2000: In The Middle
Sometimes I just want to hurry up and be an adult. Wait. I'm 21. I AM an adult. Shit, too late.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about graduating lately. I have one more semester left and I'm scared as hell, as is just about everyone else who is graduating with me. But I'm not scared of being out of school, or even going into the real world.
I'm scared of being lazy.
I've been sitting at home for the past two weeks on my winter break, and I've been doing diddley squat. I've gotten really good at Super Smash Bros., though I don't know how much good that's going to do me in the working world.
Now, when I graduate, I want to be a writer. And I know that that's what I'm going to do when I graduate. But I'm so scared that I'm not going to go anywhere with it. It's not a question of whether or not I suck-- I have some kind of potential, or else I wouldn't even consider trying it as a career-- but rather it's a question of whether I'm going to write the right thing at the right time. What I'm most scared of is that I'm going to graduate and have the longest dry spell ever-- until I die.
Maybe I feel like this because school is more of a distraction than anything else at this point. Don't get me wrong, I think college was a great experience for me, I had more life-changing experiences there than I've ever had, making it the best (and worst) four years of my life. But now that I've been in school since I was five, I'm ready to try something new, something more like the Real World(tm). All I know is that I'm going to get a regular job, but since I haven't really held one since I was, oh, 17, I feel as if it's going to be very hard for me to get any kind of employment, leaving the option open for bartending for my dad which doesn't really look as glamorous as it used to back when I was, say four.
Meanwhile, the home page is done, all updated and waiting for people to come and visit like a good little girl. I just hope that someone will see it besides me and myself and I. It's like, my counter keeps going up because I keep visiting myself to make sure that my layout is okay. I hate that.
I could look at it this way: no Y2K crap happened. Although the idea of the world breaking up as if in some kind of Tool song did make me smile at one point. It's just too bad that the idiots are around.
But that's for another rant, for another day.
I'm finally back in California. And I start school tomorrow. I'm not really too thrilled with that concept.
Am I burned out? Feeling lazy? Stupid? I was talking to one of my best friends last night and she asked me about staying in Vegas after I graduate in May.
"You don't want to come back in some ways, do you?" she asked. She tends to read my mind like this.
"In some ways no," I said. "Because I feel like a sissy in a way about returning to the place I grew up. As an artist it feels like I'm copping out in a way. Not that I should be living in Borneo or something when I'm done, but I'm going home to live rent-free with my dad. And I'm going to be 22. My biggest fear is that I'll end up working the same job and not doing much else for the rest of my life."
"Are you seriously going to write when you've graduated?"
"Well, yeah, of course."
"What are you going to focus on?"
"Right now, screenplays since that seems the easiest thing for me to do selling wise. But I'll keep on writing other things on the side and try to get those out too."
And when I was talking to her about it I was thinking that it's okay for me to write out of Vegas. To write about that city, to try and give it some kind of fictional flesh, from a local's perspective. All of the stories that I've read about Vegas were written by other people. And I feel like I have a bit of an edge in that way because I've been there. I know how it feels to have something as flashy and famous as the Strip at your doorstep.
But I've gone through this a million times, and I will go through it a million times more before I graduate. And even probably after I graduate too. I'll be okay.
I've been thinking about Mom a lot too. It'll be 2 years since her death tomorrow. I was driving tonight and I saw how the clouds were this fiery pink, and I thought Mom should be here to see me. I have this picture of her up in my room at home, and she has this look in her eye like she's not sure if she's happy or not. Or maybe it's just me wondering if I'M happy. I always feel like something's missing. I'm beginning to think that it's not because of the lack of a lot of friends at school, or even the fact that I'm involunarily single all the time. It's because I miss Mom so much.
Will that mean that I'll never be truly happy because she's not around? I doubt that she'd let that happen. In fact, I sometimes wonder if she's sticking her nose into my fate or not. I've been told a few times from people who read my Tarot cards that she's helping me out. But sometimes I wonder... what is she trying to teach me? What is she trying to hold for me? What does she know that I don't about my life?
I sit in front of my computer, and I'm typing my life out to the world in hopes that I'm getting the message to her. And my story for next semester, my senior project, is another way for me to tell her that I love her. By finishing my studies I tell her that I love her, because I don't do this for myself. By writing this story, I tell her that I love her.
But I'm scared as hell to go through with this, because I'm so goddammed afraid that I'll fail miserably. And that's the hardest part.
I spent some time tonight working on a screenplay that I started a couple of months ago. I have about 40-something pages long hand right now, and I'm starting to type it up. I'm actually finding it to be paradoxial, if that's even a word. I find when I sit down to write it, it just comes, and typing it up is very tedious work. But I like it. I spent an hour typing and formatting like 3 pages of dialogue, and I really didn't mind it that much.
I finished re-arranging my graduation contract a couple of days ago, and I feel weird about it. I can't really explain it. Probably because I haven't touched it in two years. I wrote it the summer before my sophomore year, when I was 19, and now that I look at it at 21, with all of the things that have happened since then, and it seems strange that a lot of the themes don't change, but the voice does.
Am I more mature now? I don't really know. I used to think I was pretty dammed mature in high school. And, maybe I was, just not exactly in the way that seemed egotistical or demeaning or whatever. I had things to learn yet (I still do, thank god), but I was waiting for them to happen, I guess.
I see a 31 year-old ex boyfriend going through the same feelings I did when I was seventeen, and I'm beginning to realize why it is I don't want him in that boyfriend role anymore. It's not that I'm more mature, or that he's so old, because he's not. It's just that I can't go back to wondering why it is I feel so confused, and angry at the world, and thinking that nothing really matters. I had my teen angst when I was a teen. It's like, I can't really understand people who are political activists in Johnston, trying to preach to a fairly conservative Redlands campus. They're raging against the machine because that's their passion, even if nobody listens. What I'd realized was that my raging wasn't against a political machine-- but raging against myself, the fact that I had to grow up knowing that some things would eventually fall apart. When I found at 17 that my dad had cheated on my mother I felt cheated out of his trust, the trust of childhood. I had to rage against knowing that this was the way people were, even if they were your very own parent. My ex doesn't know what it's like to have a parent die. He knows the drinking and the slander all too well from his parents, but I'm not sure if that's better or worse than having them dead. I just think it took him longer to figure it out than I did-- and I'm still trying to reconcile a LOT of things in my head. I really hope it doesn't eat him up like it almost did to me.
I'd talked to my brother this weekend to get some ideas in my head for my story next semester. I'd talked to him about Mom, and that whole weekend two years ago. And, at the end of it, it turned from being a conversation about Mom to being a conversation about me. I almost broke down on him because I'm so scared. I'm so scared to fail. I'm so scared that I'm not going to do what I love for the rest of my life, to live in mediocre obscurity.
"Don't wait for things to come," he said. "You have to start doing things now if you want to make a change in your life."
It was like he was telling me everything that I'd been telling everyone else in my life. I'd forgotten to tell it to myself. So I started writing again. Everyday. Even if it's a word or two between work for class, I get it down.
I don't expect to make money from my writing right off the bat. I don't even expect to make money for even a great many years-- 10, 20 even. I just get so scared that I'm going to give it up. Like I'm going to be Rickey in "The Longest Journey" and end up being trapped in a hell of social conventions rather than doing what it is that gives me the greatest feelings in the world.
I love art. It is my life. And I don't ever want to be devoid of it.
I just finished a paper on Jane Eyre so I'm a little fried right now. I don't even know why I'm writing. Maybe it's to condition my body for next semester so that I'll write on a regular basis instead of pretending that I am. And whatnot.
I'm playing bass in a band now. This scares the hell out of me because I haven't touched a bass in about 5 years and it's not my primary instrument. Hell, I don't even know what my primary instrument IS. I don't think it's the recorder that I played in 1st grade though. Let me put it this way: I saw my friend's band play last night. Now, they're a pretty good band by Vegas standards, and they put on a good show. The thing was, the band that opened up for them were amazing. They were tight, bangin', what have you. They had this huge guy for a bass player. And here I am this little 5'3" chick with really small hands who hasn't played on a regular basis ANY kind of instrument since high school. And my bandmates want to play in public and shit. I haven't played an instrument in public since I embarrassed myself in front of everybody by playing guitar and singing when I was a freshman in college. These guys play kinda fast, too. This scares the living hell out of me.
I brought the bass(which isn't even mine, by the way) back to California so that I can practice before I dive back in and we start trying to fuck around and record next week. We have one song down so far, and I'm barely getting it. I mean, trying to get all the rhythms and shit. It's not really stressing me out-- I love hanging out and playing and it gets my mind off of worrying about what's going to happen next semester-- but I feel so behind because I haven't played for as long as these guys have. Plus add to that I'm the only girl in the band. It's a little weird. But I get along with the other guys really well because they're a lot like my friends, so we have a great time and I don't feel like I'm the odd one out because I have tits. I like my tits.
Anyway, I guess I needed to vent about that a little bit. Back to your regularly scheduled programming, which for me means reading Frankenstein for tomorrow. The love is just dripping.
I'm starting another journal entry after deleting the other one I'd written. There it is.
I was thinking about what it's like being a girl on the net today. I've jumped back on ICQ after being off of it for awhile and I'm finding it to be eerily similar to when I started on AOL 4 years ago. Lots of perverts asking me if I like to cyber.
Okay, here's a hint: if I really wanted to have sex, don't you think I'd be doing it, even if it was with my own right hand?!? As Cameron from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" says, "What the hhhhhhhell is wrong with you?" Hello! Typing to you what I think I want you to look like and what I think I'd want you to do to me is just as easy as writing a Harlequin Romance. If I wanted to write porn, I'd write it fer chrissakes! I write just about everyfuckingthing else!
There's something scary in all this, I guess. As a girl on the web, sometimes I feel threatened by the people I'm talking to, especially guys. You don't know who's behind the nickname or number or whatever. The thing is, I don't play. I am who I am, and I do what I do... and have real friends offline who I've known for years. What that means, I couldn't tell you. Maybe I'm justifying things for myself.
Boys, in real life you're rude. Online, you're just goddammed hell. Maybe I should move to Ethiopia.
My horoscope for today: "PATIENCE is not always a virtue. Your current sense of exasperation is justified - and it really ought not to be repressed. You are not getting fair treatment. Either someone is acting in a heavy, high handed way - or you are being battered by a series of awkward circumstances. Saturn's sharp link to your ruler implies the need, today, to fight for an entitlement. On sheer point of principle, you have to do this. You can't just lie down and let yourself be walked all over. That said though, you don't have to worry too much. As it just so happens, the current problem is not as severe as it seems. "
Let's break this down, shall we? At least, in almost-two-in-the-morning terms. STOP BEING SO FUCKING PARANOID! And I guess that I should add that I'm entitled to make boucoup bucks from my writing and that I'm entitled to do it for the rest of my life. Hmmm, interesting way to look at things.
I played hooky from school today. We were supposed to talk about "Frankenstein" today and I just couldn't bring myself to go. I've read that book twice already, and I'd done a paper last night that just wiped me out, so I wimped out. But it's the only time I'm skipping though. There's something about Mary Shelley's writing that causes an epileptic seizure in the back of my head. I personally think it was from when she was fucking Lord Byron. Of course, then again, with him having club foot and all, that would be pretty scarring to a woman's sexual health. Not that I presume to know what it's like to fuck someone with a club foot. Does a club HEAD count?
I have all these instruments in my room. The infamous bass which I've been trying to work out the "Iron Maiden stride" on, my acoustic guitar which was taken out of her case but not touched yet, and my flatmate Lisa's keyboard. If I just beat on my thigh and play the kazoo, I'll be a one woman band all of myself.
I'm starting to wonder if this music thing was a good idea. It'll get my mind off of things. I'll just keep convincing myself of that.
I played Nintendo for the first time in ten years today. I'm not sure what kind of fucked up childhood memories that'll bring up later, but I guess those will be saved for the world to read. I'll end up venting about The Legend of Zelda and end up having some kind of hideous revelation about the current state of my affairs.
God I really need to get out more often. Kirk out.
Tomorrow-- or today, depending on when I feel like acknowledging either one-- is Wednesday. Hump Day. That means that my week's almost over. Last week is my last week of Interim and then I'm off for a week, and then Spring starts.
This time last year, I was in England having a major culture shock. This year, I'm having heart attacks over whether or not I'm going to graduate. I haven't heard from anybody about my Integrated Semester, and I just reminded myself to e-mail someone about my project.... shit.
Okay, sent the e-mail. You'd think I'd be on my own ass about that concidering spring semester is in two weeks. This is determining whether or not I'm graduating and shit. I'm so paranoid about this you don't even know. I feel like nothing's together right now. Totally blind. Add to that I don't even go to Johnston complex anymore-- actually, I went to a community meeting today and felt like a bloody outcast, but I want to be around it for next semester-- makes me wonder how much of a hermit I really am in real life. And how integrated my semester's really going to be this spring. I have NO idea what's going on with it, at least, not schedule-wise, and absolutely nobody's gotten a hold of me about it. Can you tell this is really getting to me?
Dammit. Venting again. And I still haven't read for tomorrow either. I spent my time playing Super Mario 3, watching a movie, and practicing Fear Factory on the bass, warding off perverts on ICQ, all the while downloading some Digital Underground. The humpty dance, here's your chance, to do the hump. Oh, do me babay. Do the humpty-hump. Come on and do the humpty-hump.
It's a funny thing. I do all this shit at school, in California, and I came here to do a lot of shit-- for college and all that experience. And yet all I want to do in the end is go back home to Vegas. Things seem more stable there. It feels like home. A real home. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm typing this. Maybe I'm repressing something.
There's a wayward spider in my room who's been weaving her web over my altar for the past month. Spiders represent fate and destiny. I've been starting to get some weird feelings about it lately, because every time I try and clear it out it just gets bigger, so I figured I might as well stop fighting it and just let her do what she wants. There's something deeper here, but I'm not really ready to speculate on it-- knowing me, I'll fuck things up royally. Not just yet. Things have been feeling weird lately, especially about writing and everything. I don't know.
Anyway. I've been thinking that I should live in an artist's commune or something, because I'm just not into the whole school thing right now. I was trying to keep myself awake in class today, and I'm usually interested in the stuff we're talking about. Just one more week...
There was some stuff I wanted to write about. I forgot, as usual. I was out with one of my old friends who goes to school with me who was with me overseas, and I told her that I want to have a rock-star writing life. I mean, not with the rock-star attitude. I was telling her how I want to be ...(okay, this is obsessive, but I don't care)... I was telling her how I wanted to be like Neil Gaiman, or at least how I see how he does things. On the inside it might be different, who knows. But I want to do everything, take risks, work with everybody that I can and have a good time, but be prolific enough that I'm always writing and always practicing my craft, even if it's just writing something that will never see the light of day in a journal somewhere.
But actually, I don't even know how I see myself. I have this thing now about looking into the future-- it makes me forget about the present, and that bothers me muchly. Now I sound all old school 19th century... seriously though, I have stuff to do now, and I can't waste this time wondering about who or who I'm not going to be. I'll jump off that bridge when I come to it.
Horoscope for today:
"YOU are younger than you think you are. For all your age, all your experience and all your 'wisdom', you are still but a child at heart. That entitles you to several wonderful things. They include; the right to enjoy life from moment to moment without feeling obliged to relate everything back to an 'important agenda' - plus - the right to make mistakes, to waste time, to drift, to be impulsive - and to be surprised by what's going on around you. A great deal of the tension in your world currently stems from the misguided notion that you are supposed to be permanently 'in control'. Who says that this is so?"
I think somebody's trying to tell me something. Or at least, try and force it down my bloody throat.
Okay. Random trivia fact for today: William Blake talks about masturbation, both male and female, in "The Visions of the Daughters of Albion." I love that guy. I always knew there was more than just that dammed tiger. Er, tyger. Er, that big cat with black and orange and white coloring.
I had a very unproductive weekend, though I'm beginning to wonder about my ex. I'd flaked out (though how intetional it was I can't quite tell you) going to the movies on Friday night, which is something we'd done before as friends. But apparently when I was out eating at Blueberry Hill he looked for me in the parking lot while I was out there getting some stuff out of my friend's car. I saw him pull in, do a lap around the parking lot, and take off into the night. I'm actually surprised that he didn't walk in there to look for me since he didn't see my car in the parking lot, apparently. Now, I can look at it two ways: a) he's obsessed with me, which I highly doubt... but then again, he always says that I'm the only "stable" person that he talks to; b) he's bored, which at his age and his mindset about life I wouldn't be surprised of; or c) he's horny and wants to get with me again, which is so far out of my realm of desire that even the Hubble Telescope couldn't take a picture of it.
Me? I choose none of the above, 'cause I don't even want to know what the hell's going on. It's like, when I talked to him Thursday night, I asked him if he's ever had a traumatic experience with death: nope. Not that that would qualify someone to be my friend, because all of my friends haven't had someone really close to them die (thank Goddess). But at his age, you'd think he'd have a defining moment (or two or three) where he knew he'd changed. When I talk to him, I don't find those moments anywhere. At least not ones that define his space now. I don't know.
Maybe I'm wondering why some people have to grow up earlier than others. I'm heading into my twenty-second year of existence and I've travelled to Hawaii, Canada, some of the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, had a parent pass away at 19, and fell in love once already. I have so much more stuff to do in my life, and yet I'm wondering why some people don't understand that there's more here. In my eyes, I'm ready to graduate college not because I'm getting out of Redlands, but because the Real World(tm) is a brand new adventure. It's a new journey for me that's totally non-academic. In a way, it's a bit of an extention of the stuff I did here in college. I had all these classes where I could do just about anything. And when I go back home this summer, for good, I'm wondering where I'm going to go and work-- and there are a few things that I'd like to do. It's just a question of which one I think will benefit me the most.
But that's for another day, I think. I had a really slow day today, so my brain is so not functioning. I get enough sleep but my brain doesn't feel like she's getting enough rest, and she shuts everything else down. I'm beginning to think I'm good on 8 hours; but when I get 8 hours it still feels like I haven't gotten enough. At this point in my sleeping career I think I need a day where I just sleep and do nothing else, doesn't matter how many hours, just hibernate for a day and see if I feel refreshed afterwards.
Like I've been saying a lot more often lately, I need a vacation from life.
Anyway, I think I just cued myself out of here. Kirk out.
I should be working on my story for my Interim class at the moment, but I guess something compells me to write. What it exactly is that compells me I couldn't tell you, but it's something.
I got an offer to play bass in a band in Redlands last night. The e-mail mentioned that his main infuences were, and I quote: "Korn duuuh, limpbizkit, deftones, etc." I look at his profile. 19 years old. Now, as soon as I sign on, he IMs me (hmmmm, a little TOO on the ball, wouldn't you say?) and says that he sent me an e-mail. Well no shit, sherlock. Apparently he was looking specifically for a girl bass player. Now that tells me all of these things: 1) he's not looking for a 5'3", 150 lb. bass player (aka me) 2) I don't think he really cares if I can actually play 3) he doesn't understand the concept of Attention Deficit Disorder.
Now, I can look at it this way: I like Korn, a little Deftones, even fewer Limp Bizkit songs (okay, one), and I play in a band who has those kind of influences-- actually, more like 80's hair rock and Iron Maiden, even though that's not really the stuff we play, I mean, we intend to cover Fear Factory fer chrissakes, which should get interesting-- but I mean, at least the people that I'm playing with have been in other bands before already and were looking for someone who can just play. (aka me). Just because I have tits doesn't make me phenomenal. I just help even out the testosterone level with some girlishness. Er, something.
What I told this kid was that I don't know exactly what my schedule is next semester (which, honestly, I'm not quite sure of yet), and that all I know is that I'll be in Redlands during the week. Needless to say, he said he was sorry for bothering me, even though it wasn't a no that I told him. What the hell is ADD? My friends say I should act my age, what's my age again? (sorry, had to throw in some Blink 182 for that random pop culture reference)
Sometimes I really wonder how people who are roundabout my age and younger are ever going to do something intelligent with this country. But then again, sometimes I wonder how we're going to do anything at all.
I was watching "Neverwhere" with some friends last night. It's like, no matter how much I see those tapes, or read anything of Neil Gaiman's, it reminds of how much I love this stuff. Writing. It reminded me of when I saw him read on the Queen Mary two years ago. It was about a month or so after my mom had died, and I felt like I was dry with my writing because all my energy was being directed towards grieving and getting through school. I was sitting there, and I was thinking, "my god, I'm watching one of my favorite writers in the whole world, and yet I want to do the same thing and I can't get anything out of myself."
I kept thinking about my mom. Maybe she was there with me, I don't know. I was inspired, I think. I don't know why I kept thinking about her, though. I mean, more than usual for that time-- I was thinking about her everyday. Everyday I had to wake up and realize, "Mom's not here anymore. She's dead. She's dead." It wasn't real at first. I had to be in class, talking about a book, and remind myself that she's not there. I couldn't call her anymore. But when I saw Neil Gaiman read up there, I forgot about it for two hours. Literally, after it was all done and I was driving home on the California freeways, he reminded me why I'm doing all this, why I'm in school and writing and still carrying on. I'm doing this for Mom, because she was so proud of me. I'm doing this for her because she never got the chance to. It's my turn to do it. He reaffirmed why I want to do this. It was like everything inside and outside of me was saying, "You can do this. Your time will come." I wrote my first screenplay that summer.
I hadn't felt like that since I was 17 and I went to my first poetry reading. It was like my eyes had been opened. Seeing people do what they love, being passionate about it, taking risks. It was the most comfortable feeling in the world because I knew I could do the same thing. I just had to jump off the bridge. And when I finshed the first draft of that screenplay, I was so fucking amazed at myself for even getting through it. I had this stack of paper in my hand at the end of it and I had made it myself. I felt like I had grown a little bit, and especially after my mother's death earlier that year I felt like I had really grieved with that piece. All that energy that was going to grieving went to that screenplay during the spring-summer. And no matter how badly it's written or whatever, it's my little message to my mother. I really hope that it gets made into a film, just to know what it would look like through someone else's eyes. But then again, I don't really much care either because I did it, and I did it for me, and I'm proud of it because it's mine. Even if nothing happens to it, I can go back to it and remember what I was going through when I wrote it. I'm past the teen angst. It's time for the real shit to start.
I have to go and meet with my advisor (aka Bill) about my graduation contract today. I'm not too worried about it, really. The only thing I have apprehensions about is that my narrative isn't long enough. I told him that I didn't want to write a self-praising, self-promoting narrative-- that's what my web site is for. I don't need to preach to the converted. That's ridiculous. Telling people at school why I want to do what I want to do isn't really going to make them help me out anymore than they can. It's school, fer chrissakes. I was thinking that if this draft isn't all that grand I can just scratch the whole thing and rant for 5-6-10-12 pages about how I hate the fact that guys are assholes. But then again, that has nothing really to do with my emphasis, unless you count the umpteen number of times that my Muse came back from the Bahamas to remind me that I can write about guys being poo-poo heads. . All I'm hoping is that I do enough work next semester to get all of my credits. But I've already bitched about that enough. I just need to do it and get it over with.
Right now, all I know is that I'm SO glad the California weather is nice and warm, and that everything's cool with everybody. Right. So back to that story I was supposed to be working on...
You would think I'd be writing in here to rant about Valentine's Day and how much I hate it or whatever. But alas, I'm not. It's actually the first day of Spring Semester today and even though I haven't had class yet I feel like I should
already be on the ball.
But I'll get to that in a minute. I haven't updated in awhile, so here goes. My Interim Break ended up being quite productive. I wrote about 17 pages longhand for my screenplay, and it's now at 61 pages-- typing it should be fun. Yay. It was very nice, though, to be able to go to Copioh and just sit and write and not be bothered, and not have to talk to anyone or have to be anywhere. I really miss that about that place. Read at a poetry reading a realized how much I really miss that and how long it's been since I've written a real poem. I hogged the stage for about 15 minutes with a little Shakespeare, a little Gaiman, and a little of my own stuff. And people were pretty recpetive to it which was cool. I was on a Gaiman kick the whole week, probably because I did a little remixing stuff with that spoken word CD of his I have. Took a little Tori "Bells for Her" and tweaked a Led Zeppelin "When the Levee Breaks" into a 3 beat and cut up some random phrases of Neil and it turned out way better than I expected. Even *I* like listening to it, which is rare for me about my own little indulgences. So, when I got back in last night, I was wondering what to do with this Sting "Shape of My Heart" sample that I had, and I didn't want to use any more Neil, and I'd tried recording my own voice, which in the end sounded way too American, don't ask me. Anyway, I thought, well, my recordings suck, so why not let the computer speak it? So I recorded the computer speaking a little prose piece by Tori called "Death" and I did a little cut and pasting and voila. Another little remix was born. And so, out of that came the idea to have the computer speak some of my own pieces over samples and see what happens. I'm still thinking about it.
We had a band practice on Friday, and it totally kicked ass. I ended up surprising myself (and my bandmates) by busting out with the Iron Maiden gallop-- oh, and on a new bass, she's so cute and small and red, the bomb diggity-- and as a consequence ended up getting a nice little blister on my pointer finger. But it went away. I didn't even realize I could do that shit. And now I'm like, "let's play everyday!" But that's a little overzealous. My Dad met Brandon and Tony, our drummer and guitarist respectfully, and they all like each other. Dad has an idea to let us play regular gigs at the bar maybe late spring/during the summer. Not that we're complaining. Been hanging out with the band a lot which is cool because we're starting to morph together which is getting scary. We're having a blast though, which is the best thing about it.
I'm feeling a little better about where I'm going though. It's not so much paranoia now as "what am I really going to be doing?" I'm wearing all these different hats, and I love it. I'm a true Gemini in that sense. Bassist, screenwriter, student, daughter, aunt, friend, remixer-- it's keeping me busy. And I was doing all this stuff while I was on vacation. Imagine when I'm done with school. Actually, I'm thinking on taking some acting classes, I'm not sure, but that's for later. I just love being immersed in arts right now. I'm having fun for once. I haven't done that in a long time. I'm feeling good about what's going on. Even though that little shadow of loneliness creeps in and wonders why I'm still single even though I have all these apparent talents. Maybe that's the ego that cock blocks or something. But what I'm starting to wonder is what part of my aura pushes people away. I mean, in the whole intimate sense. Or maybe it's just bad timing.
Take Saturday night, for instance. I was in Tom and Jerry's waiting for a show to start and my friend Adam's like, "let's go shoot some pool before they get started." So he's kicking my ass, and I go over to chalk my stick and this security guard is picking up glasses and almost boxes me in looking at me. For some reason he looks kinda familiar, and he's kinda cute, but I shrug it off. And I'm playing with Adam, a boy, and a not bad looking one at that, either. But I notice that the security guy is, like, staring at me. Not that I minded. But. I was with Adam, so he probably thought oh, they're together, even though we weren't getting close to each other. Body language, you know? Anyway, so bad timing seems to be my life, like in these familiar scenarios: I fall in love just as he finds someone new, I feel attached, I'm with someone else when someone else likes me, he's gay but thinks I'm cute... I'm thinking my Mom has something to do with this. To the moon Mom, to the moon. You would think art would be my lover. The thing is, my Muse is a cutie patootie, but girls don't do it for me.
Then again, like I told my ex, it's nice not to have to answer to anybody, or be anywhere, or feel obligated to be at someone's side all the time. It's just that maybe I don't have all the energy to direct at relationships. Who knows.
So in a sense it did end up being a rant about Valentine's Day, albeit not directly. Oh well. It was bound to pop up somewheres, I guess. Kirk out.
I'm thinking Spring Semester might turn out better than I expected. Then again, I'll probably jinx myself.
But what I'm hoping is that if this week is any indication on the rest of the semester, it's going to kick ass. I ended up writing two stories, getting my schedule together, and planning the next three and a half months of my life, all in three days.
I met with Integrated Semester tonight, and realized that I have my shit really together. Though how long it's going to stay that way is under debate. I'm still paranoid that I won't be able to write anything at all except for the random shit I have to do for Fiction Workshop. But I want to write this story about my mom. I'm really excited about it. I just want to do all these other stories too. But I can handle it. I hope.
Contract wise, I got my final draft done. I'm hoping next week to sit down with Theresa in the registrar's office and do a grad check, or at least, make an appointment for one. And I have to turn in two of my three contracts as well-- the independent study is due on the 24th, but that's all signed and taken care of. We had a meeting (that makes it three if you count the ten-minute I had with Bill the Advisor today) for planning our graduation events and there's about 55 people or so that should be walking. And in Redlands, in May? Talk about heat stroke. But we have a little time to think about it. But just a little. I'm trying to keep up with all of it. But now that my schedule's a little more set in stone hopefully I'll be able to have energy to not fall behind with that stuff. I'd rather be busy now than at finals time when I'm trying to polish my stuff. Plus I have to pick who's going to be on my grad committee. Two faculty and two students. But that's a little ways off too.
I was going to go home this weekend, but the rain doesn't bode well for a road trip anyway. Besides, Brandon's not going to be able to practice with the band because he's working a skeet shooting thing and is selling his drumset to buy a new a better one. So this weekend will hopefully be spent getting as much writing as possible done and maybe working on some new music for the band. Then again, sleep is always good.
I felt like there was something really important that I was supposed to write here. But I guess it'll come later. It's 12:30 in the morning, so being in and out of the flat all day in the rain is catching up with me. Oy.
It's been pouring rain the past couple of days here in California. Every time it rains around me now, it reminds me of being in England last year, especially now since rain's not a regularly occuring event here. But the rain's basically been non-stop since I drove home yesterday (5 hours because people are just dumb and wanted to see dead people on the side of the road where there was none). Still, I'd rather being inside hearing it pour outside than being out in it, like I was today, going to class and getting lunch. Driving on California freeways is never fun when all you see is mist from water bouncing off the other drivers' wheels.
Going home this weekend was so non productive. All I got done was my laundry. No practice, no real writing-- just one assignment for my fiction workshop class-- and I didn't even see my dad at all. Yeah, three days, and I didn't even see him. Talked to him through my door though. Bought some books for my independent study but that was about it.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about that story, but not much real doing of it. I'm hoping that once I start reading I'll get some stuff through my head. Today I started wondering about what kind of narrative track I wanted to take, and I'd concluded that I want to do e-mails and tape recordings. Like, no outside narrator at all, which could get weird but might just work. It also probably wouldn't confuse me as much to know how many people are speaking and who should be in what doing something saying whatever.
I was telling someone before class started today that I'm really scared of being burned out by the end of the semester. Which, by all accounts, I probably will be. I don't know. I think sometimes I blow things way out of proportion when I don't need to. I guess in the back of my head there's always the worst-case scenario, the end-all be-all of disastrous situations for me. For example, being dried up forever. Being burned forever because I couldn't take writing anymore after this semester. I see myself in a nicely padded room, wearing only white, and talking to myself all day. But then, maybe I'm just making up stories that will be real stories later on. I mean, it's distinctively possible. I could end up being quite mad at the end of it all.
But then the non-paranoid part of me is like, "why the hell would you get burned out when it's saved your life so many times, when writing's been the center of you since you were 16?" I don't even make sense to myself. I don't even know why I get this way. I guess there's a part of me that wants to fail just so it can prove that I suck. But then I wouldn't be trying to write if I didn't think I had a chance. There's nothing else that I like doing, and that I know I have some kind of talent in.
I'm starting to look at it this way: I was born and raised in Las Vegas. It's my job as a writer to know my town and know its mythos. I want to make my own mythos. I want to make a Las Vegas that people will look at and think, "my god, it really isn't what I thought." I want to turn it upside down, inside out, whatever. Make the desert there an imaginative barren place. There are all these stories that need to be told there, and there's a lot of space in that valley. The stories have to go somewhere. And, I want to be one of those writers who know quirky little facts about Vegas' past that people would go, "wow, I did not know that." Not that they would want to, but hey, whatever works.
I'm not really sure where to start. Probably school, I guess.
I spent about three hours writing last week, and about 40 minutes tonight. I've come up with the idea that I'm writing 100 pages at least by graduation time. My only real concern right now is that I might not have that many pages, especially with the kind of narrative that I'm writing. But then again, if I end up writing some more stuff on Mom I might just get rolling pretty well. I'll just jump off that bridge when I come to it. I might just put my story up on the website to save space and paper, which means that I have to format it and everything, but I think in the end it'll be worth it. I just have to keep up with it along with the writing I'm doing. The stuff I'm reading for the independent study is keeping my ideas floating around, which is good, and giving me some perspective. But I feel like in a way it's kind of tainting my view of how my characters are going to develop. But that might be a good thing, I don't know. It's also starting to put a little perspective on my own situation with mom, which is good in a way. And it's also putting some perspective on dad too, which helps.
I have a lot of things on my plate right now writing wise-- this senior project-- a couple of short stories for Fiction 2, a screenplay which I want to turn in to the Sundance Screenwriter's program-- it's tiring stuff, but I like the work. I'm feeling more confident that I can do this each day that I write.
I have this picture that my dad took of my mom on their honeymoon in Hawaii. It's dated 1972, and I'm realizing that my mother's 23 in that picture. That's only a year older than me now. I feel like she's so far away sometimes, not just because she's gone physically, but because I went on a totally different path than she did. It makes me wonder really what kind of things she wanted to do with her life that she never got the chance to do. It also makes me wonder if she's proud of me and what I'm doing, as scared as I am that I'm never going to get where I see myself. Sometimes I don't even see myself anywhere, and sometimes I see myself doing things that I never thought I would do. I don't want to make any plans because of this. That's why I hate planning. You get to one plateau, and then what? I think that's why I see myself in a whole bunch of scenarios: I have many different things that I *could* do, and that's cool. Lisa asked me last week if I ever wanted to get married or have children, and I told her that I really don't know. It would depend on how I feel. I see these people in the arts and have children and give up their art because they want to raise kids. I can't do that, not right now. And, it's like, I have to have a relationship first to think about marriage, and that's so not happening at the moment. And that's a totally different track anyway.
The band is going wonderfully. We had two practices last weekend and they both kicked ass. We're starting to meld together with our playing, which I'm really happy with because even though we all come from these different places musically we pick each other up really well. We only have three songs down right now, but the way that the practices are going right now, that could change quickly. We want to start playing in the late spring and I think we might just do it. Dad's all green lighting us playing the bar and Brandon's gotten the green light for the cafe, so it's all good in the hood. I'm really excited about that.
Today's the last day of February, and I'm starting to feel behind on life already. It's like, while I have things on hold at home, I have all this stuff I feel like I should be more productive with here at school. As it stands right now, I have almost exactly 3 months until I graduate. I feel like that's not enough time to do anything at all. I might just surprise myself. A girl can dream.
And a girl can dream that she should get to bed. And she'll go. Now.
It's March already. I'm not liking this. Don't ask me why.
So, there's going to be a point to this, I swear. I went to go see The Sixth Sense tonight. It was the third time I've seen it, and the third time it made me cry a little. Well, the first time, I bawled.
I should tell this story before I get on with what I want to say about it. The first time I saw it was with my then boyfriend. I knew it was going to be an interesting movie, and we were both really piqued by the subject matter as both of us have had weird psychic/supernatural experiences. I'm watching the movie, and I turn at one point to see a girl who's about14 or so sitting with her friend, and she's holding a hat in her hand. When my eyes move to her face, she's smiling. And she's bald. My dad was going through chemo at the time, and I thought, she has cancer. And I felt this warmth next to me. It was my mom. She doesn't visit me often after she said goodbye right after she died, but it was nice to know that she was there watching the movie with me. So the last scene is when Bruce Willis' character talks to his wife in her sleep, and it brought me to when my mom said goodbye to me in a dream-- she was going up an escalator at a mall in Vegas. And my boyfriend leaned over and said, "Your mom's here." And I said, "I know, she's been here practically the whole time." And it was natural. It was okay.
This is one of the few things in my life that stick in my head every time I think about my mom. It was like I had confirmation that she was there with me. I shouldn't have needed it, but actually, it made me feel okay that she was around. It was warm, and comfortable, and sad. I missed her so much I cried for at least half an hour when I got home. I just feel this void, and maybe it's a void that's supposed to be there, maybe it's supposed to be filled, I don't know. It's just, sometimes I feel like things would be okay if she were here. And even when I feel her near me I still feel this overwhelming lonliness because I know she used to feel it too. I always wonder how things would be if she hadn't passed on. What would she be doing? How would she be feeling? Would I still be the same person as before? Would I even be close to the person that I am now? What would I be like? What would she be like? How would everyone else be?
Other people might disclaim that maybe they're just fucked in the head because this kind of shit happens. It's like they're afraid of what's really going on. My mom is still with me, and I don't deny that at all. I say this with conviction, and everyone who has heard me talk about my mom, even when they don't know me, has said that they never doubt for a second how I feel. I'm very open about my mother being in another place. For me, it's just a matter of how long it's going to be when I see her again. This trancends religion. I've talked to all kinds of people about mom, and even when they don't necessarily agree with my spiritual preferences, they know that this is what feels right to me and they respect that.
So I guess this just comes down to the simple fact that I really miss my mom. Maybe I'm frustrated that she's not here. It was like everything was disrupted. I guess that's what happens. You get disrupted.
I figure I might as well do some writing in here. And, I figure I should just cut and paste what I'm writing for my independent study because it's more of what I should be writing in here. Plus I won't have to write it twice.
I had a really long weekend working the basketball tournament and practicing with the band. In all, I probably got about 20 hours sleep in about 4 days.
We're cramming for a gig on the 25th, and we've only got 4 songs right now. Our singer had a bad practice and left afterwards not saying a word. I'm wondering how we're going to resolve this considering he's losing his voice at every practice and we're trying to get a whole set together-- at least, a 20 minute set anyway. Plus we're considering doing BuffaloFest out here in CA, so that should get interesting.
My story's coming along VERY slowly. I'm starting to worry about it a little because I have so much in my head and it's not wanting to come out on the page yet. All this, and I want to have 50 pages in by spring break. I have about 20 at the moment, maybe not even that. I'm doing a lot of personal writing though, which is helping me to remember, but not much else. This weekend, I hope, will be productive.
talking about How We Grieve: Relearning the World by Thomas Attig
The way that this book was layed out was different from what I thought it was going to be. I was expecting different kinds of stories from real life people who have lost, but instead it was a sort-of socialogical/psychological look at how people deal with loss. There were about 4 or 5 central stories in the book to explain how Attig's theories worked, and I wasn't ever sure if they were made up, based on experiences that he'd had with people, or if they were real stories with changed names, or if they were real stories with real names.
With these stories, he reiterated his points *a lot*. There were points where I felt the book was being very repetitive, saying the same thing many times over and saying it differently with each story. While I understand how different things work in different situations, I felt like I wasn't really seeing anything new by the end of the book.
With all of that said, his theories were very interesting to look at, especially after reading that Opposing Viewpoints where Kubler-Ross explains her stages of grieving. (I think I'm going to read On Death and Dying next and make comparisons.) His main point is that the grieving process is an active thing and that it transcends all aspects of a person's life. Because death is such a profound experience, and because it removes a whole life from one's existance of lives of friends and family, it causes a complete change in the bereaved. It is up to the survivors to change their lives according to the change that has taken place with a life being gone. He reiterates that a person's life before and after death are two totally different things because there is that missing person who was a part of the everyday and now is not.
Because this book is so fresh in my mind, I agree with a lot that Attig has to say about how we have to look at the world and ourselves again when someone has died. I know that for me, when my mother passed, I had to tell myself everyday that she wasn't going to be there when I got home, and I had to get used to the fact that she wasn't going to be around anymore. It was like my whole life had shifted. I had this one way that my life was and thought it was going to be for awhile, and then my mother unexpectedly passes and I'm left wondering how I'm going to feel somewhat normal again.
I went back to school because that was what I felt I needed to do. I felt like if I'd stayed home that week after the funeral, all I would've been doing was sitting around crying and not doing anything at all. I would've been wasting that energy instead of doing something productive with myself. Going back to school two days after the service was what I felt was right because my mom would've wanted me to go back and I felt like the work could help me work out some of the grief. I was taking a class on Food and Books at the time, and some of it involved talking about family memories with food, sitting around the table with family, etc. And in talking about these stories, it helped my give my mother an identity-- she was fleshed out a little in the fact that I had to recall what kind of foods remind me of her and that no on else could cook like she did.
I did some reading, and some writing. I read a graphic novel series called The Sandman, written by Neil Gaiman. There's a point in one of the story arcs where the main character, Morpheus, says, "...you bid the dead farewell. You grieve... And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live." I really took this to heart when I read it not too long after Mom passed. I'd thought about her every second of every day, almost literallly telling myself that things were different, that she was dead and never coming back and that I had to realize that this was the reality I had to deal with, even if everyone else didn't understand it.
I felt really alien after she died because I came back to school, looking at all these people in the prime of their lives, and wondering if any of them had ever had their mother die. Did they know what it was like to have such a shock in their lives? Did they know what it was like to have to think about that everyday? I felt as if I had to grow up so quickly. Maybe I thought it wasn't fair, I don't remember. I knew that I wasn't ready for it, and yet I had to go through everything anyway. I think that might've been why I was so open about it, why I still am. I wasn't ready for it, and for me to make people understand, I'm very open about it. It was a shock to my family and my friends and myself, and it was a shock to people who hear about it now. I don't say it to elicit sympathy because that's not what I want. What I want is for people to understand that these kind of cycles exist and that sheltering themselves from it and dealing with it when it comes (or "jumping off that bridge when I come to it," as I like to put it) isn't going to make anyone feel less grieved and more removed from death.
When I was in high school, I guess I could've been considered "Goth"-- I wasn't into the mainstream things that most people in my high school were. I wore dark clothes, listened to strange music, was into artsy things and drove a old, almost-about-to-break-down-at-any-minute-car. I would read a poetry readings and express myself on the stage. My high school was mostly white, and mostly Mormon, and here I was a black-clothed girl who was getting into Paganism and vampires. I hung out at cafes with people who had somewhat similar interests. We all had this idea about death, that she was some kind of glorious thing, some kind of pretty, romantic notion that would solve all problems. She was something we all wanted to be close to but were too scared to touch because that would mean leaving this world behind.
And now that I've been close to death, I realize that she's not romantic at all. She's straightforward, sometimes boring, funny, weird, and she always has bad timing.
Going back to reading The Sandman and Neil Gaiman, I saw Neil read about a month or so after my mother had passed away. I almost didn't go because I had projects to do and I couldn't find anyone who wanted to go with me, but I got everything done and someone came. Every time I think about that time after Mom died, I think about this reading-- he read for about 2 and a half, I think almost 3 hours. He writes these fantastic tales about ordinary people in extraordinary situations, some of them funny and some of them very serious and scary. And he's an amazing storyteller on stage.
The last story of the reading, he told a story called "The Wedding Present," about a couple named Gordon and Belinda, who get married and receive this mysterious envelope with a letter describing their wedding and everything in it. They keep this envelope, and throughout their lives it keeps popping back up with descriptions of their lives, usually in a negative light, inside. Towards the end of the story Gordon dies in his old age and Belinda is left alone in front of a fireplace:
"She missed Gordon so much it felt like something sharp being hammered into her chest, a spike, perhaps, or an icicle, made of cold and loneliness and the knowledge that she would never see him again."
She tosses the envelope into the fire and that's where the story ends. There was something about this story, about the reminders of our own mortality and regrets, that just created this feeling in me that everything was going to be okay. After the reading, I felt like I could do just about anything I wanted, and that I was going to write for the rest of my life and I was going to do this with conviction. I didn't want to meet him after the reading. I don't know why. Part of me still doesn't want to meet him because there's this thing I have about telling people they inspire me. It's like as singer Tori Amos put it, "It's about you empowering you, not you coming to me to get empowered." I feel like if I stood there at a signing or after a reading or something and said, "hey man, you inspired me to feel like I have some kind of purpose" it would be silly. I wouldn't know what to say, how to act. Just keep writing and keep doing and keep living, and that's all.
We have a gig this weekend, in Kingman AZ. I'm more excited about this than anything else, because it'll be the first time on stage with an actual band, the first time on stage playing music since high school. We've been doing a lot of practicing in the past couple of weeks, and we're starting to get our shit together. We have about a half-hour set right now which is cool but we want to get some more songs down, maybe a couple of covers. I'm having a great time though. But. There's other stuff, too. I was writing this last night, and I'm thinking it'll go in my story, in a somewhat different form:
I'm feeling like I'm 17 again.
I don't mean this in a let's kill someone sense. I'm not down with Columbine. I mean this in a way that feels like there's a shadow following me. I've heard people who have depression say that there's a shadow that follows them everywhere they go. My shadow comes and goes. Mostly it's been gone since my mother died, which is really ironic considering most people develop theirs when something unexpected like that happens. I guess because I believe that my mother guides me maybe she guides my shadow, too.
There are times now when I feel really tired, really out of it, fried. I'm not sure it's because of all the writing I'm doing, or if it's because of things at home connected with the writing, or what. I just want it all to be over, but that's a long way away.
Spring has begun and when the trees bloom, I don't. It's like I go into this lonely hibernation phase and when I tell people what's wrong it seems like they don't care or don't get it because they're not in my position. This is not a bad thing-- it's not their world to understand, it's mine. And especially now that I've been thinking about mom lately and how she figures into the scheme of things now I'm starting to think about where I am, where my talents lie, and what I want to do with them. And mix the loneliness into the brew, and therein lies a very dark place for me, one that I'm not all that unfamiliar with.
I used to talk about death as if she were someone I could be friends with, but I realize now how hard that is. Friendships are glass keys that open hearts, and my friendship with death has changed me so much that I don't know who I was then with her and who I am now with her. We've become estranged in some sense. There's no romance now. She's a sibling, a sister. It's a different kind of bond, the kind where if you don't talk all the time it's okay because she's still going to pull on your hair playfully and say go back to living. In some ways I really miss talking to her, but in other ways, because of the way she really showed herself to me, I don't miss her at all.
A friend once asked if you don't miss someone if you really love them, and I told him that it means that you love them more because you don't worry about it-- it's unconditional in a way. If you're in one world and they're in another, that's okay. When you're scared that they won't love you anymore, then that's when you should wonder where the bonds are, because they can get lost.
I don't want to go beyond this place. I feel like my mother worked too hard for me to just give up and join her. She'd probably yell at me in front of all those other spirits, and I'd be forever embarrassed. Heh, that would be my hell, I suppose.
...and then there's what I wrote for this week about mom:
While I was reading the article about various societal rituals for the dead in different places, it reminded me of what kind of pattern I saw in my own mother's passing. I think it's a mix of American and Irish influences, though which ones come from where I couldn't tell you.
I remember that my aunt was at the house when I arrived from California. She was working in the police department at the time, in forensics where she took pictures of crime scenes. By the time I'd gotten home my mother was already at the coroner's office and my aunt asked to have an autopsy performed since none of us knew what happened. In that sense I guess she had to remove herself, to be an unemotional cop when they'd called with the results-- aneurism. My father and I were talking about funeral arrangements when the coroner called my aunt. I remember her being very nice but direct with them about what the condition of my mother's body when she died-- cirrosis, blockage of the heart, thin blood vessels because of hypertension. I don't know what was going through my aunt's head when she was telling us these things, but there was a feeling as if she knew what had happened even before the coroner called her and she was trying to make sense of it.
My dad looked pretty close to breaking down when my aunt told us what they'd said. I think he had a sense of his own mortality, how he was really living his life, when my aunt told him what was going on inside my mother's body. I know he was very scared then. I think he'd even mumbled something about him being next. I felt a little relieved when my aunt told me what the coroner had said, because it was like I knew what it was that made it unexpected, and that was okay. I felt a little relieved that it was something I couldn't have done anything about, or could even see, and looking back on that feeling now I'm not sure if it's guilt or actual relief now. There was nothing I could do about her death, and it was a mix of good and bad.
In a way, I think that was why it was easier for me to accept my mom's passing. I didn't have to wait for her to die, she just left. She died in her sleep, and that's how I always wanted to go myself. To know there was no struggle, that it was silent and peaceful made it easier for me to move on.
What really solidified this sentement for me in a really strange way was the wake after the funeral. I rode in the car with my dad to the bar, and we were following my brother's car and I kept wondering what he was thinking, if he thought thisz was as surreal as I thought it was. My father and I were pretty quiet on the way to the bar. I think we talked about going back to school, I don't remember. But when we got to the bar it was already packed with people, there was food laid out for people to eat, and there were drinks all around. I stood in one corner pretty much the whole time with my friend Kim, her little sister Lauren who was about 14 at the time, her mom Dee Dee, and my other friend Natalie. For me the wake didn't turn out to me a remembering session with them because I'd already had one in a way the night I returned home and we had sat around watching TV. It was more of a people watching session, or more people observing. People who didn't know who I was until I stood in front of them and read my poem were congratulating me and saying they were sorry for my loss and all I kept thinking was that they should go home because they were just there for the food. Maybe it was a really rude thing to think, but a lot of the people didn't feel genuine at all.
On my mom's side of the family we were having a little family reunion, but because nobody on that side of the family besides my aunt and my grandmother ever kept in touch with us I didn't talk to any of them, really. Some of them I hadn't seen in about 10 years, others I hadn't remembered at all. It was like they were all trying to reconstruct my mother's life through their own memories, but I kept thinking I wasn't in my mother's childhood, I didn't know her back then, and so it was a different world for me and therefore wasn't all that significant. I knew my mother the last 19 years of her life and she was not the person they said she was. Here I was, her daughter, and yet they were telling me what I should've remembered of her. So I stayed in the corner with my friends. They knew how my mom was and how I was and even if they were walking on eggshells because they didn't really know how to act, that was okay because they at least acknowledged that they'd always been a part of her life, even if it was just merely through me.
I guess wakes are supposed to be celebrations of the dead's life. Some of the bartenders along with my grandmother and aunt had made a collage of pictures of my mom, and they put it up for everyone to look at, which made it in my mind a sort-of quasi shrine. It was actually funny to see people amble up to it and just stare and remember, then walk away back into the party. People talked about my mom, what they remembered of her, ate and drank. Since the funeral was so quiet, the beginning of the wake was, too. That was, until the drinks kept coming. By the time 6 or 7:00 had rolled around, a lot of people were pretty smashed and were really celebrating mom's life. It was funny but sad at the same time-- watching drunk people is always entertaining, but the fact that my brother and dad and friends were still shocked by what happened made me feel really sad that people felt that had to get smashed at a wake. Not that I wasn't expecting people to get drunk, but some part of me thought it was really rude to get raging drunk. It was like I was embarassed that my mother knew these people, and in a way because she knew them I knew them too. I left soon after that. I had spent all day in one of my mother's dresses, in uncomfortable shoes, standing around and expending whatever energy I had left after the funeral. I wanted to sleep, not because I was sad because I felt like I had nothing else to expend on people. I was literally out of energy at that point, and I wanted to go back to school and refocus again. I still had grief to work out, but I felt like doing that at home would've been really sluggish and probably more tiring in the end than actually directing it somewhere.
I'm a little ragged because I just spent a good 6 or so days in Texas visiting one of my best friends. And I did more work there, or at least felt like I did, than during the whole semester. That's a weird thing to be thinking. I'm still paranoid about getting it all done though. Don't ask me why, though. I think it's because it's the last major thing I'll ever have to do at Redlands or something. Who knows.
What's been good about the project is the way I've been able to try to recall everything that went on during the time of my mom's death, both from myself and my friends. It's been really good for me to sort of sort everything out and even if I'm not going to put it in the story, get the whole picture of what was going on during and after it all. It's like, I've gotten all these things out in my own grieving, but now I'm able to help others with it too. Whoa, deep.
So our supposed gig in Kingman turned out to be, apparently, a complete fabrication. I don't want to be doing any slandering, but let me just say that someone in particular who's a singer for a local Vegas band fucked us out of the gig. It was lucky that our own singer has a great sense of instinct, because if he didn't we would've ended up driving down there for abosolutely no reason at all. That's okay though, we'll keep practicing and we'll get some real gigs. Shit, we've only been together for like 2 and a half months fer chrissakes. It's not like we're in any big hurry to get anywhere right now.
But, there's also dumping personal stuff, which if you happen to be reading this and aren't interested in, don't bother reading, because it'll probably end up being self-pitying drivel that I tend to need to get out of my system about every 6 months or so. And it usually happens when the weather gets warmer. I love warm weather. But it's like something about it being shorts weather makes things come back for me.
So yeah, spring is here, and it's all nice and sunny and all that stuff. What I'm not understanding, and I've been contemplating this for a while now, is that why I've got all these things going on that make me such a sane person and yet all these boys seem to be insane not to see it. Maybe it's that I'm stuck in Vegas culture or something. I don't know. I was in Texas and it's like I was being talked to by humans of the male persuasion left and right, and then it's like here nobody even wants to notice if you aren't plastic. I'm whining. Yes. But I don't mean to do this to elicit some kind of ridiculous sympathy or whatever. I'm trying to answer these questions and it's not helping that conforming would be the alternative. Um, no. So I'll just sit here, alone for awhile.
Hmmm, maybe when I get published...
Anyway, I'm still jet lagged from yesterday so I'll make this a quick ending. All I know is that I'm ready for things to change again.
Hmmm. I've been feeling really shitty the past couple of days because I'm realizing everything that's going on outside of my own little world of school and writing.
Writing this senior project, and writing about the subject of death and dying is really difficult. Sometimes I start writing and I have to stop and take a break, even if I've written like half a page. There's a little voice inside me that says this is hard because I haven't dealt with everything, but I'm wondering why it is that I just get on with it anyway despite that voice. And then when I talked to my brother last week, I realized that it's not me who needs to get these things out. I don't want to go into what we talked about because it's his thing and it's not my business to air it. But what I'm starting to realize is that now I have to let others know what I went through. This project is about be letting the world (however small that is right now for me) know what it was that I had to survive through. And now it's time for me to help the other people in my family and my friends through this because grieving never really stops.
I have the band now to escape from everything else, and it's like everytime practice is over I feel like utter shit because I have to go home from something that I feel a part of for once. Writing is a very lonely profession, or at least it is to me right now, and being in that kind of creative space with other people really helps me find some kind of voice inside me. If that makes any kind of clishe sense. But I'm wondering now if that's an okay thing or not because I know that the band is not going to last forever.
I'm really tired. I feel out of it now. Drained. And yet I still have all this work to do still. I still like being involved in ten million things creatively, but outside of that art is a life that I kept questioning this past week. Not that I'm suicidal-- that would be too easy. Besides, things don't feel bad enough to even warrant thinking about that anyway. But I ramble again.
So maybe that's a cue to end for now. Kirk out.
This is what I wrote for my independent study this week, and it's pretty relevant, yeah?
I don't really know how exactly to sort this all out, so I'll just start on something and hope that it'll get somewhere at the end...
Reading How We Die was very interesting. And weird. I really liked hearing about who exactly heart attacks and cancer work in the body and how they destroy and take life away. As a writer it was fascinating and helpful reading (though when exactly I'll use that information is still up for debate, just for random trivia right now, I guess...), and it made sense reading the cancer part about my father's own symptoms and his battle with the disease.
The part that really resonated for me (if that's actually possible with this kind of stuff) was the part about autopsies and how coroners find more than one thing going on with the body than what actually killed the person. Like, when my aunt who works for the police department talked to the coroner about my mom's autopsy and then told my dad and me about it, it was so weird to me to know there was more than just the aneurism going on. There was cirrosis, heart blockage, hypertension, digestive problems going on inside my mom. Things that didn't necessarily show themselves outwardly on my mom, and which made her death all that more surreal to me because I don't think even she knew what exactly was going on inside of her. And it wasn't like any of us could really do anything to stop what was going on, either. I remember wondering at one point after the funeral and everything was over what would have killed her first out of everything that was going on inside her. I wondered how many more years she would have lived if she hadn't had that one blood vessel break in her brain.
I talked to my brother Sean about Mom last weekend, and it really hit home for me how different the experience is for every person, no matter how related they are...
But reading sort-of "clinical" writers like doctors makes me realize why I don't like them. Doctors, I mean. It's like they're trained to be totally separated from their patients and not to ever get to know them as people. Part of the reason why it's this way is to lessen the stress on the doctor. But at the same time, people die regardless in cold white rooms connected to electric machines. Nuland's writing had more of a personal (and much older) slant, but at the same time even he admits that even though he regrets how some of his patients turned out, if given the chance despite the fact that he wanted to do it differently, he probably wouldn't because of the opinions of his peers. It's like either way he doesn't really take the patient's wants into account, and that really bothers me. Doctors are more concerned with the millenia-old Hyppocratic Oath rather than the present state of the dying person in front of them.
Which brings me in a way to the Diary of Living and Dying. When I read this it gave me so much more insight into really saying goodbye to someone when they die, which I think a lot of people don't understand about death. Even when someone dies, there are people left behind and they have to say their goodbyes instead of just leaving the person behind a curtain in a hospital room. Shawn's family and the people that worked with him at the hospice really got the chance to say goodbye to him and faced his journey with him, and that part really got to me because I thought about my Mom the entire time and how goodbyes are different for each of us. I said goodbye to my mother when I left the house to go back to California for Interim-- in fact that last image I have of her is her standing at the front door of the house, like she always did when I left, waving me goodbye. Maybe that's part of the reason why I've accepted her being gone better than my brother and father have. I don't know. It's like I really accepted that she was gone. And it makes me think of Attig and how he talked about how our relationship with the deceased person changes after they are gone. I feel like my father and brother haven't really looked at how things have changed. It's like they don't want to acknowledge it.
And my experience with dealing with death expanded during my spring break when I visited my best friend Cat in Texas. Her Mexican grandmother who helped to raise her died two weeks ago while Cat was driving back to school, and when she told me I felt empty because I had to get used to knowing that my sort-of surrogate grandmother was gone. I still call her Grandma because she was so loving and giving whenever I came over to visit, and came with Cat's mom to my own mother's funeral. Even though the last time I saw her was during Christmas time, I consider myself blessed to have known her because she was, in my own terms, one of the coolest people I've ever met-- and I miss her greatly. She had cancer, and died in her sleep. And when I think about her, I think about my mom, and I wonder if they're in the same place. And I wonder when Cat comes back to Las Vegas in the summer how different it's going to feel knowing that Grandma Rojas isn't going to be there to kiss me on the cheek like she always does and ask how it feels to be graduated. It's like, with her and my mom the only word I can think of is weird. It just feels weird that they're gone. It's not a good thing, or a bad thing. It just is. I wonder more how things are going to feel in the future, how things are going to go without them because I always envisioned them being there in their own little ways.
I started reading a little of On Death and Dying by K¨bler-Ross, but I'm really leery about reading it just for the mere fact that there's a diagram showing her stages of dying and dealing with it in the back of the book. Everything that I've read so far makes reference to this book, and I really want to know what it's all about. But in reference to writing my story it'll help a lot to know what is entailed in K¨bler-Ross's book because her ideas seem to be what most doctors and psychologists consider to be the best way to describe how one goes through the grieving process. Then again, after reading Attig and his idea that grieving is so individual, it's going to be hard. But we'll see.
I've been having a weird couple of weeks. Most of it I want to keep to myself, since I don't want it out for mass public consumption (though how mass is probably still under debate)... anyway, cut and pasting time:
Stephenson's article, "Grief and Mourning" and real life interconnecting all too well...
Sometimes I really wonder if Yung was really right about synchronicity. Over this past weekend back home a friend of mine killed himself, and it affected everyone at this cafe that I and my friends have been hanging out at for about 5 years now. And now after reading this article, it's made me think about all the reactions I saw on Saturday night at the cafe, and how individual their processes are. I guess I should tell the story first from my own perspective on things and then go into other stuff...
I had a knock at my window at about 9 in the morning this past Saturday. I, of course, was sleeping, but I had had people knock on my window before because they don't want to ring the doorbell and wake up my dad. I open the blinds and it's my ex boyfriend, Sean, and he looks way tired. So I go to the front door and I'm wondering what the hell's going on because this is not very typical Sean behavior. And he says, "have you heard about Eric?" Nobody had called me during the night, so I had no idea, and he says, "he was found dead in his apartment last night. They think he killed himself." Sean and Eric used to be best friends awhile back, and Eric had introduced Sean to Cafe Copioh and the whole crew there a few years ago. They weren't as close friends as they used to be, but they would hang out with each other when they had time and were still pretty good friends. And the first thing I thought was that I felt so sorry for Sean because he's 31 years old and this is the first time that someone really close to him has died. And I wondered how he was going to deal with it and if he was going to be okay. So we sat on my porch and talked for a little bit, then went inside and he sat in my rocking chair and just talked about how he felt, how people at Copioh were going to deal with it. I told him to just let people have their own ways of dealing with it, no matter how extreme or wrong it might seem. Just let them go. Telling them what's right or wrong about how they're dealing with it is just going to cause rifts in friendships and tension. He considered taking the day off of work, and I told him if he wasn't going to concentrate at work not to go and just spend the day mourning and remembering. He called into work and went home.
I had planned to spend the day doing work, but I just couldn't do it. I e-mailed my friend Natalie who's studying abroad in China, who knew Eric in high school and, according to her e-mail that I got last night, "still owed her a date" from a conversation they had before she left to go abroad. I called my other friends who knew him through me and let them know what was going on, and even though they only knew who he was, they were saddened by the loss. I've been thinking about him ever since, and it's been really hard to work on my project because it's like he chose to leave the earth and I'm writing about someone who didn't have that choice. I spent most of the day just sitting in my rocking chair, watching TV and thinking about Eric. It's like, I wasn't close friends with him, but he knew my name and when he hugged me I felt safe, and that is more than most people know about me. And it's like one more person that made me feel safe is gone now, and it hurts because Eric was such a good guy. But underneath it all, he had problems, the demons and shadows of depression, and he decided to just say a big "fuck you" to that and all of us and leave first. He left a lot of unfinished conversations with a lot of people at Copioh.
Copioh was the quietest I'd ever seen it in the 5 years I've been going there. Someone had taped his picture to the wall, and taped a hastily written poem beside it. Other people in mourning followed suit with impromtu poems and words and suddenly by the time 11:00 rolled around it was like a little memorial to Eric and the warmth he brought to us at Copioh. There was a guy there scheduled to play some of his music, but the only people in the cafe listening were people he brought with him. When someone told him what was going on, he understood and played "Cat's in the Cradle" for us and we all clapped in tribute. Even people in the cafe who didn't even know Eric were quiet and respectful to the people who were crying and hugging, and normally some people on regular days are very rude and just not shameful about making fun of other people. Everybody was just quiet, shocked.
I just sat and as people came in, I was there with open arms for them to just let go. Everybody was like that. All the people who were friends with Eric and each other banded together in their grief-- it was a very intense feeling, and you could tell that a lot of people didn't really know what to do because we're all so young and this has never happened before. Since it was the first night after it all, it was difficult to gauge exactly how people were going to be in thefew days afterward because it was so sudden and people were still trying to process the whole thing. And since I had to leave Sunday I couldn't stay around for people, which I felt a little guilty but I also knew that at the same time that people cared so much for each other that I didn't necessarily have to be there. In that way it's really a community loss. Everybody at Copioh shares their grief.
I think because it was suicide it's going to make a lot of people think about where they are in their lives and why Eric killed himself as compared to their own life. Most of the people that I talked to seemed to take in stride that he chose to leave by committing suicide and that he wanted to go to the other side quicker than the rest of us, as if it were a race to the finish line or something. I guess that's Stephenson's existential grief when people think about their own mortality after the death of a close friend. For me, I felt like death was closer to me because this is the third person in 2 and a half years that is gone, and the second in the past three weeks. I feel like whenever I get to the other side, I'm just going to know three more people over there than I did before. I guess as far as reactive grief is concerned, at least for me Eric's suicide represents for me the conviction that I don't want to commit suicide because it's not my thing. It was for him, and that's okay. I don't feel the need, nor really have the courage to do it. In a way Eric was very brave for knowing that he wanted to go. I feel like I have other things to do first before I pass.
I'll probably find out this coming weekend how people are really doing, and how they're going through the grieving process. I know for me I think about him all the time and know that he's still going to be with me, no matter how small a part he played in my life. I look at it this way: if he wasn't around, he wouldn't have met Sean, and then I wouldn't have met him and had a real boyfriend for once. I've been thinking about that, how people are connected so strangely like that, and how things seems to fated sometimes. Like when you meet certain people you're supposed to learn a lesson from them, or find out something about yourself through them. I think Eric's death is going to teach a lot of people about themselves and about how they're living.
It's been sooo long since I've delved in here... maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it's not. I spent four hours down at the coffeehouse tonight scribbling in my journal, updating it, reminding myself why I do these things. And for some reason, I feel the need to be typing up here for the world to see. Why that is, I don't know, and hopefully I'll figure it out along
I've been writing a lot about how things just didn't work out the way that I'd planned. I wasn't expecting things to be perfect when I got out of college. I don't know what I was expecting. What I do know now is that I must chill, as Lloyd Dobler once greatly said. I'm freaking out over the fact that I have a four year degree and I *don't* have to go back to school in the fall. That means I have to be somewhat responsible for myself. But I'm in a new house and it's just my father and myself here, and it's not like I'm just going to up and move out and leave him here, alone. Unless you count the girlfriend being over all the time.
I'm overqualified because I have this degree and yet I'm this time I'm getting pissed off because employers just can't be straight with me. Either you want me or you don't. Don't tell me to call next week if the only response I'm going to get is "no." And it's not like I can't be trained. Hello, if I can follow directions for 18 years of school, don't you think I'd be able to operate a cash register? For real. I just graduated from college, and I'm ready to work, even if it really doesn't have that much to do with my degree. I'm getting bored here.
Meanwhile, I'm getting so bored that I'm falling into old emotional patterns again. I have this bad habit of equating my body with my personality, even though the two have nothing to do with each other, really. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not my body. I have all these things going on in that little orb above my tits called a skull that has her own dramas and fantasies to worry about, not to mention ideas that keep bouncing around. It's all silly, I know, but when your friends get hit on everywhere you go and you don't, it makes you wonder why you aren't funny enough to keep them interested.
I don't think I'm ugly. I used to think that, but then I realized that actually having brains doesn't make you ugly. Someone once told me that you merely project your reality, and projecting my love for arts and whatever kind of smarts I have is better than brooding all the time like I did in high school. I have my days though, like today. Actually, this evening. I had a hermit night, hardly talked to anybody. I wanted to be alone in a crowd, and I made it obvious by the fact that I was all curled up in a chair writing in my journal contemplating all these things that I'm mentioning now. I could tell people were wondering if I was okay, and I was, but there's only so much you can do when someone doesn't want to talk to you.
I think I'm starting to realize that in some ways I'm still a brat. Being the smallest child, I'm used to getting my own way, and now that things aren't panning out the way I was thinking months ago, I'm getting pissed. But I'm pissed at myself for not even thinking of a backup plan. I'm 22, jobless, living with my dad with no real plans to move out, trying to write and getting meager results, and bored as all hell. I'm a Gemini who has nothing to do with myself but sit on my ass all day and watch TV, hoping that I'll get an idea for a story. And even that's not working.
I think I'm reaching too high. Or am I not reaching high enough? Where's my motivation? Summer's my favorite season, so why am I sitting on my ass all the time? Why am I not having abundant creativity and just sitting around playing Nintendo 64? My friends say I should just take a break, but I don't want to, especially when I don't have anything to do in the fall. I'll get complacent. I'm already feeling complacent.
Whine. With cheese, please.
Okay, so I've been thinking about some stuff, and I don't feel like actually grabbing a pen and writing this stuff down. My fingers move faster when I'm typing so it seems to flow better.
So I'm thinking about this guy who I'm acquaintances with, and how he read this poem last week about girls talking bullshit and being confusing and everything and how we all just should get over it and, like, have children or something. Not that I think he's seriously mysoginist. He's one of those types who is bitter, just like the rest of us, and would rather draw attention to himself by acting like an asshole. That way he'll get some chicks.
Yeah, so I figure, I want to do some ranting. I flip through my CD's, pick Candiria. Some aggro metal-jazz should do the trick. But what I realize is that I can't understand what the fuck he's talking about, and I have enough aggro between just having finished my period and actually being in a metal band. Ani? No, I don't want politics. Tori? Nah, I kinda need to have lyrics that I shouldn't try and translate with an Ouija board. Jude? No, don't feel like dealing with pretty falsettos. Ah ha, Massive Attack, that should work...
Now that I'm somewhat settled, I should get on with what I was thinking about. It's like I see all these people making statements about life and what it is and what it should be, and I'm sitting here thinking, I don't know shit about life. I'm 22 years old. Sure, I have my own take on things, and there are lessons about life that I've learned over the years, but it doesn't make me a bloody expert on the subject. I don't know. Maybe I don't want to have an opinion because I know I'll change as a person and my opinions might change with myself. But what I've noticed is that people-- mainly men, I've noticed-- will make statements and back them up and create this huge arguement about why they're so correct, and they end up creating colossial philosophical statements akin to the size of Hume and probably just as complex.
Now, sitting around thinking about this is fine. Having enough experience to back this up, that's cool. My only problem is that I get sort of corralled in with every single girl who has burned someone on the planet. I was writing about this the other day. It's like, I don't want a Fuck Friend, someone who I just have sex with and not much else, but I'm not looking to get married either. I mean, what the fuck? I'm supposed to be having fun, and yet on one side I go out and no matter how funny I am I'm not attractive like my friends are, and then on the other side I'm so fucking picky about the guys that I'd want to have a conversation with it's a miracle that I'm not a lesbian. And yet I've noticed that the guys I have gone out with were people that either didn't have enough emotional baggage (in other words I couldn't really talk to them for shit) or have too much of it (which means that I was way too nice to the wrong person and now I'm up on a pedestal). I mean, what the fuck is THAT about? I know I'm pretty bad at articulating myself sometimes when it comes to conversation, but why is it that I'm getting these exceptions to the "males who fuck anything that moves" rules? I get these guys who are just coming out of really traumatic clusterfucks in their lives and when it falls apart I'm the savior who made them a better person.
And it's not even a question of being used. I have this pattern of trying to fix people and then when I think I should stop trying to do that, it turns out that I've gone overboard and without my knowing it things are peachy keen and I'm left wondering why I feel like something's missing.
I always feel like something's missing. People wonder why I have this sad look on my face and it's not because I'm always depressed or that I think my life sucks. Not all the time, anyway. Ever since childhood I've been told that I'm not good enough, that I'm an ugly person, and it's really hard to let go of that. That's where the fixing of people come in. I figure if I try and help someone else out eventually it'll teach me to fix myself. I'm beginning to wonder if I can ever fix my cycles of self-esteem or whatever psychological words you want to use. I use my brain, my sense of humor to override the fact that I'm living in a society that doesn't like my body. It's like I have to prove myself to the world by writing about it in stories and poems and screenplays and by playing bass in a band where I'm the only girl, and then make people laugh because I like to do that. I find myself learning more about my talents, only to realize that more and more everyday I really don't know myself.
This is normal, I think. Having an identity crisis at my age is perfectly normal. But have I always had this? Is this why I can't open up, why I don't ever state my opinions, why I can't to get a simple date?
I want to have a good time. But going home to my room at night and thinking that I'll lie in my bed alone forever shouldn't constitute the end of an evening. I shouldn't have people be surprised that I do all these things in my life, that I use my talents because what I look like belies the intelligence in my head. Is this making any sense?
There are guys who say that women complain too much, that we just sit around and talk about how much we hate guys. Actually, with my girl friends, we sit around and talk about politics, going to school and work, and being artists in our own rights. And aren't the guys who comment that we complain complaining themselves? I mean shit, if you don't like what wehave to say, then don't listen to us. Most men don't anyway because they're thinking about masturbating or something. Have some fucking priorities for once.
We all talk bullshit, that's true for both sexes. We all justify our pain in some way or another with the whole "been there, done that" mentality. But I keep thinking, though, that even though I may have been a lot of places and done a lot of things, that doesn't entitle me to be able to make definitive statements, even against the people who haven't really had a lot of grand experience but have done a lot of thinking. I don't sit around and think. I sit around and do, like I'm doing now, getting shit out of me so that I don't have to think about it anymore. I read poetry so that I get out the shit I had on my mind for that week. I'm not up there to get sympathy-- a few laughs maybe, to support the other poets, definitely-- but I don't get up there to spill my guts because I want the attention. I get up there because I want to hear myself say these words other than in my bedroom or in my head. I speak my own brand of bullshit because I'm trying to make sense of it so I can get it out of my way. Maybe I'll come back to it later if I want to, but most times I don't.
So I'm making my own statement right now. I'm forming a disjointed theory about relationships in this cyberspace. This is more of a spurt of ranting for me than anything else. Most of this is stuff that's been floating around in my head, but it's not stuff that I sat in my room and made a precise hypothesis about. Mostly it's stuff that pops in my head when I'm out and about observing people.
I want to think I'm not your usual woman. But nobody is usual because we're all individuals. I'm different just like everybody else. Then again, if all people wouldn't act the same, none of us would be herded into Bitches vs. Assholes.
I think it's time to go visit my nephews.
I was talking to my ex-boyfriend tonight, and it just got me thinking about some things. I know I rag on him sometimes but it's only because I know he's trying.
People always talk about how they couldn't be friends with their ex or whatever. But we are friends, as warped as our relationship seems like sometimes. And I like that. I don't want him back, and he's admitted that he doesn't deserve me, and that's a good thing. We're at the point where we're talking about our dating (or lack thereof) statuses. Most people would think that weird or whatever, but this is normal for us. It's like we're proving to each other that we've moved on. But it's also showing each other how we're human, too. It sounds kinda silly though.
And this also connected with another conversation I was having with another male friend of mine earlier who's single. It's like we're all picky in our own ways. My ex and I are at the point where we're single because we are having low tolerances for people who say stupid things on more than one occasion, and my other friend just can't keep a relationship because he's one of the few honest guys out there even though that's what girls say they want.
While I'm getting random messages on ICQ as I type this, and listening to PJ Harvey and trying to formulate where I'm going with this, I wonder why is it that we're all descent people and yet even though things come together and we seem to have this balance, we're miserable in this one area. It's not like we aren't trying or think that we're all doomed to singledom (at least, I don't think I am), but people say they want one thing and society as a whole shows something completely different. Girls say they want a decent honest guy who's a sweetheart but yet they always end up with the assholes. It's the eternal question that everybody asks and nobody can answer because it's all steeped in psychological bullshit.
I'm not going to offer up any kind of answer myself. I could all say that we're just masochists. But I wouldn't necessarily be speaking about myself, because the guys I've been with weren't assholes in the usual sense of the word. I wasn't abused, or treated like shit as far as the relationship was concerned. Now my ex and the way he handled our (2) breakup(s) was asshole-ish, but since he has come clean in the meantime and admitted the whole "You're too good for me and I don't deserve you" thing, I figure it's best to just be friends. Our cycle's over.
But since we had our most recent breakup (which is coming up on a year soon I believe), I've had sex with one other person, and now that my whole college experience is over and done with and having just recently gotten a job (finally!), and doing a lot of just observing at clubs and such over this past summer, I'm starting to see things a little more clearly. But just a little. I'm realizing that even though I'm not exactly what society would deem attractive, that's okay because I've seen what IS attractive and it's freakish anyway. Not that this revelation gives me any more self esteem, and not that everybody who is attractive doesn't have redeeming qualities. Now that I feel like things are falling into place a little better, these are the kind of qualities I'm going to attract in other people. My ex commented tonight that I look a lot more balanced than I usually do, and I do feel a little bit more balanced, like I said, that things are starting to come together, that the plan I had in my head is taking shape. I'm doing what I want, showing an independence, proving to myself that I can juggle a job and a band and writing ten million things at once. And I'm okay with meeting new guys and being totally cool with hanging out and not wanting to be more than that. It's my time to have fun.
I'm going into new experiences, and I think that's what's making me look more balanced. I had a fleeting thought about being a little scared about this new job, but I think it'll help bring out new parts of myself and I can grow into new things. I sound like I'm full of shit, it's only a secretary/receptionist's job fer chrissakes.
But it's a chance. And it's experience. And it'll be fun. And it'll be a new journey for me. Yeah. And stuff.
There are a lot of things that have come up recently that has made me start thinking about my individuality and starting to cement a little bit more about who I am as a person.
I'm having this Rage Against the Machine mentality about work now. I just got this job, and I'm trying the best that I can, but it's really hard for me because it's a totally different mind set than what I'm used to. They told me to take out my tongue bar. Okay, fine. So I put it in at lunch. The next week they tell me that someone saw me put it in at lunch, so I can't have it on property. What the fuck? You mean, I can't have private time? Not even one hour to myself to relax and eat and think about trying to go back to work "more bubbly," as they want me to be? I'm not a bubbly person. Friendly definitely, but I'm not all of a sudden going to pretend everything is sunshine and roses when I don't really feel that way, especially now with my dad on the other side of the country recovering from a very insane operation. I'm really starting to wonder why I even tried to get this job, because even though the pay is very good, I'm not having a good time. I'm not really getting the positive reinforcement that I need. I feel intimidated by just about everyone and I feel like I'm constantly being watched. So, I take every chance I get to go to the bathroom where I can have my Zen moment to myself and put my bar in for two minutes. And as soon as I get in my car to go home, it goes in again.
Because I realized something about this job, and it's not that I'm going in this as a career choice. I'm doing this because I need the experience as a person, as a writer, and who I am at this job is not really who I am outside of work. Last night I talked to one of my friends who's in L.A. and had a band meeting last night to discuss where we want to go, and I basically told them that I would probably more than likely be in L.A. if it weren't for them (granted, more recent turns of events with Dad would make me come back, and my nephews are a big part of that too). But I could have basically wasted all those weekends I sacrificed with during my last, more grueling semester at school, and just gone straight to L.A. and said "Fuck the band." But I didn't. I could've even moved to Fresno with Lisa. But I didn't.
And I wake up on days like today, and I want to go somewhere and write all day. I want to keep this writing up so that I can get it out there so I won't have to stay at this job anymore. But I know I have a really long road ahead of me. I have to keep this tongue bar as a symbol of my sanity. It's been with me for four years now, and I don't really want to let go of it yet. I still want to feel like I have some sort of autonomy in my own life. I want to feel like I'm still kinda giving a big middle finger like I did in high school by being a witch, and in college when I made my own degree. I do it now by being in a band with no apologies and by writing for myself and keeping my ideas going. I keep creative people around me to keep me inspired.
I'm more of a subtle person. And I'm going to say fuck you in very subtle ways. I think I've actually realized that maybe there's part of me that really wants to piss people off because it gets a reaction. And there's the story.
As a child, when I heard the word cancer I always associated it with my grandmother MaryAnn. She was my dad's mom, and she died when I was about twelve years old. She'd had a brain tumor, and eventually because of all the chemotherapy she'd gone through she was bald and wore a scarf around her head. As I sit here writing this now, I wear a scarf over my head-- actually, it's a cotton bandana-- and my father is on the other side of the country recovering from having one of his lungs removed because of lung cancer. I think about my dad all the time, and I wonder what it feels like only to have one lung. I wonder what it's like to lay there in the operating room knowing that this could either be the start or end of your life. And I wonder if in the end it's all worth it.
I miss my mom when I think about my dad. I come home from work to an empty house and imagine that this is what it's going to be like if my dad dies from this. A big, empty house, alone. And I sit down at my computer, writing this in the hopes that someday I'll be able to sit here forever with a writing career. There has to be more to this somewhere. Am I not going to know what it's like to really be what I want? There's a part of me that embraces change, embraces the risk that comes along with the new, but I feel like the things that used to be stable are slowly slipping. That Dad's going to die within five years of my mom. Will he be there like she is sometimes? Who am I without these people in my life? An orphan? A grown up? Or am I just still a kid because I'm still looking for that kind of bond that was barely getting started?
The only person I can talk to sometimes is myself. And I say that I like myself. So why do I always have this sad look on my face? Why does it seem that I know what's going on with myself? The constant inner dialogues don't really match up with what I think I want to say. I create the images in my mind, create the light, create what positivity I can in my own head to make myself think that I'm doing it all right. But there's another voice that tells me that something's always wrong. Why must there be a downfall?
I want to feel like I know what's going on, but I never will. I want to believe that I can go anywhere I want, that I have all the options in my hand, but maybe I don't. And maybe I don't want to have those options. I don't have the option of just curing my father and bring my mother back from the dead. These aren't things I can change. The only thing I can count on now is the fact that nothing is eternal but death and as banal as that sounds I'm beginning to know it more and more everyday. And the thing that really kills me is the fact that that would be the best excuse to tell myself to do really daring things, but all it does is make me more scared than I really am because I'm so afraid of regret that I did something. I shouldn't have to feel this way because it should be about regret that I didn't do something. I'm so afraid of abandonment that I won't ever set myself up for it.
And yet it happens anyway. When Mom died I had no idea what I was going to do with myself. So I just kept going. I kept doing what I knew how to do, knowing that maybe it would make me stronger, and make me more understanding of the world. Even when I went overseas I thought I would know more about the world, think that I had some kind of real knowledge of things. But I realized that when I came back that things were more calmer within myself, and that made me so comfortable in that inner space that I made more clear. That made it easier for me to retreat there, and I retreat there to this day. These things made more space in my own world that I have for myself. When I'm scared I go there. I'm there all the time now.
When I think that things feel stable in my life, there's always some memory in my stash to remind me that this is never really the case. Phone calls become moments of fear, surprise visits become worst-case scenarios, and in the imagination, all of those things are embodiments of darkness. Every single thing has become the bottom of the canyon, and you have become the more than willing suicide whose back was broken by the ground. There isn't a place to hide, there isn't a place to call home, because even in the mind's eye the world is just space.
I'm expecting a call from my father today to find out when he's supposed to be coming home, and it feels like he's never going to get here. He's been gone for three weeks now, and in that time I've been trying to adjust to being alone. It's hard for me to realize that where I'm at at this very minute could be a permanent thing if my dad ends up not surviving. I have to take in the fact that my father will not be the same person he was before, not only because he's breathing with only one lung. I have to take in the fact that I'm going to have to change too to realize that survival is one of the hardest things I can ever do. The voices inside me tell me that maybe this time my body knows what's going on, and that's why I can't really cry. There's no reason to cry, if only because I'm laughing at the fact that I'm beating the odds, beating out the voices from childhood which are so different from now, who vaguely echo the darkness.
And I remember my grandmother, and that winter that I'd seen her before she passed away, and how the blue of her scarf echoes the blue of my computer, and these words that I write on it and how I'm so glad that my dad is coming home, and that my mom is going to be here regardless of what happens.
I guess I need to vent. I've been feeling really strange lately, and I'm not sure really why. I had a pretty bad evaluation at work on Friday, and I want to think it was because my boss wanted to ruin my weekend before it even got started. I have this scenario in my head that he's out to get me because I'm young and new and I need someone to bust my balls to get me to work. If I wanted someone to bust my balls, I have plenty of people in my life who would be more than happy to give me shit. And then by the time this evening hits I have this weird sense of calm coming over me because I know I am not my job, and no matter how hard they try and shape me into something at work, they can't do it. They can't tell me who I am. They can't tell me how to alter my memories, or alter my personality because of what THEY think it should be. The whole Rage Against the Machine mentality is kicking in overdrive now, and all I keep thinking is that it's just a fucking off-Strip casino. I don't even know if I want to wait another 2 months when my sort-of probation period is up because I don't think putting up with all of this bullshit is really worth it. I really don't. I try to keep work at work and home at home, and now that the two are starting to clash a little I'm really starting to doubt where I want to be. I'm not happy. Really not. I keep feeling like crap at work and that's not what should be going on. My boss says that I'm indifferent to everyone who comes in the office, and I really wonder why he thinks that and who's saying it. And this whole time I keep thinking that he really doesn't know me, and he'll never really get to know me, and that's because he's so concerned with himself and his ego and his power-tripping that he'll never care in the first place. So maybe that's why I'm indifferent-- people are going to be indifferent to me so that's what they're going to get. I'm not one of those people who goes out of their way to annoy people. And then when all I'm told is negativity about the way I do things, it doesn't help me at all.
And it all starts back tomorrow for another week.
I don't even know why I'm writing up here. Maybe I just want things to be exposed. I don't even know if anybody even reads this stuff, or if I'm just rambling to myself, which might be worse. Who knows.
My last day at this job is Friday. The offering I gave for an excuse to the WorkingMan's Gods was that my father needed my help, which in some ways is true. But I just couldn't take anymore of the paranoia. A lot of people were asking me if the whole thing was driving me nuts, and I couldn't help but nod at them in assent. But I really don't want to go off about my job anymore. I really don't. It's all going to be over soon, and I'll wake up on Monday and realize that I'm actually sleeping in for once, and that I don't have that pattern anymore.
I think I like this boy, but I don't even know if it's a like of him because he's there and he makes me laugh, or because he's just a boy and it's been awhile since I've had that kind of attention. I like to think that there's still a chance to like someone and they like me in the same favor; but I'm really starting to wonder whether or not that's supposed to be that way for me. Ever.
What got me thinking of this was a reading that I had this past weekend. Basically what it boiled down to was that I'll have to choose either my career or my relationships. And I can't have both because...? This bothered me that she had the gall to tell me my fortune and yet it was set in stone like that. Now as a reader I'm all about giving advice and whatnot, but it just seemed unfair that I'd have to choose between these things in the future. And maybe now that I know something about where I'm going to be (supposedly), will I fall into that destiny, or am I going to change it now to avoid making that decision? Was this reading just a yield sign to something else?
Sometimes I have readings and they're wonderful. Other times I have readings and I'm left with more questions than answers-- and the reader won't get a tip.
She says it's past lives catching up with me. The Oracle says, "You'll walk out, and you'll remember: You don't believe in that Fate crap. You're in charge of your own life." I want to believe that there's some part of what's going on that I can put a finger on, but there are other times when I think it's Mom or the Goddess or The Force or something that pushes me into these situations. It's a lot easier to cry when you know it's your own fault and not a force unseen.
I'll write these words and they'll make sense to me, but they won't to someone else, and they'll make hyper-sense to another. I'll look back on this and remember that it was all just an identity crisis that I really don't need to ponder, that whatever these branches in the tree of life will grow in their established directions. I'll think to myself that I was good for awhile; and I'll listen to the music to bring me back to that goodness. That feeling of security.
One of those nights where sleep would help. Especially when I have work in the morning. Kirk out.
I just got back from my old work, and now that I'm sitting here at home I find myself feeling really disconnected, as if I'd put things on hold for awhile to do the Real World(tm) thing. I said hi to my boss, who didn't seem too interested in seeing me. Not that I minded, but it was a stark contrast to the "I miss you"s that I'd gotten from the people I saw there.
I'm starting to get to the point where I'm not caring what people have to say. I don't know if this is an extention of my teen angst or what. People say things that should make me irate, but they don't. I felt like this in college, but I'm feeling it more now that I'm legally an adult. They're opinions. That's all. With this band, we get a lot of old people thinking we're crap, and the other guys get very offended by it. I just think that it's his bad that he can't open his ears-- it's not my fault that he's old and can't handle where he is in his life.
There's so much out there and I feel like I'm just scratching the surface. But at the same time I feel like I'm at the end of everything. Sometimes I think that it's all set out for me.
I keep thinking of this reading I got, what, a week and a half ago now. "You have to make a choice," she'd said. Why? Is some big bad karmic monster going to crawl out from under my bed and consume me if I juggle both like a good Gemini girl? And why is it that I have male friends and good writing but all I get are hugs and rejection letters? Not that those things don't tell me I still exist in some fashion or another. There are these little pockets of aliveness and they don't seem all that important at first but then you look back at the context and they become bigger than you are. The people in my life stay the same for the most part, and I rarely let in new people. I get into these kind of relationships where we're both fighting for our sanities and not really for each other. There are only so many tunnels I can dig under my problems. And so many things I can say to help the person sleeping on the other side of the bed. And when I want to be alone, I'm not, and when I don't want to be, I am. How am I going to make these things balance?
Maybe I'm ignoring everything that I shouldn't, and paying attention to what I shouldn't, and thinking I have it all in my head when it's not really there but in front of me. I say that I want people to be obvious, but when they are, I find that I have absolutely nothing to say. I blank as if my brain waves have ceased to function.
Maybe I'm just waiting for some boy to come along, tell me I'm going to make it, and kiss me like nothing really mattered in the first place except for me, and we're on a train going someplace warm and green and where the weather is a slave to us.
I've been feeling really aggro lately. I'm not really sure why. It might be because I've been feeling particularly lonely lately. I don't have any major crushes, at least not any that I'm aware of, and nobody likes me, at least not that I know of, and I just don't want to make the effort to go out anymore.
I sent out a few manuscripts a couple weeks ago, and they've been quietly brimming in the back of my head. I want to believe that if I forget that they're out there they'll actually get picked up, but my gut tells me that's not true. It's like I can say that I'm a writer but even though I haven't sold anything, I can still say that that's what I do. It's not my job yet. I don't really mind this part of the process that much, it's just that I have to keep myself occupied while I wait for a little editor in a big building to get bored all of a sudden and send me a form saying my story sucks. Or that it's brilliant. Or whatever.
I judged my first poetry slam last night, and as much fun as if could have been, it really showed how uninteresting the poetry scene is out here. I don't know what it is, but it's like people are... lazy, I guess. They just don't want to go out and really do it. Really get in there and participate and feel like there are other people out there who are trying just as much as you are. And the people who are participating are very cliqish-- at least, that's what I felt like there. It's like if you aren't artsy-fartsy in a traditional New Yorker or Harper's kind of way then you don't really matter. And I think because I'm not black or lesbian kinda puts me at a real disadvantage because what the hell am I supposed to talk about?
I'm thinking about the poetry reading that I'm going to tonight and I'm wondering what kind of role I could possibly play in the arts scene out here, if any. Right now it just feels like I'm making myself known to a few people, and maybe they aren't the right ones, and maybe they are. But I'd like to think that eventually there would be a place where even the most dirty and the most clean of poets and writers can share the stage and share their work with more than 20 people at a time, people who really give a shit and pay attention. And I'd like to think that living in Vegas is an advantage and not in the shadow of L.A. or San Fransisco. I'd like to think that there's a quest revolution going on here, that someday the city will blow up and be a Bohemian solace out here in the desert.
But maybe I just ask for too much.
I should be out shopping right now. But I'm not. It means that I would have to go out and deal with people, and I'm really not in the mood to do that. I've been having a really weird feeling in my head lately. I think I mentioned this before here, I'm not sure...
I spent all day for myself yesterday, cleaning and taking a bath and meditating, and still by the end of last night I was crying to myself for some reason. I'm trying to make myself better, and still I feel like I'm invading people's space when my friends have male friends that they do stuff with. I'm always the third wheel, the one who sleeps on the couch while friend has sex in the next room with the guy she's been wanting to get with for months. I'm the one who is always single even though I give out all the advice. I'm the one who's content in work, who's got plans. I've always got something else to do.
I tell myself that I'm going to focus on my writing, and forget about all that other stuff. But I think it's also good to have that male influence there, just for that other voice. At least, that's how I think sometimes. At the same time, it's like people who don't know me think I just sit around and complain and am sad all the time when that's not really the case. And then there are the others who want to be my friend just because I've done interesting things and those are all the things I don't want to talk about because that's the small talk, the bullshit. Even if we do get to the good stuff, I don't want someone to tell me that it's going to be okay, because maybe it will, but not all of it will be, and that's okay because some of it all isn't in my hands.
I don't know. Maybe I'm just destined to play the Emily Dickinson role.
So my Christmas was last night with the family, even though I really celebrated Yule last Thursday by myself. Today I just spent all holed up in my room, playing on the computer and thinking of stories that I will write as soon as they stop wanting to ferment in my head. I wrote a story about myself when I was a kid, but I don't know how much that will hinder or help my situation.
One of the gifts my father gave me this year was a candle set. I'm sitting here thinking that was the coolest thing he could've gotten me. Not just because of my penchance for candles but just because it shows that he's paying attention, even if his girlfriend told him to get it for me. And even though that sounds kind of ridiculous coming from a 22-year old, I think that shows a lot more considering that Mom's anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks. We're still family, even if we're both weird.
I've been thinking about Mom a lot. I keep saying that because it's true. But it's kinda scary in a way because it's been 3 years almost and I shouldn't be feeling like something's left undone with the whole thing. They always say that you never really finish grieving, and I really wonder if that's true or not, or if you really can get over someone or not. We grieve loved ones, frienships, relationships, all the time. Some people go on living like it never happened, others hide themselves from the world, and then I feel like an asshole when I think of it as something that shaped me. I never play the dead mother card, at least not on purpose. It's something that's a part of me, and no-one should ever feel like they did something bad if it's brought up, because it's not like that.
I want to think that my mom's still around, but most times I don't feel her around like I used to right after she died. I'm not really sure when I started feeling this, maybe since I started thinking about her all the time again. Maybe it was when I got used to her not being here anymore, and now that I'm back home from school and living in a different house than the one I knew her in and my father has this girlfriend who's a vortex for everything I don't ever want to be in life. Am I bad because I don't feel Mom around anymore? Just because she's a figment of my imagination, does that mean I don't think any less of her now? Dad bought me some Opium perfume for a gift, a smell along with Oil of Olay lotion that will always remind me of her no matter what, and I wonder if my Dad's still clutching on to her like I am now. I don't really know which I'm afraid of more, forgetting her or forgetting why she left in the first place.
But there was something kinda interesting that I felt a few days ago. I was sitting in the middle of Copioh, and some friends were sitting on the couch making fun of people, and I was looking up at the bad reproduction of the Dali melting clocks painting and all of a sudden I was outside myself and I was thinking, "I look like a writer." And I felt like that, too. I felt like a writer. And I was just sitting there, spacing out. I don't even know what that means, really. What do writers feel like? Like the monsters they pull out from under the bed? The hand that opens the door to the haunted house? That one character that has the one line in the whole 300-page book?