May 25, 2014

CHECK YOURSELF AT THE DOOR.


I'm currently enjoying a two-day nothing-to-do stint a couple weeks into my first academic summer in over a decade, and it's awesome. The semester ended on the 8th, but I've been bartending and socializing (weird, right?) most days since then, so I haven't had much time to sit and reflect and plan like I like to do. Yesterday, I had cold-brew coffee for the first time since last year, finally said Who Gives a Shit to my lack of picture frames, and putty-ed a bunch of art up on the walls in my bedroom. I also played my guitar for the first time in too long, playing shitty covers in my open tuning and singing with the window open, and it felt wonderful. I have plans to make better recordings of the Hello Sweet songs and release them to the internet this summer (although probably under a different name- what should it be? I'm thinking Rolo Tony). I still love them after all this time, and I hate to see them collecting dust in hiding. At least they could collect dust out in the open. I actually love the super lo-fi demo versions, but some of the songs have changed a bit, and it'll be fun to work on them again anyway. And it'll be fun to make artwork and really get into making a new creation out of old stuff. I have some other projects I want to finish this summer that I won't get into here so I don't jinx myself. I don't mind jinxing myself on the songs because whatever, Who Gives a Shit. There's really nothing I like better than saying that, despite the fact and actually probably because I give a very passionate shit. It's really just all about how he says it. I love it so much I'm going to put it here even though I've linked to it twice already.

Anyway, I'll put out the demos at the end of the summer if I haven't made better recordings by then, so no jinx. Speaking of jinx, according to Wiki, "the etymology of the word is obscure. It may come from Latin iynx, that is, the wryneck bird, which has occasionally been used in magic and divination and is remarkable for its ability to twist its head almost 180 degrees while hissing like a snake." What a perfect image! I think I actually do want to jinx myself.

These are words that I constantly and compulsively use, and I'm sorry: actually, really, just.

I'm excited to have time to work on my own projects, and I think that school has helped me to appreciate that time more. My first year back in school was amazing, and I was so fortunate to have so much support and such inspiring teachers. I know things are going to be different this fall at a university, but I feel prepared to work hard and focus. I wrote this a few days ago, and I think it expresses my feelings well:
I used to do well in school without trying. At least, I didn’t think I was trying. Really, I just didn’t have much else going on. My mom raised me to believe that I was smart, and every teacher I had confirmed this. I grasped new concepts easily. This changed when I stopped trying at all. I got a D one quarter in a math class because I skipped the lessons and didn’t do the homework. I still went straight to university, as I was supposed to do. The reasons for me discontinuing my college education are complicated, but it happened, and I was out of school for over a decade. Now, I’m back, feeling ancient and somehow still looking like a teenager. The whole thing is very awkward on a social scale, the opposite of before. But what is also the opposite and not awkward at all are a couple of things:
1. I actually care about what I’m learning. I care to know it well and to do it well.
2. I have humility.
Number 1 is important, obviously, but number 2 is crucial. I have experienced rejection from things I really and truly wanted. I have been screamed at by angry customers. I’ve been poor. I’ve served asshole frat boys who think they are very clever and smooth. I’ve cleaned toilets and taken out the trash. I do not feel entitled to anything. My intelligence, my talents, they mean nothing except that I have a duty to myself to work hard.

I also think that humans are perfect who do nothing and simply breathe out carbon dioxide for plants. Unfortunately, I am not living on a mountainside creating no impact, and a lot of the "nothing" I do is actually something that takes, so I have to give back.

Last night, I was settling on the familiar theme of sadness that my mom isn't here to see me go to school and get involved in social justice, and I realized that it's really amazing how much I've changed in the years since she died. I'm excited that I get to keep changing. I'm excited to be a really old lady one day. I'm going to get so many tattoos and piercings when I'm old. I won't have any money until then, so I'm gonna live it up right before I die. I could go at any time, though, so life is precious, and God, and the Bible.

February 8, 2014

READING RAINBOW.

I have about 150 pages to read tomorrow to catch up with my classes, but I'm not complaining. One, my time management skills involve including lots of unstructured time for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and selfies and cat snuggling and crying, so that means sometimes having a lot of work to do at once, but I can handle it. Two, the books I have to read tomorrow are so good, so I am more than happy to get down with them.


My Women's Studies class is all I dreamt it would be. I had the professor for Intro to Ethics last semester, and I love the way she structures her classes. I met with her during her office hours and discovered we have a lot of random things in common, least of which is a deep interest in ethics and feminism. It's so strange to be in a traditional classroom setting discussing issues that so far I've exclusively engaged in online and with Zero (who is as astounding and progressive and openminded and compassionate as ever). I love feeling everyone's energy and hearing different perspectives in person, especially in a community college setting that doesn't have the typical post-high school crowd. The older students- older than me (since I am also much older than some), like in their 40s and 50s- who have a kind of confidence speaking to their experience and an openminded approach to the class that is really beautiful to witness, consistently get me.


This one is for my Social Diversity class, and it is SUPERB. I wish every single person on the planet would read it. The class is all online, but the professor is very active and involved. Every week, we have a short, simple quiz on the readings, and then we have to answer a series of discussion questions in an essay, on the online forum for the class. The professor responds to each one individually and with care, and I kind of love her already. The class is all about understanding the social constructions that we take for granted, and it is what I am living for these days. Like, yes, please, let's try to understand where these injustices and social norms are coming from, let's study the history of them and the way they have been transformed over time and how they affect us all, and let's study the possibilities that exist outside the norm and open our minds and question everything and destroy our internalized prejudices and assumptions and instead empower the marginalized and explore our vulnerabilities and deeper strengths. We've covered sections on Race & Ethnicity, Social Class, Sex & Gender, and Sexuality, and every article just has me wanting to do a dance and sing from the mountaintops. Well, sometimes I also want to cry and rage and puke, because it is not fun to confront the terrible realities, but I am so excited people are writing and reading about these issues in such a real way. I feel more in touch with who I truly am than I ever have. A dancing, singing, crying, puking fighter.

My experience this semester is definitely serving to validate my intuition at the beginning of last semester. I have so many interests, and I'm sure I would have loved horticulture. I'm still interested in learning about plants and have plans to do so, but it makes more sense for that to be a hobby for me right now, because my passion is firmly placed in human rights and animal rights, and school is just fueling that passion. I'm so excited to be developing my knowledge so that I can be a better source for information, so I can advocate and educate with more confidence and skill. However my path develops after this semester, I know this is what I want to continue to pursue. I'm just so excited to think about what the future holds, all the ways I can help change the world for the better, even if those ways are small.

December 30, 2013

I KNOW HOW TO TRANSFORM.

Zero and I have decided to make some major changes to our lives beginning with the start of the new year. We're cutting out substances that do more harm to our bodies than is worth the temporary fun they provide, including alcohol and coffee, and we will not be indulging in those substances for the entirety of 2014. We're also only buying whole and minimally processed foods (like tofu and tempeh) for our home, and getting as much of our produce from the Farmer's Market that we can. We're not going to be strict about that one when we're traveling or out with friends, but it will be strict at home. The goal with this is not just to be better to our bodies and the environment but to experience something truly transformative. The harm of something like coffee and even alcohol for me has less to do with the stress they put on my body (though that is a real issue) and more to do with the way I become dependent upon them, the way they easily become habit and therefore are almost unconscious behaviors in my life. I want to be more conscious. I want to consciously form habits that will guide me toward my goals, and there will be more room for them when I eliminate the current habits I've had for years now, habits that don't seem to be helping me achieve anything but instead seem to encourage my lack of discipline.

I'm surprised by how excited we both are to do this for ourselves. If we felt we were giving up something precious, I imagine we'd be filled with hesitation and some dread. But we want to transform, and the only way to do that is to fully commit to real and lasting change. It's going to be so cool to experience something so different! I keep thinking about getting to the 6-month mark and wondering how different we'll feel, and then to keep going for another 6 months! It sounds amazing to me.

We did a similar experiment earlier this year for a month, and by the end of it, I felt so much stronger and healthier, but then we just went right back to our old ways. A year will allow the kind of transformation we really want to experience, and I'm really just so ready. It's going to be awesome. I can't know what we will choose to do once the year ends. Perhaps we will allow those things back into our lives, perhaps not. I'm not concerned with that now. I trust we will do what's best, and I'm excited to see what best becomes after a year of living differently.

It should go without saying, but I know I should say it since I am a great judge in life: I don't think that drinking alcohol or coffee or eating heavily processed foods are immoral behaviors. This is an extremely personal quest. My body has very specific needs, and I have very particular desires for my life, and that's why I'm doing this for myself. You do you, get down how you like.

I certainly went hard throughout my 20s, and I don't regret it. I had fun, and I was living as honestly as I could. But it was a tumultuous decade, to be sure. I struggled to make sense of my feelings, and I made so many mistakes. I am so fortunate to have such a strong support system of friends and family that stood by me throughout it all. And ultimately, I know that everything in my life until now has led me to this moment and to the person I have become and am becoming, and I can only be grateful, because I love who I am, and I am excited for my future. I feel smarter, wiser, more aware and more compassionate than ever before (except maybe when I was 8 years old- that was a real peak time). My passion has not waned, but it has shifted focus away from just my self and my personal relationships to the world around me and everyone in it. I care a lot, and I only want to care more.

I am so ecstatic to have Zero partner with me on this. When he commits to something, he commits one hundred percent, and he is a force of nature. His support throughout this will be invaluable. I'm as excited to see his transformation as I am to see my own, and I think it's beautiful that we're doing this together. 2014 is going to be an extreme challenge, and we're going to rise to it. It's time to level up.

October 27, 2013

GOING PLACES.

I can't believe October is almost over. I'm sad to have spent a week of it sick in bed, which was so weird for me, because I haven't been sick like that since I can remember. I took away from that experience a greater appreciation for my health, though. I have a lot of chronic discomforts, and I have to be careful about what I eat and drink. No more candy for me on Halloween, which is a real tragedy of our time. I used to eat sour straws by the case, literally. But that's getting older for you. I used to lament it a lot more, and being the kind of sick that is debilitating was a good slap in the face.

Mercury is in retrograde in Scorpio right now for another couple weeks, which feels extra special. I love astrology and all magic, really. I am so bored by the magic that is only found in science and can not be called magic for fear of seeming trivial. Not to say that I don't love the magic of science, because I do, but I don't love at as much as the magic that is not tethered to dissection of proof. Anyway, I'm into this time of reflection and heightened intuition. Everything is moving faster than ever now that I'm in school, and it's hard to be sure that I'm moving in the right direction. I had such a specific plan of action, but my gut told me that it wasn't right for me. So now I'm trying to figure out what exactly is right. I think I'm close, but I have to get a lot closer in a very short amount of time, so I really gotta tune into the right frequency.

I miss my mom more than ever. Sometimes she is the first person I'm thinking of when I wake up, and it is gut-wrenching. She and I struggled from the time I was 17 until she died. My teenage spirit lasted well into my 20s, and my mom wasn't good with teenagers. Too many wild emotions inspired the same in herself, and she needed stability and comfort. I moved all over the place and traveled and was consumed with my friends. My mom had a very traditional life, and we just couldn't easily relate. This is the first time in my adult life that I'm doing things that would make my mom really happy. I'm living in the town where she and my dad both went to college, where they met and fell in love. I lived here once before, but I was too self-absorbed then to think of them. Now I have a million questions, and I want to hear every single story. I constantly imagine talking to her about school. Even though she didn't always like my choices, my mom knew me and appreciated who I am. During this time of uncertainty and motion, I wish for her insight most of all, out of anyone. Even before she died, I wrote to her often and tried to stay close, but I think she always felt too far away to connect completely. Of course it was more complicated than that. Her own life and feelings were changing in rather drastic ways, and it was hard for me to grasp the full weight of that then, when I could roll with the punches like they were nothing, and when I too often expected others to be able to handle life in the same way I could. I can't help but think that we would have been growing closer right now if she were here. I keep wanting to call her, to plan a short visit with her where we can drink tea and talk. And I'm so angry and sad that I can never do that.

My feelings are excruciatingly futile. I have no hope for any resolution. The only thing I can imagine helping me accept this reality is finding a constructive outlet for my feelings. But right now I have to make school my priority, so I just have to try and float on these feelings for now and look up, even though I want to swim down. And I do, I want to swim to the deepest, coldest point, because maybe there I'll find some magic, some bioluminescence that will help me see past the pain, some bit of beauty in the darkness.