Thursday, July 24, 2014

some things sat by so carelessly

so remember that time i wrote please listen and put it up for sale for any random stranger to read? yeah, well, for a while now, i have been having some second thoughts about it. not about writing it or sharing it, but more about what i wrote.

see, i wrote most of the prosetry in that collection over a period of years where i was feeling depressed and battling ugly thoughts and coming to all the wrong conclusions about the people in my life (but some of the right ones, too, if i'm being perfectly honest). one review i got on the book, and the one that's probably stuck with me the most, said that there were poems that were melodramatic and read like i was swept away by the power of words. (i'm pretty sure i addressed that comment on here before, but bear with me. there is a point to me bringing it up again.) depression is probably the most melodramatic thing in the world, and i do not mean that in a disparaging way at all. i think it was prozac nation that said that when you're depressed, everything is the worst thing that can happen. you can spend the same amount of tears on a cockroach dying as you would on your own dad dying because they are both equally the worst and saddest thing in the world. the reviewer had written that for a few poems, she could not relate at all and just kept thinking, "surely, it can't be that bad." and to reference the dead cockroach, maybe to an outsider it isn't that bad, but to you, it really, truly is. and for the most part, i like the overdramatic prosetry that came from me working through all of that stuff, it is an honest reflection of how i felt at the time, and i wouldn't change it for anything. 

but - and there is always a but - there are some things that i have been thinking about changing. 

see, in the midst of my anger and depression fueled writing, i wrote some lines that leave a bad taste in my mouth whenever i reread them, that make me cringe internally whenever i even think of them. there are a handful of different lines from a few different poems where i wrote something that romanticizes depression and/or suicide and at a point in my life where i am completely anti-romanticizing any mental illness because i grew up. there is a line where i wrote something like "you can't see the beauty in a slit wrist or the poetry in pooling blood" and that line haunts me. because i so strongly disagree with the sentiment in it. but it's out there, maybe forever, with my name attached to it.

so, i guess what i'm trying to say is while i'm all for leaving past pieces unchanged to accurately reflect myself at that time, when there is an idea that i feel is harmful and toxic, should i change it? it's not like please listen is some super popular book with a huge audience and being read by millions of impressionable minds, but still. 

*Smile Like You Mean It - The Killers

Monday, July 21, 2014

okay so this is probably just going to be a long-winded, unorganized ramble that may or may not make sense at the end, but i feel like i need to get out my thoughts on this. if you have any thoughts, i'd love to hear them.

see, i've been thinking a lot about abusive artists slash celebrities and people's reactions to them. i'm talking about award-winning singers and actors down to youtube stars and rapist pedophiles down to manipulative jerks. to keep my examples somewhat cohesive, i'll use the youtube sex scandal that happened a few months ago as my scenario just because youtubers fall somewhere between celebrities and "regular people" and i find that sorta fascinating, but really, there are tons of stories about abusive and manipulative celebrities that you can choose from. we all know the scenario: celebrity gets accused of rape/abuse/general scummy behavior, tabloids and gossip rings talk of nothing else for a week or two, furious fans and non-fans vow to boycott the celebrity and ask for his/her head on a stake, "loyal" fans scream just as loudly that said celebrity is innocent or made a mistake and is deserving of forgiveness, celebrity either makes a public apology or denies the accusations or ignores the whole thing completely, story blows over.

okay, so i have several different views on this whole thing, and they may sound and/or be a bit contradictory, but here goes. on the one hand, i'm not sure if i agree with boycotting an artist's work because s/he turns out to be an asshole. not to say i don't agree with it, just that i'm unsure. i always think of my dentist or eye doctor or tax filer guy or waiter in this situation. if i really liked my dentist or had a really great waiter, would i stop going to him because i found out that he manipulated people into having sex with him? or would i separate his work from the rest of him? i can say i'd go one way or the other, but it's hard to know because i will most likely never be in that situation. either i would never learn of his less than honorable behavior or he would be arrested/punished/whatever and the choice would be made for me. i have always had an issue with the way that people feel entitled to celebrities' lives. i mean, i totally get wanting a glimpse into that lifestyle, but at the end of the day, a celebrity doesn't owe me anything. i never understood why they were made out to be role models for the world. it is not a celebrity's job to raise our children or set a good example for them. it's just not. and the way that people feel "betrayed" when a celebrity is involved in a scandal... i just don't get it. aside from the new wave of celebrities that are famous because they are famous, in general, the celebrities give us art, whether that is a movie, song, book, or painting, and that's all you should be expecting from them. going back to the dentist, most people could not care any less if their dentist ate organically or smoked pot or didn't recycle. as long as they clean teeth and fill cavities and don't mess all that stuff up, well, then, it's not our job to worry about what s/he does after hours.

and yet, this is not the case with celebrities. one of the "famous" youtubers that was outed for manipulative behavior was alex day. because he cheated on girlfriends and did not entirely understand the concept of no meaning no, all of his products that were sold on - which included shirts, CDs, etc - were taken down, he lost a substantial number of youtube subscribers, he hasn't made a video since, and he lost a book deal which i think was from a publisher separate from youtube and its community completely. i'm not saying that he should go unpunished, i'm just not sure that this is the right punishment.

i think that's one of the main issues i have with all of this. because we view these celebrities as "other," we hold them to different standards. (although, to be completely fair, rape goes unpunished most of the time, celebrity or not. did you hear about the lady with HIV that was raped and everyone was so horrified that she didn't warn her rapist? the guy ended up getting AIDS and people wanted to start a campaign forcing women with HIV to wear some sort of identity badge so it wouldn't happen again. because that was obviously what we should walk away from that story with, not "don't effing rape people.") if a dentist commits a crime, he is arrested and tried and convicted and punished accordingly. he may have some difficulty getting jobs as a convicted felon, sure, but it's not really the same. in the case of the dentist, we feel we own his job. in the case of the celebrity, we feel we own the person.

however, celebrities *cough* charlie sheen *cough* who not only get off without proper punishment but then go on to use their crappy behavior and subsequent punishment to get more famous and go on tour and start a new tv show, well those people are the scum of the earth and deserve to be boycotted and shunned and whatever else. but for the others? i don't know.

what do you think? does knowing how a creator of content is as a person affect the way that you enjoy their created content? do you think that boycotting said content is a justifiable punishment for being a shitty person? do you think that if celebrities didn't tend to be let off with lighter punishments, people would still boycott their work? i'm honestly curious, so let me know. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

don't you know i'm human, too?

the other day i stopped by walmart and after getting the things i needed, i decided to wander through the yarn aisle like you do (and because i have a problem. you should probably start preparing an intervention. use notecards. and logic.)

anyway, i stopped to flip through the books on crochet patterns (refer to the previous paragraph. note the problem mentioned.) and this girl came through the aisle with her cart. she was maybe twelve and as she pushed her cart past me she said, "excuse me." which in and of itself is neither extraordinary nor worthy of a blog post. before i could politely smile and/or say anything in response, the girl's mother - or whoever the older lady that was with her was - says with disdain, "she doesn't speak english, honey," and then pushes past me (like literally walking into me) to leave the aisle. (i'm just going to point out that i am overly conscious of the amount of space i am taking up at all times, and it is very rarely that i will be in someone's way in a confined area (large, crowded areas are a different story and probably one of the reasons i tend to avoid them). and also, if the girl could push a cart past me without bumping into me, i'm pretty sure a lady could do the same as she walked by sans cart. apparently not, though.) it was only after i unfroze from my moment of shock and found myself alone in the aisle again that i thought of twelve hundred things i could have said. but that's how it always goes, isn't it? and, i mean, even if i didn't speak english, that would not give other people license to act like i'm below them.

it's been a while since i've had any incidents with ignorant people. i kind of forgot what it felt like. and all i could think of were all of the professors who are constantly telling me things like, "yeah, racism exists but not around here," and "the thing about america is that we all accept everyone," and "well, i am absolutely horrified to hear that [insert random incident here] happened to you, but i'm sure it was an isolated occurrence and would never happen again." oh, how great it must be to be a white, non-muslim male in america.

*Rude - Magic!

Monday, July 14, 2014

and sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live when you were young

there are some things that act as time machines, that pull us back through time to a moment that we may have thought was lost. these can be songs, pictures, foods, movies... anything really. we all have some, and they are all different. for me, one my time machines is the morning call to prayer (athan).

there is a line that is only said in the call to the first prayer of the day. (it basically says that prayer is better than sleep.)

when i hear that line, i am suddenly back in california. i am six years old, and the house smells like fresh paint. there is new hardwood on the floors where there used to be carpet, and later, my sisters and i will fill some time with sock slides. our screams and laughter will fill the rooms of our townhouse. but now the house is quiet and dark. it is ramadan, and we have finished the morning meal. we have prayed. my sisters are asleep - on the floor since our beds were packed up - and my mom is, too. my dad reads his morning quran by a small lamp, and i sit quietly wrapped in my blanket watching tv. the animated adventures of dorothy gale and david and goliath and gulliver's travels. the tv screen grows brightly in the dark. when the cartoons are over, the house will wake up. but for now, there is only me, only the stories.

when i hear that line, i am engulfed in a pocket of peace from the past. the quiet hum of the tv. the silence of an entire neighborhood, minus two, sleeping. and the muffled call for prayer coming from our first athan clock: gold and shiny and shaped like a mosque but with speakers that don't allow for words, only sounds.

half a breath later, i am twenty-six again and sitting on my couch in my little one-bedroom apartment. it is ramadan. i have finished my morning meal, and i am reading my morning quran by a lamp. the world outside my living room is dark and sleeping. our new athan clock is black and sleek and the words pour from it clearly.

and every morning when i hear that prayer is better than sleep, i am six years old again.

*When You Were Young - The Killers

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

[one] i dropped off darcy this morning to be boarded, and i miss him so much more than i thought i would. the apartment seems so empty and quiet. i didn't realize how much noise he makes even though he doesn't actually "speak." i bet the people under us are happy, though. i always feel bad when darcy thumps because i'm sure they hear it through their ceiling. his thumps are loud.

[two] i am currently in the middle of that feeling of doing something and then not really remembering why you thought it was a good idea and kind wishing that you didn't but you already did so you have no choice to see it though. like when you drag a joke out a little too long, and even you want to just stop it, but it's too late.

[three] future me looking back at my life via my blog may not realize that yesterday was a really good day. i think i should put the record straight. despite not getting landline, it was a very potter day, and it doesn't matter that harry potter technically ended years ago. it doesn't matter that i am now a supposed fully-fledged adult. the second new harry potter stuff appears, the fangirl in me flares up as big as ever. the rita skeeter article was like a breath of fresh air when i hadn't realized i was drowning. i missed those guys. (although technically the article took place two years before the epilogue so my desire to know what happens after the epilogue is still unsatiated. and if this article came out two years earlier then teddy kissing victoire shouldn't have been such a big deal because they would have been doing it for two years. see, this is what happens when i'm starved of information. i get too analytical and critical.) the wizarding world expansion also opened yesterday, and i am planning on visiting it this fall and i am so excited. this has kind of been the year of harry potter news with the theme park, the movie, the play (which i am also fantasy planning on going to see and really hoping that it turns into really planning), and new short stories.

[four] this is kind of going along with the previous point, but it's not hp related so it got its own number. yesterday marked the day that i finally finally finally got past that stupid level in candy crush. the number three-twenty-three will forever haunt me, but i learned a valuable lesson. if it has nothing to do with school, i do not give up easily. i work and try and work and try until i succeed. yay me. (if only i could apply that same perseverance to more productive things. oh well.)

[five] there are eight minutes left until i can eat so i am not going to reread this. if there are typos or non-flowy parts, i apologize. i'm not sorry enough though to edit. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

all of our plans have fallen through

did i mention on here that my travel plans changed a bit because airlines suck and way too many people want to leave and come back on the same days that i do and i suck at planning and maybe some things should not be left to the last minute? lesson learned, by the way.

anyway, because my travel days changed a bit, i was going to be in my apartment on the eighth. when landline comes out. and i was super excited. i mean, i pre-ordered this book in october. i was ready to read it.

as you may or may not realize, today is the eighth. and just take a wild guess who is sitting in her apartment without the book with no chance the book is going to get here today? yup. that would be me.

because, you see, i pre-ordered this book in october. and sometime between then and now, my credit card expired. and while i did change it on amazon after a different order told me it couldn't be shipped because my credit card was expired and i should probably change that, i forgot to change it for this specific order. and so a couple of days ago amazon basically told me the same thing for this book. and even though i updated my credit card information literally seconds after receiving the email (i was lucky enough to be online at the time), they counted it as a new order. which means i had missed the pre-order cut-off date. which means unless i wanted to pay extra for one-day shipping (i have not paid for shipping from amazon for years. i was not about to start now. even if it is for a book i want.) i was going to have to wait a couple of days before i got it.

and so i'm waiting. and hoping it gets here before i leave. this book better be good.

*The Way It Was - The Killers

Saturday, July 5, 2014

and we softly surrender to these lives

we are now on the fifth day of july, and i think i have to come to terms with the fact that i will not be doing camp nano this year, and that makes me sad. i just... can't do it. i mean, i can, of course i can, but i think there are things that i need to do instead of it. i think that's what's making me sad. the fact that i know i could carve out an hour or two from every day this month to write, but that i'm choosing not to. i have been waiting for july since december so i would have something - albeit something pretty arbitrary - holding me accountable for my writing. i have seriously been thinking about my characters a lot over the past few months. i really like them. and i really want to write down their story so that other people can like them, too. but i've only been able to do little snippets here and there. there hasn't been that daily push through a couple of thousand of words since november, and i miss it. and i was looking forward to it. and i am actually choosing not to do it. gah.

(i think my problem started when i was debating whether to use camp nano to work on my dissertation, and i have zero problems ignoring that kind of writing, and so my brain thought it was okay. or something.)

i still plan on writing this summer, though. i really do. i want to. the only problem is that planning and wanting are not doing and while i have never had any problem with the first two, that last one has always seemed to trip me up. maybe instead of twenty-six being the year of deep breaths, i should have made it be the year of getting my act together and getting stuff done. or maybe the year of discipline because i need some of that as well. 

*Bed of Lies - Matchbox 20

Thursday, July 3, 2014

building and fixing till it's good as new

i started this blog post three different times, and i dunno if it's the fasting or what, but it kept coming out just incredibly sappy. and saccharine. and just... overkill times ten. so. suffice it to say that today was one of those days where you think, being me is actually pretty awesome. those days when you're really appreciative of the little weird things that make you you. and that is all i will say on that. moving on.

my in-laws have this house that they're renting out and i have so many ugly emotions tied up in it that i've started to hate it. (when i was in the midst of whatever i was in around my birthday, i would spend most of days doing small jobs around that house to fix it up between renters, things like caulking bathrooms and painting pantries and scrubbing floors. the feeling of completing a task successfully, no matter how small, was something i needed. it was partly therapeutic and partly toxic and i can still taste the desperation in the air when i'm in it.) anyway, the appliances all kind of decided to die and while i needed to call a repair guy for the washer and fridge, i was going to fix the garbage disposal myself. well, the original plan was for my dad to fix it, but then there was a couple of really intense, stress-filled weeks and then he left the country with the rest of my family. so it was left to me. and let me tell you, it did not look good. i went back to that house three days in a row (mainly because i kept forgetting things that i needed and would try to fix it for ten minutes before telling myself that if i only remembered the needle-nose pliers i would be able to do it and i'll just come back tomorrow) and it got to the point where people were telling me to just leave it to my husband or a repair guy and no that did not mean that i was weak and worthless it just meant that there were some things i could not do. 

but see, i refused to believe that. especially in that house. i had pushed all the stress and failure and negative feelings out of my mind into those rooms for months, and they were all just waiting for a chance to move back in. i could not fail. and so i didn't. and it felt awesome. (i was on the phone with my dad wen i fixed it and i'm pretty sure he thinks i'm crazy because of how excited i got.) and while fixing a garbage disposal is really not that big of a deal, shut up. it was symbolic. with maybe just a bit of some unhealthy obsession. 

and then i became incredibly arrogant because apparently my ego will swell at the slightest hint of an accomplishment and called my husband and said, "you're so lucky you married me. not only am i smart and pretty and creative, but i can also fix stuff. you hit the freaking jackpot." yeaaah, i'm obnoxious. 

and then i tried to play candy crush and failed again at that same level that i have been stuck on forever and my ego was returned to its natural size. i really need to pass this level, you guys. my self-worth has somehow become tied up in it. it's bad. i will be eighty-seven years old and still trying to beat it, refusing to give up. 

*Bob the Builder Theme Song

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

remember when i used to come on here and wax poetic about the lies that we were told growing up?  like how we could be anything we wanted to be, etc? (i'm pretty sure i wrote more than one post about this kind of stuff, but got sidetracked into reading my old posts for too long and now have no more time to look for them.) yeah, well my recent complaint against what we are telling our children is "practice makes perfect." because it does not. practice makes better most of the time, sure, but sometimes, it doesn't. sometimes you can practice and practice and practice and still completely suck. and you know, being told that you still suck because you just haven't been practicing enough when you know that there is really no possible way that you could have practiced anymore without devoting your entire life to practice - stopping any and every other thing in your life, including eating and sleeping - sucks. gah.

end rant.