Closing Time

I have had this blog for over two years. This month I made it my mission to post once everyday. I thought it would challenge me as a writer, thought it would help build community. Thought it would be something that made me happy. A project to take my mind off of all the things that are going on in my life, in the world. But you know what it’s doing? It’s stressing me out. It’s making me feel like there is an unspoken barrier between me and the people I love. That somehow letting everyone in so much makes me not let anyone in at all. My blog has become substitute for actual vulnerability in my life. Maybe that’s what it always has been. Something I can point to to say that I share, that I talk about the things I’m feeling, that I’m open. But that’s not what this is. This is a way for me to distance myself from my own life. And maybe that’s fine. Maybe that’s exactly what I need it to do. But at some point along the way it stopped being fun.

It made writing into another thing that I just do for other people. Another way to bury myself. It turned into a way for my family and friends to keep tabs on me without ever having to actually ask me how I am. It reduced the week I spent in the psych ward to twelve paragraphs. It made me stop having those conversations we used to have. “Just read my blog.”

And all of a sudden everyone I work with knows I suffer from bipolar disorder and am a recovering alcoholic. And my partner’s parents know I want to kill myself. And the entire Internet doesn’t make you feel any less alone when you’re sitting on your porch at night.

So I’m shutting down this blog for the foreseeable future. I want to have real conversations. Want to write for myself because I like it. Want to learn how to let people in. Like, really in. Feel free to use the contact form to shoot me a message. I’d love to keep in touch.

Photo courtesy of Web Agency.



"Mexican tortilla" © David Boté Estrada, 2014. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Mexican tortilla” © David Boté Estrada, 2014. CC BY-SA 2.0.
This afternoon I went out for Mexican food
Well after the lunch rush
That quiet, empty space between meal times

Sat in a big, bright room alone
A man crooning Spanish over an accordion
played on the sound system
Accompanied by the clinking of ice in my glass and
the sound of my fork on my plate

Behind a curved glass wall
a woman stood making fresh tortillas

When I lived alone in Portland I made tortillas, too

Measured the masa by handful
Added water until I could feel the right consistency
Threw in a pinch of salt
Made balls of dough and
pressed them in that big, wooden contraption
someone must have also made by hand
Cooked them on hot cast iron
Flipped them with my fingers
Just like the Guatemalan grandmothers
on the YouTube videos do

I made piles of them and fed them to everyone
Ate them with nothing but a spritz of lime

Soft tortillas pressed against the flesh of our lips
Cut by the lightest pressure of slippery teeth
We didn’t think about how everything we do is wrong
and it hurts all the time

Just ate our fill

Personal Development


"Paper Tree Imitates Real Tree" © Theen Moy, 2014. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Paper Tree Imitates Real Tree” © Theen Moy, 2014. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

My yoga teacher gives instruction as if he is reciting poetry. He plays music and falls into rhythm with it, his voice adjusts in volume with the intensity of the pose. As we exhale into position, he gets louder. Brings the lights up a little bit, mimics the sunrise happening through the windows. The practice he guides us through feels like a steady drop of water on my spine. Slow and with purpose it etches away the previous day. The night of tossing and turning.

I make it a point to talk to him. To the other people in my class. While we change from our stretchy clothes into our work attire in the bathroom I strike up conversation. Make eye contact. We don’t need to bond or learn names. I just need to know that I’m noticed so I can remind myself if I don’t show up someone will feel my absence. Keep creating new places you matter. That’s the trick. That’s all it is.

When I was a teenager my idea of “sneaking out” was leaving a note for my parents on my desk and exiting through the front door. There were no tiptoes, just gentle motions to avoid waking those already asleep. A respect for their rest more than an intent of secrecy. If anyone went in to check on me they’d find something like:

George is having a bad night.
Went out for food.
Back soon. Love you!
—Ruby (1 AM)

on a Post-it® note. But I don’t know if anyone ever did. No one ever said.

It soon felt like I could float in and out of my home unnoticed. A gradual shift in temperature or humidity. Barely detectable among everything else that was happening under that roof. I found different places to matter.

George had driven up from Salem on accident. Another soul who understands that when nothing makes sense you pick a direction on Interstate 5 and you just go. We talked on the phone for most of the drive. When he finally said, “Okay, I’m here,” I had my coat and shoes on before he could add, “Come out.”

He didn’t pull into the driveway. I walked out into the quiet, country road night and folded myself into the passenger’s seat of his Toyota Tercel. We drove another thirty minutes north to the set of diner’s open twenty-four hours. The age-old debate between Denny’s and Shari’s ensued and we settled on the place with the better shakes.

Chocolate for me. Strawberry-banana for him. I likely ordered stuffed hash-browns (no bacon) and he definitely got a veggie omelette. We talked about music, about school, about relationships. We did not touch on how hard existing is. Sometimes you just need someone to sit at a table with. To notice you’re present. To witness your heart still beating hard in your chest.