Tag Archives: seattle

happy anniversary, pig. (a post i hope you read).

it’s been about three weeks since i last posted on here. part of me would like to apologize for my absence, but a larger part of me knows that that would be silly. silly because in the last few weeks i’ve made some significant changes in my life. not as in, i started eating salad instead of cheeseburgers at lunch, but more like saving myself changes. it’s taken up all of my time, which is good. writing on my blog was the least of my worries. it was, quite simply, not a priority. but i do admit that i’ve missed it.

i’m going to begin this post (which i expect to be ridiculously long, be forewarned) with a dialogue from one of my favorite movies, Girl, Interrupted. it’s a beautiful film. it may be a bit trite at times and over dramatized, but it’s a film that has always spoken to me because the main character, Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, is someone i have always felt close to.

Susanna :: “I didn’t try to kill myself. I was just trying to make the shit stop.”

Therapist :: “You swallowed a bottle of advil with a bottle of vodka..”

Susanna :: “I had a headache.”

one year ago yesterday, i arrived in San Francisco. when i moved here, i was broken and lost. i was a complete mess, though my actions and demeanor reflected anything but. my eyes may have told a different story, but no one ever called me on it.

i was drinking more alcohol than i could admit to anyone, much less to myself. i was taking a variety of drugs that would disappoint any parent. i was full of lies and self-loathing. i lied about my substance abuse and my depression and my anxiety. i listened to a lot of sad music and though i’d landed a great job just three weeks after moving here, in my spare time i locked myself in my room to write and paint. and i was really only successful in either when i’d plied myself with a cocktail of substances. just enough to “make the shit stop.” it was hard, near impossible, to be creative when my sober mind wandered to the darkest of dark places.

to some, this may come as a complete surprise (i’m an amazing liar and actress as it turns out). to others, this probably explains a lot.

i was happy to leave Seattle, that much was true. but my decision to move here was complex. for one, i committed a cardinal sin. i broke my own rule : never move or stay anywhere for anyone. it was not my only my reason for relocating, but it was the biggest – though i denied it at the time.

before i’d left seattle, i had experienced two grand mal seizures. i experienced not one, but two, terrible tragedies – having to attend two open casket funerals in the space of one week. they both occurred after my decision to move south, but i think in many ways they were the nail in the coffin (apologies for the pun) that confirmed and prompted my choice to get the hell out of Seattle. it was a place full of sadness and memories i wanted to leave behind and i really couldn’t have left fast enough.

since my arrival in this beautiful city, i’ve had a tumultuous year. drugs and alcohol certainly do not help one who’s making an attempt to “get their shit together.” neither does lying about it – to others or oneself.

my arrival here was both abrupt and sudden, to say the least. back in Seattle, i’d left behind friends, family, horse back riding (which still, to this day, remains an unkept promise to myself to rekindle down here in horse country), my job, my home. life as i once knew it was over. it was gone. i faced that well known blank slate that we all speak so fondly of. i may have been excited, but i was terrified more than anything else. and alone, very alone. and given that hindsight is 20/20, i knew full well that my continued abuse of substances would only gain momentum down here. i knew that because relocating is stressful for anyone. but there was more.

i knew and realized that any sign of an unraveling (particularly with the boy, which happened only three weeks after my move here, but do NOT blame him for any of this), would lead me to less control over myself. i knew it would spur me to further harm myself, which i did. ten fold. i have scars, both physical and emotional, that still bring me to tears. when i moved here, i was holding onto a thread. after my arrival, that thread much closer resembled that of a delicate thread a spider draws when making a web. i was holding onto nothing, essentially . i considered suicide more than once. i wanted to get away from not just the city, but also myself. the drugs and alcohol were merely symptoms of a far deeper distress and internal battle i’d been having with myself for years.

add denial to this and i promise you a full blown recipe for disaster.

i went about my job and my life. i continued to drink and abuse drugs. i fell deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. for the past year, i have felt like Alice. eating one cookie after another, in an attempt to find myself out of this nightmare i’d found myself in. a nightmare that i had created. i could blame my childhood. my parents. my this or my that. but i can’t. and i no longer can blame myself. i am in the process of forgiving myself. i made mistakes. many of them. the last three years have been chaos for me and i did the best that i could, even though my “best” involved nothing but self harm.

so i sit here today, at the same computer. sober. sad. and admitting the fact that i need help. i have needed help for well over ten years, but my pride (and other things i will not mention) had me convinced that i was OKAY and that i could “do it on my own.” nothing could be farther from the truth. i need help and i’m finally getting it. so, if you don’t hear from me in a while – it’s because of that.

for once, i’m going to put myself first. and Year of the Pig Studio can wait. we’ll both be better off because of it.

jessi

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i can’t sleep

i’m sick. in the eight months that i’ve lived in San Francisco, i’ve been legitimately sick three times.

when i lived in New York for four years, i was sick about twice a year.

when i lived in Seattle as a kid, i was sick all of the time. but in the three years between New York and San Francisco, i was sick only a few times with very minor sniffles that could hardly be considered a real cold. i never missed a day of work because of it.

San Francisco. there must be something in the water here. or the air. i know that cities aren’t the kindest environments for our immune systems with the bacteria and mold flying around. my immune system also happens to be on the weak side. my white blood cell count is well below average for a normal human being and has been this way since i was a child. i take vitamins daily. i drink plenty of water. i wash my hands on the regular. clearly, my habits were rewarded in Seattle. but here in San Francisco, no such luck. i think i’ve been coughing since November. off and on, of course. i received antibiotics in February for both bronchitis and sinusitis. i may have to go back to the doctor in the next couple of weeks if this newest plague doesn’t subside soon.

however, this time around, i have to make a confession. it was likely self-induced. we have been working our asses off moving an art store. this past weekend, i got four hours of sleep three nights in a row. this wasn’t even intentional. i almost wish i had a good story to tell you about how hard i’ve been partying. but alas, i do not. i’d slip into bed at 10:30, with my alarm set for 6:30am. and then i would toss and turn. i’d read. i’d talk to my cat. i’d think. and then think some more. i even cried a few times out of frustration at not being able to fall asleep. i cried for other reasons, too. before i knew it, 2:30am had rolled around and that is the last number i remember seeing on the clock.

there’s nothing worse than being unable to sleep. i was a professional insomniac for many years. those days are behind me now, but i still have fits of insomnia here and there when life becomes too chaotic. and rationally, i know that there is nothing you can do from your bed at 1:14am. it is pointless to worry about things, but yet i still do. and i know am not alone in this. it’s the wheels turning syndrome. i have wished, on many occasions, that there was a light switch in my head that i could use at bedtime to turn my brain off. i’ve yet to have this dream come true so i continue to muddle along, attempting to control the uncontrollable from my single mattress at one in the morning. when you wake up from little sleep, you feel hungover. whether or not a drop of alcohol has passed through your lips anytime before falling to sleep, you will feel hungover from lack of sleep. your brain hurts. your body aches. and every cell that is holding you together is screaming at you to stay in bed and sleep.

i want to recover by this weekend. nay, i need to. not only is my sister coming to visit, but come friday morning – someone who i have not seen in over fifteen years will be here to see me. i am so excited for his arrival it makes me squeal and squirm with the thought of it. i can’t even go into detail about it. but i am beyond excited. until then..Nyquil.

jessi

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a very full car, a flying cat, and a cranky turtle

so i did it. or perhaps it did me. i moved to San Francisco. i say ‘it did me’ only because the drive down here and the nights of packing that preceded that drive were nothing short of stressful, but i am already looking back and laughing at all that ensued. it all started with my apartment. since i’d missed out on a few weeks of my life (see previous post), i was a bit unprepared. and by a bit, i mean a lot. my poor mom showed up to my place the morning that i left to retrieve my keys from me and i was in the middle of packing my car realizing, box by box, that even the best tetris player in the world would not be able to lodge all of my belongings into the back of my car (a Subaru wagon which is bigger than the average sedan, sure, but it’s not exactly the size of a moving van).

i am now sitting at my desk (yes, the same desk), but i’m admiring blue skies in October. as expected (or I should say as planned since i heard October is perhaps the best month in San Francisco – hence my decision to move down here during this month), the weather is blissful. it’s been in the high 70’s and low to mid 80’s all week. i even went to the beach yesterday. the beach ! in October ! did i mention that i am happy ? i haven’t been this happy since, well, living in New York City (three long years ago). and that is a fact. i was built for city life it seems. that’s not to say i don’t enjoy places like the midwest, log cabins, or the like (because i really do, actually), but when it comes to my place of residence – cities are what make me happy. true walking cities. cities that do not require a car. cities that bustle on their sidewalks for most hours of the day and night (ok, so San Francisco is not the sleepless city that New York is, but it’s a close runner up). and i will not take this opportunity to say bad things about Seattle because Seattle is not a bad city, it’s just not for me.

so, my car was packed to the ceiling with my belongings. it was packed so tightly that in order to close the back hatch i basically had to body slam my car. on top of this, my dear friend drove me down and had a small backpack and computer case he needed to fit into the mix which, sadly, made an already tight squeeze even tighter (sadly only because a small backpack and computer case really ought not make or break how tight of a squeeze one feels in a vehicle). now why would a friend be driving me down ? i told you about a little health scare i had in the beginning of August that involved seizures – well, said seizures prevent me from driving for six months – so i needed someone legal to get me and my stuff down there. so, my poor friend sits in the front seat of my car on that fateful Friday afternoon of my departure. i could tell he was a little irked by my car’s fullness (which also forced the front seat to be closer to the steering wheel than was comfortable for him) and i do not blame him. it was absurd ! it was embarrassing ! and my poor car was so heavy it was lagging from gear to gear when shifting and to make matters worse more interesting i was bringing my cat down (in her crate) and my turtle down (in a box) so they were both perched on the front seat (because precious cargo rides shotgun). it was just hilarious looking at the situation. so my friend goes to start the car and he looks over at me and says, “it’s not starting.” my stomach dropped. it may have only been 2:00pm, but i’d been having a bad day.

for one, i had not slept and once i realized that not all of my boxes would fit into my car – i just ended up leaving a pile of boxes in my apartment. since i am ‘so great’ at labeling my boxes, i had no idea what i was leaving behind and what i was taking (as it turns out, I forgot all of my underwear and all of my paints – I’m so special sometimes!). at that point i didn’t care. it became a matter of which box will fit into that space? not a matter of which box do i really need? i had only begun loading my car around 6:30am, about an hour after my cat had decided she needed to try her hand at flying by JUMPING FROM MY TWO STORY WINDOW at 5:30 in the morning. i spent thirty long, exhausting, kill-me-now, crying minutes looking for her. i had decided she was gone and was walking back up to my apartment in a wrecked inconsolable stupor when i heard a MEOW upon opening the door. as it turns out, she decided to scale the wall BACK into my apartment during those thirty minutes i was outside calling her name, crying, and repeating one obscenity after another. at least she was safe and sound and i could get back to packing, but i think i had roughly ten years shaved off my life after that experience.

so, hearing the words: “it’s not starting” fall from my friend’s mouth was not exactly comforting. i was just about ready to throw my hands in the air and admit defeat. perhaps i was not destined to live in that fine city 950 miles south ? perhaps this is all one giant mistake ? i mean even my cat was jumping from windows in an effort to keep me there and/or end my life early. so i looked over at my friend and said, “really… ?” (not that i actually wanted him to answer that question honestly), and he said, “yeah.. watch” as he turned the keys in the ignition. so i held my breath and noticed that his foot had not compressed the clutch while he was turning the car on ! silly boy ! he must be so accustom to his fancy automatic transmission he’s forgotten how to drive a clutch ! relief washed over me until i thought a little bit harder and, with hesitation, asked, “you do know how to drive a stick shift, right?” his face dropped. I knew the answer immediately. As it turns out, boys who grow up in the Midwest, apparently, do not learn how to use a clutch. and I thought they all grew up driving tractors ! silly me. silly, silly me.

i did a bit of driving. shoot me. but i had to. you hear me ? i had to or else I was never going to get to San Francisco. so, when the road became straight and less populated I figured it was time for his first Stick Shift Lesson. now, he may have grown up in the Midwest without ever sitting on a tractor, but this boy went to Harvard, folks. so, he’s no dummy. we went to a parking lot off I-5 and i taught him the basic concept of driving a stick shift. started the car in first a few times and handed the wheel over to him and i have never seen or heard of anyone picking up the skill so fast in all my life. within minutes he was starting in first gear without stalling or uncomfortably jerking the car around. so, we were on our way. and although when we reached towns I would take the wheel over when we reached major intersections and/or any sort of inclines – we made it work. sometimes we’d just pull onto the freeway shoulder and i would put him behind the wheel and he would start from there. after all – getting a car into first gear is the hardest part of driving a stick shift. once you’re in first, you can slide all the way up into fifth gear and just glide south on I-5 without a care in the world.

because we’d left so late in the afternoon, we stopped somewhere to sleep around midnight. since the car was so packed and since i’d packed in such haste before i’d left, i decided to repack the car. at midnight. in the middle of nowhere. yes, i am a little crazy. i met a jazz musician whilst repacking – that’s cool, right ? i didn’t hit the hay until 2:15am – it was an intense game of tetris i was playing with my car, believe you me – but i eventually won and we were actually able to squeeze my friend’s back back and laptop into the back of the car ! so, for the remainder of the drive south – i resumed my position in shot gun. a cardboard box at my feet holding my turtle and a crate on my lap holding my cat. i was even so successful in the repack that i was able to move the front seat backwards a couple of inches to allow my friend to sit in the driver’s seat more comfortably – i’m such a good host, aren’t i?

i wanted to share an even longer story with you and describe to you, in painful detail, my new apartment and the surrounding area(s), but this post is long enough as it is and it’s taken me nearly all day to write considering i’ve been in and out of my apartment and have spent much time applying to jobs and making necessary appointments. that said, i bid ye farewell and a fine evening. i will post again in a day or two once the dust settles (weekends are for dust settling – are they not?). in the meantime, enjoy this picture i took of the view from my roof ::

[google images][google images][iPhone camera]

jessi

 

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fire escapes and high tops

i realize it’s late at night, but then i realized it’s also very early in the morning.. and then i realized it’s just about time for my best friend to be waking up in new york city. so, i dedicate this post and this drawing to her. it was the last time we sat on our work’s fire escape in seattle before she left for new york.

[graphite on paper]

jessi

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