Friday, November 20, 2009
1. Woke up with my lights still on, computer on my lap. Didn’t move apparently after falling asleep to Texts From Last Night.
2. Followed Stadium and Shrines. Re-fell in love with Dave Sutton. http://stadiums-and-shrines.blogspot.com/
3. Listened to Beach House. Seriously evaluated the pros and cons of dropping out of college and becoming an indie rock star.
4. Witnessed a Vietnamese dance-off to the Pokemon theme song. And got paid for it.
5. Thought about running for the whateverth-day in a row. Ate two bowls of cinnamon toast crunch instead.
6. Made it to Political Science. Listened to Santa Clause talk about cockroaches. We’re all gonna suffer. No money. Government hates you. Jacksons rolling in his grave because he’s on paper money.
7. Daydreamt of holding hands with someone down Grafton Street, during the holiday season where all the wreaths are hung up above the cobblestone roads, and where everyone wears peacoats and happy Irish smiles.
8. Worked ten hours. (Didn’t work for eight of those hours at work.)
9. Sat in an office. Played office. Stamped “entered” and “inactive” on my graded essay just to feel like a grown-up.
10. Thought about him. All day long. Can’t get him outta my head. Have no idea why. Such an impossibility. Such a paradox of a situation. Thought about what it is to be in lust. Three months. Realized at the end of the day, I just wanted him to be happy. Couldn’t imagine not wanting him to be happy. Realized, for the first time in a long time, I might be approaching love. I hope he gets here.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I guess I’m one of those people.
I never really thought of myself as ultra-conservative, nor a raging liberal. I’m just…well, a republicat of sorts, weighing each issue as I see fit. I’ve realized (quite dutifully) though that this is no virtue; that in fact, I am easily swayed beyond comfortable admission because of my lack of loyalty to a particular ideology.
For instance. I voted Yes on Prop 8 last year (hold your middle fingers, please), because I felt like I shouldn’t have to change the definition of marriage—one which has remained the same for thousands of years—to appease other’s lifestyles. I thought that even though I voted this, I wasn’t hating on homosexuals. I was just doing what I believed to be right.
Over the summer my mind began to wander, however. I noticed many Christians sporting the equal sign on their backpacks, or unapologetically talking to others about their more…secular, open-minded beliefs. Hmm. I was so used to Christianity being such a rigidly conservative faith—was this changing?
And then, I made a gay friend. One of the most amazing guys you’ll ever meet, really: kind, compassionate, intelligent, and completely self-sacrificing, his homosexuality is just a small facet of what defines him. We were sitting down at lunch a few weeks ago, when I realized. My friend, if actions like mine continued to ensue, would never have a wedding. Would probably never be allowed to adopt children. Would never be married in what I thought were God’s eyes.
It honestly broke my heart. Why would I be entitled to that kind of happiness, while someone who does so much for the world, and loves so much more than I, is not? While I still teeter-totter on the rocks about the religious aspects of homosexuality, I do know this: there are a lot of hetero couples in the world that have abused the right of marriage. And I wonder if it’s so bad to let those who truly live a life of love to have that experience as well.
Speaking of lives of love. As a Christian, I am constantly bombarded with this question (from myself, really): with so many other cultures and faith and deeply-engraved histories in the world, would someone who was born into another religion really be condemned for following it in the end of days? I would certainly not convert to Islam if a Muslim came over to my house and compelled me to see differently; partially because I know in my heart what I believe to be the truth, and also…this is how I’ve always been. How could I possibly believe something that I don’t even remotely understand? I wonder about this and how we can expect those who live in culturally-rich areas to forget all they’ve ever known and convert to Christianity. Of course, you always hear the stories like “once you spread the news, it’s like they’ve known the truth all the long but were just waiting for someone to tell them” kind of stuff. Maybe I really don’t give God enough credit. Or maybe I just believe in a completely loving God; maybe I have faith in humanity, and a sort of transcendental idea that we all need to love one another, as Jesus came to teach us; and that concept in itself is a life God wants from us.
I guess I’ve just truly started seeing people who are completely content with their lives; people who love others with all that they are, and give back more than they would ever dream of receiving. And these are people that think differently from me, worship differently than me…love differently than me. I am a Christian because Jesus has changed my very perception of the world—that there is more to it than these walls I build up around myself. That life is about serving others and glorifying His name, and knowing that each second of our time here is a blessing. Jesus has brought me peace. But if someone were to theoretically find these principles elsewhere…is that faux-peace or something? Or is it what we have been created and compelled to find these ideologies, in one way or another?
I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll ever know.
But if someone has the answers to these…that’d be awesome.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Which is why I am going to write this note.
Sitting here in a bedroom of old Picasso posters, photography of the world, a cornucopia of antiques collected from who-knows-where off of Craigslist, and a plethora of used novels and Purpose-driven self-help books....I'm happy. I'm content with my place in life, my sense of purpose (whatever it might be), and the world around me. I like that old Goodwill scarf lazily hanging over the corner of my vanity. I love the wilting daisies sitting in a vase next to my bedside. I sort of even care for the bruised and bloody toes stretching out from my too-short twin size bed. Yeah, sure, nothings perfect; but it's livable. In fact, it's wonderful, in countless ways.
To my point.
Y'all need to chill out. I had to turn off the television today because of the constant buzzing of protest from Obama's planned speech to the schools on Monday. Really guys? Out of all the things to fight for in the world, all the travesties to stand against, all the people to protest, you're going after this? Really? We must really be bored, or uneducated, or completely ignorant to believe that taking our children out of school for a day is going to scream to the world what we stand for.
So, I'll let you in on a little primitive, transcendental secret us humanists have discovered. Wait for it, take a breath...
Cliche, you say? Perhaps. But ponder on that word as you show a deeply engraved sense of disrespect towards the man we put in office. Think about where you'll stand when this life ends; will you go knowing you fought the pointless? Or will you have loved incomparably, served completely, and have found compassion for the least of those amongst us? I hope we all take a look at our lives. In a time of economic downturn, of moral failures, and of heartless relationships...I hope we decide not to hate those who do no harm.
I hope we love.
So I made a list to things to fight for instead. Find a little faith in humanity. Find a little sense of happiness in yourself.
1. Fight for Uganda. Currently over 1 million people are still living in Internationally Deplaced Persons camps. While the majority desires to return home since the crisis in Uganda over a decade ago, the issues surrounding their return are complex. Some have been displaced for more years, and their former way of life is all but gone. Access to clean water, economic opportunities, health centers, and education are a pressing concern for all, and even more so for the many who contemplate returning to resource-barren villages. www.invisiblechildren.com
2. Fight for education. 75 million children are out of school around the world, a figure equivalent to the entire primary school-aged population in Europe and North America. By donating our time, talents, and funds we can help support governments who commit to the goal of expanding access to education. At the World Education Forum in Dakar in 2000, donors and developing countries set forth the goals of Education for All (EFA) and established 2015 as a target date for achieving Universal Primary Education. They also made a commitment: if developing countries committed the political and financial resources to providing free and compulsory primary education by 2015 and created credible and achievable education plans, donors would provide the technical know-how and extra funding needed to make it happen.
3. Fight for trade. Long story short: trade that creates economic growth and opportunities for the poorest people is key to ending poverty in the long-term. In 1980, sub-Saharan Africa had a 6% share of world trade. By 1998, this share had dropped to just 2%. Although Africa's share of global trade has since increased to 3.5% in 2008, its share remains the smallest of any region in the world. Similarly, although foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to sub-Saharan Africa grew 78% between 2005 and 2007, FDI to the region remains a small fraction of global FDI flows (1.67%). Sub-Saharan Africa faces the world's greatest challenges in accessing local, regional, and global markets. A lack of infrastructure and reliance on the export of raw materials (such as minerals and agricultural products) present significant challenges to expanding trade within the continent and with the world, and attracting investments into the country. Sub-Saharan African countries also face trade barriers such as taxes on imports, or tariffs, which make it difficult for their products to compete in important markets like the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Making matters worse, wealthy nations pay subsidies to their farmers, giving them an unfair advantage to selling agricultural products into developing country markets.
Go to http://www.agoa.gov/ to find out how you can help end poverty in Africa.
4. Fight for clean water. Do you know that diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death in developing countries, due to sever dehydration and lack of proper nutrition? Across the world, 884 million people do not have access to clean water and 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation facilities could transform the lives of millions in the world's poorest countries. Universal access to water and sanitation could prevent thousands of child deaths and free up hours each day for women and children to go to work or school. This is especially true for girls -- studies show that girls are 12% more likely to go to school if water is available within a 15-minute walk rather than a one hour's walk.
Investing in water and sanitation is also smart economically. Every $1 spent on water and sanitation generates the equivalent of $8 in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health care costs.
Go to www.water.org to find out how you can help provide the simplest of necessities to those without it.
5. Fight for truth. Alas, more often then not we need to come to terms with the issues that are closer to home. We live in a society that tells us that the brand of clothing, the clarity of our skin, the car in our driveway, and title on our business card is what defines our worth. And yet, on the inside of our cookie-cutter homes, we're direly lonely. We're in debt. We're self-loathing. So: fight for the simplistic truth that resides within ourselves. Fight for time with our families. Fight for an un-blinded perspective on our money, our credit cards, our mortgages. Fight for a new appreciation and respect for our natural surroundings. Fight for personal health, for unpreserved food, for able feet beneath our legs. Fight for something that matters.
And then, after you fight for all that, and you still feel the undying need to stand against our President....then by all means: tell your kids to sit and watch the Disney channel for six hours. I’m sure the rest of the world will be so proud of you.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
But the lottery-like success: the success of finding love is like a million euphoric moments squeezed into a time/space vortex, where nothing else matters, and nothing else ever will. The usual fatalist end-of-the-world notions are sucked into a black hole, not to be seen within this moment in time. The lover’s words, the long kisses, the assurance of self-affirmation…
It’s bliss. Pure, unadulterated, undeniable bliss.
So what I don’t understand is why everyone goes through the concepts of love like class registration.
Oh, I’ll try this one just to see if I like it.
Eh, this one seems nice and I could use the units, so, why not.
I’ll probably drop this one after three weeks, but that’s not my problem.
I hate serial dating. And I’m so sick of people who commit within a week, and change their mind in a month. No more hook-ups, no more short-term fixes, no more indecisive absurdity.
People need to pursue love again. They need to quit their addiction to instant gratification, and rekindle the days of chivalry and commitment. They need to get their heads out of media’s choice-laden society, and stay on the honest and noble path.
Because love never had to hurt so much, and so often.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
The chances of lightning strikin’ him twice
Rare these things just go an’decide to happen.
Well, bullocks. I should just lay here.
I’ve been struck by lightning.
If I could stay here long enough,
The earth, the saprotrophs, should finish the job.
But the dirt didn’t consume him like it should’ve.
The micro things crawled, but he didn’t decompose.
Death lost its wonder, its novelty;
Grotesque monotony was the only thing that did.
So he gets up. He gets up,
And he runs his hands over the charcoaled skin,
Rubbing off the dry ground and burnt remains.
The pain, he thinks, this pumpin’, writhin’ pain
Is gonna linger a while.
He ain’t no hero, this man.
He sought a six foot hole before the
Sunrise. This man was the man who searched
For God in a monastery
The man who went a runnin’ cause it was good for him.
He’s just now a realizin’, that there’s no other
Choice than to keep on movin’.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I also don't understand how she can still sport Doc Martins ten years after the new millenium, why she doesn't put more make-up on her tiny, beady eyes, or how she can be married to someone other than a chick.
But as she digs her hands awkwardly into her boyfriend-fit Levis, I do understand something: I'd kill to be her. I spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars trying to get people to like me, or at least what I'm covered with. This woman is undoubtedly lovable. She cracks an uncomfortable colloqialism, and we all laugh. She makes an expressive insight on a seemingly simple plot, and we all listen. People like this woman. I have this weird thing for her--not in that way--and I'm pretty sure she knows more about things I wish I knew about more than I ever will.
It’s all Jon Foreman’s fault. “I dare you to move.” He told me. “I dare you to move/ like today never happened/ today never happened before.” I was fifteen years old, and my feet were starting to swell under the hot, rusty rocks of the Grand Canyon floor. I was on this twelve-mile hike to the Havasupai waterfalls, where a bunch of youth-group kids and I would spend the week camping and singing Kumbaya. I didn’t go because of the week-long, “Christ-centered” atmosphere. I went because I needed to get far, far away from my monotonous life in Fountain Valley, and I pretty much dominated physical challenges; or in other words, I was that irritating friend of yours who always has something to prove. So here I am, fifty-pound backpack to boot and six miles to go when this Jon Foreman guy starts whining in my ear. It was a new album that was trekking the charts—Beautiful Letdown—and I had thrown it on a hiking playlist to experience the hype that these youth-group kids couldn’t get enough of. So: I’m putting one foot in front of the other, and the more seconds that tick by with the song, the brighter the rocks are getting; the lighter this pack is starting to feel. At first, I took the irresistible melodic hook of the intro and high-voltage buzz-saw riffs of the chorus as the meaning of the euphoric high I was progressing into. So I played the song again. And again. And I realized: this Jon Foreman guy has a serious grip on existence. “Maybe redemption has stories to tell/ Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell/ Where can you run to escape from yourself?” His words sunk deep beneath the skin, and stayed with me the remainder of the week. As the turquoise walls fell above me, I’d pop in my headphones and listen, the combination of crashing water and sky-scraping harmonies bringing me to that elated state of contentment again. I’d listen to this guy sing about the false security and pursuit of happiness I so blindly held onto, and a faith in a purpose I so longed for. His shimmering balladries weren’t preachy; they were exactly what a fifteen-year old struggling with impending adulthood needed. “I Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot was the initiator of a whole new world I’d never heard before; and it changed me entirely.
I got home from that trip and jammed my ipod into this portable-speaker thing and yelled at my dad to come in from the garage. Short introduction: my dad is the reason for my strong inclination—borderline obsession—with music. When he and my mom divorced, he’d play Nirvana’s Nevermind over and over again in his car, and I realized from a very young age that music changes people; or in his case, can help you cope with the seemingly impossible. Continuing: so my dad came in and I insisted that he listen to this small bundle of gloriousness I’d experienced in the Grand Canyon. I played a couple of Switchfoot’s stronger songs and sat Indian-style on the carpet, thinking I’d just provided my own father with the true nirvana of post-modernism. But the opposite happened: as “I Dare You to Move” came to a dramatic close, he gave me that “I’m smiling out of necessity because if I tell you how I really feel you’ll throw an Academic Decathlon debate in my face” face. “That’s nice, honey.” He said. The words were crushing; so much heavier than that toddler-sized backpack I’d carried for a round-trip of twenty-four miles. So, out of necessity for approval of not only my father but from the rest of my high-school peers, I hid my love for Christian rock, only listening to it in the privacy of closed quarters. I shoved the box of Swiss Miss to the back of the pantry, and continued back to my cup of black Sumatra coffee.
But the cravings were always there. You see, you feel cool with that big cup of bitter liquid in your hand. But it doesn’t change the taste of it; and the more time that passes by, the more you long for your sappy-sweetness again. It wasn’t until this year, as I Myspace-stalked some old friends and foes of mine, that I delved into my love for Christian Rock once again. This girl Jackie had a typical Urban-Outfitters inspired page of Poloroid-quality pictures and starred lists of “likes and loves”. She had a lot of friends. And yet, a familiar acoustic-sounding, string-centered melody filled the air as her music player opened, and I found my veins beginning to pulse in endorphin-like happiness. There wasn’t much innovation to the lyrics: “Love is here/ love is now/ love is pouring from/ His hands, from His brows”. Yeah, I’d heard that before. But for one reason or another, I stayed on her page for two hours, clicking the replay button. The band, Tenth Avenue North, sang a typical Christian-themed song called “Love Is Here”, and invited listeners to “come to the water” to experience the understanding of Christ’s love. And as much as I would’ve gladly turned on some electronic, film-noir sounds of Portishead or Kings of Leon, all I wanted was more Tenth Avenue North. These gentle chords made me feel warm inside. The lyrics engraved a deeper purpose into my heart and mind. The grandeur choruses brought light into my perspective on the world. If this seemingly cool and popular Jackie could play “Love is Here” on her page, well, then I could too.
That day, I consolidated my entire itunes library, changing all of my discreet “misc” genres back to their rightful place in “Gospel and Religious”. I probably bought a couple-hundred songs too, finally showing the Christian-rock world the support I so owed it. And the more I uncovered in Christian music, the more deeply in love with it I fell. Sure, much of it can create a borderline overkill of raised hands and joyous, unashamed praise. But when the majority of what I’d be listening to otherwise consists of cynical doubt and hopelessness, I guess a little mind-numbing glee can be the right dose of perspective I need. So, today I stand tall (although as a categorical Amazon-woman, it’s not too hard to do) and proud: I am a Christian-Rock lover. I love Jesus. I love bright and shiny things, and Swiss Miss hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. Jesus music defines who I am, and well, I might just be that blissfully ignorant to not care.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I squirm uncomfortably in the black plastic chair. There is a small swoop, you see, in the seat, to provide some uninspiring source of comfort. This swoop does nothing for me, because I have no ass to fill it. Considering my Italian roots of simple carbohydrates and fat-filled cheeses, you'd think I'd have some cushion to fall back on, literally. But I'm the only member of my family with a hyper-active metabolism. So consequently, I have no ass to fill this uncomfortable chair.
And who the hell would ever want that?
She woke up eventually, to the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen. Her rich chestnut hair fell partially over her face. Her eyes were seductive, unintentionally, as they were opening, arising from a long night's sleep. I was sitting in an armchair opposite the bed.
"You're drinking beer from last night." Her eyes were stuck to the bottle in my hand.
"And it's only nine in the morning." I reminded her. She sighed, and her gaze moved towards a duffle bag at the end of the bed.
"What's that?" She enquired, already offended.
"Your things." We sat for an awkward couple of seconds. My statement wasn't processing.
"John, it's too early for this. Tell me why are my things at the end of the bed." It wasn't even a question. It was a demand. I took a long breath.
"Liv, these past two months have been fantastic. Exhilarating. Passionate. But I feel that lately we've moved towards a different direction…and I think it'd be best if we didn't see each other anymore."
"You know, John," She said calmly, "you are the most peculiar son-of-a-bitch I've ever met. Why?"
"Why am I leaving you?"
"Well, not leaving. Kicking me out, apparently." Her words grew angrier.
"Because I'm British. And you're American. Southern to be specific. We are match proven throughout history unable to coexist."
I wanted to push her buttons. Make her angry. Give her less of a reason to ever think of me kindly again. Make this separation faster.
"You're acting like this is a joke. It's not a joke, John. Relationships are not something you can just laugh off." She put her head in her hands and rubbed her temples.
"But I am. Which is why I can't continue this. You're far more serious about it than I am."
"You said you loved me."
"Not eternally. Or unconditionally. I loved your vivaciousness, your unpredictable and intriguing sensuality. Quite frankly, I got bored. And I'm bored with this conversation. It's going no where…we're going no where. So I packed your things. And I suggest that you leave, unless you'd like a cup of coffee or a shower first."
Although that was partially a lie; and then, not. She looked up at me, with her poor, soaked face and wet chunks of her hair, leaving her looking like a lost puppy. She tried talking through broken sobs.
"Never going to work." I interrupted her. I gave her a hard, piercing stare. She stared back, as if trying to search for some deeper emotion behind my eyes. She sniffed loudly, put on her shoes, and picked up the bag. And as quickly as I ended our two-month liaison, she walked out of my apartment and slammed the door.
"No goodbye?" I said aloud to myself.
I picked up my briefcase and walked down the boarding hallway, or whatever it's called, on to the plane. I hate planes. I'm not afraid of flying, or heights. I hate sitting with a bunch of strangers for elongated periods of time. I hate the smell of planes. (You know what I'm talking about.) The lack of air, of space, of reasonable sized cups for your soft drink. I hate the dirty bathrooms, the crying children, the little tv screens above the aisle that no one can actually see.
Today, I hate the man sitting next to me. The fucking hacking man from the boarding area. He sounds like he's trying to throw up some long lost memory in Barcelona that has buried itself into the depths of his intestines. His coughing bellows deeper and louder, and I feel molecules of spit land on my arm. There is one thing I've decided in this world and this is it: there is no such thing as karma. The universe just has a sick sense of humor.
Look at the freak!
She stands on a pedestal
Her head stuck between
Her own two feet.
She can stretch herself
Beyond her means
Try to make this show
Make sure to laugh
It obviously adds
To her fire
Not to say, I love you
She might just believe it
Mumble them and
Annunciate now that you’re
We bear too much on our shoulders,
So we cannot expect to always
Glow golden of youth.
But you are still sunlight.
You still grasp my veins and let
Them go, keeping the blood that
Runs through me alive.
Although it breathes
The end of winter,
I don’t believe the orchids
To bloom this year.
The soil is rocky, the dirt, dry.
One cannot expect anything
To live without the sun
And rain it so needs.
Damn, we cry, why didn’t we live
For what we had, for while we
Had it all was right in our little world.
God, I’d give every strand of faded hair
Just to feel your warmth pressed
Upon me once more, for
My heart beats not as is used to beat.
You’ve suffocated it for too long,
So we cannot expect to always
Blush ruby of love.
Alas, your skin still burns mine.
You still leave your mark and break
My heart, keeping the blood that
Runs through me alive.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The tale, I suppose, starts with Mr. Narcissus himself. A ravishingly handsome Greek lad, he broke the hearts of many adoring women, including the nymph Echo. Which, if you can dig up your 10th grade reading comprehension, was a seriously bad move. In revenge, Echo doomed him to a life spent vainly staring at his own reflection.
Short story short, he ended up kicking the bucket pretty early.
Now, the thing about Greek mythology is that the stories...are just weird. Nymphs, Sirens, Gods, Goddesses, heroes, and men all coinciding in one strange universe, living these lives of metaphor-turned-reality, and so and so forth. And to top it off, most of these tales ended up being completely contradictory anyway. How come Narcissus suffered an inevitable doom, while pompous heroes such as the infallible Hercules triumphed in the annals of Greek history? You read these stories, thinking about how lame and gullible these ancient Grecians were, believing in all the fable bullshit fed to them by priestly story tellers.
But frankly, the actual irritating part thing about mythology is that you probably come to the realization that they at least had understandable insight behind why the world works the way it does. Our generation has traded in fable bullshit for scientific bullshit; which in actually, most of us will never come to comprehend anyway. Ok, so I’m a vapid narcissist. Which, according to modern psychology, is a mental disorder. But why? Why do I care so much about myself? In essence, my personality problem allows me to stand out amongst the status-accepting droids, existing each day of their monotonous lives.
I guess with me, it comes down to this: in mythology, I would’ve been a Hercules. Today, I have a mental instability.
So, to avoid more lengthy introduction allegories, this blog is pretty much going to be me bitching about the world, and life. And, in the vapid narcissist fashion, avoiding putting any blame on myself.
Because I’m that fantastically glorious.