Not an MR2

Here’s the surprise! It’s not a mister 2, but it is small, fast, classic and unique! It’s a 1991 Mercury Capri XR2.

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It’s a 5 speed manual with up to 10 psi of factory turbo boost. In a car that weighs barely 2300lbs, it’s more than enough. You definitely feel it. The XR2 came with popup headlights (standard on all models) plus fog lights. One of which you’ll notice is missing. The bulb is blown so I pulled it to put a new one in. Just look at all this classic early 1990s technology!

 

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Headlights absolutely work. I’m leaving them locked in the upright position until I start to drive it more often then it’s likely they’ll simply remain down. It’s a summer car, and I’m not out in the dark that often during summer.

Leather seats inside are in pretty good shape, but I’ll likely be putting seat covers on them to keep the leather from baking in the sun when the top is down.

Love the spoiler on the XR2 model!

IMG_0273 IMG_0272 IMG_0271 IMG_0270I have a feeling that the spoiler on this one is not original, or at least was taken off and put back on at some point in the car’s life. It’s missing the “XR2” emblem, and the bolts underneath look like they were repositioned. A lot of people seem to like to take their 1991-1993 XR2s and modify them to make them look like 1994s. I’m not sure why. They say the tail lights on the 94s look better, but I disagree. People also seem to prefer the 1994 spoiler as well, but again, I disagree. I should easily be able to find a replacement “XR2” emblem on eBay or something. I’m also thinking about finding some kind of quirky Australian-themed magnets or emblems to signify the Capri’s heritage there.

It’s hard to believe that my plan from months ago is actually coming together. I still have a lot of work to do on the car. It’s in unbelievable shape (from California) but it needs an oil change, state inspection sticker, new fog light, driver’s side window fix and some TLC on the body to really help it shine. As you can see from the reflections in the photos, the body and clear coat are in unbelievable shape! I think a nice coat of Meguiar’s premium wax will be more than enough, and maybe a clay bar on the very worst spots.

Then of course there are all the other phases of my plans. It’s so weird feeling like I’m on a path that’s right for me. Still thinking I’ll drive it to Provincetown this summer. Something different, you know? I have a very important appointment coming up on May 14th that I almost can’t believe I set up. I was nervous at first, but now I’m very excited! Everything is swirling in a vortex that’s culminating on the single point of me getting better. Me getting on with my life. Me smiling and being excited about being me rather than disconnecting further and further.

This car is the perfect symbol for me right now. It’s cute. (OMG so cute!) It’s primary market in its short production run was single women in their mid to late 20s. (I definitely giggled when I read that.) They hoped to sell to a male audience as well with the XR2s, but ultimately, that audience was lost to competition like the recently released rear wheel drive Mazda Miata. It’s my gateway to the world. Just enough storage space for important things, but no more. I almost can’t believe how far I’ve come in such a short time towards the future I described in my recent post, “Hadley“. It’s surreal.

Surprise

I’ve got a surprise coming. It’s been a really busy and tiring week, and I’ve been just trying to sleep enough to function, but I’ll be getting something up here very soon.

Plans are coming together. I’m not sure how I feel. I’ve been down for so, so long that coming up almost feels scary. I’m not sure what to do. I’m not sure it’ll last. I’m not sure I did the right thing. I’m not sure about anything.

Anyway, there is something worthwhile that’ll hopefully be showing up tomorrow.

Spring

Spring has always been a tough time of year for me. In college there were typically only 6-8 weeks of real good spring weather before the semester was over. Still, it was enough to trigger all sorts of bad feelings and frustrations. A lot of that has continued to carry on with me even though it’s been five years.

In many ways, winter is a relief for me. It’s dark. It’s cold. I can cover myself with clothes. Going out to the grocery store after work or to pick up some food…all covered by darkness. No one has to see me. I feel safer. People also aren’t out and about mingling around. They’re going to places from places.

That all changes with the coming of spring. It’s warmer. It’s lighter. People are out and about. They’re out for longer. They’re laughing, mingling around town, running, bike riding, laying on the lawn, and aren’t bundled up with clothes. The light makes me visible though, and the heat means I can’t cover myself up with clothes anymore. I’m exposed. I’m unsafe.

It’s a sad and difficult time for me because I see everyone out and about. I see them comfortable and even excited about not needing to bundle up. They’re smiling, laughing with friends, doing all sorts of things. Things I can’t do. I don’t have any friends, and now that it’s lighter, I’m just more visible. I don’t want people to see me. I see all these things and am reminded that there’s nothing I can do to make those things happen for me. Either they will or they won’t. So far they haven’t.

College was the worst for this. Of course it was nice that the trees had leaves again, and the wind didn’t blow cold air in your face. You could sit outside again on the quad, play frisbee with friends, or just lie in the sun on chairs in the courtyard. I couldn’t do those things though. I didn’t have any friends who could play frisbee with me. Lie in the sun or under a tree exposed like that? You must be joking.

Those same feelings remain for me today. The only saving grace is that I’m often driving through town so I’m at least safe in my car. I can roll the windows down to enjoy the warmer air, and I won’t have to be stopped anywhere for long. If I see people laughing with friends, enjoying less bundled clothes and the warmth of the season, I can just turn up the music in my car and try to forget that that life isn’t for me. What life is for me? That’s all I want. I just want to know that I’m living some kind of equivalent life that’s right for me.

Hadley

I’ve been wanting to write this post for almost six months now, but I couldn’t think of a good way to talk about it. Heck, even talking about it directly at all seemed completely impossible. Well, I’m sensing a convergence of several things on my relatively near horizon, and that gave me a fun idea about how to write this post. Here goes…


Hi! My name is Hadley. I was born in Massachusetts in 1988. I was always really excited to be in the world. Everything was new. Everything was great. I started school in 1993 and quickly learned that I was different. I couldn’t tell how, I just was. By the time my second year of school rolled around, things were just too much to handle. There was some kind of misalignment. I couldn’t understand what it was. There were no options I was aware of. I often lamented out loud how it seemed like I was just irreconcilably different. Eventually I faded away. Life kept going on, but I wasn’t really that present.

I started building things and dumping as much creativity into the world as I could. I still tried to fit in. In middle school, I played baseball. I was terrible at it. I didn’t like doing it, but it seemed to make my dad happy when I had a few good moments. The most fun I ever had was my second to last year playing. The team I was on was awful and we lost every game. At least then there was no pressure. Even then though, I could tell I just didn’t fit on the team.

By that time, puberty had kicked in like an unwelcome party guest. It was a confusing time. It was a frustrating time. Leading up to it, I was so scared I’d be one of the first people to go through it. I’d long understood the changes, at least in an academic sense, but going through them firsthand was entirely different. Some things were gradual enough that I never even noticed. My voice changing was one of those. I honestly don’t even think it changed that much. Growing taller too. I never did get that tall, so I guess it just seemed like a continuation of getting taller as a child. Facial hair I absolutely could’ve done without. I was ashamed of it and scared to ask my parents what to do. I guess in a way, having mostly checked out earlier, I was disconnected from all those changes. They happened, but I pretended not to notice. I just checked out even further.

There were times when I noticed others were becoming different. They seemed to embrace the changes with open arms. My best friend I remember really came into his own. By the end of high school, he became really popular. Confident. Very much into girls in a way I just didn’t understand. Most of my friends ended up being like that. Even the ones who were clumsy about it.

Eventually I made my way into college naively expecting things would improve and be different there. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My freshman year there was probably the worst year of my life. If I hadn’t already clamped down, I certainly did after that. Subsequent years weren’t nearly as bad, but I absolutely felt damaged beyond all repair. The only hope that kept me going was that I would be able to get a good-paying job when I graduated.

By my senior year though, even my hopes about getting a good job were fading. It wasn’t that I didn’t expect to get a job. I worked hard to get one and did get one, but all the closing off had finally taken hold of my talent and interest in the field I was studying. I just didn’t want to do it anymore. All my passion was gone. Graduating, moving out on my own, and starting a “career” was like a shot of adrenaline to a dying heart. It boosted me for around 6 months, but then I was back to the same old track to nowhere.

By this time, I had all but forgotten about who I used to be. That person was long gone. After bouncing around on the bottom for a while, I could tell this was just no way forward. The closing off had taken everything. I was just existing for the sake of it. A shell going through the motions.

 

But that brings me to now. That was the past. Painful as it was, what’s done is done. I can no more change those things than I can turn off gravity. I’m not sure how I found her, but I found her, or maybe she found me. Sitting quietly on the bottom, waiting for the end, she found me. Maybe she knew I didn’t have anything left. I couldn’t push her away this time. She was me. I was her. I am her.

Suddenly as if by magic, things began to seem real again. A future that wasn’t there suddenly was. A shell has no future. It’s just a shell. People have futures. She’s a person. She has a future. I have a future.

Let me tell you about my future. My hair is longer. Longer than it’s ever been before. Sometimes I put a bow barrette in it to keep it in place. Most of the time I just have a nice headband. When I look at myself in the mirror, I smile instead of looking away. It almost brings me to tears imagining all the years I wasted hating myself. I wear brightly colored clothes. A fun t-shirt with a reference to one of my favorite movies. Maybe a skirt or sun dress if the weather is nice. Instead of bland shoes, I have colorful but simple shoes. I replaced the laces on them to be blue instead of white.

I have a classic car that I love; a first generation Toyota MR2. I feel great driving it around. Sometimes people talk to me about it when I park to go to the coffee shop. Some people are surprised to see a young woman who knows so much about such an interesting car. I love talking to them about it. I love how it makes me feel when I’m driving it. My hair blowing in the wind from the t-top. Cute sunglasses and pride knowing I’m exactly who I want to be. I’m excited to be in the world again.

Even though things might not always be great (I still have many of the same real-world problems as before), I have a far more positive attitude and feel well-equipped to tackle problems. I even feel like getting into a relationship and having that in my life is something I’d welcome. Unlike before where it felt like a necessary addition, the lack of which caused me to feel inferior, it now feels like a bonus. It’s ok if that’s not part of my life, because I’m happy as myself. I’m the real me. I’m not really sure to whom I’m attracted. I think I’m still rather asexual, but it doesn’t provide as much definition for me as it once did. My new confidence makes me far more attractive to potential partners and I’m far more ready to be in that role. I’m not squicked out by it as much. Imagining myself with a partner in a sexual situation makes me feel happy instead of gross.

That’s the future I want. That’s the future I need. That’s the future that’s possible for me. Hadley didn’t find me. I didn’t find her. I am her. I am Hadley.

_My_ Life

I have to say that I feel more than a bit frustrated when I try to explain my passions, my dreams, my plans and my feelings to people who then dismiss them or try to inject their passions, dreams, plans, feelings. It’s especially hurtful when those same people should be listening to me, encouraging me and believing in me. I would think you’d get it by now. I would think you’d understand that I need to live my life, and not yours. I respect your preferences and likes. I understand we’re from different generations. Why are you so loathe to respect mine? Why do you consistently shoot down my ideas, my feelings, my plans, my preferences because they’re not yours? I’m especially perplexed by this since to date, I’ve followed almost all of the suggestions you’ve given me. Not surprisingly, it’s led to me being very unhappy, because those are your choices for life, and not my own. It’s almost to the point of wanting to do things or make decisions purely out of spite. I don’t want to do that. I only want to do what I feel is best for me. What makes me excited. What feels like my life.

I know you’re panning it as trying to help, or wisdom that you didn’t receive when you were my age. I’m sorry things were like that for you, but I’m not you. I need to make my own decisions, live my own life, and make my own mistakes. I can’t stress enough how important (and dire) this situation is for me.

I really am at the end of my rope, and if I don’t make decisions to change things, I hesitate to think of what will result. I’m already horrified when I look at my place in life presently. I wish you could just be happy for me and happy about the decisions I make. I’m not an idiot, and you’d think by now that I’d proven that one hundred times over. It’s upsetting that you would suggest things that contradict earlier advice you’ve given me.

When I call and tell you about something I’m excited about, you can offer your suggestions and thoughts, but don’t phrase it as whether or not your approving of something. Trust me that I know what I’m talking about, and that I’ve put thought into things. Why don’t you trust me? It’s to the point where I don’t even want to share anything anymore because I’d rather no one know or care what I’m doing than to have to fend off unwarranted criticisms. If you’re unhappy with your life, or where you are…deal with that yourself. Stop trying to live vicariously through me.

And for fuck’s sake, everything isn’t about money. Everything isn’t about making a buck, or investing for the future, or planning an early retirement. Sometimes you can do stuff just because it’s fun. Just because you’re young and tired of the world. I hate to put it in such stark terms, but you need to understand that if I don’t change things, and get on with my life, there isn’t going to be a future to invest for. And that means exactly what you think it means. I already brush far closer to that than I’m comfortable with now, and it only gets closer the longer I don’t do anything about it. I don’t want that to be how things go, and I know you don’t want that to be how things go.

So please, please let me live my life. Please choose to be supportive of my decisions and feelings. I don’t want to have to cut you out of my life more than I already have.

Plan

It’s no secret (well, it should be no secret) that I’m struggling. Struggling to get myself moving on a life path that’s suited to me. Struggling to understand who and what I am. Struggling to just figure out a reason to continue living past 30 on some days. This isn’t really a new concept for me. I’ve known that I’ve been struggling for a while. What’s new is that I feel like I may have the opportunity to actually do something about it. Unfortunately, it may require some bold actions. I thought of a plan today to get the ball rolling towards this end.

The best plans are simple. That’s good, because this one is pretty darn simple. It’s got two basic parts. Phase one is to stop talking about it, stop thinking about it and just go out and find myself a 1986 Toyota MR2. Red would be nice, even if it does anger police. Why this car? I’m not entirely sure. It speaks to me. It’s impractical. It’s mid-engine. It’s a Toyota. Other favorites I had in mind were convertibles, because they’re just so darn fun, like an early 1990s Alfa Romeo Spider. Beautiful car. Unique car. But it just doesn’t speak to me in the same way the Toyota does. I can get a convertible any time. The mid-engine sports car isn’t something you see every day.

It was always some car. Really, the car itself doesn’t even matter. It’s a symbol. A symbol of me breaking free from the life I found myself stuck in. I didn’t ask to be in this position, it just sort of happened. That’s no way to live your life. It’s symbolic of me saying that I don’t need to do what’s “prescribed” to me. I don’t need to live the life my parents did, or my siblings do, or my friends do. That’s convenient because I wasn’t doing a very good job of living it anyway. It’s symbolic of me saying that I’m not going to continue sitting on my hands waiting for tomorrow. Tomorrow that never seems to come. I’ve stagnated horribly. I’ve done everything I was supposed to do, everything I should’ve done, everything I could’ve done. I’ve worked harder in the past 8 years than anyone should ever have to, and what do I have to show for it? An apartment. A car. A job I hate. No friends. No relationships. No hope of any of that changing. Should I just keep dying that slow death? No, I’m sorry, but I’ve held up more than my fair share of the societal bargain, and I haven’t seen anywhere near enough reciprocation to really continue bothering anymore.

Phase two is somewhat more difficult, but likely far more important. Once I have the car, I’ll get it all fixed up if necessary to make it 100% roadworthy. I’ll detail it myself. Make it as close to showroom new as possible. If there’s one thing I’ve always taken pride in, it’s keeping my cars super clean. Harder to do with a daily driver, but still, there’s nothing quite like the look and feel of a freshly Armour-All-ed dashboard and steering wheel. I haven’t mentioned much about it here, because it’s still a pretty scary notion to me, but I am going through a pretty deep phase of self discovery. One I arguably should’ve had the opportunity to go through far sooner in life, but at least it’s happening at all.

With my newly acquired MR2 in hand, my plan is to take as much time off work as I possibly can. Hopefully sometime this summer (obviously pending getting my hands on an MR2 first thing in the spring). I then throw a minimal number of things into the car and drive to Provincetown, MA. I don’t know what I expect to find there. Hopefully myself. Hopefully some acceptance. Hopefully some understanding. Hopefully some hope that a future worth living is possible for me perhaps in a manner that I didn’t even know was possible.

This plan is about as far “out of character” for me as I can get. I’ve done my best to save money feverishly over the past few years with the expectation of…well, I’m not sure. All that saving hasn’t even led to that much money anyway. Buying a house? Why? So I can continue to live a life in debt to others? So I can continue to have no friends and no relationships? So I can do what’s “fiscally responsible” to prepare for my retirement? Fuck. That. I genuinely never expect to retire anyway. Like I said, even in high school I told people I didn’t expect to live past 30. No, I’m afraid I’ve put off living my life for far longer than I should have. I see other people living. My friends, my siblings, extended family. I’m not living. I’m in a perpetual state of dying. I can accept that my life might not contain things that so many others do. A house. A partner. A family. Respectable job. What I can’t accept is continuing to half-assedly attempt to acquire those things.

I don’t think I could ever lead that successful life. I think I might have a sliver of a chance at leading my successful life, but at this point in time, bold action is required. I want to be ready to take that action.

Back in Action

Thanks to Crash Plan’s cloud-based backup service, a mistake that could’ve cost me over 6 months of my most important writings only took my blog down for about 36 hours. I’m tired. I’m a little hungry. Backups saved the day here.

Depression

I wrote this post some time ago. I held off publishing it because it was deeply personal, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to. After thinking about it, I’ve decided that it’s worth putting out there because these kinds of things need to be allowed in the open air without judgement or shame.


Admitting to myself and others that I am asexual has been a really big boost in my life. For the first time ever, I feel ok about things that have historically caused so much internal pain. Even though I first considered it in December of 2013, I shelved it immediately for one reason: depression. Six months ago, when I first went back to my doctor (for the second time in 3 years), I told her everything I was feeling, and how much I wanted help, but insisted it wasn’t depression. She disagreed. That was what I got help for the last time, and this was it all over again. In fact, in her estimation, things I was saying this time were much worse. It all seemed the same to me.

The only reason I even went in was because I felt like I was out of options. I felt like I was just one minor piece of bad news, one tiny hiccup, one bad thought away from god only knows what. I’ve never really had any problems with hurting myself, or planning to. Not physically anyway. Scorched-earthing everything else though? Oh you had better believe that was all on the table. That was the real problem; I didn’t know what I was going to do. Hurting myself? Pfft, that would’ve been easy and dumb. That would just hurt the handful of people who cared about me, and depressed or not, I didn’t want that. I knew I was capable of much worse. I just didn’t know what that would be.  I did do almost daily self-diagnostics asking, “hrm, does killing myself sound like a good idea today? No? Ok, that’s good.” That might seem morbid, but that’s what I did. I still run that test sometimes.

Now, six frustrating months of antidepressants and therapy later, I’m just barely seeing some light through the haze. I can see now that for the past 4, or possibly even 8 years, depression has been a major part of my life. Sure it’s waxed and waned, but it’s always been there. Let me tell you something about depression; It’s a voice that tells you shit that sounds absolutely real. You do not question those things. They are truth. Anyone who suggests to you that those things might not be real must be lying. Depression will convince you completely that you are fucked, that nothing and no one can help you, and you will believe it. I did. Sometimes I still do.

While I consider myself at present to be mostly out of depression (though it’s a fucking thin line), I’m hyper-aware of any change in mood or thoughts. That’s the thing about depression. It got you once, it knows it can get you again. So it just sits there, waiting for you. Waiting for you to start to panic at one negative thought. Waiting for just one tiny slip up. Then it’s in. Like an abusive partner, it tells you it will care for you, it won’t hurt you. But that’s all it does. Once it’s in, it just starts feeding you bullshit, and you will believe it. The more you believe it, the more bullshit it can get away with feeding you. And on and on and on.

I’m at least fortunate enough to know its game, but I have to say, that doesn’t make it any easier to stop it. It’s unreal how convincing it can be. I still have a limited tool set to make some space between its bullshit and myself. I’m working really hard on that. Medication is like an EMP blast that just comes in and forces that space open. I hate the idea of taking medication, but when you’re in the position I was in, you need that EMP blast to make that initial space. But it’s up to me to keep that space open, and to not let those electrical conduits to reform. I can feel them trying to reform all the time.

I don’t know how my story with this ends. It could go any way at this point. I don’t know why I’m writing this either. I don’t think depressed me would’ve believed the things I’m saying here. I don’t know if I can say anything that will help others going through the same thing. I could say, “Get help! Blast that space open! Do whatever it takes!” but I know that’s not good enough. In fact, if you’re going through this, I don’t think there’s anything I can say. I bottomed out and became so afraid of myself that it’s honestly like I went to the doctor to get help for someone else. I can’t even tell you you’re not alone.

I guess all I can say is talk to someone. Someone you trust, or someone you don’t even know (like a completely new doctor, like I did). Talk to someone and just explain how you’re feeling. You don’t have to call it depression. You don’t even have to believe the things you’re saying. You don’t have to explain all your feelings either. If there are some that you want to keep buried, that’s fine. God knows I did. Just talk to someone about how you’re feeling. This puts at least some information into the hands of someone who isn’t listening to depression’s bullshit. Either they will be able to help you directly or find someone who can.

Good luck. To all of us.