Tag Archives: detox

Thanksgiving Writing Retreat

1 Dec

This year for Thanksgiving, I decided to get drunk in the woods. This brings to mind two types of stories. The first is a tale of self-discovery and acceptance of all my shortcomings from which I return to the life I had with a little less baggage and wiser than when I left. The second is a horror film where I am murdered in an abandoned camp ground rented out by black-market organ dealers.

Thankfully the second plot was not the story of my weekend. However, I don’t see any Hollywood tycoons banging on my door for the film rights to what actually happened either. Media taints our perception of reality, we know this. I wasn’t expecting much, but at the same time I was expecting something, it is human nature when you are raised in the 20th century.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we?

I rented a cabin somewhere in Arizona I had never been called Lyman Lake. Simple, cheap, and out in the middle of nowhere (aka away from humans…I am slowly morphing into a hermit). The Friday after Thanksgiving I drove my hung over ass, my dog, and my high hopes five hours through several different forms of precipitation to a lake hidden in the mountains of Northern Arizona.

What I expected:

  • Monumental progress on my romance novel
  • Finishing the book I have been reading for months now
  • Plenty of hiking with Kali, my dog, so she got all the nature she doesn’t get at home
  • A blazing fire both nights over which I would cook bratwursts and foil packets of potatoes like I had seen on Pinterest

What actually happened:

  • I wrote about 3000 words, which isn’t even half of a novella
  • Still have 300 pages shy of the end of the book I have been reading (although I did make progress, I think I just read slower than I think)
  • One hike, just one, on the first day. It was about a mile and I had to stop several times to just breath.
  • No fire. Not one. I ate bagels and carrot sticks the whole time.

It sounds disappointing, but even though the weekend didn’t meet my expectations, I loved every second of it. I got a lot more writing done than I would have at home. I have been trying for months to make progress on this idea of a book, and I actually feel good about the direction the story it taking now. I spent a solid four hours just reading. I never let myself do that at home. There is always something to clean or errands to run or Netflix to catch up on. I was out in nature. Maybe I was’t stomping through it with my hiking boots, but I saw petroglyphs and actual stars splattered across the sky in all their unadulterated glory. Kali got to run and play and sniff new things, which for a dog is a big deal. She saw snow for the first time and realized it was cold, very cold. I swear those big brown eyes looked at me and thanked me for living in Phoenix. We walked more than any weekend in the last couple of months and that is progress. I even did about two minutes of yoga because the crappy cabin mattress made my 32 year old back ache like the dickens.

I can’t spin the food with a positive light though. I’m still mad I forgot a lighter and the brats I brought sat in the cooler the whole time. At least I ate my veggies though!

What I wasn’t expecting was the complete lack of pressure and the calming quiet of the mountains. I was more at peace than I could have even imagined I would be. There was zero cell service or wifi and that level of disconnection gave me permission to take my time with everything I chose to do. There were hours and hours to fill so whatever idea of a schedule I had come up with was thrown out the window. There were no messages or social media to check so I barely even looked at my phone which meant I didn’t have any idea what time it was unless I intentionally looked for it. I can’t even tell you how freeing that felt.

Am I going to run off to the woods to live off the land? No, clearly I am not built for that. Did I have any personal growth opportunities that will make me a better person? No, absolutely not, but it was nice realizing I could sit in silence and not literally go crazy. Am I going to be one of those people that deletes all the apps on their phone other than contacts and maps? FUCK no. I need to stalk people to know I am not the worst human that has ever existed and make sure my exes aren’t happy than me. Maybe one day I’ll work up to a weekly social media detox…one day.

What I will do is try to take more trips with just a book and my dog…and my laptop, I’m not an animal. And a bottle of vodka, that shit really gets the creative juices flowing. I will try to make time to do the things I actually enjoy and not just what I have to do to survive. I will take Kali on more walks.

I will continue to be the person I am, but maybe I will also manage to sometimes be the person I found in the mountains.

I will remember I don’t hate the snow as much as I think, it is nice in small doses.

“I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. But right now these moments are not stories. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite.”

24 Mar

Turns out I’ve been in Tempe for almost 2 and a half weeks I guess, 3 by the time I’m posting this, since we all know I procrastinate. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Why haven’t you posted then dummy? I’ll tell you why…BECAUSE NOTHING HAS BEEN HAPPENING!! Ok stuff has been happening, fun stuff, really fun stuff. I should qualify that statement. Nothing productive has happened, well at least not until after I started this post.

Maybe I was naive, but I really thought I would have a job and a car and maybe, like, a life by now.

I’ve been busy for sure, everyday pretty much goes like this:

wake up way earlier than necessary
check my email
check facebook
surf youtube
watch that show I miss the night before
convince myself its time to apply to some jobs
watch series on netflix…or Downtown Abbey
sit by the pool for a few hours (I do have some nice tan lines at this point…that’s exciting…for MARCH)
hang out with LP…and do…stuff

Then the weekend comes and well….there’s a lot of alcohol typically, and a lot more pool time. That happens when you move from one college city to another I guess.

Today (Wednesday actually, the day I started this) is out of the ordinary because my things are finally here!! It took almost three weeks but my cheap ass moving company finally came and I got to spend the whole day actually really seriously moving in. You have no idea how excited I am. I have been feeling kind of like a vagabond. The few things I brought were just dispersed and messy with no real rhyme or reason. I’ve been sleeping on an air mattress, which after so long is really starting to hurt my back. Its been hard to find a center and feel like I really belong because I’ve had nothing to make me feel grounded.

Now, as I’m finishing this post, it is Sunday (did you follow that?) and not only am I entirely unpacked, I ordered a bed which will be here tomorrow (YAY!) and I will no loger be sleeping on an air mattress. For the first time in my life its not a twin mattress either. Its a freakin’ big girl bed, so now my big girl sleepovers won’t be so….crowded. Clearly that’s the only reason not to have a twin bed, because clearly when I’m the only one in it, a twin bed is just fine.

Anyway, speaking of, apparently it doesn’t take long when I move to find a new set of men to play with. Oddly that was one thing I was worried about when I moved, losing my network of cuddle/make out buddies. I can’t quite explain why, residual low self-esteem or something I suppose.

The point is I’ve had a few encounters since moving in, one that almost got me arrested, one that was entirely unexpected…and a kind of odd, and one that may in fact be something I want to not just dead end because I get too bored to even try anymore.

Maybe I’ll tell the other stories later, but let me talk about the Hipster for a New York minute. I met him a little over a week ago while Lucky Penny and I were sitting at the pool all day drinking and decided to invite people over to join us. The Parasite buddies came who are two boys I knew from previous visits and then LP invited a friend from work, the Hipster. It was a fun day of feeling young and invincible, some other people dropped by, we threw the football around, went swimming, yada yada. The Hipster and I got to talking here and there and it turns out I was intrigued by him.

Of course boy-crazy me tends to like most boys that pay me any attention right off the bat so I didn’t put too much stock into it despite the make out session that ended the night. We have hung out a few more times though and I find myself getting excited every time I see a text from him and looking for excuses to talk to him. Obviously, I don’t need a boy in my life yet, I just started on this new chapter, but having one around isn’t so bad…right?

Minute over, I refuse to dwell and analyze because that would mean I’m in farther than I’d like to be already. Instead lets talk about the day after the pool, aka Saint Patrick’s Day.

I’m not even Irish and yet every year this holiday gets out of hand. This year it started at 6:30am and lasted 21 1/2 hours. It was almost going to last 24, but at around 4:00am it was very clear I was being irrational and needed to pass out. Instead of trying to remember details I’m going to give you a vague timeline of events (and clearly I’m into doing this today).

6:30 am crawl out of bed, kick the Hipster out, and get greened up
7:00 am go to the bar that was giving out t-shirt to the first 100 people, not get a t-shirt but share a pitcher for breakfast
8:00 am go home and actually eat breakfast because clearly that should have happened already
After breakfast, take a nap, then shortly after wake up from said nap because you feel like its time to get on with celebrating. Spoiler alert later comes the regret for not taking a long enough nap.
11:00ish go to Mill Ave. aka the street with all the bars
Drink all day at multiple bars. Meet up with a cop LP knows and try not to be awkward. Realize there are free tickets to see and meet Flogging Molly at the park and need to go.
6:30 pm get to the park, get tickets, never actually find where to go to meet the band and instead lose LP in the crowd and find a new friend that someone back home told you to meet up with. Go find LP, elbow to the front of the crowd, stay for less than a song and leave. On the way to the back of the crowd bump into Parasite2, have photo shoot, go back to the bar.
By this time it was like 9 maybe, met back up with the cop, drank some more, then went in search of food while Parasite2 went to find his wallet or something. We got food but lost Parasite2 because his phone died, but luckiest night ever means that we found him again wandering the street on the way to the cop’s car. On the way home I invited Parasite1 over and all of us continued drinking and chatting.
LP had to work in the morning so she went to bed early. Parasite1 passed out on our floor. Parasite2 and I went to the park.
4:00 am Parasite2 and I got back to the house and I got the fantastic idea to be up 24 hours straight. Instead we got into my bed and fell asleep to SNL.

Despite how awesomely entertaining the experience was, the next day I felt like hell. The decision was made that the rest of the week was detox week and mostly I kept to that resolution.

By Wednesday I was feeling much better and super excited for my things to come (like that full circle there?). Thursday I rented a car because I had two interviews! Neither was super close and the cost (and joy the driving would bring) outweighed that of cabs. Not only did one of them offer me the position, the other went really well and has contacted my references making me feel super confident that may end up being an option as well. Either way I finally have a job lined up.

The only thing missing at this point is a car and I am determined by the end of the week I will be mobile again.

Being as it is the last week in March all of this will mean that in less than a month I somehow managed to completely uproot my entire life in New England, transport it to Arizona, rebuild it entirely, and even add in some improvements. This has been the most terrifying and nerve-racking month of my life. I have never doubted myself more, never second guessed so many of the decisions I have made, and never been so happy with the results.

Wow this was a long one.

PS The quote is from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”…in case you were wondering. I edited it a bit.