hello, it’s me

on

now that jared & i have been living in our new house for a week, i have to face the fact that i really am grappling with some depression issues. i suspected as much, but thought maybe i was just feeling anxious & emotional about all the bullshit involved with moving. i decided to wait until we were more or less settled in & see if i felt any better or different. but i think i actually feel worse. even though our new house is really beautiful. it’s been a few years since i have had a significant bout with depression, but it’s all the usual feelings: nothing happy, positive, or funny seems to stick. i feel dread about everything, even things i would like to do. feelings of meaninglessness & worthlessness. fun!

so i am going to try to write through it & see if that helps. i have been writing very little, which is probably both a function of & cause of depression feelings. maybe making myself sit down & write every day for twenty minutes or so will make me feel a little better, even just in small ways. my idea is to use one of those “30 day blog challenges” floating around the internet. i looked at a few. one of them includes a day where you write about a bible verse. um, no. one of them is mainly a photo challenge. i have a nice digital camera, but also, no.

the challenge for today is to “introduce myself,” which is maybe not a terrible idea because i don’t know who the hell reads this thing. my post about the faux martin luther king jr. quote several days ago has gotten about a thousand hits, & most of the comments were from people i don’t think i know. this blog gets a lot of anonymous comments or comments from strangers, actually. maybe they will introduce themselves if i start.

i’m ciara. i’m 31. i live in lawrence, kansas. i live with my boyfriend, jared. we’ve been together for a little more than four years. i also live with my cat, charlotte. i adopted her when she was six weeks old. that was almost ten years ago.

i’ve been in lawrence for almost two years now. jared & i moved here after he was accepted to the university of kansas to a master’s/doctoral program in the history department. i had campaigned for him to apply to carnegie mellon so we could move to pittsburgh, because pittsburgh is more of a real city & it seems like it has a pretty decent punk scene, but he didn’t even apply there, for reasons i don’t know. it’s kind of funny to think that just two & a half years ago, it felt really important to me that i live in a town with a punk scene. i knew that lawrence had a halfways decent punk/anarchist scene, though i knew less about it than i knew about the pittsburgh community. this is why i did not spend two weeks sobbing in bed after jared was accepted to KU. i was actually a little bit excited about moving back to the midwest (i am originally from northwest ohio) & getting involved in a small town punk scene.

fast forward a year & a half to find modern-day ciara, who could give two shits about living in a town with a punk scene. there’s definitely one here, & i am friends with quite a few of the people that are involved with it, & that’s awesome. i have been fortunate to meet quite a few people in lawrence (both through the university & through punk stuff) that i am proud to call friends. but i haven’t been to one house show here (even though they happen frequently). i haven’t joined any collectives or done any real activist work. for context, i spent eight years living in boston, most of it in collective houses, volunteering as much as 50 hours a week for various punk/anarchist/feminist collectives, including bookstores, zine libraries, health groups, book clubs, skillshares, & more. it was like…MY LIFE. (this is borne out by re-reads of my boston journals.) my life in lawrence is really different, although i am in a feminist book club here & that’s pretty cool.

some of my punk friends in lawrence & the surrounding area are critical of some other elements of the punk scene in lawrence…as am i. there are a few kids here who make themselves pretty high-profile by committing acts of fucked up violence & creating an environment that is remarkably unsafe for marginalized people, particularly women, & particularly women that have been victimized by violence within the punk scene. i think the folks contributing to this are a minority for sure, but they are a destructive minority. this is a big reason i haven’t been to any punk shows here (the main house that seems to host them is home to some of these jerks), but i know that there are jerks in any scene so i don’t really let it get me down too much. i prefer to focus my attention on the awesome people i have met. it’s hard though, because the awesome people seem to spend a lot of time focusing on how the jerks are destroying everything. i don’t know. i guess this argument between assholes & people constantly criticizing the assholes doesn’t create much space for positivity & growth. i know, right? i am so not the kind of person that would ever be caught dead arguing for more positivity. except i guess i just did.

sometimes lawrence bums me out. sometimes it feels very isolated & inconsequential. sometimes i feel very lonely. despite having met a lot of cool people here, i have this weird streak of hyper-independence where i try to spend as much time as possible by myself as if to prove that i can tolerate it or something. it’s dysfunctional, i guess, but true. i should probably try to break that habit. sometimes i get sad about goofy things, like not having an ikea within driving distance. not that i especially need pressed wood furniture & ligonberry sauce. it would just be nice to have the option. i also feel sad because i used to walk for hours everyday when i lived in boston–sometimes as much as twenty miles a day. but in lawrence, some streets don’t have sidewalks, most streets don’t have streetlights, most sidewalks that exist are cracked & broken & treacherous (especially in the dark), there’s nowhere interesting to walk to because most of the town is residential with big swathes of strip mall retail areas on the edges, & for such a small town, there is an incredible amount of sexual street violence (probably because of the lack of street lights & whatnot). so i hardly ever take walks anymore. i am hoping to get my driver’s license soon & sign up for a water aerobics class though.

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