“See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living”


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Whatever happened to time capsules? I think they only exist nowadays in television sitcoms, or otherwise waiting to be unearthed by the generations that planted them in their youth. I can only imagine how surreal it would be to see physical evidence of your past life. Right now, I’m amazed by the old Word documents from my laptop.

I haven’t posted in so long, so I think I’ll ease myself back into this by sharing someone else’s writing. This was saved several years ago on my desktop under “great find.” After some time, this piece reminds me of my outlook when starting college. Beyond recalling the parts on love and heartbreak, I now appreciate its discussion of money and power because I am striving–along with those around me–to create a career. I recommend reading this to yourself, before listening to the spoken word youtube clip. Shoutout to Andrea Gibson, this is classic.

“I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with. Tell me why you loved them, then tell me why they loved you. Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through. Tell me what the word “home” means to you and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mother’s name just by the way you describe your bedroom when you were 8. See, I wanna know the first time you felt the weight of hate and if that day still trembles beneath your bones. Do you prefer to play in puddles of rain or bounce in the bellies of snow? And if you were to build a snowman, would you rip two branches from a tree to build your snowman arms? Or would you leave the snowman armless for the sake of being harmless to the tree? And if you would, would you notice how that tree weeps for you because your snowman has no arms to hug you every time you kiss him on the cheek? Do you kiss your friends on the cheek? Do you sleep beside them when they’re sad, even if it makes your lover mad? Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain? See, I wanna know what you think of your first name. And if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mother’s joy when she spoke it for the very first time. I want you tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind. Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel. Tell me—knowing I often picture Gandhi at ten years old beating up little boys at school. If you were walking by a chemical plant, where smoke stacks were filling the sky with dark, black clouds, would you holler, “Poison! Poison! Poison!” really loud or would whisper, “That cloud looks like a fish, and that cloud looks like a fairy”? Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin? Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea? And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me, how would you explain the miracle of my life to me? See, I wanna know if you believe in any god, or if you believe in many gods. Or better yet, what gods believe in you. And for all the times you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself, have the prayers you’ve asked come true? And if they didn’t did you feel denied? And if you felt denied, denied by who? I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see in the mirror on a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who ever taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass. If you ever reach enlightenment, will you remember how to laugh? Have you ever been a song? Would you think less of me if I told you I have lived my entire life a little off key and I’m not nearly as smart as my poetry I just plagiarized the thoughts of the people around me who have learned the wisdom of silence. Do you believe that concrete perpetuates violence? And if you do I want you to tell me of a meadow where my skateboard will soar. See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living. I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving. And if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes. I wanna know if you bleed sometimes from other people’s wounds. And if you dream sometimes that this life is just a balloon that if you wanted to you could pop—but you never would because you’d never want it to stop. If a tree fell in the forest, and you were the only one there to hear it, if its fall to the ground didn’t make a sound, would you panic in fear that you didn’t exist or would you bask in the bliss of your nothingness? And lastly, let me ask you this: if you and I went for a walk, and the entire walk we didn’t talk, do you think eventually we’d kiss? No way. That’s asking too much—after all, this is only our first date.”

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Start Your Revengines……

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I don’t want to tell you everything is okay anymore because it’s not… It’s always been this never resting, push and pull of uncertainty between us. Either we’re best friends, getting married and building houses with secret passages, or we’re never going to speak again or even live within the same 500 mile radius. Maybe I’m just growing up or maybe my trip to see you cleared some things up… But I tried. I wore a dress. I spent $30 on cupcakes. Nice fucking cupcakes. I talked to your parents, and really talked for the first time in years. We listened to Alanis Morissette and she belted out words that I now feel when thinking about you. You suck.

I hate that you told me you thought about saving up for an engagement ring by putting spare change in a coin jar. I hate that you still wear my belt, because it’s a girls belt and I know you let other girls touch it. I hate you so much that I deleted you off of all social media platforms, just so I don’t have to look at that belt. It’s from Abercrombie Kids, you’re too old for it, even though you are the biggest man child in existence. I used to keep you on my friend’s list, reasoning I want you to see how awesome my life is and be jealous that you’re not here. I’m finally realizing that it was so I could keep track of your life, even when you decided to ‘simply be selfish’ and not speak to me. But I can’t stand even that anymore, so since you’re such a self-absorbed narcissist I’ll leave you to yourself. I’m sucking the poison out of my life (Mean Girls quote of the day) and you don’t deserve to see my statuses or photos of my adventures, not until you learn how to control your passive aggressive actions and become a real person. Yes, I realize the indirectness/irony of this post.

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Wealth of Opportunity

As someone who loves money and motivation, I’m surprised I haven’t written about these two elements of life yet. As beings, we largely agree that more money = more happiness, and mo’ money = mo’ problems. What’s most intriguing is the analysis of money and happiness when plotted out on a graph. Undoubtedly, there is a positive correlation between the two, and now even the happiness plateau theory is falling to the wayside. The richer countries are, the happier everyone is. Money is the great equalizer; “across language, culture, religion, ethnic background, the same amount of extra money seems to buy the similar amount of extra happiness.” Despite the evidence, I’m not willing to say that my bank account reflects my level of happiness, or even my comfort as a being in the universe; however, money buys time and opportunities to be happy.

 

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When I was a kid, I thought being rich meant going to the mall and buying everything you wanted, regardless of the cost. I had it all wrong. Being rich is really getting other people to do your chores for you, so you can go to the mall and do whatever else you want. When you have money, you can meet your needs easisly. Without wondering about the burden of food, water, and survival, you are free to reach self-actualization; whatever that self-actualization entails is up to you. Survey where you fall on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: How often do you quell your deepest desires after you’ve been hounded all week by unnecessary obligations? After a long week, I usually just get drunk and talk about the world, which are two of my hobbies thankfully, but I wonder how I would spend my time if I had more of it. Most people fall somewhere in the top tiers of the pyramid, wavering between lines when having bouts with others and self-doubts. Maslow argues that we must grapple with morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts to live up to our potential.

You can and should explore your interests and the universe with your privileged freedom to do whatever. Maybe it’s living the glamorous life: diamonds, opera, ballet, philanthropic meals of salmon, and everything else that appeals to your senses and unique sense of class… But I hope it’s more than that. Go cross your legs at the top of a mountain for weeks at a time like Japhy Ryder, or spend an afternoon perfecting your free throw without looking at your watch. Icons are made through self-exploration: the more time spent pushing pencils, the less self-discovery you do.

Economic privilege weighs heavily on self-actualization, thus closing doors on those without the means of their counterparts. The president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York synthesizes this complex issue in a powerful way: “…In the decades ahead, Americans face yet another challenge: how to keep our democracy and our society from being divided not only between rich and poor, but also between those who have access to information and knowledge, and thus, to power—the power of enlightenment, the power of self-improvement and self-assertion, the power to achieve upward mobility, and the power over their own lives and their families’ ability to thrive and succeed—and those who do not.” As a society, we have to consider the impact of our rigid socioeconomic system. Everyone needs to have the ability to ask questions, to solve problems, to get what they need. This is an overwhelming task, but there is progress being made, such as The Digital Public Library of America which gives online access to public holdings of all libraries, archives, and museums to all Americans. You won’t need a college id or hefty tuition to access knowledge. No doubt, more money means more opportunity, but there are ways to share the wealth of knowledge without cost.

Regardless of the money in our bank accounts, we all commonly want to reach this feeling: “Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running—that’s the way to live. All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach by the sigh of the sea out there” –Keroauc, The Dharma Bums

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

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Crocuses are the first flowers to bloom in spring. Not that I’m a flower buff or anything, I just picked up some knowledge here and there when my mom shared her excitement about gardening in the yard. Interestingly enough, I can’t remember these flowers needing any special attention whatsoever. They usually gave the OK signal for other flowers to be planted, appearing just as the grass turns green again and spring sets in. These flowers indicate change; they arrive and flourish amidst the left over debris of fall and winter. As winter ends, I reassess how I made out on the other side. Spring always means new people, new adventures and a revived sense of purpose. And usually after a long winter, I need the symbolic reassurance of change that these flowers bring.

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Do I feel bad?

Nostalgia is a mixture of longing and contentment. The older I get, the more inclined I am to withhold remorse from those who miss their own fleeting moments of feeling alive. These two works encapsulate the surrender to fading eternal happiness.

Blow

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII) by Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,

I have forgotten, and what arms have lain

Under my head till morning; but the rain

Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh

Upon the glass and listen for reply,

And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain

For unremembered lads that not again

Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,

Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,

Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:

I cannot say what loves have come and gone,

I only know that summer sang in me

A little while, that in me sings no more.

 

George’s last lines in Blow:  

So in the end, was it worth it? Jesus Christ. How irreparably changed my life has become. It’s always the last day of summer and I’ve been left out in the cold with no door to get back in. I’ll grant you I’ve had more than my share of poignant moments. Life passes most people by while they’re making grand plans for it. Throughout my lifetime, I’ve left pieces of my heart here and there. And now, there’s almost not enough to stay alive. But I force a smile, knowing that my ambition far exceeded my talent. There are no more white horses or pretty ladies at my door.

 

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Muses

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The larger meaning behind all the University Crushes pages is actually pretty endearing if you look beyond all of the misogynistic, yet hysterical comments. Peppered amongst uninhibited and profane suggestions, there are actually some people that appear to be seeking real emotional connections through anonymous posts of appreciation. Their proclamations of love are being met with a lash of criticism: you cannot possible know that you love someone that you do not interact with on a regular basis, or have even spoken to in a serious context. Love is the wrong word, but their value in our lives is indispensable. It’s exciting to not know these people that inexplicably appeal to our senses, and it’s comforting to admire them from afar. They remind me of the type of relationship I might possibly want one day through the way they comb their hair and banter with strangers. Crushes are like a commodity; they can be fetishized, and collected, and used for our own personal gains and enjoyment. Though never actualized, secret crushes are my favorite; you can’t ruin them because they are in your control. They don’t have the ability to be uprooted by wandering eyes or self-wallowing fears of commitment because the crush isn’t grounded in anything remotely real. Ideally, secret crushes don’t have a life outside of the world you created for them inside of your head.

Maybe the haters on these pages just don’t have an imagination. Shout-out to the muses that make our worlds just a little bit brighter, just by existing. There are some humans that you just like more than others, not in a stalkery way, in a completely functional, appreciative and distant way. They make the world a prettier place, and if we really knew them, they would likely show us demons that look a lot like ours. If I were to write a post, it would look something like this, only it wouldn’t be to anyone in Albany, or to anyone that even my closest friends would expect:

I couldn’t wait to walk away from something I knew I would miss. He scared me in a fiery, chaotic, wholesome, holistic way. I admired him for the books in his room and the words in his head, but mostly for the questions he asked. He forced me to explore a new metaphysical territory of myself in a mere 12 hours and I knew I had to go; maybe I’ll give him a hug when I see him this summer, but he’ll have no idea the kind of havoc we would bring upon the world if we wanted to.

The best part is the person could read this and not even know it was about him, which is perfect because then it wouldn’t be nearly as magical and ideal as I see it now.

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Hit the books, they don’t hit back

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Sometimes re-reading a book that you knew when you were fourteen is equivalent to stepping into an entirely new book. When you’re young and sheltered, you can’t possibly understand the plight of others; you’re much more concerned with other pressing matters, such as confidently chatting with your crush in the hallways, or completing your study guide for Global History. Though some books we were subjected to actually are dry and inconsequential, others provide an eye-opening experience if revisited with our adult insight. Undoubtedly, we all know more about the human experience–our strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies–than we did in the ninth grade. Forty pages into Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, I noticed powerful words, phrases, and sections that my young mind deemed boring and irrelevant. I can’t wait to dissect more of the work I previously thought was “okay” and “too long.” Exposure to Southern mentality has peaked my interest in this novel, but the views on other topics also transcend to our contemporary lives and interests.

On southern towns: “People moved slowly then. They ambled across the square, shuffled in and out of stores around it, took their time about everything. A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County.”

On reading: “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

On summer: “Summer was on the way; Jem and I awaited it with impatience. Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”

On girls: “I was not so sure, but Jem told me I was being a girl, that girls always imagine things, that’s why other people hated them so, and if I started behaving like one I could just go off and find some to play with.”

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Tips for a Positive Life: A Follow-up

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 This chart is titled “60 Ways to Nurture Yourself,” courtesy of Suzanne E. Harill from Innerworks Counseling.  I received this in an informational meeting to use with difficult, distraught students. Naturally, I plan on laminating this and putting it on my fridge for personal use. These are some great answers for when someone says (or you think), “I’m so upset [or bored] that I don’t know what to do.”

Some of it is out of date–listen to tapes…? But beyond that, it seems there’s something constructive for everyone’s personal taste and preference. My favorites: Study ancient, esoteric wisdom teachings and Write a letter to someone who has hurt you, but do not send it. So next time you feel like curling up in your bed and hiding from the universe, choose one of these options instead. Because people that do things are a lot happier and more interesting than people that don’t.

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Tips for Leading a Positive Life

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The old adage “ignorance is bliss” can be painfully true sometimes. Early on in my college experience, I ended up baking cookies with my friend and her ex-boyfriend, a summer flame from years past. We had intended for this ginger manchild to give us a lesson on how to make no-bake cookies; however, he attempted to lay some cosmic knowledge on us that he learned in his sketchy adventures across the globe. Long story short, we ended up discussing the complexities of humankind and the universe.  I’m not sure whether it was the weight of the air in the room, or the fatigue from laying on the beach all day, but we remember only bits and pieces of this dense conversation that took place as the cookies settled. Through a fog, I remember Lucie tapping me and asking, “Why are you staring at that family crest?” It was green and gold and meant nothing to me. I closed my eyes, shook my head, but still felt confined by the heat and pressure. I’m never one to have my head in the clouds, so we left immediately after eating the no-bake cookies. Looking back, this was a questionable choice. We only remember him repeating to me, “You’re a thinker.”

It didn’t matter how strange this surreal, out-of-body experience with this gingerman was; we always refer to his phrase, “You’re a thinker.” I always overanalyze things. I play out convoluted situations in my head after they happen, and I think of how the person reacted to every serious comment I made. I do this with happy occasions too, but overthinking can be a dangerous game in terms of regret. You start thinking of could-have, would-have, should-have circumstances and you get further from accepting what came of the situation. Despite this, I am a happy, upbeat person. I smile in uncomfortable situations; I help strangers because it hurts me to not to. I don’t understand people who think all of our society/world/universe is doomed. There is still beauty in the world, although many people around us cling to the negative. I agree with Anne Frank: People are inherently good, despite many aspects of evil in the world. At this time, I’m not prepared to help with the question: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” But, here’s a few ideas of how to deal with the world when you’re thinking, “Why does my life suck?”

1) There is no such thing as a bad day, week, month, or year. You only have bad moments. I’m sure something positive occurred during that time frame too. Saying you’re having a bad day might cause you to overlook good things.

2) Not “getting what you want” always has a marginal benefit to you. If things don’t work out the way you envisioned, talk it out with a friend or make a list of the things that can now happen because the said thing did not. This is particularly helpful with boys, jobs, apartments, etc.– really any missed opportunities.

3) Ask yourself if you’ll still care about this problem in 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months, and 5 years. Then react accordingly. You don’t need to call everyone you know for advice and sympathy about a temporary problem. Also, you probably shouldn’t waste your time grieving temporary uncertainties/issues.

4) Reach out to friends/family/strangers if you need help, or a good laugh. Too many people go with the urge to isolate themselves when they’re upset, and usually it doesn’t help. Friends and family provide us with support, but a nice stranger can really impact our views on human behavior.

5) Put your energy into something productive, creative, and tangible (if you’re that type of person). Do some play therapy: pick up a box of crayons and color; doodle on the back of your phone bill; freewrite your feelings or a story; build something; or finish a home project. Being silly and feeling accomplished goes a long way.

6) Plan a trip if you have money, a date if you have an exciting crush, and always a fancy dinner with a friend to reward yourself, because you deserve it.

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“The weather can be my boyfriend, my job, my family, and confidant” yes please.

Thought Catalog

This past weekend, New York did that cruel thing it likes to do in March where it gives us two days of spring and then decides to take it away from us for another two months. It’s a bitter tease of what awaits us after months of enduring cold weather, enlarged bellies, and unhealthy hermit behavior. It also reminded me of how much happier I am when it’s summer and you can spend your days outside walking around the city. I love summer. I basically depend on it for my happiness. I depend on it to make up for the months of me being moody and feeling like shit and never wanting to leave my apartment. And you know what? It never lets me down. Not once.

Interestingly, the most depressing time of my life occurred in the summer. The heat seemed to magnify everything that was falling apart. My brain…

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