Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category
“We always let him and we always will let him. The moment is structured that way.”
In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, readers are treated to a unique idea in the form of the Tralfamadorians, a race of aliens who capture Billy Pilgrim to put him in their human zoo. They teach him how to become unstuck in time. These beings do not experience their lives in the way that we think of as “in order”, that is birth to death, but instead as if all their life is happening and has already happened all at once. This idea of all moments, or time travel if you will, becomes the major structure of the novel. What interests me is how the Tralfamadorians acknowledge that the idea of free will is taken out of the picture by this conception of time, but fail to see how that should bother them. The quote at the beginning comes from one of the beings telling Billy Pilgrim that one of their people will shortly do something that will cause the whole planet to explode. Billy asks why they don’t stop him, still thinking in linnear time.
What if all things that happen are already predetermined in some way? I don’t know if I mean by any sort of higher power or just by natural events. If we think about it rationally, any time something happens, even something shocking, upon reflection there are always events that lead up to it, causes for the effect. Every moment in our lives is cause and effect. I can explain every facet of my personality by relating it to something that happened to me when I was younger. I am very uncomfortable with my face getting wet in the shower, the rain, or swimming because once when I was eight, I almost drowned in a neighbor’s pool. I didn’t drown, of course, because the moment wasn’t structured that way. Even if as people we are unable to become unstuck in time and live our moments out of sequence, we can still relive them through the way we remember them. I can still feel the cranking pain in my mouth as my mother expanded the crank in my palate when I had braces. I can still see the three brightly colored sailboats on my third birthday cake. I can still smell the lilac tree that flowered every summer outside my school.
I do begin to wonder if our lives are planned out in some way. A couple of weeks ago in Ruth’s tarot class, I drew the 6 of pentacles, a card that I was told is a positive message of prosperity or something of the sort. I did not see this at all. Instead, I became very concerned by the images I saw on my card. I became very suspicious of the being handing out the glowing orbs to the smaller beings waiting with outstretched hands. I particularly became concerned for a small, innocent looking gnomish man at the bottom of the card. He looked so beguiled by what he had been given, so childishly excited. I didn’t trust these gifts and I became taken over by a desire to help this small gnome man. I told the class that I felt the underlying message of the card was not to trust things that seem too easy, that I shouldn’t deny feelings of unease just because it would make others happy. I remember thinking nothing more of it at the time.
A week later, I started talking to this boy. He seemed very intelligent and keen on me. A tiny part of me felt very surprised, a tiny feeling that this was all too good to be true. I pushed it aside. He and I agreed that since I was graduating in a couple of months, there was no real point in our getting too serious, but we could entertain a sort of casual dating relationship anyway. This seemed eminently agreeable to me. Everything seemed to be going fine when he suddenly flipped out over something I had written on my personal blog, a very casual play-by-play of what we had been up to in the past few days. Though I thought it was an innocuous description at best, he told me it was extremely personal and that I had broken his trust. Look over it as I might, I could not figure out where he was getting this impression. The whole time we were talking, I thought he would suddenly reveal it as a joke. At first, I was feeling very bad about upsetting him, even if I didn’t understand how I had done it. Then he sent me a message saying we shouldn’t communicate any more because it was clear I was “falling for him”. I wasn’t. I became very furious that he couldn’t see my writing as an exercise in self-reflection, but only a lovesick girl mooning. He told me he knew from the beginning that he shouldn’t have started anything with me, but that he had against his better judgement. I was angry because I hadn’t liked him that much at the beginning and I definitely didn’t then.
You see, from the beginning I had already lived out the possible end of that relationship. I had seen myself at graduation, walking off back to my house and driving off back up north without a tear in my eye. Now, as it turns out, that isn’t how the acquaintance ended, but it is definitely true of how I will feel about him when I leave. If I remember him at all. I think back to my card, back to my concern with trusting something that seemed too easy, and realize that on some level my subconscious was trying to tell me something. When I saw a story of caution and concern in a card that means the opposite, maybe somewhere else in my timeline I had already lived the moment where a boy decided he knew more about my feelings than I did. Maybe when I distrusted the large fairy woman passing out the orbs, I was already feeling the echoes of the pretentious jackass who would make me feel bad about liking what I like. Maybe when I wanted to save that leprechaun from falling for the fairy orbs, it was because I knew I couldn’t. He would accept the orbs and I would waste a week on a patronizing idiot. So it goes.
There are many things about this world and about the people around me that I do not understand. Many things I think are normal that turn out to be strange or vice versa. I’m not sure how this happened exactly; my parents are objectively normal members of society. I don’t know where I got these ideas.
When I was little, I never thought fart jokes were funny. I was never amused by quips about bodily functions. I’ve seen in movies and books the idea that every kid finds fart jokes funny at some point, and burping too. I never did. I legitimately don’t understand what could possibly be funny about them. I don’t want to try to ask anyone about it, but I suspect the answer might be “They just are” or something to that nature, as if the humor is inherent.
I never liked the random games people would play, because I didn’t like rules that would inconvenience me. If someone ever “jinxed” me, I would roll my eyes at them and give them a derisive stare before I would go on talking. If I were playing truth or dare and I was asked or told something I didn’t want to do, I wouldn’t do it. The others would be upset with me that I wasn’t “playing by the rules”, but I would get so frustrated because I didn’t want to play in the first place. I was only there joining in on their activities because I felt like it was normal, like it was something I was supposed to do. I tried to pretend like I was having fun, but I really wasn’t.
Though I am in college, I see no appeal in alcohol. Though I am very shy, I force myself to go to the parties held by people at school that seem to at least nominally accept me. I sit there while all they do is flip over cards or roll dice that tell them how much they get to drink. It makes me feel so sad because I literally cannot fathom why this is fun. “Let’s destroy our internal organs with liquids that will literally make our stomachs reject them.” Why is this entertainment? Why can we never do anything else? Maybe I’m strange, but I really enjoy a good challenging board game, or a card game that doesn’t involve how many shots my “friends” can throw down without passing out. Oh, sometimes they’ll have a couple people playing video games or something, but usually if we’re doing something that doesn’t involve alcohol it’s because we’ve gone out to do something, like eating at a restaurant. So I have to pay not to sit and watch my friends drink? Last night was one of those get-togethers, everyone in a circle with their own aims to get plastered. I sat there watching them, because I felt like I was still “supposed to” be there even if I wasn’t having any fun. The night dragged on and everyone stopped talking to each other and instead shouting about how one person or another had to drink. I wanted to go home so badly, to not be there, but I felt trapped in my chair, like it would be some kind of “serious party foul” if I tried to leave. I was there probably an hour longer than I wanted to be before I finally summoned up the courage to rise from my chair and grab my jacket. If this is how other gatherings are going to go (and precedent seems to be set up for that), I’m not sure I want to go next time. I will, though, because even friends that make me feel uncomfortable and awkward are supposed to be better than spending the time alone in my room. That’s supposed to be the case. Why doesn’t it feel that way? I don’t understand.
I think that one reason I’d really like to be dating someone, other than the obvious benefits, is that I’d like to be able to take someone I care about home to meet my family.
Look, I know I’m talking about potential love interests and such a lot lately, but it’s my blog and I’ll do whatever the (explicative deleted) I want with it.
Anyway, where was I? Family. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I honestly believe that part of the reason I’m having such a hard time being here at college and feeling so listless is that I am four hours away from the place I still consider my home. There are so many sensory memories that always come to mind when I think of it. Ironically curling up into a tiny ball in my queen sized bed. Waving my hands moronically at the motion sensor light in the basement that has once again decided that I’m invisible. Lying on the floor with my dog and wrapping my arms around his neck because he is just so adorable. Laughing with my brother over some stupid joke we saw on TV. Rolling my eyes at my dad every time he puts on his childlike voice to tease me. Sprawling at the foot of my mom’s bed while she and I talk before she goes to sleep early for her job the next morning. Eating casseroles. Sitting down for dinner as a family. Being able to walk through a kitchen without stepping in something sticky.
Then there’s the warmth I feel for my family, a feeling that can’t be beat. Sometimes we misunderstand each other, but I’m very greatful to have aunts, uncles, and cousins who all live so close to me that I see most of them on a regular basis and all holidays. Sometimes Aaron and I just sit in the living room and talk about whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t matter what it is really. The way my Aunt Tami helps me out with all of my projects that are even vaguely art related. The joy I get from seeing Natalie plow through book after book the way I did when I was her age.
I could never be away from my family. I’ve thought about this a lot, especially as it pertains to my future. When I grow up, I can’t really imagine myself living that far away from where I live now. I’m so used to everyone being within a short drive (with the recent exception of Melissa et al) that I can’t even fathom settling down here. It has been an okay school to attend and I’ve made some interesting acquaintances, but nothing is really holding me here.
I do worry a little bit that if I do meet someone he might live down here. I do not want to do long distance and would not be willing to stay down here, so that pretty much does it. Even someone who lived in the city would seem far away to me, though I could maybe be more accepting of that distance.
A month ago my cousin Sarah surprised all of us by announcing on Facebook that she and her fiance were leaving to Vegas (not just for the heck of it) to get married and inviting anyone who wanted to see them off to stop by the house for a party that night. Okay, so some people probably knew before that, but I was out of the loop. There was no way I was going to be able to be back home the same day. I felt so sad about it because I really wanted to be there.
I want to be able to hear about something my family is doing and be there the same day. I don’t want to have to plan out every camping trip or impromptu meal. If I’m ever asked to choose between work and family, I will choose family every time because they are the most important thing in the world to me. I guess it’s just the slight smidgeon of Hufflepuff in me. Not too much though, because God knows I’m not that hardworking.
I’m craving one of my mom’s cheeseburgers so hardcore right now. I don’t know what she does to them that makes them better than any other cheeseburger I’ve ever had, but my mouth is practically watering just thinking about them.
I don’t think I woud be exaggerating if I said that I’ve had a love affair with music since I was very young. My first songs were mostly all Disney, of course. I still remember standing with my cousin at the top of the staircase to her room and belting out “Colors of the Wind” for her mother. This same aunt later remarked that it was good that Melissa could sing and I knew all the words. Okay, I don’t remember exactly what she said, but that’s how my eight year old brain remembered it.
When I was in private school, most of my singing came from church music we would have to learn for the twice a month during the week Mass we were required to attend. It was my favorite part of the service and probably the only part I remembered afterward for most of my childhood. I particularly recall this one song that was very entrancing because it didn’t sound much like a normal church song. It was called “See How the Virgin Waits” (or at least something like that) and it was about the Virgin Mary in the days anticipating the birth of Jesus. One of the verses was something like, “Now a new pattern on the loom. Now a new presence in the room. What is she thinking as the sun is sinking waiting the birthday of the Son of God?”
Of course, later I developed interest in popular music as well. My iTunes account holds 5789 songs at this very moment. I got a treble clef tattooed on my hip. When I’m experiencing new music, I like to just lie in my bed and let it wash over me. I do this with particularly powerful favorites as well. The feelings I get when I hear a song that matches my moods are the most amazing thing. I can’t even explain how great it feels to know that someone else, somewhere, gets it. That music spreads over me and I just want to roll my hips and shake my hair and do whatever I can to express physically what the song makes me feel. I once composed an impromptu ballet in my kitchen to a song below.
I want to lay out a playlist here and today I’m going to focus on songs that describe the way I hope I’ll feel when I’m in love for the first time, because it’s something I talked about a couple of days ago. It’s not about crazy passion or hot sex a lot of the time. It’s about the overwhelming emotion you can feel in the simplest of moments. It’s not always happy, but the strong warmth inside is well worth every moment.
Aly & AJ – Chemicals React
Avenue Q – Fantasies Come True
Bad English – When I See You Smile
The Beatles – Something
Betty Everett – It’s in His Kiss
The Butterbeer Experience – Chapter 34
Chris Colfer – I Wanna Hold Your Hand
Counting Crows – Accidentally in Love
Dana Fuchs – Don’t Let Me Down
Dashboard Confessional – As Lovers Go
Def Leppard – When Love and Hate Collide
Destiny’s Child – Brown Eyes
Drake Bell – Up Periscope
Etta James – At Last
Fall Out Boy – Grand Theft Autumn
Gavin Degraw – In Love with a Girl
Gene Kelly – Almost like Being in Love
Hedley – Sweater Song
Jaime Lyn Beatty – Harry
Jennifer Hudson – Love You I Do
Jeremy Kay – Weight in Gold
Jersey Boys – December 1963
Jim Sturgess – I’ve Just Seen a Face
Jonas Brothers – Lovebug
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
Keith Urban – I Could Fly
Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Mandy Moore – Gardenia
Matthew Morrison – Tell Me Something Good
McFly – Little Joanna
Mike Lombardo – Hey Molly*
Nat King Cole – Unforgettable
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – You and Me Go Fishing in the Dark
Olivia Olson – All I Want for Christmas is You
Paramore – The Only Exception
Quietdrive – Time After Time
Robin Thicke – When I Get You Alone
Rufus Wainwright – Bewitched
Sam Sparro – Black and Gold
Shawn Kane – You Send Me
Skye Sweetnam – Tangled Up in Me
Spring Awakening – Touch Me
Stereopath – Losing It
Sutton Foster – Gimme Gimme
Teddy Geiger – For You I Will
For my Harlem Renaissance class my classmates and I were instructed to write a paper about the Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston play “Mule Bone”. We weren’t really told what it was we were supposed to write about it. People taking this class can elect to credit it for English, history, or African American studies, so the teacher was allowing a pretty broad scope of topics. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I spoke to another student in my class who was comparing it to Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing” and discussing the cultural significance of each to their time periods. This seemed like a pretty good idea and I decided I would do something similar. I had never seen “Do the Right Thing”, though I considered downloading it. In the end, I didn’t go that route.
It wasn’t until this afternoon, around 12-12:30, that I started to read the required play and immediately I was frustrated by it. The majority of the play consists of some people sitting on a porch and arguing. Finally, in the second act it seemed the story might start to get interesting when Jim hits Dave across the face with the leg bone of a mule and Dave is knocked out. Unfortunately, it seems that my copy of the play was missing the third act, so I never learned what happened to Jim after that. I tried researching on Wikipedia, but all I got was that they argued in court about Sampson or something.
The ending wasn’t important, though, if I could find something good to use as a comparison. I knew that I wanted to discuss how “Mule Bone” was important to understanding the culture of the Harlem Renaissance, but what could I use to represent the black culture of today? Then it hit me…
What could be more perfect? I have actually only seen the first half of the first season of this show, but it turned out that there were three episodes from which I could draw pretty easy comparisons to sections of “Mule Bone”: The Trial of R. Kelly, Granddad’s Fight, and Return of the King. I don’t have a lot more to say about my essay because I already spent four hours working on it and I don’t want to spend time explaining it, so I’ll just post an excerpt:
The fight between Jim and Dave erupts in a very similar manner to what Huey terms as a “n**** moment” in the episode “Granddad’s Fight.” Though the object of their fight, Daisy, seems barely ancilliary to their lives, in their anger she becomes something that makes them turn on each other. As Huey describes, this moment is caused when “Ignorance overwhelms the mind of an otherwise logical negro man, causing him to act in a self-destructive manner” and considers it an important facet to pay attention to in culture, because unchecked, it “would be the third leading killer of black men” (McGruder, Granddad’s Fight). Huey points out that, as much as it seems obvious to walk away from a confrontation based on unimportant events, too many of these quarrels end in violence. Many critics of these types of media do not want these issues portrayed, but it is important to see them because if they are shoved under the rug and explained, they will be explained away. Instead, these events are shown to teach those who need to learn from the mistakes of the fictional characters to look at themselves from the outside.
I think The Boondocks is an important show for people to watch. We should discuss the ideas presented instead of just discounting it as controversial. You know what? I think Martin Luther King Jr. would actually be ashamed of some of what he would see if he were suddenly alive today.
I was going to blog about something very different today, but I just did something that I think warrants talking about. Tonight I became a minister of the Universal Life Church.
This (I imagine) raises three questions, especially for people who know me. 1) How did you become a minister? 2) Why do you want to be a minister? And 3) How can you be a minister of the ULC if you’re Catholic?
Let me explain:
1) The Universal Life Church allows anyone who wants to be a minister to apply to be one. They will help you with obtaining the proper documents needed in your county of your state. They do not care why someone wants to be a minister and believe that anyone who has this desire should be allowed to do so.
2) I have been reading blogs on the website Wedding Bee (http://www.weddingbee.com/) and the blogger Mrs. Penguin did a whole post about how someone might become legally ordained as a minister. This is something I had thought about before, but the idea particularly appealed to me now. I really like the idea of the officiant of a wedding being someone the couple knows, someone who can really personalize their ceremony. I know friends who are not religious, but would like to have someone to lead a ceremony other than some random stranger. I don’t know if any of my friends or relatives will actually ever call on me to fulfill this role, but I like that I can.
3) Being Catholic doesn’t really preclude one from being a minister of the ULC. They state upfront that they promote freedom of religion. Anyway, I’m not sure how Catholic I actually am. Culturally, I will always be a Catholic. It’s how I was brought up, the school I attended, the practices of my mother and grandmother. It will always be a part of my history in a positive way. Technically, I will also always be a Catholic religiously. I was baptized as a child and confirmed at age sixteen. I’ve taken part in every Catholic ceremony one can as a young, healthy, single woman. Belief-wise, however, I don’t know what religion I ascribe to. I have ideas about how I think the world works, but I hardly think it necessary for a person to label him or herself in order to have beliefs.
I am really excited at the idea I could officiate a wedding some day. I can also do funerals, baptisms and hear confession, but it’s the weddings I’m excited about. The best officiant to me is one who makes a service really personal to the couple. I would try very hard to do this and I feel I could be good at it. I am pretty comfortable as a public speaker, so I would have no problem leading a ceremony once I had practiced at it. I would talk to the couple about what ideas they had for the service and try to make the day as memorable as possible.
I feel very strongly that weddings are an important time in a person’s life and I would do everything in my power to make it an amazing day.
P.S. Oh, and Amanda became one as well. I hemmed and hawed a little bit about whether or not to tell her, because I knew she would want to be one, but in the end she had the right attitude about it. I knew she would, honestly. She’s very excited about it, much like I am, but she also sees the seriousness that can come with the title. We discussed our feeling that we should embark on some course of study to really earn the titles we have been given, though we don’t know exactly how that study will focus as of yet.
P.P.S. I don’t know what I want my official title to be yet, but I’m leaning toward Doctor of Metaphysics. Crystal also suggested I go for Time Lord.
Last night, I was lying in bed beginning to go to sleep when my mind became conscious of the light. I had forgotten to unplug my laptop and the bright blue signal of this fact was sending its halo out across my room. I attempted to sit up and stare directly at the source of the light, as if my mild annoyance were enough to pull the plug out. Sometimes I still believe I am Matilda.
Only as I tried to look at the light, I realized I couldn’t see it. No matter how I angled my head, there was something from my desk blocking my view. I realized I could see the aura even better when I laid back down and decided it wasn’t so important to see where it was coming from.
In a way, this is a lot like how I view God. I was brought up with religion, but in a very easy-going (perhaps lazy) household in which my mother took us to church but we didn’t really talk about it once we left. I also went to Catholic school. We prayed every day and went to Mass during school hours a couple times a month, but otherwise it now seems pretty secular. Other than religion classes that were more about teaching certain stories in the Bible than anything else, we didn’t really talk about God.
When I got older and had more experience with people from Protestant religions, I began to wonder if what I had experienced was indicative of Catholicism or just my particular experience. I believed in God and had one-sided conversations with him in my head, but I wasn’t outward, Evangelical. I actually became annoyed with how much some Protestants brought it up in their speech, in times where invoking God didn’t seem to serve any purpose I could uncover. I remember one of my cousins getting upset and an aunt (not the mother) quietly telling her that God would forgive her for her bad behavior. This was to a five year old. When I was that age, I didn’t understand proportion. Bringing up how God would feel about her actions may have upset her even more. It would have done so to me.
This is where the laptop light comes back in. There have been times in my academic career when I have questioned the nature of God, of faith. I have always felt that some element was beyond our comprehension, that we could never really know what he/she/it/they wanted from us, but I have no doubt of its existence. I can feel it around me. I don’t need to see it or talk about it for it to be a real experience. I could just get up and unplug the light. Certainly that might make more sense to some people as the logical thing to do. Even so, I don’t feel I need to directly affect the light in some way. I really don’t mind its presence in my room.