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I've been in quite the funk, lately. I was laid off, and felt unsure about what the fuck I'm doing and what paths I've chosen, or not chosen, etc.

I ended up being awake all night a few weeks ago. I just couldn't sleep. I was upset, and frustrated, and felt directionless.

I sat down and started painting, while listening to a favorite show of mine. The show mentioned something that led my train of thought to hiking. I've been doing a lot of hiking with Lucy lately, and my mind leapt to the Appalachian Trail.

I put down my paintbrush, got up, and started doing some research. I used to date a really interesting man named Nads. He has hiked the trail quite a bit. I recalled some of our conversations, and delved deeper into the plethora of information about hiking the trail that the internet provided.

After doing a fuckton of research, and figuring out whether or not I was able to pay my bills and fund the hike, I made a decision.

On March 8th, I will be dropped off at the start of the trail. My darling grandparents are going to buy the pack I was recently fitted for. I have probably 50% of the things I'll need. I'm going on overnight hikes between now and then. I'll be on the trail until Easter (4/20), when Ida will pick me up in Tennessee.

So that's what's up. I'm super excited, and terribly nervous. Six weeks on the trail will be difficult, and painful, and I'm determined to make it all the way through.

My friends Amanda and Kie-Won-Tia are able to loan me some supplies. If anyone else has any lightweight camping/hiking gear that I can steal, I'd be eternally grateful. Email me at LockeMiddleton@gmail.com. I'll cook you dinner, and totally bring that shit to you.

I'm so fucking excited.

All my love.
-L
This post was written before I realized I had so much music to share. A lot of it has helped me simply feel better. Some of it is emotional. Some just makes me laugh. If you could use exposure to some new sounds, give it a chance. Even if you skip what I write, give the music a chance. All my love. -LLM

Today was my birthday. Good old 1/22. I turned 27 years old. Fuck. I'm 27 years old.

It's funny, I can think back on several instances over the past several years where I've met people that told me they were 27 years old. My internal reaction was usually one of, "Oh, wow. They're almost 30. I wonder what they're they doing with their life? What goals have they managed to accomplish? What goals are they actively pursuing? Isn't that when everything starts to fit together and make sense?"

Even during the past year, when I still viewed myself as in my "mid-twenties", I looked at people that were 27+ through the same eyes that 20 year old me saw them. It was as though being in your "late twenties" gave you some innate ability to hone in on that comfortable pattern of lifestyle, so you could just keep doing what you're doing and always be okay (whether financially, emotionally, or both). Once you hit that age, you would find yourself on a path that was, at the very least, well-defined. You were finally an adult, making adult decisions about careers and family and the future.

I feel very unsure about my future. I don't know what's going to happen with anything, really.

During the last few weeks, I've been digging myself this awful pit in my mind. I've been discouraged and frustrated and hurt and angry at everything and nothing... probably mostly with myself.

- - - - - -

After writing the post above, I found myself talking with an old friend this evening. I expressed a lot of the concerns and anxieties above. Somehow, he had the most amazing insight. While I'm still not sure where I'm going, or what I'm doing, I'm more excited to find out than I have been in a while.

I feel like everyone should be given this amazing, positive encouragement. So here you go.

"Life starts when it starts. Then it starts again. And again."

"Spoiler alert: You are a speck of sand on the beach of people that have felt lost, and felt they were drifting. But it's better to be drifting than anchored to a shit existence."

"You are still free to take any path that you wish. No, that isn't exciting considering the fact that you have no clue where you're heading or what you should do next, but you are free in a way that so many people are not. You can step in any direction."

"Don't ever fall for the concept that things have to be done in accordance to time markers. Your path will be its own, with its own timing and revelations."

"Don't fight this moment. Don't mourn this moment. Don't stress this moment. Embrace this moment. These themes are eternal."

"Welcome to the river of confusion. Just remember to keep swimming, love. You will not drown."


- - - - - -

Here's recommended listening. It may not be your cup of tea, but it sure as fuck is mine. And I'd be remiss were I to not share it with you. Please, give it a chance. And if you find my taste differs terribly from yours, let me know why. I'd love to find new music. The music I love is all I know, if that makes any sense.

This is Kate Mara in the movie HappyThankYouMorePlease. She's singing "Sing Happy" a la Liza Minnelli. While I love Liza (and who doesn't?!), I like this arrangement so much more than the original. It seems to capture the melancholy that the original barely hinted at. The movie is awesome, too. It was written by Ted Mosby (I can't recall his real name) from How I Met Your Mother. He stars in it, too. And Buster Bluth has a good role, as well. Great flick. Great Song.
Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, the whole movie (HappyThankYouMorePlease) has a fucking awesome soundtrack. Here's a link to the soundtrack, and it starts on one of my favorite songs to play on the guitar. And god damn, do I miss New York....
Here's some more Radiohead. Yes, they're my favorite. Yes, I'm horribly cliche. Yes, it's all because my dad was addicted to them and we would listen, from album to album, all day on the weekends we spent together, just the two of us. This song is called No Surprises. It isn't one of their best songs, but the accompaniment is so poignant and yet so beautiful.
Have I ever told you that I love the shit out of some Björk? There are a handful of her songs that strike me. I think that the only reason I love the few that I do is because they're just so much fucking fun to sing. Here are my top three. In order, from most awesome to slightly less awesome.
Joga (god damn, I LOVE singing this song. At the top of my lungs, half-crying, and belting as loud as I possibly can, while driving as fast as I can get away with. It's soul-changing... at least, it has been for me when I've needed it.)
Hyperballad (I love this one simply because I have images in my head that go along with the story told in the lyrics. Well, and it's so much fun to sing along with.)
Hunter (I used the youtube version that included lyrics, because I think this song has more meaning in the words than in how they're expressed musically.... Though the drum and the bass line are exceptional, and the strings are to die for.)
Bachelorette (This is the last Bjork song I'll send you. Again, Joga is by far the best as far as I'm concerned. But if you find yourself needing more Bjork, with the stellar percussion, and incredible strings, and belting vocals, here you go. This is so much fun to sing at the top of my lungs. While it's so much fun to sing, I think what I really love about this song is the juxtaposition between the strength in the lyrics and the uncertainty of the instrumentals.)
I know Bjork can be a bit intense, which is why I'm transitioning to a couple of my favorite Bo Burnham songs. This young punk was discovered by Comedy Central when he was 18 or some shit. He kept posting videos of his music on YouTube, and they eventually got him to do a special (called "Words, Words, Words). His newer special is easier to find online, but it isn't as awesome. I'm going to end this long-ass email (the first email of my 27th year on the planet, in case you're keeping a tally of unimportant information somewhere) by sharing a few of his songs. Some are hilarious. Some are brilliant. All of them have at least a bit of both aspects.
Art is Dead (This is the song that caused me to track down the rest of Bo Burnham's work. I love the shit out of this song.)
From God's Perspective This is one of the only two songs I really loved from his latest special. But I thought I'd share it, because it makes me laugh.
This is the encore type nonsense from his latest special. I love it because it takes some crazy creativity and musical awareness to pull this shit off. Also, it reminds me of my brother Kyle. I've totally watched him dance like that (though he never wrote music, recorded dialogue, and choreographed shit to it). It should be said, this video, specifically, deserves actually being watched (as opposed to just listening to it).
And that's it for now. Thanks for giving me something to do during the tail end of my 27th birthday that made me feel productive and positive (even though it seems silly that this made me feel a spark of importance).
As you read this, listen to this wonderful music. Translation will be posted. I promise.

I've recently found myself in one hell of a state of transition. Lucky for me, I can hold the fort financially for at least a couple months. And there are a few irons in the fire, in terms of finding a new position. Which is hopeful.
The thing is, this state of transition has given me far more time than I'm comfortable with. Time to reflect, and untangle any feelings or thoughts I've put on the back burner over the past year or two. It's been ages since I had so much time to just mull over all of the personal and emotional bullshit that I've previously ignored because I was far too busy just keeping up with life.
Now that I find myself with so much unoccupied time on my hands, I find my mind is forcing me to reexamine situations and relationships and conflict that I originally felt forced to gloss over during the last two+ years.
Is this something that other people experience occasionally? This weird resurgence of emotions/situations/choices that weren't fully dealt with in their immediate past? It seems so bizarre to me. I'm not used to this overwhelming wave of my more recent, swept-under-the-rug personal history.
I find this unexpected introspection has been leaking into my dreams. I had a dream about an ex of mine just a few nights ago. It was so odd, and the situation involved was surreal. I miss his company on occasion, but, to be honest, I hadn't really thought about him for several months. The dream has stuck with me, and I find myself wondering how he's doing, and what his life is like these days. I wonder if things turned out the way he wanted, and if he's still the person I knew less than a year ago.
And then I end up thinking about the other loves of my life. I wonder where they are in their plan for life. I wonder if they're happy. I wonder, if they aren't happy, what they would do to make themselves happy. I want to know if they have any thoughts in regards to how I might improve myself, or how they might have been more faithful to themselves during the relationships.
[For the record, I don't think there's such a thing as one true love. I believe that all most love is true. The trick is finding a true love when you're both in a place to share that love, and grow in it together. In my head, it's like one person being a clutch and one person being an engine. You have to find that sweet spot when you let the clutch out, so the revolutions match up. If they don't you'll stall the engine. That doesn't mean you'll never be able to put the car in gear. It just means you need more time to figure out how your clutch works, and how to match your clutch with an engine.]
I know that romance and dating and "being involved" ought to be the last of my concerns at the moment. And believe me, it's close to the last of my current concerns. But I've just found myself missing these people that were so close to me for so very long. I'd love to learn from their perspectives of the experiences we had together, and gain some deep insight about how they grew from said experiences, or how they think I could grow from the same experiences. It would be grand to gain that new perspective from these people that knew me so incredibly well, and in so many different aspects.
Maybe I should extend that desire for constructive criticism to my friends and family. The thing is, I loathe asking people for shit like that. "Oh, hey, what do you think of me and how I react to certain circumstances? What advice could you give me so I can be a better person?"
That's ridiculous. The only world where I'm the main focus is the world I live in, in my head. I would feel like a self-centered asshole were I to ask anyone else (save a very small group of people) to comment on my feelings, or actions, or comment on how I'm perceived.
So, I suppose that I'll just keep on keeping on, for now. I'm not on the wrong path, but I'm not sure I'm on the right one, either. I just hope I can make it the right one, or see that it isn't before I'm stuck here.

Love to you all, and yours.

And here's your musical translation, just in case you were curious.

People come into our lives for a reason

So, I was laid off. The club I worked for has had shit revenue lately, and the partners decided to sell the business, and get rid of all of their staff.

Happy new year to me, I have no job. Oh, and my birthday is in January, so I get to do that jobless, too. And pay for my cars tag registration. And get my license renewed. And apply for unemployment. Turning 27 is just the best, right?

I know I'm so much better off than many people that find themselves without work. I have an incredible group of friends. I have a stellar family. I have more support than most. But I still feel so terribly lost. The light at the end of my proverbial tunnel is getting fainter by the day. And that frustrates me to no end.

Usually, when I find myself frustrated, I spend time figuring out how to change the circumstances that led to said frustration. But, right now, I feel like I'm doing everything that can be done, and still failing at creating a solution. What else can I do to solve this problem? If I apply to all the open positions that I'm qualified for (and even some that are a bit out of my league), and I get no response, what else can I do?

I'm feeling more lost than I have in a while. And more frustrated.

I have so much in my life to be grateful for. Which makes my tragic feeling of hopelessness even worse.

Fuck.
There's a new post here: LindseyLocke.blogspot.com

It even has an awesome drawing. And discusses how to bathe kittens. 

Sweet summer rain

There's more.

LindseyLocke.blogspot.com

I need to share this lesson.

Original post is here: http://lindseylocke.blogspot.com/

But I'll copy and paste to make life easier. Clicking links can be such a pain in the ass, right?

Over the past few weeks, I managed to meet a man, fall madly in love with him, and have my heart broken. Talk about a mini-drama.

I'm not one to date, simply because it's messy and complicated and more often than not at least one person in the relationship ends up feeling the way I'm feeling now. But, for the first time in my life, I allowed myself to fall head-first into a relationship. And I got hurt. And I'm glad that I did it.

This experience has allowed me to learn so much about who I am and what I want. I've managed to see myself through the eyes of other people, and I really like the person I'm growing into (and they like that person, too, which is a great feeling). I felt attractive and desired and loved, and what's so much more is that I felt completely worthy of those things (which is a somewhat new level of acceptance for me).

I've discovered that no one can make me happy. But people can add to my happiness in abundance. The trick is to have that happiness in the first place.

I've learned that I don't have to be scared of who I am at the core of my being. I have always worried that, deep down, I was this tangle of anxiety and depression and insecurity. But I managed, in a moment of introspection, to find that core of me and it's just... calm. Peaceful, even. It's accepting and still. And knowing that gives me so much comfort.

Yes, I am hurting. Yes, I feel a bit betrayed. I feel naive. I feel silly for putting so much hope into something so quickly. But I'm also really glad that I experienced this flash in the pan love. I feel like I overcame my fears and relationship-cynicism, and have found something in me that I never even knew was there.

And now I'm going to do something I should have done more of as a child, and listen to my darling, brilliant stepmother (who sent me the following email):

"I'm sorry about the breakup. People do stupid stuff in relationships all the time, like dating someone when they are still attached to someone else. At least it came out fairly early on, not that that's much consolation. But I'm hoping that you won't let this situation rule your weekend. Really, why should it? What will moping get you? Have a great time with your friends at your party tonight and then get your ass over here for dinner on Sunday. We are your family. We love you. And there will be salmon."

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