I’m doing…

…uhhh, a lot. When I started this project five(!) years ago, I wasn’t sure where it was going, and I still haven’t finished some of the pieces it started with—I should probably at least finish the article for The Treaty of Paris since that page apparently comes up in organic search once in a while. But hey! I know what that means now, so I haven’t been wasting all of this time. I remain unsure of where this project is going, but I don’t want to give up on it yet. It is, after all, my first website, and it’s a project that is meta in a very Jerrika way. I’m a bit attached to it.

In 2013, I maybe expected to be in Boston by now, but I didn’t think I’d be here for a master’s degree, and I didn’t think I’d be here alone. My heart’s been broken in a few different ways in the last few years. I wasn’t counting on that, and it was a myriad of disappointments. I don’t know if I really got anything out of the heartbreak itself, but it happened. Say what you will about lessons learned and the journey of life or whatever—and I’m someone who believes strongly in not dwelling on regrets—they were not experiences I wanted, and I don’t feel good looking back on them. I try to capitalize on them creatively, if nothing else, but I don’t hope for more of that kind of pain for me or anyone. One of my biggest takeaways from the last five years is that people you trust will let you down. Not always, but your favorites will fuck up, and they won’t always come back from it. In my case that’s been… okay, I guess. It turns out I don’t need them to come back from it, because apparently I can take care of myself better than anyone else will.

That said, to say that I’m “alone” isn’t true in every sense here. Although “learning who your real friends are” is a bit of a cliché, I can say I have, and, again, it wasn’t a test I was looking for, but I am grateful to the inordinate number of people who have stepped up in my life whether I asked them to or not. I’ve made so many outstanding friends, before Boston and in it, and I’m frankly overwhelmed most days by how much I love and admire the people in my life. I feel things all the time.

My family is growing and dividing and redistributing, and I’m blessedly and distressingly at least six hundred miles away from all of it. I’m going to be an aunt in July/August, and whatever tensions are in my immediate family seem to be in some kind of a stasis, but beyond my parents and sisters I have a handful of concerns and relationships that either stay on my mind or disappear long enough to collect a healthy amount of guilt to offer when they return. I feel things all the time.

Alone isn’t true in every sense because I’m not getting enough time to myself these days either. I’m frequently in public or professional spaces for twelve or more hours a day (which may be normal, but I’m not sure, and either way I don’t like it), I don’t think I can remember the last time that I spent two days on my own, and if I’m spending time with one/some of the aforementioned many people I know, I am probably investing a lot of it because I try to form deep connections. One of many facts pointing to a misguided sense of self-preservation is that, despite cultivating significantly more relationships than people around me seem to do, I am an introvert. I like my company, and I like being left alone for extended periods of time. I prefer it. I miss me very much right now.

I don’t know how much of any of it is anyone’s business or interest, but I’m doing a lot. Maybe not by some standards—I have a lot of unpacked boxes in my house here like I did when Non Finito Spaghetti started, I don’t eat well most days because it’s easier to not, and I post a lot more pictures of my cat than I used to post—but it’s certainly a lot compared to my past productivity levels, and I’m tired. I’m getting a better idea of what I have to offer, but I don’t know what to do with it, so I started saying yes to everything to see what would happen because fuck it, if trying to be careful will still land you by yourself (but not alone), why not? That sounds dramatic—rest assured no one’s offering me anything particularly dangerous so far; it’s just that it all adds up. I’m tired.

Samhain gets some good sleep, though.

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Busy busy

Literally only making a post to link to this website I built. I guess I’ll add a picture of some incredibly impressive balancing thing I did with my rings, too.

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Please hold your applause, or they might fall from the vibration.

Hibye.

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300% Course Completion

I did not complete this challenge on time even by my “It’s still the same day until I go to bed, even if it’s after midnight” rule, but I was close, and I now have this screenshot:

Unfortunately, most of what I learned won’t be super helpful for my current social media management work, but I’m excited to have learned the information anyway, and can definitely see where it’d be useful for some of my future career ideas.

I’m going to give myself a challenge again because I actually have a to-do list that I would like to get through; I’m going to use the modicum of pressure provided by NFS, because telling myself “You really should be doing more with your time since officially you work a whole six hours a week” apparently isn’t proving to be motivation enough.

I have one week to find somewhere to volunteer on weekends and to reach out to them about doing so.

Stay tuned for more dry updates on my life progress, and hopefully some jazzier ones as well. ✌

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Progress Attempts

I’ve watched The Office through five times. I’ve watched all of 30 Rock. I’ve begun updating my Goodreads profile (add me, if you’re into unexciting social media presence). I recorded vocals for a song cover, though it’s still not technically done and I still don’t actually have any of the files for it. I’ve been on not one, but two first dates. I’ve visited New York City four times, immediately losing my wallet one of those times. I interviewed and met Matt Nelson, otherwise known as the WeRateDogs guy. I’ve officially owned up to my new personal website. I made a photo board the other day. I live in freaking Boston, Massachusetts.

My satisfaction with these accomplishments and others has been fairly fleeting, for reasons I’ve been trying to hammer down and resolve as I fight off the negativity that I now associate with summertime. I’m not dealing with the depression I was before, but I have a lot of frustrated energy without any real target. I spend a lot of time alone, and a lot of that time I am angry for many different reasons.

That being said, I’m feeling less inclined to shut down and disappear like I sometimes do, so I’m instead just dealing with a lack of focus and purpose. I want to update this site and figure out what the hell I should actually do with it at this point. I’ve tried to pick challenges from what I could find, but a lot of them just don’t feel right right now.

A lot of my professional focus lately has been on web development and social media management. I saw on the Hootsuite app that I’m trying to understand that they have a little “Hootsuite Academy” that I can do for free, so I guess I’ll make the “Hootsuite Platform Training” my current challenge to complete by Monday (minus the $99 certification fee…).

As always, feel free to leave me comments and challenges. I seriously do love and appreciate them.

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Wicked Pissah, or Unoriginal Title that’s Secretly Actually Clever to Me, I Swear

I’m in Boston! I’m busy! I’m wearing scarves!

Things are very exciting, but I’m also very occupied with the everything of it all that has been the past few months, and it’s eating up a lot of time. I’m getting settled and caught up enough to start getting some extracurriculars taken care of. However, one of those is National Novel Writing Month (in which I’m participating for the first time this year but am definitely not hitting the intended word count–goal of 20,000, woooo!), and so most/all of the time I’m assigning to “writing” has been going to that.

Once again, I keep starting to write something for here, then get frustrated with not focusing and so I don’t end up posting anything at all. I would really like to start updating this more regularly, though, so I’m just going to post this so there’s something for me to keep building on.

Here look, I gave myself a challenge and did it!

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Checking out all of these places was pretty fun, despite losing my gloves and parts of it turning into a bittersweet tour of places I went to first with people who don’t talk to me anymore. It’s not a particularly extensive list of sites, but as a relatively geographically-challenged individual, I feel slightly better about my knowledge of where things are in the city. I also felt pretty good about all the walking, because did I mention I pretty much walked to all of of these places? I did, I walked to basically all of them from downtown.

I’ll start writing more focused posts soon, I promise! However, my sister just asked me to help keep her on task, which reminds me that I am also not on task. Until next time, here are the things I’ve checked off my bucket list since my last post:

  • Live in Boston
  • Learn what my vocal range/type/whatever is for singing
  • Chug a Frappucino

And here’s what I’ve added:

  • Jump a subway turnstile in NYC
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo >>> Participate in NaNoWriMo correctly
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What the Bucket

Oh my ugh, this is a busy summer.

I received one challenge, from my grandmother, for my trip home with my sister:

I challenge you to go to the Casa Bonita restaurant in Denver on your return trip. See if it looks at all familiar!

The restaurant of Eric Cartman acclaim has been a semi-regular point of interest for my family on trips out west over the past four decades, and I hadn’t been there since I was about eleven. I think I found all the parts of the restaurant that I do remember, but there was a lot that apparently didn’t stick the first time for me. We were pretty underwhelmed with the food (fortunately a friend warned me that it’s “the worst food ever,” so I was prepared), but otherwise I could see it being pretty fun if you were there with kids. The sopaipillas did not disappoint, and no matter what, it would have been worth it for the joy that these two Google reviews bring me:

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I  know it’s longish, but seriously, I encourage you to read this surreal nonsense

Holy crap. Such spectacular melodrama.

Anyway, I have about three thousand things on my to-do list this summer before I move to Boston. Even though “get rid of things” is patently on the list, I’ll be honest, I did not pick up the “get rid of things” challenge when I got home like I was supposed to-do, as per my promise in my last post.

What I did do is find the bucket list I organized and then lost a few months ago–I’ve been working on a lot of lists lately. I wanna post some of that one because I can get a little negative here sometimes, I like having hopes and dreams, and at least it’s content–I’ve even finito-ed some of the items 🙂 Maybe making it public will give me more accountability or something, too:

  • Learn to juggle
  • Get really good at building fires
  • Be a barista
  • Be a waitress
  • Hug a tiger >>> Hug an adult tiger
  • Live in Boston *pen hovers above item*
  • Learn what my vocal range/type/whatever is for singing
  • Get married
  • Have kids
  • Do a 5k
  • Write a short story >>> Finish a short story
  • Touch a London pigeon with my foot
  • Visit all 50 states
  • Learn to drive stick
  • Learn to drive a motorcycle
  • Get professional headshots
  • Pinup photoshoot
  • Kiss the Blarney Stone
  • See Stonehenge in the early morning
  • Learn a valuable zombie survival skill
  • Start a retirement fund
  • March in a televised parade
  • Own a “FRANKIE SAY RELAX” t-shirt (just learned that this was apparently a thing with Ross on Friends when I was looking up a picture to link to here; he was definitely not the inspiration for this item)
  • Drive from the right side of a car
  • Ride as a front-seat passenger on the left side of a car
  • See Breaking Benjamin in concert
  • Learn all the words to “One Week” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It”
  • Eat poutine
  • Eat haggis
  • Make my own perfume
  • Blow glass
  • Go down and then back up the really scary huge dune they say not to go down right off of Lake Michigan at the Sleeping Bear Dune park
  • Be able to do the splits
  • Be able to hold a handstand
  • Bake a rhubarb custard pie
  • Bake perfect cookies
  • Bake rum cake with pie cherries
  • Go to a wine tasting
  • Drive someone else’s car because they got too drunk
  • Get stitches >>> Get stitches from an interesting injury
  • Have a pleasant reading/speaking voice
  • Do a backbend from a handstand
  • Make a quilt
  • Knit a blanket
  • Learn how to use a gun
  • Get waxed
  • Be able to identify specific penalties in hockey
  • Have a work husband
  • Meet a Pittsburgh Penguin
  • Read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Read The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Go to a casino
  • Make sourdough bread like my mom’s
  • Bake with yeast successfully >>> Bake with yeast more successfully
  • Smash a light bulb
  • Weave a basket
  • Organize my license plate pictures
  • Skinny dip >>> Skinny dip in a river
  • Use a claw foot tub
  • Chug a Frappucino
  • See Mt. Fuji
  • Be in a movie or TV show
  • Wear fake eyelashes >>> Wear fake eyelashes sometime that isn’t Halloween
  • Take my youngest sister to see Chicago on Broadway

That’s not all of it, but I’ve literally filled out four notebook pages so far, I know there’s stuff I keep forgetting to add to it, and I suspect these goals are more interesting to me than to you 😛 I’ve got a to-do list to work on anyway, so I better go cross “New blog post” off of it.

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I have some bucket list work to do, too 😉

Leave me comments about your bucket list!

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Sissy Trip

Completed my challenge! It wasn’t a particularly difficult one, but my challenger-sister and I just drove from North Carolina to California in four days, and I think I maybe made myself sick on one of them trying to make sure I finished reading on time.

My challenge was to read this book by today:

a-curse-dark-as-goldMelodramatic as that title is,  I enjoyed the novel pretty well. The story is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, so–as a fan of fairy tales and their various manifestations–I was excited for this challenge. It’s set in a fictional woolen mill inspired by the early Industrial Revolution and the cultural transition of values from superstition to “reason.”

The narrator is incredibly frustrating sometimes, and there are several characters in whom I was more interested, but the plot itself was strong enough that I didn’t have any issues sticking with it. It’s an easy read, I really like the writing, and I’m grateful for the pleasant resumption it provided for my challenges.

I discovered in the author’s note that she visited a functioning 19th century woolen mill in Missouri which is extraordinarily convenient to the sight-seeing trip that we’ll be taking back east next week. If I can convince my sister to read the book herself before we leave, I think it would all be pretty cute to check out the Watkins Woolen Mill State Historic Site as an interactive follow-up to this challenge.

This is the part when I should choose a new challenge from the suggestions I have. However, since I am on this grand cross-country adventure, I’d like to open the floor to travel-challenges for my sister and me in case anyone has any good ones that we can afford. My last post got 5 views, so I’m not overly expectant, but you can’t get what you don’t ask for. So! At risk of this being a particularly clumsy conclusion, I am requesting challenges relevant to a drive through northern CA, NV, UT, CO, KS, MO, KY, WV, VA, and NC. Thank you and good night.

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Divergence

I’ve tried to write an update post for my challenges and Non Finito Spaghetti several times in the past six months. Instead of finishing even one terrible draft, I’ve written two non-NFS posts, created a new personal blog, and worked on basically anything else. My focus is as reliable as ever.

I’m not upset that I didn’t prioritize this more because I’ve actually been fairly busy.

Perhaps my most notable development is getting into grad school 😀 I will be at Emerson College in Boston, so I can actually check something off of my goals from my Slight Edge challenge. I’m excited, and trying not to get too anxious about money.

I’m a published professional writer as an intern for the Outer Banks Voice, which sort of meets the requirements for my employment goals with the Slight Edge in a roundabout, watered-down way.

I’ve done some editing and copyediting, mainly for Dear Uber Rider and Lizzie McGuire Reviewed, which are both excellent and hilarious projects that I highly recommend reading. The time I’ve spent on these has been a refreshing reminder and confirmation of how much I seriously love this kind of work. I’m eager to do more.

The challenge I was working on before depression really started pushing me the wrong way was to get rid of something every day for 30 days (also, wow, if that post’s title doesn’t reflect my mental status at the time). My mom just moved out and we have gotten rid of a LOT of stuff, so if I wanted to be cheap I could call that challenge “done.” However, I am not cheap, and I still have puh-lenty of crap to lose despite the progress we’ve made. Therefore, I’d like to start this challenge over. I have some traveling coming up soon, though, so I’m going to do that after I’m back home. My sister challenged me to read Elizabeth C. Bunce’s A Curse Dark as Gold by the end of May; I’ll do that in the meantime.

I still have lots of challenges left to do from last year, and I know it’s been a year since I’ve really worked on any, but I would tooootally be cool with people submitting more here, because I love reading the ideas you guys have for this.


I moved some stuff I’d originally posted here over to that new blog I mentioned, Jerrika, Wallflower. I posted them on NFS because I didn’t have anywhere else for them and I honestly didn’t think I would do more of that kind of writing right now–I figured one or two pieces unrelated to the project wouldn’t detract too much from it. After the third piece in a row that had absolutely nothing to do with NFS, I decided it was time for their own venue.

Truthfully, I frequently struggle with not knowing what the real “point” of Non Finito Spaghetti is. The challenges give me a superficial purpose about which to write for it, but I haven’t found what gets me as excited about NFS as I was about my own leg hair yet. I’m sure this is why it has taken me six months to write this post, which I intended to be about as simple as “I can brush my teeth with my left hand now, and I also read a book.” I want to care about this blog, so badly, but I often don’t.

Because of this indifference, I am relieved by the fact that having unrelated content here annoyed me. If I see that some things don’t belong here, that means that something definitely does belong here–right? I’m not sure it’s sound logic, but it feels like a step in the right direction of figuring out what the hell I want to do here.

 

 

 

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Floating

I’m mainly posting today because I read an article that is lavishly called “Why can’t we read anymore? Or, can books save us from what digital does to our brains?”, which I feel is relevant to the purposes of this blog. It discusses the role technology plays in our productivity and ability to finish things efficiently. I want to post a link to it on my blog so I can easily find it again later because I appreciated how bluntly honest and–importantly–relatable the author is about his “digital dopamine addiction” (a phrase which is actually a lot of fun to say despite its negative implications) and the role it has played in his life, professional and personal. Go read that article here, and then focus on something else for half an hour 😛

I’d also like to mention that I was quite flattered by how many people read the post I made about me. I usually try not to consider myself especially interesting, but y’all certainly made me feel like I was, so thank you :3

Tapering down on this post to mundane life updates, I’ve had an interesting weekend+, primarily highlighted by visiting the Boy and doing dope stuff like learning the basics of hurling–ahem, I mean, the basics of camogie (since I’m a lady)–and helping Boy spray-paint a hockey helmet for hurling (he’s a gentleman). I also got to spend an evening in DC to see an Irish performer Boy really likes, and spend another evening hanging out with him and his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.

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I tried to take a picture of Boy and my spray-painted flip-flop tan-lines, but the color wasn’t showing up properly, so this picture I already posted on Facebook will have to suffice

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Me, As Told by Me

Since the emphasis of this blog so far has essentially been on my failures and not so much on me and/or my positives, I thought I would write at least one post giving a little more background on who I am and why, I swear, I don’t completely suck. I originally asked my sister, who role-plays online a lot, to find me a character profile thing off of Deviant Art to help give me some direction with this idea. She offered me some “memes,” which are actually just rebranded Myspace surveys that apparently go around Deviant Art now. I don’t expect anyone is any more interested now in what I’m wearing or “how many buddies are online” than they were in 2007, so I will not be posting that here today, even though I did fill it out for fun.

Instead, I guess I’ll just go with my original plan of telling you about myself by myself:

I am your humble writer, Jerrika L. Waller.

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My most attractive-while-still-being-normal self

My favorite color is decidedly purple. I have a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill, and would like to use it for editing, writing, and publishing in general. I would not like to use it for teaching, contrary to that bafflingly popular assumption. I like to think I’m reasonably talented at drawing and designing things. I enjoy crafts and painting when I have the time, space, and inspiration, and when my materials aren’t scattered throughout a storage unit and multiple houses.

I’m basically the exact profile of a Pisces, although I’ve avoided any hallucinogenic drug addictions or experiences, which I consider a general plus to my life so far. I have a dry sense of humor that, when most characteristically mine, doesn’t usually make complete sense. The most immediate and cogent example I can think of is my current “performance art” project I’ve been doing with my Facebook profile pictures this year: every month I’ve added another stream of “blood” falling down each cheek, and eventually the images will depict blood just pouring out of my black-rimmed eyes as the streams run together.

Goth Pictures

There was also a prep picture taken for April Fool’s Day

Why? The official explanation is that I’m doing it ironically, inspired by Tara and Raven—the authors of My Immortal, the tremendously bad Harry Potter fanfic I mentioned a few posts ago. However, there’s also a more internal part of me that is just amused by the semi-public appearance of blood pouring out of my face, for reasons I haven’t entirely worked out yet. That amusement is really the impetus for the “performance” at this point; for all the entertainment Tara and Raven provide, it isn’t really more than a couple months’ worth, and we’re quite past that benchmark. Although my jokes aren’t usually this long-term (or goth), they are usually this confusing/quirky.

I have two younger sisters to whom I’m very attached, and both of my parents are alive and divorced. I have two cats—one who stays outside, one who stays inside—and a dog who is mostly my charge. He, like me, lives with my mom, who takes care of him with the other two family dogs. I have the extraordinary good fortune of several very good and close friends, and I have an adorable godson.

Lady-Swag

Ladyship documentation

Perhaps my proudest accomplishment to date is my induction into the Royal Prussian-Swedish-American Family House of Lords and Ladies; I am actually Lady Jerrika, ROLO. I was nominated and accepted into the Order for outstanding character and loyalty to the family—or at least that’s what I was told. I’ve been informed that I can’t get “Lady Jerrika L. Waller” on my driver’s license because “Prussia isn’t a country anymore,” which I think is nonsense, but I can hardly complain if that’s my only “disappointment” with the title.

I like pretty much all animals enough to declare my love for them upon sight, but my favorites are wombats, goats, sheep, tigers, and penguins. Dragons occupy a special place in my heart. I like bubbles, stars, and tiaras. I love Indian food and cheesecake. I do not like lettuce or country music.

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