It occurred to me today, when rereading my entry from 10 April, that I actually have follow-up information to post! Wow! My bright ideas don’t always yield results, so this time I am delighted to reveal that I’m actually making the changes I intended.

On feeling subconsciously angry and frustrated, as manifested in the dreams I described last time
In a word: yes. What I’d been slowly coming to realize in the weeks preceding my violent dreams, and what has become even more clear since then, is that I’ve gone through life up to this point feeling less in control of my own life than I ever bothered to notice. It’s not that I lived every day burdened by the weight of others’ expectations and unspoken pressures; it’s that the weight existed, and I didn’t notice. This so weird and new to me that I have trouble articulating how it feels.

Last week I was (obsessively) reading and watching Pride and Prejudice (unabridged audiobook, and the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley), and this threw me into emotional turmoil. Of course the movie is simply gorgeous and it’s hard not to wish that was my life… but when I found myself envying Lizzy Bennet her freedom, I had to step back and ask myself what was really going on. Freedom! For a woman in the eighteenth century! My envy says less about Austen and Bennet than it does about myself (and the magic of movie-making*).

Another way of getting at this is to say I’m coming to terms with my own autonomy in my life. I feel so odd talking about this, as though I’ve only just figured out my name and am shyly pronouncing it to everyone, introducing myself for the first time. I guess I’ve spent most of my life not thinking too hard about my future, because I always figured that as the years passed, the cooler, smarter, more experienced, grown-up me would just know how to shape my life into the awesome future I always thought I would have. After all these crazy thoughts I’ve had in the past few weeks, and perhaps nudged a little by that life list I made last week, it has finally occurred to me that I am the grown-up me; that I am never going to just wake up one morning and understand my place in the world; that if I want my life to take the shape I desire, it’s up to me, and it’s up to me NOW. I came to this realization around the same time I had watched P&P and was mooning around the apartment wishing I lived at Pemberley with Mr Darcy, and it just hit me like a blow on the head: You want that life? Then you’d better chase it. I don’t mean Mr Darcy; Erik is as perfect a man as I could want (outside of sigh-worthy romantic leads WRITTEN BY WOMEN). But a glorious, beautiful, fulfilled life such as we all dream of? I finally figured out that if I want it to happen, I have to do it myself.

And that is a scarier thought than it is an empowering one! I can only hope the empowering part will come later.

Where is home?/Decluttering
Well, okay, there is nothing new on the Bay Area-versus-LA front. But we are decluttering like nobody’s business! I wanted to declutter the apartment and simplify my life anyway, as you well know, but lusting after the divinely beautiful homes in P&P has galvanized me into action like never before. As far as I (and organization guru Peter Walsh) am concerned, getting the life you want also means making the home you want. Here is what Erik and I have done in the past week:

-eaten out only once in a restaurant and twice at farmers’ markets while doing our shopping
-cooked all our other meals ourselves, without help from processed or packaged foods
-completely decluttered and reorganized our hall closet, which was previously so packed with crap that I had to hang on to the door jamb to reach inside, since there was no place within to put my feet
-gotten rid of two pieces of unnecessary furniture from our bedroom, freeing up more floor space than we knew we had
-donated at least four bags of unwanted clothing
-donated at least twenty unwanted books
-gone for walks almost every day, resolving to be outdoors every day that the sun shines
-gotten enough sleep every night (!!!)

I don’t know if that reads as amazing to you, but it certainly does to me. Within a month or two I’ve gone from feeling trapped and constantly dogged by my own OCD thoughts to feeling serene and comfortable in my life. I must say, though, that I’m lucky to have the time to do this. The decluttering alone is almost a full-time job, never mind all the cooking and cleaning and walking. Nearly everything else in my life has gotten very much pushed aside, including spending time with friends and making art. Making a nice home is a worthy cause, but I do hope to be able to get back into these other pursuits soon.

The completely out-of-character horror script
My classmates and teacher loved the idea, and I will most likely be spending the quarter working on it. It’s about a young woman whose body parts disappear and reappear without notice, and that’s all I’ll say about it for now. Suffice it to say, it creeps us all out, and that’s a power I didn’t know I had (and you can just shelve those snarky comments right there!).

*After watching the movie once, we watched it again with director Joe Wright’s commentary, and it was very illuminating (pun intended). I had much admired the quality of light that suffused each scene, and in the first ten minutes, Wright informed us that the first scene where Lizzy walks through Longbourn House was actually filmed at different times of day and then cut together, to give the appearance of the sun shining from both east and west. Reality just can’t compete!

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]