Category Archives: Personal

I Don’t Pray, I Move My Feet

I wrote this entry for…not this journal…but I liked it so much, I’m cross-posting it here. I think it explains me. Why I start things, then abandon them (like this journal), or why I am how I am and who I am.

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I wish I could relax. I wish I knew how. People who have known me for years would call me laid back, cool-headed, accepting…but my mom is not wrong when she calls me tightly wound and high strung. I’m always going. Always looking for what is next, never satisfied with what I have now. I have a need, and emptiness that needs to be filled. A longing for something. But for what, I don’t know. I don’t know.

So I search and search. I try on different metaphoric hats–different places, different jobs, new people, no people, experiments in adulthood, things I can easily back down from, back out of if it becomes too frightening, or too restricting. I have claustrophobia of the spirit. I’m terrified of things that could trap me, stick me to one place or one person, make it impossible to run away or escape if need be.

I always wonder what my life would have been like had my family not moved around so much. Had we stayed in Ann Arbor. Had we stayed in Libertyville. Had I not moved after 5th grade, had I not moved after my sophomore year in high school. If I kept the same friends, or had at least known the same people in elementary school, and junior high, and high school, and maybe had some friends, or known some of the same people going into college. Would I know where I belong? Would I have a place I could call my home? Would I know how to keep the friends I make, instead of running away for no reason if they get too close, if they know me too well, if I’m too vulnerable around them? If I show them that tender spot I hid behind my ribs?

I have lived in 20 different houses or apartments, in 11 different cities over the past 29 years. I can renew drivers licenses in 4 states. Even my job is in constant motion. On Friday, I was in 5 different states. I wish I knew what it felt like to be somewhere. To stay somewhere. To know that elusive place called home.

But whenever something doesn’t feel right, whenever I question what I’m doing, or who I am, or what my purpose might be, my first thought is where do I move next? Where on my list of places I might want to be will finally feel like where I’m supposed to be? How will I even know when I find it?

Maybe I’ve already been there, but haven’t recognized it. Seattle. Or maybe it’s the place whose memories I hold the closest to my heart. Ann Arbor. Or maybe it’s the place I wish I was now. Helsinki. Or maybe it’s somewhere I’ve never been. Maine. Or somewhere I go for work. Conneticut. Or the place I was the happiest. Santa Cruz. Or someplace I’ve always wanted to move. Boston.

I don’t know. But the only way I can think to find whatever it is I seek to find, is to keep moving my feet.

Absentee-ism

Yes. I have been gone for quite a long time now. Almost 6 months.

My absence started with wanting to rethink my blog and my book reviews. But during that time I read too much and became overwhelmed with the number of pending reviews I wanted to write. December = 10 books in 5 weeks, now my total is over 24 for the year. Much higher than my usual. I also wanted to branch out and post some stuff beyond books, but I was writer’s blocked on those, too.

Then I got a new job (huzzah!), and now it’s half a year later and I have pent up guilt guilt guilt for neglecting my poor blog.

I should probably follow the writing advice given by Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird (one of the many books I blazed through during my off-time), and overcome my writers block by simply writing.

Small goals. Shitty first drafts. Overcome writer’s block by writing. Picture frame focus. Write something every day. Breath in, breath out. Practice kitty zen.

My New Home

I haven’t been reading much lately. My life is crazy and hectic, and reading hasn’t just been put on the back-burner, it’s been taken off the stove completely.

Not only did I just get back from vacation, but tomorrow is my last day working from the Seattle branch of my company. By Wednesday of next week, I will be on my way to my new-again home, Minneapolis, MN. I was born in Minneapolis, and lived there for a total of two post-natal weeks. In some ways I’m hoping this move will be a rebirth for me. I’ve definitely stagnated in life; whatever my expectations of post-college life, I think I speak for many my age when I say life is not as glamorous as I thought it would be. Nor do I find a logical path set before me; instead, I feel like a hurtling missile whose trajectory and guidance systems have been tampered with.

I will be living by Lake Harriet, the very lake my mother used to walk around as she tried to convince the already week-late Erin-fetus that it was time to be freaking born already. Living by the lake excites me, especially since I’ll be working from home. I will have some place to go, something to do during my work breaks. And there is a constant flux of people, so I (hopefully) won’t be some friendless loser whose only contact with the world outside is a monthly teleconference with her manager.

And of my favorite states in the Union, Minnesota ranks right up there. Michigan, Washington, and Maine (at least my fantasies of Maine and Maine winters) also score huge with me.

It’s strange, though. It’s my last day at work tomorrow, then on Tuesday the movers come, and Wednesday I start driving. But my actual move seems light years away; it hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m leaving this lovely, gloomy state; or that I’m leaving the one true and genuine friend I’ve made in years.

One comfort I have found is a strange companion indeed–The Kalevala: The Epic Poem of Finland. I stumbled upon this poem while trying to look up information about Nuuksio National Park. The meter seemed familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, so I Wikipedia’ed it. And indeed the meter, trochaic tetrameter or the Kalevala meter, was used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when he wrote The Song of Hiawatha.

If you have read even parts of Hiawatha, you will recognize the Ojibwa (Chippewa) names of Nokomis, Minnehaha, Hiawatha, Minnetonka, and so on. Pretty much everything in Minnesota has an Ojibwa-derived name. And in another cool vacation-Minneapolis parallel, within the Chippewa National Park is an area called Suomi, which is Finnish for Finland.

So the Universe is reassuring me in all the signs-giving ways that this is, indeed, the right decision for me. I am happier for having found these poems, so I leave you with parts of both:


The Kalevala
O’er her eggs the teal sat brooding,
And the knee grew warm beneath her;
And she sat one day, a second,
Brooded also on the third day;
Then the Mother of the Waters,
Water-Mother, maid aerial,
Felt it hot, and felt it hotter,
And she felt her skin was heated,
Till she thought her knee was burning,
And that all her veins were melting.
Then she jerked her knee with quickness,
And her limbs convulsive shaking,
Rolled the eggs into the water,
Down amid the waves of ocean,
And to splinters they were broken,
And to fragments they were shattered.


The Song of Hiawatha
By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.
There the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Bedded soft in moss and rushes,
Safely bound with reindeer sinews;
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
“Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!”
Lulled him into slumber, singing,
“Ewa-yea! my little owlet!
Who is this, that lights the wigwam?
With his great eyes lights the wigwam?
Ewa-yea! my little owlet!”

I am on Vacation!!!

Well friends, my amazingly awesome, super fun trip to Scandinavia is here!

I will be away from the US, my computer, and work! from September 2nd to September 15th. I will, instead, be eating lutefisk and pickled herring in the lovely countries of:

Denmark

Finland

and Sweden!