getting rid of the anxiety freight

what’s up with the vast numbers of people that have been flocking to my blog recently? every day, the view count is higher than the day before–& they’re all breaking my (admittedly modest) records. & new subscribers are signing on at a steady clip as well. it’s not like anyone high-profile has linked to me recently or anything. i don’t understand the sudden surge of interest. maybe some of the folks who are stumbling across this will take the time to comment & let me know what inspired them to stop by. hi! who are you?

there’s been a little dollop of drama in my life in the last week or so. blame it on spring fever if you wish, or perhaps mercury being in retrograde. or perhaps the true culprit: sometimes people are incapable of separating an individual & an argument, they get their panties in a twist, & they freak the fuck out. not being a big fan of toxic assets in my personal life (no energy for the drama-mongering), i’m all too happy to have seen the backs of two “friends” in the past several days. i feel a lot happier & lighter now that i don’t have their bullshit weighing me down. but i can’t help but wonder if the uptick in my blog’s popularity perhaps has something to do with said drama–people creeping around to see if i’m going to comment on it? perhaps wring my hands, weep, & throw myself on the coffin of the self-absorbed drama llamas? or maybe people are just into some of the shit i have been writing about lately. who knows?

in case you’re here for the drama, here’s a little taste, in the form of a conversation jared & i had this morning. parse through & see what you make of it:

ciara: can i ask you for some advice?
jared: buy low & sell high.
ciara: that does make more sense than what i was doing.
jared: buying high & selling low?
ciara: no wonder i wasn’t making any money.
jared: i’m here to help.
ciara: no, i was wondering about this situation with that girl i had all that drama with last wekk. she was putting together a sort of comp zine thing girl jealousy & riot grrrl or something, but it was taking the form of her just e-mailing people she thought might have interesting opinions & then adapting their e-mail responses for the zine. & she contacted me &, you know, i said some pretty critical things & then i felt uncomfortable because i don’t think she’ll be getting that many critical responses from most of the other people she asked. i told her i wasn’t sure she should use my stuff if it was just going to be all these people being all, “yay! riot grrrl!” & then big meanypants ciara hating on everything, but she said she was happy to have a more critical perspective, especially from someone who’d actually been involved with riot grrrl the first time around. but now that we’ve had our little falling out…
jared: you’re afraid she’ll print it just to rip it to shreds?
ciara: well…yeah. i’m glad you said it because it crossed my mind & i didn’t know if i was just being paranoid.
jared: it would be pretty funny if she did that, considering the topic of that zine.
ciara: oh man! that would be funny!
jared: maybe you should let her use it then! unless you think it’s an important project & that the possible positive impact it could have could be undermined by her falling on her own sword, as it were.
ciara: i sincerely doubt that she’ll be winning over any hearts & minds that weren’t already inclined to be won over, so–no, i don’t think it will be important…but i’m still not really comfortable being associated with her projects. i don’t know, maybe i’ll drop her a line & rescind my involvement, just to make sure we’re on the same page. not that i think she’s really chomping at the bit at this point to include me.
jared: i don’t know, i think you’re really missing out on an opportunity for comedy!

with that said, we can shift our attention to bigger & better things.

i am getting really psyched about going to philly this summer! i forget if i mentioned that we seem to have lined up a capable house-sitter to take care of charlotte & fend off burglars while we’re away. the details have yet to be hammered out, but the lady giving us a hand is a former lawrence resident currently living in missouri but considering the possibility of moving back. this is a good set-up for her because it’ll give her a chance to spend a real chunk of time here & make a decision, it works out for us because we won’t have to worry about charlotte being looked after by a motley crew of hen-pecked volunteers, & it works out for the neighbors, ailecia & alyssa, because they’re good friends with this lady & overjoyed that she’ll be right next door. this has been a big load of anxiety that i don’t have to carry around anymore. now i can just focus on figuring what clothes i need to pack for two months in a city in which i have heretofore spent a grand total of four days. i’m a little concerned that my default cut-off shorts are looking more like mom jeans & i just don’t know because i don’t have a full-length mirror.

i may have possibly started smoking again. it’s so hard to resist when the weather is nice & there’s a porch right there, begging you to come out & enjoy it! yes, i could just go out there with a book & a glass of ice water, or even a dark & stormy if i was feeling like i didn’t want to do anything else productive for the rest of the day. but a cigarette tops things off so nicely. i bought a pack on thursday, & i bought another pack last night. both jared & i are smoking them (me moreso than him, i admit), if it’s any consolation. i’m not sure i want to be a smoker like i used to be, when i’d go through ten to twenty cigarettes a day (& sometimes more, if i was having a particuarly stressful or alcohol-sodden day). i just want the option to dabble a little when the spirit moves me. jared’s been really good about being an occasional dabbler for the last three years. i want to cultivate that ability as well (if i can’t seem to just reject a cigarette when it’s freely offered).

the reason i started smoking in the first place (in the spring of 2006–the fact that i started smoking in the spring also makes me more likely to pick it up again in the spring, just because it brings back good memories of sitting on the back stairs of my house in brighton early in the morning & watching geese swim in the pond just beyond the property line) was to cope with anxiety. it’s such a good trick–take a time out, be alone somewhere, & do something that requires steady breathing. i’ve tried yoga, meditation, & mindfulness, but none have the same guaranteed success rate. & they all have the unfortunate side effect of making me feel like a bourgeois hippie. this is the same reason i don’t like scented candles, long skirts, or earth tones.

last night, i dreamed about the upcoming portland zine symposium. in the dream, no one knew that the symposium was in fact taking place on a spaceship that was going to suck all participants into an alternate dimension where they would have to forge a new society & be forever trapped in time. somehow i figured it out & was running through the place screaming, “everybody out! run for the doors! get out while you still can! RUN!” a few people were trying to gather up their zines & vegan cupcakes & such forth, & i was all, “leave it! there’s no time! save yourselves!” the doors were trying to close & trap the stragglers that were dragging their feet in heading toward freedom, so i dispatched zinesters to hold the doors open for the last few people. a few of them were like, “you know what? fuck it. i’ll just go to the alternate dimension. if i have to die with my zines, so be it,” & i was like, “trust me! you do NOT want to do that! now HAUL ASS!” for some reason, i knew all about which zinesters didn’t like each other (& let’s face it–every zinester has bad blood with someone; it’s the nature of being a nerdy loner for whom checking the mail is the highlight of the day–we just can’t seem to be entirely charitable with our fellow humans, though we generally love our cats), & i was like, “drop the zines & RUN! unless you want to be stuck on a floating death ship with THIS asshole for all eternity!” that usually inspired people to abandon their tables & run.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

7 thoughts on “getting rid of the anxiety freight

  1. I hope you quit smoking again by the end of August. Though I imagine you might want to smoke extra hard there. Especially if your dream comes true. I’m not worried about getting out since I’m not tabling, but I might be prone to helping Marissa & Carolee with their stuff…

    1. i think my smoking trajectory is going to depend a bit on how much amanda smokes. & i think maybe she doesn’t really smoke anymore. or at least didn’t while she was in marathon-training. if you don’t want a roommate that smells smoky all the time, i can also just not smoke in portland. sometimes i am into it, sometimes i am not, but i am pretty confident that i don’t want to be a full-time smoker again.

  2. Now part of me is kind of looking forward to wacky alternate dimension hijinks in august, because i have to admit there are a few people i might trip in order to trap them forever on the alternate reality death ship.

    1. man, i hear that. in my dream, i was very conscientious about trying to save everyone, but in real life, i’d probably be like, “would a world without this person really be so bad?” & then i’d wait until they were almost at the door before slamming it shut. haha!

      i was going to put a “not really” caveat here, but the more i think about it, the more appealing it seems. sadly, the symposium is probably not taking place on a death ship.

  3. i felt uncomfortable because i don’t think she’ll be getting that many critical responses from most of the other people she asked. i told her i wasn’t sure she should use my stuff if it was just going to be all these people being all, “yay! riot grrrl!” & then big meanypants ciara hating on everything

    I was contacted about the same comp (at least, I’m pretty sure it’s the same comp) & felt worried about being the lone jerk with reservations about riot grrrl. I don’t know, I still feel sort of weird about it, but it seems like there’s been so much tension around this whole conversation that I don’t even really want to talk about it publicly lest people get riled up.

    I would be kind of down with the PDX Zine Symposium happening on a spaceship.

    1. i’m so at the end of my rope with all the “riot grrrl revival” stuff. the people who are calling for it seem to have no idea what they’re talking about. i haven’t been able to have a coherent conversation with any of them. they’re like, “we need a riot grrrl revival so girls in bands can get recognition!” & i’m like, “really? are girls in bands not getting recognition? is it necessary to resurrect riot grrrl in order to give girls in bands the recognition they deserve?” & they have no answer to that. i’ll ask, “were women in bands taken more seriously between 1991 & 1996 than they are now?” & they’re like, “…”. because they know they weren’t! or i’ll ask, “how will the riot grrrl label help women in bands?” & they’re like, “…”. or they say something about how it could be great branding for lady musicians getting their work out there. & then when i say, “so basically you want to use it as a marketing thing?”, they’re like, “no! it’s more than that!” & i ask how & they have no answer. because they don’t know what they’re talking about!

      at this point, i think that if you can’t talk about riot grrrl without talking about music & girls in bands, you’re missing some key elements & have a lot to learn, & any kind of “revival” you manufacture is going to be a big disappointment. i like bikini kill as much as the next guy, but they weren’t the beginning or end of riot grrrl.

      i feel like pretty much all the tension around riot grrrl revival talk is coming from the fact that the pro-revival camp can’t make a cogent point. they say, “well, riot grrrl has been really influential in my life, even though i wasn’t actually there when it was happening.” & i’m like, okay, cool…so why do you need to try to revive it? i mean, the fact that it had an influence on you isn’t really a reason. & they say, “girls now need to know about it!” & they have no answer when i ask if it’s not true that girls today can learn about the history of it without necessarily having to try to re-create it. also, no one has any answers to the fact that saying, ‘a revival would be cool,” isn’t actually starting a revival. there’s all this talk about why it’s needed (none of which holds water) & how the original movement was so inspiring (which isn’t an argument for a revival, nor a call to action) & multiple assurances on how a new movement would avoid the pitfalls of the first one…but you called it when you pointed out that all those comments about, “oh, there won’t be any racism this time! we know better know!” are total bunk. especially in light of the same people claiming that they somehow learned how to not be racist are criticizing beyonce, saying kids shouldn’t buy her records, & making other weird racial code remarks that tokenize punks of color & denigrate culture produced by non-punks of color.

      in other words, i am very unimpressed. but maybe i’m just “old & out of touch…OUT OF TOUCH!” as huggy bear phrased it.

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