So much new exists in my life right now. It’s beautiful and scary and thrilling and overwhelming and exciting and exhausting and I’m hopeful and terrified.

The voices in my heart are at war, and I can only hope my current, older self has enough data to successfully battle years of repetitive, restricting, damaging messages.

This particular battle has required that I not submit myself to retraumatization in other arenas: I can only hold up so long under such circumstances.

If you haven’t heard from me, this is probably why. I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not. I’m taking care of myself in the most complete way I have in eight years, and I think you’ll be as glad of it as I am, in the end. I hope so.

And I hope that, in time, I will be able to give of myself again. But, give me August. Let me disappear into my new home and my new school and my new responsibilities and my new car, god, let me drive my new car without a care in the world but finding the next amazing place to park and spend some time enjoying the Maine coast.

Let me nest. Let me marvel in four living beings existing in more than two and a half rooms. Let me leave calls unreturned and emails unanswered and don’t resent me for it. I’ve worked so hard, for a lot of things, for so long. I’m finally in a physical place where I’m not making it work, I’m not being resourceful, I’m not practicing creative problem-solving. And of course there are still challenges, like my cat who thinks that pooping isn’t only for litter boxes and carpets be damned; I will absolutely put centipedes outside but goddamnit now I feel like they’re skittering all over me; learning how to close windows discreetly when work calls are punctuated by my neighbor hollering, “MURRAY! MURRAY COME DOWN YOU. GO PIPPEE. GO PIPPEE!” (for the non-Mainers, That’s French-Canadian for “Murray the dog, come down here and urinate.”) But on the whole, it’s a dream.

I’ve never known this. And I don’t think I deserve it, that I’ve earned it somehow. But I hope to get to a place where I can at least appreciate it without guilt.

From the text message archives:

I really feel now like, my last place wasn’t somewhere ANYone could have kept clean under our circumstances, and I’m less hard on myself. I’m not unpacked yet, but everything is clean, dishes and laundry are happening like clockwork, my work surfaces are tidy.

I really needed a fresh start. This isn’t 100% that, but it’s enough of a reboot that I’m bringing more new, older Kirsten stuff in, than there is left of who I was when I came home.


Sunshine Orange

This entry started life as an Instagram post, then I remembered that I’d wanted to start writing regularly again and I was doing it, just not where I would see it and count it. So, here we are.

TL;DR: I’m super glad I have a garden and that I made myself go to it today. Also #marisolthesubaru is the same color as a perfectly ripe sun gold.

This week has just been a lot. ER with J Monday, in the middle of turn-over-the-keys moving day. Multiple full-body applications per day of both heavy duty lotion and steroid cream to a particularly nasty case of poison oak or ivy or something, with no visible resolution, and his dominant hand looking like it may explode from the swelling. A self-care appointment I only have once a month and social plans involving ice cream had to be put off for a visit to his doctor’s office, during which I didn’t manage to keep my game face on entirely and maybe let it slip that I’m a human and feel impotent and helpless when I can’t fix everything for J. Then a fucking wasp queen decides to hold court in MY kitchen. 

:deep breath:

Other things that have also happened or been true: I talked with Rich about housing the ECC library and finishing up the cataloging job, so “my” library will be a completed project before I am officially done volunteering there for the duration of school. I spent time with lovely people eating good food, watching fun TV, playing/watching people play tabletop games, and discussed gender-y things and feelings-y things and life things. I saw Jupiter and 3 (maybe 4 but not certain) of its moons through my telescope from my living room. My sister got a promotion she’s really excited about. Our new home  allows for us to have both internet service and a WiFi router that should mean no more frustration for work or play. I harvested the first tomatoes from my garden (which are really my primary focus there if I’m being honest). I had my first meeting with a financial coach and am excited rather than dreading our work together.

Gardening and stargazing both have the potential to give me perspective when I need it most. While I’ve always been in general awe of our natural world, I hadn’t dug deep (if you’ll pardon the pun) into what it means to be a part of it until I had a garden, and I couldn’t truly appreciate the vastness of it until I had a telescope.

And you know, this is a complete derailment but both of those things, I got from Southern Maine Community College.

I am so excited about my acceptance to and upcoming time studying at Mount Holyoke. But especially now that I’ve connected those real-life ways SMCC has informed the way I exist in the world, I’ll never forget or lose sight of how truly priceless experience there has been.

Photo through the open window of an open driver’s side door overlooking gardens and the ocean. The car’s exterior is bright orange, and a hand holds a bright orange sun gold tomato in the frame of the car window.

Marisol and my first sun gold of 2018.

Are you a…?

Last month, I attended a reading/signing at Print: A Bookstore so I could get a copy of Alexander Chee’s new book signed for a friend. I decided to get a copy for myself, as well. When it was time to sign mine he asked, “Are you a writer too?” As I’d explained that my friend had very vividly expressed Chee’s influence on their writing, perhaps he thought, “Only another writer would understand this well enough to go out of their way to make sure this personalized book made it into their writer friend’s hands.” Or maybe most people who attend his readings are writers, looking for… I dunno, affirmation, agent connections, a personal reading of their MS.  But in any case, I wasn’t prepared for the question. Unlike most questions that feel like they ask me to assign myself greater value than I necessarily think is permissible by gentle society’s standards, asking if I am a writer feels almost like a trick question. Because I am absofuckinglutely a writer. A good one, even. But not of novels. Not, as I vehemently asserted when Martín Espada asked, “Are you also a poet?” of poetry. “No! Noooooo, no I, uh, I mean. I write. but yeah poetry isn’t, I can’t, I don’t… [mumble mumble ad nauseam]”

But tonight, at this Stonecoast scholarship fundraising event, I had this moment when I felt like I have only a couple of times before in my life: I felt born again. I felt renewed and revived and like I knew what I was about.

I’m a writer.

This doesn’t change my path one iota, doesn’t even mean I feel like I need to change my major, but it gives me something I had let go of, allows me to feel competent while also pursuing new skills and knowledge.

So I’m going to try to write a little every day, hopefully in the early morning.

but for the moment, I’m going to sleep.