i feel like i’m hearing sarah jessica parker’s voiceover in my head when i sit down to write. and i want to come up with something clever to start this off like “there’s an old saying that goes…” but i don’t really have the old saying prepared, and this exercise is mostly just to get the crap out of my head before attempting to go on with my day. so, there’s an old saying that goes – get the crap out of your head before you start the day – meagen carroll.

i still feel the same way i did yesterday. nothing much has changed. but i am trying to start each day with a meditation, some apple cider vinegar, and 15-20 minutes of free writing just to help ground myself. i do wonder tho, if i’m a bit more melancholy this morning because i had that 1 drink last night while in the bath, a heavenly practice in the moment, but it’s possible it could contribute a bit towards my depressive tendencies. something to keep an eye on, especially as i am wanting to jump into a healthier me.

i don’t know if it’s post-covid, post-costa rica or just because i’m in a lot of stress, but my body seems to be in a state of inflammation. i have quite a few angry red cystic pimples, mostly on the left side of my face, that don’t seem to want to go away. having adult acne in my late 30s makes me feel so unattractive it really can affect my mood. so i’m doing my best to bring the inflammation down. limiting gluten again, upping green leafy vegetables and trying to enter into a semi regular workout routine of supplementing my normal morning walk with 20 mins of strength training. oh, and meditation to help the stress. today is leg day though. why oh why did i decide to do leg day on a monday? but i’ve felt good after each time i’ve done the strenth training, so i’m trying to get in the mindset that i can do hard things, because those hard things make me feel better, ultimately. you just gotta get through the hard stuff to make the good stuff feel worth it – meagen carroll.

i didn’t write this morning, instead spending the time searching for apartments, my favorite way to really numb out and waste time. but i now know it was because i hadn’t experienced what i wanted to write about yet. all things happen in the order in which they are supposed to, so i can let go of the guilt i felt before leaving for brunch in not writing, to remembering that there are many hours in the day and i was meant to leave it until now.

i went to brunch along abbot kinney, a place i’ve been to many times over the 2 stints i’ve lived down in LA between 2006 – present. it was always a kind of shiny mecca, the coolest place with the coolest shops and restaurants and where everyone in my industry would hang out. 16 years ago when i first lived here, we would go to the other room almost every weekend in the summer and hang out of the open windows, laughing while drinking our beers we couldn’t afford, dancing at the brig, and finishing the night off by grabbing a slice of pizza at abbots down the street to soak up the booze before heading home (how DID we get home back then?). some weekends, we would go back the next day and have bottomless mimosas at lilly’s to keep the party going. and then later there was gjelina, and the gentrification of roosterfish, small shops making way to bigger box retailers and restaurants, all the while the sidewalks becoming crammed with strollers pushed by cool dads in fedoras vaping their juuls and their wispy, small breasted wives, long wild hair matching their drapey vintage dresses adorned with a lot of layered necklaces.

today while walking down abbot kinney i saw young girls of twenty something dressed up for brunch imbibing rosé (“let’s just get a bottle”) talking about their media or marketing careers and how they hooked up with the last guy they met on a dating app but he’s been ghosting her lately so she’s just gonna do her, and it struck me. this isn’t my abbot kinney anymore, and i don’t want it to be. i’m not sure i want to be in the “cool” area, packed with people. but i’m also not sure i’m ready to be secluded away from where the action and my friends are. but are my friends still here? am i working on building a community? i keep looking for places in areas, but i’m not sure where i want to go because i’m not sure of what i want to do. fuck, i’ve lost my motivation to write. is it because i’m on the cusp of admitting something to myself?

i guess the point that i’m trying to make or to circle back in, is that i feel as though i’m in some kind of long slow goodbye. and maybe i should go back and read my blogs from right before i left NY, and also some joan didion because i’m in the same mood. this doesn’t feel like home, but i’m trying to figure out where home is. and if you say it’s where the heart is, i’m going to punch you. because there might be some truth to that.

i’ve been really avoiding writing this morning, which usually means i’m avoiding some kind of feeling. i have been doing everything in my power to not do it. i wandered into the bedroom, and then made my bed. i made breakfast. i answered an email. i texted with family members. i looked up hockey games. i started the dishwasher. i opened a packaged. i called spectrum to try and cancel my cable. anything ANYTHING but writing. and yet here i am, writing. because i know that’s what i need to do.

i was texting with my brother this morning, because he’s moving from SF down to the LA area and is looking for housing. and as if LA housing and rent prices weren’t crazy enough, the post-pandemic inflation surge has made it absolutely impossible to consider moving. he even thought my rent was high, when it’s actually about $300 less than most places because i’ve lived here. but it’s only going to go up in August. so i really should be thinking about a plan around then. but it brings up the age old question – where do i want to be? what do i want for my life? which, i should actually do -that- writing which was assigned to me. if i imagined my perfect and ideal life, what would it look like? who would i be with, what would i be doing with my time? i’m someone who lives in fantasy, but doesn’t dare to dream. with fantasy, it’s a means to escape. with dreaming, it’s a desire to manifest a reality. how do i make my dreams feel attainable so i can have hope and zest for life rather than defeat?

i’ve got about 3-4 hours left of this day where i can accomplish the things i need, and perhaps one of them is dreaming about where i want to be so i have goals to look to. and maybe doing my taxes. always, with the taxes.

i’m not exactly sure where to start today. i knew i wanted to write, but i don’t really have a lot in my head, or enough in my head that i’m paying attention to. which probably means i’m trying to push something (feelings) aside that i don’t want to feel. why does your body do that? i mean, i guess it’s protection and survival. but like – i’ve done enough therapy and grief work to know that i want to feel the feelings. i’m ok to feel those feelings. so body? i’d like to feel those feelings now – i don’t need you to protect me. but i think that’s exactly what it is. grief. ugh.

i went to the most incredible immersive play on wednesday and i’m pretty sure that was the catalyst that kicked up those feelings. especially given that i’m about a week out from the 5 year anniversary of my dad’s death. it was called “the Nest.” i read about it on a forum i’m a member of on facebook about immersive theatre. the concept is pretty simple – a woman named Josie who was alive in the 60s has passed, and she had no next of kin. so the owner of the storage unit called you to come clear it out. part immersive play, part video game, part escape room (but you don’t have to escape) – you enter into Josie’s world through her storage unit, and armed only with a flashlight and a cassette player, you rifle through her things, playing tapes she recorded of herself along the way, and solve puzzles to try and figure out what happened to her. the weirdest part? her full name was Josephine Carroll. they don’t change the last name to fit whoever made the reservations – it just so happened to be the characters name. odd, and yet amazing considering the timing.

so i went with my friend chelsea, and we had 60 mins to get through everything. we spent most of the hour being nervous – though i knew no one was going to pop out at you, we did keep getting telephone calls to try and keep us on track which scared the living bejesus out of both of us. and when we solved certain puzzles, sometimes a door would automatically unlock and reveal the next step, which was both startling and exciting. but the part that really got me, that really kicked up my grief was the post-show experience. we were asked to write a memory that felt like it was going to fade. and we had examples of other people’s memories – “the last christmas i believed in santa,” “the smell of my grandmothers perfume while we were making cookies,” “my dad teaching me how to ride a bicycle.” given the timing, thinking back to those memories is so bittersweet because they’re so lovely and yet so painful in the context of loss. my memory that i wrote was – looking at the stars from the ledge outside my bedroom on a warm summer night. when my dad removed the screen and we crawled out in our pajamas. and in that moment we felt infinite.” life seemed so simple then.

the other part of grief, the part that is so hard to bear, is the sadness that i feel about my own life. am i really truly living or enjoying it, or am i just quickly trying to get through whatever period i’m at to get to the next thing? i saw this in context of how i approached this immersive experience. i spent the majority of the time anxious, trying to make sure we were doing everything right to make sure we really maximized our time and were able to get through all of what we were supposed to see. and i wasn’t able to pay attention to some of the story because i was busy looking for stuff. and once it was over, i felt like i wanted to do it over again to take it all in. now that i knew what was coming, i could relax and enjoy the show. but – unfortunately, that’s not how the play – or life – works. i have no idea what expect. so how can i slow down and enjoy where i’m at today without worrying about the future? how can i stop worrying that i’m doing everything right, and just accept that in the doing, i am living? i have got to learn to relax, enjoy the ride, and live in the present moment. because there is no guarantee of tomorrow. and today is the best we got. so just for today, can i be present and participate in my own life without worrying about what’s to come?

“life moves pretty fast. if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

guess who is BACK BABY! that’s right. i finally was able to sit down and dedicate some time to troubleshooting my website, and we’re BACK. and you know what? i learned some good lessons from the whole thing.

the problem, was that the site was running super slow and i couldn’t update my posts, so i upon the recommendation of several forums, upgraded my php and then it broke the site, and i kept getting a critical site error that my stylesheet was missing and nothing was working and wordpress is so not user friendly for even the savviest of technical n00bs. so then i googled the error on a bunch of forums, i went into my hosting site. none of what i was reading was making any sense and all the while, the site was super slow and buggy and crashing which made it all the more difficult to navigate anything because it took FOREVER. so while i’m navigating this technical issue, the writing part of all this took a backseat because *le woe* i couldn’t write without the site (bill’s gotta have the pills or else he can’t do the math), and it was all in all extremely frustrating and i wanted to throw my computer across the room every morning. not super great for an activity that’s supposed to bring me closer to serenity.

but, here’s the funny thing. i had to go through all that frustrating muck of information to get to a place where i was able to carve out some dedicated time to really take a look at what the forums were telling me and what i needed to do. one by one, i followed the instructions and started updating and deleting things as recommended. nothing was fixed yet, and i had 2 choices left – restore my site from a backup, or delete the stylesheet / critical error, which could mean i lose my theme and have to start from scratch. what a metaphor for life, right? do you go back to the past / what’s familiar, or do you take a risk and hope for the best, knowing you might have to start over? am i reaching for this metaphor? maybe. but do you know what this little never in my life risk taker did this morning? she deleted that stylesheet. and it fixed the issue, website restored. and she feels pretty freaking great.

so. bringing it back to my life (because that’s what this is all about, obviously), how can i apply this to where i’m at right now? can i recognize that i’m in the forums of life right now, struggling to make sense of what it all means, but one day, when i slow down and allow myself the space to take a breath it’ll make sense? and that taking a risk, knowing you might have to start over, is actually the least frustrating, and most rewarding path forward?

there is no backspace, there is only forward. and in the great website of life, you just have to wade through the bullshit, locate and delete the critical error and you’ll be back up and running faster and better than before. WOW. this METAPHOR.

regardless, i’m looking forward to that time. and i’m ready to upgrade to Meagen 3.0.