Enthusiasm and Sense of Adventure

Hi there Evie,  Thanks for responding to my ad for a sailing companion.  I must say I do like your enthusiasm and sense of adventure.  I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of a response I would get from posting that, and admittedly have had a few oddballs reply, but you sound pretty normal and like a lot of fun. I think we could be great sailing pals.  Why don’t you tell me a little more about yourself, I’ll do the same for you, and then maybe set up a video chat for sometime in the next couple days to ‘meet’ and make sure we can get along well enough to survive a few months within 38′ of each other.  Look  forward to hearing from you. – Kelly

 

Dear Kelly,

Oh thank you thank you for not thinking I am crazy!!!  I’m so excited to hear from you and yes yes!!!!  I think we could make great sailing pals!!!!!   I don’t know how to sail, but I’m really excited to learn and I learn fast .  In the mean time, I do know how to cook, I’m really clean and easy going, I speak French and know celestial navigation, so I can certainly pull my weight as a sailing companion while I learn “the ropes” haha.

Brilliant idea about getting to know each other, you are welcome to google me and you can find me on LinkedIn to know that I am really who I say I am.  Other than that, I am 35, with a degree in Psychology, an expansive working and traveling background, no kids, no pets, and a job I hate that I can leave at any second to come and meet you on the boat. We could video chat tonight even if you want and  I could probably be there tomorrow if you want to go soon, I’m already packed!!!!!

 

I’m on a roll and about to  explain how adept I have become at packing my entire wardrobe into 2 bags when I hear… the Minions?  laughing… at me?

I’m finally jolted out of my manic haze by this offensive absurdity, and realize it’s just my ringtone. My best friend is calling.  I blink, reach for the nearest cloth, which happens to be my black uniform shirt on the floor by the desk where I dropped it and begin mopping the spilled wine off my thighs and floor tiles as I answer the phone.

“HI LOVE!” I start yelling into the phone the moment I pick up. “Guess WHAT!  He wrote back!  He wrote back and he likes my sense of adventure and my enthusiasm and thinks we could make great sailing pals and wants to get to know me and is going to tell me more about him and wants to video chat and I think I might get to go and I’m so excited I can’tbelieveitImightactuallygetTOGOOO!!!!!!!!!!!”

I finally suck in a breath to register that now Elissa is laughing at me too.  “Hello honey.” she says.  “First of all, I’m really excited for you, that’s awesome.  Second, yes, definitely find out more about him before you jump on a boat with him, you know I worry.  And third, please tell me you haven’t emailed him back yet, that you waited to vent a little of this exuberant yet barely intelligible sputtering and to calm down first?”  She ends the third statement slightly tilted like its a question.  She knows me too well.

“Um.” I begin, and she’s laughing again and I swear I can hear her shaking her head. “No, no,” I hasten to add, “I didn’t actually send it yet. But I think I’m really glad you called when you did.”  I quickly scan my email reply, and delete the entire message. “Yea, really glad.  Help me vent and write a new one?  I just have to go on this trip Elissa, I have to!”

“I know sweetie, and you’re right, you do.  Of course I’ll help.”

There’s nothing in the world like a best friend.

[post 3 of the Sailing Adventure]

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(Unexpected) Response

 

3-stacked-coffee-cups

3 cups of coffee, 2 (fairly painful) bouts of self-kicking, and 1 “babe-I-love-you-but-don’t-you-dare-send-another-message-after-that-craziness!” best friend phone call later, I succumbed to the doldrums, threw on my uniform, and went to work vowing I would forget the posting ever passed through my phone.  In addition, I firmly added to my inner monologue that I would not, absolutely not, be sad to have destroyed my only chance ever to have a grand adventure.

Of course I allowed no concession to my less hateful, logical brain.  It was pathetically trying to remind me that adventures had indeed been, and would surely again be a part of my life, despite my desperate early morning plea. I’m a woman after all, I don’t always have time for sensibility especially when in matters of great tragedy.

So my day passed  as well as could be hoped for, with minor work emergencies cropping up like tribbles throughout the day, providing me with blessedly little time to dwell on either my island-life dreams or my own stupidity.  Evening grudgingly obliged to relieve me of my boss and therefore my workday at last.

Exhausted, humbled, and resolved to escape into a great book, a glass of wine, and not checking my email, I sighed as I closed my door on the world.  Despite my returned self-deprecating thoughts, I was glad to be home in the quiet having survived another day at my wretched, useless job listening to my wretched, useless boss.

Shedding clothes on my way from the front door to the kitchen (the joys of living alone, I hate wearing my uniform one second longer than necessary), I began to relax at last.  Red wine in hand, I made my way to my couch… via the computer desk.  I couldn’t help myself. I just couldn’t.

I try not to talk to myself too often.  I don’t have any pets, so I can’t use that as an excuse for talking out loud in an empty apartment, so I restrain from outer monologues for the most part.  But I couldn’t help that right at that moment, just as I couldn’t help checking my email.

You won’t have a response.” I repeated to my walls, surely gathering stories of their own about the crazy resident in apartment #6. “It was an absurd listing anyway.  Eight million people probably responded and all of them sounded less crazy than you.  It’s probably not even real. If it was real, you definitely disqualified yourself. But it’s not real. So you won’t get a response.  And that’s best because he’s probably psycho and the trip would be a terrible idea anyway.  Terrible.  Absurd. Worst idea ever. Not even worth consid-OH HOLY CHEESITS!”

He responded!  He actually responded!

Spilled

I spilled my wine.

[post 2 of the Sailing Adventure, read the whole story here]

 

I Wanna GO!!!

I received a notification in my email today:  Companion Wanted for Extended Caribbean Sailing Voyage

Despite the early hour (yes, sadly, I check my phone for emails every time I wake to pee after 6:30 am, a terrible habit), I was suddenly sunbeams-and-roosters awake. It was a notification from a craigslist auto-search, one that rarely spit up anything of real interest, obscure as I had made it.  But something about it, yes, ok, something more than the title and knowledge of just how obscure the search notification was (sail + voyage + Caribbean + all expenses paid) held my eyes open like Calvin’s toothpicks and had my heart beating and skin tingling like I had woken from the proverbial…um… flying dream.

I opened the full email and subsequently the full link and read a paragraph that had me scrambling for passport and packable clothes even while I tried to decipher the email time stamp through bleary eyes and remind myself I needed to actually respond (at the least) before getting too excited (too late!).

Companion wanted for extended Caribbean Sailing Voyage”

I have just finished refurbishing my 38″ sailboat and am ready to try her out on the “long haul.”  If you would like to join me on an extended, open-ended sailing voyage from North Carolina south to Miami and on to explore the Caribbean, I am in need of a companion for what looks to be a truly J. Buffett-style adventure.  I plan to leave within the month and will pay all onboard expenses for myself and my companion.  I just need someone easy-going, adaptable and who likes to laugh to share in this once-in-a-lifetime journey with me.

Oh My Proverbial G.

Yes please!!!

I responded.  Unfortunately I did so before having a cup of coffee and reminding myself to eloquently curb my enthusiasm (to lessen the fear of psychotic fervor one might develop from reading the emails I shoot off at times).  Yes, coffee actually lessens the intensity of my emails, contrary to logic, early in the morning.

“IIIIII WANNA GOOOOOO!!!!!!!”    is the gist of what I “sent from my Verizon phone, at 6:37 a.m. without spell/grammar/sanity checking.”

Crap.  Potentially decreased my chances at having someone look  forward to inviting me to spend months on end living daily within 38″ feet of him. Yet again, I wish there was a mulligan button on my phone.

Guess we’ll see what happens…

 

[this is post 1 of the story, keep reading The Sailing Adventure]

Home Port for the Sailing Adventure

I recently mentioned that I am at a bit of a confusing crossroads with this blog.  Ink Stains On My Sheets was created with the intention of tracking my career life while I have struggled to find and survive “normal” jobs on my way to becoming a professional author.  Lately I haven’t known what to write here though because I ditched the conventional world and took off to play on a ranch for the winter, with no major plans to return to the grind full time, hopefully ever.

In my other blog, Ink Stained Adventures, I write about all the crazy adventures in my life.  I got bored a while back and decided to create an adventure for myself because life was too mundane.  I’ve been writing that story, The Sailing Adventure, in Ink Stained Adventures.  However, life is not quite so oppressively normal any longer and all my adventures are becoming a bit muddled being contained within the same blog.

So now that I am not working, in the traditional sense, and I am making real steps towards my dream in that I am writing more often and working on my first full length book, transitioning the Sailing Adventure here to Ink Stains On My Sheets is the answer to both problems.  This will not only untangle the Ink Stained Adventures, but help me visualize my progress towards my goals, which we all know the experts say is the only way to go.

Moving (this is not the actual boat)

To those of you who follow both blogs, first of all, thank you so much.  Your support means the world to me.  Second, please forgive the repeat of the Sailing Adventure posts 1-4 on Ink Stains on My Sheets.  I will keep the same titles, so you know when to pick back up again.  Ink Stained Adventures will have new posts to read though so you don’t get bored or forget me  🙂

To any of you who might only be following this blog, thank you just as much, and would love to have you join me at the other site as well to read more landlocked adventures.

I’ve Offended My Muse

Every writer and artist has at least one personal muse and I believe one of mine lives in soap bubbles and steam.  My shower muse has been generous to me lately and I have been tremendously grateful.  And tremendously neglectful.

It has been my newly developed Plan to get up earlier, get house stuff (making breakfast, laundry, cleaning, etc) or ranch stuff (feeding horses, shoveling sawdust, cleaning the chimney, etc) completed by 11 and devote 11 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m. to writing.  It is  to be my time when the animals are out playing, the man is doing man stuff, and no one needs me.

Every day this week I have started my morning out with a wealth of ideas for my writing, plot development, post subjects, character defining details, etc.  I’ve been enthusiastic and inspired.  It’s been wonderful!  And every day other “ranch tasks” have cropped up and eaten away my hours to the point I haven’t even been able to jot down the basic elements of all the beautiful and (seemingly) eloquent stories I’ve been brimming with.

So last night I made a stand, not that I really needed to, I have all the support and encouragement I could ever hope for to spend time on my writing.  But I did it for me, because supposedly if you announce your goals to others, you are more likely to follow through on achieving them. “I’m not letting ANY other tasks interrupt me tomorrow, I’m not doing ranch stuff, I am writing! I am sticking to The Plan!”

Today the plan was totally on track, all was running smoothly.  I got in the shower at 10:45 prepared with “writing clothes” to dress in afterwards, man fed and outside, kitchen clean, laundry hung.  It’s usually in the shower that my brain, cleared of to-do lists and freed by hot water and solitude, gets all stormy.

Today my shower muse did not come to visit.

I cranked up the heat of the water.  No ideas.  I washed and conditioned with my eyes closed. No inspiration.  I soaped, then shaved, then soaped again. No little character voices. I stared at the wall.  My mind stayed as blank as the beige tub.  I dredged my memory for the creative sparkles of yesterday.  The dull chunks I dug up held no luster, let alone the glinting excitement  and detail I knew existed the first time the shower muse presented them to me. I turned off the shower, dried off in silence, and put shimmer on my eyelids in a last attempt to attract my benevolent friend.  No luck.

I’ve offended my muse.

I got out my pen and notebook. I turned on my computer.  I instagrammed a desperate plea for help from other sources. I made cookies.  I prepared dinner.  I drank extra coffee.  I ate chocolate.  Nothing.  I can’t even come up with the brainpower to respond to an email coherently!

I had a week FULL of inspired ideas and a caffeine like buzz of motivation, and I wrote not a single word of it down.  It’s now 3:05 p.m. “Me time,” even extended by my supportive treasure of a boyfriend, was a complete waste.

I’m sorry muse.  I’m so sorry.  I have all the time in the world here and I still spent every ounce of it this week on uncreative and non-goal achieving endeavours.  I realize my mistake and I promise to be more mindful and actively embracing of the gifts you give me.

Please come back.

And, um, if I promise to bring my coffee into the shower tomorrow and pour out a little just for you… could you bring me back the awesomeness I wasted from the last few days?  That was some really good stuff…

New Year, New Direction

I am tremendously excited, and a little uncertain, and a tiny bit skeptical, that my time has finally come to start changing the direction of this blog.  It has always been my intention to write about my work until I can write as my work.  That goal has not yet been achieved, but this year, quite literally starting at the beginning of January 2015, I have the chance to start tipping the scales away from meaningless paycheck earning in favor of fulfilling my dreams of becoming a Writer.

Granted, the scales will have to hang balanced for a while yet as I have no clue how or when I will make the leap from amateur scribbler to professional author and still need to pay some bills.  However, for the next three or more months I have the opportunity to spend a few hours every single day at minimum scribbling away with no guilt, timetable, or mental exhaustion to limit my creativity.  And after that time, through the love, support, and unique set of ideals of someone who cares for me, my paycheck earning has been decreed to be not only part-time, but also must be a job I find enjoyable rather than tedious or stressful.

I can’t actually really believe this is happening to me yet.  Part of why I am writing this post now is to help myself absorb this knowledge, to drink it in in my favorite flavor (the written word), savor it, and let it become fuel for my imagination.  There is so much hope in me and that hope is now seeing the light of day!

My uncertainty comes in that I am not exactly sure how I will transition this blog.  I will continue to write about my job search when it comes time to enter the working world again and find that fun part time job.  I will also certainly talk about how the greater Job hunt goes i.e. what it’s like trying to make writing earn wages and how I am doing it.  I have, however, begun posting some of my writing, in the form of a fictional adventure story which looks (in my head) to be shaping up into possibly a full novel, on my other blog.  So I am not sure exactly which pieces of my books or words will actually end up here.  Hmm… I suppose, just like I do most things, I will simply veer towards the feather-weight, penciled-in plan and not worry about straying from it if something else seems better at any particular moment.

I suppose I must bring the “tiny bit” out into the light as well so I can poke at it a little and hope it goes away.  I am afraid and skeptical that I will fail myself.  That I will waste this opportunity.  That I will find everything else to do, but write.  That I will allow my innate, immensely strong impulse to put others first to keep me from shouting “Hey world! Taking my few hours now, so Bugger off for a bit, and don’t try to tell me you’ll fall apart in the meantime!”  That I will fill my precious time with tasks that could be left off for just a bit and not hurt a thing.  I do that, you know? I feel bad about doing what the tiny, ugly voice in my head says is “not work, not productive, not important, not helping anyone but yourself.”

A wise man reminded me yesterday though… “You are important.  Your Dreams are important.  And if you don’t take the time to do what makes you most happy, then you feel cranky or preoccupied, and then you can’t really be successful at making anyone else happy. In simpler terms, I like your smile.  So take the time.  Write.  The dishes will wait.”

So New Year, here I come!!!  I will be bold, expansive, outrageous!  I will change direction finally!  I will leap out of bed in the mornings and charge into the unknown, wielding my mighty sword, uproarious and joyful and wild! For those of you unfamiliar with that sort of behaviour, it looks an awful lot like a messy-haired girl rolling from under the covers, slightly grumbly and sleepy-eyed, squinting at the steeping french press working wonders on its little magic beans, and crawling into an armchair by the fire with her pen.

Breaking the chains

It is not in my nature to settle.  It is not in my nature to simply “put up with” unhappiness in the hopes that life will improve.  For that is all it is really, hoping life will improve.  I believe if it makes you unhappy,  enduring it is a waste of time, a waste of precious moments, of the potential for joy.  Everyone knows pain in the body exists for a reason, to tell us something is wrong.  I believe pain in the heart and the mind is the same. Yes, of course there are brief times when we must endure pain, when it truly is a step on a journey or towards achievement.  But we must never forget that pain is a message, that something is wrong.  And if there is no end in sight, and only our own willpower and choices stand in the way of ending that pain, then we must be brave and choose another way.

As I said in the last post, I have been unhappy, hurting, enduring pain for an invisible, unknowable, merely hopeful, improvement in life.  I was living the way I was “supposed to” and hating it.  Then I remembered my true nature, my old bravery and social rebellion, my need to make the most of life, smile more often than frown, enjoy the journey and keep seeking until I find “it,” not sit and wait for it to maybe, someday, hopefully, possibly come find me.

So I’m breaking the chains, big time.

I resigned from my job yesterday.  I put in my 2 weeks, started saying my goodbyes (no matter what, those are hard when you love the people, but not the place).  I hated it there,  and that’s just silly in the end.  So I ended it.  And now I feel amazing.

It wasn’t a totally sudden decision.  The recognition of my unhappy drudgery stirred me a few months ago to begin planning and reaching towards change.  There’s no point in leaving one miserable situation to just move into another one though, so I really looked at the things I wanted, and didn’t want, and reminded myself there are so very many options out there.  As usual for me, the initial ideas and plans I came up with are not the ones coming to fruition now, but that’s okay too.  They helped me open my eyes and get inspired and excited, so a shift here and there and a few beautiful curveballs thrown my way are only making the end of this chapter more fun.

Did I get another job?  Well, um, sort of.   Another occupation and means of living yes.  A Job, like the all-American, proper paycheck, benefits, clock-in type?  Nope!  I have finally found someone in tune with my heart and together we are taking on the position of caretakers on a ranch for the winter.  My “income” (read room and board) will be earned feeding and caring for horses, oiling tack, chopping firewood, learning to bake bread for the other part time residents, potentially yelling at some chickens, and whatever else comes up that needs doing.   My remaining time will be spent blissfully pursuing a few of my real dreams. Silence, warmth from a wood fire, a farmhouse kitchen, falling snow, a slow pace, and love will be my companions as I finally get an unencumbered opportunity to grow into a real writer.

Hello Life, good to see you again.

I was right

I was so very right.. about complacency being a silent killer.   I have stayed with the same job, basically, for a year and a half now.  In my attempts to be a normal civilian, to sit still, to build a resume and stability, I have developed in “my industry” from part time receptionist to assistant to the studio manager, to assistant manager of the studio to taking over my very own studio as Studio Manager within 14 months.  Before I speak further, let me say how grateful I am to my friend who made the connections to get me the part time position to start with… the job market is horrific, thank you for helping me survive.  But… I hate this place/job/company/corporation/position/work…   I hate it.  I do not understand the prevalent mentality that due to people’s misconceptions of human capacity, one must keep a job one hates for inordinate lengths of time in order to look marketable to someone else so that one might eventually improve one’s lot and life.  I have retained, and significantly advanced within, my “industry” and so should now be, in theory, more attractive to employers.  However, I have been stifled and belittled and bored for a year and half and I wonder and hope, and despise, that I may now be in a position to get a job I actually care about and can be proud of.  I feel I have been wasting time. I don’t think I have time to waste. Life hold so much more, so many possibilities, for adventure and excitement and significance and change.  A year and a half is far too dear.  I must find something new, to save myself from crumbling beneath a disrespectful boss and. an irrelevant “responsibility” and to further my goals and pleasures, no matter what society thinks of them.   Wish me luck.

My Path, My Self, My Confusion

I think I have figured out part of why I am having trouble figuring out what my path is.  In order to identify one’s path, one must define oneself.  I have no one definition.  I have finally realized and accepted that I am many things, many women, all in one.  No, I do not suffer from an identity disorder, I have had no massive trauma that has caused me to develop separate identities to protect my mind and soul from further damage.  I am, simply, complicated; multi-faceted one might say.

This realization has been swimming around lazily in the back of my head for some time, as I decide what to wear for the day, where to travel, what to do.  Only recently has it solidified into something useful, something that has provided me with an answer to my constant question of “why can’t I figure out what makes me happy?”  I know now it is because many things make me happy, and the variety makes me the happiest.  I need a life where I can be all of who I am, at the times when I want to be them.  I need a life that includes people who accept that I am my own personal variety show, a global, happy, wacky smoothie of “type” (non-dairy of course).

I am immensely grateful for the “family” I have developed along the way that do exactly that.  I love you, Thank you for accepting the fact that I am…

Preparing for the (Job) Hunt

I am restless again.

I know, I only found the good job a few months ago, got promoted a couple months ago, and said I would sit still for a while before I looked for the Good Job.  When I said that, I intended 6  months to a year of “sitting still.”  Uncooperatively, my nature is beginning to rumble and growl within its cage though, the blanket of “this is a wise decision” not muffling the sounds in the least.  I am yearning for more, yearning, eager, needing, to stretch my legs/wings/mind and find something more.   I want, yet again, to search for my Job.

My search this time feels a little… well I was going to say more scattered and unsure, but upon typing the words I realize it may actually be more “focused” than ever before (if, that is, the definition of focused can be slightly reexamined and include two potential paths rather than the traditional one).

The Underlying desire – I want to do something fulfilling.

Path one:  A Job in South Florida (climate and geography as close to ideal as the USA allows) that pays $50k+ per year (estimate based on current status of single, childless female) that contributes directly to positive change in the world and includes ample time off and interaction with people of other cultures, preferably in the form of actual travel.

Path two: A job in a foreign country of ideal climate and geography that allows for a simple, but stress free (i.e. all minimal bills covered, roof over head, enough food to sustain active lifestyle… again based on same “spinster” status((yes I have actually had this legal description personally, not willingly, applied to me)).)   Simplified – live on Caribbean island cheap and peaceful.

Obviously I have not yet made a choice between the two.  But I am moving towards the choice, cutting contracts and leases and such, and allowing myself to be much more open to accepting either path with an easy and happy heart, and a plan is formed to lead to a decision.

I will both island hop on long weekends when cheap tickets allow, and Job hunt for the next few months and see which feels better….

Here goes.. Again…. Finally???  Wish me luck ( and contacts if you have any!)