Moving on

I'm moving to Tumblr.  A more frustrating format - only bc I don't know how to make it look how I want.  I will be posting things directly related to the creative process and my sketches, artists I like ect:

http://saraholwerda.tumblr.com/

And I will move all my personal stories to my journal.  No one needs to read this shit anyway.  Plus, I will need to increase the journal writing: I am quitting therapy, or at least, I am making a major change.

Perhaps I will save some writing for later projects and delete my LJ.  we'll see.

Unassuming

I've been crazy lately.   I have been doing a lot of pouting and picking at Adam to engage in intense emotional conversations late at night that we both end up falling asleep during.  And I've been doing a lot of Old Sara level self-deprecation.  The kind I don't truly believe anymore, but still say and entertain enough to be obnoxious and that begin to make me feel bad.

I realized, these are all signs, that finally, this is it.  It's happened.  I'm freaking out.  

I'm moving in with the boyfriend.  This is as good as fact by now, even as I say things like "IF we end up living together."  I want to.  He is openly reticent and it makes me feel 1. That he thinks I'm annoying 2. he is only doing this to appease me  or 3. Whatever it is it is bad and I should interpret his apprehension as a personal dig.  Cue pout.  In the end, I didn't really pay attention to my true feelings, because I was so preoccupied with the perceived affront.  And even though both my therapist and I agreed that a freak-out was in my future, I wasn't sure how or when it would go down.  

It's the spring.  Suddenly people I know are beginning to move.  People I know who have boyfriends.  Friends I know moving in with a boyfriend for the first time.  People are renewing leases with significant others, which is essentially a contractual commitment to cohabitate for another whole year.  terrifying!  People I know are also breaking up with live-in boyfriends.  Breaking leases, sleeping on couches and dividing belongings.  People are merging and separating all around me in increasingly real ways.  It has thus been easier to imagine myself in their shoes.  I imagine not only our furniture together in a dreamy aesthetic kind of fantasy, but in a more real way, like:  is he gonna ever see that shit I keep in boxes in my closet?  Will we share a closet?  How will our 'stuff' intermingle?  And will I need a safety box to keep my haphazard utensils and implements (his stuff is better than mine) should I need a fork as a newly single person?

And there is my problem.  I am obsessed with the 'end game.'  I want to imagine my exits in full detail like I'm planning an escape or heist.  I am just a few synapse firings away from literally drawing diagrams.  The other day, I wondered how I would arrange to get my dining set (my most valuable apartment furnishing asset) back should I need to leave in a hurry one day.  Seriously.  The problem is that I don't ASSUME we'll be together in a few years.  A few years is a long time.  I talk about us in conditionals, just to be safe.  I am only able to look to the fall, and maybe the first few months of our living together (which in my mind are sitcomesque), and then there's nothing.  The movie reel is blank.  Lease renewal, as a concept, just hit me last week.  I was faced with the idea that at some point we would renew a lease....together.  The film would keep rolling.....and rolling.......Commence freak out.

It's not that I'm skittish about commitment.  I mean I am, but only in real life.  In fantasy land, I imagine elaborate tales of  true love of your life kind of commitment love stories all the time.  I've pictured my wedding dress.  I've lamented about the absence of women from my team of bridesmaids.  In the fantasies we're both crying it's so beautiful and there's nothing but sunshine and happiness.  Granted, it's grossly idealized.  But I am romantic, despite my best poker face.  It's just that, in the real world I don't trust love like that.  I'm not sure how to idealize an actual working relationship and imagine it existing over time successfully.  It's like limits in Calculus.  I can't get at it.   So, I find that assuming  I will be happy with the same man in ten, twenty or however-wrinkle-many years is unfathomable and therefore dangerous.  I rationalize that my strategy of conditional phrases and exit schemes will soften the blow if - and even better - when it all dissolves and my heart is broken apart.

But he's got a different attitude.  He's always 'in ten years,' or 'the rest of our lives.'  Freaky.  He is optimistic, and assuming, no holds barred that we're going for this ride together, and neither one of us is getting off easy.  It's no secret we will have to work at this, and he's said, point blank, he will try as hard as he can - because if it ends, he'll want to know he tried his best.   And being 'safe' and assuming the worst all the while isn't going to make a potential break up any less painful, break-ups suck no matter what, so why entertain the idea prematurely?  Why not expect success.  He's got a point.  Not only that, but knowing the person you're with is going to work as hard as you in the relationship is comforting.  Maybe I can throw that breakfast nook escape hatch drawing away.

And so, I finally freaked out, which is good: now I can figure out how to routinely assume the best possible relationship outcome for myself.   And I can stop entertaining myself with all the dire post-break up possibilities involving single me, a broken heart and my box of mismatched dishes and that one emergency fork. 

Admitting I'm actually terrified, no matter how much I want this, is the first step to something. 

Jump?

I found a studio space.  A STOREFRONT studio space.  This would allow me to:

1.  Make big messy stuff.  Which would allow me to:

        1a.)  Have a body of work
        2a.)  Stop bitching about not having the body of work I want
        3a.)  Use said body of work to apply (with greater success ) for grants, shows, and grad school

2.  Use space to make money:

        2a.)  By having classes, workshops, or private lessons. 
        2b.)  By opening space up to other artists, performers, musicians for a small fee
        2c.)  By having exhibition space to sell my work, and the work of others

3.  Use space to do cool shit, like:

       3a.)  Make cool stuff, like art, or shows, or other creative experiments
       3b.)  Have parties, viewings or meetings
       3c.)  Basically, to fulfill every creative urge I have ever had without being impeded by my own damn excuses


Ways to make this happen:

Find someone to take over my apartment so I can afford space.
Adjust budget to account for $200-$300 increase in rent
Legitimize myself as a private business entitiy
Sell a bunch of my stuff, art and otherwise, such that I am living as sparsely and fabulously as possible

So.  The question is whether or not I should jump on this.  This will dramatically change my career, and my life in general, in good ways and probably a lot of stressful ways.  I could try for a year.  I would essentially be starting a business.  Scary.
 


Affected

It's January.  2004.  I am still in love with a tall, handsome, and slightly depressed server.  His inherent lack of self-confidence is apparent in his posture, like he's propped up by a deflated balloon.  That's how we can feel the same size, even as I'm 5'2", and he's 6'4".

I've gone away to school, after Christmas and a letter I wrote him.  We speak often on the phone, but never about how we feel.  So when in his message he sounds positively inflated with emotion, and there's a crackling urgency in his voice, I'm certain he has chosen now as the time to tell me how he feels. 

I wait until after my first printmaking class to call him.  It's an evening class, one where I will later do uncharacteristic things; like show up late to critiques without any work, and sit in the back silent and staring out the window at the lights reflecting off the snow.  

I called him back after I had begun to drive out of the parking lot.  It's snowing, lightly, my headlights coming back to me in bright starry moments, one after another after another as if this is how it's going to be now.  I wait through a few rings.  He picks up.  I have a lump of hope in my throat.  It sinks to my belly immediately when he answers: it's clear in his voice that he's not about to tell me he loves me.  Instead, he says; 'Maureen's been killed.'  I pull over.  To this day I don't know where.  It's as if the spot I picked to pull over in had existed only for this news.  And then vanished. 

At first, it seemed Maureen was chosen at random, as if it could have been any of our names in my ear.  It was pure nonsense that it was her life that was taken.  'Killed?'  I immediately thought of a car crash.  Either she or someone else had to have been drinking.  No.   No?   Ex-boyfriend.  My heart stopped.

------------


We always worked brunch together in neighboring sections.  The thing about this shift is the tidy completeness.  By 9:30 everyone is in, coffee is poured, the buffet table is stocked.  By 1:30, it's over.  Empty glasses, dried brown stains on tables and napkins.  All the food is cold, the buffet: ravaged.  We're cleaning up one day.  A very particular Sunday in July.  I wore a brace on my wrist all shift.  I didn't want to.  But I wasn't supposed to be at work again so soon, so the brace was a compromise.  Unlike the stitches under my hair, it couldn't be hidden.  So I was explaining my way through the day in short, dazed declaratives.  Some male friends would start off as if they knew exactly where he was and were going to take care of him themselves.  I had to remind them, of course, he had been arrested. 

At the end of the shift, Maureen and I were cleaning our neighboring sections.  She was inquisitive about my attack, unabashedly so.  I was relieved, and told her more details than I felt I could trust the others with.  We crumbed and re-set our tables as I told her everything.  She was kind, and compassionate.  I was thankful for being able to tell her my story.  With our sections cleared, we left.  

Summer became fall.  Looking back, there were things she couldn't hide.  Things that we all overlooked.  I remembered seeing a yellow bruise, under her left eye.  I asked her about it.  She brushed my question off her like crumbs off a seat.  She was always thin, since I knew her anyway, and she had begun to gain weight.  Quickly.  We assumed she was off her diet.  Fall became winter, and I left the town, and thought nothing of those moments.  Until that phone call. 

I sat in the car, becoming colder each minute, as I listened to details spoken in too bright fragments.  Fragments I was utterly incapable of piecing together in a way that made sense.  I had questions I have really never answered since.  Was she in the bath already or driven to it?  Was it filled with water?  Had he been waiting or did he follow her in?  Was there a key he should have given back?  Was it a knife from her kitchen drawer, or did he being his own?  Why didn't he stop?  Did anyone hear her scream?  Did she have clothes on or was she undressed?  Was she afraid, or was it neatly edited for her; appearing once removed in slow broken frames?  Did he bring the knife with him, wet on the passenger side of his truck, as he drove to turn himself in? 

In that moment, in my car, clutching a cheap cell phone,  I was bound to her.  Bound by all the spaces I felt only someone like me could even attempt to fill in.  I never asked why, I didn't wish it away, I knew better.  I knew how to be blindsided.   I knew that for some Love is a disguise.  A thin, gaudy one.  It was all disgustingly simple.  And no matter what details were changed in the alternate 'if only' scenarios, the cold fact remained; it happened.  He didn't stop, no one responded to her screams, the door stayed locked, her stuggling was overpowered.  It's done.  She didn't make it.  I did.  It would never be fair.  

I don't remember starting my car and driving back to my room.  Perhaps I vanished with that spot.  Dissolved into the lit snowflakes.   

 

Why Not

Why not pull out this molar instead of making me pay two months rent plus a pair of sexy shoes for it?  I'm already grinding plant matter on the other side of my jaw!

Why not wear pants?   Ladies of Chicago; tights are not pants!  Holy fuck! And if you are, ahem, HUSKY, tights as pants do not make you look thin and fashionable.  They make your legs look like Kielbasas.

Why not converse with me about art and the like without hitting on me at the end of the night?  Why does every art boy think my looks of interest and thoughts of career advancement equal "available"?  Are men capable of having a conversation with a woman without ending it with; when can I see you again?  can I call you?  are you single?  Or is it true I am that flirty after a few drinks.  (don't answer that.)

Why not drop it?  guy: I'm about to leave, can I get your number.  me: uh, okay.  guy: are you single?  me: actually, I'm not.  guy: that makes this less complicated.  me: (confused) uh, okay.  (proceeds to get my number, asks if he can call me, texts me after we both leave event.)

I have a boyfriend!  I'm not interested!  I would kill for a solo show!  Please stop looking down my elf costume!  

After Virginia....

I totally knew.  I was listening to NPR, which had been ten minutes ahead of CNN on the Jumbotron.  Then there was a countdown the crowd was doing and I couldn't see why, through the back of hundreds of heads I saw maybe that California was pending.  Then, almost immediately, there was screaming, I also didn't know why, I mean, I knew but I wanted to see it, peered through the mass and saw.  Holy shit.

I couldn't see the stage, even when I jumped, and my legs are sore from being on tip toe every other second, and my throat hurts from screaming after every other state - but it was beyond worth it to be in Chicago for that moment.  Now I can tell my kids, if I ever have them and whatever religion they are, that their mom was there.

Yay Democracy!

I voted!  It's kind of fun.  I do feel jipped- I didn't get a sticker.  Hey Illinois- early voting goes until the 30th!  Do it!

Oh please oh please oh please.

Another Dream: This One Has a Hairy Baby

I had a dream I gave birth.  It was fairly painless....whoop....out pops a little baby which I was not really expecting and entirely unprepared for.  I wrapped it up and carried it around with me all day.  At the end of the day I realized, 'shit- I have to feed this thing.'  But, I had no formula.  So the baby turned into a cat and jumped out of my arms and kind of sulked around the apartment.  For a while I thought, hey, a cat is better than a baby in a lot of ways.  Then I think, but I don't really like cats, my boyfriend is allergic, and I hate the smell of liter.  Plus, I have to feed this thing now and I have no cat food.  I decide I'd rather have a baby after all.   I pick up the aloof cat, and set it on the counter near the sink, where, it turned back into a baby.  As I was urging the excessively smiley baby to stay a baby, I noticed it's legs were still pretty hairy.  Not like a cat, but like a woman who shaves her legs and forgot for a few weeks.

And last night, separate dream, I had a dream in which Barack Obama was hanging out on the side of South Lakeshore Dr., waiting to shake hands with the passengers of passing cars.  We slowed down so I could shake his hand, but it was all so sudden and unexpected that I didn't have a chance to wipe off the makeup that was covering my hand.  I shook his hand with my hand covered in makeup.  He looked disgusted, and deeply disappointed in me.