Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mind Palace.

The thing is, I used to think in words; they were always sort of there, always a part of me. They kept me sane, organized, sure of myself. If other people saw pictures in their heads when they would daydream or concentrate, if their minds could conjure up brilliant images to illustrate concepts or thoughts, I saw words. I saw letters, punctuation, full complex sentences winding their way through the contours of my brain, printing stories into my mind and bleeding out into my eyes, my throat, my hands, my heart, and finally onto paper, where I could look at a tangible translation of my thoughts and say, “Yes, that’s exactly how I feel, that’s exactly what I wanted to say.” In this way, words rarely ever failed me; the right words were forever at my fingertips, and I could rely on them, these magical things that came so easily to me, as a means for expressing myself.

I don’t think in words anymore.

At least, I don’t feel like I do. I rarely do. But I don’t think in pictures, either. And because I’ve never thought in pictures and I no longer think in words, I’m left with a mixture of both, this sort of strange in-between mess of colours and concepts and ideas that seem to drift through my stream of consciousness, merging together but failing to combine into anything logical. If ever the words do come to me, it’s only during those fleeting moments of delirium that creep up on the edge of sleep, when a few ephemeral words might materialize, a couple strings of sentences will pass through, only to evaporate into the all-encompassing fog that is my brain, my mind, my…whatever.

Whatever; that’s a word that seems to appear often. Perfectly vague, perfectly useless. The perfect word to use when I don’t want to finish a sentence, when I just can’t articulate my thoughts, which is pretty much always nowadays.

And I don’t know what happened to my words, where they went, and if I’ll ever be able to find them and bring them back. Even worse, I don’t know why they left in the first place. Maybe it’s because I didn’t take any classes this summer and my mind has slowly been turning into soup due to lack of stimulation; maybe I’ve been given too much time to think these past few months, and there’s a danger in that. When my mind isn’t distracted by school and deadlines and stress, there’s no telling where it might wander off to, the ways in which it might strain and twist itself to try to reach an understanding. Maybe there’s a limit to how complex our thoughts can be before they become untranslatable, utterly impossible to put into words. And maybe that’s not a bad thing, but to me it’s the most frustrating obstacle in the world.

Recently, I had a visit from a friend who is about to go off to university, and we spent most of the time we had together just talking. We walked around town, laid down in the grass at a park together, and talked about the world, society, sex, and what it means to be human; the oddness of relationships and social expectations, the essential meaninglessness of life, and the prospect of an afterlife. We talked about how people don’t go anywhere when they die, and how it isn’t death that we are afraid of, but time; dying before having the chance to properly experience the world. We talked about how, in the grand scheme of things, nothing that we do in life really matters, and laughed at how ridiculous society is for trying to rationalize irrational things. We talked about how fucking weird everything is and debated the existence of free will. And as we got deeper into conversation, we came to a point where we literally couldn’t talk anymore. We kept ending our sentences with phrases like, “I just, I don’t even know,” and, “It’s like, just, arrgghhnerfnergnuhnuhmne, you know what I mean?” And we always knew, there were just no words left; no words that were big enough or important enough to adequately describe what we were feeling, because we didn’t know what we were feeling.

That’s the frailty of language, I suppose; it doesn’t cover the enormity of the human experience. But who can expect it to?

That’s why I don’t blog as much I should, and that’s why I don’t spend hours writing like I used to. All this summer idleness has got me thinking too big for pen and paper, feeling so deeply that it’s nearly incapacitating. Maybe once school properly starts, the words will come back and balance will be restored to my aching brain. But until then, I’ll continue to think too much and revel in how weird and wonderful and inexplicable everything is.

And maybe that’s okay, for a little while.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Walmart and Things.

As I stepped outside this evening to take my dog for a walk, the smell of wood smoke drifted through my neighbourhood, filling my lungs with a familiar warmth generally reserved for late autumn and winter outings. Inside my house, a fire roared in the fireplace, lively and bright; earlier in the day, my mom and I had huddled around it, desperately trying to distance ourselves from the bleak weather outside. For the past few days, the sky has been nothing but a solid sheet of grey and white, stubbornly blocking any bit of sunlight that may be trying to break through. The temperature has remained fairly consistent, perpetually fluctuating between 55 and 60 degrees.

It’s also the middle of July.


Where on earth is the sun?

There’s so much I have to get done in the next month, so many things that I wanted to accomplish this summer. I’ve had countless “To-Do” lists etched into my brain and written in my journal since the day my college classes ended in early May.

I need to make a definitive decision about which colleges I’m going to apply to in the fall.

I need to write down all of the application requirements for said colleges.

I was going to get a head-start on writing my Personal Statement for CommonApp.

I was going to study for the SAT.

I was going to finish my online ASL classes.

I was going to write in my blog more, exercise every day, make some quality YouTube covers, and get a job.

And then this weather happened; the unrelenting grey, everywhere grey and white and mist, these days where nine O’clock in the morning just lingers on and on and on, making my eyelids droop, killing my motivation, making it seem like I’m driving into some impending doom every time I leave the house. It’s put me in a slump. It’s dragged me into an intense and inescapable boredom, but not the type of boredom that drives you to find something to do, like measure every doorway in the house or count the number of tiles on the bathroom floor, or conduct experiments with the ants that live in the kitchen cupboards. It’s the type of boredom that sinks so deep into your bones that all you can bring yourself to do is sit and stare out the window, listening to each second on the clock tick by, wishing that this day would just end for god’s sake so that the next one might be better.

So today, my mom and I attempted to find our way out of this slump by going to the mall to peruse the scented wallflowers at Bath & Body Works and perhaps purchase some nice-smelling items. The mall in our area is, of course, equally as, if not more, dismal than the atmosphere outside, but whatever - it was something to do.

After about twenty minutes of sniffing candles, testing lotions, and getting trapped into an awkward conversation with a saleslady who had made individual names for every single animal-shaped air freshener container on display, my mom and I found ourselves wandering aimlessly around the mall, wondering where to go next. We walked almost the entire length of the mall, on the verge of deciding to just turn around and go home, until…

There it was. The entrance to Walmart, in all its mediocre glory. Should we go in? we silently asked each other. Do we dare? I’d never really been to a Walmart before, at least I didn’t think I had, and I’m all for new experiences, so we went in.

“Now, we’re going into a Walmart that’s much smaller than what you’re used to, honey, so don’t get all upset.”

I turned my head around and saw a woman holding hands with a young girl entering the store behind me. Good god, I thought to myself, how big does a freaking Walmart have to be for a six-year-old to be satisfied?

It wasn’t very crowded inside the store, and soon my mom and I fell into step behind a creepy-looking guy who was slinking through the aisles, carrying nothing but a plastic orange ball in each hand. I was instantly weirded out by this, but what struck me the most as I observed the inner-workings of Walmart was the vacant, empty look in everyone’s eyes. When I looked at the people roaming around the store, I didn’t see ordinary shoppers going about their everyday errands; I saw mindless drones pushing carts around, their eyes glazed over as if their souls had been sucked out of them. Couples walked together and talked, their mouths moving but their faces lacking any other signs of life; a woman passed us in the Pet Food aisle, taking no notice when she almost slammed right into my mom; a toddler sat in a stroller unattended, staring absently off into space as if he had been drugged. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my experience at Walmart was like something out of a horror movie or an Orwell novel - and I was genuinely frightened.

I’m still frightened, to be perfectly honest.

Prior to waking up this morning and going out, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I would spend the rest of my summer doing absolutely nothing. As day after dreadful day wore on, I became more and more content with the idea of just existing for the next year, listening to the seconds on the clock tick by, waiting until the moment when I would grow up and my life could finally start. But as I walked through the aisles of Walmart this afternoon, something finally snapped inside of me. I realized that I was scared because when I looked at the people around me, when I looked into their soulless eyes and expressionless faces, I didn’t just see a distressing representation of the current state of humanity; I saw a reflection of myself. I thought, Is this my future? Is this what my life is going to turn out to be? Just mindlessly going through the motions of life but not feeling anything, not really living? And I realized that if I continue to spend my life like I have for these past two months, just passing the time waiting for something to happen, that might actually be the case.

So I’m going to stop waiting. I’m going to finish my “To-Do” lists, no matter how dreary and depressing the weather might be. I’m going to spend this period of my life, trivial as it may seem to me at the moment, doing something worthwhile. I’m going to read and write and learn and feel and love and think and create and try new things.

And regardless of the sensational amount of writing material it may provide me, I am never stepping foot inside a Walmart ever again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Midnight Ramblings.

 I Really, Really Hate...

Society. Martyrdom. Being caged. Being a teenager. Expectations. Reality. Living in America. Consumerism. High School. Being forced to do things I don’t want to do. Nostalgia. Arbitrary requirements. Feeling useless. The constant push for “progress.” Insomnia. Building for the sake of building. The impulse to destroy and not preserve. The fact that money is the main contributor to our well-being. Having to constantly compete. Absurd gas prices. Greed. Hypocrisy. Power-hungry politicians. Cars that don’t have cassette players. The illusion of freedom. Television. The concept of time. Riding the bus. Getting older. Growing up. Social networking. Vindictive people. Capitalism. Tax breaks for the rich. The fact that I’m not seven years old and playing spies in the front yard with Matthew and Sophie. Responsibility. Feeling incompetent. Shopping. Fox News. Intolerance. Bullying. Being stuck in one place. Losing innocence. Being told that your opinions matter, and then being looked down upon for voicing your opinions. Losing friends. Forgetting. Planning ahead. People that judge others based on their musical taste. Racism. Homophobia. The fact that people change. Yearbooks, and being asked to sign them. Human nature. Celebrity hype. Tabloids. Kindle. MLA Format. Group projects. Society’s inability to value beauty. The way we define success. Monotony.

Maybe I have dreams that extend beyond the conventional, that transcend expectations and sensibility and what’s plausible. Maybe I want to graduate high school early and be an exchange student in Australia for three months. Maybe I want to go to Oxford after high school and study History and Modern Languages and complete my fourth year in Italy and move back to the US to go to law school at Stanford so I can move to San Fransisco and work at the NRDC so I can save the planet and sue the hell out of the bastards that destroy it with their recklessness, or push for changes in environmental protection laws. Maybe I just want to take a year off from everything and travel and live as far away from here as possible so I can understand who I am and and actually know what it means to be alive.

                                    But I forgot.

That’s unrealistic. All of it. Because we don’t have the money, because going to Oxford is too complicated and unrealistic and besides, living in England for three years is too far fetched, and History and Modern Languages is a pointless degree that you can’t possibly do anything with. Because there’s no time to study abroad, because the only way to be successful in this screwed up society is to finish high school, go to college, get a degree in something useful regardless of whether or not you actually enjoy it, get a job, make money, start a family, keep making money, pay your bills, and repeat the cycle.

Because in a world where money seems to determine our degree of happiness and well-being, where the overall goal in life is to make money and be successful in order to get by, in a world that is driven by greed and selfishness and power-hungry elites who are pushing for constant “progress,” there’s not enough room to do what you love. There’s no way to break the cycle of work/eat/work/sleep/work.
God forbid I want to live for myself and do what I want and love and feel passionate about. God forbid I want to know what freedom tastes like.

Maybe that’s why we always want to be children again when we start to get older. Because the only time you can feel absolutely free is when you have no idea that freedom even exists, that it’s something tangible and fragile and precariously malleable. It’s easier to feel happy when you don’t understand things, when the answers to everything are given to you and you just accept them without thought, without question; when the idea that such a care-free existence can be taken away from you never even begins to cross your mind. Because when you’re that young, it’s okay to be ignorant.

I think the only time we are truly free is when we’re little kids; like everything else, it fades with age. I don’t think I’ve ever felt happiness so pure as when I was in that front yard, playing spies with Matthew or running around the neighborhood with Sophie and not caring, not worrying, just innocent and small and simple and untainted by the world, by age, by problems, by anything. Just living.

I hate that society takes that away from us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

This Doomsday Stuff is Getting Old.

forget tomorrow.

i just want december 21, 2012 to get here already. so i can laugh when everyone in the world breaks into chaos about something that’s not even happening and was never going to happen. or watch in amazement and rapture as the world crumbles into dust around me; the christmas tree would topple over, every window in the house would shatter. it’d be like one huge earthquake, except this time the whole world will go down.

an entire planet obliterated, a civilization wiped out. our whole existence vanished, just like that.

basically, i just want 2012 to get here so 1) people will stop talking about it, and 2) so i can see if it actually happens or not. because honestly, i don’t know if it’s real or not, but if it is, would it really be such a tragedy?

it’s not like the apocalypse is anything new, and i don’t mean that in the sense that it’s been so over-dramatized and over-used in the media. what i mean is, it happens every day. every hour somebody dies; a life ends, their everything comes to a close. to them, a world has ended. probably every second, someone kills a spider with their shoe or a broomstick or a piece of tissue paper. my point is, the apocalypse is more of a personal thing than anything else, and the world itself doesn’t necessarily have to be thought of in a physical way. it’ll all happen to us at some point, so why freak out about it? if we’re going to die, we might as well do it in some epic, monumental, cataclysmic way.

wouldn’t it be ironic if people died due to mass panic and nothing even happened? how silly; you can’t run from the world.

people worry about earthquakes and floods and hurricanes and tsunamis, but these are naturally occurring things. the only thing we as human beings can do is accept it and let nature take its course, because we don’t own this planet, this planet owns us. we’re just visitors here, and we should enjoy and appreciate the time we have here instead of wasting it in fear.

what’s interesting to me is how much the mayans knew about space and time and astronomy; how they were able to predict so much of history. and here we are, thousands of years later, sitting around trying to figure it all out. sitting here, trying to learn it all over again. if that’s not proof that society is, in fact, deteriorating in intelligence, then i don’t know what is; the fact that we are moving so far ahead technologically, but can’t wrap our heads around discoveries and lifestyles from thousands of years ago is staggering. technological advancement shows for nothing other than our astounding ability to single-handedly destroy the planet we live on.

if god brought people onto this earth, he’s obviously an idiot, because the world just wasn’t made for human inhabitance. if god brought us onto the world, he must have wanted it to explode.

no, i don’t believe in all this apocalyptic nonsense, but you never know. i guess it’s one of those things where we have to wait to find out.

and in the meantime, stop making history channel documentaries about it. they exist for no other purpose but to scare people into getting them ratings, and they are the most absurd things in the world.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

With Water Like Silver.

when at first the eye is caught,
i am perfect.
not yet tainted with the hate of society, i am what i look;
pure, humble, unmarked by the tangled, complex web of
everyone i meet, everyone i know, everyone i’ve seen,
those who came before;
to them i am blind, and i don’t need any of it.
i am whole, and i am

toss a stone, and watch the ripples change shape.
disrupt the illusion.

glancing back, i am
hundreds of pieces upon pieces upon pieces,
all mismatched and scattered,
bruised by the notion that any of it mattered,
if you could see beyond the reflection, through this face once mistaken for
into the contours of my mind, you would no longer have
any reason to admire.

but you can’t.
for this is merely an image;
hollow and empty;
but nonetheless we still
we still worship,
still stare until our eyes forget to look elsewhere.

we will not drown in our self-love;
and we will fail to take notice
until we waste away and there is not even a
shadow left to look
back at.

Monday, January 10, 2011

“It is very sad to me that some people are so intent on leaving their mark on the world that they don’t care if that mark is a scar.”

I wrote this a year ago for an English assignment, but I find it to be especially relevant after the tragedy that just happened in Arizona.


"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen" - Winston Churchill.

I love this quote, because I think it has a lot of parallels with our society today, and really just life in general. People tend to think of courage as having the guts to "take a bullet for someone," or go skydiving, or give a speech in front of thousands of people. Courage has always been mistaken for action, because that's what people are  exposed to the most; every day we watch television and hear stories about the soldiers in Afghanistan or the dude who climbed to the top of Mount Everest and think, "Wow man, that guy must be so brave." But there are so many other aspects of courage that are often overlooked, and the ability to "stand up and speak" isn't necessarily the most powerful of them all.

There are two forms of cowardice that are prominent in American society; apathy and ignorance. People who are afraid to stand up and fight for what they believe in are apathetic; maybe they just couldn't care less about what's going on in the world, but usually it's the mindset of "well, it's not like anything I do is going to make a difference," that stops them. That's fear; fear of failure, of not being heard.

Ignorance is just the opposite; it's having the ability to shout out your own opinion but then failing to sit down and listen to what the other side of the discussion has to say. People hate what they fear and what they don't understand, so they push it away and ignore it. Because maybe, just maybe, if you listen to what everyone else has to say, your opinion might change, and that scares people too. It's a fear of being wrong, and a lot of people can't accept that.

When looked at closely, it's all just layers, and you have to keep peeling and peeling to find what's really underneath. These are just masks people wear to cover up their insecurities. All the extremist, right wing "teabaggers" waving around picket signs and screaming about the evils of Obama's Presidency, and making a crosshairs map targeting people who support something they don't agree with (which, SHOCKER, can actually lead to violence), think they're so courageous by exercising their freedom of speech, but they're not, because they can't find the strength in them to sit down, shut up, and listen to what the rest of the world has to say. I think ignorance is the most lethal thing any society can fall into, because when people stop listening to each other, it becomes a continuous cycle of arguments and nothing ever gets solved. And falling into that cycle is what I'm afraid of every day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reality T.V. Ruined the Internet (AKA Calm Down Kids - Life is a Wonderful Thing).

Sitting here in the dark, legs crossed, Cat Stevens playing in the background on repeat, I'm grinning. My mom's asleep, and the house is quiet, and somewhere in the living room the Christmas tree is glittering, peaceful and stoic. Right about now, I'm wishing I had lights to string across the walls of my bedroom; it's too dark to see much of anything, but here I am. Just sitting and grinning and fumbling with the keyboard, and thinking...

Why is it that so few of the teenagers I know are able to find any meaning in the world around them?

Why do people spend so much of their time wallowing in their petty little dramas? Mulling over things that don't matter?

Why is it that every time I log-in to Twitter, or Tumblr, or BlogSpot, I'm forced to read through a list of "woe is me" posts about how life is just so difficult, and how they're just not over him/her and it's breaking their heart, and oh god, what's the point of even being alive?
"I can't take it anymore.
It hurts too much.
I can't go on without him/her in my life.
I'm broken.

A part of me just wants to take a walk down Main Street and plaster a bunch of signs around town that say:
Attention Teenagers Currently Residing on Planet Earth,
If you have a personal problem, broken heart, issue with somebody, low self-esteem, or any other form of angst you may be dealing with, please refrain from broadcasting it on the internet!

Because I don't need to be reading that; I don't want to see any of that. And the fact of the matter is, neither does the rest of the world, no matter how many friends or followers or subscribers you may have.

The fact of the matter is, the internet, which is something anyone at any time can gain access to, should not be the place for people to spill their deepest secrets and troubles onto, but for some reason, it's just become burned into everyone's brain that it's perfectly acceptable. That the world really does care that you broke up with your boyfriend, and yes, it really is necessary to explain in-depth how painful of an ordeal it was and how you're choosing to cope with it by sitting alone all night drinking and waking up trashed and depressed the next morning.

Thank you for sharing, now invest in a diary.

But my biggest question is, when did it become a "trend" to be self-loathing? If somebody were to come up with a list of all of the "teenage fads" that are present in today's society, it would be right up there with black hair dye and long bangs; tight pants and punk bands that all sound exactly the same; bisexuality and dark make-up; complaining and being sad; self-mutilation; cutting. It's all intertwined. And for a long time, I've kind of been sitting around wondering why all of this is, and how it all got started, and I've since come to a conclusion that has probably been staring me in the face since I started analyzing the situation.

Reality T.V.
Or possibly even TV in general.

Our society loves to see damaged people; it's what has shaped television into what it is today. Just a constant parade of psychologically damaged individuals being showcased and exploited in front of a big camera for everyone to watch and compare themselves to. I mean let's face it, nobody wants to watch a show about normal people living normal, everyday lives, because that's just not interesting. We want to see the brilliant, misanthropic doctor who pops Vicodin and routinely berates his patients; we want to see the ultra-skinny model break down and cry after being told she wasn't pretty enough to be on the cover of CoverGirl magazine. The abused housewife being interviewed on Oprah. The drug addict, the drama queen, the teenage mother.

And every minute of every day, people are watching this and thinking well, this must be what life is really like. This must be what I'm supposed to be feeling and thinking and acting like. They don't get that it's scripted; that the fight Snookie and whoever the hell else is on Jersey Shore got into was staged, just like what happens on The Hills, and America's Next Top Model, and any of the other mindless drivel being displayed on television today. Our sense of reality is being blurred and distorted by the fictional images on the screen in front of us.

We see people pour out their personal lives and problems on TV, so we assume we should do the same on the internet. We twist our thoughts and feelings to fit what the media portrays as "normal," and assume that we're more damaged than we really are.
We're drama queens.
Attention addicts.

And I'm just grinning like a Cheshire cat at the absurdity of it all. 

I just want everyone to step out from under this massive illusion and realize that there's more to life than the things that make us unhappy. There's more to life than complaining and hurting and crying over insignificant things that won't matter a month or a week or even ten minutes from now.

It's not even so much the fact that people are using the internet to complain that really bothers me; yes, it's obnoxious and frustrating and completely unnecessary. That's already been established. No, what I can't stand more than anything else is people who take being alive for granted.

It's the kids crying behind their computer screens typing "I just want to die."
It's the depressed, broken-hearted 15-teen-year-old telling all of his Twitter followers, "Give me a reason to live."

You're here, buddy. There's your reason.
For some unforeseen reason, all the cosmic forces of the Universe came together one day and decided to plant you on Earth and give you the ability to breathe air and harmonize and exist. That's justification enough.

We're so incredibly lucky to be here, why can't teenagers seem to grasp that? There's so much out there in the world beyond your nasty break-up, or your insecurities, or little internal struggles; there are so many lovely things in reality that can give us hope and make us happy and give us meaning, joy, love. We have birds and music, and other people; art, laughter, Walmart, lunar eclipses. There's oceans and sunshine and Harold and Maude; holidays and celebrations, two-for-one deals at Target, wiener dogs, rain, chocolate milkshakes, and Harry Potter. Lessons to learn and things to think about.

That's why I can just sit here, alone in the middle of the night with an ipod and the lights off, and just laugh. Because I don't want to cheat myself out of life by drowning in negativity and making myself out to be anything less than what I am. I'm just a spec in the middle of this whole big, puzzling, wonderful Universe, so I might as well make the best of it.

There will always be a reason to live, but you won't find it on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook. So open your eyes wide, and really look for it.

"Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can. . . LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room."
- Maude, Harold and Maude. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Petticoats and Peppermint Coffee.

I love neighborhoods. They always smell like a mixture of laundry, wood smoke, pine needles, October, and those little red berries that are poisonous if you eat them. At least mine does, anyway. Sometimes when I walk down my street in  the evenings, I can smell people's dinner cooking, or pastries fresh from the oven. It's such a comfortable feeling; you can get a little slice of someone's life just by strolling by their sidewalk.

When I was little, I used to look out the back window of our car on the way home at night and look at the houses we'd pass by, wishing I could go in and explore every single one of them. The orange glow of the lights pouring through from the inside made them all seem so inviting and, I don't know, homey I guess. I was just so interested in people and where they lived and why they lived there; if they had a rocking chair in their living room, or lots of family pictures on the walls, or one of those little island things in the middle of their kitchen and whether it was made of granite or just some cheap plywood. I still wonder, kind of. I think when I get my driver's license, I'm going to spend most of my time just driving through random neighborhoods and examining the houses there. Not in a creepy way, though; just a curious way. I'll probably end up being one of those people that can drive around for hours and never get bored.

I love when I see little kids riding bikes outside my window and playing basketball in the cul-de-sac up the street. I love hearing their childish shrieks and shouts echo through the silence and bounce off the pavement. It makes me remember what it was like to be absent-minded and carefree, and helps me realize that I still can be from time to time. I think everyone should be, even if they're old and grown.

The thing I love most about neighborhoods, though, is just walking through them at night. Not like, late or anything, but y'know, around 7 O'clock or so. Evening time. I like breathing in the crisp, cold air and seeing the ground scattered with leaves. For whatever reason, things like that always make me feel poetic; they make me notice things in a different way than I normally would. Like last night when I took my dog, a pretty little Daschund puppy, for a walk and looking at her made me think of ballpoint pens and old English men with wonderful accents. Okay, maybe that's not necessarily poetic, but I don't know, it's weird. Walking in my neighborhood reminds me of petticoats, gloves, peppermint coffee, literature, jack-o-lanterns, and glasses with black frames. All the things I love I guess, but what I really love more than anything is when the sun is setting and the sky gets so bright that the trees look black against everything. God, that's so pretty.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Believe In Winnie the Pooh.

I wrote this for an English assignment. . . it's a a few words beyond the limit, but I really couldn't care less. (:

When it comes time for me to spread my wings and flutter off into the world of adulthood and independence, the one life philosophy I will always take with me is this: you're never too old to watch Winnie the Pooh.

They say we're happiest as children. And although I may still fall into the "child" category, I definitely agree with that statement, and I feel it every day.

I go to an early college high school, so for roughly six hours a day, five days a week, I'm expected to leap out of my immature, fifteen-year-old body, pretend that my frontal lobe is actually developed, and behave like a grown-up. For the most part, that means acting mature, respecting my surroundings, not shouting obscenities to my friends across campus, and saying "Please" and "Thank you" to the lady in administration. The proverbial I'm-your-teacher-and-I'm-going-to-walk-you-through-life-and-keep-filling-your-glass-to-make-sure-you're-okay ship has sailed, because to stay on it would be childish. And sophisticated adults do not act childish.

Sometimes it can be overwhelming, and many times I've stopped and wondered if maybe I grew up a little too fast, if I somehow missed all the things I was supposed to see along the way. It's during those times that I take a step back and say "forget the textbooks and the studying and the college professors. Forget who I'm supposed to be. I'm taking out the I-Touch and watching Winnie the Pooh on YouTube!"

I believe that life doesn't always have to mean moving forward. I was raised on Winnie the Pooh; it was my foundation as a child. There are so many lessons about life, love, and strength in those stories that I think we all tend to forget as we grow older; things like "You’re braver than you believe and stronger than you seem," or "you can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." When I need advice or reassurance, I don't look to Gandhi or Oprah to give it to me; I look to Winnie the Pooh.

He brings out the ridiculousness of life; that's the greatest thing about it. Through Pooh Bear's wisdom, I've learned that life doesn't have to be taken seriously all the time. Sometimes I look at adults and I notice the lines on their faces, the worn-out expressions they carry. They're tired, unhappy; they've lost sight of the child within. I believe that just because you wear a suit and tie doesn't mean you can't play legos or wear a crazy costume on Halloween; that just because you're a lawyer or a doctor or the headmaster of a prestigious school doesn't mean you should hide your inner Pooh Bear.

 I may be ready to embark on the journey to adulthood, but Winnie the Pooh is a piece of my childhood that I will always hold on to; because there is something beautiful in remembering that, "wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

We're Only as Small as the World Will Make Us Seem.

If there's anything I've learned in my fifteen years of being alive, it's that knowing the answer to everything isn't always as rewarding as genuine curiosity.

Tonight was one of those rare nights where the fog had drifted off and the sky was so clear that you could see the twinkle of every individual star within eye distance, like fine, bright points painted upon a blank black canvas. It was a night that made me realize, as much as I may hate this town, how lucky I am to be away from the big cities, where the flashing lights and glamorous buildings, and all the meaningless fabrications block out the things we're really supposed to see; the little bits of perfect that give us meaning within a series of worlds whose combined efforts make us seem too small to mean anything at all.

And as I drove home in the back seat of the car, enveloped by this brilliant array of stars, I thought about all the things I already know, the answers I already have; I know that the "twinkle" of each star is caused by the constant moving and shifting of the Earth's atmosphere. I know that the closest star to our planet is 4.3 light years away. I know that when small stars die, their remnants become dwarf stars and planetary nebulae, and that big stars will supernova and leave behind neutron stars or, if dense enough, black holes; I know that some of the very stars I saw tonight could have already burned out some hundred years ago. At one point, I looked ahead and saw an especially large, bright star and could determine, based on it's color, that it was red shifting, moving away from us.

But as informed as I may be about the basic concepts of Astronomy, there's something strangely comforting about realizing that there are still things out there that can't be explained. Nobody knows how we got here, or why we're here, or how everything that exists works or why it works that way, but that's how it's supposed to be.

We are because we are, because that's just how it happened.

People are intrigued by mystery; it's what gives things significance. If we held the key that unlocked all of life's mysteries and let us leap into the unknown, we would lose the profound sense of curiosity that makes us interested in everything we have. I don't want to lose that; I mean something because, even though I haven't the faintest idea how or why it happened, I'm here. I still exist.

And that is absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Apparently Wasting Time is All the Rage in High School.

I'd really like to know what filling out the "Free and Reduced Lunch" form has to do with getting my college textbooks.

Because, just for the record, it's against federal law to withhold college textbooks from a student because they didn't turn in a form which came with a paper specifically stating that it can be turned in at any time throughout the year.

This is exactly why I am just ready to be done with high school.

I come to school on Monday morning ready to work and get settled into all my classes, and I'm told that we're not actually going to be in class until Thursday. What? So for three days, my job is to aimlessly wander around campus for five hours twiddling my thumbs? Are you kidding me?

"We just want to make sure that everyone has time to get all of their papers in and get their textooks before we officially get into the school year," claims the Principal.

But isn't the real reason us upper-classmen have nothing to do because, despite the two-and-a-half month long summer vacation, you still don't have everything figured out? That's why everyone has to wait 'till Wednesday to get our schedules, and why the counselor won't be available all week.

I'm also slightly annoyed at this new method everyone has to follow for getting our college textbooks. I honestly don't understand how printing out our schedules and getting them stamped and walking back and forth from one side of campus to the next and waiting in line for twenty minutes is "preparing us for when we actually get to college and have to pay for our own textbooks." As far as I know, all you have to do in college to accomplish this task is walk to the bookstore, locate the books you need, show the people at the counter your I.D., and pay for them (or buy them off Amazon for a slightly cheaper price). It does not have to be this difficult.

It should take one day to get everyone's papers straightened out, not three. It should take one day to get our schedules taken care of. It should take one day to retrieve the books you need, unless of course you're me and have to stretch it out to two days because this happens...

Me: (Finally gets to the front desk after waiting in line for fifteen minutes). "Hello, I'm here to get my books." (Standing ready with schedule and list of needed books).

Lady at the Desk: "Okay, let's make sure you've got all your papers in." (Pulls out stack of papers with checklist stapled to front). "Well, it seems you haven't turned in your Free and Reduced Lunch form, do you have that?"

Me: "Well, I don't have it at the moment, it's at home." (Confused).

Lady at the Desk: "Well, you can't get your books without it."

Me: "I can bring it tomorrow-"

Lady at the Desk: "Well then you'll have to wait 'till then, I'm sorry."

Excuse me, but what does that form have to do with getting my books? I'm registered for school, I'm signed up for classes, and you won't let me take care of my books because I didn't confirm whether or not I wanted to get a free lunch? It is against the law to make me wait. And of course, the next day someone asks if it's mandatory in order to get their textbooks, and the principal says "no, of course not."

So tomorrow, I finally get my schedule and then do...nothing for the rest of the day.

When I was a freshman, our orientation lasted two days, and we got our schedules on the first day. Why is everything so unorganized this year? The most efficient way to handle everything is to schedule the freshman orientation the week before school starts, so the upperclassmen aren't forced to waste three days doing nothing and being told things we don't need to be told.

Just once, I'd like to start school when it's scheduled to start, is that so much to ask?

Monday, August 23, 2010

I'd Like to Keep My Ears Please (:

Okay, I have a complaint to make. Well, a couple, actually.

Number one, there's a giant house fly buzzing around in my room right now, and it's terribly distracting. Too bad my Astronomy professor isn't here to corner it and smack it against the wall; he had an eye for that sort of thing.

But that's not what I want to talk about today.

I went shopping for school clothes with my mom the other day, and because the mall in our town is garbage, we spent nearly three hours switching back and forth between two different stores trying to find a pair of jeans that would fit my "petite" body structure.

Which was difficult because 1) apparently every clothing store in my town expects its customers to be a six-foot-tall tree trunk, and thus only carries sizes to accommodate that, or 2) for some ridiculous reason, teenagers have decided that wearing those ultra-skinny jeans that glue themselves to your legs and cut your circulation off are "hip" and "trendy", and therefore should be the only style of jeans worth selling.

So, my mom and I are strolling through the mall, perusing the lovely merchandise at Anchor Blue and Rue 21, when we pass by Zumiez and my mom goes...

"Hey Kendra, want to look in there and see if there's anything you like?" (If you're imagining this being asked in an excited tone, you've got it completely wrong).

"But the only jeans they have there are skinny jeans, mom," I replied, shifting my weight to one leg and leaning my head back like a whiny ten-year-old. I really, really loathe shopping.

"Well, there might be some nice shoes or shirts you might want."

"... *eye roll*..."

Regardless of my resistance, we head over to Zumiez anyway, and the second we walk through the entrance, we're hit with this giant wave of unbearably loud death metal music, enough to make any sane person cover their ears and rush out of the store five seconds later.

And this is my problem. Why do all of the popular clothing stores have to play their music so excruciatingly loud. I realize that they're supposed to be "youth-oriented" and deafening headbanger music and shattered eardrums are evidently all the rage amongst teenagers today, but come on. You can't even hear yourself, let alone think straight because the music is just blasting away, pulsing through every freaking vein in your body.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have to listen to some disturbed musician screaming "DROWNING IN THE LAKE!!" while I'm trying to pick out some shoes or a decent pair of pants. Or an auto-tuned bimbo with an unhealthy glitter obsession (Ke$ha) singing "WAKE UP IN THE MORNIN' FEELIN' LIKE P-DIDDY!" when I'm deciding on whether or not to take advantage of the buy one get one half off sale on graphic t-shirts.

That does not make for a pleasant shopping experience.

I mean, I'm sure I could tolerate it if they played the music at, say, a few notches above the halfway mark rather than full blast!

It's probably a tactic the managers use to get people to buy more of their products. Like when annoyed parents are forced to shop with their kids, and they can't take the loudness of the music (I don't see how anyone could), and it puts them in such a frenzy that they just go "yeah, yeah, just get whatever, I don't care."

"But mom, it's 75 dollars! Are you sure?"

"Whatever, whatever, just get what you want so we can get the hell out of here!" (flicks hands dismissively while frantically wiping sweat from forehead.)

It's asinine, and really just makes me hate shopping even more than I already do. If you've never experienced this and would like to have a little sample of the ridiculousness of it, here is a wonderful interpretation.