Why I’ve Been MIA

2018 was my weakest writing year to date.

I maybe published three posts, and they weren’t strong pieces either.

It was honestly one of my weakest years in all respects. I’m no stranger to depressive episodes, but I’ve never fallen as deep into a rut than when I lost a good friend of mine in December 2017.

While trying to process that and mourn, I was working one job from 6am to 2pm and another job from 6pm to 11pm five, six, seven days a week for months. I spent the holidays working and away from family. I was in a toxic relationship in which my boyfriend was living off me. I did a favor for a friend and watched his deceased mother’s two cats and they wrecked my house and made my life hell for weeks longer than scheduled, and a bunch of other random things happened that further drained my already tanked energy and motivation.

And as far as my friend Mateo’s death, I couldn’t get to the memorial service, considering it was across the country in California, and I only had one reliable source of information regarding what even happened, and I still don’t know the truth. I never will, and I can’t find peace settling with any of the stories. It all hurts. It all sounds absurd. I had just seen him a few months prior…

I felt so much in so many directions that I eventually settled into an emotional catatonic state. I didn’t feel like myself, or anyone. Feeling like anything would guarantee a complete meltdown, and I had responsibilities. That’s apparently not how this stuff works, and my implosion was inevitable.

I’m doing a whole lot better, but I feel like I’m still putting myself back together over a year later. Maybe I owe myself more credit, but that’s the thing. I don’t feel like I’m doing something unless I’m doing, gaining, earning. But last year seemed to be full of loss. I lost friends, I lost jobs, I lost enjoyment in a lot of activities, I lost material things like my computer, my car, my savings, my growing liquor collection, I lost the respect I have for some of my relatives. Loss rarely feels like progress or an achievement. I couldn’t feel myself strengthening, only falling apart. Especially when I tried to DO, I tried to GAIN, but my attempts only led to more loss.

I sense that 2019 carries a different theme. I sense that different theme as not a turning of the tables, but a continuation of the work that’s been going on in my life. I’ve suffered loss, I’ve cleared my life of things unhealthy or not meant for me. I sense 2019 taking the perspectives I’ve developed through loss to help me decipher and pursue worthy gains.

And I think of Mateo.

My first “best” friend.

Because after moving so many times I refused to get too close to anyone, and I was open about not claiming anyone as my best friend. This offended Mateo, and he immediately changed my name in his phone to “Best Friend” and changed his name in my phone to the same. He emphasized it every time he greeted me thereafter.

My #1 supporter in any and everything I wanted to do.

Back in high school when I decided to try selling my knitted and crocheted accessories, Mateo bought several hat/scarf sets from me and never failed to post pictures of the pieces online. He marketed my hats better than I did.

I made those!

When my mom needed a blood transfusion, and I didn’t have anyone to take me into Beverly Hills to the hospital, Mateo picked me up. He spent time with me in my mom’s room keeping her company and making her laugh for a while.

When I needed my high school transcripts to get into Temple University, Mateo went to the school district office for me in California and paid for them to fax the documents. I still remember him calling me as he was leaving, ” I worry about our education system, Stormy. I’m glad we already graduated. It was $3 to fax the transcripts. I gave them a ten. Stormy. They gave me $8 change. Eight dollars!” He’s contributed more to my education than my parents have.

Any time we would catch up with each other since school, he was never without words of encouragement in whatever I was working on at the time. He just had such a sureness about him, whether he had a plan or not. My neurotic self relied on his confidence in things working out a lot.

Today, February 28th, is Mateo’s birthday. I don’t know a better motivation to push myself out of this inactivity than to honor my best friend by doing the things I enjoy that he always encouraged me to keep up. So I’m writing. And I’ll keep writing. And I’ll keep working on being as great a friend to the people I love that Mateo was to me. And thanks for sticking around through my hiatuses.

Casper Stay Inn

I stumbled onto a cool find when I saw that my friend, Cosmo Baker was DJing a sleep event at the Institute of Contemporary Art back in June.

Yeah, a sleep event.

There’s this mattress and bedding company called Casper, and they held a screening of “The Science of Sleep” by Michel Gondry along with a complimentary open bar and tour of the gallery as Cosmo spun a set.

Free alcohol? Sleeping in public spaces? Chill music? Three of my favorite things mixed together in one event that may as well have been tailored just for me?

I RSVP’d immediately.

Sadly, I had to cover a shift at work and couldn’t make it.

I heard it was a great time, so I was bummed I missed it.

But a month later, I received an email from a Casper representative informing me that they were back in Philly for a weekend long napping event at The Schmidt’s Commons(I mean The Piazza, because we all know nobody is trying to call it that for another few years) and that I should come. They’ve spent the whole summer travelling across the country with their “nap pod” trailer where people can book 15-minute naps. Doing so allowed people to try out Casper mattress, pillows, and sheets first hand. They also had staff there to provide further information and answer any questions.

I was intrigued yet again. I really can’t think of a better way to sell mattresses and bedding than to have potential customers actually go to sleep on your product. Anyone can lay on a comfy mattress and confirm that it is indeed comfy. But how are you supposed to know if it’s your kind of comfy until you go to sleep?

Booked myself a nap for Saturday.

Missed it again.

So why am I reviewing this?

While my experience with Casper has not included how great their bedding probably is, I can say that they have fantastic customer service. I’ve corresponded with their representative, Alyse, since the ICA event, and she encouraged me to write about the company and US tour even though I couldn’t make it to the Stay Inn. My good friend, Marisa, has featured Casper on her blog too, for their “Own Your Bed Head” project a few years back.

I can’t wait until Casper comes back to Philly so I can add to this and tell you how comfy the beds are. Alyse said she’d keep me posted. In the meantime, if you’re in the Dallas area, Casper is headed your way for their last stop of the Stay Inn Summer tour. You should check them out this weekend, September 8-10. Give them a social media shout out and let me know what I’m missing.