This was meant to be a post about the kitchen projects I worked on during the early days of quarantine. (I know, I know, you’re mostly here for the kitchen.) Look, I did do some shit…
But it is almost impossible to talk about “quarantine projects” without sounding a little flippant about covid. Especially because I sound flippant about every goddamn thing, mostly because I do not get worked up over shit I cannot control. Also, that’s just how my writing voice sounds (up to and including in the obituary I wrote this summer for my grandfather…who died because of covid.)
I loved that man dearly, but I’m going to ask that we skip the whole condolences thing because then I feel obligated to respond to every damn one of them– I get it, everyone is sad and sorry and thank you for having empathy for me, etc. etc.– and also I just want to talk about building shit for a minute without picking up that emotional weight.
But even in the covid era, I just cannot start a post about my kitchen projects by mentioning my dead grandpa. This story is clearly meant to be about something else.
I need to acknowledge the balancing act that is new (to me) in these strange times. My guiding principle has always been to tell an authentic story. That’s it. And while that often took courage, and a lot of introspection around what the authentic story truly is, it didn’t used to feel so… fraught. It didn’t feel like every somewhat flippant remark required a paragraph of explanation about how “just kidding, that was hyperbole.”
As someone who is trying to write again–trying to find my way back to telling stories–I don’t love the balancing act. And, yet, I also believe things should feel fraught, especially if you’re making a conscious choice to put your words out into the world. These are fraught fucking times. Change and growth always start from a place of discomfort, and people who aren’t doing a little balancing these days? Well. Yeah. Those aren’t my people.
A thing I say often to the people in my life (particularly when they are Going Through Some Shit) is this: A sign of being an emotionally intelligent adult is being able to hold two opposing feelings inside your body at the same time, and still function.
Two opposing things can be true. And we can hold both of those feelings inside ourselves at the same time. And it will be uncomfortable. And in order to get out of that discomfort our brains will tell us “you have to accept one of these ideas/feelings and reject the other right now”. Or, “you have to pick one of these opposing ideas and all of your actions have to back it up, otherwise you’re being a hypocrite/aren’t acting with integrity/don’t really feel the way you say you do.”
I’m sure literally everyone has seen this happen in a relationship in their lives. Where a person does, in fact, love their partner and want them to be happy. Doesn’t want to make decisions or do anything to hurt them. And yet, is unhappy in the relationship. Can’t be happy staying. They might even express that inner conflict through something like “I wish my partner would just cheat on me so I had a justified reason to leave.” Right? (And fascinating that we would want someone to hurt or betray us, specifically to get out of the discomfort of holding two opposing feelings inside at the same time.) Because we don’t tell stories about how it’s okay to feel both “I love this person and don’t want to hurt them” and “I have to leave and know it will hurt them” at the same time. And both can be true. And that’s totally normal.
(That’s not my personal issue, by the way. I’ve turned leaving relationships that make me unhappy into a goddamn art form. And I love all my exes. Have I mentioned them recently? Fabulous dudes.)
I, personally, have a lot of irritation right now at people being “performative” on the internet. Lots and lots of posts and stories about the cause du jour for about a week, and then it’s back to their regularly scheduled programming. At the exact same time, I am irritated by people constantly posting about the cause du jour because just show me your cat pictures, damnit. I am not here to take on the emotional weight of society today, I just want to read about people’s travel adventures and/or house projects for a minute without all the shit.
And I am doing the exact thing that irritates me right fucking now. I’m writing this post, so I can feel like I’ve publicly acknowledged These Strange Times, and then can then go back to writing stories about drinking beer and building shit, where I can make flippant remarks about covid and quarantine without feeling bad about it.
That’s the balancing act. Holding two opposing feelings inside of me, and navigating how my actions (and the stories I tell) align with those feelings. It’s uncomfortable. I am 100% going to fuck it up at times. And there probably won’t be any consequences when I do, because all of you who are here reading my stories will give me the benefit of the doubt. Or don’t care if I acknowledge These Strange Times, because you’re here for the cat pictures anyway.
(The Tiny Angry Badgers have turned into The Very Best Farm Cats, by the way. It’s definitely a story.)
And maybe I’m particularly suited to this time in the world–being uncomfortable, and making the choice to talk about why things are uncomfortable even when I don’t have to–because I have a lifetime of experience (mostly documented on this website) in the good things come out of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations even when you don’t have to. Of doing the hard thing, instead of taking an easier path.
I mean, at the very least it will make you smarter, and stronger, and better able to handle the next uncomfortable thing. Life is full of them.
I’m also here for more pictures of your project. How horrible is it that I thought/was hoping you were going to get back around to the kitchen in this post?
Honestly, I thought I was going to get back to it in that post too. Didn’t seem like the right place though. There will be more up soon.
You don’t owe us a thing, but still want to comment.
I care and am glad you acknowledge These Strange Times (also Unprecedented Times and Uncertain Times TM).
When I’m living in shit, even if it’s temporary, I’ve started to run far far away from people who deny or ignore it. They makes me feel alone and crazy … like my house is on fire and they’re right next to me, but don’t see it. The fire is bad enough .. being invisible is just too much.
Real caring is ideal but even a performative “whew, those flames sure are high. Good luck with that” is better than silence. 🤷🏾♀️
So .. thank you
Honestly, thank you for this perspective, because I can be rigid in how I want people to behave authentically. So to be able to say to myself, “this way of acknowledgement is important too” (maybe even more important than how I’m often silent until I know exactly what I want to say), is really helpful.
Just so happy you’re writing again. Humor and alcohol are definitely my favorite ways to get through too.
I’m so glad you’re back sharing your stories again, in whatever form that takes.
I’m glad you back! It was also a pleasure to read a blog post without 20 ads and multiple videos popping up.
Never apologize. Let’s face it, there will ALWAYS be someone who will be offended. That is theirs to deal with, not yours. So be authenticate and damn the nay-sayers!
Keep up with the bad-assery. And I never said thank you for the great endorsement of the Makita cordless drill. Having small hands, it’s important to have tools that fit and this was one of those. Thank you.
Oh my god, first… I still have and use my drill which is 12 years old now. Insanely good investment. Also, I picked up my neighbors 20v DeWalt the other day and was like WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. It was so heavy and akward for my hand (which now also has arthritis because apparently I’m old.)
Thank you so much for writing again. I love reading your blog. All the best, Meg from Australia
gosh, i am glad you are back, fucks and all. i did not realize you were gone for a while but , then i was berefit (sp) love your pics , wish i could do to same. happy halloween
I appreciate you giving this the ol’ college try. I’ve also felt like radio silence was the best option for quite awhile, because I really loathe pontificating buffoons and I didn’t want to be one. But at some point you’ve got to start talking again, and figure out how. I’m glad you’ve decided to now.
and more cat pictures please 🙂
I love your voice, and appreciate any and everything you post. What you say always feels so real. There is no shortage of places to go to read about all of today’s massive issues, I am happy to come somewhere and read about your authentic badass life. As a lover of DIY who is stuck at a desk all day and has kids running around at home that keep me from doing any projects- you are living my secret fantasy life.
I love the picture and wish to hear the story of the Tiny Angry Badgers when you find it in you to share.
So glad you’re back – looking forward to cat pictures, building stories, donkeys etc- love to read your very authentic posts. Pretty tired of everyone staging themselves as having ‘perfect’ lives in blog/instagram land – You lost your grandad to Covid and is sad, I didn’t loose my alzheimer ridden Mum to Covid, which I thought would have been a dignified way out of a very undignified life. So some things just suck – on the bright side, my garden has never been more productive (and beautiful) and the house never been more spruced up than this year…. when we cant travel or see friends. I know its controversial to say this: somehow I feel we needed this ‘time out’ to rethink our lives, find out what really matters to us, although I do feel bad for everyone who’s lost a dear one.
Glad to hear that so many of you have voted – your election is being watched closely all over the world – certainly in the small corner of it that I call home: Denmark
Two opposing feelings. Yesssss. So. Much. YES. I keep trying to explain this to my kids. That it’s really OK. That it’s the thing that makes society civil. [Truth: I didn’t arrive at that ability magically. It was and is hard, soul searching work to confront all the parts of myself and to be able to hold them all.]
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Was about to share a really profound response but the above post “largest total pallet management services company in the U.S.” beat me to it. Well said, pallet manager. Well said.
Glad to read this. Almost has the same concern and tired of seeing over the productivity of people during these days. By reading this I felt like you wrote something I wanted to. Thank you for sharing.
This post hits so many nails on the head for me right now. Thank you and again, SO glad you’re back!
I am (obviously) very backlogged on reading your posts, and don’t know if I’ve ever been brave enough to comment, but damn, this spoke to me. The ability to hold completely opposing feelings and be ok with it, because life is complex: that’s an advanced level skill, not a moral failing.
TW: depressing shit.
My first set of twins were stillborn. Their little sister died in my arms due to prematurity. Then there was a lot of really bloody awful and major surgery, and then I got to have a living set of twins. So many people in my lives (especially my mother) tell me that I shouldn’t be sad I lost my first three daughters, because if I didn’t I’d never have had my amazing living kids. Fuck that noise. It’s completely valid to be both utterly heartbroken over my losses, and to miss them daily, and to be beyond grateful for the living kids I have. That tension, though, people like my mom just can’t handle it. They need to wrap things up with a pretty bow that wipes away tension (and even better if it wipes away bad feelings).
So, thank you. Thank you so much for writing these words that I have believed in my soul, but never found anyone else who shared. You will never know how much they’ve helped me today.
Thank you so much for this. It’s such an incredibly true story that plays out for all of us in different ways. Things can be devistating, and lead to other good things, and you’re completely allowed to be heartbroken and appreciative at the same time.
And thank you for commenting, because even though I write these things, I almost never go back and re-read my own writing (unless a comment reminds me to). And, even though I write these things, I also sometimes (okay, often) forget them. And when other people share their stories it helps me remember the truth behind the words.
I needed this too, right now. So thank you.
Good read, good pictures.
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