Hello again.

Well, I fell off the face of the Earth for two years. Things have changed.

The short version is that I’m relatively the same. I still swear a lot, my salt level can still make the Dead Sea look sweet in comparison, and I’m hanging on by fingernails. Not really in the way I posted about once before, in the way of contemplating an ending, but I feel like I’m losing it about 98% of the time. Maybe that’s just getting older.

I’m firing back up for little reason other than I missed hurling thoughts into the digital Void, seeing that I did in fact reach some people here and there, and that I’ve reached a point of getting ready to find an agent for my book. (Yes, it’s finally done and spit-shined as much as possible while still making myself stop fucking with it after a certain point!) That being said, I hope I return here with good news in the next few months and I’m going to use this bloggish resurrection as a way to hold myself accountable for making that happen, too.

A lot has happened in the past two years. Hell, a lot has happened in the past three months. I’ll be back on to talk about that soon, but until then, there’s just this: Hello. I love you for staying tuned. Thank you. And just in case no one’s told you this today, this week, or for a year or two, or ever, you are so important.

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Writing probably saved my life.

They say suicidal ideation is more common than attempting for women. I can attest to that, but only from the standpoint of my personal experience.

The number of times I’ve had compulsory thoughts of dying over the years should horrify me. And now, at this stage in my life, it does—but only a little. I never felt driven past the thought. Past weighing a knife in my hand for longer than I normally would have. Past wondering if it would be worth it to keep going. I don’t think I ever wanted to die though. I just didn’t want to exist.

There still exists the part of me that’s fed up with the world the way it is. That feels like I don’t belong here in a weirdly metaphysical sense. I feel like I see more—that maybe I think more, too—and it’s a strangely painful thing to be so aware in a world that is so majorly on auto-pilot. That exists in pseudo-fulfillment with apps and shallow, trivial concerns and relationships that validate what you are (maybe), but don’t serve to grow you at all. The ruts are worn and no one takes responsibility for what we’re doing to this world, to each other, to ourselves every day.

The fact is that I’ve been aware of this for—apparently—what is longer than normal. It seems like so many people (maybe just the people I come into contact with) go full lives without becoming self-aware. To say it’s disconcerting isn’t accurate. In fact, it really just makes me sad. And while being so aware in an otherwise ambivalent world made me feel alone and misunderstood, that wasn’t my reason for all the times I glanced into the opposing flow of traffic and saw the steering wheel jerk. It just added to it until I came to terms with everything else you already know about me.

I don’t remember when I started writing. More than that, I don’t remember when I started storytelling. The first time I ever identified as a writer, however, I do remember. I was in sixth grade. There was a school-wide poetry slam and I decided that I wanted to enter. I couldn’t tell you why. I just remember that all the advanced class kids I used to have classes with in elementary school were in it, too, and were as condescending as their parents.

So, as you can imagine, it felt splendid to hand their asses to them on stage.

The point is that I started thinking of myself as a writer when I was eleven. Before that, I had written fun songs or poems or whatever with my friends, but I had never thought of that as writing. I wasn’t aware of creative writing and its magnitude until around that time in middle school. Books were a love of course—I was certainly raised a reader. Yet it didn’t occur to me that someone actually made a living writing the books that I inhaled. It didn’t occur to me that this could be someone’s job. That was just too much.

The more I think back, the more I realize that I’ve had anxiety my entire life. It runs in my family and smart kids often experience at least bouts of this. I really didn’t stand a chance. I only started to realize that this wasn’t the “normal” way to feel maybe a few years ago. It was so natural for me that it took a damn long time to notice. I had my first tango with depression when I was fourteen and it lasted for eight months. Then it leveled off. And then it came back.

I spent three years in an abusive relationship—my first relationship—and was gaslighted and verbally abused daily. If this isn’t the first time you’re reading my blog, you know the rest. That’s not why I’m here. My friends up to that point were not my friends and the few people who should have been my close friends didn’t become my friends until much later, but I’m very glad they did. I was twelve when I realized that I could be like the authors who wrote the books I loved and it would also take my mind off what was happening away from that desk.

I wrote my first book that fall on an older than old version of Microsoft Word Processor. It was called Rivers of the Heart and it was based on a roleplay I’d started and never finished with someone on a forum. That may have been why I started it in the first place—being frustrated first that it wasn’t as good as I thought it should be and also being frustrated that it ended. I did something similar the following summer with my second attempt at a novel-length project. Even though I titled it pretty lamely, this one had potential and I fully intend to pick it back up someday.

How does this tie together? Because after I was able to identify as something—specifically after I was able to identify as a writer—things became easier to digest. Some people find their meaning in their relationships, their religion, in charity, or in some variant of “this is larger than me.” I’ve long been aware that this universe doesn’t work according to me. However, I hadn’t yet found that “thing” that allowed me to cope with the ways that I was wronged.

It was a separate thing for me to understand that I didn’t deserve the things that happened to me. In some of the smaller disasters, I made mistakes leading up to said small disasters, but I didn’t necessarily deserve the result. After I discovered my identity as a writer, it infiltrated every aspect of my life. I couldn’t expel it now if I tried. Regardless of what happened—the tiny evils or the big bads—I could bring my anxiety back down, my anger back down, and rationalize it into a packaged, digestible form that I could work with.

This is when “Everything is material” basically became my anthem.

Through writing and the mentality that goes with it, the everyday and the catastrophic aren’t just passing events. There’s something about writing that produces more for every person I meet, every mistake I make, every experience I have.

I can’t say for sure that the way my mind works and the fact that I inevitably took writing as one of my crafts kept me going or made things easier than they could have been were I someone else. I have never been without these parts of myself—there was never an epiphany, a turning point, an eclipse of who I was into who I became, that part has always been developing from the same base.

More often than not, thinking of things in metaphors or with symbolism lets me separate from the immediacy of whatever is happening. Call it dissociation or creativity, I can’t define it for anyone but myself. I think that’s the mark of people like me. People like us, possibly, if you’ve read this far and you’re on the same page. There’s no sameness in our breed, but there’s some universal truth. Reasons for being and for making that are all different, but align in a unifying way.

And I think that, in and of itself, is something spectacular to live for.

 

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I want to talk about this comic. 


I hate to make my comeback on here with a rant. Particularly one on gun rights, shootings, and the misuse of religion, three of the world’s greatest failings. For this, however, I’m spotlighting the U.S. My home-country. Because we seem to be especially terrible about all three of these. “Freedom of speech and religious freedom for all!” Sure. When you agree with the masses.

We’ve established that I’m agnostic and I’ll restate that I have exactly zero issue with religion itself or people of religion. Only those who seek to use their beliefs as a weapon or push those beliefs upon others. Because seriously, come on. I was in a campus bathroom a few weeks ago and there was a notecard sitting on the tissue dispenser telling me that today was the day for my salvation and if I didn’t get on that shit pronto, I was going to spend an eternity in Hell.

If you think I’m kidding, I’m not.

I went in there to do what people normally do in a public restroom. Not be verbally assaulted by a notecard detailing my penalty would be for not believing in the same god as the writer does. Were I of weaker mind, I may have been upset by the attack because sorry, ye who claim its out of caring and concern, that is a threat. And things like this are everywhere.

Back to the comic though because that’s what I have an actual problem with. The notecard prophet can only spread so many handwritten death notes. I tore it up and threw it away after finding it. Get a hobby. Or a better argument. The comic, unfortunately, has a broader audience than one Midwestern (ah, now you get it) college campus. A stupider one. The masses who go to Facebook for gospel.

This comic–just on the page where I found it–has over 210k likes.

That is to say that approximately 216,000 individuals saw this, read it, and agreed with it enough to go through the strenuous motions of clicking the “like” button to show their support.

That is to say that approximately 216,000 people are willing to blame a school shooting–the United States’ 45th school shooting in 2015 so far–on the fact that a god who does not pertain to every individual on this planet has a lessening presence in public schools where religion has no right to be enforced. Accepted in terms of some general unbiased knowledge or a moment for silent, private prayer? Of course. But never enforced.

There was recently an incident in my city where a first grade girl asked a first grade boy where he went to church. He reportedly told her that he didn’t believe in God, but it was okay that she did (clearly he had already had a discussion with his parents over this and it’s easy to assume that this was not the first time he was asked about this). According to the report, the girl then started crying and when the teacher asked what had happened and the boy explained, he was sent to the office until his parents could come to get him.

Once the incident was exposed for what it was, the teacher was penalized, but the point is that things like this happen all the time. I remember the friend group I’d accumulated in first grade, believe it or not, alienating me when I first said I didn’t go to church. My teacher didn’t punish me, but she didn’t stand up for me either. I had numerous adults throughout my childhood who shamed me for thinking differently from them. After the first grade incident, I learned not to talk about it if I could help it.

Regardless of my personal experiences, this comic’s commentary wounds me on multiple levels, some of which you may not expect given what I’ve said so far.

My biggest issue is obvious. How dare you, people who think this content is acceptable.

This isn’t funny, it’s not thought-provoking, it’s wrong and it’s smug in the face of tragedy. By accepting this, you accept that these people deserved to die. Because of what, your attitude that your religion should reign supreme? The vast majority of the victims in this latest shooting (Umpqua Community College) were Christians. You’re telling me that God didn’t save the believers because the non-believers deny Him? Are you serious? What kind of backasswards thought process is that? That is so petty!

My other equally large issue is that this takes the blame completely off the gunman and places it on the non-Christians. We’re removing the blame from the person who went in and shot up the place and placing it on the victims and potential victims. On people who had nothing to do with the shooting at all. Now that should anger everyone and, if it doesn’t, I just don’t know what else to say.

The point is that it should anger the non-believers because it’s a misplacement of blame, it’s an insult to those who lost their lives, and the blame is kind of getting tossed on us with statements like this. And it should anger the believers for all these reasons, too, along with the fact that this is also blame placed on God, which from what I hear, isn’t how things are supposed to work. It’s an insult to your religion and Christians to tolerate this kind of content. Purely for the fact that it is just wrong at the most basic level.

And anyone who finds it acceptable to utilize a shooting for their own agenda–be it religious, political, or otherwise–is sick and lacks basic empathy.

More than that, I find it terribly interesting that the comic implies that shootings, the wrath of an angry god, and gun-related deaths are more acceptable concepts than a difference or lack of religious belief.

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Have you ever noticed

the way the limbs of trees reach
and build
like the veins inside us,
how the atmosphere breathes and
coughs with storms
that light up its system
and send shocks to its core?
Have you ever noticed
at all?

And have you ever thought
perhaps we are the cells,
the selection is us,
we are not a virus, not a disease,
but cells that keep replicating,
crashing the health of our body,
the one that nourished us,
the one we were supposed to protect?
That we have taken of the planet,
that we are a cancer, not killing it,
but inviting in the end?

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Crossing lines, self-respect, and why I hate retail.

From the time I could understand the concept of owning myself and my actions, my mom told me, “You can’t control anyone but yourself.” She still tells me this and I understood half of that phrase’s meaning from the get-go. I understood the part that said I couldn’t control anyone else. What took me years and years to understand was that no one got to control me either. Not unless I let them. The problem with this was that I unwittingly allowed that level of control until I understood both halves of the lesson.

Sometimes it comes over time. Over the course of years, months, sometimes weeks. Sometimes in comes in an instant. I think, on some level, it comes when you need it to. It builds over the years, the months, the weeks into what could be a resonating epiphany, but we don’t always see it until we want to or need to.

I remember the walls I’d assumed were erected long before my time, but I’d actually built myself. I remember thinking they were permanent, that I was enclosed, that there were simply things that I didn’t get to say or do or speak out against. I think I’d known that I could do something about this limitation for a long time before I actually did something about it. By the time I realized I could do something, it was a point at which I needed to. And once I hit that wall and obliterated it to dust, I hit the other side running.

And I am so glad that I did.

It’s not necessarily about putting people in their places, though at times it’s necessary that you do in order to protect yourself. It doesn’t always have to be in a forceful, volatile way, in fact it rarely needs to be this way with common occurrences. But there’s a delicacy to holding your ground and maintaining your calm. I can’t tell you how to find that because it’s different for everyone and it’s also something I’ve not entirely achieved yet. I’m closer than I’ve ever been though. You need to love yourself and know that you are the one who will live your life and you get just the one chance, so telling someone to worry about their own life is not only fair, but imperative.

My biggest problem with my job is how everything I am told there challenges what I am trying to teach myself. I’m told to keep my mouth shut, that the customers are always right or at least hold extreme precedence over us employees, that every time we get a complaint we have to have an entire store meeting to be told how shitty we are as workers and human beings and that it’s unacceptable, even if the complaint was that something that wasn’t on sale or that we didn’t use the coupon in the exact fashion the customer wanted, despite the discount still being given (both real examples).

I had a SodaStream canister backhanded hard across the counter at me because it wasn’t free and the customer didn’t like that. And my manager stood there and watched. I didn’t even know what to say, I was shocked. And the guy just kept yelling at me until I called the manager on duty up to tell him exactly what I’d said, but the man was much more civil to the other man of more authority and completely understood when it was coming from his mouth. In order to avoid repercussions, I had to hold my tongue.

It’s not the first nasty word thrown my way, it’s not even the first object I’ve had come at me, just the hardest one. That isn’t the point, or maybe it is. It’s a different point. This is about being a decent, respectful human being rather than a multi-levelly abusive asshole. The other point I’m making is that I’m paid to go against everything I’m trying to teach myself in order to live a good, sturdy life in which I can love myself. We are a society driven on a demand for dehumanization of each other because we don’t want to deal with the concept of another entire collection of experiences, heartaches, personality traits, and beliefs being inside every human being on the face of this earth. It’s much easier to get pissed off at a face behind a register when a pack of pillowcases is $2.00 more than what you thought it was. There is no respect for the complexity of life in other bodies, in other minds. Perspective has become one-sided in so many people and it’s ignorant and harmful.

I had a dream last night that I was at work, ringing at the register, and an angry man slammed a wine glass into my face. The force of impact shattered my right cheekbone and a sliver of bone split and pierced my right eye. Blood was pouring out of my face, my nose, my eye, I couldn’t see, and I was sobbing, and he was still yelling at me, and my manager started yelling and the other customers in line were getting angry because they had to wait and one woman demanded to know why I wasn’t doing my job. That’s the level of dehumanization that can come with service jobs, particularly when you’re walking in with depression or another mental illness or handicap of any kind from the start.

The world demands that you’re stripped down to a background detail by others while demanding you do the same to everyone else. And still the same people who scream at me at my job will walk into church every Sunday and talk about being kind to others or lament to their friends over $7 salads about how people are so cruel to each other after seeing some Buzzfeed article about the latest celebrity fat-shaming scandal.

We’re a world full of dueling perspectives, taught to have only one from a long-time practice of selfishness because that’s the only way to get by when that’s how everyone else thinks. How else are we supposed to protect ourselves when we are the only ones we can control and everyone else still tries to control us? Everyone is an individual maelstrom of experience and emotion. Imagining all that contained in one injured planet is impossible to fathom, but looking at one person at a time, the one across the sales counter, the one across the street, the one you have the opportunity to hold a door open for, is a good place to start.

Someday I might get less preachy when it comes to this stuff. Today’s not that day.

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There’s something quiet about the way a year passes.

I don’t remember recognizing that there were just a few months left until 2015. Now there are just days between now and the new year and despite it being only an aging of those few days from now, the transition of time in numbers is so engrained into our minds by societal tradition, it feels like stepping off the same precipice as last year around this time. Now if that wasn’t a run-on sentence, I don’t know what is.

Three days until New Year’s Eve, four until 2014’s tipping point. And so much has changed.

Seeing as I’ve posted so little in the past few months, I don’t want to come back and make self-centered updates every time I rediscover my blogging ability. In short, I’ve completed the first half of my junior year in university with flying colors, continued to grow as a person in whatever ways I can, and as of about a month and a half ago I happened into a new relationship for the first time in nearly three years that I took as healing from the last one.

I’m holding onto myself with a vengeance this time though. Maybe a little too much. I already care a hell of a lot for this guy, which I never had with the ex, but I’m taking extra amounts of care to confirm that I’m not going to lose myself again. I don’t think I have to worry though–I’m different now.

I hope everyone’s holiday seasons went/are going smoothly. When I think of a topic worth blogging over that doesn’t completely orbit my life, I will be back. In the meantime, happy new year, dears.

Suggestions and updates from you are always welcome in the comments.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a fucking quarter-life crisis. But why?

So I had like four paragraphs written on this subject yesterday and in all my turmoil (I guess) I freaking skipped tabs and forgot about them. When I shut my computer down, they died and it was sad just now when I realized they were gone, but my point is TWENTY. Why was that so scary to me?

As those of you who frequent my infrequent blog know, I’m a junior in college and I turned twenty last May. Though I was just a day older than the day before, the morning I woke up and was now a twenty year-old to the rest of the world, I swear I had my first serious, figurative heart attack. In the words of the internet’s perception of a stereotypical “white girl,” I could not even and not in a good way. I was fucking terrified. For NO reason.

It’s a new decade’s worth of numbers plastered onto legal documents and job applications, but it wasn’t a rite of passage necessarily. I didn’t get any new privileges that I’m aware of by turning twenty like I did when I turned eighteen or like I will when I’m twenty-one. So what was the big deal? The big deal was that I have all these goals for myself, all of which I really have yet to realize, and I swung around into a new ten-year round of existence with all of that still on my plate. I looked at my accomplishments in the form of material worth and reciprocation, not what I’d learned in that time span. This was my first mistake.

My biggest mistake though? Thinking that I should’ve found a steady boyfriend by now. Not only that, but THE steady boyfriend. Like the last one I’ll ever have. If anyone is having this same crisis or feels on the borderline of a critical time in their young lives, stop that shit right now. People find their way in different ways at different times and I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that this is seriously okay. I’m not behind anyone, I’m not necessarily ahead of anyone, and I’m only on the same level as some people because they’re doing the same things at the same point in their lives. There’s not really a calendar for this stuff, it’s just supposed to happen according to whatever weird invisible schedule is unfolding on its own.

I think social media and the increased progression of growing up that I’ve seen in kids and teens recently has a lot to do with this concept. And it’s just getting worse. As far as social media goes, you see relationship statuses change, it becomes a bigger deal because it’s literally plastered across your news feed, and then come the onslaught of kissy selfies, engagement pictures, and wedding photos followed by baby pictures and so on and so forth. Like that’s a lot to look at and handle when you’re not to that point yet. At least six of my classmates (that I know of from Facebook) have popped out babies and a couple of them are engaged. Granted, this isn’t how I’d like to do things (mommy and wife at twenty years old? Hell nah), but that’s how a lot of people are ending up or planning for their lives to go.

And that is okay.

What’s not okay is the pressure from society that edges its way in and begins to push everyone in the same young adult age group or younger to make these choices, too. Man or woman, you do not have to get married early or at all, you do not have to become a parent early or at all, and you do not have to conform to whatever your family, friends, or just bossy strangers in an outside societal circles want you to be. DO YOU. PLEASE. Like I can’t stress this enough, they’re not living your life, you are and you’re only getting one shot at this. They can put their nose back on their own path and work that out themselves as long as they stay off of yours.

When it hit me that I was seriously concerned that I hadn’t had a good, strong relationship yet, I kind of stopped. That was the moment when it hit me just how dumb I was being. I had a serious relationship that you all know pretty well of by now and it was absolute shit. I had the idea in my head STILL that because I’d stuck with that for so long and “wasted” my time on only the one, singular shitty relationship, I’d messed up. I’d done something wrong.

Bullshit. If I lasted nearly three years in that poor excuse for a relationship, just think of how well I could do in a good one. And I didn’t “waste” my time. I spent more than I should have in that mess, but at the same time, I learned a hell of a lot from it and the mistakes I made and the crap I dealt with from just one person sometimes takes someone four significant others to get through. In retrospect, I’d much rather have gotten all that rotten experience in one than four bad relationships. And then I was single for like two years after that and I LOVED it. Was I lonely? Absolutely. But I didn’t have to answer to that bastard anymore and I got to pull up what was left of me, find some pieces I’d lost along the way, rebuild those, and then add on new pieces. I reformed and enhanced who I was and got to know myself all over again and it was brilliant.

My point is that your forming years aren’t over when you hit a certain age. Some people grow their whole lives and I hope I’m one of those people. You don’t wake up one day and have it all figured out by default, it comes to you in its own time and whatever you get, excellent. That’s your life. Work for it, love it, and live it, and you’re going to be fine.

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