Come visit me at rosetruesdale.com. Bring cookies!
Happy Monday, you beautiful babies. I have, as of yet, no plans for this post — in the seams of my guts and marrow, the chromosomes to make me a lady with intent were stitched in as a merciful afterthought, which makes for an often fun but not always fruitful way to live. So. This should be wild.
Along those wiggly lines, I’m trying to be more specific about my heart’s desires lately. I’ve always vaguely wanted to be somewhat known in the creative circles of my city, but that’s not a destination, it’s just a vanity plate, you know? #cartalk Pointedly, I want to write personal essays and I want to pick the impressive brains of my colleagues and successful acquaintances like an Egyptian plover picks at the rot on a crocodile’s lateral incisors. Look it up, dude. Oh, and I want to weave those wants together and make a happy, thoughtful little life. Now the trick is to somehow make my supposed life’s work a priority, even though my fabulous job-job is demanding and it’s summer and everyone just wants to hang out/make out. Distraction City, U.S.A. But life is rife with beautiful distractions, no?
It’s all part of it. By that I mean, everything we react to shapes us. For some reason, that ambiguous thought always brings me comfort. If I’m hurting or feeling like my scenery isn’t changing quickly enough, I tell myself “it’s all part of it.” And I start to hear a Kelly Clarkson anthem in my inner ear and I remember that every truly tough thing that hasn’t killed me thus far has, indeed, made me stronger.
This weekend, I asked a friend what she was like when she was 23 years old. The impetus for that question was weird and twisty and not meant for the internet, but her answer was “naive,” and then she explained herself and my head exploded. Just think of how much we’ve all grown — and what causes growth. Hurt causes growth, and feeling like your scenery isn’t changing quickly enough. And feeling like you, personally, are not enough… It’s all part of it.
When I stop flapping my arms/jaw for a hot minute and meditate on who I am, I realize that I’m exactly who I wanted to be four or five years ago. I wasn’t mature enough at the time to factor things like money savvy and wanton courage into my visualizations, but I’m making up for that now so future me is more fleshed out than “Works in artistic field. Has freedom to roam and purple hair. Doesn’t play the victim card. Doesn’t have an eating disorder.” And that’s what I suppose planning is good for — fleshing out future you.
Because it’s Monday and feelgood vibes are in order, let’s acknowledge how far we’ve come. Because I’m maybe 50% more of a badass than I was a few short years ago, so my capital growth looks damn promising.
Oh HI! I know I promised I’d be back here weekly, but I was full of shit. Well-meaning, sparkly shit, but shit nonetheless. A reader of mine had actually agreed to pay me to write down my own thoughts in my own (well-meaning, sparkly) tone, which is undoubtedly the most benevolent proposition I have ever received, barring the time that a man living under the bridge at North and Ashland offered to braid my hair in exchange for… letting him touch my hair. In both instances, something felt off, though. In regards to the latter overture: I am somewhat attached to my hair and its proximity to my head. In regards to the former: this out of date blog is no longer a super accurate representation of who I am as a writer and a human, and the overhaul it deserves will take time I don’t currently have.
So basically, I’m not ready for your generosity, kind reader. But I’m ready for your generosity, Universe. Holla atcha gurl. Here are some life happenings, of late, and my input on them. FREE OF CHARGE.
– It struck me the other day that I haven’t focused on self care in almost a year. Trust me, I’m not suffering. My “office” yesterday was poolside. (And I pulled off my most successful yogic handstand ever. And I got lunch with my mama. And I was elected Education and Outreach Co-Chair of this rad organization. And I had BAND PRACTICE. So like… I’m okay.) But, if you poke around this corner of the internet at all, you’ll realize that my particular brand of self care entails making stuff. Stuff with words. Stuff with my hands. Stuff that is only for me and occasionally the internet at large. So on Sunday, I didn’t check my email at all and I painted my room in my underwear — an illicit shade of teal that breaks my lease agreement but reminds me of the Hell pit apartment I shared with my college best friend on the second floor of a chicken wing palace known as Buff Joe’s. And I was so, so happy… not only to be in possession of a blue bedroom, but to have done something by myself, for myself, that made me feel capable.
– I’m slowly but surely learning to trust myself, which is the secret key to setting boundaries, I think. I trust that if I’m burnt out, it will behoove everyone for me to take a break. I trust that if I’m feeling a feeling, I should try to honor it because it’s rooted in truth. Because I’m a goddamn lady. With an INTUITION. And my 27 years on Earth have afforded me the privilege to be discerning with how I spend my energy.
– On that note, I don’t have to immediately jump on every opportunity that comes hurdling my way; via men under bridges, anonymous blog benefactors, etc. etc. etc. I’m building something — a life, and a nebulous empire (new band name: Nebulous Empire), which takes a while. You know? And said opportunities are never truly lost if we remain open to them.
So. Here I am. Open to opportunity, tryna live my best life, dreaming up next steps but not necessarily taking them right away. Where you at? What are you up to? TELL ME YOUR STORIES I MISS THE HECK OUT OF YOU.
I’ve always been a performer. Literally, I struggled for years to make it as an opera singer; meanwhile attempting to convince myself (and my mom, who put me through college; and the psychotic voice teacher I eventually had to break up with because she started spending half of every lesson trying to sell me organic cleaning products; and my poor ex-boyfriends who were not unreasonable in their disdain for my practice of communicating only via cheap sign language and feelings scrawled on post-its so as to rest my vocal chords but simultaneously whine about the crushing stress of my chosen career path during the week preceding an audition #runon #dontcare) that I wanted to make it as an opera singer. In reality, I chose opera because I was uncannily good at it and I thought it would make me more interesting… and I didn’t love anything else enough to top that reasoning. So I faked it.
Throughout life, I’ve feigned interest in all sorts of things I thought might better me somehow or make my life more exciting. For a time, I was concurrently enrolled in sewing classes with a man named Tchad (with a T), guitar for beginners and French lessons with a surly French dude who needed drug money. I inevitably got overwhelmed, ghosted my French tutor, told Tchad I’d had an “episode” but didn’t delve further, and successfully completed Guitar 1 because I have long fingers and my peers and I took turns supplying the class with booze. Win some, lose some. Likewise, I’ve dated boys I had no business dating — emotionally destitute and openly damaged boys; boys who simply wanted to replace their recent ex-girlfriends (three examples who come to mind are once again in relationships with said recent ex-girlfriends. So. You’re welcome.) Boys who needed a girlfriend, the only requirement being: girl… check. Granted, I didn’t know I was faking to start out with — I was just trying different scenarios on for size. But I wasn’t terribly quick to admit they didn’t fit, either.
Right now, in life, I’m worried that I’m wandering further and further away from my authentic self. A lot of the major segments of my present existence — work, family, friends, home, love/lust/whatever — are very new, so in a great many of my regular practices, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Truly. No f*cking clue. And I’m walking the awfully sketchy line of opening myself up to new experiences versus fighting to be a person I am not. So too, the aforementioned line is difficult to identify, and easy to cross, when one doesn’t know precisely the sort of person one is. But what would happen if we didn’t try different scenarios on for size? We’d wind up with a busted wardrobe, that’s what. I’m talking jumpsuits with short crotches. Short. Crotches. Not fly. But we wouldn’t know to shop a size up in jumpsuits if we didn’t model them first, and a world without jumpsuits is a fiery Hell pit, basically. So the lesson is: try. But don’t suffer through. Here are some immediate actions I’m taking to ensure that I minimize suffering through, and continue to walk my own grimy little path, regardless of what glimmers along the way:
– I will use the internet for good. Two years ago, my dear friend Toridotgov.com wrote a piece called The Internet Makes Me Feel Sad, and you should read it. Because the internet makes everyone sad. It hums alive-electric with a trillion misguided motives and mouth-breathing insecurities, and I find it encourages insincerity. But it also houses free episodes of Broad City, so I’m going to go in, get what I came for, and get the heck out. At least for a while.
– I will rely a bit more heavily on my girlfriends. I have people I can call every day for a month to report on the status of my ongoing existential crisis. And they give a sh*t, or pretend to, which works just as well for me. It’s good to feel loved, it’s good to remember that I’m not alone in this stage of adult female development, and it’s good to note that things ebb and things flow, even if every damn thing is hardcore ebbing right now.
– I will pay attention to how I’m feeling in any given circumstance, and I’ll honor it. I’ll write it down, even. If I’m giving a presentation, for example, do my words actually mean anything to me? Why or why not? Do I just need to freshen up my verbage? Am I entirely over it? Am I burnt out? Do I need a cookie? All important questions. Even more important — if I’m not giving a presentation, and am rather just talking to a human as another human, do I feel like I’m giving a presentation? Am I performing? How long ago did I abandon my path and where is the cookie crumb trail back to it?
– I will simplify my day to day. I won’t bend over backwards if I’m not feeling it. Only in yoga. Namaste.
My basic understanding of faking it until you make it is that you test out everything, but are honest with yourself in your experimentation. And then you adjust: you can alter a jumpsuit. Or find a tailor to alter your jumpsuit, before you jump… ship. You either fairly assess your current situation and make the necessary changes to it, or you find a new situation. And you recall, always, that you’re a person and you’re trying. So stop being so hard on yourself,
Rose unidentified girlfriend. Things will click. Truesdale out. I love you guys. I love your guts.
In my 27 years as a “human” on “Earth,” I have deduced — via casually busting my way into the heart of every potential new pal and then being all “it’s weird and squishy all up in this left ventricle so I’m… gonna bail” — that I can be sort of difficult to get to know. I can rock a grand entrance like I can rock a sneaky run on sentence, but once on the inside, I start to experience this strange, ballooning pressure to plate up all the very serious layers of me, and to present a simultaneously dazzling and pithy anecdote to correspond with each layer like one of those singing waiters. I.e. for the first course, please enjoy pickled neuroses pertaining to authority figures served up with an extra sparkly verse about my childhood. Because you should know where your food comes from. Or something. I’ve never been to a restaurant with singing waiters so this analogy was a huge mistake.
It’s probably not shocking that I want to be known, given I have this blog where I serve up my insides to the internet. And because writing is how I process sh*t, when I’m not in the practice of writing almost every day, I become severed from my aforementioned insides. I feel like I constantly need to explain myself, but I can’t because I have, of late, given very little thought to my self. Not myself. My self. And as someone who greatly values introspection and personal growth, this internal skirmish is stupid overwhelming and, in turn, makes me kinda stupid and outwardly inarticulate.
Of course, the need to be known is not unique to me. All “humans” on “Earth” are born with the base desire to be seen and heard. The healthiest among us find a way to express themselves and satisfy said desire in a way that doesn’t freak people out, unless they’re so self-assured that they don’t curr if they freak people out. Get it. What I’m trying to say is that not writing is not working for me. Ever since I stopped popping in here on the reg, I’ve been insecure in a way that is deeply foreign to me… lost in an angry sea of anonymity and oblivion. Stop. I’m not being dramatic. But I think the very obvious means to returning to my self, re-prioritizing self care, clawing my way to badassery, and not freaking people out is writing again. Duh.
So I’m back. Hi guys. Let’s do this.
As with any neglected practice, writing for the first time in a long time feels foreign and uncomfortable — like pulling on an itchy sweater. Or drinking craft beers (ack!) at an arcade bar (double ack!). But once you’re in it, you want to stay there. So maybe this metaphor lacks follow through. So what? I’m rusty. And reeling from craft beers.
Yesterday, I came upon a feel-good listicle-type thingy (journalism is dead) during one of the ravenous internet crawls I only succumb to when reeling from craft beers. It quoted my main man, Voltaire, who said “perfect is the enemy of the good,” and reminded us that we’re never going to feel truly ready — we’ll never have the funds or the moral support or the expertise we think we need to accomplish whatever we’d like to accomplish. And we should do it anyway; perhaps badly.
I think the same part of me that will always be self-conscious has become too patient in some regards. I’ve been working so long on acceptance and trusting the Universe that I don’t always actively do. I don’t necessarily go after what I want, I just vaguely expect to be smacked in the face by my wildest desires at some point down the line. Furthermore, some of the negative things I’ve accepted about myself — the things that unabashedly slow me down — don’t have to be true, i.e. I’m always broke, I don’t prioritize travel, I’m very much afflicted by rabid workaholism, I’m a hopeless people pleaser. I could just change my story. I could take more time for myself and see what happens. I could go out and get what’s not mine yet.
Just some Monday thoughts from a slow-moving overachiever. I’m going to go watch music videos whilst elipticaling leisurely and call it exercise now.
Last Valentine’s Day, I wrote a step by step guide on how to be your own damn Valentine. This year I’d rather highlight the flaws in our collective consciousness as they pertain to love and self-actualization, meanwhile owning up to my own foibles. Because times they are a changin’, mama, and I am chock full of foibles. Also feminist rage. … Also coffee.
First, I take issue with the idea of self-love as a checkpoint en route to “real” love, involving two people. Or three people — I’m not here to judge. The belief that one cannot fully love another human until one loves herself, while likely true and wise and well-meaning, still identifies romantic love as the end goal. And though I’m not anti-relationship (at least not currently), I think slapping the onus of completing you on someone who, while lovely, is not you demonstrates blatant disregard for all of the work you’ve already put into becoming your best self.
Further gumming up the works, there’s the “kiss enough frogs” mentality that grotesquely suggests every partner we mount, each supposedly less amphibious than the one before, teaches us a subtle lesson about what we really need in a relationship. But what about kissing frogs for its own sake because making out is the best? What about kissing frogs as a means to personal achievement; connecting with others as a means to further solidifying your own autonomy?… Not so you can more effectively love your soulmate when said soulmate finally floats by on his/her resplendent lily pad, but so you become unsinkable on the murky pilgrimage to your own place of peace.
The thing is, relationships come and go, but the focus will always come back to you and your opportunities for growth. Or, because this is my blog, ME and MY opportunities for growth. One such opportunity: I am a deeply self-conscious soul. I always have been. I was not a rascally, bed-headed tomboy running amok through the neighborhood. I was an abnormally precocious indoor kid: easily embarrassed, with early onset OCD and the obsessive need to prove that I was smarter and more talented than the boogery masses surrounding me. I think most creative people suffer from a similar paranoia that simultaneously keeps them from being present and gives them an impetus to make. I write to remind myself that there are valuable thoughts scurrying around in my cerebellum, along with some truly insipid thoughts, i.e. I am adding nothing to this conversation, my arms feel chubby today… my nail beds suck. Whatever. Self-consciousness is a little shadow succubus I have trained to serve me. It’s just one example of a hangup, and relationships are really great at shedding light on hangups.
Relationships can be really great in other ways, too: friendship and sex and closeness are all terribly important life components. And for the record, I am very much pro-love. But personal growth shouldn’t stop when you find someone you adore. Romantic relationships should be another channel to your aforementioned place of peace, another mechanism for working through your hangups. Because you’re enough, all by yourself. And every day, you’re better.
Just two cents from a wizened cat lady, one day too late. Happy February 15th, everyone!