On Writing, Fear, and Perfection

There is a tremendous amount of experiences to be afraid of.  It's not even worth taking the time to discuss, at this point.  There is, simultaneously, a tremendous amount of solidarity among people.  Women are encouraging each other and supporting each other and, often, just being conscious that everyone does things a little differently.  I have often felt so self-conscious in comparing my work to other's, and comparing my creativity to other people's will to create, that it stops me from creating something myself.  There is so much to fear in American life right now, why am I afraid of my own creativity?  Of expressing myself?

I've been hearing about Plato, and I think something about the relation between a one single form stands alone from everything else, but anyway I've been told that nothing can be perfect because there is no way to compare what is to it as a perfect thing since it is at it simply is.  Read that over again: nothing can be perfect because it cannot exist in another state than it is, so what is may perhaps just be perfection.

And there is this one other seemingly small blip in life that I am totally inspired by, and it was a statement in an Instagram comic by Mari Andrew: Just get some words down and <PooF!> instant writer.  I read about so many people getting book deals and publishing and editing and drawing and expressing themselves creatively or intelligently or hilariously, and I think that statement is true because it all started with the simple act of writing. If you write, you're a writer.  If you create art, you are an artist.  If you make music, you are a musician.  Why not?  Who is going to tell you otherwise, and why would you listen to them anyway?  Why be troubled by perfection when ..what even is perfection?

So I'm putting this out into the universe tonight because I literally don't have the time, or capacity, or strength not to:

I AM WRITING.  

And next I will be reading!  I'm about a third of the way through an advance copy of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani that Daniel at Boswell Book Company gave me several years ago.  WILL I finish it by Friday?  No one can tell!

On the Eve of 30

I've always been into my birthday.  My family always put a little effort into make a birthday into "Your Special Day."  As I've gotten older, my birthday is still one of my most important days, and if you were a loved one of mine who choose to include me in your own birthday, I would do  my best to make it special.

For a while when I was little I had a beautiful canopy bed.  The sheets and the canopy itself were white and pink, and my bedroom on a sunny morning would just be so bright and cheery that it was never hard for me to wake up.  To this day I like a bright, cheery bedroom, and sunny mornings are just the most beautiful.  Anyway.  I was maybe in second grade or something, and I woke up to the brightest sunny morning.  My parents and brother brought me breakfast in bed (pancakes, of course, probably chocolate chip) and sang me the Happy Birthday song.  We use these "It's Your Special Day" dishes on your special day, be it birthday or other equally good news, and it really does make the day extra special.  I think that was the birthday I got roller skates.

Eventually May 12 became a rainy day.  I no longer wake up to the sun, no one is singing me the birthday song, there is definitely not anyone bringing me breakfast in bed, and the Special Day plate is at my parent's.  Even if I had all those things happen, it would never compare to that sunny morning and the pleasure I felt as a child.

So, 30.  It's here tomorrow.  It was bothering me quite a bit, the milestone, you know?  Then I realized that entering my 30s means I get to say "g'BYE!" to my 20s and that actually sounded pretty good, it's been time to move on for a while.  Goodbye to all those lost friendships and relationships.  Goodbye to now long-gone furniture, clothes, apartments, things.  Goodbye to lingering stress, embarrassment, shame, and guilt.  Goodbye.

Out with the old, in with the new, right?

Hello to getting my floors refinished instead of buying...stuff.  Hello to overpaying my mortgage.  Hello to simplifying, cooking at home, nurturing relationships. Hello to honesty, commitment, generosity.  Hello to parenthood and this new Laura I haven't yet met.

Hello, 30, I'm ready; Let's GO.


I've written about my birthday before here and here.

hi :)

First off, hello!  How are you doing?  Probably good but busy, right?  Everyone is just so busy these days...  I think I read an article about how people describe their lives as busy, but in reality we have an amount of work that is equal to or less than in the times past.

I am also good!  I won't say that I'm busy (if I did it would include the word "super" first, but let's be honest, when I'm done writing I don't have cows to milk or something, I got a TELEVISION to watch while I am sitting down), but I will say that I have been kept occupied.  Fortunately I can definitely say that I have not stopped doing fun and interesting things since I last posted....eight months ago....but I obviously have not documented those things here!

In January 2015 Ben and I bought a house.  That is still incredibly crazy to say.  What other times in life do average people spend tens- nay! -hundreds of thousands of dollars at once?  That is overwhelming.  That purchase is spent with hours and hours of painting over other people's paint choices, and then that is followed by the agonizing process of "Making Your House a Home."  Is agonizing the right word? Eh, maybe, maybe not?  Obtaining and placing the correct item to the right place is wonderful, it's the process of obtaining that is perhaps agonizing?  Whatever, it doesn't matter.  The point is, I bought an adorable little house, and I love it.

So that happened.

Then lots of other things happened, like concerts and great meals and even a road trip out west (driving from San Francisco to Seattle up the coast--breathtaking!), but I guess the other big thing that happened is that I got pregnant.

....was that surprising?  Yeah, it was for me, too!  It probably shouldn't have been, but I since I didn't have to pay any doctors or undergo any procedures, it was a little surprising!

So we've got a little bébé coming late this summer!

"How are you doing?" says everyone all the time.  

"GREAT" I non-sarcastically reply.  "Seriously!"  My two most noticeable symptoms have been exhaustion (first trimester 1 and part of 2) followed by this:

 Don't even talk about my messy messy bedroom. &nbsp;I am selling so much stuff on CL and eBay right now..and don't even talk about my bear claw hands...

Don't even talk about my messy messy bedroom.  I am selling so much stuff on CL and eBay right now..and don't even talk about my bear claw hands...

And my third symptom that is fun but makes me crazy is NESTING.  It's real, and I've got it bad.

That bell didn't just pop out, btw, that is six months of baking in there!  

So, let's talk about you, what are you up to? You super busy too?

Birthday Part 2

Remember how I mentioned that I'll often celebrate my birthday for days on end?  This year was one of those birthdays.  

I generally take off from work for my birthday.  I've spent the previous weekend camping, so on my Big Day, I like to do something personal.  Last year I went to the gun range.

Afterwards I went to watch my niece Julia's soccer game, and met my friend Ryan for dinner.  It was a good one.

This year I wandered Lake Park.  For hours.  It was perfect.  Lake Park was beautiful and nearly abandoned.  I only saw one other person while I was there, and I bet that man was doing the same thing I was: enjoying being outside in the best company the globe offers.   You know, birds, trees, a cool breeze.


Birthday Part 1

For the past five years I've gone camping over my birthday weekend.  My mid-May birthday often falls on Mother's Day, but sometimes it'll be a Tuesday and I'll celebrate from Friday through Tuesday and I have no shame about it.

My first Birthday Camping trip, I camped alone.  I drove up to Kohler-Andrea outside Sheboygan.  I had with me the tent I received for my birthday in 4th grade.  

Side: my fourth grade birthday was fine.  I think I got a bookshelf or something and that was all well and good, but what I really wanted was a tent.  The night of my birthday, with a big sigh with a hint of disappointment for not receiving my tent, I removed myself from my typical spot on the couch and went to brush my teeth.  I came back down to join my family for our nighttime prayer and to say goodnight, and my mom asked me to fold my blanket or something.  I picked up the blanket.... and underneath was my Tent!! Joy!  We all went downstairs and set it up immediately.  I used that tent for many camping trips, often with my best friend Adrienne, whom I am fortunate enough to still be celebrating my birthday with!

I packed the sleeping bag that I had been using since memory begins.  I also packed a chair, a book, my journal, some food (about three heaping servings of campers stew/hobo dinner, whatever you call it), and two 40s of high life.  

The wood was wet.  It was cold.  I think it rained.  I slept on the ground and -surprise!- it was not comfortable!  I got drunk.  I was reading The Time Traveller's Wife and so I cried a lot.  I got really drunk.  I was so drunk that I called my mom while drunk.  (Who does that?)

Does this all sound pretty miserable?  Because this trip was truly miserable.  I was miserable.  I needed to say goodbye to part of my life that needed to be deleted and "empty trash," so when I say I was miserable, I mean actually miserable.  So I went camping.  Alone.  For my birthday.  And through all the misery, I was able to reconnect with myself.

I made a hot albeit smoky fire (granted with help over the phone from my dad and uncle who were at a different campground on my brother's bachelor camping trip).  I successfully cooked my three heaping servings of campers stew, and I ate it all.  I washed away all the bad with my tears.  A cardinal quietly visited me.  I was alone and happy.

The next year I had a new sleeping bag.

The year after that I had a new tent.

The year after that I had hiking shoes and wool socks.

The year after that I had a rain jacket.

And I'm not camping alone anymore on my birthday.  I surround myself with the best people in my life.  We hike.  We eat.  We drink.  We laugh together, and we get a little deep.

My dad isn't in this pic- he was taking a little nap!  And Adrienne and her bf Mike had already left, boo.

Every year I am grateful to have amazing people to share my time with, many of whom are not in this darling picture.

Door #5

When the right lady comes along, you do whatever you can to get her, amirite? 

I  impulsively sold my car earlier this year, and we've successfully survived as a one-car family since then.  Of course it helps that Ben has no need for a car most weeks, but we were in the market for another car in case the right one came along...  Boy, did it ever!  Isn't she beautiful?  The  six-speed turbo, leather interior, and dual moon roofs are my favorite aspects.  But I also just like looking at this pretty car and knowing that it's mine. Maybe that sounds dumb and materialistic, and it is, but when you're going to own something for a long time, what's bad about just plain LIKING it?

Momentum

I have been MIA for a multitude of reasons, one of which is a major career change.  On the 13th, I begin a new chapter in my life and career as a Communications Editor!  I said, "Farewell!" to J.Crew on Monday and have spent the rest of the week sick and in bed :(  I only wish I were joking.  

So it all happened really quickly, and even before that I had been consumed in a writing project for a friend's MBA applications, it's been a busy few weeks, and I'm really looking forward to new habits forming and the calm of routine again.  

Most importantly, I have a lot of catching up to do on here at LauraSays!  I've been to the Central library, I've read a couple great books, saw miles of autumn color from Holy Hill, and picked fresh apples at Barthel's, and you'll be able to read about it all, here, in the next week!  

So, thank you all for continuing to visit while I've been away, and please continue to visit to read about my adventures downtown!