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Least Complicated

March 26th, 2009

Longer hairThis is Me, Now

No doubt, my family’s been going through a lot of changes over the past 12 months. From running a business together, to working apart, to living in separate cities, albeit temporarily. Lots of changes, and in a lot of ways, I feel like I’ve changed the most of all.

There’s a huge part of me now that’s not as optimistic as I’ve always found it easy to be. There’s a huge void of disappointment inside me, that this dream we had didn’t work out the way we’d hoped. And on top of that, the utter and complete guilt of needing to take these steps that are going to end up with us living pretty far from so many people we love.

Sometimes, if I think about it too hard, I get sucked into a bit of an endless loop of thought; how I’ve managed to live in four completely separate parts of North America. How I started out in tech, left, and then ended up back there again. How I’ve poured myself into my hobby, creating a whole world out of it, but have now pulled back a little, have now spent some time looking at other things – like writing – that I desperately need to carve time to do.

One of the biggest – and hardest – long-time changes has been losing the anonymity that came with blogging a long time ago. I’ve been blogging on indigirl since, well, some time in 1998 when I created that first html “journal” shortly after starting my summer internship at Cray Research in Eagan, MN.


That means I passed a decade of putting words into the web without really marking it, without celebrating. Sometimes I think that I’m so far from who I was back then. Sometimes, I can totally relate to my 20-year-old self, struggling to find the right definition for herself, wondering about the next steps ahead.

But then, maybe it’s not surprising I missed my blog-i-versary. 2008 was a challenging year for me, for many reasons that you all are completely (painfully?) familiar with.

For 2009, I’m going to try to write more, to write HERE more, to be brave about putting my feelings out there, even knowing that plenty of people read this who wish me (and Sandra) anything but well. I’m sorry if you’re coming here purely for yarnie things. My life has a lot more than yarn in it these days, and at least for a little while, I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t have a lot to say about what I’m not currently knitting.

(That said, I’ll probably pick up the needles again tomorrow and be posting loads of photos of pretty soft things!)

These days, since I’m essentially on my own here, despite so many good friends, I seem to spend a lot of time walking. If I don’t want to go straight home after work, I walk there. It takes me about an hour and a half. If I don’t have anything better to do on a Saturday, I walk to someplace for brunch, to someplace for taking photos, to someplace for window shopping.

The walking is probably the key to the 30 pounds gone, but more than that, it feels so good for my head and my heart and my soul. My iPod is always on, and I’m drawn to music at the pace of my steps; “Love of our Lives” from the new Indigo Girls album, Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida”, “Love Song” by Sara Bareilles, even “My Life Would Suck Without You” by someone I’m not going to name but secretly love. And so many others, too.

Some of these are are songs I miss from driving. Some, I miss from belting out and singing at the top of my lungs while flying down a highway cutting through the Alberta prairies. “Love Song” is one of them. It carried us to and from Montana last summer for the great, albeit short and filled with the worst flu I’ve ever suffered, road-trip.

Others remind me of commuting in Calgary. “Viva la Vida”, in particular, reminds me so much of taking the C-Train to the Glenbow all summer long. The rich orchestral arrangement, so lush, so warm. It reminds me entirely of last summer’s surrealism, of looking out the train windows into neighborhood after neighborhood, of getting off and walking a few blocks too early, just to have a chance to feel a little of the sunshine on my skin before going into that windowless closet of an office that everyone always apologized to me for. (“Madly” by Tristan Prettyman also reminds me so much of this time.)

And some have been with me as long as this blog has; for what feels like forever. “Least Complicated”, off Swamp Ophelia, for example. I remember it took me a long time to buy this album after I’d found Rites of Passage. And when I did, this wasn’t the first song I loved. (That would be “The Wood Song”, for anyone keeping track.) I was at the University of Illinois, probably second year. I used to put this album on and lay in my upper bunk, just daydreaming. I didn’t fall in love with this song until 1998, living in Eagan, learning to run, learning to stretch my wings a little.

Back then, it reminded me entirely of growing up; of realizing that childhood is long past, of realizing that whatever comes next will happen whether you’re ready or not. I used to listen to it and remember what it felt like to have that first awkward crush on Robb E. back in junior high. (How I loved his soccer-player hair! How mortified I was when that popular girl TOLD him! How I couldn’t even get up the nerve to say more than two words to him for years!)

Unlike how my thirteen-year-old self couldn’t have predicted what 20 would bring, now at 31, I feel a little more prepared to just let life be.

Maybe that’s why I keep coming back to this song. It’s catchy, yes, and really great to walk to. I love the melody and the harmony, of course. But it’s also something in the lyrics, something about never really doing the cool thing, never really fitting in or understanding the negotiations of other people, of living with a sort of quiet distance between you and the rest of the world.

I certainly feel that distance, being apart from all but one (Boo) of my family. I feel like, now that I’m not longer at the shop, I’m looking down at the street from a story or two up. I can see it, I can watch it, but I’m not really there. If you think that doesn’t hurt, then you don’t know me one bit.

In addition to all that, I need to remember this as life certainly gets more challenging; the hardest to learn really is the least complicated; how to enjoy the walk home, how to find peace within yourself, how to be kind to the people around you, how to find a little bit of joy when everything feels so terrifyingly out of control.

I’m working on it. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I think it begins with me putting my feet to the pavement, walking with my head as high as I can hold it, and getting lost in a few good tunes.

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8 Responses to “Least Complicated”

  1. Darch Says:

    Amy, miss you and I don’t just come for the yarnie stuff.

  2. Julie Says:

    Me neither. Keep on keepin’ on.

  3. Marnie Says:

    Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, I hope you know I wish you both Nothing but well. You are missed.

  4. carolyn Says:

    ‘my life would suck without you’ is a great song… 🙂 not kidding!

  5. Sidney Says:

    I’ve been in a similar kind of pain – fortunately not now. With love I ask you: could you imagine a time (when you’re 80 perhaps) when you might look back on these days with fondness (as in “not easy but they let/helped me …”)? What would you fill in the blank?

    I’m not suggesting that you pretend not to miss the loved ones that you miss but that you not miss what you do have.

  6. amy Says:

    Oh Sidney, that’s a wonderful question.

    What will I miss about “now” when I look back on it? What will I have learned? I feel like I spend so much of my time lately pondering that exact same thing.

  7. Genevieve Says:

    I admire and respect your honesty and that you don’t try to present a perfect facade, just what really goes down in your life. Creative, gorgeous and inspiring you are. Thank you for sharing 😀

  8. stephanie Says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for continuing to blog, and I hope you find something good in the process of writing here more.

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