I guess the emotional obstruction of the U-Box in the driveway was too demanding to leave room for much else. But now that it’s gone, and the house is almost empty, it’s occurring for the first time in this move that I have lots and lots of feelings about this house, through the years. Initially the move was TO somewhere, with the FROM part being up in the air, maybe kept as a rental. I was still on the fire in California, feeling attached to very little, when we all conspired to put it on the market after all. I think anyone who’s read me recently can attest that I seem to be happy to put Flagstaff itself behind me. But this house deserves a moment.
It really is beautiful. The white wood floor Abe and I put in, rather than the carpet, in 2012, was such a good choice. We redid the paint and it was inspired. Avocado, sage green, dark rust red. Sounds risky but it’s so nice. I did dark brown simple trim on all the windows and baseboards, which contrasts with the cottage-y white floor. It’s very unusual, but everyone’s always a little awestruck when they first walk in — it’s a great effect.
When Abe and I first bought it in 2003, it was new construction, and the carpet was navy blue and all the walls were cream. It was nice then, too. I remember our first days and weeks in this house, and the animals we had. A white lab puppy named Eva and two kittens. I was still a classical guitar student, about to graduate with my bachelor’s. There’s no record of my senior recital because my boyfriend at the time showed up late with his film gear — I was already half way through my first piece, at the lovely quiet church, and glanced at him in rage — and he set up a camera but forgot to turn on the audio. I went on to Air Force cardiopulmonary school in Texas, right after my college graduation, and he went off the rails with a drug addiction that had been happening right under my nose, and I didn’t even realize. Good times.
I wonder what she would think about me, now, if the Hannah who first lived in this house could see me. It’s been seventeen years. I think she’d think, “Of fucking course” on some level neither of us would quite understand. I mean, if she saw Buffy, and me with Buffy, she’d think it was fantastic, and would assume Eva had died by now of old age. She wouldn’t know that Eva died when she was about to turn three years old, and that this house is the only place on earth that’s still full of memories of her, because our active duty camper trailer house was destroyed later that night in a different crash.
She’d be relieved I’m vegan; just plain vegan. She was always fighting it, trying to stay intelligible to the offended masses, apologizing for her existence with the consumption of cheese and milk she knew made her puffy. She’d be stoked about how much myself, but better, I look, I think. I haven’t changed much, on the outside, probably not on the inside very much either.
She’d be super relieved to know Abe is still wonderful Abe and totally okay. Most of my childhood nightmares consisted of something happening to Abe. Occasionally our parents, but hardly ever. Once or twice I had nightmares where my mother *was* the scary element. But I’d dream that Abe got stuck underneath a cattle guard or something, and wake up crying, when I was younger, and then I was scared there’d be a war and he’d get drafted, when I was a little older. I would be immensely gratified to find us both totally fine and just straight up alive, in 2020. I’m sure when one or both of us dies that will be fine too, but I’m not interesting about it anytime soon.
Let me look at it the other way. If I had advice for her? I’d say, go vegan and get into barbell NOW. Don’t wait fifteen years. I mean, you know it’s good advice if you’d give it to your own younger self. As far as life choices, I know it seems I could have thrashed around a lot less and accomplished a lot more, with future-self guidance. But I’m so happy now, and all the ingredients of my current happiness have their roots in various iterations of my thrashing around, so I’d be hesitant to change any of that. I’d tell her: drive a harder deal with work and pay, for fuck’s sake. Ask for a lot more money in exchange for promotions and increases in responsibility, good lord. There’d be a long do-not-date list, which younger me would probably ignore. It’s not like I even thought it was a good idea at the time, lollll.
I guess I’m mostly at peace with things. I do wish Eva hadn’t died, and I don’t think any of my current happiness had to have included that unfortunate trauma. Past-me would be thrilled with Nick, my current boyfriend. She’d be like, there’s guys like that out there?!? Shocking, I know. I’d tell her to start recording music a lot earlier than 2015. Like, get hooked up with some people and do that now, and don’t give Flagstaff that much power over feeling right or wrong about the kind of songs I write. I’m super uncool around here, always have been, always will be. Stop cutting off your hair every three years, I’d say. Just let it grow. You don’t need to explore your short hair identity, there’s nothing good there.
Oh, I know another thing I’d say: stop being at war with art. If you wanna write, write. If you wanna music, music. Stop acting like the whole world has to change for you to be ‘successful’ at that — no one can even agree what that means or when it’s occurred. You don’t care about legitimacy there and you never will. You need art, so just do it, make it a part of your life, and don’t hold your breath for someone else to notice.
Figure out the Constitution, educate yourself on it, I’d also say. A lot of my default-lib wasted years were because I didn’t understand the actual principles all this rests upon, and I got sucked into a worldview where every hierarchy is interpreted as a tyranny, which is just exhausting. You can always hold that up as true, but it’s not very personally self-serving.
Get into channelled writings earlier! Read Seth, like now. Don’t waste so many years telling a story of lack just because you’ve been socially indoctrinated into that posture. You have everything, and whenever you experience yourself having less than you’d prefer, it’s only because you are fucking yourself out of it, and you get socially rewarded for complaining about that. Just stop, get up into the higher, more abundant woo woo that you’ll immediately recognize serves you, and everyone, much more.
Just acknowledge that you want to be warm and live in a warm place and make that happen whenever you’re ready. Stop believing that there’s enough coats and heaters and alcoholism in this town to change the fact of how you feel.
I guess one big piece of advice I’d give myself, if I wasn’t cognizant of derailing my current happiness — so this would be iffy — is, travel internationally more. That always seemed like too expensive a prospect, but the funny thing is, Flagstaff is one of the most expensive places on earth. Of course I felt broke here, all the time.
Funny IRL story: Nick and I were at the storage shed the other day, and he told an interested Craigslist shopper to come on over for some red shelves he wanted to buy. The guy and his wife came, and they were masked up and gloved up, of course, because they knew they needed to STAY SAFE, and Nick and I were, like, not, and sharing a gas station cigar.
Anyway, the guy was like, “Are y’all moving?”
And Nick says, “Yeah, we’re moving to Hawaii.”
And the guy goes, “HAWAII?? Isn’t that really expensive?”
And Nick goes, “Yeah – it’s about the same as Flagstaff.” And this is a true fact. Nick and I both, all our lives, had heard how expensive Hawaii is, but were blind to the fact that we were already living in one of the most expensive places in the country. I think the differential is a lot more relevant to people considering Hawaii from, like, Nebraska or something. So we were there in March and had this mutual revelation: what the *fuck*?? It’s not even that much pricier than Flag, and yet so much better.
So this guy had the same epiphany right there in front of us. He was actually speechless for a couple minutes, and loading of the shelves occurred, and then he recovered enough to say, “Well, Flagstaff’s a pretty great place though, right?”
I said, “Sure! Why not.”
Anyway, back to my point: if I had advice for my younger self, it would be to point out the now-obvious fact that feeling too broke to travel, in Flagstaff, does not actually mean there’s not enough money. I could have gone to Vietnam, I could have gone to Cancun, I could have gone to so many warm, beachy places where my dollar would have stretched a much, much longer way than here. Even if it didn’t change the trajectory of my life or whatever, and hopefully it wouldn’t, it was just an enormous blind spot for me.
As much as I appreciated my college education in music and writing, I’d advise myself to arrange a lot of reading and private mentorship in lieu of all that debt, and use my CDL a lot more, and dispense with the critical-thinking-free performance of higher education altogether, probably. I could have gotten the same or better result without all the time and debt and extraneous stuff I didn’t care about. That’s an older-person clarity, though, that’s a tough sell at the time. It turns out, I really don’t care about the credentials and I really haven’t leveraged any of those connections, so I might as well have created a much more targeted DIY education for myself. It just didn’t occur to me.
I would probably encourage myself to just get into sewing my own clothes, in hindsight, at least until the obviously better option of Spell and the Gypsy Collective became apparent. I spent a lot of time and money trying to find things on the rack that were clear in my mind’s eye but non-existent in reality, until around 2015 at least. I’d probably be a great self-designer by now.
I’d get myself into narrating audiobooks earlier. My royalty stream would be lit by now.
I don’t know. I mean, there’s not that much I would change, fundamentally. I’d just want to come to the things I’ve come to, but earlier. I’d advise myself to get out of here earlier but it anything changed, I wouldn’t have met Nick, or rendezvoused with Buffy for that matter.
I’d get into cryptos earlier, omggggg. How did it take me this long to think of that big one. Yeah, I’d be an early adopter of Bitcoin. That would have been a great game changer. But the funny thing is, even if I had a lot more money on board, I don’t think I’d be doing or being anything very significantly different right now. Different on the surface level maybe, but deep down I’m happy with the basic gestures of my life.
If I had ridiculous loads of money, it would be easier to figure out how to create important things I feel strongly about. I’ve been wanting to connect homeless animals in shelters to prison populations and other spiritually wounded groups, at least ambiently, for a long time. I know animals are here to heal us, and all they need is such easy, basic care, and yet we sequester them and put them down. It’s like having the cure for cancer locked up and consistently incinerated, when billions of people are succumbing to cancer all over the place. It’s that mismatched, that irresponsible. But even worse, because the cure for cancer is, itself, sentient, and deserving of love. Anything I could do to match homeless animals to lonely, hurt hearts would be an immense triumph, obviously having vetted people so they’re not likely to abuse the animals.
I guess the point is, I wouldn’t change the past or steer myself a different way, even if I could, at least not in service or “being” or “becoming” someone dramatically different. I would steer myself differently to rendezvous with more wealth, earlier, but only because the more money you have, the easier it is to be yourself. The most self-distorting times of my own past are those where I had to really chase money, and I don’t like that feeling. My mindset in times past has been, “Well, how would I have gained x y z skills or toughness if I hadn’t had to go work in that industry,” but now I see it differently. I could have spent a lot less time in the employee mindset and a lot more time in the project-building mindset, and still have gifted myself with tons of experiences, insights, and a better kind of toughness.
I’d advise myself to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which I still keep forgetting to read now goddammit! Gotta read that book. It’s right there on my phone.
Yeah, I guess that’s the clarity I’m coming to, not yet fully-formed. Abundance is a mindset, being my best self is a mindset, and it’s okay for all that to be totally distinct from an occupational trajectory paradigm. It was indoctrination for me to see it that way in the first place, and it never suited me, and it’s just a shame I didn’t exit the program earlier. The pressure to “choose a career” and “advance” was so strong that it took me forever to see the forest for the trees, and I’m still floundering a bit. I mean, I’m sure it’s fine for some people, but I wish I could have gone the Rich Dad route from square one. Not actually changing the circumstances of my origin, but changing my mindset about what “getting somewhere” means.
It’s so stupid, right? To struggle and strive to be more and more distortedly useful in someone else’s organizational scheme. I was born with so many gifts and talents, and somehow it never occurred to me, or it was never emphasized to me, that I could just leverage those, perfect those, stop hemorrhaging time and money in all these various legitimacy incubators along the way. I know when I’m good at something, and I know when I suck, and I know how to get myself from point A to point B in a skill, an honest to god skill. I’ve never needed someone to say, “Here, do this better.” I know when good needs to be better.
If I could give myself advice, seventeen years ago, I’d say, “You’ll burn out and flame out on everything you do that isn’t exactly what you’re built for. So just do what you’re built for and the natural consistency of your engagement will open all the doors that require opening.” That sounds a lot less exhausting than reinventing my entire life every three years, right?
That’s why I wish I would have encountered Seth and Abraham Hicks and Sanaya Roman earlier. I didn’t have the right kind of mentorship, because the right kind of mentorship would have connected me firmly to my own emotional guidance system. What I can say, sitting here in this house 17 years later, a lot of things I thought my life would be about already water under the bridge, is that the emotional guidance system is everything. All the rest falls into place if you cue to that, and nothing falls into place in any real way if it’s not got that at the center. So that kind of mentorship is the only kind I’m really interested in, all performance of legitimacy aside.
Alright, yes. I’ve got it. And this blog is a place where I hammer out fresh ideas, as usual, not what I’d consider to be an example (ever) of prose in its highest form haha. I think the point of the seventeen years I’ve spent co-owning this house, and variously living in it, has been that I’ve cycled through a lot of different framing devices for how to approach the meaning of life, and even though it would have been nice to have arrived at some better conclusions earlier, I’m grateful to have arrived at some, at all! It’s not about being an employee or being an employer, making or having lots of money versus a little, being in one place versus another, any of those things per se. It’s about having the right compass, the compass that actually matters and actually works, and I feel really good about my compass as it’s tediously emerged. No evidence of outer thriving has ever replaced my feeling that I’m not quite being me, in the world, and no evidence of outer floundering has ever replaced my satisfaction when I am demonstrating my own alignment, even if it’s invisible to others. And it often is. It just can’t be about any of the Things. I think part of my destiny here on earth is to experience my own life as some kind of continuous coming-of-age story, where I’m perpetually seventeen and meeting life’s larger realities for the first time. I’ve felt that way at every point in the cycle, and I’m quicker to simply accept it, now. I know I’m forty-four, I know I’m probably supposed to have accomplished x y z by this point, but once again — as always, now that I think about it — I feel again as if I’m just graduating high school and figuring things out from scratch. My life is a mostly blank canvas and who knows what might be painted on it next? And somehow this evidence of decades, this house of seventeen years, that I remember so much about, still just feels like a precursor to the real launch that’s ahead of me now.
That’s interesting, right? All astrological signs have their seven-year age range association, which deeply typifies our basic mindset throughout our lives, as our biological ages change nevertheless. I’m a Taurus, and Taurus female is associated with age seven through fourteen — a never-ending game of dress-up, a basic excitement at the prospect of womanhood and adulthood, combined with a sense of never having quite arrived at womanhood or adulthood. I’d say that’s pretty accurate. I still sit in the backseat on family car trips, I still defer to the judgement and stronger opinions of the adults of my world (some of whom are younger than me, at this point), and I still experience my own inner world like it’s some kind of primordial secret garden. My attempts at most things are fledgeling, and honest. For better or worse, that’s the flavor of my experience in this life, in this body. I have become truly skilled at some things, over time, and that shocks me as much as anyone else, frankly.
Well, it’s been a good house. It sure is echo-y now, with everything out. I hope it makes someone very happy. I think it certainly can — it’s a very pleasant space, and has pine trees all around, and a nice mountainy hill to hike up, close by, and a train that can be heard in the night. There’s plenty of parking and a big nice deck for sitting outside in the sun, a big nice carport for sitting outside in the shade. I think I’m mostly at peace with the person I’ve been, here, through the years. I mean, why not.