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This is my place to figure things out. It's that simple.

Location: United States

I'm 25 year old Wisconsin girl living in the city of neon and chrome who's slowly gaining her identity while losing all sense of reality.

30 March 2010

Poem For a Rainy Day.

Rainy day, umbrella blew away.
Wish I could stand getting soaked all day.
Smell like wet dog, dead worms, storm drains,
But still it rains, it rains, it rains.

People running by with newspaper hats,
Crazy need to hide like stray dog, mouse, or cat.
Drops keep on falling all fat, wet, and fast,
Everyone's asking 'Will it last?', 'Will it last?'.

Dripping umbrellas, wet indoor floors,
Squish-slushy walking, wet socks ever more.
Look out my window, my heart starts to soar,
How I love the days when it pours, when it pours.

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29 March 2010

All I want...

So, I've had this song stuck in my head. It's about a minute or so long and the simplicity is so beautiful.

Accompanied by simple acoustic guitar, the lyrics are as follows:

I want you, you, you. All I want is you, you, you.
All I want is you.
Give you the stars above, Sun on the brightest day
Give you all my love, if only you would say (see?)
That I want you, you, you. All I want is you, you, you
All I want is you

And that's it. It doesn't even repeat. Beyond simple, I know, but I think it's beautiful.
(here's a YouTube link if you want to listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rb0jsseh9J8 )

I bring this up because at the moment that's all I want. Something simple that at the same time is meaningful and honest. For all the words I write or speak, it seems like I don't know how to say what I mean. I guess in my writing I get a bit self centered, but this whole thing started out as a journal and I'm finding it's hard to get out of my own head.

When I was younger I wanted to be a painter or a sculptor, in large part because I don't think people can truly express life or love or the deeper meaning of things with words. We try really hard, but it's not concrete. There are plenty of poets and other kinds of writers who do a far better job than I do, but for all their efforts we still constantly search for the perfect way to say what we mean. It seems natural to put poetry to music because it gets our thoughts just slightly closer to our meaning. Add in pictures, whether it be a music video, youtube slide show, or album art, and we inch closer to the goal. But we never really reach it. We're all trying in vain to capture something that is too great, to immeasurable for words. Love, Sorrow, Heartbreak, Yearning, Anger, Fear, etc. In a word: Life.

This song makes me smile because in it's simplicity it comes far closer than I ever could to touching the emotions I have often tried to express in my own, often labored writing. I'm sure that to some people, the simplistic nature of a song like this doesn't speak to them. They may find it cliche. But what are cliches anyway? Not that I'm usually a huge fan of them, but there's got to be a reason we repeat the same ideas over and over.

As someone who, at this point, has spent most of her life in school working towards some kind of goal, I am always amazed when I think of the points in my life when I was the most happy. They tend to be moments of simplicity. Laying on the floor with a roommate listening to music. Running around the dorm with a different roommate pretending to be a squirrel and a raccoon (and frightening our neighbors in the process). Ordering in food with my best friend on a rainy day. Little moments when I didn't want anything except for time to stand still.

So is the question how to live simply while still doing something you believe is worth doing? I'm not sure.

But I do know I love that song.


26 March 2010

Tom Waits for No Man.

I Just gotta say, I want to be like Tom Waits.

I mean, the man is crazy talented. And if you've ever seen an interview with him or read any of his quotes or seen him in movies, it's hard to miss his ridiculous sense of humor. I think he's hilarious. He's only a few years younger than my parents yet he still seems like a big kid. The thing about Tom Waits is he's done so much that you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't like SOMETHING he's created, even if they don't know he was the one who created it. He's done music for movie soundtracks and plays and his music has been covered by many, such as Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, and The Ramones. When one looks him up online, he's commonly associated with the use of the word 'prolific'. And then on top of everything, there's the adorably symbiotic relationship he has with his wife...

Most importantly though, the man has principles and he sticks to them. He doesn't let people use his music to sell crap on TV (he's been known to sue companies for doing so and then he gives the money to charity), and he certainly doesn't conform to what the music industry tells us music should sound like. Often described as a 'storyteller', he simply creates what he wants to.

I will admit, a fair amount of his music could certainly fall under the category of 'an acquired taste', but there is something about the raspy, reverberating, depth and richness in his voice that I find almost hypnotic. Even on the occasions when his pitch is slightly off key (I get the feeling he may do this on purpose) I still find I can't help but be drawn in. For me, his music is best enjoyed in darkness and solitude, either through headphones or by turning the volume up loud enough that the music engulfs you, body and mind. Lying awake in bed on a sleepless night I can close my eyes and his music will create vivid, sensual landscapes of rundown bars, dirty street gutters, and heartbreaking lost loves, ripe with colors and textures you can almost feel and taste. It's as if his music contains his very soul, or perhaps a very soul of its own. There is something pure, almost religious about the way he creates: His music is beautiful because it is honest and raw. It is because of this that I find it is easy to lose myself within it.

Fearless and creative, I find hard not to like his music.

I will admit, my love for all things Waitsian was not something I found on my own. In my second year of college I was cast in a student directed one act (written by Kobo Abe) entitled "The Man Who Turned Into A Stick". It was about, as you might guess, a man who turns into a stick. There are demons and couple of rebellious kids and the play centers around what will happen to this man's soul after he has jumped off a building and become a stick. Looking back now, it would seem almost silly for the director NOT to have used songs by Tom Waits for this show. But that's not exactly what first drew me in. I enjoyed the songs we used in the show ("Earth died Screaming" and "Goin' Out West") but what really piqued my interest was how much the director (who became my first boyfriend and will always be one of my dearest friends) held Tom Waits in such high regard.

I was over at my friend (the director)'s house hanging out. He had to take a shower before dropping me off at my dorm and going into work and he put on Tom Waits' album Bone Machine in the bathroom. I remember hearing it through the door, and becoming completely enthralled. As someone who grew up mostly on radio and the Beatles, it was like being at the grand canyon for the first time. I remember sitting in the short hallway outside the bathroom straining to better hear and eventually just yelling for my friend to turn the music up. He didn't seem phased that I was so interested in Tom Waits. For him, it was more of a give in. "Of course you like Tom Waits. He's Tom Waits." He later explained to me the finer points of why Tom Waits is amazing, and his reverent love for the man's genius filled me with wonder. This was a friend with a much wider musical knowledge than my own and a talented person in his own right, so his opinion was one to be noted and respected. It's no surprise then, that I eventually did my own looking into things and discovered that, yes, I too find Tom Waits to be just about infallibly awesome.

(Also, if you couldn't tell, I feel irrationally compelled to use both his first and last names when talking about him because just using one or the other doesn't sound... well... "prolific" enough.)

To anyone out there poo pooing my gushing laudation, please at least let me explain why I feel so compelled to write it now:

This past week has been hard for me. For whatever reason my mental state has been slowly dragging itself through the mud. I've found myself frustrated and bored out of my mind at work, uncomfortable and uninspired at home. I just have been. Yet every time I wander to Tom Waits' website and read his lyrics, joke online with an equally bored friend about what the mini, pocket sized Tom Waits sitting on our shoulders (Shoulder Tom Waits or STW for short) is telling us to do, or listen to his music when it's 2am and I can't sleep, my mind has cleared of all its negative thoughts and I feel a sense of Joy and wonderment for what someone can accomplish if they are true to them self. Sappy as it may sound, this week Tom Waits has been the life raft in my sea of self doubt. When impacted so profoundly by someone or something, how can one be expected to keep quiet? It seems unnatural not to want to share this feeling.

So any way, Thank you Tom Waits. You and your music have made my life richer and more enjoyable. I can only aspire to do the same for someone else oneday.


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24 March 2010

I can turn a grey sky blue!

I wrote this yesterday (March 23rd) but didn't get a chance to post it:

It's a dreary day out today and from what I can tell, almost everyone is miserable. I, however, may have figured out how to cure the blues.

It's one of those days today. The sun is nowhere to be found and it's been drizzling on and off all day. On the subway this morning the air was damp and heavy as the cool humidity wafted from people's skin sending everyone's scent into the crowded air. I was trying to decide what it smelled like between the two guys I ended up standing next to, and what I came up with was that there was a cool, sweet, cotton-crisp, musky smell from the man to my left and a hot almost rancid, spice smell from the man on my right. Needless to say, on a day like today one tries ones best not to inhale too deeply on the subway. However, it wasn't simply the weather and the crowded subway that were conspiring to dislodge everyone's happiness today. Oh no, it was one of THOSE days where it seems as if all the little elements of the universe are coming together like some puckish sprite just dying for a little bit of Schadenfreude. Little things like my toilet overflowing and the cats running out of food.Consequently not having time to take a shower. Missing breakfast. Forgetting to take lunch. Swallowing coffee down the wrong tube. So many small stupid things that the absurdity of it all leaves you mildly amused while simultaniously leaving you in a state of annoyed aggitation. But as the day progressed I discovered something that made it all that seem to disappear.

Acting like a child.

Perhaps that could use an explanation. I don't mean outwardly behaving like a child. More like allowing your inner child to skip around and stick out it's tounge at the trickster universe. I'm rubber, you're glue universe! Take that!

As it turns out, the ramshackle outfit I threw together in a whirlwind this morning happens to have a hint of "Mommy look! I dressded myselfs!". I'm wearing black pinstriped pants with a brown, empire waist shirt decorated with a bright, norske-ish flower pattern at the neckline, topped off with a short, light-weight, white and silver 3/4 length sweater, and my silver dorthy shoes. The shoes themselves practicly scream "nine year old". But I really don't care. They're like wearing little disco balls with bows on your feet and I happen to think they are schnazzy and awesome. (Plus, with the rise of hipster fashion, you can dress like a nine year old, call it 'ironic' and it's considered 'cool') Anyway, this slightly childish outfit seems to have been the starting point of my negitivity-fighting happiness. While I'm aware that it is not the most fashionable outfit, separately I love each article of clothing and so I feel comfy, yet I still look dressed up. It's takes some effort to stay annoyed when you look at your feet and secretly think "there's no place like home"...

When it came time for my lunch, I really just wanted to get outside. I knew it wasn't the nicest out, but sometimes for me, when things aren't going as planned I just need to be outside. I put in my headphones and wandered to the nearest branch of my bank, which happened to be in Times Square. Times Square at 2pm on a dreary Tuesday afternoon is pretty fantastic. Not a whole lot of people, and the folks on the street selling things are too glum from the weather to attempt to stop someone who's wearing headphones and looking at their sparkly shoes. After the bank I decided to walk down broadway a bit, because, lets face it, even when it's a designated pedestrian zone, walking down the middle of the street is just fun. Out of the corner of my eye I realized I was right near the giant Toys 'R Us and I decided to wander inside. By far the best idea I've had all day.

After about a ten seconds inside Toys 'R Us I was grinning like an idiot. I kept my headphones in to ward off any salesfolk and just giddily searched through Legos, Hello Kitties, and Playmobiles. I think the fantastic thing about being an adult in a giant tourist trap toy store is that while part of you still has that rediculous bliss of being surrounded by so many totally awesome things, you don't really feel bad about not buying anything. Sure, part of me would totally love to buy the Playmobile Egyptian Boat or the way too small 'I (Hello Kitty's head) NY' t-shirt, but it's not like tryining on the perfect pair of jeans and knowing you can't afford to buy them. It's just fun. At the same time, as an adult, you get this sort of under-cover feeling, knowing that society dictates that toy stores are for kids, not adults. The entire time I was there, I totally pretended I was shopping for a present for my "little brother".

It may be that acting like a kid is just turning on a goofy, light-hearted attitude. After all, childish language is inherently more funny. For example, call someone a poopy-head and it's hard not to crack a smile, call someone the same thing using more "adult" language, and the humor is gone. On a deeper note though, it may be that acting child-like takes us back to days when, for many of us, problems rarely extended further than whether to wear the Tailspin underwear or the ones with the frilly butt.

Regardless of the reasons, it seems to me that acting like a kid can brighten up any crummy day. Even if it's just in your head.

22 March 2010

Don't Panic!

Alright this should be interesting.

The only reason I am writing this entry is because I am in the middle of a full blown anxiety attack and I'm trying to stay focused until it goes away.

For those of you who don't know how an anxiety attack feels, let me describe mine:

In general, anxiety attacks are supposed to happen at random, but with me they usually happen when I'm a bit stressed to begin with and then it's as if something small triggers it and then it snowballs into irrational and uncontrollable anxiety.

Physically, my arms and feet are tingly and hot, I feel a bit light headed and I can't see straight, my chest feels tight and it seems as if my heart is beating erratically, however when I actually take my pulse it is fairly steady, albeit a bit on the fast side.

Usually, I can control my anxiety attacks so that people don't know I'm having them. I've only ever had really bad ones when I've been alone. Even so, I hate being around other people when they happen. For instance, just a little bit ago two guys came into the office I'm working in to get an ID badge. While I'm sure they didn't notice anything was wrong, when the one guy was speaking to the other in his loud baritone voice, I could feel my anxiety worsen. I wasn't afraid of the guy and there wasn't anything physically intimidating about him, but the sound of his voice made me want to shrink in my chair.

When this happens I usually have the urge to start hyperventilating, as well, so that's fun.

I'm quite stressed today because I need to figure out how to do my taxes for the first time (prior to this year I've only had to file taxes once or twice and my father insisted on doing them for me, even though I wanted to try doing them on my own) and I also need to buy my books for an English class I am taking and apply to graduate at the end of the semester. My Internet is down at home, so I couldn't do anything all yesterday, and no one at the university is answering my e-mails. I also need to find another way to make money, since I have to save up to go home for two months this summer, but with this English class, I don't know how I would have time to get another job. I am super broke and if I end up having to overnight my books I probably won't have any food money for this week. Also, we recently discovered our newly adopted kitten is pregnant and I desperately need to do laundry. Add to that all my personal issues about not doing anything I want to do, and not being able to do any theatre or film at the moment, and it makes sense that something little could snap me into anxiety attack.

Alright. My head/vision is still a bit wonky, but my chest doesn't feel so tight so I think this has mostly passed.

Note to self: My next blog should be about something positive so that I don't end up ranting and complaining all the time. 'Cause that would be no good... literally.

On the plus side, I thoroughly cleaned my room last night, so my anxiety riddled self has a nice, clutter-free room to go home to in about an hour and a half.

Just keep breathing, self. Everything's going to be fine.


20 March 2010

Nature, Nurture, and the Land of Confusion

There's a certain amount of questioning about nature vs. nurture when you're trying to discover what makes you who you are. When I was younger I used to think it was almost all nurture and that we were born as blank slates. Then my mother told me a story about how she had been shocked that as a baby I was so much different than my older sister had been. I've been thinking about this question of what shapes us in part because recently a friend of mine re-introduced me to the music video for Genesis' "Land of Confusion". Let me explain.

Growing up, my family pretty much didn't have TV after I was six. We had moved three miles outside of town to a house on the side of a bluff and were pretty much surrounded by nature. This resulted in an almost complete loss of television reception. I vaguely remember trying to watch Lois and Clark on a grainy, barely visible screen on the basement set with bunny ears, and at one point my sister and I figured out we could sort of watch X-Files on the portable 5 inch black and white TV set our grandfather gave us to play with, but for the most part, when we were home we could only watch movies. You're probably still wondering what this has to do with Genesis. At one point I discovered a VHS in the movie closet that had an MTV countdown of music videos. I imagine I must have been around eight or nine at the time, and I remember being fascinated by the videos on the countdown and watching them over and over again. The two in particular that stick out in my mind were "Land of Confusion" by Genesis (you guessed it) and "Big Time" by Peter Gabriel. There was also another music video at the end that got cut off and it would frustrate me to no end that I never got to see the whole thing. I recently figured out it was "Digging in the Dirt" by Peter Gabriel.

Now, over a decade later, upon re-watching these videos I can't help but realize how each has a mildly creepy feel to them. Just a slight hint of morbidity. Now, personally, I am very aware that I was a quite morbid child. Yet I wonder, why was I drawn to these videos? I didn't recognize them as morbid or 'creepy'. I thought they were interesting, creative, beautiful even. Did these videos contribute to my morbidity or was I drawn to them because I was slightly morbid to begin with? Let me be clear, when I say morbid, I don't mean to the extent of needing therapy (though I'm sure some people might disagree). To give an example, 'The Little Mermaid' was one of my favorite movies... but I preferred the Hans Christian Anderson version my grandparents had found. If you're unaware of the difference, in the Hans Christian Anderson version (the original story) there is no 3 day time limit, but if the prince ever marries another the little mermaid will die (a big deal for mermaids since they are immortal and have no soul). On the prince's wedding night the little mermaid's sisters come to her with a magic dagger they've gotten from the sea witch in exchange for their hair. If the little mermaid kills the prince she will turn back into a mermaid and be free. She ends up refusing because the prince looks so happy lying asleep with his bride and she says if he is happy then so is she. She then dies and becomes sea foam. The original story is a little more complicated (she basically becomes an angel and eventually gets a soul so she can go to heaven) but still, kind of depressing. Another example: My family is sometimes involved in historical re-enactments where there are usually fur traders of some kind. I used to buy the fur scraps of animal faces because I wanted to make purses with them. My mother, who is notorious for her preference for all things happy and shiny, always tried to get rid of these morbid things. I remember hiding both the Little Mermaid tape and the fur faces, but eventually she found them and got rid of them. When I was in third grade she thought I was being too negative, so she bought me a journal and told me to write about the positive things in my life. Looking back, it is clear now that I was clinically depressed on and off from about third grade until the end of college, when I got some help (turns out a large part of my depression was because I have severe ADHD, but that is a tale for another time.)

Regardless of my depression though, there's always been something amazing to me about decay and to some extent the concept of death. In a college English class we once discussed how if you look at most truly breathtaking still-life paintings the flowers or fruit are always just barely past their peak. They have just a subtle touch of the beginnings of decay, which for some reason makes them more beautiful. I'm not sure why that is. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say that I'm a depressing person, in fact, I would probably describe myself as the opposite. Like anyone, I have bouts of pessimism but that's usually brought on by my idealistic nature. I always assume things will work out, that people are mostly good, and if you don't like someone it's only because you don't know them well enough and don't understand why they are the way they are. I enjoy finding beauty in just about everything, and perhaps that's where my morbid streak stems from. I am sometimes drawn to what society deems 'grotesque' and 'ugly' because I refuse to believe that society sees things for what they truly are. In my opinion, everything in life is inherently beautiful. In high school I went through a faze where my drawings almost all incorporated something beautiful just about to be destroyed, usually involving maggots or something about to be bitten. I know, weird. At the time it was mostly centered on the fact that that was how I felt emotionally; that something was dying within me, that at any moment I would self destruct. Usually brought on by a boy of course. At the same time, I just loved the imagery of it.

These days my morbidity tends to show up in the type of movies or television I watch. Things like Fight Club or 300. Shows like Bones, Dead Like Me or Pushing Daisies. Now that I think about it, my mother does have a bit of morbidity in her as well... she's always reading murder mysteries or watching shows like CSI. Perhaps in the end I will turn out more like my mother. The way she looks at it, life can be depressing all by itself so she'd rather entertain herself with stories that have happy endings. Then again, when you decide to see the beauty within stories of sadness, don't you tend to feel more of a sense of being alive? Curious. Sometimes I theorize that I am the way I am in order to be the antithesis of my mother in certain ways while being similar enough in others to still be close. Who knows why we are the way we are. I like to think there's some plan, that we are born with certain proclivities that shape how we react and everything we encounter builds on the sculpture of who we are. We simply have a responsibility to ourselves to morph the negative into something positive, something we can learn from. Easier said than done, I know, but no matter what, I will continue to be amazed by piecing together ideas about why we are and why we do the things we do.

19 March 2010

I see Queen Mab hath been with you...

I can't seem to get over the dream I had this morning. I say "this morning" because I had gotten up around six am and then gone back to bed and at one point in my dream, realized I needed to wake up and woke up with a start, with only a half hour to get ready for work. I know other people's dreams are often boring/obnoxious to hear about, so I'll try to only stick to the highlights. Besides, anyone not interested in hearing my dream... well... it's the Internet. I'm not forcing you to read it.

Like most of my dreams, this one was very disjointed and while I know which part came just before I woke up, the rest is a mess. I've spent the morning wracking my brains trying to decide which parts of the dream were important and which parts were simply a result of watching Hulu last night before going to bed.

Here's some of the highlights:

I'm in my bedroom at my parents house, but the house is not like the one in real life. I feel like it might be a summer house or something. You can see the ocean outside and the walls are more like that of a tent. I am on the bed kissing and being held by a guy who is clearly my significant other in the dream. Let's call him guy X (He looks like a friend of mine I haven't seen in a few years but was never remotely attracted to). It's all very innocent but at the same time deeply emotional. As I'm kissing him I realize he's not the one I want at all. I realize the person I want is, lets call him guy Y (Guy Y is a character from one of my favorite TV shows. Basically an athletic, loyal, honorable, good guy, who is rugged and down to earth - at the same time he almost seems to be another friend of mine who, in real life I had had a fling with but I'm not really interested in). I realize (in the dream) that while guy Y had wanted me before, I had at that time been involved with Guy Z (literally the last guy I was involved with in real life) and so I had to turn guy Y down, even though I knew I probably shouldn't be with guy Z. As I'm kissing guy X's hands they become the hands of guy Y and I imagine it is him who is holding me. I realize I shouldn't be doing that, and then I become aware of how unattractive I find guy X (he's sweaty and drooling from exhaustion). Much later on in the dream I see guy Y and he doesn't look anything like "the guy who plays him on TV". I realize I'm not really that attracted to him. He hugs me and we flirt even though I know guy X is somewhere in the room and will probably see us. A girl I went to college with pulls me away to have a talk with me (She is someone who is often known for being a 'royal bitch' - her words, not mine - and once in real life took me aside in a similar fashion to tell me what was 'wrong' with me...) She told me I needed to leave both guys alone. When I asked her why she said, "well for one you have hooker boots". This is where I woke up with a start. I woke up annoyed.

The other, more interesting and probably more important part of my dream, I was in the upstairs of the house and I saw something very large whizzing past the window chasing a rabbit. I couldn't tell what it was and I thought it must be a cougar or something, but it seemed too large to be. It looked like maybe it could be a lion or a tiger but I knew we don't have those around our house. I ran to the opposite side of the house and looked out a small window to see if it would come around to that side. It did and I saw it catch the large brown rabbit it was chasing and devour it almost whole. I remember seeing it briefly for a moment as having a lion/white tiger head, but I know when it turned and looked at me it had the face of a man (not the head of a man, but just the face), teal feathers at it's hairline, a long bird or giraffe like neck and it's front legs were that of a giraffe but they had a different pattern on each half one of which was clearly that of a zebra. It was brilliantly rainbow colored and the colors were continuously moving and changing. I cooed at it to try and get it to stay and it stared at me, as though it knew exactly who I was. I realized in order for anyone to believe me someone else would have to see it too, but I knew that it would leave before anyone else could see it. Even so I called for guy X to come look, and told him to hurry but it walked away before he could get there. I don't remember it having wings necessarily but I know that while the rabbit left footprints in the snow the creature did not.

The other things prevalent in my dream were my cat (I had lost her carrier), my mother and sister, there was a flood that came and left very quickly and left a lot of damage and death, my mother at one point did not care about her newly polished jewelry because she had nowhere to put them anymore and something had happened, I assumed someone had died but whenever she tried to whisper it to me I could not understand her, and at one point we came across a woman who's children were dead and who was badly hurt and full of nettles. When a girl (who later became me) got close to her the nettles pulled out of the woman and stuck in the girl/my arm as if magnetized. Later I was chastised for allowing that to happen and I had to pull them out myself. The nettles had some kind of toxin in them so they made me a bit loopy as well. Other than that, there was a sense of needing to get somewhere, being uncomfortable, there was a dark red rust colored shower that wasn't supposed to be used, and a sea-foam green/teal color was also prevalent.

So that's the gist. I've looked up some of the meanings of things who's symbolism I don't blatantly see, but basically I don't know what to think. The guy thing seems fairly obvious. Basically, I don't know what I really want, and I shouldn't get into relationships until I've decided, but beyond that, I have no idea what I'm supposed to get from this dream.

I know dreams don't necessarily mean anything, but I'm a strong believer that dreams are usually your subconscious trying to bring things to light that you may be ignoring. Who knows, maybe they're sometimes something more than that. Then again, maybe they're usually nothing.