I think more than five people read my blog now! So, hi you six!
This blog post doesn’t have a subject yet. I’m hoping one will come to me as I write. It’s interesting that I expect/assume blog posts should have subjects at all– since, this time fifteen years ago, I’m pretty sure I just wrote about things willy-nilly, as they came to my mind. Teenagers: listen up: nobody wants to read that (no matter how old you are). Unless you’re freshly in-love or extremely famous. (“Or a really good, funny writer?”) No. Not unless you’re family. Sorry.
Well, we have a pandemic going on, in case you’re reading this from 40,000 years in the future, because someone had the foresight to etch this blog post in titanium, which was the only element that survived the nuclear holocaust.
The economy is doing weird stuff. After waiting a solid month and a half, I finally got some unemployment benefits coming down the pipeline, all at once like the toilet was clogged or something. It’s a very, very strange thing to receive [a large amount of] un-worked-for money. Not sure at all how I feel about it. Except good. Definitely feel good about having money. Yes.
Anyway. Been thinking about roots lately. I’ve fought sending roots down here in Iowa, for several reasons, but mainly because I know I’d have to yank them up before long. Adam’s going to be graduating around this time next year, and then.. we’ll be untethered. Something I’ve looked forward to for three years, but soaking in the idea has me contemplating the feeling within the context of my entire life.
I think if you talked to any of my oldest, truest friends, they’d tell you that I’ve never been content in one place for very long. Be that a place of employment, job title, city, apartment, or relationship. At the moment, I’m not interested in psycho-analyzing why that’s true.. but it definitely is.
However, thinking about where my life is right now, I actually feel more aligned with my values than ever. Some of my values have changed to meet me, and I’ve changed to meet some of my values. I don’t smoke anymore, and I’m glad about it (even though I know the cravings will never go away), and somehow, I’m literally experiencing joy-flutters over the flourishing of my houseplants! (Two things twenty-three year-old Carla would laugh out of town.)
As far as work goes, there are things about Blick that I really and truly hate, but overall, it’s the best day-job I’ve ever had. Especially when I’m in the custom framing department. That’s a position I get real satisfaction from. But even more so, I feel like Art Office is something that could keep me engaged and sustained– financially, creatively, and socially– for a long, long time. If it works, of course.
Where relationships are concerned, I had the spark and Adam has the follow-through. It must be how it goes with lots of relationships. People with opposite strengths and weaknesses attract. I was so good at planting us in the same pot, but he’s the master gardener. I’m not as happy as I thought I would be, being in a committed, mature, long-term relationship– but I don’t think anybody is. That’s why there’s wine.
Anyway, the fact I’m flirting with, is that Iowa City’s not that bad.
It’s not that great either, don’t get me wrong. And I don’t think I could live here the rest of my life, but it’s not for the usual reasons. Usually I just whine and complain about how things aren’t perfect. In therapy lately, we’ve been talking about how life isn’t fair, and anyone who says otherwise is selling something. I’ve never accepted that. Since I can remember– hell, since my mom can remember– I want what I want.
The Serenity Prayer used to be able to effectively realign my expectations, so I could drive straight again. Nowadays, what with my backsliding and all, I know that my primary source of strength, courage, and wisdom is me. It’s so hard to do things on your own, but I’ve totally come to recognize that if I put my responsibility into someone or something else’s hands, not only am I missing out on the self-esteem that comes from perseverance, I’m reinforcing the idea that I don’t have control over anything. How? I mean, it’s so simple: if you depend on someone else for some things you can do yourself, why wouldn’t you just give them all the things! Of course, it’s a subconscious thing. I’m sure people aren’t relying on the concept of God to intentionally avoid personal responsibility…
Where was I…
At any rate, AA says you can be your own Higher Power, so that’s what I’ve been doing lately, even though I’m not quite atheist yet, and also definitely not in AA. It makes a lot of sense, and makes me feel much more “right-sized,” which is how I used to define “humility,” but fuck that word. It means “doormat” now, and there’s no going back in this society.
By “right-sized,” I mean that I think of myself more accurately. I.e. I actually do have a lot of power. So does everybody. I don’t have all the power, but I certainly do have more than I’ve given myself credit for over the years. What does all of this have to do with my being content? Well, see– I’ve always relied on an external power or force to “make” or “help” me to be content, as well as to provide me with the things that I want. I’ve gone with the flow of my life’s trajectory for EVER, rarely if ever making assertive decisions for myself, OR being content.
I’ll occasionally get a wind of inspiration or something like it, and make BIG [reckless] choices, probably founded from a good seed, but planted in the tidal wave of a manic episode (I’m bipolar and medicated; curtsy).
Anyway, this may be the mood stabilizer, antipsychotic, or antidepressant talking, but I really think I’m coming around to the fact that I am Captain of my own ship! With the right tools in my cabin, I have the strength to accept the wind, the courage to raise my sails, and the wisdom to apply myself effectively! #wisewordsbycarlabaudrons
So I’m going to take a minute to tell you how Iowa has grown on me.
- It keeps you on your toes! SO unpredictable. And I personally love unpredictability. I think it’s one of the top shelf spices of life.
- It’s really green in the Spring/Summer, and you can see a lot of it. In East Tennessee, there are so many hills, you can’t usually see huge swaths of land, and if you can, that probably means you’re in the GSM, and likely see 1%’s cabins nestled in there too. I loved the rolling greens in Northern Ireland. They’re pretty lovely here too.
- The local arts community. This should’ve been #1 because it is the best thing about Iowa City, hands-down. I struggled a lot the first few years we were here, but I’ve recently had much more success connecting with the local artists and arts organizers. They are some of the most genuine, driven, kind, and supportive people I’ve ever met.
- It’s cheap! Well, for the most part. We’ve mostly lived in one house since we’ve been here, and it is heaven and earth cheaper than anywhere in Colorado. And we’re making the same amount of money. I donut understand.
- It’s bite-sized. Not too city, not too country. I usually see someone I know when I’m downtown, and sometimes even when I’m out-of-town! When the Covid’s not going on, there are just a handful of good places to hang out, so bumping into friends is inevitable.
- Transportation. Iowa City is very walkable, bikeable, and extremely bussable. I’m talking free busses, right in front of our house, that could take you anywhere you want to go in the city. It’s the best transit system I’ve experienced.
- The Thrift Stores. This one really should’ve been #2, because the thrifting here is PHENOM. 1%ers’ kids go to school here (it’s kind of prestigious in Southeast Asia, for some reason?), buy tons of name-brand clothing and just drop it off at a thrift store at the end of the semester. And since literally this happens at least twice a year, the shops can’t keep up with their stock! So the prices for good stuff here… well, it would just make you jealous.
- Well, that leads me to the University of Iowa. Honestly, except for the sports and the sports fans, I’m a big fan of UIowa. Their teaching hospital is so great, so great, so great. I get more thorough treatment at the dental college than any dentist I’ve ever been to. Their art department pops out some incredible artists– a lot of whom stick around to support and be a part of the local arts scene. And of course, The Center for the Book. A better group of nerds I’ve never seen. They are fifteen peas in a pod, and their instructors are right there with them. I’m so honored to be peripherally involved with them.
- The politics. Hell yeah, I’m saying it. I’ve been more involved in politics these past few years than ever, and I’m going at it from the most honest place I can access in myself. It really stung when an old friend accused me of being swayed by Iowa City’s college town liberalism, but only because I spent so much of my life– again– not making my own decisions, and just falling in line with whatever God or the patriarchy said. I’m really allowing myself to think and feel about politics here– a place where, thankfully, that’s encouraged! It feels great to be true to yourself, I tell you what.
- UGHHH I’m so hungry, but I have to come up with a tenth reason… ummmm, okayyyyyy… Oh! I have one: the humidity is great for my hair. I mean. It is luscious, it is totally blonde (that’s the sun though), it’s flowy, soft, voluminous (just found out that “volumous” is not a word), and SO LONG. Some of this may have to do with the hair, skin, & nails pill I take, but I experienced this once before in the humid, humid state of Mississippi, so I’m pretty sure humidity’s the main culprit.
And that is all I’ve got for now folks. Except for tell you artist friends about Art Office. I’ll be accepting applications until July 13th.