Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September


Keep up with me regularly through Twitter and Instagram, and you can see more in relative real-time.

September looked a little like this: celebrating 5 years with my husband (almost 2 years married, but 5 years together), autumn arriving, some shots of coffee breaks at my work, a couple of selfies because I'm feeling confident, and little things I did during my off time like submit writing pieces, watch "While You Were Sleeping," try some Japanese raspberry Kit Kats, and my new pizza pajamas that I love. What did your September look like?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Positive Vibes



Today I woke up in one of the worst ways you can: Thinking I was late for work when it was my day off. Obviously there are more terrible ways to start your day, but it certainly didn't feel good rushing out of bed only to realize I could have probably slept a few more minutes.

September is almost already over, and I really can't believe it. September was a strange month. It brought us autumn, but it also brought me a strange whirlwind of emotions from doubting myself, to worrying about money (thanks, student loans), to caring for a friend while they're down and out, to being told I wasn't being enough of a friend for another, to writing more in one month straight than I had in some time, to reading a larger variety of texts, to revisiting my old love of poetry, to celebrating an anniversary, to wishing I had more time to catch up with friends and family across the country... It was a lot. I remember some days feeling like they were slow and relaxed, and then the next day I would want to start working on something that I had been putting off and realize that one day to myself meant I compromised time that I should have used to get things done. But I guess I can't really blame myself for taking the time to myself. Sometimes you just really need to step away from work and errands and enjoy just a day on the couch or a walk outside without obligation.

Through all of this month, however, I've been focusing on those positive vibes--the things that making me happiest--and washing away the negative. Today was no different. I spent my day off doing nothing, because I just really needed that calm, and the whole time I was reminded of why I have 1,000 reasons and more to be happy. So I made a board on Pinterest, a site I haven't consistently been to in months, and started pinning things that are bright and fun and make me smile. I wanted a new place for these new vibes I'm feeling out, and somewhere to go to if I'm feeling low or just want to scroll through something fun.

And in my every day, not vetted by the void of the Internet, I make sure I find the bright and fun where I can. The windows in my apartment let in the perfect amount of bright light every day, and it lifts my spirits every morning when I wake up. And when that doesn't even work, some music to start the day off right usually helps. This evening I took a long shower, shaved my legs--to start the cold seasons off without a shave-hibernation that so many of us are guilty of doing--and got rid of any toxicity I might have been clinging onto hours before as I listened to a playlist I made about 5 years ago and haven't listened to in some time. Here's what I recommend if you need a pick-me-up playlist:
  1. "Dela" by Johnny Clegg & Savuka
  2. "Send Me On My Way" by Rusted Root
  3. "Hold Me (feat. tobyMac)" by Jamie Grace
  4. "There Goes the Fear" by Doves
  5. "She's Got You High" by Mumm-Ra
  6. "Sweet Disposition" by The Temper Trap
So take a long shower, do some laundry, let in more light into your home, read a good book, watch your favorite movie or go out with friends. Do things that fill you with joy because the months fly by so quickly. I'd rather be doing things that make me happy (like running through the apartment complex with my best friend Savannah wearing matching pizza pajamas looking for a view of the blood moon at 10 p.m.) than bringing myself down. Life finds a way to do that enough without your help.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Washington's On Fire

Through all of the broken clouds, smoke hung like high fog across the Sound. My friend and I drove back and forth over the bridge and stared at a skyline that was faded and burning on the horizon. “It comes in waves, y’know,” I heard a stranger say. “Some days the fire’s smoke gets here, some days you forget anything is burning.” Miraculously, I don’t think I ever forgot that something was burning.

Our windows face up, and we can see smoke blending with the sunset behind the trees. The sun beats red and orange--you’d think it was dying.

Seattle is always sinking slowly, built on top of itself like all of us--just bricks and bricks of maturity and age glued over a foundation of vibrancy and youth, but we’re still happy, too. After a long day of watching another friend grapple with recovering from a 14-hour stint of alcoholic Thanksgiving, wandering through the city--in and out of record shops trying to decide between a gospel singer and the blues--he looks to the sky and says with a sigh, “And… Washington’s on fire.” It’s then that I know it’s about us, too. Alive and blissfully aflame about something.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Five Years



Look at those smiles. That picture was taken right before our first summer apart, when I had to go home after my sophomore year of college to Atlanta to be with my family for 2 months. It seems like such a long time ago now. And we look like such babies.

At 2 a.m. the other night, I suddenly realized that the day we started something beautiful was coming up soon. Granted, I'm not always one for desperately keeping up with dates--I'm actually the worst at even remembering people's birthdays--but I still couldn't help myself from smiling. September 21, 2010, that guy up there, Tripp (or as his other nickname Trey that some of you may know/have heard me refer to him as) asked me to be his girlfriend.

Five years ago to the day.

Who would have known that we would survive my stressful college years tackling the university newspaper as a staff writer to eventual Editor-in-Chief? Or that he would find a job that he loves all the way out on the West Coast and move that far to follow his dreams out of Georgia? Or that I would one day marry him and follow him myself after graduating and moving out? Or that we would have survived that year 3,000 miles apart before getting married? Or that he could put up with me--the weirdest of weirdos--purposefully on a daily basis?

Who would have known I could love someone as much as I love him? Five years and counting.





Seriously, we look like actual adults here compared to the other picture. Five years is a weird amount of time.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Women at the Library



The other day, I went to the library and picked up Rereading Women: Thirty Years of Exploring Our Literary Traditions by Sandra M. Gilbert and Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th-Century Women Writers by Lesley McDowell. Sounds pretty feminist-y, and I'm proud to say that was the idea. I was also tempted to grab a few Oxford and Norton anthologies sitting on the nonfiction shelves because I miss my collections--that are still in boxes in Georgia--that much.

I've spent most of my life looking up to men--in writing, I mean. Lucille Ball, Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett will forever be my starry idols. When I say I looked up to men, I don't mean on some weird, psychoanalytical level like I think they are better than women or I was programmed to believe it. I just really loved the masculine style of writing. I also always loved pushing myself to write more masculine. It also so happens that most academic writing is very generic and masculine in prose and form, so I was also trying to get an A half the time, too. Whatever the underlying, educational motive, the idea that at first glance, an expert writer and editor may not be able to discern my voice and gender by reading my work, gave me a feeling of intelligible power. But, as much as I have read and studied women's work in my time, I don't think I've fully consumed it in the way that I could have.

I want to start doing that more.

Centuries ago (and in retrospect, not that long ago), female writers had to mask who they were through their writing. Some did this through tone and voice, some paired it with a pen name. They had to do this just to be considered for publication. Imagine a world where you had to pretend to be a man just to be considered successful. The idea is baffling to me, when I have so many women writers to look up to today, but to do that today as a way to fool the reader is honestly an empowering privilege. There aren't any inherent biases that come with reading work without first knowing the author. You're just reading.

I feel like when New Wave Feminism hit the scene and started showing girls and women everywhere what it actually means to be a feminist (and, really, let's forget about the ones who still don't understand or aren't getting it right for today), I fell fast when it came to owning it. I'm still not loud about it, and I pick my battles for sure, but I am a woman so why not know what that means on every level? I think why I've gone deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole so quickly is because I've gone so long without feeling like I could relate. I've written about this some before: I had the worst, personal role models for feminism. But let's face it, in the 1990s, we weren't getting it right as a collective gender. A lot of what you saw in the media, was a bunch of women calling their husbands idiots and ripping their bras off to say "fuck you" rather than "why not?". I remember really loving the sitcom Roseanne and wanting to gouge my eyes out whenever she would go on a rant on how stupid all men were.

I get it. We were still fighting to make feminism a movement, a known thing. For that, we had to be loud, I guess. But it still makes me cringe and look away to this day. Because I never, ever wanted to be that person. Gladly I will say I am still not.

But if I'm embracing more of what it means to be a woman, what does that mean for my every day? What does that mean for my writing? I feel a difference in me personally having now understood what it means to be a feminist--to be a woman, rather. But I'm still trying to figure out what's appropriate for my writing. I'm so used to looking up to men, writing with a masculine voice and generic identifiers like "he" and "men" rather than parsing the pronouns, just being all-around as traditional and equal as I've grown up studying. With the world changing, and me along with it, I have to wonder how much of tradition do I have to throw away to appease my inner self and my audience?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"What have you written lately?"


(Photo source.)

"What is this?"
"'Breakfast at Tiffany's'"
"So she's Tiffany?"
"No."
"Then what's the point?"

Really, I should make him sit down and watch several classics with me. Especially since Holly is the epitome of me in the opening scene--spent way too much time getting ready for the day only to wander around stuffing her face with food (I say while eating pasta at 1 a.m.).

My laptop is at 9 hours and 40 minutes of battery life and I don't work tomorrow so that means writing, and writing whatever comes to mind. First, though, I have a draft for an article I should have finished some time ago for a set of editors for a gaming magazine. Then there are poems and essays I want to start and complete. Then there is whatever else I have muse for in the end. Maybe nerdy Fanfiction, maybe something scandalous, maybe something intensely felt and promising. Anyway, that's what days off--and the nights that precede them--are meant for, I like to think.

Perhaps I'll find the right mush in the cushions on the couch that I won't want to move all night/morning. Don't be surprised if you see me, on Snapchat or Twitter later, with a coffee in hand trekking through bookstores, the library or settled with an open document or notepad somewhere serene tomorrow. Who knows what you'll fine when you spend some time somewhere else for a little while.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Self Portrait



I drew a self portrait, and I found it kind of odd, how even though we weren't the same, we managed to make a connection. The girl in the drawing's eyes weren't exactly like mine, her lips didn't form a true smile, but I knew that she was me by the way she stood in the picture. She was undeniably me.

And then I thought about all the times I've looked in the mirror and felt different from the day before. I looked in the mirror today and felt whole and happy--even though I am working on a Saturday. I know the girl in the drawing is happy, too.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Perfection




How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace. [...]

Here are the top three things that make me the happiest tonight.
  1. A husband that loves me so dearly and will come home from work excited to take me out on a date night. Look at that man's beautiful face. There's nothing more beautiful to me in this world.
  2. Having a job that pays and one that I feel I am good at. There is something very fulfilling about finding satisfaction in your work. Whether that is your day job or following your dreams for nothing, find something. 
  3. Having a passion beyond my day job: writing. Without the written word, and without my constant fuel and muse to write, I wouldn't likely be where I am today. 
 Even through all the frustrations of life, choose happiness not because you have to, but because you have it. Find what makes you happy and hold onto it for dear life. And don't be afraid to be happy or to love.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Tea Thinking

Sometimes a cup of tea is all you really need.

Tonight, while at work--on Labor Day of all arbitrary days--I was drinking tea that my friend had graciously brewed slowly in the kitchen of our studio at work. It was called "Earl Greyer." It tasted grey, but it also tasted like warmth and just enough to get me through the rest of the night.

I've had a lot of "what if"'s lately. Most in joking, but some I've seriously considered. What if I did just decide to stop shaving my legs? What if I just went vegetarian, even though I love chicken too much? What if I switched officially from coffee to tea (still debating if my body can handle the shock, when we [meaning me and my body] love both so much)? What if I had pushed through and gotten my Masters instead of getting married and just settling for a Bachelors? Was ending my educational career with a Bachelors settling? How much do I really miss school? Should I be writing more? Have I spent enough time submitting pieces? Am I doing enough? Am I enough? Who will I be in 10 years?

And while I'm bogged down by the heavy-handed questions, I have to wonder if I should be spending more time just enjoying my tea and letting my eyes grow greyer with the night as I fall into a sleep that calms me, instead of wondering about the "what if"'s of life.

In the past month, I have gotten mixed emotions and messages from friends about how I'm doing--performance reviews, I like to call them. Within a week, two friends, 3000 miles from one another, thought of me enough to say, "You're my best friend, thanks for existing and making my existence cooler." What more could I have possibly wanted? These are the moments smartphones were made for, people.

Then there are the moments where, after a month of a friend not speaking to me--reasons unbeknownst to me at the time--she sends me a string of texts that basically call me the worst. It's hard to argue your side of something when it's not really about you. Having to tell that one friend, "If you don't want to be my friend anymore, I'm not going to fight you, because I care about you. I'll just respect it," probably meant more and carved its way into my skin more than the two texts of "I love you"'s that made me smile and tear up just weeks before.

Today, my friend/boss and I butted heads severely. This does happen from time-to-time, but some part of my pride--and mostly just on principle--I'm still not sure how I feel about apologizing. (Edit: I did apologize the very next day because I'm not that stubborn, y'all.)

Maybe I should just send everyone a basket of teas, the greyest of teas, and a book of meditative yoga. Maybe I just need to spend more time with God figuring out what my actual place is in this world and with these people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hello September



Fall is slowly approaching, which means a few things: pumpkin everything, sweaters, scarves, boots, my favorite layered looks, more hot cocoa, a bit of rain (which I just got kicked off of my apartment patio by some rain), a bit of wind, a lot of leaves everywhere and NaNoWriMo.

The last one feels like it's fast approaching, actually, which is a scary thing if you're a writer looking to participate.

So I've decided to do a bit of training.

September: 15k words
October: 25k words
November, the big kahuna: 50k words.

Now that means, since it's September 1, I need to get this writing party started--which I plan to do even more so than I have lately. Seriously, if you all knew just how much I've been writing already... I wish I could share it with you all. Maybe a literary magazine or two will finally pick up some of my pieces (still waiting to hear something back), and then we'll know. My muse is at an all-time high. I even wrote a few songs recently which I haven't done in quite some time. I'm hoping this muse stays for a while.

On top of that, we spent some time the other day in the city, and we're about to go back tonight for dinner with old high school friends of mine that are in town. Honestly, props go to Tripp for being willing to even go anywhere after work tonight--especially downtown. I hope he knows how much I love and appreciate him.

So before I get ready for that, I'm going to write. Wish me luck!