Saying Goodbye

I’m not good with goodbyes. In fact, I avoid them at all costs. I always run away right before the end. This is going to sound dramatic. But Pretty Little Liars changed my life. When I first saw the books in my local Target, I avoided them, The premise seemed interesting but in the moment I was turned off by the covers with the dolls (which I now have grown to love). I couldn’t tell who they were meant for. But when I was nineteen, life got derailed a little bit. I came home from college after being severely bullied to the point of suicidal thoughts. My parents were divorcing, I quit my job but it felt like I lost it, and I was lonely and bitter and tired. I bought the first book, even though I was trying to stretch my money. The books was impossible to put down. The narration was impeccable, fast paced, hooking. The characters were like celebrities. They truly came alive on the page. I went back to the store and bought the rest of the available books in the series. After that , I preordered every book as they came out.

My grandmother was also my savior at that time (and always). I stayed with her for days and weeks, and at night I would turn in early to read my beloved books. Not since Harry Potter had I been so enthralled with a series. I am a lover of all books, not a chooser of favorites. When I found out PLL was going to be a show I was worried. How would they manage to convey these characters I loved so much, and the plot I held so dear? I tuned into the pilot and I haven’t tuned out since.

The show has been equally paradise and hell for me. One thing they certainly did get right was keeping the essence of the characters while adapting and growing them for the show. The TV plots weaved between from-the-book and brand new, the twists and turns were shocking. Could they do this on ABC Family? Could they do that?

Characters lived longer on the show than in the books. New characters were introduced. It all felt canon. It all felt right.

And then there were the disappointments. Sometimes the show dangled too many questions and gave no answers. The mystery, having been extended over more than 100 episodes, was getting more tangled and harder to figure out. Plot holes were around every corner. Yet so many of us stuck with it.

I discovered the tumblr community. The theories, the youtube videos. I had discussions with friends, taking notes as I watched each episode for future talking points.

2 weeks from today it is all over. There are 3 hours left, and one special. I am ready. I am not ready. I am ready to cry. In fact, I cried twice this morning. I’m an emotional gal. I cannot wait for the end. But mostly I am grateful for netflix and hulu – as long as they host the show, I can rewatch it, over and over. To comfort me when I’m in pain,

the autobiography project

It might seem silly when I tell you to “write your autobiography.” You’re not famous, you don’t feel worthy, you don’t think anyone would care, or just plain simply, you don’t think you need to or even want to for yourself. But you should! One day your memories won’t be so sharp. They’re already starting to fade. As it is, we make up so much of our memories anyway. It’s better to get the ones you remember out now rather than keep them inside until they shape-shift, warp, and disappear.

I keep a diary, but I’m not always “good” at it. It’s not organized. It’s not about my day or even about significant life events. There are redundant entries and lists and notes about lectures or events on reading and writing. Just a place really for me to dump my thoughts. But a few years back, when I had some free time on my hands after college, I decided to write it all out, chronologically, by age/grade, starting with birth.  I want to remember my life, both the agony and the ecstasy.  What started out as a few bullet points per year now has all of my memories racing at me at once. i can barely write down the outline before the next bullet is hitting, and as i write each sentence from the bullet point, things get clearer and clearer, until i am facing the past and moving forward wth my future at the same time. handwriting it is making it more personal, and now it will be in my diary forever. I also now have the opportunity to see patterns, and learn from the past, as well as see the direction I am heading in the future.

I never want anyone to read my diaries. They showcase the good, the bad, and especially the ugly. They are all mine, but they are sacred to me, no matter how messy or muted my life is, I have a place to explore it, and I want to put it to good use. In addition, I freewrite, use journal prompts… etc. I spend hours exploring the internet looking at diaries and bullet journals and art journals and planners, and I will probably never share more than a page or two once every few years of mine. But that’s okay. I like my journal the way she is. Unpredictable, like me.

something i wrote a year ago today…

Being yourself is one of the most courageous ways to live. If you think it’s hard being yourself and there is no way you can do it, think about how much pressure you put on yourself every time you pretend to be something you’re not.

On the TVLand show Younger, Liza is a forty year old woman pretending to be twenty six so she can have her dream job, her dream boyfriend, and a “second chance” at life. Yet even though she now has the job, the man, and the life she dreamed of, she feels like a fraud. Not only does she have to lie every day to the outside world, but now she has friends and a lover she can only be so real with.

It is so hard to feel like a fraud. To feel like you are nothing, you’re ugly, you’re stupid, you’re just pretending to be something you’re not. For so many of us, myself included a lot of the time, looking in the mirror is a chore. Depression, anxiety, and Impostor Syndrome are real things. You don’t feel connected to yourself or the world around you. And even if you remember that the times you’ve been the happiest were the times you let go, accepted yourself, and lived harmoniously, you just can’t shake off the insecurities.

I think the first step is opening your eyes to realizing that everyone can be captured by these feelings and thoughts even if just for a moment. Even the most confident, gorgeous person in the world, someone who literally glows from within, can wake up and feel ugly sometimes. It’s so easy to throw yourself under the bus. It’s like when you see the same friend every day, and maybe their quirks become irksome – you inhabit your own body and mind 24/7 and you can irk yourself. But it’s important to remember:

No one else can ever be you. You are loved. You have something to offer this world. You can do this. You are beautiful, and smart, and kind, and most importantly, you are unique. A fingerprint that cannot be replicated.

Don’t let yourself get too down.

journaling/planning crisis

I just put into words for myself why I vacillate between paper and digital with planning and journaling etc. To break it down for you, I spent most of my school years (grades 6-senior year of undergrad) with a paper planner. I then had a year off from school, and once I started my first semester of grad school, I was into OneNote. But even as someone who uses ON, I don’t even use it to the best of its capabilities (I’ve seen some amazing spreads on tumblr!). I use a standard “notebook” and keep my to-do list in it, about a week or two at a time, and erase as I go. It mostly works for me but here are my issues:

  • I wish I could keep the old lists, but that involves moving it over into another page or notebook, and using up the space (I don’t pay to use this program so I have limited space). [Also this isn’t so important as my “lists” don’t always consist of anything important – just menial tasks for that day].
  • I tried to keep a paper planner where I would write down important things that got erased, but I fall off the wagon with this a lot.
  • When using only a paper planner, I dislike that I cannot easily “move things around.” My friend suggested using a pencil, but it doesn’t feel fancy enough, and I’ll never go back and rewrite with a pen if I want it to be more permanent.

 

These are very first-world issues and very specific issues to me. Usually by the time I write about a problem publicly, I have already went through every possible solution. This digital/paper problem bleeds into my journaling life too.

I like to journal, but the thoughts roll out fast. I type them so that I can get it all out, but then I wish it was written in my notebook. I often find myself transcribing into my notebook whatever I wrote in my computer document. This works well unless I have written a large amount of typed pages, or if i begin to self-edit as I copy into my journal.

My family got our first computer when I was six, in 1996, and my computer time was very limited until college. I was used to writing everything by hand be it a journal entry, a short story or poem, or homework (unless it was mandatory to be typed). I am a millenial and I love my technology. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I also adore planners, art and written journaling, bujos, the works. I don’t want to give up my love for either digital or paper but my time is not unlimited. I think we make time for things we love, and I definitely do make time for these things, but perhaps I could make more. Especially for the journaling and art journaling.

Tell me how or why you journal or plan the way you do.

adventures in cooking

I have never been encouraged to cook by my family, only berated for not knowing how (and I was not going to ask to be taught by those who were verbally hurtful). While I know how to make pasta (but not sauce or meatballs), tacos, eggs, banana bread, and a few other extremely basic, “bland” foods, I am no Barefoot Contessa. My only claim to fame so far, homemade mac and cheese, has been slammed for being “cold in the middle,” no matter how long I heated it. I got an A+ from my brothers though! Anyway the bottom line is that I never felt confident enough to even try. There are those who will chalk it up to millenial damage, but I chalk it up to a whole other kind of damage.

But the week leading up to Easter, I had a special guest – my sister. Though she is 6 years younger than me, and acts her age in many ways, there are other ways in which she is vastly more mature. One of them being that she can actually cook. While she was here she taught me a basic italian sauce. I have some frozen, but will not be attempting to make my own until fall begins to beckon. But at least now I know how, and don’t need to buy a jar from the store unless I want to. I already know how to make chicken cutlets (it’s my favorite food!) so this fall I will make chicken parm. I plan on using the sauce my sister froze for lasagna next week!

During the weeks leading up to her visit, we talked about Easter Sunday and what we would cook. We decided on ham and potatoes as the main faire. When the day actually rolled around, she was not very helpful. But I wasn’t worried. She had already taught me so much about cooking in one week! I set a few timers on my phone to calm my anxiety, and got going. Dinner was a success!! I enjoyed making it!! All I needed was some confidence, a phone with the ability to set multiple alarms, and my sister, boyfriend, and good friend nearby for damage control.

Everyone loved dinner and I was so proud of myself. Two weeks later I promised to bring dessert to T’s house, the friend mentioned above. I normally would have panicked and bought some bakery cake from the local grocery. But I made (instant) pudding and poured it into a (premade) oreo crust. I got strawberries and some whipped cream. Now I know this is nothing. I whisked some milk and powder together and poured it into a premade crust. BUT… for me it was a HUGE STEP!

Lastly, tonight I made… *drumroll please* 2 STEAKS! All on my own! I used this recipe, and it worked out for me. I didn’t have anxiety, or freak out in any way. The steak was delicious and came out exactly like I imagined – no, wait, it was better 🙂 Along with the steak I made (instant) rice and (steamfresh) green beans. But when the green beans were done steaming, i mixed them in oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Tomorrow we are having guests for dinner, and I am making chicken and mashed potatoes. This is no shock because I have made this many times, even for the particular couple coming over. But on Friday I will attempt to make cod with a lemon sauce. I can’t wait.

White Teeth; Zadie Smith

I just finished reading White Teeth for my class on Narrative Structure. Goodreads is full of mixed reviews. There are those who find it brilliant, and those who find it boring. I am the former. I underlined and circled and notated so much. I was reading four books at the time, (White Teeth, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, and Bird by Bird) but kept coming back to this one.

Here is my favorite passage:

“A neutral place. The chances of finding one these days are slim… The sheer quantity of shit that must be wiped off the slate if we are to start again as new. Race. Land. Ownership. Faith. Theft. Blood. And more blood. And more. And not only must the place be neutral, but the messenger who takes you to the place, and the messenger who sends the messenger. There are no people or places left like that in North London” (378).

I know that this place might be impossible to find. I know that might even be the point of this passage – that such neutrality is beyond our grasp. But I like to work towards the future I envision. I don’t know what I’m trying to say except for this book spoke to me, and made me think, and comforted me, and hurt me, and I know I am late to the Zadie Smith show, but I’m glad I tuned in.

not a review, a meditation

There is a saying: the cure for anything is salt – sweat, tears, or the ocean.

 

The ocean is full of secrets and dreams. it has the power to cleanse, to heal, to pull you under. They say salt – the kind in tears, sweat, and the ocean – is everything. The ocean is beauty. To quote Andre Breton, french surrealist of the twentieth century, beauty will be CONVULSIVE, or not at all. Synonyms for convulsive include, but are not limited to: fiery, hazardous, stormy, raging, perilous, uncontrollable, unstable, bursting, wild, violent… the list goes on and on. Nadja, with it’s dreamy and sometimes nightmareish prose, is certainly convulsive.
I always say love and hate are not opposites. They are twins. The same goes for the above words, and beauty. Nothing beautiful is easy. Nothing beautiful is still or easily controlled. Roses have thorns. The ocean can pull you under. Even the sun burns. You cannot touch a butterfly’s wings or it will die.  “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all” is the truth.  It means that with everything in life, you will have positives and negatives. The most pure example of this is LOVE. Love is patient, love is kind… but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes love is working through pain and hard times. Love can make you feel every emotion. You sometimes could not be happier, sometimes your heart is quite literally broken. Love stinks, love hurts. But for every low, there is an impeccable high. Where dreams are brought to realization. A love for writing, what was once an ideal, is now a fiery passion I fight for each day. The right to exist in this space. The right to worship at the altar of voice and courage and the grotesque beauty that is life, and committing life to record for future civilizations.