Monday, February 18, 2013

School IS out forever

I don't know how many days, weeks, months, or hours it is until June the whatevererth 2014, and I'm not one of those people who is going to download some countdown widget so I can dolt over it, but knowing that my first high school reunion is just around the corner is taking a heavy toll on me. I feel like someone is lacing everything I consume with anxiety medicine, and I don't mean the kind that makes you less anxious. I mean the kind that makes your skin crawl with an overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and imminent doom.
Me (far right) with my fellow honor grad gals

In high school I had it made. I was always on the honor roll, I was president and/or vice-president of clubs for over-achievers, I was awesome at theater, I had a high school harem of boys that followed me around, I unquestionably always fit in a size 2 or smaller and I was voted most likely to become famous. Well, if cable access is famous, then call me Barbara Walters. Not to toot my own high-school horn, but high school me totally kicks almost twenty-seven-year-old me's ass. 

I was just looking back at my old photos from the speech tournaments I used to compete in in high school. Yes, I competed in those nerdy speech competitions, but before you judge, I was damn good at them. I remember when all I had to do to feel satisfied in life was to practice a few hours a day on a weird cutting from some random play so that I could take home first place and add a new shiny plastic trophy or gold medal to my collection of validity trinkets. It was all so simple. I knew I had talent, I discovered a pretty fool-proof formula for winning, winning made me not hate myself, and bam! Perpetual content. 

Looking back on it now I understand why being a theater major didn't seem like such a stupid idea. I thought that I could keep on winning like I had done before, and as long as I was winning, I would be happy. Oh how simple it all was. Unfortunately it took me almost four years to accept the reality that the formula for success in acting beyond high school speech tournaments was slightly more complex and filled with self-serving, no-talent assholes. Not that self-serving, no-talent assholes don't have what it takes to become successful actors, but it makes the cast parties simply unbearable. 

So now I'm working on trying to be some sort of information disseminator. I prefer that to the term 'journalist' because I'm not trying to win any martyr competitions here. I think that journalism, as a noun, is a righteous and necessary thing to do, but that doesn't exclude those who practice journalism from being self-serving, undeservedly egotistical, hyaenas. But they tend to like to have intellectual conversations that don't involve talking about Constantin Stanislavsky or Samuel Beckett, which I appreciate. 

I still find myself yearning for that simplicity though. As much as my bleeding-heart, liberal (some might throw hipster or hippie in there as well) soul would like to think that everything can be broken down into a neat little science, the truth is, everything takes a certain brand of finesse to be successful. And hell, the necessary brand might change each day, you never know. They don't really teach you that in high school. The lucky ones pick it up intuitively and learn to play along early, the ones that are slower to the punch (I'm raising my hand right now) get left behind. 

I think after about eight and a half years, my sails are finally starting to catch some wind. In fact, I know a lot of people who will laugh at how hard I'm being on myself in this post. I am aware that I have some accomplishments under my belt worth being proud of, but the idea of having to go back to the old high school group to rub shoulders and settle up on success still sounds terrifying. Even though there are no trophies to be won (wait...will there be trophies? Shit! I better confirm that) I know that I will still be longing to be compared, to be measured, and to have someone just tell me straight up if I'm as badass now as I thought I was in high school. Is that sick? I'm going to need one hell-of-an outfit...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Today was my dad's birthday. It was also a day for small victories. This is a lesson about taking things one step at a time. I've decided that if I want to find out what's going to give me that feeling of purpose, I need to start looking at what I already do. Perhaps it's already in front of me, but I'm so distracted by my discontent that it goes unnoticed.

I did not take a walk to a new area of town today. Instead I tried to figure out ways to make my normal surroundings more desirable.

First example, my cat Penny...I talk about her a lot, I know. I was supposed to take her to the vet today to get a booster shot. In order to do this, I have to get her into some sort of container, which is not only heart-wrenching, but very dangerous. This is because whenever anyone tries to get Penny in her pet carrier she does not hesitate to claw the ever-loving sh** out any body part she can get her paws on. A successful attempt must be well-calculated and perfectly timed, but rest assured there will be blood; it's no task for the faint of heart. Therefore, until today, I had accepted defeat when it came to getting Penny to the vet with my extremities unharmed.

Last time I took her in, the vet refused to treat her without sedating her first, what a proud moment that was. I was ready to cancel the whole appointment out of pure dread, but the women at the vet's office spent several minutes plotting alternatives in order to persuade me to bring Penny in before the window for her booster expired (did I mention I love my vet clinic?). She suggested that I put Penny in a box, rather than her pet carrier, then stay in the car with her until she they had everything ready for her booster shot, then they would wave me into the building.

So I went ahead with the plan, carried Penny inside the clinic in her box and when they were ready to inject her, we threw the box lid off, threw a towel over her head and poked her immediately with the needle before she had a chance to realize she wasn't in the car anymore.

She was definitely confused, but not nearly at her normal stage of acting like an enraged rabid street cat minus the foamy mouth secretions. It seemed so stupid at first to be happy about my cat not mauling anyone (including myself), but perhaps if you knew Penny, you'd share in my immense satisfaction. Even stranger was my ability to perceive such a small victory and treat it as such, extending myself a self-assuring figurative pat on the back for having conquered the monster in Penny for almost an hour. I'm still definitely not excited about taking Penny to the vet, but it was important for me to realize that I am far more intelligent than any cat and how silly it is to let these types of hang-ups get the best of me.

Even more exciting was that I had a desire to share that moment with you all (my multitude of dedicated readers, you make this all worth it to me! All 12 of really, you're fantastic, keep reading my posts, I love you...). I couldn't wait to get home and blog about it.

I'm going to stop here and not try to make this small accomplishment more than just that. But I wonder if any of you, my devoted blog-reading audience has any similar experience to share. I've given you my little triumph of the day, now it's your turn. Do you reward yourself for your smallest victories? I definitely recommend it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Jumper

Tonight, someone committed suicide off the bridge across the street from my house. As I stood there watching the chorus of flashing lights and cops rowing back and forth in their canoes under the bridge searching for the body of some poor, unfortunate soul... it did cross my mind, that perhaps blogging about this could come off as inappropriate and shameless, but then I realized that this event was by far the most memorable of the day and to deny that would be to dishonor the life of the one that took the plunge. So I'd like to take a moment to consider this john/jane doe's predicament and bid them farewell.

Just a few hours before I caught word of the jump, I was fluttering around in my seat while watching the latest episode of the AMC series The Walking Dead. For me, the appeal of the show is its lingering examination why the living desire to continue on doing so, even when unthinkable things happen, for instance like when everyone you know is getting devoured by flesh-eating zombies. At this point in the series, about half of the principle characters have toiled over suicide. But with the exception of a few throw away characters at the beginning of the series none of the survivors have been able to part with their mortality, even in the face of imminent, rotting, blood-pouring doom.

Some might say, 'that's just television,' but I think there really is some truth to the show's depiction of the all too cliche' 'survival instinct.' An instinct is, according to, a 'natural intuitive power,' Merriam-Webster calls it 'a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason,' which makes me extremely curious about the kinds of things that are strong enough to override such a persistent behavioral phenomenon?

Are there cords getting crossed in the brain? A severe malfunction channeling the energy usually dedicated to your instinctual survival methods instead toward the complete opposite? And even more intriguing to me is what it must feel like to have completely lost hope? I have enough trouble getting out of bed in the morning, I don't need any help from a nagging feeling of inadequacy and regret.

At the risk of sounding sinister, I'm dying to know what someone's last thoughts are that fuel that total release. I'm also baffled by it. It seems so contradictory to be too cowardly to live, but brave enough to pull the (figurative) trigger (yes, I do think that takes guts, I couldn't do it). Once you've crossed that line of conquering your survival instinct, does planning the strategy of your elaborate demise start to have some appeal that continuing to live doesn't? Is not planning a death worthy of yourself something that gets you excited about continuing on with your life? If you examine the fundamental elements of the process, it kind of reminds of the ironic death of Amy Winehouse, who is alleged to have died from symptoms of withdrawal after choosing to turn her life around. It's the one thing left to get excited about, but it's also the thing that's going to kill you. The fact that you could get excited about anything, including the planning of your suicide, should provide some sort of gratification for living right? Of course, that's only my perspective on reasonable behavior, what's yours?

Monday, March 12, 2012

I know, but Why?

This blog has meandered a lot of different ways over the years. I have been on an adventure to discover what it is that drives me. What exactly is it that helps me get out of the bed in the morning and say, 'Here I come, World!' And it's become a little unsettling that I haven't really been able to put my finger on it yet. As someone who aspires to be a journalist I feel like I'm stuck at the level of an advocate rather than a reporter. I've always expected something to just grab me unexpectedly and I would all of sudden be compelled to find out everything there is to know about that one amazing beat, but as of yet, no such passionate
notion has struck. I'm starting to get a little worried that I'm going at it all wrong. Maybe this is not a job for time, but a test for my will to succeed. What I really should be doing is sampling my world every day until, through my own judgement of my experience, I can string together something of interest.

(Eureka moment commencing...)

Wow! That was something! So here's my idea: I'm going to blog about my daily walks through a new part of town each week. I'm going to document my surroundings, give witty and entertaining commentary (when I'm feeling up to it) and delighting you with a weekly photo or video. Today, I'm going to skip the walk, because I have to be at work in like 45 minutes, but I'm going to entertain you with this random photo that's already on my phone. It is a picture of my evil cat Penny, who decided to go on a grocery excavation mission and fell right into my trap! Predictable.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Goals, Commitment, and Other Grown-Up Crap...

It's hard to have a blog when you don't have a clearly defined goal. That's because it's difficult, as least for me anyway, to write about an infinite number of potential things, not to mention it's hard to attract faithful readers without a stable product. My imagination goes all over the a pace too fast to settle on any one thing for a substantial amount of time. I know everybody these days thinks that have ADD, but I seriously don't think my brain can focus on one thing for more than 5 seconds after 2 o'clock in the afternoon. It's a reality I have to deal with.

Anywho, my deficiency in attentiveness has led me to the conclusion (ironically) that I desperately need to find a subject, a schitck, a niche, on which to base this blog, in order to cling to my own sanity, and maybe a few followers. I've toyed with making this a news blog, a life log, and a cheese bog, (wait that last one isn't a real thing), but none has really intrigued me to the point of developing a disciplined blogging habit thus far.

This leads me to the question: why is it that it's necessary to blog? Is it because I like my inner monologue so much that I find it important to share it with others? Is it because I'm so smart I think I have an obligation to plaster my profound thoughts across a public forum for all to see as some kind of noble duty to my fellow man? Those last two make me sound kind of vain, but they're perhaps not too far from the truth.

So, if I am blogging to satisfy a selfish desire to hear myself talk--digitally-- then it seems the least I could do is find some way to make the blog equally beneficial for whomever happens upon my writings and is entertained enough by my self-centered and cynical style to read beyond the first paragraph. I'll think about that idea and get back to you.

...about twenty minutes go by...

Based on the last twenty minutes or so of thorough contemplation, I have decided that at least for now, I will make this blog about my new pursuit of knowledge surrounding the internet. What is this weird world of translated code that is "surfable," and who ever thought of such a thing? Surfing a code...surfing anything other than channels...or waves, well whatever, it's weird.

To start, I may sound unavoidably naive or unsavvy, but hell, that's because I'm just learning as I go. So if you're particualarly internet savvy, you might be bored for the first few months of my journey, or you might be entertained by my failures, you might even comment on this blog with your pointers (yes, please) for my future success. Any feedback is appreciated, as that means your are reading my blog, and perpetuating my drive to continue this ego-infusing project.

Since at this point this post is mostly rambling, I'll start with the actual internet exploring (no stupid microsoft browser reference intended) in the next post.

Thanks for reading this far.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rediscovering an Artful Past

When life gets ya down I've found that it's important to remember that it might not be life's fault. Sometimes the stress, fatigue, worry, and general 'ick' feeling is all in your head. Heck, you might be the number one cause of your own life's downiness. So perk that chin up put on your comfy travel shoes, cause we're going back in time.

I'm finding that one of the best ways to rediscover happiness is to travel (in your mind of course) back to a time when you remember a greater level of contentment. What were you doing? Wearing? Eating? Who were you hanging out with? What kind of music were you listening to? It all seems too simple you say? You'd be suprised how much people struggle with simplicity in the 21st century. In fact, in my own exprience lately, the more I try to simplify, the more I've been causing a greater degree of chaos and confusion.

Example? When trying to simply mail in a credit card payment (the old fashioned way), I ended up with a considerable amount of money getting lost in the mail and countless added trips to several different bank locations in order to solve the mystery (well...trips have been made, but the mystery is still not solved). It seems that my own desire for simplicity led to my own temporary financial demise.

This, however, is only a small and very specific example of a larger direction my life has been taking over the past few years. When I started school, I didn't know how my career was going to work out, but I knew that I wanted to be an artist. It was what I did. It was what I was good at. But wanting to be an artist, a seemingly simple idea for me, caused a great deal of confusion and chaos from my family. How was I going to make any money? How would I establish any security for my future? In this case, my family thought their concerns were quite simple too, as well as practical.

So in the interest of clearing up their doubts about my ability to survive on my own, I began to devise what I thought to be more simple goals. Practical goals. I switched my major from theater to communications. I directed my career goals from the stage to mass media. Then eventually my hobbies began to change. I went from painting and sewing to watching the news. I went from going to movies and shows to cooking meals at home. I thought I was being practicle and simple, but the truth is that it was just causing me more grief. The greif came from not being able to let go of either set of aspirations. Now I always find myself trying to follow both paths, have it all, do everything; and it is starting to break me.

But the moment I picked up a paint brush and starting painting for the first time in about four years there was instant joy. It was as if content was spewing from the brush's tip. I was ecstatic, like one of my fingers had miraculously returned from a several-year absence. Then a few weeks later I attended an audition for the first time in nearly two years. Though I don't think that I performed my best, I was instantly reunited with that old sense of pre-performance nervousness that brings me ultimate rejuvination.

Slowly, I'm starting to feel like my old singing, painting, crazy-clothes wearing self again. It is comforting to know, that the version of me that I used to love is not totally gone, but has only supressed for a short while. I am no longer worried about my future. I figure, if my family is so adamate about worrying, then they can carry that responsibility for me. I need to do what makes me happy, or I'll never be able to handle all the other stresses that "life" throws at me.

So please, my friends, love ones, and even strangers that might happen upon this blog, as best you true to yourselves. Don't lose sight of what makes you you. Even when it hurts to be misunderstood, I have found that trying to change who you are (even when done subconciously) is not a better alternative. This message has probably been repeated twenty or thirty million times by now, but perhaps that's because the goal of being true to yourself is so easy to lose sight of. So write it down this time...on a sticky note or something. Much Love ;-)

And here's a couple quotes to keep in mind:

"Gnothi Seauton"


"Sometimes the hardest thing to be in this world is just yourself,"

-Brother Ali

"Do you want to play a lead role in your own life? Or a supporting role in someone else's life?"

-Hillary Clinton

"Let go of what you think this is"

-Anne Bogart

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Real World" Update

What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable, in action how like an angle, in apprehension how like a god!

-Hamlet Act II, scene 2, 303-312

I still remember reading this quote for the first time in Ms. Judge's 12th grade English class. Though I did realize at that moment that my understanding of the profundity of that line was incomplete, there is no way I could have anticipated to what degree. I seem to wake up each morning asking myself, "is this really my life?" and "what am I supposed to be doing here?" What else besides human existence presents such infinite possibility devoid of a pure or clear pedagogy by which to achieve it? Furthermore, why do humans long for such a guide? I am irked by the irrationality of that conundrum, which is itself, ironic.

So where do I go from here? Each day I try not to dwell on the fact that I am beaconless and underdeveloped. I try not be overwhelmed by how my fellow humans confuse me so. I feign comfort in situations of uncertainty (which is always). I wonder. How long will this state continue? When will the confusion fade? When do I start to fit in my own skin?

As a child I looked ahead to each new graduation of maturity with anxious anticipation. I knew what was next: driver's tests, proms, college application essays. But my life right now is at a stage that no one bothered to explain, or perhaps it is undefinable. The stage is now determined by me and the order in which I place those stages in turn determines many seminal aspects of my future. But regardless of whether or not I act, I am making a choice. My fate is being determined for me while I sit hesistantly trying to make up my mind. I find myself, now more than ever before, longing for a pause button.

Before I can move on, I want to become more aquainted with this stranger I call me. I don't want to glaze over my own passions, aversions, and abilities. But amid my current civil arrangement, how can I hope to have any time for personal discovery? Working to feed and house myself consumes most of my days.

Did Huxley have it right in his dystopian classic? Is man (whether voluntarily or pharmacologically induced) doomed to fall into some exploitive order? And another mystery remains, how is this fate possible when the scheming despots are nothing but human themselves? How do I tap into the autonomous nature that they possess? Oh what a remarkably confusing piece of work is man.