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

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Amen, Omen. Can I Find The Place Within, To Live My Life Without You?

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. All of my writing energy has been placed into emails to a certain someone in China, and I haven’t had the time to write anything here. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ve had the time, but haven’t had much to say beyond the fact that I miss him. I’m not going to write out some long tribute to him as much as I may want to. I’m not using this as a forum to say goodbye. That’s what the emails are for. Instead, I’m going to do the selfish thing and write about me.

This upcoming week is my last week of work. It feels strange knowing I won’t be going there every day, seeing the same people every day. I guess I wouldn’t necessarily call the majority of my coworkers my friends, but in retrospect, they’ve been the people I’ve spent the most time with over this past year. In some ways, this job has been the most constant thing in my life recently and my days will feel different without it. As much as I hate to admit it, part of me will miss it.

School begins Monday. Sometimes I forget I’m still a student, as dumb as that may sound. I suppose part of it was having the job all year round, and never really having a break from working, but I think it’s also my separation from school. I enjoy the separation. In fact, that was a big factor in my decision to leave Kalamazoo, the freedom to have a life outside of campus. At the same time, maybe I’ve become too separated. I feel so distanced from college life. I feel like a grown up taking night classes. I don’t know how you’re supposed to feel at this age, but I don’t think it’s like this. I guess I spend too much time worrying about how I’m supposed to feel, how I’m supposed to be. Since when did I fall victim to expectations?

I spent a lot of time this summer worrying about how this next year would play out, worrying how I’d get by without you. Things will be different. I’m officially declared in my new major of which I know nothing about, I’ll no longer be employed at Higgins, my best friend is half way across the world, I’m living at home with my schizophrenic father and brother. I was worried that while all of my friends were off having adventures, I’d be here doing the same daily routine, unable to grow and evolve into someone new, but I was wrong. I failed to see my own adventure. Life. Life is an adventure all on its own, and even when I feel stagnant, I’m still moving. I can only move forward, onward and upward.

Even being without him is an adventure for me, a growing experience. I assumed that I would be lonely this semester with so many friends gone away, but the truth is, I’ve always wanted this time for myself. My friends will still be my friends no matter how far away they go, and for now, I’m going to embrace this time to really be alone. Not in a sad way, but in the kind of self exploration way I need. It’s sort of a prolonged solo experience. Of course, I’m certainly far from isolation and I still have friends around and friends at Temple that I have made and will make in the upcoming semester. Still, I plan to find within me a new kind of strength, the strength to be without you. I’d like to learn to like myself, and maybe that sounds simple, but in twenty years I have yet to learn it, yet to make that kind of peace within my soul.

I haven’t always made time to be selfish, but it is important to have that time I think. I want to make this upcoming semester about me. I want to work hard in school and stick to a diet and really work on my writing. I want nights that I can devote completely to reading a good book and days I can devote to walking alone in the woods and pondering life. I want to figure out exactly who I am and exactly who I want to be. I want to find within myself the person I long to be. I want to find the strength to live my life without you, to live my life for me. It’s about time I began the journey.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

And On The Subway We Feel Like Strangers, But We’re All In This Together

It’s amazing how everything changes. Portions of my life that I swore I would never forget are already fading, blurring together into an ambiguous haze of memory. Sometimes it feels as though my life has just been one long, continuous day. I used to spend so much time wishing I could return to the person I was in high school, wishing I could avoid ever having to move on, but everything changes. I can barely remember who that person was, or how she differed from the person I am now. I know in my heart that I have changed, but I can’t see it anymore, I can’t define it. It’s such an odd sensation to begin looking at life like an adult.

I’ve been noticing it in movies and music especially. Songs that a year ago held no meaning suddenly seem as though they were written just for me. I find myself so aware of instances in movies where the director has captured all of human suffering in a three second shot of a pair of scissors. For the first time, the grown up world seems to make sense to me. I see high school students and am struck with how young they look, but moreover, how much older we must look. We can’t watch our own lives from afar, but if we could, I think we’d find that we’ve entered the next stage. This is part two of the story of our lives.

I find myself watching adults more than I ever used to, thinking about what stage of their lives they’re in. I think a lot about how they look back on their lives, what they do and don’t remember. At the time, everything seems important and unforgettable, but we do forget. No one can remember every detail about their life so far. At twenty years I’m already forgetting what it felt like at fifteen. There’s no way to save the former version of yourself to compare and contrast to who you are currently. It makes it difficult to measure progression. I wonder if the people I’m watching are standing there thinking about their personal growth. Maybe their heads are filled with thoughts of who they are, who they were, who they could have been had things gone differently. Life is filled with so much wonder.

But we’re all in this together, as my current favorite Ben Lee song goes. We spend so much time comparing ourselves and fighting each other and getting wrapped up in our own drama, that we tend to forget that we are not alone. Yes, we are individuals with our own personal thoughts and experiences, but in essence, we’re all just people trying to get through life one day at a time. It may feel as though no one could possibly understand you, but someone does. It’s comforting to know the biggest support group we have is the human race, and that we can depend on them to struggle with us. We all ultimately have the same beginning and ending. We all want to be happy and loved, whether we admit it or not. We all feel the beauty and pain and bewilderment of life. We’re the same really, you and I. We’re each just one of many.

I don’t mean to rob us of our individuality and importance, but when it comes down to it, most of us probably won’t be remembered in hundreds of years and all of our similarities and differences won’t mean anything. We all have the same fate. In some strange way, it’s freeing to know that it really doesn’t matter. All of the mistakes and problems and drama in our lives won’t mean a goddamn thing when we’re lying in our graves. Of course life, in all of it’s glory and heartache, is the most precious gift we will ever be given. I don’t mean to adorn death or demean life. I’m just trying to say that we’re not as alone as we’d sometimes like to believe we are. We’re not as misunderstood. Someday we will all be dead and gone, but for now we are alive, and we’re all in this together.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery, None But Ourselves Can Free Our Mind

I dream of a noble life far beyond my reach. All of these quotes and songs and movies about passion and following your heart and living life to the fullest remind me of how I've failed to make my days what I wanted them to be. College is supposed to be a time of complete freedom, but with each passing moment I feel my life caving in on me. I feel my innocent faith in things beginning to fade from me. I feel the world getting that much colder. I just don't have a grip on my life at all.

The possibilities are endless. I can really do whatever I'd like right now, but the freedom scares me. I'm scared to figure out what I want out of life. I'm scared of making all the wrong choices. I'm scared that I'll spend too much of my life being scared to move forward. I feel stagnant in my freedom because in essence, I can't allow myself to be free. Jim Morrison said "expose yourself to your deepest fear. After that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free." Yet another quote that speaks to my soul, but that I can't seem to put into practice. I don't know how to stop being afraid of life.

I thought about his death for so long. It haunted me for reasons I can't even define. It makes sense that I would think about him, cry for his end, cry for my loss. It makes sense that it would haunt me, but it was more than the thoughts of him lying on his dorm room floor in his blood. It was more than the fear that I had overlooked his sadness, the endless "what if" and "if only" scenarios I've played over and over in my head, the guilt I felt for not seeing his pain. It was more than sadness for the loss of a friend. It was gratitude.

His death made me so painfully aware of how much I wanted to live. Maybe that sounds so selfish, but his death changed my life in such a profound way, that I found myself saying thank you when I sat in my car staring up at the sky, speaking to him in the heavens. I found myself knowing that I would be ok, something I hadn't thought was true even before the news of his death. I was going to be alright. Through the tears and pain of knowing he was gone, I was so struck by the fact that I wasn't. I'm not gone. I'm here and alive and ok. In that moment of recognition, it was as if the earth suddenly burst open and everything within it blazed with light. Everything was made so sublimely beautiful.

It's a beauty that follows me now, that hangs in the trees with the changing leaves and dances on the wings of birds. It's a beauty that reminds me of him. I think of his song, his blue eyes, his smile. I think of the card I gave him on his twentieth birthday, the drunken night we waited outside for pizza together in the blistering cold, the early morning we sat around his fireplace, warming ourselves from our winter swim. I think of our goodbye, and how I had no idea it would be our last. I feel sadness, but it's different than it was before, changed with time. I look up at the sky above and I smile at him. It may seem lame, but I really do believe he's up there. I find myself thanking him for things like a beautiful day or a precious animal sighting or a sudden rush of joy. I find myself happier when I talk to him.

Of course I would be happier if he were still alive, but his death was so important to me in a way. His death added meaning to my life. He gave me such a phenomenal gift, where when I think of him, I know that I will be ok. I know that my life is beautiful. I know that I can go on. I can, even for just a short while, stop fearing life and finally be free. That freedom makes life worth living, makes that noble life I dream of seem just a little bit more within reach.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Go Ahead Punk, Make My Day

Sometimes I feel like at twenty, pueberty is finally beginning to take it's toll on my emotions. My feelings are all over the place. I can wake up feeling fantastic and within the hour be angry at everything and everyone around me or I can be completely angry with someone and within ten minutes, be laughing so hard my sides hurt. Far beyond my psychosis, it's the simple details that can make or break my day. The weather, driving conditions, the moods of my coworkers. Everything.

I woke up feeling exhausted even though I got a great night's sleep. I went downstairs and was angry to find my father there. It's so annoying how he's just everywhere. Then I realized it is his house and I should just suck it up and get over it. I felt better. The trip to work was nice. It's beautiful outside, just the perfect mix of sun and wind, and I enjoyed both with all of my windows rolled down and my radio blaring. That Black Eyed Peas song 'My Humps' was on the radio. It's utterly absurd and yet I can't help but turn the volume up every time it comes on. I love stupid pop songs.

I walked into the office feeling high on life and was greeted nicely and then started to work. I have little spurts of wanting to continue working here. They come and go. I think mostly it's because I decided to leave so abruptly (although I've been complaining for quite some time), that I didn't really sit and weigh things out. It still hasn't entirely become real that I'm leaving. For me anyway, my bosses are sort of completely freaking out about finding a replacement. If anyone reading this wants a job, let me know.

Of course, you probably won't after all the complaining I do about it here. I know I can't stay because really, I hate it. It's not a bad job, it's just not fulfilling. I don't feel like a better person working here and I don't feel like my life has been made better because of this job. I'm just not meant to be behind a desk. That's all there is to it.

I'm sitting here completely bored staring out the window. There's only three of us in the office. Me, my favorite person here, Donia, and our least favorite person here, Justin. I probably shouldn't use names, but pretty much know none of them will read this. Or even if they do, I'm leaving anyway so whatever.

Justin's an angry republican and has the ability to ruin even the best of moods. I suppose the fact that he's a republican doesn't have anything to do with it, it just makes him seem more evil in my eyes. As Donia and I sit here talking, he sits across the room making whispering noises in mockery of us, the kind of thing you experience in the third grade. I can't imagine how any one person could have so much anger and hatred, but he does. He ignores everyone, and honestly, I would probably forget he was even here if it wasn't for the cursing, slamming, hissy-fits he throws. He used to scare me so much.

It doesn't take much for me to like a person. I don't have a long list of requirements. Pretty much what it comes down to is that if you say hello to me, you're wonderful and certainly friend worthy. Justin doesn't, and worse, he avoids eye contact to ensure that you won't say anything to him. I used to think that he needed a hug from someone, but the truth is, his anger is so far beyond that, and I'm so far beyond wanting to find some good in him. He's just not a good person.

And that's why I'm no longer afraid of him. That's why I forget he's even here. Once I realized that he isn't deep, that he does in fact just have the emotional stability of a 6 year old, everything changed. I learned how to see his hissy fits as pathetic and he lost all of his power that way. I laughed today as he whispered in mockery. Nothing's going to remove this smile from my face. Not even an angry republican.

As I smile, I light other smiles, and the world suddenly becomes so much brighter.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Are You There God?

I couldn’t sleep at all last night. I tossed and turned for a few hours before finally admitting defeat at around 4:30 this morning. I got up and went downstairs for some breakfast. The house was lively, as my house generally is. My father likes to tell me "it’s always a party at chez Zelnick," which spurs my exhausted "oh dad, just because you let homeless people live here, doesn’t make it a party."

As the insomniac that he is, he was already up and making bagels from scratch when I entered the kitchen. My brother and a few of his friends, who may or may not be living here at the moment, were in the basement "making music" which in this house is code for smoking pot. Most people’s houses are quiet at 5am. Not mine. In the very dawn of morning, the whack-jobs roam free, filling the world with its daily dose of crazy before the normal humans awake to greet the day. That seems to be the purpose of the Zelnick household.

In an attempt to drown some of this out, I turned on the TV. Keep in mind that I don’t have cable, and so at 5am all there is to watch is the news, the Spanish channel, and televised sermons on the WB. I’ve only been to a church service three times in my life. Once with a friend down the shore, once in Ireland on a trip with my mom (although it was more about seeing the architecture than hearing the sermon), and once at the Vatican (again, architecture). Through each of these sermons, I spent more time staring at the stain glass windows and people around me than I did listening to any of the messages being conveyed. To be honest, religion has always scared me.

I was not raised to be an atheist, but I was raised to question (and generally reject) anything organized and conventional, anything that took an authoritative stance. Political opinions took first place on my list of things to protest, followed closely by religion, although the two overlap everywhere and are hard to strictly categorize. Having the power fighting parents I have, I steered clear of organized religion with the belief that it was the best way to murder independence. I just couldn’t understand how or why anyone could be religious, and what shames me now, is that I never wanted to understand it, nor did I want to recognize it’s influence on my life.

It’s only recently that I’ve become completely enthralled by religion. It’s amazing how something that I’ve so emphatically avoided and ignored could be ruling my life the way that it does. Religion is everywhere. I suppose I’ve come to give it the broadest definition I can, but it is impossible to live a religion free life just as it is impossible to live in a color blind world. I think in an attempt to raise me as a free spirited liberal, my parents neglected to teach me the other side of things. I think they were hoping the liberal utopia they had created in their minds could eradicated reality.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret growing up without practicing a specific religion, I just wonder how I’d be different if I had. Part of me wants so desperately to understand that draw to religious practices. Do people really enjoy going to church and synagogue? Do they feel closer to God that way? Do they really believe in their heart of hearts that the bible is the ultimate truth? That their way of life is the superior way? I don’t ask these questions accusingly, I ask them curiously. I just want to understand.

I believe in God, probably more and more as I grow older. I feel connected to things on a spiritual level. I believe that life is a gift I think that things happen for a reason and that we’re each blessed with purpose, specific or not, just general purpose. I still have so many questions though, most of which have no black and white answers. But that’s the beauty of religion. It’s not black and white. It’s not as cult- like as I thought it was for so many years. If I chose to define religion as a system of beliefs, than my life, my thoughts, my world becomes my own religion. My religion evolves more each day.

I have so much more I want to say about this, but have to go to work. I’ll write more later. For now, I’m off to thank God for this beautiful morning, for this beautiful life.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Slaves To A Coffee Cup

It has become part of my Sunday morning routine to check the Post-Secret site for new secrets. I love the compilation of the deep, the dark and the frivolous. I love the way it makes me think about my own secrets, deep and dark and frivolous. Its amazing the way all of our idiosyncracies, common or not, become secrets. There are so many things we choose not to share with one another.

There was one this week that particularly struck me as it could easily have been written by me. It said, "because I am a Hippie I pretend to hate Walmart, but I secretly spend hours there wandering the aisles, and I love the low prices." I guess this could have been written by a lot of people, and probably about a lot of corporations similar to Walmart in there abduction of independence. My biggest vice is Starbucks.

There is no stronger love-hate relationship in my life than Starbucks. I cant seem to escape it. Last year, after an introduction to Infusion, a small hippie inspired coffee shop on Germantown Avenue, I vowed never to step foot inside a Starbucks again. Somehow buying my coffee at Infusion gave me a sense of superiority. I was above the draw of all the corporate nonsense. I was supporting an independent store, helping to save the small businesses of the world one cup of coffee at a time. I was fighting for freedom from an ever increasing homogeneous society.

I hate when people get all indignantly self righteous like that. I hate that I for a second believed that my quiet protest against corporate coffee would somehow make some kind of difference, that the CEOs of Starbucks were sitting in some conference room somewhere worrying about my lack of attendance. Boy were they missing my weekly four dollars. They'd probably have to close any day now.

Alright, so I didn't really think that far ahead, but a part of me truly and shamefully felt superior being able to tell people that I was against Starbucks and all that it stood for. I was my own person, not a sheep like the rest of the mindless consumers in this country. I had principles. That's what good hippies have after all. Peace, love and principles.

I was thinking about this standing in line at Starbucks yesterday afternoon, ordering the exact same Iced-Grande-Nonfat-Latte that the four (yes, FOUR) people in front of me had just ordered. Who have I become? Part of it is working in an office I think, where its harder to say no when meetings are held there and invitations to coffee-runs are being made, but the larger part of it is just growing up as an upper-middle class American. I think about this kind of thing all the time, about how my choices as a consumer completely contradict everything that I want to believe. I would love to sincerely call myself a hippie, but Im also just a typical twenty year old college student who likes to sit in Starbucks and write and pretentiously pretend Im smart.

I wish I was above all that, but Im not. I wish that I could limit myself to organic food, but it costs more and Id have to go out of my way to find it and make sure it was organic and really, who has time for all that? I wish that I only bought clothes at independent stores, but who wants to spend fifty bucks on a skirt by some struggling store owner/designer when you can get an entire outfit at Target or Walmart for that price? I wish that Starbucks wasnt on my way to work, but it is and its easy and I know what I like there. My principles become slighted against the concept of convenience.

I would like to believe that corporate America somehow tricked me into participating, but it's just my own lack of motivation. Sure, we are all brainwashed, but more than that, we're apathetic and lazy. So, we're losing our independence and principles. So what? We can always buy more at Walmart, and with the money we've saved from their low-low prices, we can treat ourselves to those five dollar Starbucks lattes that we all love so well.

Friday, August 12, 2005

TV Teens and Bittersweet Goodbyes

I've been house-sitting with limited internet access, so it's been difficult to blog. I'm at work right now pretty much doing everything I can to procrastinate. I can't tell if it's been slower around here or if I've just grown incredibly lazy as my last day nears. I'm both dreading and counting the seconds until it arrives. I guess there's no such thing as a goodbye that's not bittersweet.

My all time favorite thing about house sitting is the cable. I hate to be watching so much television, but anyone who has cable doesn't understand how depriving it is not to be able to watch such quality programming as Saved By The Bell, Full House, Dawson's Creek, and all the other shows that we grew up with. I'll admit, for the most part, cable is generally pretty overrated, but there's something so satisfying about being able to rekindle my youth in such a frivolous way. It's funny (and maybe a little sad...okay, really sad) but I can remember lines to some of these episodes that I haven't seen since I was about fifteen.

More than that though, I remember the feelings I had first watching it. I remember how grown up they all seemed. Zack Morris with his charm and wit and let's face it, kick ass cell phone. How could you not be in love with him? We watched DJ and Stephanie and Michelle blossom into strong young women over the years (cue sappy, lesson-learning music). We held our breath as Joey and Dawson kissed for the first time, knowing that it was destiny. They taught us morals and important life skills. They taught us how to be the kind of teenagers we all aspired to be.

We aren't teenagers anymore. Eventually, we had to say goodbye to Zack and DJ and Joey. We had to say goodbye to the world of numbers that end in teen and accept our new lives as twenty-somethings. We've moved on from living vicariously through our TV teens into our own reality. It's different and scary and wonderful. Still, it's been nice these past couple days to return to a world of cheesy lines and ridiculous scenarios. I hadn't realized how much I missed it, but I guess there's no such thing as a goodbye that's not bittersweet. Cue sappy, lesson-learning music.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Overdosing On Asshole Pills

I wish that I could write poetry. No, that's not it. I wish that I could write beautiful poetry. Of course, Oscar Wilde said that "all bad poetry springs from genuine feeling," and I think he may be right. Sometimes the worst kind of writing is the only reflection of real feelings. The thoughts are removed and you're left with nothing but pure, honest, raw emotion.

I've been extremely overemotional lately, but am starting to slowly move beyond it. I skipped work on Monday and slept all day. I think my growing angst has manifested into a physical condition. I was just so tired. To top it off, I had emailed my boss asking for the day off and got a not so pleasant email in return. I wont go into all the sorted details, but after a few text messages back and forth, I got one from him saying "NO BOOZING TONIGHT." I know he thinks he was being cute and funny, but it made me nothing but infuriated. I've missed six days of work in the past 14 months and that's including yesterday, and he can't even cover me for one day. I was so mad. In return I wrote "I didnt overdose on alcohol, but clearly you overdosed on the asshole pills."

Alright, so not my best comeback, but I was tired and put on the spot. I just wanted him to leave me alone, or at least understand that I wasn't just slacking off for the sake of slacking off. I hate that he assumes every move I make that doesnt involve him is motivated by alcohol. Does he know me at all? Clearly not, as I immediately received a text of "what's wrong?" Quite possibly the worst thing he could have said.

Why does the question "whats wrong? bother me so much? I hate to be THAT girl. The one who wants to scream, "I shouldn't have to tell you whats wrong," but at the same time, I shouldn't. Why don't people get it? Sometimes you just need to be left alone. I never did respond to him.

Then there was today when it was just the two of us in the office, and every part of me wanted to still be angry. He of course was being especially nice, which only made things worse. I hate when people try to pull you out of a bad mood you want to stay in. Sometimes I just want to stay angry. I left wanting to cry and scream. I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I was so upset about everything.

I got home and ate and had a nice talk with my dad. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I felt revived. I sent Ed a text message apologizing and he accepted. Part of me still wanted so desperately to be angry, both with him and with myself for apologizing. I still dont think I was the only one who needed to, but I feel better for having done it. Its amazing how freeing an apology can be.

That's when I realized, it's up to me. My emotions dont control me. I can instantly make myself happy when I want to be happy, but then, why do I love to be sad? And I do. I make myself suffer. Maybe it's that by being able to make myself happy again, my sadness somehow becomes insignificant, as though it wasnt a real emotion. My sadness and pain and angst becomes this fluff, so easily forgotten, so easily overlooked. I dont like to think that my emotions are frivolous. I guess I like to pretend that Im deeper than I actually am, that I'm somehow this social outcast, completely alone and destitute. I guess I like to pretend I'm a brooding artist with many complex layers of emotion. I guess I like to pretend that I can write poetry. No, that's not it. I like to pretend that I can write beautiful poetry, when in truth, all I can write is this extremely bitchy blog. Maybe being an asshole is more contagious than I thought, or maybe I just overdosed on the pills.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I could try and explain the way I feel right now, but fear efforts would be of little use. There isn’t a word for this combination of emotions. There isn’t a word for this view of life. I don’t know what’s going on with me in the slightest and I worry that blogging brings out this sadness in me that I might overlook otherwise. Sometimes, despite all of my beliefs about dealing with emotion, I wonder if it would be better to just ignore anything but happiness. I wonder if it would be better to just overlook the constant questioning.

I think it’s just this point in summer. Something about early August evokes an inquisition about my life as a whole, where I’m going, where I’ve been. In an effort to answer, I begin to tear myself away from everyone, trying to get back to me. I wish there was a place for me to disappear to for a while. I wish I had some form of refuge. The world suddenly seems so crowded and I find myself becoming claustrophobic in it. I can’t sem to escape.

I don’t want to write anymore about sadness, but again, can’t seem to escape. If I don’t write about it, I’ll never deal with it and the avoidance is what’s making it so painful. So, here it goes. Soon, everyone will pack their things and head off for school once more. Soon, everyone will leave. That's something that I miss about Kalamazoo, beyond the people of course. I miss being able to pick up and go. I miss the change of scene. I miss having more than one home. I miss being the one leaving.

I like that I stayed here. I do. I don’t regret my decision, but if I were really and truly confidant in it, I wouldn’t have to keep reminding myself of that. I wouldn’t need the reassurance of constantly telling myself, "I don’t regret it." I wanted to live my life with no regrets, because I think regrets waste time in life, but I have them. I have choices that I wish I had or hadn’t made. I have moments that I replay again and again in my head, wishing that I had said something different, wishing that I had said something at all. I am constantly struggling between the desire to be perfectly content and the desire to do everything over again. It shouldn’t matter either way as I can’t change the past, but somehow, the way I choose to deal with my past inevitably changes the way I deal with my future.

I have no idea what’s in my future, and I both love and hate the uncertainty. It’s all about the potential of tomorrow. Potentially, my future will be an amazing adventure filled with unconventional events and characters, a real roller coaster of experiences. Or potentially, and this is my biggest fear, I will wake up in five, ten, fifty years, and be in the exact same place. I watch my friends figuring out their futures and I worry that I’m being left behind.

That’s what this current pity-fest is all about. I feel like I’m being left behind, and at the fault of no one but myself. It’s gotten to the point where at least five times a day I stop and ask myself "what the fuck am I doing?" It applies to both the specific moment at hand and the larger picture of life. I feel really lost, and I know how stupid and cliched that sounds, but I do. I just don’t have anything figured out and instead of dealing with it, I just avoid it until thinking about it ties my stomach in knots. My stomach has been tied in knots for weeks.

I have yet to put into words the biggest factor in my fear about the future. Tommy’s leaving. I don’t know exactly why this is torturing me so. Of course I knew I would be sad that my best friend is going to China for a year. I knew it would be hard to say goodbye. I just never realized that it would be this hard. I’ve never been good at goodbyes. I’ve always been good at it in my head, the movie script speech of what we’ll each say, the last words, the soundtrack starting in at the emotional climax. In reality, I start acting like an asshole and avoiding people and pushing them away so it won’t hurt. Even now I’m starting to cry knowing that it’s true.

I feel like this is the end. Not for my friendship with Tommy, but for a life that I’ve become so accustomed to living. For the first time, this set of goodbyes really feels like goodbye. Everyone’s beginning to grow up and move on, and I’m still here, lost and confused. I’m still wandering around the hallway of childhood looking for the right door to go through. Returning to school doesn’t appeal to me, but I wouldn’t know what to do otherwise. I don’t want my life to feel like a default, but I’m scared to be proactive and make alternative decisions. Meanwhile, the walls are closing in around me. I’m starting to feel trapped in my own life. I pull away because it’s easier for me to feel like I’m the one leaving. I’m the one making the choice. I don’t want to feel left behind. I don’t want to feel abandoned. I just want to feel ok again.

I need to stop before I fall back into the series of depressing entries I begin to write. One always flows into another, and I end up causing worry and sadness among those who are reading this. Don’t worry. It’s not a cry for help or a desire for pity. It’s for me. It’s an explanation to help me understand why I do what I do, why I feel the way I feel. It’s my therapy. Eventually, I’ll be able to help myself. I’ll be able to take that step towards understanding and accepting the person I am. I’ll be able to find my door and confidently walk through towards the next chapter of my life. But for now it’s nice to have an outlet to express my sadness. My movie script endings are never put into production, but perhaps this is the best way for me to fulfill their intent. Perhaps someday I’ll learn the right way to say goodbye. Perhaps it will be sooner than I think, as the act comes to a close, and the final light fades out.

Friday, August 05, 2005

So You Think You Can Dance

After that last post, I felt it was necessary to break some of the overdramatic tension. With everything in summer reruns, I found myself searching for anything new to have on, even if I wasn't really intending to watch. I came across Fox's new realty show, "So You Think You Can Dance."

There are some reality shows that I'm willing to watch, including some really horrific ones that I should never admit I'm willing to watch. I'm a sucker for guilty pleasure tv. Somehow Fox has managed to create a show that fails to hold even my attention for more than five minutes, and I'll watch almost anything.

Here's why the show doesn't work. Even the people who are supposed to be "bad" dancers, can dance. It's not like American Idol. People like to watch the horrible singers of American Idol because it's funny to watch people who really believe they are wonderful at something, suck at it big time. It's fun to watch the freaks, the weirdos, the fools. It's fun to watch that moment where their dreams are shattered. American Idol is like a car crash. Everything about it makes you sick, but you can't seem to look away.

So You Think You Can Dance doesn't appeal the same way. Granted, I didn't watch the whole show, but even the people who were supposed to be outrageously bad, danced better than I ever could. With singing, for the most part, we as the audience could tell by the audition who was a good singer and who was a bad one. We become the judges ourselves. But with dancing, it's not as easy. Unless they're having a borderline seizure on the floor, it's pretty hard for the untrained eye to spot a professional dancer from an average joe. Even the judges seemed to let everyone through. Everyone seemed to have potential. I watched for half an hour (29 and a half minutes too long) and saw maybe 2 people not make it through, and just felt bad for them. If you know one dance move, you know more than me and deserve to dance your heart out.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. No one really cares how well you can dance, as long as you're having fun doing it. Everyone at the show has more courage and ability than I could ever have, so even when they suck, I respect them. And respect is not a quality people turn to the Fox network for. We turn to it for insult, crudeness, guilty pleasure, and above all, entertainment. This show offers none of that. So you think you can dance? Well, you're probably right.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Dream For An Insomniac

I can't sleep. In fact, I've barely slept in days. It would be fine if I were capable of being productive, of using this time to read or clean or socialize, but I can't. I just toss and turn in bed, hoping that eventually my mind will stop racing. I have a thousand thoughts and feelings right now that I can't for the life of me define, categorize, or escape. None of it's logical. None of it really means anything, but all of it haunts me. Sometimes I feel as though it hovers over my bed, waiting for me to close my eyes, waiting for the attack.

I want to cry. I think I haven't allowed myself to cry in a very long time and everything's just building up inside of me. I'm filled with emotion and haven't expressed it. I can't help feeling that a good, long cry would be just what I need, but for whatever reason, the tears won't come. They just won't come. I've even tried to force them, making up scenarios that would induce such an emotion, but nothing works. It feels as though my eyes have been welling up with tears for days, but none of them will fall. There's been no release, no way to break free.

I'm sad and happy and anxious and lost. I just, I don't even know how to describe what it is I'm feeling. I'm completely deprived of sleep and it's making me crazier than usual. I've been on edge all week and I apologize to anyone and everyone who's had to deal with me. Please forgive me, but I haven't been myself.

Which is just the problem I think. I'm not myself. I've been thinking about all of my friends lately. So many have faded out of my life, but what depresses me is not that they're gone, but that I don't notice. There are so many people that I don't even think about anymore except for a few idle moments when something will spark a memory and suddenly I recall them the way you recall a dream you once had, a sort of "oh yeah" moment. That's when I'm sad. When I remember life as though it were a dream I accidentally stumbled across one night.

I used to believe that I could avoid this, that I could somehow be the one who didn't lose touch, didn't lose people. I was going to be the exception, but what I've come to learn is that there are no exceptions. We all lose people in some way or another, and I'm not trying to be depressing, I'm just trying to express some discoveries I've made. A lot of what they all say is true. I guess I've just become cynical, and growing more cynical with every waking moment. Especially now, when almost all of my moments are spent awake. I would give anything to know that I could rest right now. I'm so tired. So damn tired. Of everything.

Meade wrote me the most beautiful, wonderful letter on her blog today. It made me feel so happy, so special, so like the person I used to be. IĆ¢€™m so grateful to her for it, for igniting within me a fire I had forgotten existed. Part of me is so sad that I've forgotten it. Part of me is so sad that I'm not that person anymore. Part of me is so sad that I had to grow up and lose people.

It's not that they're not still my friends. I could call any of them up to talk right now I'm sure. It's just that we've all changed from the people that we used to be. We've all grown separately. We've all grown apart. We've all grown up. And, that's just how it should be, that's what life is all about.

It's just, we're not children anymore and it scares me. It scares me that with each passing day, I find it more and more difficult to remember what childhood felt like. I'm beginning to forget the simplicity and grace of being young and idealistic, and I loved the piece of myself that embraced that. I miss that piece. The world is a much darker place without it.

I want to weep. I want to weep from the very depths of me where my soul is beginning to fade. I want to weep for my soul. I want to weep for sadness and happiness and beauty and life. I want to weep for the loss of my youth, for the friends who have started to disappear from my life, for the friends who are still here. I want to weep for the job that I'm leaving. I want to weep for the best friend who's leaving me. I want to weep for soul mates, for love, and for my parents inability to find that. I want to weep for the way it reflects on me. I want to weep for my selfishness. I want to weep for my country and for my country's selfishness. I want to weep for myself.

I guess I haven't been able to put into words everything that's been bothering me. I like to pretend that it's some grand idea, some overall problem that can be analyzed and fixed, but it isn't. It's a thousand little things that all need to be dealt with and expressed to people individually. I just don't have the courage to say them. That's what I miss most about my formal self, my ability to pour my heart and soul out to people. I can never seem to put myself out there like that anymore. I haven't been able to write a real letter in so long. It scares me to think that I'm not as full of love as I used to be.

There's a Lucille Clifton poem I love called "For The Mad," although I think it mirrors the journey into adulthood as well, which may or may not be a coincidence depending on how you feel. It goes as follows; "You will be alone at last in the sanity of your friends. Brilliance will fade away from you and you will settle in dimmed light. You will not remember how to mourn your dying difference. You will not be better, but they will say you are well." Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever feel well again or if being well is just facade we all create to avoid mourning our dying difference, our fading brilliance, our lack of sleep. I'm just so tired. So damn tired. I need to weep. I need to cry. I need to sleep. I need to stop being so emotional, but perhaps I'm only dreaming.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

But Now When I Fall Upon The Sidewalks Of Life, I Skin My Knees. I Bleed.

This morning I have returned to bed after a quick trip to the gym. With a hot cup of tea by my side, I curl up gently under my bright turquoise comforter with the poetry of Billy Collins. For no particular reason, I am treating the dawn as though it were the winter, reveling in the warmth of my bed. I feel old and scholarly and safe. I feel inspired.

I’ve always believed that writing was a skill, not a gift. I believed that if you were to simply practice it enough, try and make yourself write every day, that you would undoubtedly be good at it. But that isn’t quite it, is it? It really isn’t about writing itself. It’s about feeling inspired. Sure, anyone can learn the technical stuff. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to place a noun, adjective and verb into a sentence. It does however, take a writer to turn that noun, adjective and verb into art. And what is art if not a reflection of inspiration?

After reading the poem from which I got the title of this blog, I started thinking about the scars on my knees. I have one on each. One is from a rock climbing incident where I slipped and banged up against the monstrous cliff half way up, only to take a deep breath and continue, leaving behind me a trail of blood from my battle wound. The other is from tripping over my own two feet at the train station. I like the absurdity of the contrasting stories. One filled with adventure and bravery, while the other serves as a reflection of my clumsiness and idiocy. Somehow, I find them both grotesquely beautiful.

It is only just now that I’ve realized why the tripping incident at the train station is a significant moment. What makes the difference in who we are I think, is the first thought we have after falling. I often forget that not everyone thinks the way I do. While some people would immediately consider their medical options (how to clean and bandage the wound), their legal options (who to hold responsible for the hole in the cement), or their humiliation (how many people saw them face-plant onto the sidewalk), the first thing I thought of was the story. I thought about where I would put the emphasis in the sentences, how I would build up to the moment I fell, the expression on my face as I reenacted the scene. I thought about the way my blood was trickling down my leg like a tear down a cheek, each drop slowly rolling into the next. I thought about the introduction, the climax, the ending. I thought like a writer.

I have a very long way to go before I can ever write the way that I would like to, if I even ever get there. I have a feeling that like most of my life, I’ll never truly be content with it, but I’ll always keep trying. I’ll always keep moving towards that something more that I want for myself. I guess all I mean is that I do have to practice to become a writer, but part of me already is. Writing is a skill, but being a writer is a gift. Being inspired by noble ideas is a gift. Seeing potential everywhere is a gift. It’s a gift that I’ve been blessed with, and maybe that’s completely conceded of me, but I think that it’s alright to recognize my own potential. I’d be upset if anyone else neglected to recognize theirs.

I don’t know if I believe that we’re destined to do any one thing. I don’t know if I believe that I’m destined to be a writer, or that I’m even capable of being a writer for that matter. What I do know, what I do believe, is that there are stories everywhere, and that I’ll spend my life trying to tell them as best I can. All I need is a little inspiration.

Monday, August 01, 2005

August And Everything After

The first day of August. It’s strange to think this day will never come again. There will only be one August 1st, 2005. I can’t help wondering if I’ve wasted it.

It’s not as though August is a significant month. It’s not as though the first day represents anything more than a new calendar page. Still, it somehow seems as though it’s important to understand that this day, like all days, will only come around once. We only get one shot to make it count, and then it’s gone as quickly as it came.

It sounds so obvious and generic to write about carpe diem, about making each moment count, about living life to the fullest. I don’t think and write about it as a realization, but as a constant reminder to myself that the theory forever rings true. The older I get, the more I let the days roll by without giving much thought about it one way or another. Honestly, I can barely recall the last two months of summer. It seems strange that people will be leaving for school again soon. My life is so different every couple of months, filled with different people, different events, different thoughts, that I can’t see it as a big picture. I look back at my life and find a collection of scenes that cannot be pieced together. Everything is scattered.

My world is forever changing and I am forever changing in it. By the end of the month, my friends will be gone, I’ll be leaving my job and I’ll be back at school. Everything will be different. The trouble I’m having with it is not that it will be different, but that I’m completely ambivalent to it. I’ve had such wanderlust for the past two years, that constantly changing has ironically, become routine and mundane. I’ve fought so hard against settling that I’m in a constant cycle of moving. Every three months it hits like clockwork, the desire to move on, get out, escape. I start to feel trapped in my own life.

It’s good, I suppose, to want something new, something more. It’s good to want to evolve. I just wish I could settle a bit more than I allow myself to. I wish I could be content with the present. I’m going to try and do that now. Now, I’ll just enjoy August 2005 and all the splendor it has to offer. After all, it will only come around once.