(a continuation of my “self realization” post from eight decades ago)

I said this a while ago and I’m going to say it again: I am not a serious blogger. I am a serious blogger. I am not a serious journal keeper. I am not a serious writer. I am not a serious human. I don’t mean serious in that I take things that are important to me seriously. I mean serious in that I try to be this inspirational/deep human being and it turns out that I am not. I have never been. I always feel like I try so hard to write something that people will read when I die and think “wow this is such an inspiration to all human lives” when all I really want to be is David Sedaris writing about that time my brother thought I got attacked my gnats outside my house. Or that time some woman from the corporate offices basically thought I couldn’t pronounce my own name correctly. I always want to be that cool quirky blogger but then I sit down at my computer and start writing this long winded flowery sentences and it makes me want to vomit. That’s not me. Nope. And I think this whole thing that I have is the reason that I haven’t written too often because I feel like I have nothing good to say but who cares???? Maybe what I am saying is very good and you’re all just too not good to realize it.

graduate studies in being too afraid of rejection to apply to graduate school

While everyone had lists of undergrad universities they wanted to attend, I had lists of graduate programs. After senior year of high school, life got really very messy because I forgot that there were a whole other four years in between high school and grad school. I had my life planned out. All my adventures envisioned. Obviously Europe because that’s what starving writers want because why wouldn’t you want that?. I would travel and own a bike. Lots of biking. (Seems like the European thing to do maybe that’s cliche maybe it’s not I don’t care I want to bike around a nice place in nice weather in a skirt and cute blouse.) I’d end up staying there because it’s Europe, hello, and eventually own a cute little book shop that I lived above. (This is an actual life I imagined for myself.) And I guess at the time (circa 2009), graduate school didn’t seem impossible because I was still writing and doing productive things and my brain was still an actual brain shape and not oatmeal mush.

You see, after I graduated undergrad, I gave myself a little break. I stopped writing. I stopped researching. I stopped basically everything let’s face it. I graduated and become a bum also a mall employee also an avid cinnamon pretzel eater. I moved to Texas in hopes that it would get me closer to what I wanted. I thought a new adventure would give me some new inspiration and new desire to write. I planned to apply to school and I’d be able to get in state tuition because I had been there a year. I was making strides to get my life to be where I (more realistically) imagined it being.

And yet, here we are.

Moving to Texas and moving back maybe stunted my growth more than I thought it would. It put me back a lot of money. It changed my entire outlook on myself for a few months. I beat myself up about it. Lost a lot of confidence for reasons I created for myself. Another year went by. I looked at old writings. Tried to submit them to contests, journals. No word. No entry. Creative writing is a field of heartbreaks and more heartbreaks. (Very dramatic it seems.) I let myself stop writing because of it. I wasn’t good enough. And maybe I won’t be good enough for a top writing university.

But here’s the thing that I have come to learn and accept and use to move myself forward: I don’t know if I’ll ever be good enough if I don’t ever give myself a chance. Thus, I have given myself a deadline (aka I have taken all the deadlines from different grad programs and pretended I made up these deadlines on my own to make myself feel better about my level of productivity). Except, while I have come to a realization that I need to take a chance, I am still experiencing three problems with these deadlines and these problems are as follows:

  1. I haven’t written anything new since probably my capstone class which was cough cough two years ago. (I’m old.) I basically can’t even be called a writer at this point because writers write things that’s why they’re called writers. I’m probably just a thinker because I think about writing a lot and I think about what I’m going to write just as much but I don’t ever actually write anything (except maybe this). That’s just how my life works at this particular moment in time. Obviously I was hoping that once I (the multiple universities) set these deadlines that I would automatically start writing again, but, unfortunately, all these deadlines are in December and I think I’m probably experiencing senioritis for the first time (I was a really great student all through school and loved doing homework) because all I do is think about all the stuff I have to do and then don’t do it.
  2. My second issue is that creative writing programs are so picky like why can’t everyone just get in??? Let’s all just write and go to school and be friends and sit outside with books in our hands and messenger bags around our bodies. Ok, before you say anything or think anything about me, you should know that I know grad school is hard to get into because only the masters of their crafts get their Master’s Degree (haha this is so funny to me I don’t know why). But, ok, please bear with me for a second but one of the programs I want to apply to literally takes twelve humans. TWELVE. Let’s think about how many humans are on the face of this good earth and then think about how there are only twelve of them studying creative writing at MY top choice university.
  3. My last problem is kind of just my own issue and it might sound dumb, but I’m kind of afraid to apply to grad school and get rejected because I’m afraid I’ll just stop wanting to write. I’ll stop ever dreaming about doing something with my life that I care about. I’ll work in the mall forever because I’ll feel like there is nothing else I can do. I will feel unqualified to do anything I love again.
So these are very casual things that I know I need to get over. These are things I have to work on myself but it’s very hard to convince yourself that you’re good enough to get into school when you haven’t written anything in probably 24 months. I know that’s all on me just being a better creative writer and actually writing something down somewhere one time and hoping for the best. And I guess it’s also on me to just apply to grad school because there’s no way for me to be accepted yet, there’s also no way for me to rejected yet?? (Do you guys believe it when I try to be/sound positive???)

self realization

I thought for a long time that being a serious blogger was something I wanted to be. Serious in that I do it all the time. Serious in the subjects I discussed. Serious in the way I discussed said subjects. Serious in thought and commitment. I’d read books and give serious reviews (haha) and spark serious discussions with other serious bloggers and it was going to be an ideal time. But that got too hard for me because, let’s face it, I have never been, and will probably never be, a serious type of person or writer. I jumped around with several blogging sites because I thought maybe a different site would bring about a different type of blog because that’s the type of crazy I am now. I realize now that I shouldn’t be so worried about being a serious blogger with serious posts about serious things. I want to write whatever I want whenever I want whether it fits into this mold that I created for my blog or not. i want to whine about work and tell the story of that time my dog ate her own poop and I nearly puked in my mouth. I want to write letters to people that will never see them about problems they will never know they caused. I want to write story ideas and then delete every single story idea because I’m very good at coming up with story ideas and you will all probably want to steal them.

On a more serious (haha) note, I’ve just been feeling like I’ve been getting in the way of myself. I hold myself back. I do things because I think I should be doing things. I let myself get wrapped up in little unimportant things and forget that I have a bigger plan for myself. I get distracted from the person I am and the person I want to continue to be. I let other people’s actions dictate how I’m feeling. How stupid is that? How stupid is it to write a certain way about certain things because that’s what other people do? How stupid is it to wake up in the morning and think that this is all there is? It’s very stupid, ok, I’m telling you that it is very stupid.

So I guess that’s all I’m trying to say at this point. That I realize I let myself get lost in the shuffle of daily life and that it was stupid of me and now I am back. Also I was watching “Thirteen Going on Thirty” as I was writing this post and this song started playing in one of the scenes and I like it a lot and so I’m going to post it here in hopes that it gives this post a really contemplative air as if I’m going to pack up my bags and move to Vienna to make my life cooler than it will be described in many posts to follow.

Sunday Book Club: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Guys, good news, my really awful/unqualified book reviews are back because so I am and this one will be no less terrible because I really am not sure what a good book review entails. (But just on the subject now that I’m thinking about it, I remember we had to write a book review in sophomore year of high school and then I remembered Ms. Papamichael who was my sophomore English teacher and then I remembered I saw her at the mall once and I wanted to say hi but it’s been years and I hope I look a little more grown up/how weird is that to see your teacher and they ask you what you’re doing at the mall and you’re like “ha this is my life now I am going nowhere” so I awkwardly walked passed her with a bag of pretzel bites in my hand.)

I’ve read this puppy a few times now (three) and it’s weird because I didn’t think I’d like it at first, but I really did. I first read it in one of my college lit classes at my community college and the professor was just really on point with his teaching style (shout out to Prof. Goodell wherever you are) that he could’ve made me read anything and I would’ve applauded it (EXCEPT Heart of Darkness, which he did make me read and I will just never be ok with that Conrad guy). Ok, but that last statement definitely does not mean that I don’t love this book because I already said that I do please get off my back, you guys. As much as I liked the book as a whole, I didn’t really love Okonkwo. I loved Okonkwo’s interactions with the other members of his village and I loved the situations that Achebe placed Okonkwo in, but I don’t know if I necessarily loved Okonkwo himself. (The only situation I didn’t love was when they were taking Ikemefuna out to be killed and Okonkwo helped, I was so mad how could you do that, Okonkwo? How could you do that to Ikemefuna and me?) I thought the other characters were strong in the purpose they served and I think Okonkwo was strong in the purpose he served. Ikemefuna’s juxtaposition with Nwoye. (Pause, I think I wrote this sentence just to tell you about this one time a customer came into the store and ordered something online and the name on his credit card was Ikemefuna and I nearly lost it.) Okonkwo’s love for his daughter Enzima. The slight differences between character and atmosphere between the two villages. I think it’s all very great and very strong.

I actually read it again during my Modernism Seminar my last year of undergrad. Exploring this idea of humanization–dehumanization and how someone can reverse the cycle. And what a great book to use with his stark contrast to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. (Yes, I purposely read Heart of Darkness for the third time that year, what’s wrong with me, I know.) Conrad travels deep into the heart of the Congo and, through the eyes of a European colonizer, discusses the process and environment and the people. The process is brutal; the environment otherworldly; the people inhuman. The Congo is a creepy place after you read Heart of Darkness, ok. So good work creeping us all out, Joe, but not good work at everything else. (Also, I know you had nothing to do with it, Joe, but the movie was not great at all.) Achebe on the other side takes the story to the other side. Conrad spends most of his time on the actual colonization of the Congo and it’s people, but Achebe seems to take a different approach. We only see the Europeans very late in the book. He takes us through the life of these people through the journey of one man. A culture, a civilization. He brings life back to Africa. Brings life back to it’s people.

(I’d obviously post my entire senior paper up on this bad boy but that would be really very obnoxious so I won’t do that. Well, maybe not all of it. And maybe another time. Also, I’m bad at this.)

2015: Easily Distracted

If you’re thinking that this is going to be another whiny post about me not having any idea what I’m doing with my life and being a terrible human being, then yes, you are thinking correctly. I’ve been meaning to write a summary post about 2014 (like I did that one year for 2013) since basically 2014 and here I am. (I hope I didn’t write a 2014 summary post or else this is going to be so embarrassing, I kind of want to check, but kind of just want to hope for the best and pretend that I know myself really well.)

Life has been dull and I guess that’s partly (mostly) my fault. As the subject line suggests, I let myself get really distracted really easily really often. I also am really good at making excuses for myself which is really not good in the long run. Work is good and I’ve really been enjoying working at PacSun and at the store I’m currently at. I’ve been having a good time with my coworkers and getting to know them on a more personal level. I like the idea of continuing to grow with this company and moving up in this company and working for this company for maybe years to come. (Yikes?) It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing with my time like many people suggest. I like my job and that’s probably the first time I can honestly say that in a long time. The problem with it is that I let that job consume my life. Which, ok, I get that it isn’t a bad thing, but at the moment, in this exact position I’m in, I don’t feel like it’s my life. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to make a career out of working at PacSun, but being an assistant manager in the middle of nowhere New York is not where I see myself ending up and I think a lot of people should be able to gather that from ALL THE OTHER POSTS I WRITE ABOUT MY LIFE. (Drama and flair.) So, I just feel like I’ve gotten sidetracked (distracted) and have been putting off all the other things that I’ve always wanted to do with my life. (All the other things refers to the other thing which refers to writing. There’s really not much else that I want to do with my life tbh. [A necessary acronym.])

That was obviously me complaining, but this is something that I don’t think I’ve ever done (I’ve probably done it): I’m finally going to take full responsibility for what I’ve been neglecting. I’m not going to blame my varying work schedule. I’m not going to blame the amount of time I spend at work each day/week. I’m not going to blame the fact that I feel tired. I’m blaming myself because ultimately I have the choice when I get home from work what I do with the time that I’m not at the mall. And as much as I love coming home, eating a bagel and watching “Friday Night Lights” on someone else’s Netflix account, I know that I can’t keep doing it as a routine like this. The occasional binge is ok, I know, but the every night binge as I neglect my book lists and my pen pals and myself via journal writing just hasn’t been cutting it. I’ve been feeling the neglect in my bones. Everyday I mope around my house acting like the world is out to get me. That the mall is ruining my life. That the weather hates my mood. (I think the last one is really true, though, and you guys can probably agree. Like, the cold weather just destroys all happinesses.) I’ve been subconsciously doing this to myself. Subconsciously putting myself through this unnecessary funk and I think it’s about time that I get myself out of it. (Go me, high five, jump freeze frame, yeah!)

(Also, I just may have read some of my older posts and dear goodness, I do this way more often than I ever thought I would and I am so sorry for that and it’ll stop right after I hit “publish” because I promise this time it’ll stick.)

I feel like I had way more to say but now I can’t think of anything which is sad.

I guess I’ll try to conclude this post on a better note than that last one and say that I’m really just ready to start taking ownership of my life and where it ends up next. I’m ready to pay off my school loans and apply to grad school. Ready to put together a portfolio. Ready to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. I’m ready to put myself out there even if I get kicked in the face for it (violent, I don’t know why, I felt like there’s an expression that says something along those lines but maybe not). I’m ready to take charge. To move on. To adventure. To become the me I’ve always imagined I could be.

(Really hating that I’m finishing this post with a rhyme but I really just can’t find anything else to say that would better conclude these thoughts.)

Update: I did write a 2014 summary post oh my goodness I am so bad I don’t even know myself anymore.

2014: A Summary and Salutation

I know that I’ve disappeared (again) and I know we’re already a week into the new year, but I’m currently sitting in the backyard of my boyfriend’s house in the middle of sunny San Diego and thought there was no better place and time for me to do these reflections.

2014 was not my best. I don’t normally like to use one word to describe my year (unless that word is weird), but this past year was different for me. It was probably one of the most difficult years for me. I faced a lot of obstacles, physical and emotional. And I had to overcome a lot of obstacles that I set up for myself. It was hard, yes, but I think it was also the year that taught me the most. About people, about life, about myself. (I guess that’s kind of cliche, but it’s true and I stand by it.)

The year started off in a way that basically everyone wants their year to start off. I was in Texas with my boyfriend, ringing in the new year with homemade pizza, puzzles, and funny movies throughout the night. It was good and it was easy until it wasn’t. (So dramatic.) The truth of it all is that I moved to Texas without enough money saved up. I also moved to Texas thinking a friendship that had lasted so long would continue to last even when put through a stressful situation. I was wrong. I was running very low on money for a very long time and felt that I had no one to talk to. When it finally was talked about with my parents, it was such a weird feeling. A feeling that a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Like I wasn’t dealing with it alone. And even though I was able to lose the weight of being financially unstable, it felt like I had gained a new weight: the weight of figuring out how I could possibly pick up a life I was trying so hard to make work. I had packed up my entire life and moved halfway across the country. I was able to build such a strong relationship with a human that I basically have committed myself to. I made some great friends. I loved my coworkers. And now I was faced with this. And basically it wasn’t even a decision. I had nothing to decide. I didn’t have enough money to stay and so I had to leave.

Once I did, I created this weird (there’s that word) barrier between me and basically my old life. The only people who knew I was coming back home were my parents and all the people I was leaving behind. I kept it a secret from people I was once really great friends with. I guess that seems weird. It seems like I would’ve wanted a lot of people around to help me going through such a weird transition, but it was exactly the opposite. I felt defeated for a long time. Like I had messed up somewhere. That I couldn’t do it. That I couldn’t even make it six months out of my house before I came back. It took months for me to finally get over it. To realize that I could do it. I didn’t move back home because I couldn’t. I moved back home because my preparation to move out wasn’t enough. I didn’t have the money. Not the ability. I learned how tough I really was. How independent I could be. And it felt amazing to have had the chance to move out. Because it taught me that if I could do it once really poorly, I could do it again but hopefully next time more successful.

But also it taught me who I want around when I do make decisions like that. I feel like the last few years, I haven’t changed the people I’ve surrounded myself with and I thought that it was because I had finally found the people I want in my life. But I guess every year brings new realizations and last year brought this one: That while I had a lot of the people I need in my life, I had a lot of people that I didn’t need. That were bringing me down.

And so here I am. Visiting my boyfriend for over a year in California. With some of the best friends I could’ve asked for. The most supportive family. A new family member on the way next month. And a possible promotion in the next few months. I’d make a resolution but I know it won’t stick. This year isn’t the year of the new me, but it’s the year of a better me. (Stole this from my good friend Julia.) I want to do more of the things I want to do. I want to take more steps to get to the places I want to be. I’m going to stop letting everyone’s negative energy affect me more than it should. I’m going to keep my nose out of business that isn’t mine. I’m going to read and write and drink hot chocolate. I’m going to spend more time with the people that want to spend time with me. I’m going to stop letting work get me down and start using it as a stepping stone to get me to where I really want to. I need to stop using these posts as a way to bring myself down when I should be building myself up. I’m going to be ok and this is the year that I start believing it and acting like it.

Me Being Thankful for Things

This post is partly cliched because I’m 100% going to make a list of things I am thankful for (on Thanksgiving, yes). But don’t worry, I’m going to try to make this as original as possible. (It won’t work because it’s Thanksgiving and also a list of things I’m thankful for, but it’s ok I’m going to do it anyway.)

I’m thankful for a mom who reminds me to get a life but also makes me slippers every winter because my feet get cold. Who makes dinner basically every night but also complains about making dinner every night because it’s a pain and also my sisters and I work a lot and are each very particular in what we eat and when we eat it. Thankful for a mom who hung up the phone on me when I was upset in Texas. (You’ll all take this out of context but literally I was the worst that day and it was icing and I couldn’t leave my terrible apartment.) A mom who drove in a little car half way across the country to help me move into an apartment that I ended up moving out of. Thankful for a mom who plays Super Mario Bros with me when we’re bored at night because Super Mario Bros.

I’m thankful for a dad that will literally only text me the letter ‘k.’ Who gives me funny looks from across the table when I say something dumb. A dad who secretly loves my dogs no matter how many times he tells us he hates them. Thankful for a dad who wears suspenders. (Thankful for that because it’s hilarious because you don’t know my dad.) A dad who got really into soccer just because I decided to get really into soccer. A dad who watches videos on his iPad and laughs hysterically about them. (We don’t ever know what he’s doing on that iPad but he told me once that the two videos he was watching were “elephants taking baths” and “puppy dance party.”) But most of all, thankful for a dad who still does the “Do you like seafood” joke at the dinner table and then proceeds to open his mouth to show his very chewed food.

I’m thankful for a twenty-one year strong relationship with my grandfather. Thankful for the (incorrect) knowledge that the capital of Bulgaria was named after him (Sofia. Charles Sofia). Thankful for the constant reminder that somewhere he’s pretending to pat my head and whispering “you’re my favorite grandchild” with a weirdly fantastic smile on his face.

I’m thankful for my siblings. My brother who basically crushes me alive when he gives me a “hug.” Thankful for sisters who tell everyone how bossy I am and then yell at me over the television. An older sister who supports my new soccer life and also does not support my really terrible reading habits. A younger sister who supports all my terrible habits and also stays up till all hours of the night watching weird TV and drinking too much soda.

Thankful for my dogs, because dogs.

Thankful for a boyfriend that cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner for me when I was living in Texas because I was homesick and wanted turkey. A boyfriend that texts me every day to tell me how much he loves me, but also crushes me in Words with Friends way too often and it’s not cool but I’ll still be thankful. Thankful for a boyfriend that likes video games, pajamas, junk food, and laying around doing absolutely nothing as much as I do.

Thankful for my two best friends even though they abandoned me and went to a new mall to work at PacSun.

And finally I’m thankful to be able to pen this post that you will all probably not read.