(Top: Bratislava, Bottom: Prague)
Before my obtusely nonsensical spiel, have some eye candy from our whirlwind trip to Eastern Europe that we took after my final PhD defense. I loved Slovakia and Poland the best though I surprisingly didn't take any decent photos in those places - probably too busy getting touristy wasted on cheap wine and beer. Interesting factoid: when we visited Auschwitz, the tour guide told us that a lot of the survivors hated striped clothing for the rest of their lives; it made me rethink my relationship with breton tees.
On buying a new house
So we bought a house... I sometimes wish we hadn't only because after we signed the documents, did the inspection and visited the house multiple times over the last few weeks that I realized we had a place that needed so much work done I could start a lifestyle/DIY blog and make bank. You know what, maybe I will. I read somewhere - who knows, GOMI maybe - that bloggers make the natural progression from fashion to lifestyle to mommy blogging. That's right, the natural progression of blogging niches corresponds with the rate of body sag and accumulation of body fat.
That said, in our neck of the woods, anything that is remotely updated with a good location in the city and enough space so that you're not peering into your neighbor's porn collection will cost an upward of $600k - often times more, with no contingencies attached (Waive the inspection! Waive the financing! Waive the appraisal! Bend over Grey-style and get screwed twice! It's the market!), over 20% downpayment and occasionally, a complete cash offer over asking price.
I mean obviously I'm just being an ungrateful snot because we're so goddamn lucky to own a house but when you're standing in front of a blackened fireplace, faced with barf-colored walls and four different kinds of cheap berber carpeting and sagging kitchen cabinets that don't close, how your life sucks is really all you can think about in that moment.
On anxiety, existentialism and being faux-emo
I'll confess I've been struggling over the last few years with deep-seated emotional issues stemming from a bad grad school experience and from several inherent character traits that have been downright self-destructive for me. I don't think real-life struggles get talked about enough; I don't trust anyone who makes everything seem like it's always rainbows and sunshine and kittens when it's really boxcutters, drippy mascara, Bright Eyes on repeat and tubs of chocolate ice cream. I tried Headspace for two-minutes, got even more annoyed at that British bloke (Reddit always makes me side-eye everything) and decided I needed to see a therapist instead. I think the therapist has been good for me, there's no prescription meds or talking about childhood trauma - it's about building a plan, facing up to responsibilities and being a little less hard on myself.
This is going to sound so obnoxious and self-aggrandizing but I'm pretty harsh on myself and tend to want everything to be perfect. I'll stop short of calling myself a perfectionist (I'm not, I let a lot of things slide, I think...) but a lot of what I do borders on crazy. I need the edges of my towels (bath towels, hand towels, kitchen towels, blankets, sheets, etc., etc.) to line up perfectly and folded once lengthwise and three times after that. They also all need to be white. I got so tired of trying to correct my husband's folding that after he folds them, I redo ALL of them. Which is why I never get any real work done - I'm too busy fucking folding towels in thirds. Jesus Christ. And that's only the tip of the iceberg.
My therapist made me realize that I don't have control of everything and I beat myself up if things don't go my way. So I got all existentialist on her, yo. "What's the point of anything if I can't control things?!" I sobbed, wah wah wah. "Influence," she said wisely. "You can always influence the outcome." I think I love my therapist.
My absolute avorite written works (and secret bibles) in the entire history of mankind are 'Paradise Lost' and 'Maldoror' and I think subconsciously, I veered towards those two books because they seemed to speak most closely to my nihilistic approach to how I viewed the world and the existence of a higher authority. Perhaps after my therapy sessions ends, my new bible would be something by Emerson... hahahahahahaha *wipes tears from eyes*.
Moving is a damn bitch. I hate it. I hate the sound of tape pulling over boxes, I hate standing in line to buy boxes, I hate bubble wrap and newspapers and being scared that my gazillion potteries will break when it falls out of the U-Haul. Moving makes me want to stab my eye with a pencil and yank out my hair and run around screaming like a crazy person. I would pay for professional movers but we just spent all our money buying a house and fixing a shitty bathroom that I can't justify paying someone to pack my shit and load/unload them so I can go back to folding my towels.
But I think more importantly, moving and packing makes, made, whatever... makes me feel bad about myself. It exposes me in ways that make me feel uncomfortable because when you're standing there staring at heaps of glassware and plates and cake pans and throw blankets, it doesn't lie. You can't escape the shelves of sparkly wine cups and gleaming ceramics sitting there serenely and winking wickedly, conspiratorially at you. Amanda, you have a shopping habit. The reason you can't afford movers or an expensive lamp is because you bought ALL these porcelain goodies from Crate and Barrel or DWR and you don't even like them anymore because there's even more porcelain goodies from Crate and Barrel or DWR to buy. So it goes, as Vonnegut says.
Maybe those people at GOMI were right, I've been using blogging all the while to justify a shopping habit (Alright, you hams win!!!). I'm actually pretty mortified at how much junk I have, it's really gross on some level. Maybe crazy cot lady and all the insufferable spartan minimalist holier-than-thou Instagrammers were right. My life would be so much easier and less revolting if I only had to move a couple of Aesop products, a shoebox of kitchen utensils and a Fjallraven backpack of clothes.
But in all seriousness, as I've pointed out before, I'm glad I'm realizing that buying all these things haven't made me a happier person even though just a few years ago, I thought that they did. I know I'm going to accumulate some junk in the future because it's the natural progression of life despite what all the insufferable spartan minimalist holier-than-thou Instagrammers say, but I think the horror of moving and having to clean and pack shit when I'm already so tired and fed-up with everything is going to keep me in check. Yes, it's going to cost me blog readers and Instagram followers because I'm not posting pictures of expensive candles and flowers and plates and macarons (not macaroons you damn morons!) anymore but at 32, I think I'm old enough to realize that those fleeting moments of validation are an illusion and really just not worth it most of the time.
On this blog
After laying all these things out (and actually having a full-time job, woot!), I think it's safe to say that I should and probably would be hanging up my finely-polished Marni shoes and calling it a day. I'll probably still update occasionally with some pictures on how things are progressing with the house/dog/dog/dog/life/growing zygotes/organic gardening because it's fun and I'm a braggart. I'm debating about starting a new blog I kind of want to keep things going only because I like having a outlet where I can just moan about the same thing for the umpteenth time and not have anyone cancel lunch on me. Maybe this time for realz, the blog about home decor with my shoddy DIY skills should be called, Assembled Haphazardly.
* Apologies for the potty-mouth of late, I'm trying to get my teenage-angst out of the way.