A Tale of Summer Sales & Personal Growth

I’ve missed writing.

I purchased a lot of games for the Steam summer sale.

  • Morrowind (Wes’ favorite game, had to get it)
  • Fallout: New Vegas (Wes and I were playing on his account, and I really wanted to get my own copy and start the game over with a new character)
  • Hotline Miami (great soundtrack, and I enjoy top-down shooters)
  • Tropico 4 (really enjoyed Tropico 3)
  • Ibb & Obb (got a copy for Wes, too)
  • Dust: An Elysian Tail (the story seems cool)
  • Resident Evil 5 (something to play with Wes)
  • Learn Japanese to Survive! Hiragana Battle (original found this for Wes and thought it would be fun to learn Japanese together)
  • If My Heart Had Wings (I adored Clannad, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this)
  • Farming Simulator 15 (After playing Stardew Valley and taking over farming in 7 Days to Die, I’m addicted to farming in games)

I recently got into Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Dark Souls. Both are games I never thought I would enjoy. Dark Souls especially. Dark Souls is hard as fuck, and I find myself getting really frustrated during boss fights. The game is unforgiving. Made a fatal mistake? Start over again. And again. And again. And again. There were times I wanted to throw my controller at the screen and never play the game again. Then I’d return, persevere and finally beat the boss. I love the idea of a tattoo that says “You died, you recovered, you defeated.”

I am still very much into Overwatch but taking a small break from competitive since I’ve played so much this season. Gaming has helped me in ways I didn’t think possible. With Overwatch, I’ve kind of found my voice as a leader. I try to be the shot caller for the team, and it usually works really well. I’m really enjoying taking the leadership role in games. I even created a Discord server for people I like playing with, so we’ll usually group up in teams. It’s a little adorable that many of my gaming friends are kids in high school. They’re complaining about summer chores, and it makes me feel incredibly old! But they also come to me for advice or to just vent, so it also feels like I’m a big sister to them or something.

Tomorrow, Wes and I are getting gym memberships. I miss going to the gym. Never thought I would say that.

I love cooking more than ever. Every week, I have our meals planned out but always ask Wes if he wants me to make anything special for him. This week, it’s nachos. Sometimes, I’ll make him beef stew or chicken parmesan. It’s adorable that he has favorite meals I make for him. A few weekends ago I made two amazing batches of lasagna. I think I might make a little recipe book of his favorite meals I make for him. And I’ll leave the end pages blank for additional recipes and then update/reprint the book when the pages are filled up. I could take photos of them too and make it a legit cookbook. I could call it “Honeymoon Cooking: Recipe for Lovebirds” or something. I’m totally not planning this out or anything…

Speaking of Wes, I never thought it was possible to find someone more perfect. Whenever I feel uncertain of myself, I’m reminded that I have someone always rooting for me and willing to help me when I’m in need. I’ve never felt so open with someone, and I remind myself everyday how lucky I was to find him on a random night in December of 2009. Though we were thousands of miles away, I have never felt such immediate closeness to someone. Of course at the time I was plagued with insecurity. I’m surprised he saw through that and was able to like, and eventually love, the person beneath it all. He realized who I was before I did.

I’m seeing my therapist again next month after almost a year. I learned so much from our sessions, and I’m glad I took the break. It was overwhelming discovering so much about myself and trying to make so many changes at once. I felt like I was cleaning out the hoarded house in my mind and unsure what I had to let go of and keep. I feel nowhere near any sort of order, but I find myself okay with that. Life doesn’t have to be in order all the time, and I have an appreciation for the chaos. My goal is no longer to achieve happiness but to realize despite my past or what happens in the future, I have the choice to overcome.

Knowing this has changed my life tremendously.

I think I’m ready to talk to my parents and possibly see them again. It’s part of the reason I’m seeing my therapist. I want to make sure this is the right decision for me. I’m ready to forgive and potentially have a relationship with them if they’d like one. I’d also like to see my sister graduate high school. Wes also wants to take me to Georgia and meet his family. We have such interesting family histories. I think we made the right decision to wait.

A lot of shit to unload after almost a year of not updating.

Overall, I feel like I am at a good spot in my life. I feel sturdy, like I could weather a storm if one just so happened to roll my way. It’s a weird attribute to apply to myself, but it’s the one that makes the most sense to me.

In lighter (er, higher?) news, Wes and I started growing cannabis and just harvested our first grow. It was a little disappointing. We defoliated the plants too late into flower, which stunted the growth a bit. I also misdiagnosed the plants. I thought they had nitrogen deficiency when they actually had nutrient burn. That was a fatal mistake. Overall, I think we still are getting a couple ounces from both the plants. For our next grow we’re doing an autoflower and potentially getting an HPS light to complement our 300w LED light. I used the grow tent for my succulents during the winter and spring, and they loved it. My jade plant doubled in size in just two months.

I don’t know what it is, but making friends is very easy lately. I’ve been having lunch with a couple co-workers, and we’re planning on doing stuff outside of work. And today I took a Lyft home, and I had such a nice conversation with the driver that I asked if she wanted to exchange numbers. We’re planning for drinks next week. I don’t know, I guess I feel more open as a person. More vulnerable but okay with it, because I’m not really afraid of who I am. Before I felt like I always had something to hide. I think it was obvious I didn’t really like myself, and it’s hard to be around someone who treats themselves like that. I mean, I barely wanted to be in my own skin. I don’t blame others for finding that uninviting.

I’m on a mission to listen to every song I loved in the 90s. I just received my copy of The Cranberries’ Everyone Else is Doing it, so Why Can’t We? and I’m reminded how much “Dreams” changed my life. I listened to the Smashing Pumpkins on my bus ride to work today, and I never realized how perfect 90s rock is while crossing the Hawthorne Bridge. I’m sad I didn’t realize this sooner.

Work is going okay. Behind on a couple things. I agreed to be the chair for the Safety Committee, and it’s going surprisingly well. I’m creating procedures, and I feel like I’m engaging the current members. There’s a lot to do between now and the next meeting. Everything else seems to be going well. I’m pretty happy in my position for the most part, though I know there are a few areas I could improve on, namely time management and asking for help when I really need it.

I will try to write more often. I forgot how soothing this is.

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Love

Wes: Am I just being too sensitive? I feel like I have such a thin skin with you, and I hate it.

Me: Maybe that’s what love is? Your skin has to be thin to let someone in.

I’ve spent the past month trying to write a post but could never finish. Let’s try one more time!

  • We will be debt free by next month. After that, our next goal is to rebuild our emergency fund (one year’s worth) and then fully fund our IRAs and my retirement account through work. We haven’t really decided what to do after that, but we’re really happy with where we’re headed. I think if we continue at the rate we’re going, we can buy a house by our mid thirties.
  • I make obscenely delicious burritos. Wes is also obsessed with this corn salad/salsa I make. Why is fresh corn the best thing ever?
  • I love therapy. I had a rough patch a month ago, but now it’s even better. It’s just really cool seeing my progress from session to session.
  • For my birthday, I’m getting more plants and hopefully a septum piercing. Thought about it for a while and figured the time is now. Wes gave me my gifts early, and they were all incredibly thoughtful. I especially love the cape he bought me.
  • This is the happiest I’ve ever been.

 

The best part about moving is when the new place begins to feel like a home. Even better, doing serious cooking for the first time. I didn’t think the kitchen was that big until I did some cooking over the weekend. I made potstickers, fried rice and a lot of chili.

I finally wrote some poetry. I’m learning to write everyday, even if it’s in short bursts. This might never be a true daily ritual, but I’m writing, and that’s all that matters.

After we finished cleaning the duplex, I did a video walkthrough just in case my landlord tries to pull some shit. The floor was still a little wet from mopping, and I slipped and gloriously fell about twelve steps. It wasn’t too bad at first, but I’m noticing all kinds of bruises.Wes ran over to me and helped me up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look so concerned. I sat outside while he went in to finish the video. Mr. Winston, Kathy’s outdoor cat, came over to greet me. When I first moved to Portland and found the duplex, he was the first to greet me. In fact, for the first week of me moving in, he would come by in the morning before the bus came for work to sit with me. And when I came back home, he would sit on my dining table purring and taking bites of whatever I brought home. It was probably the best end of a chapter. I don’t miss living there. I have never been able to admit how hard moving here was. I have never wanted to protect myself so much, and I hid myself from a lot of experiences. But even in all of that, I found a way to grow. I feel so much stronger now and feel ready for the many challenges that will come in this life (even if I don’t feel that way all the time).

I decided to telecommute today so I could rest. It’s almost like Dippy knows where all of my bruises are, because he is determined to walk all over them.

We didn’t have time over the weekend to make it to IKEA or the Portland nursery, but we did go grocery shopping at Fubonn.  For some reason upon entering the store I couldn’t stop sneezing. We had a lot of fun though, and I made Wes a few meals from my childhood. Also, I’m not making gyoza wrappers anymore unless I have a pasta machine.

I am so obsessed with Summer Flake. I was on Bandcamp looking up new music to listen to, and I heard “Shoot and Score.” I thought it was great but wanted to wait until the full album was released to listen to all the songs. From start to finish, Hello Friends is just remarkable. There’s something so familiar about the music, yet it’s also so fresh about her guitar playing and voice.

I should really go to sleep.

  • Therapy is helping, and I started at such a good time. Usually, I feel really inundated after moving, but I almost feel like we didn’t even move.
  • The place is all unpacked and organized, but I’m going to IKEA this weekend to get photo/poster frames. We also haven’t set up our TV yet since we left our screwdriver at our old apartment. I love our place.
  • I can’t wait to get back into the cooking groove. It’s been nice not worrying about meal plans, but I’m ready to get back to it. I had McDonald’s for the first time in five years, and it was delicious.
  • I really hate doing meeting minutes.

I love our apartment. After the stress of it all, I finally had a moment last night to just walk around and appreciate everything. I originally wasn’t looking forward to moving into a complex, but it seems really quiet so far. Our place is really spacious with plenty of light. I love that we’re close to the MAX, and there’s a bus stop just outside of our complex. The street is busy, but the place is well insulated. I do miss living in a neighborhood, but this will work while Wes and I save up to buy a home.

Lately, I’m realizing that being kind to myself is just as much of a decision as being cruel. The cruelty is learned, but it’s easy, because I’ve done it so long. I hope someday kindness will be my first instinct.

Last Sunday, my therapist asked, “What if you binge to accept yourself? What if it’s your way to allow yourself to be imperfect?” In the past, I considered it to be punishment, but it makes sense that I would do something like that over and over. I’m alone, free to do as I please, and that’s what I did to feel okay about myself, even if I knew it wasn’t okay. When I told her I felt bad about it, she then asked, “How were you supposed to know? You were given the tools at a young age, and they worked well for you for so long, but now you’re hurting. How were you supposed to know when it felt right at the time?”

Oh, we found an apartment. It’s a lot further out, but it’s near the MAX and as long as we’re near the MAX, I’m fine. I’m overwhelmed right now, and I don’t know how to communicate with Wes that I need him to help more. He’s doing everything he can, but he hasn’t moved much in his life and since I’ve done it so many times, it’s natural that I’m doing most of it.

Let’s see if I can actually publish rather than half finishing these posts.

  • We received a 90 day notice from our landlord. It’s hard finding a place in a decent location, but I’m feeling more optimistic than upset. Though it’ll be very difficult building up our savings again since we have to increase our budget by another $400. All I can say is that I better find a fucking house.
  • I started therapy on Sunday. So far, I really like it. I feel a lot more aware of how I treat myself. Yesterday, I filled out a questionnaire, and it made me painfully aware of how much I need help.
  • My sister contacted me yesterday. She’s having issues with mom and dad. My mom contacted me recently and apologized for how she treated me as a kid. It was over e-mail, but that’s definitely more than she’s ever done. She actually sounds a lot like me as a teenager. I feel awful for missing such important parts of her life. I guess I didn’t know where I belonged and instead of finding a way, I ran.
  • Summer Flake is flawless.
  • In the past few months, I’ve made an extra effort to open up and meet more people, but it doesn’t seem to work out. But I guess there are so many people out in the world, it’s not going to fit perfectly. Yhere were a few instances where I wasn’t interested in continuing the friendship just because I felt incompatible with the person, and I didn’t really feel like I was being me. The only time I really feel like I’m being me is when I’m by myself. I think that’s true for most people though. I’ve been looking at Meetup, and I plan on joining a book club.
  • I feel very uncertain about my life. Welcome to the club, Jo.