About Me

My photo
"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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

If I Ever Start Referring To These As The Best Years Of My Life--Remind Me To Kill Myself

I love waking up in the morning with the prospect of an entire day all my own to do exactly nothing. No obligations, no responsibilities. I don’t even have to leave my room if I don’t feel like it. Yesterday was one of those days. I did nothing but sit around updating my Ipod, flipping through magazines, sitting on the computer and watching some really bad TV. In essence, I fulfilled the stereotype of a typical day in the life of a college student.

It annoys me, the way adults talk about this time in our lives as though we’re living in some utopia, as though nothing in our lives could possibly be difficult or stressful or painful. I can’t tell you how many times someone’s said to me "well just wait until you’re in the real world" or "stay in college for as long as you can, because there’s nothing fun beyond it." I always laugh a seemingly appropriate little laugh, and respond with "that’s what they tell me." The "they" is every other adult in the world who is somehow under the impression that my life is an ongoing orgy of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. All I have to do is go attend a few classes, write a few papers, answer a few calls at a job, and the rest of my time can be completely devoted to standing around a keg. I’m a college kid, so I must not have a care in the world.

Well, fuck you. I don’t know what kind of alternate universe you went to college in, but around here, I work pretty damn hard. It drives me crazy that the majority of adults can’t seem to give us any credit. Granted, I’m not having the "normal" college experience, whatever that is, but I’d say those of my friends who are, are still working their asses off. When was the last time one of these forty year olds tried to write a twenty page paper on a topic they knew, not to mention cared, absolutely nothing about? And not for a paycheck, or a potential opportunity to get ahead in their workplace for an even larger paycheck, but for the mere incentive of knowing that they are learning, knowing that they are furthering their education. It sounds grand and noble in theory, but let me tell you something, at 3 am on your fifteenth page about the civil war, you couldn’t give a flying fuck about whether or not this paper is making you smarter. If you’re anything like me, you begin dreaming of a time in your life when you’ll never have to think about anything irrelevant to your choice of occupation again. You just want it to be over.

The office I work in is not a 9 to 5 job for anyone. It can be stressful and demanding, and I’m not denying that people don’t work hard there, but it’s easier than school. It really is. I could potentially work there for the rest of my life (although it would be a very unhappy life for me), and my life would be virtually carefree. The truth is, I log in more hours each week at that place than most of the adults do, and during the school year, add four classes, and all the work for those classes, to the mix. There’s nothing waiting on the other side, huh? How about finally getting some free time? Unless they have small children to return home to, all of their lives look pretty easy from my standpoint. The monotony of each at that place would inevitably be my demise, but I could work there forever without ever having to apply my brain again. A job just seems so much easier than school.

Grown-ups look at us with that envious twinkle in their eye, longing for their youth. I can’t figure out if college was easier in their day or if they are remembering it through rose colored glasses, choosing to leave out the memories of that fifteenth page at 3 am, the seventy-two hours straight without sleep. They remember the parties and friendships and the rare Saturdays with nothing at all to do. I wonder if I’ll do the same, if I’ll perpetuate the idea that college is the best time of our lives. I really hope that’s not the case.

It’s not that I don’t have fun and enjoy life. I do. It’s just that I’m also working really hard towards a future so that the rest of my life will be better than it is now. Isn’t that the point? Don’t tell me that there’s nothing to look forward to on the other side of college, or I might as well drop out now. Out of school, out of life. Things better go up from here or this is all just one giant waste of time. I hope that I’m not forty longing to be twenty. Maybe in your college days you sat around with nothing to do, but I only get about a Saturday every three months to just do nothing, and I’d like to enjoy it without being placed into a stereotype of lazy college kids.

So let’s come to an agreement. Stop assuming my life is easy and I’ll stop assuming that you've wasted yours. I’m working my ass off. What did you ever do?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I Am More Than A Pack Rat. I Am Absolutely Insane

I got pictures back yesterday that I wanted to upload to my website. I got home and excitedly hooked up my scanner only to remember that when everything was erased from my hard drive, my computer’s ability to recognize my scanner went with it. In my quest to find the scanner installation disk, I found myself immersed in the artifacts of my past, a collection of artifacts so numerous, that to sort through it is an entire day’s work in and of itself. This search was completely ruining my plan of doing absolutely nothing today, and I was angry for ever having started it. Like most things however, I was easily distracted and managed to forgive myself fairly quickly. Sometimes I think my general happiness is simply a severe case of ADD.

I have this big wooden trunk where I keep everything I deem worthy of saving, although it began overflowing onto the floor of my room some time ago. When I say I keep everything, I mean EVERYTHING, and I think it’s important to make the distinction that they are all things that I deem worthy of saving, not things that any normal human being would ever want to hang on to. I am more than a pack rat. I am absolutely insane.

We all have things that have significant sentimental value to us, and I would hope that most people would hang onto those things. I certainly do. I don’t find that part strange. It’s all the other stuff I can’t seem to get rid of that has me diagnosing myself as a certified nut-job. Do I really need expired train passes and old lip gloss containers? No. Can I manage to make myself throw them away? No. Does this make me an extremely sentimental person? Maybe. Does it make me an extremely crazy person? Absolutely.

It’s not that I don’t want to save things. I don’t particularly mind having the sentimentality to want to keep everything close. The alternative certainly isn’t more appealing to me. My sister is the complete opposite of me in terms of material things, and I find it equally, if not more insane than my habitual scrap clinging. She has two daughters under the age of five and a completely clean, bare apartment, which in my experience, are always mutually exclusive. It’s not just that they have a clean home. That I could understand, although it’s still a reach with two small children, but it’s that they have nothing. I mean NOTHING, and it’s not in a poor-down-on-their-luck kind of way. It’s in a we-are-against-stuff kind of way. It’s so peculiar. Their only furniture is what they deem completely essential; three beds, a couch, a kitchen table and four chairs. That’s it. In their whole apartment. Maybe they’ve added a bookshelf or two since I was last there, if they were feeling really wild. When the kids grow tired of a toy, their parents give the toy away. When they outgrow clothes, poof they’re suddenly gone, out of all of their lives forever.

My mom still has most of my baby clothes. Hell, my mom probably has most of other people’s baby clothes. I’m certain she’s where I get my pack rat instinct from. The two of us just have stuff. We have stuff everywhere. Honestly, what is she going to do with the fifty-plus tin boxes she’s collected over the years? Or the old war pillows that are lying around all over? Or, for goodness sakes, the hundreds of old pez dispensers lined up on a counter in our back room? Who really needs all of this junk?

Well, we do. Don’t ask me why, but we do. It’s important to us. The truth is, it becomes sentimental simply because we tell ourselves it’s worth being sentimental about. We make it important. Yes, it’s a little psychotic, maybe even a lot psychotic, but these collections of things are reminders of that psychotic nature that we share. They’re reminders of who we are, even if who we are is simply a crazy mother and daughter. It’s important to remember that.

So I can’t throw anything away, oh well. It’s not the worst behavior in the world, and at least I’ll always be prepared. I have yet to find a situation where I was in desperate need for some expired train tickets and a few empty containers of lip gloss, but you can never be sure when one will suddenly show up, and I'll be ready for it because I am more than a pack rat. I am absolutely insane.

Friday, July 29, 2005

I Don't Know Where I'm Going...But That's The Beauty Of It

I stole my title line off of a postcard on the Postsecret blog. If that's not a secret that every single person shares, then I don't know what is. Even if you're one of those people who has had their life planned out since the second grade, I guarantee that you still have no idea where you're going. You may think that you do. You may be completely certain of your direction and destination, mapping your route with the most efficient way to get from point A to point B, but I can tell you now that in an instant, your entire path can change. The scenic views you thought you’d come across look completely different than you expected. The climate is the polar opposite of whatever it is you packed for. The horizon somehow seems both closer and further than you wanted it to be. You stand in the middle of nowhere, utterly lost and utterly unprepared.

But that’s the beauty of it. That’s what makes life the grand adventure that it is. I think I spend far too much of my time worrying that I’m the only one who hasn’t got it all figured out. I worry that while everyone around me moves forward, I’m lost in the darkness, wandering around in the same few circles over and over again. I worry that I’ll never find my way out, but maybe I’m concentrating too hard on trying to escape. It shouldn’t be an escape. The truth is, being lost is somehow freeing when there isn’t a set destination to be reached. Maybe you can only get to my destination by going in circles, by wandering around lost for a while. If that’s the case, well then, I’m right on track.

The reality of it is, my life was a straight path and I hated it. I longed for curves and dead ends. I longed for things to be complicated. I longed for adversity to grow. Doesn’t everyone? How easy to float through life on a road that never bends and breaks. How easy to tune out and stop your mind from moving. How easy to settle into a state of apathy. I don’t want that for myself. I can’t imagine why anyone would. I would rather feel pain and anguish and sorrow than feel nothing. Maybe I’m wrong. I’ve never really experienced unbearable misery. I suppose that’s why people turn to drugs and alcohol and suicide. It’s easier for them to be numb.

Maybe I’m still innocently naive, but I can’t imagine a pain so great that it’s worth sacrificing every emotion to rid myself of it. I would rather be hurt a thousand times over than never again get to experience the overwhelming joy of a loved one’s embrace, or the feeling of sublime perfection that comes with the beginning of each new day, or the inexplicable happiness of knowing I’m alive. I could never give up laughter and joy and love. Are they not the essence of our existence? Would I even really be alive without them? Well, the same goes for pain and anguish and sorrow. Without them, life is stagnant and meaningless. Without the bad there is no good. Without pain there is no joy.

So I will wander down my path, feeling the pain and confusion of being lost, knowing that joy is somewhere just beyond the horizon, which now seems both closer and further than I had wanted it to be. I will stand in the middle of nowhere, utterly lost and utterly unprepared. I won’t know where I’m going, but that will be the beauty of it.

I take a step forward and find myself somewhere completely unexpected, somewhere even more beautiful than the place from which I came, somewhere that can only be outdone by my next step forward, and I smile, as I move into the future one unpredictable, beautiful step at a time.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Maybe That's All Family Really Is, A Group Of People Who Miss The Same Imaginary Place

Apparently, I have a computer curse. I finally got back my laptop, but everything on it was completely erased. I guess part of me knew it was going to happen, but still, to have to recover all 2000 songs on my ipod is not a fun task. If people want to take pity on me and burn me some CDs, it would be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, at the office, my computer completely died and I spent the day hovering over people like a buzzard, waiting to use their computers. At least I can blog easily at home, if nothing else.

A bunch of us we're sitting in my yard Tuesday night smoking a bowl, as my father sat in the living room right by us, grading papers. They asked me if he cared. Honestly, I don't know. I don't know if he cares because truly he has no idea what's going on. Ever. It's not that he's senile exactly, it's more that he couldn't really care less about what anyone else does as long as it doesn't effect him in any way. He's not selfish though. It's hard to explain really. Most of my life is hard to explain.

People think it must be fun to live in my house. Well, it is and it isn't. It's one of those situations that from the outside seems better than it is. I understand that. I understand that for anyone who grew up in a house of rules, my living situation would seem like a dream come true, but just so you know, it isn't all it's cracked up to be. I never really had any rules beyond common courtesy, which isn't even really a rule. I never had a curfew, or places I wasn't allowed to go, or people I wasn't allowed to mingle with, or even things I was allowed to do. My parents wouldn't be happy to find their children's bottles and bongs and cigarettes lying around the house, but wouldn't do anything more than place them on the kitchen table to make it clear that they knew what was going on. I think they hoped our desire to please them would be enough to makes us stop such behavior.

Harry never developed that desire. I had it intensely for a while, but never stopped doing anything. I just hid everything better out of respect for them, and admittedly, to make it all more dangerous and appealing for myself. There was also of course, my underlying need to be the "better child," to one-up my brother in the eyes of our parents. I have real superiority issues, which is funny because I also have really low self confidence issues. I'm sure the two, as opposite as they seem, are directly related. It would only make sense.

What I only came to realize sitting outside discussing my house with Tommy, is that part of me would give absolutely anything to live in a family where there were rules and regulations. I guess things would be different if my mom were still living here. Without her, this house is a free for all. Far beyond the throngs of homeless friends my brother brings to live here, and the strung-out jazz musicians my father fills our living room with daily, there's a genuine lack of reality here. It's as though this house is in some alternate universe, where nothing means anything. Everyone’s free to live their life any way they please.

My parents are free spirits, and obviously, their four children followed suit. It’s nice to know that we have our freedom, but it’s easy to mistake that freedom for a lack of caring, a lack of responsibility on their part. I think that’s why I have such issues with my father. He can’t seem to make up his mind about how much space to give or not give me, so he either ends up driving me crazy or ignoring me completely. Harry just ignores everyone. Sometimes I think that if they weren’t all musicians, if the homeless jazz men didn’t fill our house, that my life at home would be completely silent. It’s scary to think about how far apart a family can grow.

Soon after my parents got divorced, although I think it had been building since I graduated high school, my desire to impress them dissolved. It sounds so cliched, but I did come to see them just as people, two very fucked up people, who didn’t have any more of a clue about life than I did. I love my parents, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t the ones determining my decisions anymore. My life is my own, whether I want it to be or not. I think you learn how to be independent pretty quickly when you feel abandoned. I’ve never realized that I felt this way before. Abandoned. Not by my mother or father exclusively, but by a kind of family I envision a family to be. The kind of family my friends all seem to have. My mother is my best friend. My father is a casual acquaintance. My brother is a kid I only talk to drunk at a party. My family is something that ceased to exist a long time ago.

I guess it’s cool to know that I can sit in my backyard and smoke and drink and not have to hide anything. It’s nice to know that my money, my time, my life is mine to manage. I am in charge of my choices, my existence. I can go anywhere and do anything. I am completely free. I just sometimes wish that I didn’t have to be. I just sometimes wish that I could return to that place that no longer exists. I just sometimes wish we were still a family.

Maybe Zach Braff had it perfectly right. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place. I miss it more each day. I miss home.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

That Drunk Girl At The Office Function

I'm a little behind in all of the things I would like to write about. I have a list going and will have to catch up quickly when I get my computer back. Knowing me however, I'm bound to get off topic within the first two sentences, so the list just gets longer and longer. Most of my life feels like a spinning wheel I can never seem to step off of. Work's been busy and so it's been difficult to update while I'm here, but I'm staying late today specifically to do so. Here it goes.

Saturday. I woke up the day after our amazing concert feeling absolutely fantastic. I love those mornings where it just feels good to be alive. After a quick session at the gym, I came home, got changed and headed off to a company picnic I'd been dreading for weeks. It's not that I in any way dislike the people I work with. It's just that I'm the only one under the age of thirty (McFarlane was down the shore), and also the only one without a seriously significant other (all are married except one who's in an extremely serious relationship and one who swore off marriage long ago). The age gap isn't so weird. I'm fairly mature for my age and don't mind mingling with adults. I just didn't want to be the only one who felt out of place. The trouble is that there isn't generally anyone for me to depend on to feel awkward with, and I hate that. I could have used some awkward company.

After a cosmo that I probably shouldn't have had, somehow champagne seemed like it couldn't particularly make things worse, so I had a little. I never drink and drive. Let me just say that now. If I've been out with you, you know that I won't even have one drink and get behind the wheel, but somehow I just didn't care that day. The truth is, I used alcohol for the very thing I hate alcohol being used for. I drank to feel less awkward. I didn't want to be the only one without an "other" and the only one not drinking. A glass of champagne with my 60-some-year-old boss (the one who swore of marriage) somehow ended up with the two of us finishing off two and a half bottles by ourselves. I think he's a pro at being in that alone and drinking situation. We drank and laughed and ate and had an amazing time. I may have been THAT girl who gets too drunk at an office function, but I never get to be that girl, and for the time being it was fun. Stupid, knowing I had to drive later, yes, but fun. Right now, fun seems more important than responsible.

The highlights of the day seemed to include when the host's husband (a 40-something year old man with a rat tail) asked me if I was sobering up because I was pretty bombed earlier, and when I dropped the head of the company's blackberry on the table and momentarily broke, what seemed to be, the most important thing in his life. I must say, it was pretty impressive, even for me.

I drove home, not necessarily drunk, but with the essence of being drunk still on me. The worst part is, I don't even really regret it now. That picnic wouldn't have been nearly as fun had I not been loaded, and I somehow feel more comfortable with everyone in the office now that they've seen me like that. I even told the woman who sits next to me to call me and we'll hang out. She told me she and her husband had wanted to hang out with me after the picnic, but she didn't have my number. She does now, and I hope we do. Somehow, it seems strange to drink and smoke up with a married couple, but in reality, I know it wouldn't be. They're just friends like anyone else. Why does marriage seem so alienating to me?

ANYWAY, after a quick nap, I got up again in the same clothes and wandered over to Sam's house for his 21st birthday celebration. Needless to say, I had about two drinks and was loaded again, but didn't feel at all strange about it there. I love those six boys, Meghan, and the etc. kids that make guest appearances. I just feel so completely comfortable around them, and that's a truly priceless quality to have in a friend. Let alone seven friends. They truly are amazing.

Between the liquor, the beer, the pot, the cigars and the cigarettes, we all managed to get very fucked up out on Sam's deck. It was a wonderful night. The weather was perfect and we were all perfectly happy to be there, to be alive. It was one of the best Saturday's I've had in a long time.

I'm not generally in the habit or relaying details of specific events as much as my usual spout of feelings and theories about life, but I needed to write a little something about that day before I began to forget. Everything in life can become a blur so quickly if we neglect to mark them down, to separate them, to make them their own unique moments. Trying to organize pictures today, I struggled again and again trying to identify what time period each one fit into, where each one took place. I always assume my memories will be with me forever. I'm always telling myself that I could never forget this or that, but I generally do. Time moves so rapidly, it's a wonder I can keep anything in my head at all.

Of course, the drugs and alcohol probably aren't helping much.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dance As Though No One Is Watching, Love As Though You'll Never Get Hurt

Standing on the lawn of the tweeter in the warmth of the summer night air, Jane turned to me and said, "You know, I've come to realize it doesn't really matter how ridiculously you dance, as long as it looks like you're having fun." Jane’s always been wise like that. The minute she said it, I knew it was true of course. It seemed so obvious, but somehow, I had never really been able to see it before. Suddenly every person there, jumping and hopping and twitching, seemed so beautiful. Dave Matthews played on and the lawn became littered with more and more of the infamous “white people dancers.” I couldn’t help but smile.

Yesterday, we went to the Big Summer Classic Tour at Penn’s Landing. It was an absolutely amazing concert, the kind you look back on for years to come as a fond memory of your youth, the kind of day you look back on as a time in your life when you were truly and purely happy. You know what kind of day I mean. I wasn’t even fucked up. I was just sublimely at one with the world. For this first time in my life, I felt like I really understood what Tommy meant when he said that music flowed through him, that it changed him, that it helped him feel free. For the first time in my life, I felt free.

This all sounds kind of stupid I know. It’s just that I’ve spent my whole life trying to convince myself that it’s ok to look like a fool as long as you’re having fun, but am only now at 20, beginning to truly believe it, truly embrace it. Needless to say, I danced like a fool and had a wonderful time. Now it’s all I want to do. I forgot how nice it is to just let loose once and a while. I wish the feeling would flow over into the rest of my life somehow. I wish I could feel that carefree about everything. I wish the music could have played on forever and we could have danced like fools until the end of time.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I Can't Believe That We Would Lie In Our Graves, Wondering If We Had Spent Our Living Days Well

I hate the expression “live each day as though it were your last.” Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment, but when it comes down to it, it’s just flat out bad advice. The trouble with imagining this is your last day on earth, is that tomorrow you’ll wake up and realize that it wasn’t, that life does in fact go on.

I understand that the point is, what if it doesn’t. The point is that potentially you won’t wake up tomorrow and you will have to know that you wasted your last day here on earth. Yes, that would maybe suck, if you were even aware of what your last day on earth consisted off once you’ve left it. I have yet to determine if I believe that kind of thing, or furthermore, if I believe you’d regret living through another normal day right before you died.

The thing is, more often than not, you will wake up. Another day in your life will begin and you will find yourself completely unprepared. I guess what I mean is that if I lived each day as though it were my last, I would never go to class or get a job or try to take care of myself. I think part of me used to believe that excluding those things from my last day somehow meant that they weren’t necessary in my days at all. That isn’t right though, and I know it isn’t right. Those things are important.

I don’t want to wake up at fifty wishing I had planned for some kind of a future. What it comes down to, is that I would much rather have a boring last day than an entire life of days without stability. That sounds awful. That doesn’t sound like the me I want to be at all, but I know in my heart that it’s true.

I still full heartedly believe in carpe diem, in seizing the day, the moment, and making it beautiful. It’s not that I want to deny my life of spontaneity and beauty, it’s just that I also need a plan. I don’t want to bounce from day to day, moment to moment, with no idea of what’s in store. It’s scares me to think that I’m wasting too much time doing nothing in the hopes that something will come along. I don’t want to become a spectator in my life.

I took the day off work to go to an all day concert at Penn’s Landing with some of my favorite people in the world, and then off to Adrian’s to begin the official celebration of Sam’s 21st birthday. Happy birthday my love! I just have a feeling it’s going to be a wonderful day, as without any hint of regret, I ignore work and responsibility and head off to spend my living days well. I can’t believe that we would lie in our graves, dreaming of things that could have been….

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm Ron Burgandy?

It’s interesting the way writing evolves. I have so many old journal entries and essays that I’ve written over the years and more and more they begin to sound less and less like me. Even things I wrote senior year sound so unfamiliar, as though I’m reading the thoughts of someone else entirely. I generally don’t read over recent writings, but found myself doing so yesterday. I tend to read the entries that people have commented on more than the others. The only reason I mention it is because I noticed how, even from a few months ago, my writing suddenly sounds so different, the biggest change being the barrage of questions.

I think I was taught, somewhere along the lines, not to ask questions when I write. Things need to be a statement, not an inquisition, as that leaves room for doubt. If your reader doubts you, you lose all of your power as the narrator and everything falls apart. Your story loses its credibility. It does make sense I suppose, but at the same time, I like the questions. They just sort of hang there, and I guess in some ways, they make me feel MORE connected to the reader, not less. In truth, they are all really asking the same question. Am I the only one questioning everything this way?

Yes, it’s true my questions leave room for doubt, but it makes sense because clearly, I doubt myself. I just need the comfort of these rhetorical questions. I need to feel like those who read this are sitting at their computers nodding along with me. I need to feel less alone in my thoughts. I’m fairly certain that most people drive themselves crazy about things the same way I do, but it’s nice to share that craziness with the world.

Some guy named Frank started this blog called Post Secret (located here: www.postsecret.blogspot.com), where people decorate a postcard, write their secret on it, and send it in for him to post. I find it so strangely beautiful. It’s so comforting to know that you’re not alone. Of course, the majority of the secrets are not a reflection of me, but I’m sure they’re a reflection of someone, and that alone makes it a worthy cause. It’s such a poetic way to prove that really, everyone’s fucked up, probably worse than you assume you are. It’s so funny the way we label ourselves as weird or crazy or messed up because of course, there is no such thing as normal to compare yourself to, no such thing as normal to base that off of. So doesn’t that mean that being normal consists, paradoxically, of admitting that you’re not normal?

There I go with the questions again. This isn’t even what I had intended to write about, but I don’t regret it. It’s interesting the way writing evolves like that. So what now? Should I stop asking questions? It may be a reflection of self-doubt, but perhaps it’s simply the product of watching too many episodes of sex and the city (which is probably more the case than anything intellectual or Freudian). Often, the question is much better than the answer, so for now, I’ll just let that one hang in the air. I’ll picture you, sitting at your computer, nodding along, helping me to feel less alone.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

If You Want To View Paradise, Simply Look Around And View It

Sometimes your day doesn't go at all the way you thought it would. I woke up this morning feeling wonderful, full of energy and ready to take the world by storm. The sun is finally out again, and while it’s still hot out, it’s not nearly as humid as it has been. It’s that satisfying kind of summer heat that I love so dearly. I wish I could be outside enjoying it. I couldn’t possibly be any less productive right now if I tried. I’m just sitting here at my desk staring out the window, wishing I hadn’t guzzled down so much coffee this morning. The overdose of caffeine has put me in the strangest of moods. I’m so overly focused that I’m not focused at all. It’s ADD to the extreme.

Needless to say, my day ceased being wonderful a few minutes after I stepped into the office. I think it’s a mistake to judge a day when it’s only just begun. It’s as though I hold expectations for it that it can never fulfill, and so I become punished by my anticipations, my dreams for greatness. I really know how to let myself down.

What I need to learn how to do is to control my emotions. Studies show that the majority of teens and “twenty-somethings” use music to alternate their moods. I think that’s true. I certainly do. I have a myriad of mixes on my Ipod to do just that. The work out mix, the rainy day mix, the bedtime mix, the good morning mix, I use them when I feel or certain way, but also when I would like to feel a certain way. The trouble is, I am a singer-songwriter fan at heart, and I’d say 90% of my music is therefore depressing. Everything I love to read is depressing because I’m enthralled by that darkly beautiful art. Every movie I love to watch is depressing because there’s something so poetic and pure about movies that reach a certain truth within you. I tend to fill my life with depression.

It’s therefore up to me to transform my mood, and really, it’s not nearly as difficult as I tend to make it out to be. Just sitting here watching the leaves flutter in the soft summer breeze makes me inexplicably happy. Knowing that in a few hours I’ll be able to go outside and play brings me joy. Writing about my feelings and being able to share them with anyone and everyone who reads this promotes a smile on my face. Then of course, there’s the bigger picture, which is often the best way to be happy about life. I am so blessed. The saddest things about my existence are confined to music, books and movies. The greatest things about my existence are my relationships, my interests, and my relentless love for the world around me. I have a beautiful life. I have a million reasons to be grateful, and a million more reasons to be happy, so that’s what I intend to be.

I write a lot about that search for something more in life, and I stand by everything I’ve said, but perhaps in my quest for more I’ve forgotten about the here and now. I’ve forgotten the trick to seeing beauty in the smallest details around me. It’s everywhere you know. Beauty is everywhere. You just have to open your eyes and look, take a deep breath, and let it fill every inch of your being. From there, the possibilities are endless. From there, genuine happiness begins to grow. From there, paradise is created, and all you have to do is simply look around and view it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So Let Go, Jump In, Oh Well What You Waiting For

I used to be very good at small talk. Maybe not. Maybe I just remember it that way. In any case, I'm not good at it now. I'm not good at making frivolous conversation with people, but it's a skill that I long to have. I watch other people do it so effortlessly, relaying anecdotes about their lives to casual acquaintances, discussing theories and insights about current events, sharing personal accounts of emotional moments. I just can’t allow myself to be that open.

It would be so much easier to define my trouble if I was a closed off person, but that isn’t it. I’m perfectly happy to write about anything, to have people know how I’m feeling, to sit up late sharing everything with friends. I live for those moments of openness and honesty. I think it just takes me a while to get there.

I suppose, what it really comes down to, is self-confidence, or rather, a lack thereof. Why is this always such a problem for me? I worry about boring people, or saying the wrong thing, or creating those infamous awkward moments that you instantly wish you could take back. I suppose no matter how much I may preach about individuality and living in the moment, I spend most of my time living in fear. I am constantly judging my every move and worrying that other people are doing the same. I am my biggest enemy.

There are people in my life who don’t have that social grace conscious. They don’t know when to stop talking or change the subject or when their welcome has worn out. They don’t know how to read people. Generally, their ignorance to these cues annoys me greatly, but every once and a while, I wish I could be more like that. I wish I could be more unaware of other people’s thoughts and opinions. Maybe that’s a selfish thing to say, but then again, sometimes I wish I could be more selfish. Sometimes I wish I didn’t worry about anyone but me.

I hate being over analytical because everything becomes so much more than it needs to be. I become so critical. Why do I care so much what people think? Why can’t I ever just let go? I’ve spent my life being responsible and following the rules, and yes, I’ve had fun, but I worry that I’ll never get that chance to just be wild and rebellious and young. I worry that I’m missing out on a kind of fun in my life that you can only have when you are completely free of your inhibitions. I think to be happy, I need to make a list of all the pros and cons of my decisions, crumple it up, and follow my heart.

I like being responsible and reliable, but I think spontaneity and selfishness are often too quickly overlooked. I think it’s important to remember that the most important person I ever need to impress is myself. I think at some point, I just need to let go. I just need to be me.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Blue Death And Monday Blues

I tried to turn on my computer Friday to update my blog, and as soon as it reached my background, I was hit by the blue death. My father claims this is a commonly used term, although I had never heard it before, and wish I had never had to hear it. My screen flashed blue with a notice only computer geeks can decipher, and then everything went dead. It made that horrendous noise I dread, the kind that makes your heart stop for a few seconds. My dear computer is dead.

I wouldn't have minded so terribly had I not JUST gotten it back a week ago from being repaired. The truth is, they only pretended to fix it with the hopes that my warranty would run out before it died again and I'd be forced to buy an entirely new computer. Grrrr. Anyway, I don't mean to complain about such a frivolous dillema. There are much bigger problems in the world than my laptop breaking down, but still it's an annoyance and will make updating my blog that much more difficult. Forgive me if it's sparatic for the next few weeks.

I'm at work right now and finding it difficult to concentrate on anything productive. Yeah, story of my life. This rain makes the day seem to move so slowly. It already feels like night has fallen and everyone should have already gone home. It's one of those days where I'd almost prefer to be here by myself. Everyone seems to be grumpy and it's rubbing off on me. Maybe it's just a case of the Mondays dragging me down.

I don't feel like getting into a deeply emotional topic right now, but I'll try and write some more later today. I hope things start to pick up and the rain starts to slow down. I'm getting pretty fed up with this weather.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm In My Tree Talking To The Dixie Chicks And They're Making Me Feel Better

I'm having an existential crisis. I'm not quite sure exactly what the qualifications are for such a thing, but I love the term and believe it to be rather open ended. I Heart Huckabees portrays it as such anyway. If you haven't seen that movie yet, drop everything you're doing and go watch it right now, but only if you can appreciate a really weird, funny, fucked up movie. If not, well, you're missing out on some great films.

I think I'm too much like Albert and not enough like the existential detectives. I'm always asking too many questions, like his "if the forms of this world die, which is more real,the me that dies or the me that's infinite? Can I trust my habitual mind or do I need to learn to look beneath those things?" When in actuality, who the fuck cares? Why should this kind of thing matter to me? I'll admit, I haven't really reached that kind of deeper layer of thought. I just don't know who I am or where I fit in, and more than that, I don't know if I need to know these things or if anyone ever knows these things. I often wonder if confidence in oneself can ever be anything more than an act.

Does anyone actually have everything figured out? People pretend like they do, and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to smile and pretend along or admit that I have absolutely no idea what's going on. I'm not sure if people really believe they know what they're doing or if they fake it like I do. I'm not sure if believing it is enough. Do I really have more or less of a clue than anyone else? This series of questioning is so stupid, I know, because it only leads to more questions without answers which only leaves me more confused than when I started. Still, I like to think about them.

I used to be able to define myself so well. I was defined by my activities and my relationships. That's who I was, but without those things, does that mean that I am nothing? That's what it feels like now, that without a slew of hobbies and friends, I am without an identity. It's a really horrendous feeling, and worse, one that I don't know how to fix. What defines us? Is there more to life than just activities and relationships? Should there be? This is why so often I find myself dreaming of isolation. Not for my life, mind you, but maybe a few weeks. Even a day would be nice. I would love to be back at Solo, sitting in the middle of the woods completely alone with no distractions, just a pen and a journal. It's really the only way to figure anything out.

Of course, having said that, what I wrote about on Solo was mostly the outside world, my relationships. Also, paradoxically, maybe being the kind of person who longs for answers and isolation is in and of itself, my identity. As Brad says, "How am I not myself?" Is it possible to be someone else or are we always ourselves even taking on a different identity? Isn't that then, part of our identity?

I guess what I don't know is when one is supposed to stop searching for answers, or morever, if one is ever supposed to stop. Are we ever really meant to feel completely satisfied? I feel as though life would become complete stagnant if we were. We would all just settle for satisfaction. We would all just settle for contentment. We would all just settle, but I can't help wondering if that would make us happier. I can't help wondering.

Bernard says "when you get the blanket thing you can relax because everything you could ever want or be you already have and are." I think part of me wants to get the metaphorical blanket thing, but it's really scary to think that I am already complete, that I do in fact have everything I want. That I am in fact everything I want. Shouldn't it feel different? What would be left to think about? I don't think I want that kind of relaxation. I don't want to be sedated with satisfaction. I think all I really want, is to drive myself completely insane. This entry was probably a good start.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Limbo Fatigue

I've been so tired lately. It's beyond tired. It's that borderline edge of depression I sometimes fall into, the kind that's not real depression or sadness, but rather just the desire to sleep for a while. I think it's the heat. This weather makes it so unappealing to ever step foot outside of my air conditioned room to do anything more than go to my air conditioned office. It's not even sunny outside. It's not that fun kind of summer-is-here-let's-go-out-and-play heat. It's the unbearable humid let's-all-act-like-cats-and-sit-around-doing-nothing kind of heat. It's the worst.

I think more than the horrible weather, I find myself yet again in life's limbo. It's not that I make necessarily impulsive decisions. It's just that when I'm sure of something, I tend to act on it impulsively. The day I decided to leave Kalamazoo, I decided for good. I told everyone, started making arrangements to leave, arrangements for my new life back home. I removed myself completely from the world I was still living in before getting to move into the next, new world. I sat waiting in some airy limbo between worlds, between lives.

I don't know what the extra incentive was on Monday, but for whatever reason, I decided it was time to tell Ed I was quitting. I hadn't even given it that much thought. I mean, I knew I wanted to leave, and I knew the job wasn't what I wanted or needed, but even so I find myself wondering why I did quit, why now. I hadn't told anyone I was going to do it, not even my mother whom I tell everything. I just woke up Monday morning and thought, 'I'm going to quit today,' went to my computer and emailed Ed that we needed to talk. Sometimes I feel bipolar. I've only told one other person in the office because I never know how to bring these things up. How do you tell people you want to leave them? I've never been good at saying goodbye.

After I told him I wanted to go, a huge weight lifted from me, and I experienced a kind of satisfying tranquility I haven't felt for a very long time. I felt relieved to know I could finally leave. At the end of the summer I'll have ten times the amount of free time I have now. I'll get to do whatever I please, perhaps even attempt to do well in school, something I've been ignoring completely. I'll have time to go the gym and get my diet on track, and read and write and maybe even do a play, all of the things that make my life happy, all of the things I've been lacking in my life.

Still, for the next six weeks I am employed at Higgins and Associates and expected to do my job. I don't mind doing it, but my heart isn't it. I've already moved on. It's already 10am and I haven't even left for work. I'll most likely be putting in less hours from now on. I'm sure the time left will drag on as I count down the days until the next stage of my life. I wish stages in life could begin and end like chapters. When I reach the end of one, the next begins, and when it ends, another begins, and so on and so forth. But life doesn't work that way, and so I exist once again in some airy limbo between pages, waiting to begin again, dreaming of what my next chapter will hold.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Still, Part Of Me Misses It

I tend to glorify the past. Well, I think we all do. I think its human nature to block out the hurt and pain and embarrassment we've faced, until we're left with nothing but beautiful memories. We like to edit the movie of our lives. Maybe not. Maybe that's just me.

I quit smoking. I'm no longer particularly craving the nicotine, but more, craving the habit. I've gotten out of wanting one when I'm driving or right after a meal. I'm not desperate for something to do with my hands when I'm sitting around. I can even sit in a bar or at a party without the constant desire. I don't want one, and yet, I miss them. I miss the way the smoke curled up from my hand in the cool night air. I miss the way they would elegantly sit poised between my fingers. I miss the crackling sound the tip makes when it's first introduced to a flame. I miss the idea of them. I've made them into this beautiful, graceful, mysterious memory, when in fact they're disgusting, and I know that. They turned my fingers and teeth yellow, filled my lungs with soot, and engulfed my every possession with their smell. They made me feel awful. I hate smoking. Still, part of me misses it.

I was miserable at Kalamazoo. Not the entire time, mind you. I loved (and still love) my friends there, but it wasn't enough. I was unhappy. I didn't like the size or location or setting and I missed home, missed the alternate life I could be leading, so I left to go lead it. At idle moments I regret leaving. Things would have been so much simpler for me had I stayed, and I genuinely miss that kind of simplicity. There was a straight and narrow path to be lead, one that didn't require too much thinking or decision making or emotional investment, and I chose to take the path less traveled. I chose to struggle and fail and be lost and confused. In essence, I chose to screw myself over. Sometimes I hunger to take it back. I watch my friends go through their requirements at school with set plans for their lives. To get from point A to point B they know what they need to do. I don't. I don't even have a point B. At Kalamazoo I was writing more. No, at Kalamazoo, I was a writer. That was how I would spend all of my free time. I was really thinking about my life and the world and how I fit in. I knew it wasn't there. I knew my life needed to be bigger than that. I knew I had to leave Kalamazoo. Still, part of me misses it.

I've spent nearly all of my money this summer on concerts. I don't regret it. I love a good show, especially if it involves seeing it with the people I love. It's just that I remember a time where concerts were a huge ordeal. Going to a concert meant finding the money to fund it, a way to get there and back, some form of alcohol, excuses to tell parents, places to sleep, a myriad of important details. It took so much planning that by the time we actually got into the concert, it was amazing no matter who was playing or what they were playing. A drunken night on the lawn at the tweeter center was worth everything in the world. Now, we just go online a few days before, order some tickets, hop in the car, pick up some beer and go down. Yeah, it's easier and more convenient, but every once and a while, I'd love to have the journey back. I hated the stress of figuring everything out, making it all work for everyone, trying so desperately (and sometimes failing) to get beer. Still, part of me misses it.

For so long, Springside was my everything. I'd spend 12 hours a day there minimum, and the rest of my time thinking about the events and people there. High school was my whole world at the time. I tell everyone, including myself, that I loved high school, and I believe that I did. I loved it the way you love a friend, where you're willing to forget any arguments or heartaches that happen because the good times outnumber all the bad. I often reflect on it, and admittedly sometimes want to just return, want to turn back the clock to senior year and replay it over and over again. The thing is, I wouldn't give up what I've learned in the past 2 years for anything. Yes, I was naively optimistic, and it would be so much easier had that never ended, had I just gotten to live with that skewed view of how the world worked forever, but I can't. I know better now, and there's no turning back. There's only forward. I know that there were things I hated about high school. I know there were times when I would have done nearly anything to escape. I know I was a close-minded girl living in a close-minded world. Still, part of me misses it.

I tend to glorify the past. In my past, there have certainly been times that were not nearly as beautiful as I remember them. In my past, there have certainly been times of pain and humiliation and embarrassment. In my past, there have certainly been times that I would never want to relive, let alone remember. Still, part of me misses it. Maybe that's just me.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Rebel Without A Clue

So yet another promise broken I suppose. I don't know why I've been so awful about writing. I wish I could blame it on the blog, but I'm afraid the problem doesn't limit itself to this. My poor journal's been sitting on my shelf for far too long. It used to collect stories and thoughts and emotions, now all it seems to be collecting is dust. I can't seem to wrap my mind around anything enough to put it into words, and that scares me. A lot of things scare me.

I think the truth is, I've been kind of scared to write. Putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper only makes them that much more real, and right now, reality is not my friend. I hate reality. I hate the literal and the definite and the logical. I hate that I'm logical. I revel in the quotes and stories and movies and lyrics about dreamers, about those people who can run away from reality into a world all their own. I want to run with them. I want a wild heart that won't settle for the ordinary. I want a mind that will ignore everything but my heart.

But that's not what I have, and as time goes on I realize more and more that it's probably not something that I'll ever have. I want to believe what they all say. I want to believe that you are in control of your own life, that you are fully capable of changing your path when you're not happy. I want to believe that you are capable of changing yourself into whomever it is you wish to become. I just don't know if I do believe that.

We make choices every second that change our lives forever. I believe that. It is possible to change your life in some way when you want to change it. I believe that. You should always, ALWAYS listen to your heart. I believe that too, but the ability to truly change yourself? I'm skeptical. Yes, you can change your appearance and perhaps even your attitude, but your head and your heart are still in the same place. Aren't they? I guess even that is flawed. I don't really believe that either.

I'm not really sure what I believe, or is any of this even makes sense. I'm just thinking about who I am and my place in the world, and well, I guess what it comes down to is that none of it makes me happy, none of it brings me any satisfaction. That's partially why I quit my job today, and partially why I've been somewhat anti-social all summer. My life just needs to be put under construction for a little while until I figure out what the hell it is I want to do, and more importantly, who the hell it is I want to be.

At the moment, nothing is more appealing than just taking off and traveling around the country for the next few months. I would love to just drive and write and explore new places. I would love to be out on my own, learning all that I can about different ways of life. I would love to just be out there living, but my practical head keeps me from following my wild heart. My head keeps me here knowing I don't really have the money or education or time or (what it really is) guts to travel out into the unknown by myself. I'm not a rebel. I can't abandon school. I can't ignore the expectations people hold for me. I can't be the me I really want to be. Fuck it, I can't even figure out who that is. I only know it's not who I am now.

I'm not a rebel, but sometimes, I would give anything to know that I could be.