Information

A conversation is just an exchange of information.

We trade words, we display facial signals, sometimes without meaning to. We use our bodies and our tones to communicate what we want to say and don’t mean to say outloud.

So I’ve discovered (quite a few times by now, but it’s still surprising every time,) the way I really communicate is nothing like the way I feel like I’m communicating.

I feel loud.

I feel expressive.

I feel like an extrovert when I’m talking to people.

But tonight I realized yet again that I am none of those things, for the most part. As far as I know I’m not stone. But I hear things like this:

“Oh my gosh, you’re so quiet.”

“I can’t hear you.”

“Aww. You’re so little and mousy!”

“You’re just a soft personality.”

“I still can’t hear you.”

“You should be a kindergarten teacher!”

“…still can’t hear you. Whatever it is, I don’t want any.”

______________________

 

Today I went to work.

This isn’t anything new, I go to work quite a bit. It feels like I’m always at work. But today as I was walking towards the bathrooms I glanced down the hallway that leads to the breakroom I saw a familiar face. It was a coworker who had vanished to Hawaii a few months previous. Here, we will call her Vanny. Vanny’s hair is always flat-iron straight, and she always wears crazy hairbands. You get the sense that she’s a tough chick. This sense is correct.

Though, the toughness of a coworker doesn’t stop them from getting hug attacks.

And so Vanny got one, along with a “NO FREAKING WAY!” from me.

Vanny is back for good, it seems.

There’s only one downside, which is that Vanny hates another coworker who I’m a huge fan of. This other coworker will be called Adele, because she is Adele’s doppleganger.

Adele also gives you the sense that she is a tough chick.

Your sense is also correct, and this does not save Adele from hug attacks as well.

_________________________________

So, A Poetry Show is dead.

Well, dead-ish.

I left the project because I disliked the people. No one was in love with what we were doing, and I thought that I was going to work with people who were in love with something. And to be honest, I am lazy. Anything I do, sincerely, anything I do or get involved in, is something I am in love with. I won’t get out of bed otherwise.

And so the knowledge that what we were doing was very quickly a chore to those folks quickly frustrated me. And I felt that the ship would sink if I jumped, so I stayed, because I loved it for its potential. But my desperation for the project to become a success was not taken well by the group, because I was controlling and anxious. I wanted big plans, bigger plans, I wanted excitement from these people. And there was none.

I suddenly created one enemy, and then the next. The project made me anxious and I fumed at the laziness and carelessness of the people I worked with. DAG NABBIT, WHY CAN’T WE ALL BE IN LOVE, HERE? Why get involved if you’re not? If it’s such a drag, such a burden?

I left the project, knowing it would sink without me.

And I admit that when I realized it had died without me, I felt a burst of…gosh, I don’t know, pride? Smugness? It had confirmed that my love for the show was the thing that gave it life, that my love for a project could be the thing to mean life or death. It boosted my confidence in my ambition.

And then I realized that no one wanted any part of the project…the problem pieces, the people, were leaving.

Which left only the thing I had loved, the thing itself, the show itself. The idea as it was at square one.

Plans, dozens of them, started bursting into life in my brain. The things I can do. Will do. I never wanted it to be something that can be brushed off, or ignored for weeks. I wanted to build it, and make it grow and become huge. I wanted to expand.

The only problem, though, once I realized that I wanted to take A Poetry Show back, was that I remembered that I suck at poetry stuff. I appreciate it, I enjoy it, but I can’t write it or discuss it. I need people who know what they’re doing. And now I’m working that out. Overall it may take longer than expected to start up again, but I think it has too much potential to not be worked on by someone.

I’m also working on another project with a former Poetry Show-er. Someone who is pretty much a male version of myself from the Netherlands. A brilliant fellow who we’ll call Willam (pronounced vill-um.)

This one was Willam’s baby, the idea entirely his, and what a wonderful one it is. I’m not sure how much he’d be comfortable with me saying, but I’ll just say that I have huge hopes for this one. It’s an idea so weird that it has to be successful, even for just a wave of attention.

And then there are two more, one is a miniseries that will be filmed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, hopefully in 2015.

The last one is a project that is entirely mine. It has a very cozy, important place in my very INFP heart. It’s just going to be called The Honesty Project. Hopefully I can start that up by late 2014, I dearly want to do that the right way the first time.

And I just realized I’m tired and just felt like typing stuff. So I’m going to go now and sleep…unless I can’t, in which case I’ll just have to stay up and watch the new episode of Breaking Bad.

Goodnight, folks.

~Hannah-Elizabeth

The Story

Okay. Here’s the story. Where I’ve been and what I’ve done since you last heard from me (ya’ll know who you are.)
When my family returned to California in September of 2012, I decided to move out and stay in Texas to create a life for myself. I decided to figure it all out on my own.
First I lived in my best friend’s home in Decatur, and then in December I moved into an apartment in Roanoke where I had a roommate who was 50 years old, but looked and acted much younger. A wonderful, supportive woman who wanted to be a mother to me, and tried every day to be one. I didn’t like this, though, I just wanted an apartment, I wanted independence, I didn’t want a mother figure, especially when I was having difficulty enough with my real one. My roommate had a dozen and one medical problems that I was given the details of on a regular basis, she was always either discussing celebrity gossip, her boyfriend, her long-dead husband, her physical ailments or her daughter. She was a charming, annoying, hardworking, impossible individual who refused to be ignored without realizing she was refusing to be ignored.
I got a job at the nearest Wal-Mart as an overnight inventory control specialist within a week of moving into the apartment. I didn’t have a car. And Roanoke does not have a bus system. This meant that 5 nights a week I walked in the cold/rain/snow 3 miles to work, clocked in at 10pm, and then clocked out around 7am and walked back home so I could collapse in my bed before I had to go back to work. Some nights I sincerely felt like I just wasn’t going to make it, I wondered at how I was going to keep going on like that, and then I went on like that, because there was no other option.
That job…there are many things to say about that job.
I had one coworker who I loved, my gosh, he was one of my most favorite people in the entire world. He was a former cop (moved from one Tennesee to Texas, and he was working on becoming a Texas cop) and a father to me. In the stuffy, miserable back room that was filled with exhausted, perverted men, Tim was a very bright light. He was a Christian fellow, in his late forties. He looked out for me, and made me laugh so hard every single time I worked with him, I couldn’t breathe or stand up straight. My goodness. What a man. He called me “Miss Hannah.” and eventually, “Punkin’.”
I worked at Wal-Mart for only two and a half months. Something happened that made me realize many things at once. But mainly:
1. My life wasn’t going anywhere in Roanoke, every penny went to rent and food, anything I saved was so tiny…it would take years for it to be of any use.
2. I wanted to feel safe again.
There was one night when I was walking back home from my second job at a candy shop in the downtown, when I found myself disoriented on some train tracks. At my high school graduation someone’s parents had bought these little keychain flashlights for everyone, so I took out my keychain and used the light. I still had a small canister of pepper spray attached to the keychain, my mom had bought it for me when I got my first job ever at a furniture store in downtown Keller. I had my pepperspray and flashlight aimed at anything that moved or made a sound. It was freezing and windy. There were trees everywhere. It was so dark. My light made everything look so creepy, it looked like a horror movie. Everything seemed to lose its color in that light. It was sharp and drained and heartless. With each minute that passed I became more and more certain that someone was going to attack me. There was graffiti on any surface that would support it, and I had seen needles and homeless folks near the tracks before. I have never been more terrified in my entire life. I was stiff but shaking, freezing and constantly bracing for impact. I was spinning and jerking, whipping my flashlight from one part of the trees and tracks to the next. When I found my way back onto a real road, and the apartment was in sight, I relaxed so extremely that it surprised me, it was like every muscle had contracted and was now released. I didn’t snap until I had put away my things, said goodnight to the roommate and sat down in a marvelously hot bubble bath. I just saw, and heard, and felt the word ‘safe’. And that’s when the sobbing started.
I am a hug person. And nothing in the entire universe seemed more absolutely wonderful or more comforting than a huge hug.
I was hungry so often in Roanoke, and so tired. I easily lost 15+ pounds just because I couldn’t eat because I always forgot to eat when I got home, and never ate at work, and I spent my nights walking and lifting things. I remember one morning when I went inside Donut Paradise, Roanoke’s main doughnut place, and bought waaayyy too much food, I was freaking starving and they had these cheese danishes…oh my gosh. She’d pop them in a microwave for ten seconds before she gave it to you, and it was AMAZING. And when I got home and ate pretty much everything I sincerely thought to myself, “I love not being hungry.” It was such a true thought then, I mean, no one likes being hungry, but when you’re hungry all of the time, and then suddenly not hungry at all for a while…it is amazing. Just amazing.
I knew something had to change after ‘the thing’ happened that has been mentioned before, and when I told myself to think of a place where I would feel safe a person appeared in my mind. So I decided to go to where this person was.
Three days later I was in the Fort Worth AmTrak station, and two days after that I was in Pittsburgh, getting on a bus to West Virginia.
It was snowing.
I love snow.
Roanoke definitely had snow, yes Sir it did. It was snowing so heavily one morning as I walked home from work that a police officer offered me a ride home. And you can bet your boots I took that ride.
But this snow was different.
This place was different.
It was beautiful. Just looking at everything made me happy.
I was so happy, a very simple happy that I had never felt before.
Just looking at those trees and that river and those buildings. They made me happy, and I just looked at the freaking things. What the heck. And the courthouse…oh my goodness. Ya’ll. It had corinthian pillars. Corinthian pillars are my favorite. They make my heart happy. And the courthouse had them.
I appeared in the kitchen of this person. This person has had my complete trust and respect ever since the second I knew they existed. They were surprised to see me, as I had not told them that I was coming.
I’ve never seen so many facial expressions in a single second.
Oh, yes, and this person had never seen me in person before. They had only seen me in tiny profile pictures on WordPress and Twitter.
But they had seen enough to recognize me.
And to know I was a very, very long way from home.
My very simple move became very complicated very quickly.
My very presence made a huge mess.
No one knew who I was, a few people didn’t trust me and didn’t believe me. Everyone had questions, they wanted the story.
And I didn’t want to tell them the story, because it was a long one, and I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to tell them I had no plan, or try to justify moving halfway across the country on a whim because I believed someone who I had never met before could make me feel safe. I didn’t want to explain my stupidity, my complete and utter stupidity that landed me in a corner with a very drunk fellow reeking of cigarettes as he forced a kiss on me.
I didn’t want to tell my story.
I wanted to murder it.
I wanted to murder every memory of every stupid mistake I had made. I just wanted to be warm and be simple-happy. I wanted to stand really close to this person I trusted and stare at awesome stuff like corinthian pillars and talk about Donut Paradise cheese danishes.
I wanted a future.
But I had to tell everyone about what I did. I had to explain myself. Because life doesn’t work the way I had assumed. People don’t accept the unfamiliar when it has the potential to be dangerous. And everything about me seemed to scream either psycho or on the run.
The three weeks I spent in West Virginia were the happiest of my life. Truly.
They were also the most emotional. I was so anxious, and angry, and joyful.
This person who I trust more than anyone else convinced me to come to California, where my family is, and make things right with them. And get everything in my life lined up, and do everything the right way.
No one else could have done that.
My mom has taken to calling them ‘The Hannah Whisperer.’
I now work at Toys R Us, and spend my free time at the Clovis library and in the Old Town melting over the antiques that I find. I have no friends in this state, I hang out with no one. But I don’t mind in the least. I have ya’ll, and I have my books, and I have this person.
To be continued.
(Hopefully…I don’t plan on my life being a very brief one.)
There are many people I met in my adventures that I haven’t mentioned here…I’m not sure how to mention them smoothly. And there are many moments I’ll never forget, but that I don’t know how to explain. Anyway…that’s one way of saying, “This was the short version.”

~Hannah

Making A Universe

I love starting over.
I really, really love starting over.
I love trains, I love my memories of being on trains. It was cold, extremely cold in Chicago when I stepped off of one train and into the next in February, a day before I suddenly appeared in the kitchen of a dear friend.
Whenever I feel horrible, or wonderful, or nothing at all I daydream of starting over. Of hopping on a plane, train or automobile and running off somewhere. I love feeling like I’m not limited in the least. I can become anything, go anywhere, see anyone, do anything. I could go anywhere I want to.
For the longest time I’ve been inspired the most by the potential of people and situations. That has been the driving force behind so many of my actions.
This means I have a short attention span, and that I’m impulsive and impatient and immature and selfish and emotional and unfair.
It’s incredibly easy to put other people before myself as long as I get a taste of the good outcome. A hit of dopamine, an opportunity, money.
This means I always feel guilty, and paranoid. I trust people very easily and end up disliking them when they don’t meet my expectations of being wonderful people. Everyone starts out as a superhero in my mind.
If I know you, there is something about you right away that I wanted to imitate. It doesn’t matter if I don’t want to have what you have now, or if I dislike you now, at some point very shortly after I became aware of your existence, I saw something about you that I wanted to add to my personality so I could improve myself.
My life has been wanting things. More than that trying to get them. Trying to get recognition and approval and beauty and wit and security and love and happiness and greatness. Mostly greatness, followed by beauty.
When I turned eighteen I was terrified. Because I was suddenly old. An adult. More was expected of me. The little things I did that seemed to impress and amuse people were now no use. I had to develop a real brain and real skills and a real personality.
Potential still drives everything I do, because it still inspires like nothing else. I start to curl in on myself when I imagine something I create just wilting or getting beaten beyond recognition with well-deserved criticism and then finally dying off after countless useless attempts at reviving a very dead idea.
But then I imagine what it CAN be, and holy crap. It could be something that just shocks people with the emotional impact, it could inspire other people, it could become something great and massive and different, it could grow and change, awesome people whose words I gawk at could get involved. People I’ve never met and will never meet would know about this thing I made and feel things that you only feel once in a very long while. It could be a universe of incredible creativity and a force of emotional steel that no one would forget, that they couldn’t help thinking and talking about.
I just love that idea, of just wrapping people’s brains in this creative universe.

~Classic

Can’t Stay Long

Hey folks,

This one will have to be brief.

I’m in the Decatur Public Library. An open volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica is on my table to the right of my netbook, with my project journal sitting on top of it. To the left, we see the comics from today’s newspaper and an empty Starbucks coffee cup (from 10-2 the library has free coffee from the popular coffeehouse.)

I work at a department store, very similar to Kohl’s, though you’ve probably never heard of it, it’s called Bealls (pronounced ‘bells’). I live fifteen minutes away from The Idiot (a fellow blogger who lives in Bridgeport).

I’m staying in my best friend’s home with her new husband, both of these folks are more than friends to me, they’re family. We have fun, and we’ve settled into a comfortable routine.

I move out on December 1st, and I’ll probably end up staying at an apartment nearby. I was going to try to find a room in Fort Worth to rent, because small town living is certainly not for me.

Hopefully a new update will follow soon after this,

–Hannah-Elizabeth

The Difficulty of Want

I’m so tired from wanting things so badly it hurts.

When you want something so badly, and you think about it so much that the imagined images become as vivid as memories, and you start seeing pieces of it in your dreams in the night and your ears perk up at the slightest mention of it anywhere, and your chest tightens from anxiety because of the uncertainty, you can’t imagine life any other way than the way in which you’ve been hoping. Any other road just doesn’t exist, if it cannot be done, you’re left standing alone in a mist of nothingness.

–From my post, “Swayed By The Moment”

The past year I’ve learned how deeply I can feel, and I started dreaming bigger dreams. My imagination has never been so alive, my creativity has never been so present.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to wake up and be completely alone. What would I do? I would find ways to connect with people, because I can’t live without the knowledge that I am not alone. And then the thought repeats itself and the idea turns into a Groundhog Day-esque idea, what if I try again and again to start friendships and make connections and wake up to discover that any place I had in anyone’s heart vanished overnight?  These people would recognize me on the street and know my name, but I would mean nothing to them. If I were run over by a bus they would mention to their mother over the phone that they knew me, but they would not miss me.

There are so many things I want to say here.

I feel everything so intensely that it has started to become beyond draining. Because of my dreams I have a lot of wants, I have a lot of expectations for myself. More than anything I just keep waiting and hoping and dreaming of things. And I’m so restless and tired and the past few nights the feeling has turned to something like heartbreak. And I find myself wondering what it would be like to just buy a ticket to anywhere and run. Just run. Just go and drop off the face of the earth for a few days. Don’t worry about a thing in the world, just run and simply exist somewhere for a little while.

I’m sick of my emotions. I’m sick of wanting things so badly it hurts.

I’m proud of my massive imagination and my drive to accomplish something meaningful that I love, but I just can’t do it right now. I can’t take this absurd constant intensity that is always building and building and know that I am incapable of doing anything about it.

I just want to go numb for a while, find a way to silence the constant crowd of different thoughts and stop the wheels from spinning for a bit.  I just want peace.

I want simple.

Anything is simple if you look at it from far enough away. Like a pointillist painting with thousands of tiny dots that all morph together as you back away. I know my situation is simple from afar. I’m just too close. I pace all day and work on my project ideas and clean and pack and wait until I move into my best friend’s home and get a job. I’m just going mad and I’m tired.

As it usually goes, I will feel better in the morning.

Goodnight,

–Hannah-Elizabeth

How Shall We Make The Next Exit Dramatic?

August 20th, around 8:00PM

I waited for Heather to pull up for a sudden Starbucks run and hurried to finish my make-up in the downstairs bathroom. My purse was filled to the brim with any extra small thing that couldn’t fit into my suitcase, so finding the tube of mascara I sought proved to be a challenge.

Heather had sent me a text minutes about five minutes prior and said she was in town at her parent’s house, and suggested we grab a cup of coffee.

I looked like a bit of a mess, I had been packing and cleaning all day and didn’t expect to be going out. I heard the truck pull up and tried without luck to get my purse to latch, there was simply too much in it, so I quickly pulled out a book, the stuffed animal squirrel Heather got me for my birthday and several large pieces of jewelry and finally managed to shut my bag as I made my way to the front door. I stepped out into the night to discover it was pleasantly cool for this time of year, and looked over to the truck to see Heather moving a few things into the back seat to make room in the front. I shut the front door and tried the knob to make sure it was locked before walking over and getting in the car.

“Hey.” I said, jumping in and closing the door.

“Hi.” She said. There was something different about her. She looked positively flawless.

I told her about meeting with Jon, she told me about life in the new house. Within ten minutes we were sitting by the window in Starbucks, sipping our drinks.

There was something different about the entire situation, though. For the first time since the day we met, our conversation was difficult, awkward, polite and slightly forced. There was an odd tension that I had never felt in Heather’s presence before. Suddenly she asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?” She was referring to leaving the next morning for West Virginia.

“Of course I am.”

“It’s just…you seem more scared than excited these days.”

“Well, I am-“

“Did you really think this through?” She interrupted me. I read her face and realized that she asked to get coffee for a specific reason, she was going to talk sense into me.

“No, I didn’t.” I answered honestly, “Things came up that I didn’t expect, there was no way to be fully prepared.” I was extremely curious, Heather had offered to help me in so many ways when it came to leaving  Texas, I didn’t understand this new side of her. I wasn’t angry or hurt,  just, curious.

“Okay, I know you’re probably not going to like this.” She said, pressing her hands together in a praying form, a signal used when someone is trying to explain a very specific point, “But you could live with us.” Whatever expression I had in reaction to that made her suddenly speak faster, “Just until January! With us you wouldn’t have to pay rent, you could get your license, I could drive you to work and you can save up money until you leave. It’s just four months.”

“I don’t know, Heather…I just can’t, I need to go.” I replied weakly. Several different emotions and a dozen different ideas were flying about my mind. The last thing I wanted was a new reality, especially a reality that involved staying in Texas.

“Why?”

“Because that’s somewhere new for me, and I just need to begin. I-it’s just- I don’t…I’m so behind already, Heather.” Out of nowhere I felt myself choke up, “Right now everyone I know is off at college and what am I right now? I’m a kid, with no job and who isn’t working on her education. I just don’t want to rely on anyone for anything anymore, especially since I have nothing right now, no life. I can finally start things if I go.”

“Hannah,” She took a breath, “I know it’s not the big, dramatic exit that you wanted, and I know Decatur isn’t really that great of a place. But you do realize, four months from now Shepherdstown is still going to be there, everything you want to start you can still start, but it doesn’t have to be tomorrow. And how long can you be financially stable before you’d run out of money need to come back anyway? The job options there are just as bad as California and you have no guarantee that it’s going to work out. Do you really think you can manage working just to make it by and work on your projects and eventually try to go to school, all at once?”

“I know it doesn’t make sense, I don’t make sense. But I just can’t stay here. I know it’s going to be difficult but I just-“

“Can’t wait for a few months?”

I thought of the train taking off without me, I thought of what the air at the station at the Martinsburg would be like when I’d arrive. What the weather might be like. My heart sank when I realized that I was starting to agree with Heather. I started shaking my head, it was too much change, too many new plans. I was angry with myself for being an emotional sissy, it just hurt, the change. Saying goodbye to one dream and plan, and then the next. I didn’t want any more change. I wanted to get on the train and deal with whatever happened when it happened.

She spoke again when I didn’t reply, “This is the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do, and you know it. It may not be how you wanted to leave, but it’s the better way.”

We spoke for about two hours and eventually there came a moment when I interrupted her and said, “Okay, I’ll stay.”

She looked up at me with complete and utter shock, “What?”

“I’ll do it, I’ll stay until January.”

The brightest smile appeared on her face and she jumped up and hugged me and jumped around for a few seconds, knocking over her latte in the process. She acted like it was the best thing to happen since sliced bread, and her enthusiasm has always been infectious, but for once in my life I felt…numb. I tried to seem happier, but I could only smile. We cleaned up her spilled coffee and talked about what arrangements to make and exactly when I’d move in.

I stepped back into my home in a daze, wondering if I really just let go of my plan…and then wondering if the AmTrak site was serious about my ticket being non-refundable…I walked up to my loft and opened my partition to see the mess that my room has become due to my frantic packing and searching for favorite clothing items to stuff into my nearly bursting suitcase. Everything spoke of who I was before I left the house three hours ago. I walked back downstairs to my mom in the kitchen and told her the news before quietly walking back upstairs and crying for a bit. I decided I needed to tell someone and logged onto my e-mail to see that Madame Emily was online. We talked about it for a while until I started drifting off and decided to go to sleep at around midnight.

I don’t regret not getting on the train, but I will always wonder ‘what if?’.

I suppose a few months won’t make a difference in the long run, and I’m still planning on starting a vlog series based on my People Who Read People posts next month. 

Everything is going to turn out just fine, as things usually do. Though it is sort of a shame that I didn’t get my dramatic exit, the timing was rather perfect. I suppose this means I need ya’ll to help me find a way to leave dramatically, that shall be your homework for the week.

Until I Write Again,

–Hannah-Elizabeth