About Me

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"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London

Friday, June 24, 2005

Pain Is Art, Art Is Pain

I don’t consider myself a depressed person. In fact, I’d say I’m generally an extremely happy person, sometimes so much so, it induces the feeling of nausea in others. The constant smiling can get tiring. Yes, I’ve become sadder as I’ve grown older, as I’ve discovered the highs and lows of the “real world” beyond high school. Things can get depressing out here. I always find my way back though, back to happiness and joy and awe for the abundance of beauty that is life. I am not sad or angry or depressed, but when I write, something changes. I write the way my thoughts flow, slow and steady, but often the lethargic movement of each line creates a nuance of suffering, pain, unbearable sadness.

I don’t worry that I’m depressed, but rather, that I’m depressing. I don’t mean to be. I’ve always been drawn to it for some reason, falling victim to the “pain is art” theory. I’ve always reveled in the dark and mysterious language of pain, wishing that I would have enough upset in my life to write a disheartening autobiography like Sylvia Plath or Frank McCourt. It’s so honest, so open, so raw. I like being moved to tears that way.

On the few occasions I do get sad, I find it hard to get rid of the feeling. I think I like the attention, like the pity, and yeah, it’s fucked up, but that’s me. I am fucked up, but no more than anyone else. Everyone’s got issues. Everyone wishes they were smarter or dumber or skinnier or fatter or nicer or meaner or whatever they aren’t right now. The rest of the world will always appear to have it easier than you, but really, no one has an easy life. I’m not even sure what would make life easy, or even if it could be easier, it certainly wouldn’t be better. We learn from the hardships, and no matter how many times someone comes to this realization, it still remains true. Life wouldn’t mean anything if it was easy, if it was a straight and narrow path. Life wouldn’t mean anything if I didn’t get depressed from time to time. Life wouldn’t mean anything without suffering, without pain, without art.

So if I sound depressing, I apologize, but at the same time, I don’t really care if I make you sad. After all, pain is art.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Enough Is Enough But It's Never Enough

I haven't been blogging enough. Actually, I haven't really been doing anything productive as much as I'd like to. I haven't been to the gym in weeks. I haven't written in my journal. I haven't run all the errands I need to, or made plans with the various people I've told I'd make plans with. I'm not sure what's wrong with me. I seemed to be rather drained, lacking the kind of energy I had so recently. Somewhere along the way, I fell off track.

I was even sort of enjoying work for a while. I was so on top of things, so in control. I liked coming in early and staying late, simply to have that extra time to get myself organized. My boss started sending me nice emails about what a good job I was doing and how he much he appreciated it. It was very out of character for him, which only made it more meaningful for me. I'm a real sucker for a thank you. Now I can barely concentrate. I keep turning my attention to facebook and AIM and shopping online. I can't seem to make myself be productive at all. I think its part of my passive aggressive nature. My boss is busy these days with another project he's working on and his 6-year-old daughter who's in town for a month. In turn, I get angry sitting in this office by myself. I resent having to come in early and stay late when he's not even around to see it.

And the truth is, it shouldn't matter to me what he thinks. The truth is, he isn't very nice to me. The truth is, it only makes me want to prove myself to him more. It's sick, isn't it? I have this desperate need to be liked, and the only way I can validate myself is by having people like me, having people approve. I know it's messed up. Everything in my head tells me I'm being completely illogical, but my heart, my stupid, fucked-up heart, can't ever seem to let me love myself.

I don't want to be one of those people who whine to their psychiatrists about how their parents royally fucked them up. I don't want to be yet another girl with daddy issues, but I am. I have them. My father did this to me and I know it. I can't even really see a psychiatrist because I'm so ashamed of the cliché that is my life. I will never be good enough for my father. For anyone who's ever felt this way, you know how much it sucks. Thank God for my mom. I can't even imagine where I'd be without her. My father used to get angry that my mom and I are so alike, that we had so much in common. It's true that we do, but more than that, we have the ability to love each other unconditionally, to love in general unconditionally. Sometimes I really don't think my father has that trait.

Granted, right now I'm angry and venting and may regret being so harsh in the future, but this was not an isolated incident. I've felt this way for most of my life. He can't even really talk to me, or when he does talk, it's not about anything real. I get details about his day or his band, the kind of thing you tell a casual acquaintance you run into at an awkward dinner party. When at an actual dinner party, particularly one where he can sense I feel awkward, he seems to go out of his way to embarrass me. Not your general oh-my-goodness-my-parents-are-so-embarrassing kind of thing, but with a vindictive attack on my character. I don’t think he necessarily does it to be mean, he just doesn’t understand where to draw the line. He honestly doesn’t understand the difference between the way my mother and I joke with one another and the way he cruelly makes fun of me. It’s not teasing. It’s being an asshole.

I build up all of this anger and turn it against myself. I want to be sympathetic to this man who’s had two divorces and four fucked up children, but I can’t. I understand why he can’t hold a relationship with anyone. He’s not capable of loving unconditionally, and I really do believe that. At some point I just have to say enough is enough, but it’ll never be enough. I’ll never be enough. It’s something he and I both know. It’s our own little joke that I’ll never find funny.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Great Grandma Escape

My grandmother had a stroke last Sunday. On Tuesday I went to visit her. They had moved her from the hospital back to Cathedral Village, the retirement community she's called her home for the past ten years. Only, she wasn't home. They took her to Bishop White Lodge, which is pretty much just a hospital within the community. I think they mean it to be nicer for the elderly, a place where they know the people in the rooms next to them and can be easily visited by family and friends. For my grandmother, it's only a tease--so close to home and yet, so far. I walked into her room to find her sitting in a chair reading. She looked so calm and normal, as though nothing had happened and it was all just another day. She was wearing a beautiful Indian gown that looked like something I would wear out on a Friday night. She said she didn't like the way the gown they'd assigned her ruffled against the unwelcoming bed. It made a dreadful noise. I think though, her disgust with the gown stemmed from her endless strives to follow her own heart, to not conform to a world of cookie cutter paper gowns.

That is just like my grandmother. The older I get, the more I can see myself in her, understand where I come from. She seems to become younger and more alert every time I see her. Her memory is beginning to slip, but she knows it and laughs at herself for it. I hope I'm like that when I'm 85. When she woke up in the hospital, she was sure she was 42. "Such an arbitrary number" she said, "but I really believed it. I really thought I was 42. Sometimes I still do." We all laughed. “So do I,” my father commented in agreement. “You know,” she began again without skipping a beat, “the nice thing about losing your memory is that it doesn’t bother you at all. It may annoy other people, but to hell with them, you won’t remember they’re annoyed in a little while anyway.” I laughed.

My grandfather called the room to say hello. He got on the phone with me and excitedly rambled on and on about the article he had been reading in the Times about Bonnaroo. “They say it’s just like a modern day Woodstock!” He exclaimed excitedly. “I’m glad you went and embraced your hippie roots. What a good experience!” Keep in mind these are my grandparents. At 85 and 89, you can’t help but gush over them when they make such youthful comments like that.

Nor can you help completely adore my grandmother as she begins telling you about her escapes from Bishop White Lodge. When no one’s looking, she’s taken to casually walking out the back door and wandering back to her apartment where my grandfather happily greets her. They spend some time together, eat some real, non-hospital food, until she decides that perhaps it’s time to meander back to her doctors. She must drive the nurses out of their minds, but it’s hard to imagine anyone staying upset with her for more than a few minutes (well, with the exception of my mother maybe). She went on and on about how they couldn’t hold her. She was 85 and demanded freedom and respect. My stomach hurt from laughing with her. She’s so crazy. I hope I’m just like her.

At idle moments during my day I think of her, slipping out the back door like a burglar, sneaking through the corridors past walkers and wheelchairs and canes (oh my!), making her way back to her loved one, making her way back home. The great Grandma escape. I think of her, and smile.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

On The Road

At around 3:30am yesterday morning we arrived back in the real world. It's funny that it never feels strange to leave real life and step into dreamland, but returning to it is always a shock. We weren't even gone that long, but somehow it feels as though we've been living on a different planet for the past year. It was certainly a planet I would like to return to.

Bonnaroo was absolutely amazing. It was exactly what I had dreamed it would be, field upon field of hundreds of thousands of free spirits doing what they please. I loved it. I loved walking down shakedown street and observing everyone. I loved standing in the concerts passing around bowls and beers with complete strangers. I loved sitting under our canopy, having long talks with our southern tent neighbors. It was wonderful. Everything about it was so freeing. For the first time in a long time, I forgot about work and family and the future. For the first time in a long time, I allowed myself to live in the moment. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was really living.

I'm sure I'll have many entries about our phenomenal trip. It seems nearly impossible to condense it into one blog, so I'll spread it out a bit. I'll begin with the trip there. I've always been a fan of road trips, but for whatever reason, I hardly ever take them. I would love more than almost anything to just drive cross country for a month, stopping and starting as I pleased. It's so interesting how much culture varies from state to state. Sometimes I forget just how big and beautiful America really is. I'm always under the impression that those kinds of views and lifestyles and towering mountains only exist in foreign places. They seem exotic and thrilling, but they really are right around the bend. America is filled with natural treasures. It has so much to offer, and I feel that far too often I take my country for granted.

Driving past the rolling hills of Virginia, littered with tiny little houses and immense farms, I found myself wondering about the many roads my life could have taken. I wondered what I would be like if I had been born and raised there. Would I be the same person? Better? Worse? I am, of course, greatful for the life that I have, but I can't help thinking about the alternatives. I can't help questioning who I could be.

I watched a group of children swim in the little creek by their farm as their father tended the fields on his tractor. There was something so poignantly pleasing about the old fashioned simplicity of that scene. Part of me hungered to be there with them. I thought about the people who filled the homes we passed, wondering if they were sitting in their homes thinking about the people passing them by on the highways. As I sat longing for a simpler life, I couldn't help but picture them, standing at their windows, longing for a way out of the simplicity. I think I would be. I think I would spend day and night by my window, hoping for an escape to adventure, an escape from the life I had. Maybe we all hope for escape.

Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side. People use this expression with negative connotations, but the truth is, it's natural and perhaps necessary to feel that way. We wish to be in greener pastures because we are all longing for adventure. I don't think it's wrong to desire things you don't have. I don't think wanting more makes you greedy. If we didn't believe there was more out there than what we have, if we didn't dream and wish for things beyond ourselves, we would never grow, never evolve. If we didn't want to move forward, the world would become stagnant, the world would become stuck. I want to move.

We drove on and on, passed rivers and mountains and streams, moving forward through the world. Part of me wished that we could have just kept driving. Part of me longed to disappear out into the distant unknown. Part of me wanted to be on the road forever.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mmm I Wanna Linger, Mmm A Little Longer

I take back what I had said about the rain. Last night was the kind of downpour I adore. I love that moment when the heat seems to break and a shower falls down upon us. Having the natural luck I do, I left the office at the exact moment it all began, finding myself drenched by the time I reached my car door. Granted, I lingered on the way.

Sometimes I wish there was more lingering to life. Wouldn't it be lovely to just spend some time each day sauntering to and fro, pondering the big questions and little wonders of life with equal intensity. Everything is so rushed. We run from one thing to another as though life is one huge race, and if we stop for even a moment, we'll fall hopelessly behind. I think Americans especially spend far too much time worrying about, well, time. We love to boast about how busy and stressed we are, as though it will somehow prove our importance, prove our value.

This is of course subjective, but I think some of the best thinkers of all time have been people who have lingered, people who have taken the time to just sit back and simply think and reflect. Maybe it's my lethargic nature to see the beauty in sitting around and doing nothing, but I really do think it's there. Time moves fast enough as it is. Is it really necessary to sprint through life?

I'm in a weird mood. I'm at work with little to do and my mind seems to be on vacation. I leave for Bonnaroo tomorrow where I'll be until Monday. I'm SO excited. Both to go, and to have a break from work. This will be the longest I've been away from the office ever. I've missed two days in the entire year I've been working here (and have more than made up for it in all the extra weekends I've come in). I guess that's why I'm suddenly so aware of time. I've been here for the majority of the past 365 days. It would be perfectly reasonable if this were my career, or even the prospect of my career, but it isn't. I'm twenty years old. I'm not interested in doing this for a living. Somehow I got sucked into the working world, the world of adults, a world I've rebelled against for as long as I remember.

I used to try and live the kind of life I wished for myself, the kind of brilliant and exotic journey I think every life should be. I still wish for it, but I am no longer reaching for it the way I used to, the way I want to. Instead I sit here, gazing longingly out the window, wishing I was outside lingering through the day.

Silent Night, How It Feels So Right

For the first time since I moved back home, the house is silent. There are no boys trudging through the house, no hip hop beats rising from the basement studio, no jazz solos slipping out from beneath my father’s door. There are no sounds but the occasional passing car, the hum of my computer, and my thoughts running rampantly about my mind. It feels like a night in Kalamazoo, where unable to sleep, I’d sit up all night writing by the light of the moon. I miss the isolation of that place sometimes, the dependable silence that surrounded us.

Now it seems as though there’s always a better alternative to the quiet. There are calls to be made, songs to be heard, bad made-for-TV movies to be watched. Life without electronics has become a prehistoric notion. I’m as guilty of falling for the iridescent lure of technology as the next person, perhaps even more. Sometimes I forget that it is in fact possible to live life without a battery. And then there are these moments, when the house is silent, when I am able to sit in my study amongst shelf upon shelf of books and feel perfectly content. There are these moments when I feel as if I could spend the rest of my life without ever seeing my TV or Ipod or computer or cell phone again, and still be happy, still be okay.

There are times I want so desperately to get away. I don’t mean for it to be an act of anger or depression or even escape, but just a means of finding time to truly reflect on things. It’s important to be alone with your thoughts, no matter how insane they may drive you. The truth is, it’s easier to like yourself when you’re alone. Not alone-alone, mind you. I can think of nothing worse than feeling alone in the world. I just mean, when you take a little time here and there to be by yourself, to truly listen to yourself, you’ll realize that there’s a great person there. Sure, every once and a while it can backfire and you end up trash talking yourself and wondering what went wrong with you, but for the most part, even that helps you realize that recognizing your failures means that you’re human, and that alone makes you great. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, or perhaps hopelessly naïve, but I really do believe that there is goodness in everyone. You simply have to take the time to listen, to find it, within yourself and within others.

I didn’t mean for this to sound so preachy. I don’t know the secrets to life. I don’t have the answers. Hell, my life has been nothing but one big mess after another, but here I am, embracing the small pleasures that make existence so beautiful. And it is beautiful.

Last night I went out to dinner for Lili’s birthday with a bunch of girls I hardly get to talk to or see, but can never remember why after two minutes with them. Each time it’s as though nothing has changed, as though not a moment has gone by since our last rounds of “I love you” and “I’ll talk to you soon.” Afterwards, I went to Mayu’s with Kelly and Jane. The four of us sat around her living room talking about frivolous things, important things, all of those things that define true friendships. It was a night that didn't make me miss the silence. When I finally left around two in the morning, I was so struck with gratitude for them, for me, for the life I’m living. The drive home seemed longer than usual as I eased along the empty streets, overwhelmed with happiness. The streetlights seemed to glow a little brighter.

As the alarm sounds, my brother and his entourage stomp abrasively into the house and turn the music on entirely too loud. I cringe at the sudden intrusion of noise, and realize I am too distracted to continue writing. Instead, I slip on my Ipod, turn to something slow and soft, and savor the few seconds of silence between each song.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

If Summer Were A Woman, They'd Call Her A Tease

Yet another rainy day. As yesterday was, as tomorrow is expected to be. Every few days there is a glimpse of summer. She peaks her head out from behind the grey and smiles at us, knowing full well tomorrow she'll be gone. If summer were a woman, they'd call her a tease. My mood is forever dependent on the weather. I used to love the rain. I used to revel in its darkness, its misery, its depth. Now it makes me sad. Now all I want is to taste the summer air on my tongue, to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. All I want are sunny days, happy days. Is that so much to ask?

I'm just annoyed with the summer, and it's only just begun. I'm not neccessarily bored, but what I'm doing isn't thrilling. Nothing really appeals to me right now, and so I've become somewhat antisocial. I love my friends. I love spending time with them, but after a long day here at the office, all I wanna do is curl up in bed and relax. Sitting around with the same people having the same conversations just doesn't inspire me to get up and go out. I'm sick of the monotony of each day.

So is this what it's like? Is this what summers to come are destined to be? I worry that when I "grow up" this is what my life will become. I'm not brave enough to quit a job I'm only happy with a few days a month. I tell myself that it's fine because it's temporary, because eventually I'll be able to leave, and for the time being it's working out well. At the same time, will I ever be able to break this cycle? Or will I go on convincing myself that every awful position I get myself into is only temporary, and end up accepting it without a fight. That's probably one of my biggest fears, going down without a fight. As Ani says, "if I'm gonna go down, I'm gonna do it with style." I worry my life is lacking that style, that attribute that makes you feel as though you're fighting the good fight.

I guess all I'm saying is, I need something to happen. I guess all I'm saying is, I could use a change. I guess all I'm saying is, a little sunshine would be nice.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Practicality Of Being Insane

People have often asked me what it is I love so much about writing. It's no secret that my means of survival include little more than a journal and pen. There's something so simple and pure about it, something so perfectly charming about the way each word looks on the page. I love to feel the curve of the letters beneath the tip of my pen as my hand spirals and glides. I always tell people I find it therapeutic.

The truth is, it drives me crazy. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not, my writing constantly pushes me to the brink of insanity. I could never really understand how people could make it through a day without writing. I wondered where all of their thoughts would go. Perhaps these ideas are floating around in the world. Perhaps they're whispered into the summer breeze, hovering above us like birds in flight. Perhaps with each step we take, we move in and out of another person's head, taking on their thoughts as our own. People must have thought the things I think before I arrived here. Isn't every idea simply the extension of an idea already had? Sometimes it seems desperately impossible to be original.

Even my own ideas seem to feel like things I've thought to myself before. I talk myself in circles. Most of my life works that way, cycles of emotions I feel time and time again. The truth is, I miss the insanity. I'm happy to be writing again, no matter how jumbled everything in my head may be. I once asked my father if I could see a therapist, and he told me that I was the most sane person he knew, adding, which is probably why you would need one. Being sane can drive you absolutely crazy.

I worry that my over analytic nature will eventually lead to my demise. I don't ever realize that I'm angry or sad until I put it down on paper, until I can physically see my depression. And that only makes me feel more down. Shouldn't a person know what they're feeling just by feeling it? Why can I not see myself for who I am? I'm only aware of what's inside of me when I bring it to the surface. I shouldn't need to watch my life from a mile away to appreciate it. I should be experiencing it. I feel like I know who I am, but I can't live like the person I am. I know that probably doesn't make sense, but the nice thing about emotion is that practical sense only seems to get in the way. I am sensible, but I live by my heart, not by my head, and the moment my head gets involved, everything becomes that much more difficult. That's the challenge of writing, of interjecting your head into your life. That's why I love it. It helps me grow.

I just feel as though I've been neglecting key moments in my life recently. I think in large part it's because I've stopped writing. So I'm making my grand return to the realm of artists, where beauty and thoughts run rampant. I'm ready to once again be ridiculous and creative and honest. I find that now I have so much to say, and I appreciate those of you who are willing to listen to my endless blather. Thank you for entering the inside of my head. I promise it will be quite the adventure.

Tonight I'll go home and remove my journal from it's stagnant place upon my shelf. I'll open to a new blank page, and there, the story of my life shall play on as though it never skipped a beat. There, I'll be reborn once more.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Endless Distractions

Hello once again.

As though I didn't have enough things to distract me at work, I felt obligated to add one more. I have really missed blogging. Normally, when away from a blog, I devote myself completely to my journal. Lately though, I haven't been writing at all. It makes me sad to think of all the promises I once made to myself, now broken and forgotten. I truly believed that nothing could stop me from writing.

Yet, here I am, writing for the first time in almost three months, wondering why exactly I had given it up at all. Work. Work got in the way. I had promised myself not to be that person, not to trade in my dreams for money, to always make time for my true passions. I had promised myself not to get sucked into the ideals of this "real world" everyone's always talking about. In the "real world" life is about time management, about business, about money. I wanted my life, my world, to be about art, about passion, about love. Far too often, I can feel that part of me slipping away. My childlike view of the world is fading from me, and I'm left with something distant, something cold.

Monday marks my one year anniversary in this office. A year of my life given to something I'm not passionate about, something I promised myself I would never do, never become. This job has taken over my life. I've allowed it to. I've allowed myself to become the kind of person who spends all of her time at the office, talking about money and business and time management. What happened to the girl who used to spend her afternoons in the park writing under a tree? What happened to the dreamer? Somedays I really miss her.

Yeah, it's nice to be a grown up sometimes. It's nice to have a steady income and a myriad of responsibilities. It's nice to know I'm capable of holding a job and doing it well. It's nice to feel like I'm needed here. It's just that sometimes, I feel like I would give it up in a second for a chance to go sit under a tree and write, or swing at a playground, or just be a kid again. Sometimes I just feel like I grew up too fast. Sometimes I worry that there's no going back now....

I missed a step. I missed this time that people are always telling you to hang on to as long as you can, the infamous "college years." I didn't want that typical college experience, but every once and a while, I wish I did. I wish I had wanted it while I had it. I wish I didn't think so far ahead. I want so desperately to be mature, that I've let the importance of being immature fade from me. And it is important. It's important to just let loose and have fun while you can. Life does move quickly. "Hold on to 16 as long as you can, changes come round real soon make us women and men." Suddenly, you find yourself sitting at an office all grown up with a lifetime of promises, broken and forgotten.

Anyway, I should really get back to work.