Marching band makes me sad and happy.

When I was in middle and high school, I wasn’t suicidal, but I didn’t want to be there. I was honest with my mom about those feelings when they became a bit too much; I said, “Mama, I promise you that I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to be here.”

First, concert band, and then, marching band, saved my life. It was because of a few reasons:

  1. Band teachers are incredible and they make you feel like you matter.
  2. Playing music as a band is the definition of “being part of something that is bigger than yourself.”
  3. Band people are weird and many are outsiders who don’t quite fit in anywhere else; it felt like home.

I went to the Drum Corps International Southeastern Championship in Atlanta last night with my fiancé. When the first marching band started performing, I automatically started to cry. I had a strong feeling that I would cry because I even have trouble holding back tears while listening to old band toons on Spotify as well. Something as impactful and as meaningful as marching band was bound to have an effect on me.

The title of this post is “Marching band makes me sad and happy”. For the reasons I listed above, marching band made and makes me happy. For these reasons, it makes me sad:

  1. Present day, I no longer play any instruments. When I see bands perform, I feel like I’m missing out.
  2. I have some of my best memories take place during my marching band years because of the people I was experiencing it with; even though I am still friends with some of those people, it’s just not the same.
  3. My anxiety, depression, and identity issues were at their peak while I was in marching band. Marching band was my escape, but when the games, competitions, and bus rides were over, it was back to a life that I hated.

DCI was amazing. This was my second time, and I would 100% go again, maybe in a different state.

An interesting journey I’m on…

Closing chapters from over ten years ago

For context, these posts might help to fill it some background for what you’re about to read: Mommy Issues & A Metaphorical Death.

Long story short, I dated my first girlfriend from age 15-17 after feelings developed the year before at age 14 (puts us in 9th grade FYI). I say “dated” very lightly because just 2-4 weeks after making things official, her mother caught wind of it and started putting up some pretty extensive barriers: transferring schools, blocking my number, confiscating technology, reading through said girlfriend’s phone, etc. We would communicate infrequently and inconsistently through apps and friends’ phones, seeing each other in person only at school/band events or by sneaking around her mom’s back. It was rough because all the while there was a multitude of mental health issues and even just figuring out identities as queer teenagers in the south of the US. It was a weird introduction to dating and being gay, just saying.

Anyway, this went on from about October 2012 to October 2014 (I think). That’s when we mutually ended things because it had just gotten to be too much. That same night, I reconnected with an old friend and dated her for 1.5-2 years too (we don’t like her too much, FYI).

Fast forward to mid-2016: my second relationship comes to an end and me and girlfriend #1 start texting “as friends”. As I’m sure ya’ll have guessed, we started hanging out more (night driving, swimming, sitting in the car and talking, lots and lots of texting because I was still unwelcome in her house). One night, while her parents were on a trip, she invited me over and we made a decision to try dating again. It only lasted maybe 36-48 hours. I remember having breakfast with my current best friend up in Atlanta and I can recall the excitement and the feeling of “it’s finally coming together” when I told her that we made this decision. Just hours after that, I started having doubts and reality did sink it. My plans of studying in Germany, joining AmeriCorps, finishing school, and moving out of my hometown hit me as more of a distant dream vs reality if I was going to choose this path right now.

Furthermore, there was the fact that we were very different people when we broke up and I don’t think we recognized each other any more. Part of me felt like it was a good thing and it would allow us to start over with a clean slate; however, the slate wasn’t clean. We were mixing past feelings of an unresolved relationship with current realities and new goals- it just wasn’t going to work without extreme effort and I guess it wasn’t worth it to put all other aspects of my life aside for something unknown like that. I also realized through my second relationship, that the acceptance of my partner’s family is important to me, and I knew that I would never get that with girlfriend #1. It just wasn’t worth it to try dating again. It was never going to work. Inside, 14-15 year old me was sad, but 18-19 year old me at the time was trying to be rational and not get into something complicated– again.

So, it’s been over 10 years since we started this “shebang”. It’s been a fucking doozy to say the least. We’ve maintained random and inconsistent contact, sometimes getting updates from social media or mutual friends. I’ve told every partner I’ve had about us because some form of contact would always happen. We also share an amazing friend group, and our gatherings have occurred more and more in the past 3ish years, so our interactions have been less forced, awkward, and weird.

Well, we got together as a group this past Sunday. Afterwards, we started texting again as we do every 6-12 months to catch up and she invited me to lunch to formally get up to speed on each other’s lives.

** My fiancé is quite informed of everything, so she’s been an incredible support. Girlfriend #1 also has a wonderful girlfriend of about 1 year, so she is also being very encouraging towards us. **

So, lunch with the ex. It sounds so much more dramatic than it was. We did kind of go down a rabbit hole, though, in regards to trying to piece together exactly what happened between us over the past 10 years (more so the first 2, and also 2016ish). Turns out that trauma has a way of taking parts of your memories, so we struggled to get an exact timeline of things.

So, that is the journey we are currently taking: after a pool party in a few weeks at our good mutual friend’s house, we are bringing forth all remnants of “us” and going through them together and then burning them- both physically and digitally. I want to close this chapter for good because every time we meet my brain goes to the unresolved. It’s distracting and it brings up a lot of anxiety because that time was nothing short of stressful and traumatic. Our solution to this sounds a little crazy, I know, and I can understand that, but unusual situations call for unusual and unique resolutions. This is what my ex said about it: “I feel like for a lot of people, sitting in a room with your ex, drinking and looking at old photos would be very weird, but for us it just seems like something that needed to be done way before now.” I agree with that 100%. Wish us luck.

Rock climbing, house sitting, and pool parties.

Rock climbing.

I’ve been going rock climbing at a local gym, as well as using their regular gym equipment, too. I was inspired by this video, and I have friends who have been doing it, so it was just kind of the final push. Last week, we also got belay certified for that particular location, so now we can climb the fun stuff (top ropes). Until now, we had been on the auto belays, and they’re a good time, but they’re kind of short and I want to switch it up.

I think what I love most about this gym and climbing in general is the diversity, community, and the fact that it is a form of exercise that I don’t hate. When we walk into the gym, we see old people, children, differently abled individuals, a wide variety of races, and whole bunch o’ gays. Like a lot of gays. I love it.

My goal is to just keep climbing and so that I might hit my fitness goals by my wedding in September. The goal from that point on will be to continue climbing, buy my own gear, and just feel stronger and more confident. I also hope to make some friends; I don’t think that will be too difficult as everyone is always really friendly and mingling with one another.

House-sitting.

I’m currently in my hometown house and dog-sitting for my grandparents for 4 nights. They have a wonderful house with an even better property. It’s great for our dog and his fetch addiction. It is really weird to be here, though. I have extremely conflicting feelings about where I grew up.

On one hand, it’s nostalgic, right? Marching band, old flames, my first few jobs, streets I drove down over and over after finally getting my license, and, lastly, summer nights where I’d just lay in my mom’s driveway watching the stars the best that I could because light pollution (we’re more in the country than Atlanta, for example, but not by much). On the other hand, I don’t like being here too long. The reasons behind why I wanted to leave this town so badly are quick to make appearances, so we keep visitation to just a few hours if we can help it.

Pool parties.

Yesterday, we went to my friend’s house to enjoy her pool with her and other friends. This particular group of friends is from high school (10 years ago!?!?!). I wasn’t so sure I would remain friends with people from high school, but I think I picked a good crowd, and we’ve been able to see each other a few times per year. It’s nice to have people your age who are equally disturbed at the reality of what being an adult actually entails.

I was also chatting with one friend about establishing 1-2 annual trips per year as a group. One trip should be to the beach, and the other to a cabin. If enough people go, it should be pretty affordable.

Conclusion.

I’m in my hometown with my fiancé. I feel weird. I feel a little sad. I feel a little happy. I am looking forward to being back in my house and going rock climbing at the end of this week. If I can focus on work right now, I should be alright.

I am feeling excitement.

We are halfway through 2022 and I am feeling extreme excitement. There have been a lot of mental changes in my brain and also some life changes that my fiancé and I have decided on. WordPress also has this cool new background color thing going on, so I thought I’d try it out! Let me know if it sucks, please!

  1. I have officially applied to some paid writing gigs. I’ve been writing in journals since I was 12 and I’ve had blogs for the past 5 years (no, I have never made money from them… mostly because I don’t know how). The point is that I have loved writing since always and I’ve just been too scared to try to make money with that skill because someone might tell me it’s not good enough or I won’t be successful. I would say that writing is my dream job because it can be done remotely and it’s something I love and I’m good at it. I can write a fictional story, I can do journal entries, and I can write an informational paper on the importance of bees.
  2. Colorado. I have dreamed of living in Colorado since high school. 10 years ago. Wow. I went on a trip with my mom to Colorado when I was about 14 or 15 years old and we went back one more time and I just haven’t ever let the dream go of living there. The landscape is just breathtaking. It’s so different than Georgia and I’m craving change. Not to mention, it’s a more liberal state, marijuana is legalized (mostly thinking in the medicinal sense), and it’s closer to my fiancé’s twin sibling.
  3. Tiny house living. When I was in Germany in 2017, I was planning what I would do between returning to the states and joining AmeriCorps NCCC. I created several folders in Google Drive dedicated to “van life” and “nomadic living”. I researched the best solar showers, portable refrigerators, and how to find places to park. Then, I arrived back in Atlanta, GA and found that I didn’t have the money or the time I thought I did in order to fulfill this goal. So I stashed it away. Fast forward 4 years and the topic of “going tiny” has come up again in a new form. Long story short (I will dedicate a blog post solely to this bullet point soon!), in about 2 years, we’re planning on selling the house, buying a tiny house, and moving to CO for the foreseeable future. Obviously a lot can happen between now and then, but you better believe I’m holding on to this dream because it escaped me once before. The reason for waiting is my fiancé’s job and our senior dog.
  4. Wedding season. Our wedding is in 2 months and we are somewhat prepared. I actually don’t have much to say on this topic except that I still want to elope and eat some cake already.
  5. Podcasts. I’ve been listening to some pretty cool podcasts recently. The tiny house obsession has lead me to topics surrounding minimalism and sustainability, so I’ve been learning a lot about how to live more sustainable for the environment, but also for myself. For example, I heard someone say that many people often fall into the trap of “when I get this, when I go there, etc., THEN I will be, I will feel, I will have, etc.” The reality of it is that we should already identify ourselves as what we want to be. This is how we trick our brain into acting how we want to act. Fake it till you make it at its finest, am I right?? Anyway, this lead me into personal development, career advice areas, and so forth. We come full circle because the podcasts and having a happy career and feeling fulfilled are what lead me to take a chance and apply to some writing gigs. We’ll see what happens, but I am already feeling more joy.

6/24/2022

It is currently June 24, 2022 and our patio is almost finished. I also just took the dog out to the front yard to pee and got catcalled on my own front door step. I have been “catcalled” one other time while on my own property; we had just moved into the new house last May, and I heard on the security camera the men who would be installing our washer and dryer ask each other if I was each other’s type. At the time, I was sitting inside of my office, at my desk, working. I remember feeling disgusted that they were looking at me in my own home and judging by my appearance in that moment whether or not I was their “type”.

I also just read about Roe v. Wade being overturned. I feel disappointment, sadness, and fear because I believes it is a gateway to overturning other rulings as well… I guess we will find out in time the damage this has already begun to do.

I will say one positive thing (other than our patio being almost complete): I just returned from a business trip with two of my colleagues and it really was a great time; we were in NY and CT. Our hotel was extremely dirty, but we weren’t given a big enough budget to get something nicer, so it wasn’t really our fault. The rental car was about $750 for 3 days… all of our food was covered by the company, though, so that was great. The best things that came of the trip was bonding with my team and meeting the hiring manager of our client to learn more about what they’re looking for.

Our dog, Bruce, is doing well. He does have some sort of allergies going on, so we’re trying to get that under control. He also has been whining a lot today, and I can’t figure out if it is because he is bored or because he needs something. I did try to take him out, but he just wanted to play ball. I also tried getting him a “mind game”, but it is in the shape of a big ball, so he only wanted to play fetch with it, not actually try to get the treats out of it. I would give him a bully stick or lick mat, but I don’t want to feed him too many calories. We can’t walk him as much during the summer because the pavement is too hot and it would burn his beans.

It’s not even lunch time yet, and the day has been pretty meh. Our roommate also has COVID, so we’ve been taking drinks and food to her. We went to the store yesterday and stocked up on OTC meds and Gatorade, especially since we don’t know if we will also get it since we all live on the same property. I did disinfect handles and light switches, but there’s only so much you can do.

I hope this weekend will provide some form of optimism for the future because I could use some.

May 2022

So, we have adopted our 5th foster dog, Bruce. He is a 9 year old golden retriever/lab mix. We are also (finally) getting a patio in 2 weeks.

I have also been at my new job for about 2 months now; I work for a European company once again, but instead of doing a variety of HR activities, I focus solely on recruiting. So far, so good. I am not so sure that I want to make a lifelong career out of recruiting, but for the time being I am enjoying the challenge of something new.

We just returned from a short trip to New Orleans; we made a point to do activities that were outside of the French Quarter and I am glad we did. Our dog stayed with my mom; I really appreciate having access to a family member that is so willing to help out in that way because boarding your dog is EXPENSIVE.

Our roommate may be moving out a few months earlier than planned, and I am wondering how strange it will feel for me, my fiancé, and our dog to be in our house alone for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve really enjoyed having our roommate (she’s been one of my best friends for about 10 years now), but it is cool to think about what we might do with that room; it will obviously function as a guestroom, but I also want it to be a functional room for us as well. We’ll see…

Bruce, our cutie.

Getting a little better…

I have had 2 therapy sessions since my last post. The past 3 days or so have been nice. Today, my partner also proposed that we go walking and eat ice cream this weekend, and I am excited for that. We are also making date night every Friday a priority, so that has been something my brain gets to look forward to. Tomorrow we will be trying out some thai basil fried rice. My partner makes THE BEST thai basil fried rice, so we are seeing if this local restaurant can match the quality that she brings to the table; I am doubtful.

In my therapy sessions, we are trying to dissect the feelings of guilt I have when I am not doing something that my brain deems as “productive”. Whether there is little to nothing to do, or there is simply too much to do, I feel guilt for not doing something or not doing everything. My brain is just really aggressive in making me feel like I need to always be doing something to achieve visible results.

The other thing we are trying to learn more about is if my current and future attempts at “busying myself” (volunteering, playing video games, baking, hanging out with friends, etc.) are just masking my feelings of loneliness in the moment, or if they are actually contributing to my long-term “contentness” and ability to enjoy times when I am not in my house, AKA, my safe space.

I mean, I think I will ultimately need to find a healthy balance of alone time, time with my partner, and time that involves being social with other humans. I need to incorporate activities that I find a productive use of my time that will give me those results (home improvement, directly impacting a person, gaining a skill, completing chores, etc.), as well as activities that are meant to be purely for entertainment, relaxation, or pleasure (watching movies, playing games, going out to eat/drink, writing, etc.).

I am hopeful for the future. On a super duper amazing note: I am officially getting my braces off in 4 weeks. I got scans taken of my mouth today and the retainers have been ordered. I am SO READY to be done with this process. I am glad I did it, but, damn, I am 100000% over it.

Until next time!

I’ve gotta be honest…

I have not been doing well. I have over 50 draft blog posts and I haven’t finished or published any of them. They’ve been accumulating for quite some time now and I don’t like that.

My brain has been really foggy and I’ve been feeling more anxious. I sleep a little better now since we installed a 6 foot privacy fence; I don’t overthink so much about someone breaking in through my bedroom window.

I finally put in my resignation at my current job, but I will remain employed until I have another offer. I have a very good relationship with my supervisors, so they are allowing me to stay as long as is needed, which I really appreciate.

Anyway, back to my woes: I wake up in the mornings and I feel okay. Not great, but not bad. I’ve been sleeping longer than usual and it’s just because I can’t find a reason to get up early. Once I do get up, I sit down at my computer and start working and my brain just melts. I don’t want to work.

As the day progresses, I apply to jobs in between tasks. I get up often to just wander about my house and pop into my partner’s office.

Today, I finally succeeded in making an appointment with a therapist for next Monday. I’ve been trying to get in touch with other therapists for about 1 month now, but they ghost me, don’t take my insurance, or they just have no availability.

As I type these words I am bored and annoyed and tired. I want to sleep and be by myself and just wallow in my negative thoughts. It’s not a comfortable feeling, but I am unsure of what to do about it. That is why therapy is on Monday.

My mom suggested we get Ethiopian food together. I countered her offer by asking if she’d rather pick it up and eat it at home, but she said she needed an excuse to get out of the house. I dread going out of the house. It’s not so much agoraphobia, but more of I can’t be bothered to put effort into my appearance and do something outside of my cave.

My best friend is coming over on Saturday and I know I will enjoy that, but it’s just for a few hours. What will I do when she leaves?

A few years ago, when someone would ask me about my activities, I had a long list of things that I was involved in. Lots of them were side jobs to make money and also just visiting friends and family. For an introvert, I was quite the social butterfly. But I don’t even know who that person is. Sure, I get caught up in house projects, but those are on hold right now because we need to save money. I also shouldn’t rely on home improvement as the cure to my sadness.

It’s just been hard.

Something I am comfortable with…

If you’ve read my previous posts on my blog, you will probably have come to conclusion that I don’t have the closest relationship with my father. It’s not a terrible relationship, but it definitely has room for improvement; however, I think I have given up most hope for having the relationship with him that I really want.

To make a long story short, my father has expressed nothing but unconditional love for me and my sister throughout our lives, and I am most grateful for that. The main thing that bugs me the most about our relationship is that I feel it is very “surface level”.

I have a recent example:

My father has social media accounts where he voices his political opinions. There was one video where he mentioned that his 2 daughters were “flaming liberals”. There was another trend type video where parents say the one thing they wish were different about their children, and my father’s answer was agreeing with someone else that his girls are liberals as well. So, when I saw these videos, I couldn’t help but shake my head and laugh because while I do hold many liberal views, I do not hold solely liberal views. Any of my friends who know me and how I see the world, know this about me. My father clearly does not know me or my worldview.

The point of this blog post is that I think I have reached a point where I am content with having a surface level relationship with him. When we visit, he asks me how work is and I ask him if he’s talked to my grandmother recently. He asks how my fiancé is doing and I ask him how his new job is going as well. The only thing we have in common is a general enjoyment of going to the gun range and being equally concerned with my sister’s ever-changing life choices.

I used to really yearn for a deeper relationship with my dad, and I know that is what he wants as well, but with everything else in my life, and other factors, I just do not have the motivation or energy to put into this task, so I’ve become content with what it is. That’s all.