town longer than I have to, but for right now, being home for a little while is exactly what I need.

the sound of silence

On May 8th, I found out my room had been rented out to some people who were moving into my house before the beginning of June.  Obviously, this was a problem.

Long story short, I moved back to California, and am now residing in my mother’s laundry room.

I haven’t said anything here sooner because, my word, there was just too much to say.  But I’m ready to start blogging again.  I know you’re all very happy I’m back here at SID.  Really, don’t cry.  Ok, weep if you must.  I know, I’ve missed me too.

and i start to complain, but there’s no rain

I live in a city famous for its dreary weather.

People always talk about the gray.  I moved here for the green.  When I first visited Portland in September, 2005, I’d driven up from California on a whim.  If you’ve ever done this drive, you know that you’re on Interstate 5 for a very, very long time.  From Carmel, CA to Portland is about 730 miles.  About 550 of those are I-5, and it is not always a beautiful drive.  Much of it is flat, dusty farmland, small nowhere-towns and miles and miles of seemingly endless asphalt.  Finally exiting the highway in Southwest Portland, I was suddenly surrounded by tall white trees which had yet to drop their abundant green leaves onto the streets below.  For the five days I was here on that first visit it only rained once and never got chilly.  The weather was nice enough to wander the city and visit the Japanese Garden in only a hooded sweatshirt.  I fell in love with this place.

So I moved here four months later and didn’t see the sun for three weeks.  It was an adjustment.  What I didn’t know at the time was that we were in the midst of a particularly nasty winter.  In the years since, I’ve learned the value of a parka, absorbed the fact that no self-respecting Portlander carries an umbrella (the wind ruins them) and nearly perfected the delicate art of driving in the rain, which takes not only skill but also great stores of nerve.  I also learned that there’s a particular beauty to a freezing-cold day, that there’s a sweetness in walking fast enough to warm up and maybe rewarding yourself with a hot cocoa for your trouble.  I’ve learned that the seasons, even the cold, grey seasons, are glorious and made more glorious by their contrast to one another.

On a clear day here, Mount Hood is visible to the east and St. Helens to the northeast.  On a warm day people flock downtown to the riverfront and laze on the banks of the Willamette.  Out of the city on 84 is the Columbia River Gorge which is the best place I’ve ever been to watch a sunset.  West about two and a half hours is the Oregon Coast, which is a stunningly beautiful sight even to someone who grew up spittin’ distance from the beach.  Go North the same distance and you’re in Seattle.

Yes, it rains all winter, through much of fall, well into Spring and sometimes even in summer.  And that is why we have such voluptuous rivers, internationally famous gardens and rolling green hills.  That’s also why we’re a booming agricultural area where the idea of sustainable local food isn’t just a pipe-dream, it’s a happy reality.  I feel better knowing where my meat, dairy and produce comes from.  Have you ever bought Tillamook cheese?  Well, I’ve been to Tillamook.

People talk about the rain, but people don’t talk about our gorgeous summers where it’s never too humid and seldom too hot and it stays light until ten at night and you can sit outside your favorite pub (there are, after all, some great pubs here) and drink fruity drinks until 2am.  Does no one notice?  Before I moved here, I never heard anyone talk about how the smell of clover and fresh-cut grass drifts through the air here in April and May, or how the leaves turn gold and red in October when the days are still, as often as not, warm.

This is the time of year, early spring, when the grass is growing again and the flowers are beginning to bud and while, yes, it’s raining today, it got up near 70 degrees yesterday.

We get less rain here annually, in inches, than New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami or (get this) Houston.  Compared to where I’m from in California, sure, it’s rainy here.  Compared to other cities outside California and the Southwest, our rainfall is about average.

I visit California and its eternal springtime whenever I can.  On Christmas day, 2007, I drove up into the golden hills near my mother’s house and watched the sun sink down on a 75 degree day.  A few days later I flew back into Portland, and upon stepping off the plane into the freezing, damp air, I thought clearly and happily, “I’m home.”