Showing posts with label programming notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label programming notes. Show all posts

Soon.

So very much to tell, so very much to say.



for your eyes only

Lovelies. Bit of news, and a call to action. If you're so inclined, that is. Elliequent is going private again. I know, I know. Most spaztastic blogger you've ever known. It might be temporary again, or it might be long-term. Trust that I have my reasons, some of which are even mildly valid.

So, if you want in, all you have to do is let me know, and I'll invite you. Just email me with whatever address you use to read blogs, and I'll send you an invitation.

All are welcome.

Ellie

a room of my own

I came to the realization tonight that I need to officially shelve the blog, and indefinitely. I've been beating myself up for weeks now, feeling disappointed each night my head hits the pillow and I haven't written anything. But I just have to wait, and I have to let myself off the hook for doing so.

These last weeks have been a whirlwind of adjusting to work, apartment hunting, dealing with the most uncomfortable domestic situation of my life, and yes, socializing. I won't say that I couldn't have skipped some nights out, some partying with friends in order to get pages down. But if you knew what my weeks were like, you'd forgive me the unproductive weekends. I need to cut loose and spend time with the people I love, whenever I can, or I'd have a breakdown. My friends are my lifeline right now.

Lack of time aside, living with Terence has become an absolute nightmare of awkwardness and tension. I can't concentrate. I can't create. I can barely stand to be in the same living space. It's bad. But it's almost over. In fact, it's over this coming Saturday. I move on Saturday. I really can't believe it, that it's finally here. Freedom and independence. Just me and the pup again.

I'll tell you all about it, and everything else, too. When I'm back to having a room of my own, and everything has settled down.

It might take me another month, to be honest. I've got to get a new schedule going, get organized, get unpacked and cozied up. I need to find my new grocery stores, coffee shops, and walks for Chaucer. I need to forge a new routine. Other priorities have to come first. But I'm coming back. You know I'm coming back.

this is just to say

...hello! And that I am alive, just getting my ass kicked by the adjustment to full-time work. (Also that I've admittedly been spending more time socializing than writing the past couple of weekends...)

But more is coming. More of me, more of Riley, more of Chaucer, more of everything. There is no shortage of content, only of time.

I'm moving in a couple of weeks so I need to spend most of my free time getting for that. But once I'm settled I'll be closer to work (read: shorter commute! more leisure time!), which will make everything a lot easier. I hope.

In the meantime, much May love.

on the job

Well, I won't say that my Imposter Syndrome has subsided, because that's a phenomenon that affects high-achieving individuals, not the nominally accomplished such as myself. But whatever it was that made me afraid of being found out for the incompetent, unskilled yahoo I am--that's gone. Because as it turns out, I'm pretty good at this assistant stuff.

Being an assistant is just a matter of being thoughtful, really. I know that sounds like I'm puffing myself up. And maybe I am. But that's all the job is. If you're already a considerate person, being someone's right hand (boss's words, not mine) comes easy. All I do is try to anticipate his needs as best I can, which gets easier the more I know him. And as we spend a lot of time together--the entire work day, in fact--that's happening quickly. The hours have ramped up, too. This past week I worked every day, including Saturday. Which leaves me exhausted today, but also grateful for the paycheck.

It's surprisingly fulfilling. There is absolutely no glory and praise is rare, but I'm satisfied by the little things. Remembering something important he would have forgotten. Finding information he can use. Even just making him laugh when he's getting tense. Often I do things he doesn't even know about. Discreetly calling ahead to a restaurant or an appointment, to warn them he's running late (if he were to hear me he'd get annoyed, maybe even feel criticized). Creating new contacts for this phone, from the business cards he collects. Like I say, little things. But little things are not his specialty. Big things are what he's good at, so I try to free him up so he can focus on those.

There's a personal element to it, too. He's a bit...socially awkward. Abrupt. Sorely lacking in self-awareness. He can crash a conversation into the ground pretty quickly without meaning to, whether it's in a boardroom or on a date. So he likes me to be there with him. After one of the first dinners, he took me aside and looked at me pleadingly and said, "I know I'm weird. I'm working on it. Will you help me? Will you watch my back? Can you do that?" Or something along those lines. And that was the moment I knew that despite how challenging he can be, I'd stick around for at least a while. I respond to vulnerability and honesty.

And it's been like that since. He brings me to meetings, professional and social, that I have no real reason to be at. And sometimes I can tell the others there are curious about my inclusion. But then my boss will blank on a name, or falter at a joke he doesn't get, and I'll smooth the moment over with what I guess have turned out to be pretty decent interpersonal skills. And I'll feel useful, and empowered. And I kind of love it.

There are other perks, too. I've already mentioned the meals, but they've become such an awesome part of the job that they bear mentioning again. I'm saving a ton on groceries, and eating in restaurants I'd probably never get to on my own. My boss will be randomly generous in other unexpected moments, too. Recently I was ordering him a bunch of personal stuff from Amazon (toiletries and the like) and he told me to throw whatever I needed in the cart too. Boom, free cosmetics. Then there was a night last week when he knew another employee and I were out getting dinner together after work. He texted her to say save the receipt, the meal was on him.

And then there's how laid back an environment I get to work in. Since it's just a private office, the atmosphere is relaxed, even though it's Beverly Hills. Often we're out running errands and I'm never expected to wear anything fancy or uncomfortable. In fact my boss prefers me in casual clothes. (I still try to be polished, though. It's Beverly Hills and Bel Air for Pete's sake.) These might seem like small considerations but I don't take them for granted.

It isn't all roses and rainbows, though. He can be rude, controlling, and impatient. If I so much as take too long to "clean up" (as he calls it) his dictation (which is often incredibly fragmented and grammatically garbled), he'll snap at me to forget it. But while a younger version of me might have gotten upset, it doesn't bother me. I just quietly finish on my own and then circle back to it when the opportunity arises. I don't take his personality personally.

He's just...complicated. It takes a compassionate person to work for him, or even to be his friend. He means well even when he falls short of doing well. In a way he's his own worst enemy. And that's something I can relate to, completely. And it's a lot easier to forgive someone shortcomings that you understand yourself.

Those are the broad strokes. Of course, me being me, I've quickly honed in on the fun stuff. The drama. The intrigue and conflict. The money. Oh, the money. The women. The extremely wealthy, somewhat famous, and entirely too entitled. All the stuff that makes for wonderful blogging. I can't, though. Not explicitly. If you want that stuff, you're going to have to read the book.

So. Let me state officially that everything I write under The Life of Riley tag is inspired by true events, but is not pure truth, by any means. It's just a fun way to creatively express some of the crazy experiences I'm having these days. A way to keep writing, even though now I have so much less time to do it. Who knows. Maybe down the road it could become something more than just blog posts. We'll see.

Why "The Life of Riley?"

Well, I've always loved the song. It takes me back to being a teenager and discovering my love of writing. But it was the lyrics themselves that really gave me the idea:

Lost in the milky way
Smile at the empty sky and wait for
The moment a million chances may all collide

I'll be the guiding light
Swim to me through stars that shine down
And call to the sleeping world as they fall to earth

So, here's your life
We'll find our way
We're sailing blind
But it's certain, nothing's certain

I don't mind, I get the feeling
You'll be fine, I still believe that
In this world, we've got to find the time
For the life of Riley

From cradles and sleepless nights
You breathe in life forever
And stare at the world from deep under eiderdown

So, here's your life
We'll find our way
We're sailing blind
But it's certain, nothing's certain

I don't mind, I get the feeling
You'll be fine, I still believe that
In this world, we've got to find the time
For the first time

I don't mind, I get the feeling
You'll be fine, I still believe that
In this world, we've got to find the time
For the life of Riley

All this world is a crazy ride
So, take your seats and hold on tight

So, here's your life
We'll find our way
We're sailing blind
But it's certain, nothing's certain

I don't mind, I get the feeling
You'll be fine, I still believe that
In this world, we've got to find the time
For the first time

I don't mind, I get the feeling
You'll be fine, I still believe that
In this world, we've got to find the time
For the life of Riley

That's my life in song, if ever my life were to be in song. First there's the expression's actual meaning: an easy and pleasant life, without hard work or problems. So yeaaahhhh. All kindsa layers there. "Sailing blind, certain nothing's certain?" Check. Always being fine, in spite of that? Check. Is my "world a crazy ride"? Feels like it to me.

But above all, writing is my "guiding light". And even though everything is changing dramatically yet again (new job, ending relationship, moving...), I know I'll be happiest if I continue to make time for it. If I make time for the life of Riley.

I'll make as much time as I can for her. I hope you like her story.

boring explainer is boring

Hallo.

The only thing more annoying than a nobody blogger announcing an impending hiatus is a nobody blogger feeling she needs to explain a return from one. And I had no intention of doing so, because I'm not so arrogant to assume anyone notices or cares--but a few people have knocked gently on the door to make sure I'm okay here in my room.

I'm okay here in my room.

Few things going on, as to why I've hardly blogged the past month. Just gonna come right out with them, as straightforwardly as possible.

1) I was so, so, so hurt and disappointed by the lackluster response to the fundraiser I posted about. Other than, randomly, one Instagrammer I had just started following, the only readers who contributed are also actual, real-life friends of mine. That's it. No one else. And...I've been doing this a long time. Some of you have been reading me for years. I've always put my very best into this blog. Thoughtful, considered writing. Heartfelt, deeply personal sentiments. Totally free. I never once asked for anything in return, until the dance marathon came up. I guess I expected people would chip in $10, as thanks. Expectation is a killer.

Whether or not my disappointment and sadness was justified--well, that's subjective. Whether or not I had a right to expect financial reciprocation--that's a complicated question with lots of variables. But it doesn't even matter. It's what happened. And that was it for me. I was like, Fuck this. Why am I putting so much effort and honesty and feeling out there for these people. Yep, you guys became a "these people" to me. I was really, really bummed. After a clumsy attempt to get my feelings out, I decided to take a break from blogging and think about how--if at all--I wanted to come back to it. One thing I knew for sure is that I would return to withholding all information about my work life. I decided not to share what I'd been working on since last fall--the business I'd been working on. That to me is the most personal and vulnerable information, and always has been. Writing about love, depression, my relationships? No problem. That comes easy. But opening myself up to judgment about matters career and financial? Terrifying. So, as a way to get a boundary back up that would make me feel better about things, I took it off the table.

I'm not "mad" anymore. I've let it go. And I get it. You don't really know me. And you certainly don't owe me thanks, or a penny in thanks. But that's part of why I've been absent.

2) The situation with Terence has been difficult, and I just never know where to draw the line in talking about it. We get along...until we don't anymore. And while writing has always been such an important source of therapy for me, I still want to respect the rights and privacy of those in my stories. Terence and I made the decision years ago to be public with our relationship. We linked up social media accounts, tagged and tweeted at one another. And though fairly quickly down that road I realized that probably wasn't the best idea, it was important (read: really fun) to him so I kept going with it. But now the cat can't be put back in the bag. His friends and family and work associates and potential employers can get here, if they so desire, in a matter of a few clicks. And Terence asked me when we broke up to be considerate of that. So I've tried to. Even when I was in a state of bewildering anger and hurt, I refrained from writing posts about him and what's going on. Now we're down to final weeks, and I've moved on so much in my heart that there really isn't much left to say. But that's part of why I've been quiet, too.

3) I just don't know how public I want to be with my personal life anymore. Not just for my sake, but for the sake of others. For one thing, if I was dating a guy and found out he had a tell-all blog? Oh hell no. I'd run. Unless he was amazing, and then maybe I'd say, Hey, I like you...but keep me off your damn blog. 

And the fact is that in the past few months, I have met some guys. I've had some nice experiences. Not exactly dates, but interactions that have made me feel like, Okay. I can do this again. Heart bruised, but not destroyed. I know how to meet and mingle and flirt and feel those things again. There's someone right now, too, sort of. I don't know what it is, but it is a thing. And it's nice.

And these are all things I once would have told you about in a heartbeat--but the circumstances with Terence are so bizarre, and I'm trying to tread lightly with that. And Elliequent's boundaries are, if not necessarily evolving, at least undergoing deep consideration right now.

I'll probably keep sharing about my romantic life, but with absolutely no real names. No specifics. No social media references. Anonymous Person of Significance type thing. Because while I can decide for myself to be open to derision, scorn, or stalking--that's not my decision to make for anyone else.

So, again, figuring all of this out--that's part of why I haven't blogged.

4) There's also my work life. And yes, now I have an actual work life. I got a job. Quite recently. It's part time, and I'm looking for a second job. But my boss? Extremely private. The very nature of his work demands it, actually. So that's a non-starter. I can't share anything about it, other than I work in Beverly Hills and am thrilled to have something to think about all day other than my damn self and problems.

Which of course raises the question Wait wut? I thought you were starting a business?

Well, I was. And I got right to the point of pushing through the door and announcing it...when I realized I don't want to do it. It's a great idea--that I stand by. But the work itself? Mind-numbingly tedious and isolating. I'd be alone, all day, every day, doing the most mindless, un-stimulating actions ever. It would be toxic for my mental heath. It has been toxic. I've desperately needed to get out of the house and just go somewhere every day, be around others, be part of something, be focused on something outside of myself--for YEARS. The business I'd planned on dedicating myself to would do exactly what Rainy Day Templates did: make me a shut-in workaholic. It's just not the right path.

That's what's going on. Lots of change, lots of indecision about my blog's purpose and direction. I expect I'll keep at it, because it does make me happy to write. I just need some of the dust to settle, I need a little more time to get some distance from my last relationship, I need to feel established enough in my job(s) to feel that I can spare the time for blogging again. In the meantime, you can always find me chatting it up on Instagram.

I'm sorry if anything I said up there made you feel bad. I'm nothing if not honest, though. It's why you love me, maybe? If you still do? Hope so. I still love you.

reentry

So I guess that's what unplugging during a vacation feels like? Difficult (though probably good) for me, but unavoidable either way. The past two and a half weeks have been go-go-go, see-see-see, and do-do-do. Tennessee, Georgia, and quick jaunts to North and South Carolina. I had internet access but no energy at the end of each day with which to use it. Collapsing into bed every night sun-soaked, bug-bitten, and lake-logged. Took another few days since I've been home to catch my breath, reconnect with my boys, and wash the South off (though happily, parts of it are stuck on me forever).

Cannot wait to share my Bonnaroo and Lake Burton stories. Shivers just thinking about all of it. But first I have the unfinished business of Joshua Tree, and all that unfolded there.

To get back into spirit of that day, I pulled up a song on YouTube. It's one we listened to on the drive out, and so became forever linked, for me, with the experience I had there. Now, I had never once seen the video for the track; I only searched for it to share here, rather than embed a song from SoundCloud. I laughed, delighted but somehow not surprised, when I saw the video was shot in the desert, with some visual elements straight out of my LSD trip (will explain in the next post).

It's ridiculous, of course. Flower eating, fire dancing, and one very nervous-looking chinchilla. Please ignore all that silliness and focus on the music, which is so very pretty, and so perfectly representative of my birthday in the desert. I'm going to listen to it myself right now a couple more times, as I try to slip back into the wild, weird, and wonderful world I visited almost one month ago.

I'll see you there very soon.

Greetings from *looks out window* heaven, I think? Yes, let's go with heaven.

Got a text from my friend Autumn yesterday:

You survive Bonnaroo? Still patiently waiting for the LSD post, hoping the festival didn't dull the descriptive blog posts I've been promised. ;)

I did! And it did not! More embarrassingly purple prose descriptive blog posts are on the way. It's just that between flying to Nashville, shuttling from Murfreesboro to Manchester four days in a row, shuttling back to Nashville, then driving through two national parks to Lake Burton, Georgia (where I am now), I haven't had time to write them yet. Okay, made time. I haven't made time yet.

But in my defense, this is the front yard where I'm currently staying:

There aren't even any mosquitos here, that's the level of Elysium we're talking about.




So it is exceedingly difficult to tether myself to a wifi connection indoors. But hello! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Wednesday and getting in some summer relaxation and/or adventure, as desired. Talk at you soon, mes amis.

morebettersoon

Boring blog is boring lately, apologies for that. Few things going on keeping me from writing more (and better):

1. Some awfulness went down between myself and a friend recently. I'm really bummed out, not sure how to handle it, not sure if I want to talk about it or not. And when there's something big on my mind like that, everything else gets backed up and frozen until I've dealt with it.

2. I'm distracted by both some concrete and some still-vague travel plans for the year. Until that's all firmed up, I feel guilty spending time on the blog, particularly because others are waiting on me to make decisions. After Bonnaroo I'm taking a solo, mini road trip through Georgia and South Carolina to visit some friends (which I'll expand on in another post, soon). I need to figure out the exact wheres and whens of that. Also, Terence and I are talking about heading up to Big Sur for my birthday. A sort of hotel/camping hybrid weekend. Camping because I want to be in nature, because I want to try acid. But near enough to a hotel that if things go south, we can easily get back to civilization. I know, I am weird and crazy. And finally, not-so-new neighbor friend and I are looking at Morocco, this fall.

3. I guess I also have to cop to a general lack of inspiration, possibly tied to my upcoming 40th? Every so often an ugly thought worms itself into my brain: Quit the blog. You're too old for this shit. You've outgrown it. I doubt I will, I'm too entrenched. But ways to, I don't know, level it up maybe? - have been on my mind. It seems ridiculous to be posting screenshots of conversations with my friends at my age, even though they crack me up and are fun to read later. Essays feel like the right direction. Less social scrapbooking. But I still love that stuff, too, so who knows.

4. Last thing is that I've been focusing more attention than usual on working out. Also a turning forty thing, admittedly. And what with my finite energy supply, sometimes blogging gets shoved out of the day in favor of a run, or a longer set of weights. The good news is that I feel pretty great, physically. The bad is that I feel out of touch, creatively. If only balance really was sold in bar form. And because boring blog has been boring lately, eh, why not, here's a "progress" shot - though, spoiler alert, there'll almost definitely be more nekked pics closer to my birthday, because I yam who I yam.


Feels like I just wrote a term paper extension request, with the most inappropriate attachment ever.

Happy April, Quents! #morebettersoon

t-minus 144

For Autumn, who (lol) says there aren't enough (lolol) pictures of me around here (LOLOLOL):



The smug bitch on the left just booked Bonnaroo, so she's probably not going to shut about that for the next five months. Her friend on the right, however, will try to keep her in check and diversify topics for the 99.9% of you to whom Bonnaroo is Boringroo. They're thinking a post about lineup discoveries, one about festival gear recommendations, and maybe finally that MDMA PSA.

My cold was nearly gone but then we stayed out drinking all night with Kross, so I'm back to sounding like an emphysemic pug. Chaucer's into it.

That's it. That's all I've got at the moment. Shitty selfies and some humblebragging. I hope everyone is able to do some of this today (the relaxing part, not the drooling on the bed part):




hearts!

upcoming

I'm fascinated by dark emotion. By the heavy feelings we are taught to suppress - to contain and manage. Anger, fear, envy, shame, hatred. We police these impulses strictly, whipping them like lion tamers, convincing ourselves that we're in control. But they remain wild and, to some degree, intractable. And I think there's a kind of honesty that comes along with their release. That honesty is what interests me.

If some of my posts seem a little weird, that's probably where I'm at: in the folded-over space between propriety and positivity. It's pure and it's intriguing, and sometimes I get sick of pretending it doesn't exist.

aint nobody got time for that (except me)

As previously threatened, I have assembled and posted the full set of LobbyEllies. Pretty sure I'm breaking the record for most selfies on a single page. Wondering if I can add that achievement to my LinkedIn.



Mock see the full set here!

promises, promises

This blog has been a big pile of suck lately, and for that I am sorry. I've been in the grips of my semi-annual internet identity crisis (wherein I strongly consider wiping clean my entire online presence - to the best of my ability anyway - before remembering how addicted I am and plodding forth once again). Also reading a lot.

In the interest of getting back on track (because I am happiest when blogging regularly), I submit for your silent judgment these Potential Upcoming Post Topics, some of which I may even follow through on!

1. Music I've Been Into Lately That Some of You May Not Abhor (yeah I know I promised this on the last round of promises, but this promise is seventy-five percent more promisey!)

2. So You Think You Want A 125+ lb Drool Machine (seven years in, I have a pretty good idea of what it's like to raise an English Mastiff - info that may be useful to someone considering one of their own).

3. A less snarky, more thorough consideration of hate reading, because I have many a thought and feel about it.

4. My "review" of The Goldfinch, which I've just finished and about which I am conflicted.

5. The collected Lobby Ellies so far (I've kept them going just for fun, post-Instagram, and compiled they're kind of a hoot, so hey why not, manna from heaven for my detractors that is FOR SHORE).

6. At least one allegorical piece, if I can think of something that/someone who warrants tethering. I very much miss doing this sort of writing, it's far and away my favorite...but these pieces are always inspired by some conflict I experience (whether internal or external). And it's been a while since something has bothered me enough to write one, I guess? Try harder, cruel world! Wound me! Do it for art's sake!

7. Gravity has got to be the most overrated movie of the past five years, holy hell was that some awful writing. I mean yes, of course the special effects were spectacular, but that dialogue?? Are you kidding me with that shit?? (okay sorry, not a post topic, just something I needed to get off my chest).

treats and threats

The keyboard cat still has my tongue, though I am cajoling it variously with treats and threats. In the meantime, some recent word swags that are interesting, I know, to none but their subjects. Indulge me? A year earns me a bit of mushiness, I think?







little blue circle

I avoid Elliequent readership stats like the plague. I installed StatCounter a long time ago, but the last time I logged in was pre-Terence, when I was trying to figure out whether a guy I was seeing was reading my blog. (It was wonderfully pathetic: I'd pore over any info coming from the area of town where he worked, as if it would decrypt the mixed messages he was sending in real life. Ah yes. He visited your About page for seven seconds before clicking out through Instagram. Never mind those ignored texts, girl. Romeo here is clearly ready to take a knee. The moral of this sad little aside being that dating emotionally unavailable, uncommunicative dudes is bewildering, dignity draining, may reduce you to reverse internet stalking and JUST DON'T DO IT*.)

Blogger's interface loads a generalized view of my statistics when I open a blank post, but I try not to look at it. Dropping numbers would depress me. Rocketing numbers would alarm me. Even steadily rising numbers would make me nervous. At some point, having too many people follow my life would make me uncomfortable. The Elliequent army is small and smart and I like it that way.

All this being said, every so often curiosity does get the better of me and I peek to see how many FeedBurner subscribers I have. And while poking around last year I discovered that I can actually bring up a list of the email addresses of those who've signed up for inbox delivery, over there on the right. This flabbergasted me. It seems like such a violation of privacy. Maybe it's crazy to say that since it's my blog, but I don't think it's any of my business what you do or don't read - and that includes my blog.

But yeah, I did read the list when I stumbled across it; I couldn't help myself. Some of the addresses were familiar, a few were surprises, but most were unknown to me. Overall it was like getting passed a stack of notes saying things like You're occasionally entertaining! or I find you tolerable! or I guess if I had to choose between watching your train wreck and scouring my shower grout, I'd pick your train! But then I closed the page and tried to forget it, because I write much better with a semi-solid fourth wall.

I've wanted to post about all this, but there's a Venn diagram in my head of Whats and Whys, and I'm unsure if they should be separate topics or mashed into some meta manifesto the navel-gazingness of which might explode the blogosphere outright. Witness:



And yeah I know that's not graphically accurate but pie charts almost NEVER taste like pie, so whatever.

I don't know why it's taking me so long to get to what I want to say, but that little blue circle is where I'm headed. Simply put: despite my money-back guarantee that at some point I will annoy or disappoint you (lol as if I haven't already), I do work hard at this gig, because I believe the surest way to show my gratitude is to put out the best possible product I can.

So for one thing, I edit obsessively. The two most useful things I learned in college were how to jimmy a dorm room lock with my dad's Chevron card and that writing is revision. If you could see how many times in a row I will jump out of bed in the middle of the night, run to my computer to change something in a post, dive back under the covers, hit refresh on my phone, find another edit to make, get back up again...it's a good thing Terence could sleep through an earthquake.

I take great care with my word choices, and I really do keep in mind all the rules of powerful writing. Descriptive verbs! Active voice! Varied sentence length! I try to come up with interesting ways to approach the subjects I discuss often, and I at least aim for entertaining on those days when inspiring is out of reach. I take risks and talk openly about things I know may invite criticism. Bottom line: I love writing enough to honor it with my best efforts, and I respect my readers enough to acknowledge that they can and should ditch me if I stop doing so.

I'm not asking for a head pat or a cookie, and the cookie comment jar is closed, anyway. (No cookies means I stay hungry for your love, which arrives occasionally through email or Twitter or even, exotically, by snail. And when it does arrive, I feast like a snake who doesn't know when the next mouse will come along.) And I realize this is one of my more pointless posts. My writing should speak for itself - and I like to think it does. But it was important to me to tell you anyway. It's important to me that you feel valued. So that's what I wanted to say today: thanks for thinking enough of me to be here.

I'm thinking of you, too.

---

* I've meant to post about Baggage Reclaim for ages, and I will at some point, but I'm just dropping the link for now in case anyone reading happens to be in dire relationship straits and need a life jacket, stat. Along with helping me make other huge changes related to my self-esteem and emotional life, I credit Natalie with teaching me to bring my dating standards up, and to hold out for the something better incredible that turned out to be Terence.

this just in: spazzy blogger is spazzy

To finally, belatedly expand upon my last post...

I am so very sorry if you were a casualty of my Instagram block party the other night; I've decided to start using it again, but with a very small following and a private account. Manually blocking over a thousand people was crazytown, I know, but I didn't want to start a new account and ditch all of my photos, the last year of which are especially precious to me because of Terence. And I didn't know how else to handle it; asking everyone Uh, could you please unfollow me? Thx! would have been ridiculous. I've since realized that I could have posted a heads up about I was going to do...but I didn't think of that until afterward. Forethought fail.

Please, please don't be offended if I blocked you! For one thing, that follower count is way off; it's a glitch, or ghost followers still in the IG system or something, I don't know. The actual number is 22. Twenty-two followers. For another, I don't even know how much I'll use it. I just want to keep the option open.

I've written about a dozen versions of an explanation as to why I'm doing this, but the simplest answer is: I thought it might be nice to have a place on the internet where I don't have to be Ellie, personal blogger, and where I can just be Ellie, person.

I know that having a personal blog means that I basically am Elliequent. I get that. But I've been blogging for so long, sharing pretty much everything significant that happens to me (and much of the mundane, too), that sometimes it feels like my life is a like a TV show that's always on (the cast of which includes more than just myself). I just think it would be good to put a boundary in place.

I hope this makes sense and can be forgiven. Nothing whatsoever is changing here. Nothing at all. And again, I am so sorry if my weird blocking decision affected you - I meant absolutely no offense, and I feel awful to have hurt anyone's feelings. I am and always have been so spazzy and conflicted about social media. This latest decision isn't about any one of you at all, or even the collective you. It's about me, and my efforts to continually monitor my motives where blogging and social media are concerned.

I don't know how long they're going to keep calling it "new" media, but I for one will probably be fumbling my way through it for years hence.

IG blocking

I'll explain more when I have time but real quick: if you happened to notice you were blocked by me on Instagram, please don't think I'm upset at you or anything like that at all, and please don't be offended. After setting my account to private, I went through and manually blocked almost a thousand people last night. In fact, even though my follower count shows around 280, that's false; it's actually closer to ten or fifteen.

Again, I'll post about why I did this shortly but for now, please don't think twice about it! Just Ellie and her weird social media shit, and nothing whatsoever is changing here on elliequent. :)

pulse

Recently I came across a definition of loneliness that had me scratching my head: It's what happens when we stop expressing how we feel. I didn't understand that at first. Loneliness to me has always been about, simply, a sense of isolation. I never considered how it relates to self-expression.

But I get it now. Because whenever I go a little while without writing, a feeling begins to settle on me that tonight, I realized is exactly that: loneliness. I start to feel disengaged, angsty, lost. And it is a kind of loneliness, because it's me separated from myself - at least, the part of myself of which I am most accepting. So even while I feel secure and happy in my relationships, loved by my boyfriend and close to my friends, there's a dollop of alienation sitting on top of it all, just because I've lapsed on doing the dumb little thing I do, here on memyselfandI.com.

The quickest way for me to feel normal again, obviously, is to just fucking write. Write anything. But sometimes I fall so behind on things I want to write about that I get overwhelmed. I freeze up in the face of the entirely silly and self-conceived blogger's stress of Posts Which Must Be Penned. And I get blocked. And before I know it, dust is collecting on my latest entry and friends are emailing to check for a pulse.

So this is me holding forth my wrist. I swear there's still blood flowing in it, among other things.

Tentatively titled posts in the pipeline:
  • In Which My Best Friend Panhandles His Way Into My Birthday Weekend
  • Dispatches From An Underground Dance Club 
  • Concert Reviews: Eels & Blackbird Blackbird
  • WTF, Thyroid? 
  • Did You Know My Cute Boyfriend Plays Guitar? Haha, Just Kidding, Of Course You Did ...But Seriously, Look At These Pics of My Cute Boyfriend Playing Guitar

Backatcha soon.

the long run

In what will come as a shock to no one who really knows me (and my previously voiced feelings toward social media), I'm 99.9% sure that I'm going to quit Instagram. And possibly Twitter.

This past weekend, when I was at Coachella, there was a constant buzz in the back of my brain. And no, it wasn't drugs. It was my acute awareness that I hadn't posted anything to Instagram. That I was "dark." And it was fucking distracting. It stayed with me all weekend, and only got quiet for the couple hours or so after I'd posted a slew of pics on Saturday and Sunday morning, bringing my 1100 or so followers up to speed on my whereabouts and whatabouts, so they could exhale with relief and get on with their day.

You see where this is going.

It got quiet another time, too: when, out of the blue, I received a text from my girlfriend Kerry, who knew I was at Coachella and would be out of pocket, but who wanted to let me know she'd seen Chaucer out with his dog sitter, looking happy and fit. Her text was such an unexpected and welcome surprise that I broke into a huge grin. And I realized in that instant how totally fucked up my priorities were. I'd been spending all of this mental energy seeking out the sights and sounds I thought my internet friends would be impressed by that I hadn't stopped to consider what pics or video clips my actual, real life friends might get a kick out of.

I'm horrified to say this happens a lot.

I'm horrified to admit that there are days when I spend a LOT of time thinking about my internet friends and very little - if not none at all - thinking about my real life friends. Because the fact is, Instagram has grown to be a sort of substitution for doing the work of interacting with those real life friends. Social media is an easy, quick fix of interaction. Tap, tap, type, type - feel satisfied that I've had an exchange with someone. That I've connected. I feel social. I feel engaged. But am I? Because for all that tapping and typing, I haven't gotten the tiniest bit closer to the people whose company and real life support I (claim to) treasure. In fact, I feel like I've forsaken them in a way. Rather than put in the time and effort to connect with them, to ask about their day or make plans to hang out - to keep the generalized loneliness that is a fact of the human condition at bay for another five minutes - I turn to social media for a hit of connection.

The unspoken subtext here, the thing I realize it must sound like I'm implying, is that real life friendships are a more valuable time investment than internet friendships. I'm not saying that. I'm not claiming that as a truth for anyone. I'm not even sure that it's true for me, because holy shit have I been on the receiving end of some incredible support and kindness, online. I can only speak for myself. And I know I've been lax in working at my real life relationships, largely because it is so easy to get lost in (or feel satisfied by) my virtual ones. I hate that this is the case. I wish I had all the time in the world to devote to ALL my relationships, and to interacting with all the amazing people who've reached out to me on the internet, to say they appreciate or admire something I've done/said...but I don't. I'm overwhelmed by social media, and for a long time now, I've let it get in the way of my goals.

Instagram has become for me a very hollow and very superficial form of creative gratification. I get a fleeting sense of artistic satisfaction when I post, but that satisfaction is in lieu of creating something actually meaningful. Stories or personal essays, or compelling opinion pieces. Even the shittiest flash fiction or poetry I write on my blog feels better than posting another goddamn selfie. And when I consider the number of books I could have read - or the languages I could have learned - over the past two years, instead of screwing around on social media, it makes me want to cry.

I talked to Mason about this, and he nailed it: I think for you, as it is for me, a lot of that shit is a way to avoid facing your creative demons. Just a way to procrastinate. Take away all that shit and you're forced to write. Which is what you should be doing anyway. 

Speaking only for myself and my observations/experience, the most successful of my friends are the ones who give precisely zero fucks about social media. The friends I know who are actually most engaged socially, hanging out and taking trips and spending actual face time with one another - are the ones who have next to no social media presence. When I look at the artists I most admire - the writers and filmmakers and musicians who are actually producing (and selling!) compelling content, they're the ones for whom Instagram is last on a long and eye-opening list of priorities. 

I also use social media in some unhealthy ways. "Checking up" on people I don't even like. So, so fucked up. Such a colossal and embarrassing waste of my time. And if I don't have accounts on these apps, it's much, much more difficult to engage in that particular vein of WTFery. I can still log onto my computer and manually search for individuals, but I don't see myself doing that, because I am supremely lazy. 

Last point: having a blog does more than enough fuckery with my sense of reality, and my sense of self. I have to be vigilant not to live my life in pursuit of bloggable content, and not to look at the things and people I love as material. Instagram makes that about a hundred times harder. I find myself seeking out Instagrammable moments and situations, instead of just living my damn life. That's gross and weird, and I want it to stop. It's gotten so bad that sometimes an experience doesn't feel real unless I've documented it for the world to see (particularly when I spend time with friends, or when Terence does something especially sweet). I feel myself trying to prove something, to others maybe, or perhaps just to myself? I am loved. I am loved. SEE, WORLD? I AM LOVED!!

It's time, I think, to reinvest my energy into doing things that will make me love myself, truly and deeply, in the long run. 

kennel cough

Chaucer started antibiotics today for kennel cough. He's got swollen lymph nodes and dropped some weight recently, so the vet is doing some blood work tonight, as well.

Don't really feel like blogging or social media-ing, and while I owe some really lovely people responses to some really lovely emails, I just can't think about anything else right now. I'm sorry you guys.

Be back as soon as I know everything's okay.