Saturday, April 25, 2009

What Life Is...

So in the midst of writing an essay about what life is according to Arnold Bennett in The "The Old Wives' Tale" I thought about what I think life is according to me.

I was at Starbucks tonight, organizing my essay and as I was leaving I took stock of what my life looks like at the moment. I have a steady job, good pay, a fantastic roommate, a nice apartment, a great car, a family who is more amazing than I could special order from a catalog, wonderful friends, and am really close to a college degree. I don't know how much better I could have it. Sure, there are things that I want that I don't have... sure, there is a crapload of debt coming along with my impending degree... sure, I don't have any great love story to add to my list... but that's okay. I'm twenty-six years old and I have a damn good life going for me. So I thought I'd put that in writing so I can remind myself of it when I'm having a bad day or two down the road.

I should start out by saying that one of the main characters, Sophia, really struck me when I was reading this novel. She fell head over heels in love with a man she barely knew, ran off to Paris with him and got married, quickly discovering that things weren't as they seemed. Instead of returning home when things didn't work out, she stayed in Paris on her own and made a life for herself out of business and no pleasure. Reading this book was life-changing for me specifically in the end of her relationship with her husband, Gerald Scales.

"Her eyes were the eyes of one who has lost her illusions too violently and too completely. Her gaze, coldly comprehending, implied familiarity with the abjectness of human nature. Gerald had begun and finished her education. He had not ruined her, as a bad professor may ruin a fine voice, because her moral force immeasurably exceeded his; he had unwittingly produced a masterpiece, but it was a tragic masterpiece"

and a little later on the same page:

"She had accepted Gerald as one accepts a climate. She saw again and again that he was irreclaimably a fool and a prodigy of irresponsibleness. She tolerated him, now with sweetness, now bitterly; accepting always his caprices, and not permitting herself to have wishes of her own. She was ready to pay the price of pride and of a moment's imbecility with a lifetime of self-repression. It was high, but it was the price" 361 - Arnold Bennet - The Old Wives' Tale

Reading this was a wake-up call of a familiar situation. And I realized afterwards that I don't want to be a Sophia Baines, consistently punishing myself for one moment of weakness or one mistake I have made. She lived out the rest of her life cold and calculating, focusing on nothing emotional and wrapping herself up in monotony and work. That's just not me.

Anyway, there's a lot more I could say on this subject, but I'm heading to sleep now. I'm still not finished with the essay on this book and it's breaking my brain into tiny little pieces because I'm only allowed two double spaced pages to write everything that I want (WITH QUOTES AND SOURCES!) and I'm struggling to pare it all down.

So, I may revisit this topic again... but for now, that is all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm not impatient, just conflicted...

January 24, 2009
*copied from another journal before deleting it.

So here's the thing...

In the past few months I've had conversations with a few people that I am very close to who have told me that it is imperative that I end up marrying someone who loves me more than I love them. This idea really bothers me. Sure, security is a nice thing to have, adoration has it's place in any relationship, but I don't want to live my life drifting in and out of consciousness beside someone who worships the ground that I walk on.

I want to feel like I'm on fire for someone again. I want to be excited to see someone every time we get to spend time together. I want someone who appreciates the weird quirky things about me, not someone who looks at me like I've lost my mind when I make up songs about doing the dishes and sing while splashing around in the soapy water. I want someone who thinks it's fantastic that I get really excited about little stupid things. I want someone that will discuss literature with me one second and be able to follow my randomness when I start talking about the art of cake decorating the next. Maybe I'm asking for too much. Maybe I'm supposed to settle for someone that I can be myself around 80% of the time... but I don't think so.

I don't want someone who matches my every opinion or that agrees with me on every topic.. I enjoy a nice heated debate, but I don't think that I could ever be with someone who thinks that their way is the only right way. I want someone who is kind and compassionate but feisty and playful. I want someone who has an open mind and an open heart.

I have gone through some difficult times in my short life and I think that I have come out better in the end. I've adapted, I've grown, I've kept my core values and beliefs the same and I've tried to always find the silver lining in every big black cloud. I want someone who doesn't play the victim in their life. Someone who doesn't think that things happen TO them and someone who can take the good out of a bad situation and make it their own.

I'm an emotional person and I make decisions with my heart. I don't think that this is a bad thing, but some people do. I don't see many things in black and white anymore.. there is a lot of grey in the world. People may not deserve second chances but I'm known to give them anyway. I never want to wake up and wonder if I've done everything that I can when it comes to important situations or relationships. I don't live life with regrets and I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me for anything that has happened in my life. I've made many mistakes, but they were my mistakes to make and I don't want to hear how someone would've done things differently... or more importantly, how I should have done things differently.

I don't know if my mom told me one too many times when I was little that I was wonderful and special, but I kinda think that I am. If there is something I want, I go after it and I get it. I work hard and am proud of my accomplishments. I would do anything for my friends and family and I think that their love and respect is the best thing in the entire world.

This whole thing turned into a rant and that wasn't my intention at all. I don't know if I believe in 'the one' anymore, but I'm a very idealistic person. I'm loyal to a fault, trusting until someone proves to me that they aren't worthy of my trust, and I'm very giving. I don't think that I should have to settle for someone who thinks they can live with me instead of someone who doesn't want to live without me... and vice versa.

I don't know if that exists, but I don't see myself ever marrying someone who loves me more than I love them. It doesn't seem fair to either party involved.

26 and counting...

August 19, 2008
*copied from another journal so it still exists

(also, I had a lovely little mixtape that used to show here.. and I'm sad that mixwit is no longer..)

I'm trying to decide what the magical age in life is where you have everything figured out. Don't worry, I'm not getting all emo on you here, I'm just trying to figure out when you're really a 'grown up'. I remember when I was 19 (shut up, it wasn't THAT long ago!) and laughed at people who told me that I would be someone different in a few years. I was not like all of those other naive kids.. I knew unequivocally who I was.. what I wanted.. where I'd end up...

and then I turned 20.

Everything always changes. I'm not implying that this is a negative facet of life, just a given. The only constant is that nothing is ever constant. I'm a completely different person than I was this time last year. There is literally nothing about my life that is the same as it was one year ago... and I'm big on everything happening for a reason.. but when do you get to that point.. the point where everything settles down and the bigger picture comes into focus? When do you have that "Aha!" moment where it all makes sense? Maybe never.

But here's some perspective.. I was watching Maury the other day and there was this kid on the show.. she was still a teenager, that's why I say kid.. and she was on the show to find out which one of 3 men was her baby daddy. One of the men didn't show up, didn't want his picture on television, but wrote a letter saying that unless she could carry a baby for 10.5 months, he was pretty sure he wasn't the father. The other two guys were very nice and supportive of her, they seemed to genuinely care about this girl and her daughter even though neither of them ever had a relationship outside of having had sex with her once or twice. Long story short, Maury says that the absent guy isn't the father.. much crying and celebrating.. then guy number two isn't the father.. and then the shocker.. number three isn't the father either. So off runs this girl, backstage (because she forgets even after seeing all of the OTHER girls run backstage in horror and embarassment that there are cameras backstage too?) and Maury puts his arms around her to comfort her.. and then he says something that baffles my mind... it disturbed me so much that I WROTE IT DOWN.. he says, "It's okay.. this happens". This happens? REALLY Maury? Really?! No.. it doesn't happen. If you know you've slept with MORE than three guys around the time you conceived your child.. you should bring them ALL in for testing at the same time.. because aside from everyone in the USA knowing that you had horrible judgement a couple of years ago when you made this baby you are now a proven LIAR.. on NATIONAL TELEVISION who assured the entire audience (not to mention the three guys that were tested) that you were 100% positive that your child belongs to one of the three people that you had tested.

That being said.. my life is not complicated.. nor is it really all that interesting. Whenever I'm feeling down, I watch an episode of the Maury show (which is the exact same subject every day, always involving lie detector tests and/or paternity tests) or an episode of COPS.. even Intervention works.. these shows .. whether this makes me a bitch or not .. all make me feel better about my own life. I guess what I'm getting at is that I've been watching an awful lot of Intervention and Maury lately and that I'm sick of the transitory period of my life. I'm ready for the bright shining light at the end of the tunnel to not be a train barreling towards me. (okay.. maybe a tiny bit emo...)

If this posts right, there should be a nifty little mix-tape at the top of it(If not, click on the link included and it'll take you to the nifty little mix-tape!). Because my life always has an underlying soundtrack to it.. I just figured I'd share the current one with you. I'm feeling very restless lately and I think it's mostly due to the fact that school is starting up on Monday and also that a few days from now marks the time last year when my entire life changed (for the better in retrospect!). But I've also had a lot of time to just sit and think recently which is never a good thing for someone who worries about things and over-analyzes their life. ;) So I think my brain is just on overdrive right now.

Musc and driving are the only things that calm me down when I start to feel overwhelmed.. so I plan on spending a lot of time listening and driving in my last week before school..

This is the least coherent thing I've written in my blog to date, which is saying a lot, and not saying much all at the same time.

Anyhow, that's all I've got for now.

Random Thoughts on Writers...

August 16, 2008
*copied from another journal as to not be lost forever

If you do not like to read books.. this won't interest you in the least.. and even if you do like to read books, it still might fall flat.

So I should start by saying that I should never be left alone for long periods of time and allowed to think.. because it never turns out well. That being said...

I was sitting around thinking today about nothing in particular, well actually I was thinking about reading and about the some of the things that I wrote about yesterday..

Anyway, I decided that the following things are true:

*Louise Erdrich is my Fitzgerald of 2008.
- my reasoning behind this realization is that they both serve the same purpose to me.. they both encourage and discourage me to write simultaneously. I'm so intimidated by the way that they write that every time I pick up a pen (or sit down at the keyboard) I freeze. I guess it's the equiv. of 'performance anxiety' (take that in whatever context you will) but after reading anything by these two, I don't want to write anything down because I know it can't add up to the brilliance that seems to freely flow out of these two.

*Klosterman is my Laurie Notaro of 2008.
- If you've read both of them, this statement pretty much explains itself.. if not, suffice to say they have similar writing styles and that they both make me laugh out loud.. in public.. while reading a book... (wow. I'm fucking cool.)

So, I love different things about these different types of writers. With Fitzgerald and Erdrich I literally see the world differently while I'm reading their books. I can't think of a better way to illustrate this than to give an example of Erdrich's imagery.. to preface, she writes a lot of Native American lit. and this particular passage is in reference to the fact that in the Indian culture you aren't supposed to speak the names of the dead because they may come back if you do..

"Their names grew within us, swelled to the brink of our lips, forced our eyes open in the middle of the night. We were filled with the water of the drowned, cold and black, airless water that lapped against the seal of our tongues or leaked slowly from the corners of our eyes. Within us, like ice shards, their names bobbed and shifted. Then the slivers of ice began to collect and cover us. We became so heavy, weighted down with the lead gray frost, that we could not move. Our hands lay on the table like cloudy blocks. The blood within us grew thick." ~ Tracks

and also.. a little Fitzie for you too..

"He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced-or seemed to face- the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey." ~Gatsby

Now who WOULDN'T be intimidated to write after reading either of those things?! But that's the thing.. when I read Erdrich and Fitzgerald I think of little everyday things differently.. I pay attention to the crunching noises that the leaves make under my feet.. I think about the flavor of something I'm eating in a different way than I normally would.. it is almost as if my senses are heightened by reading these two.. (or any other fantastic author I suppose).. I'm going off on a tangent here..

Now Notaro and Klosterman make me think.. but in a very different way. They bring out my sarcasm and wit.. which are very good things.. just not as wonderful as the others..

I guess it may sound pompous (and naive too) that I think I could write a Klosterman or Notaro easily.. but it's the Gatsby I want to write.. the Tracks.. hell, even the Tender is the Night that I couldn't get past 3/4ths of the way through had some great imagery and symbolism to it..

I guess when I really stop and think about it, Fitzgerald and Erdrich are really just the tip of the literary iceberg for me in this conversation.. the James, Whitman, Dickinson, Salinger, T.S. Eliot, Camus, Hemingway, Atwood, CHOPIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Faulkner, Charles Frazier, Steinbeck, Emerson, John Gardner, Dante.. I could go on and on and on and on and on.. but you get the idea.

I have no idea whatsoever what I started writing this entry about or what the point I was trying to get at in my head was.. but if I was ever questioning whether I should be working towards teaching English, I've just solidified the decision to myself--so at least there's that.

a cliche of a cliche of a cliche

August 14, 2008
*note: I'm copying journal entries from another site here so that they aren't lost forever.

So I realized this evening, that I'm 'that girl'.. yeah.. you know exactly what I mean, don't play stupid (it doesn't suit you).

I'm sitting in Starbucks, in a giant purple squishy chair, my bare feet curled underneath me.. in a quippy t-shirt that references song lyrics from a really shitty old song (my FAVORITE t-shirt actually).. my triple venti (you'd have to guess what I drink) coffee sitting on the table beside me as I write in my notebook.. with my ipod playing Radiohead.. and a Chuck Klosterman book sitting underneath my coffee. No need to mention the now obligatory (for a 20-something chick who hangs out in a coffee bar) tattoo and general appearance of disdain for anyone not doing the 12 things that I'm doing at once.. but I realized rather suddenly that I'm 'that girl'... I'm the 'indie' girl.. WHAT THE FUCK?!

And then I realized that I'm NOT that girl at all.. I'm aspiring to BE that girl.. because really it's all a fluke.. and I'll explain why.

1. I JUST discovered that I liked Radiohead about three months ago.. seriously.. I've always known of Radiohead.. but I just found out that I dig them...

2. The giant tattoo on my wrist morphed from a much smaller tattoo into what it is now because of the need to cover up a poor decision (ah.. such is life!)

3. I have no excuse for the writing at Starbucks..

4. I discovered Chuck Klosterman like.. a minute ago.. well not literally, but I was shown a couple of his books by Amazon after reading Laurie Notaro's books as well as Love is a Mixtape.. so I checked him out, liked his style and then caught his books at B&N the other day on a buy two get the third FREE table.. so I bought three of his books...

5. I have no excuse for the t-shirt either.. I love that damn t-shirt..

So amidst this realization of what kind of girl I appeared to be.. I realized that I have an addictive personality. I mention all of the time about how I can obsess over a song or a band or a cd for quite some time and then move on to the next, etc. etc. but this really applies to more than just music...

I've read 5 of Louise Erdrich's books this year.. yes, this year. I will finish 3 of Klosterman's books by the end of the month.. and if I find a pair of jeans that I like, I buy 2 pairs... you know.. in case I step on the bottoms of one of the pairs and they start to look all raggedy.. which ends up happening to both pairs anyway because I always buy my jeans too long.. and now I'm rambling.

Anyway, I am not saying that this is a bad thing. I'm just saying that I tend to know what I like.. and then want it in excess.. well now that I put it that way it definitely doesn't seem like a positive attribute.

Oh well....

Now to distract everyone from that I'd like to randomly point out that I cannot stand U2.. and Bono in particular.

Thank you and that is all for now.