mistakes by the lake

sit down. let me tell you a story about ohmygod what am I doing?

Month: June, 2016

Boo! A story about ghosts.




  1. an apparition of a dead person that is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image.

There’s been a ghost in my house, y’all. A “nebulous image” that’s been chasing me like a shadow. Let me tell you a story.

In the last year and a half, I have tried to deal with a bunch of change and grief in so many fun ways, most of which I’ve mentioned here already: running from it (figuratively and literally), drinking too much, dieting too much, dating too much and generally pretending that everything was ok when it wasn’t. Like, here is a hole…I will fill it with all of the things except more me. 

I reached a point of exhaustion with it all the other day, and something amazing happened. All of the too much-ness washed over me like a wave, and I felt like I had been knocked down. When I got up, I was alone on a shore of sorts (ok, it was my sister’s bed in Chicago), feeling dehydrated and sore, and could clearly see that I was holding onto a ghost in my mind. The ghost wasn’t just the past relationship. It was my old house and my old job. It was old habits. It was good things and bad things that had made up a home. I had spent the last 18 months trying to pretend that the ghost didn’t matter, until it all mattered too much to move. It was time to let the ghost go. It was dead. I couldn’t breathe anymore life into it. I suddenly felt like I had been sad enough.  I had cried and screamed enough. I had wondered “what if I had…” exactly enough. After wringing all that sadness out, I was left with a choice, as I saw it: I could let go and move, or cling and stay.

In the last 18 months, I’ve learned so much as I’ve stripped away the things that I no longer needed and added on new layers that were completely my own. In the end, it was me and the ghost on the shore. I forgave it enough, but I didn’t fall down at it’s feet. I looked it in the eyes and said goodbye. Now I’m walking away. It’s the most grateful I’ve been for a revelation in almost exactly 18 months.

Sometimes walking away is coming home.




Detours and an ongoing disdain for pants

Monday mornings are an unpopular time to post your writing online, but I haven’t written in weeks, and words have been fighting to get out. So here we are.

I could say that I haven’t written because I had to return my laptop to my old employer,  or because I started a new job, or because I’m too tired after to write after work. I could blame it on a recent obsession with making tiny stop-motion robot movies. And that would be true. Those are all true things about the last month. I have started to explain this in my head, daily, wanting to pour it out. Somehow, after writing about positivity and self-awareness, coming out and saying “I haven’t felt like writing because I feel anxious and shitty” feels disappointing.

Do you know how you feel when you miss an exit on the highway, or even worse, don’t realize that you’re driving the wrong way, for miles? The worst. That is also how I feel on this journey to be my own biggest fan, or at least a serious cheerleader. I’m cruising along, anxiety-free, and then I miss a turn. Suddenly, all of my clothes feel too tight, I’m panicking because I’m two minutes from texting The Ex I Do Not Text and I’m reliving, with horror, all of the conversations I’ve had in the last 24 hours. Or 24 days. Or months.

For the last several months, I’ve felt myself moving forward. Anxiety about work and body-image and being solo and uncertain about the future didn’t feel like part of the present. Until it was again. And it seems like a failure of sorts.

The only thing that comforts me is that I’m still on the road. I didn’t park on the side of the highway and run pants-less into a cornfield. I want to. I want to say screw it. But I can’t because nobody but me can drive this anxious little robot-making, pants-fearing car. It’s mine. I get turned around, but I hold fast to my vague sense of direction. I have people who call and ask how the drive is going. When I tell them that it’s total shit, they don’t hang up. Maybe that’s my challenge: to keep going, to keep talking, even when the message isn’t too inspirational. I am allowed to be down even if, on the outside, everything seems to be going well. Being lost is a really nice car is still being lost, and it’s still frustrating.

So I’ll stay on this path, knowing I can only see so far ahead, and plan so little. This is a detour, if we stick with this metaphor, and not a break down. I’ll keep telling you all about it, because you’re here, and I said I would.