Well, well, what happened here?

I guess I’ve been waiting to blog until the seasons changed. Or until I got a little older. Or until I found my first gray hairs. That’s what’s been happening since October really – a lot of growing up.

I started spending one night a week where I work so I can get a bit more sleep and write about things other than furniture (and admittedly to watch shit TV, too). I got a couple rounds of not so great news from home. I fought with myself about what I’m doing here. I read a lot about what to do with my American taxes and I’m still confused. I got my first round of Swedish taxes, which are (not) surprisingly way less confusing than American taxes. I got some sort of notice about my pension fund. I’ve started speaking much, much, much, much, much more Swedish at work. I’ve forced myself to eat and drink outside even though it’s still chilly because the sun has come out. I attempted to make my own fruit roll-ups and sort of succeeded. Karl and I put a lot of effort into our apartment to make it feel like we live here (photos to come later). I started working out a lot without cutting back on my obsessive consumption of things like cheese and potato chips. I had to plan out all of my 2012 vacations by the end of February. Karl and I have been talking a lot, planning out what we want our lives to be. So, I’ve also been researching what needs to happen for him to be able to live in the States, which is also messy.  And I’ve been waiting impatiently for my residence permit to be renewed so I am not physically bound inside this country.

And more and more I’ve caught myself looking at old photos, smiling and crying. In my overnight room, I’ve put up a magnet board of a dozen or so photos, from myself aged teeny tiny to teenage. I’m trying to get something written about each one and more to come, but every time I sit down to write, something else comes out. When life keeps going, it’s hard to have one foot in the past. But I’m stubborn, trying to plant one there. I’m not done yet, dammit. If I don’t get something out by the time I’m 30, how am I ever going to catch up? My 10-year high school reunion is this year. What happened there?

I believe you know me well enough to know that I don’t think my life is so much more poignant than anyone else’s that it must be documented. That’s not it. But it is selfish. At some point, hopefully much later than sooner, the circuits will short, cutting my ties to memory. I’m going to forget you. I’m going to forget me. And that makes me sick. So I want my future self to read printed words from my younger self to be reassured that, yes, what happened was good.

Jonathan Franzen, one of my favorites, explores writing in his essay ‘Why Bother?’ In it, he reprints research and quotes from Shirley Brice Heath, a professor who throughout the ’80s would stop and interview people who were reading or had purchased a work of non-fiction. Through this, she was able to speculate what made people readers. Essentially, I am the social isolate reader, the one who ‘from a very early age felt very different from everyone around him. What happens is you take that sense of being different into an imaginary world. But that world, then, is the world you can’t share with the people around you–because it’s imaginary. And so the important dialogue in your life is with the authors of the books you read.’ Franzen then reassures ‘Simply being a “social isolate” as a child does not, however, doom you to bad breath and poor party skills as an adult. … It’s just that at some point you’ll begin to feel a gnawing, almost remorseful need to be alone and do some reading–to reconnect with that community.’ And so, ‘If writing was the medium of communication within the community of childhood, it makes sense that when writers grow up they continue to find writing vital to their sense of connectedness.’

None of this surprises me. I’ve lived a fair portion of life in my head since I was a kid. That’s true. I can entertain myself for hours, letting my brain go where it wants. For me, it’s not just the gnawing need to read, it’s the gnawing need to write. And no, being paid to write for a company doesn’t count though it feels nice. Since I’m not a kid anymore, the imaginary world (for the most part) has become the one I can’t inhabit anymore, the one of the past. That’s where I like to be sometimes, in the fuzzy area of manipulated memories. Cause one day, being alone with my thoughts is going to confuse the hell out of me.

So should these blogs become less frequent because I’m trying to put those words elsewhere, please forgive me. It’s the gnawing of growing up. But I’ll do my best to keep them going.

And if this all became a little too heavy for you and you really just came here wondering what I’d been up to the last few months, do check out the photo slideshow. I mean, I did go to Barcelona, London and Lisbon. That’s important too. Don’t forget to click ‘show info’ so you get the words, too. The words!

Click skeleton sheriff Marissa for the slideshow. Yep, never take yourself too seriously.

Skeleton sheriff leads the way to photos!

Skeleton sheriff leads the way to photos!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Well, well, what happened here?

  1. Carolyn Blakley

    Love your blog posts! I also loved your piece you wrote for May 225–eloquently said! I trust you still get copies of the magazine… I am happy to assist in sending any to you as well.
    So glad you had nice Mardi Gras in Sweden 🙂

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