Friday, February 23, 2007

The Caged Bird Sings For Herself

Ok, so obviously I haven't written in a while. It's been almost a year. I get it. But who reads this anyway? I suppose it really doesn't matter who else is reading; it should be enough that I express myself. I don't have to pretend others care. There is a certain freedom in the lack of responsibility.

What has hung me up for so long (well, for much of this time) is the fact that I associate much of this thing with my past. Just look at it. It is covered with the life I have (tried to) leave behind. It's honestly difficult for me to look at. I guess that says something though. So I am trying to be brave. I am trying to listen to myself and see what I find. And I am trying to take back what is mine.

Part of me embraces my past and what this blog stands for, and part of me wishes to cut it all free with the hopes that in the process I find freedom in myself. Do we all need to cut out the past in order to make room for the future, or do we somehow incorporate it, painfully or not, into our lives? How do we really gain freedom?

I don't want to see myself as doing something for someone else, and yet what propels me to be the best I can be is, ironically, other people. Does this mean that I become a self-made prisoner when I express myself? Is that only the case when I do it for the approval of others? Or only if I become a narcisist? Does "being the best I can be" necessarily include gaining the approval of others?

God I hope not.

So here I am, writing for myself, and I can't help but wonder if I really am doing this all for myself.

When I started this blog it was because I had an interest in writing a book. I had held back on writing the stories for the book because I was afraid that I would alienate myself and hurt my family, as they would be key players in many of the stories. I told myself that I needed to gain some experience writing (which is, of course, true) and the blog would be a great place to let it all hang out. Not to mention the fact that my boyfriend at the time lived, slept, and breathed blogs and all they stood for.

So where was my place in all of this? How would I come to terms with my own self-doubt and fears of hurting my family coupled with the expectations of the others who would read these stories?

The fact was, I didn't.

I was too tied up in worrying about other people and wondering if I would gain their approval. I would like to think that I am now above that, but I know that it is a process. I am not narcissistic enough to believe that anything I make is going to be liked by everyone or even myself, but I am tired of that holding me back from the experience of screwing up and perhaps discovering more about myself in the process. And in finding success.

So I am doing this for myself.

I guess I believe that we really are an accumulation of all of our experiences and we just wouldn't be who we are if we didn't embrace the bad with the good. We only gain freedom when we accept ourselves, flaws and all.

I want to believe that this is cathartic and I will now propel into another land above sadness and regret and pain and move towards freedom. And I suppose I am. Slowly.

But I am getting impatient.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Best Birthday Ever

A few weeks ago I turned yet another year older, and I really wasn't looking forward to the event. Bre had asked me several weeks beforehand what I would like to do, but I just couldn't come up with anything concrete. I seemed to know a lot more about what I DIDN'T want to do, but that really isn't an answer. I mean, what do you do when you no longer want to admit that you are another year older?

Let's face it; a birthday is a day that I want to feel special just like I did when I was ten. I want to get butterflies in my stomach the minute I wake up just thinking about all of the attention and gifts I am going to recieve and all the chores I can forego because it is MY special day. I want to walk around with a smile on my face every minute just waiting for the next person to wish me well because, of course, EVERYONE in the WORLD knows that it is MY day. I want to eat as much cake and ice cream as I want right after an enthusiastic rendition of "Happy Birthday" in Chuck-e-Cheese's, the best place for a birthday party EVER. Most of all I want to feel truly cherished by those around me.

But I am not ten anymore. The butterflies in my stomach are caused by the dread that someone SOMEWHERE might have an inkling that I am older today. The well-wishing is a catch-22, as compliments are nice but the questions that may follow are not. The chores that I so happily gave up to my siblings have since quadrupled are now looming large on my to-do list from last week. Cake and attention no longer symbolize love but gluttony and embarrassment, and my worst fear is that someone will publicly humiliate me by singing the dreaded tune followed by the usually surpressed but always implied question, "How old are you today?"

As it turned out, I never gave Bre a solid answer about what I wanted to do for my birthday. Not having a plan is usually a major disaster for me as I am the queen of indecision and will often get bogged down in trying to decide what outfit best expresses my (imagined) wise-yet-youthful, practical-yet-quirky artist/educator/businesswoman/seductress/girl-next-door persona.

Despite that, I did manage to have one of the best birthdays I have ever had. Bre and I had a luxuriously leasure morning at the Globe, where we ran into some new friends and spent several hours talking about art and life. We attended a biodiesel conference and met some hilarious extreme sports dudes who have converted a Japanese firetruck into an extreme-sports biodiesel camper van that sleeps 8 and who are planning to drive and kayak from here to Chile. We went to interview Pablos and 3ric, who were building a one-pound robot for a Seattle Botbattle 4 competition and had a good laugh when they wrecked Bre's cellphone. We went to a fantastic blacklight puppet show called "The Secret Life of Bugs" that was put on by Spyglass Theater (and who also happen to be friends of ours) at the Northwest Puppet Center. We stopped at Cupcake Royale for the best cupcakes ever sans the birthday song. We also went out for some elegant drinks at the Hideout and had a great conversation with its owner, Greg Lundgren (and we even ended up buying a painting off the wall).

The birthdays of yesteryear are long gone, but they are not forgotten. Part of me wishes that I still possessed the naivete and blissful ignorance that I experienced in my youth (oh for guiltless ice cream seconds), but another part of me enjoys the more subtle aspects of life that were missed completely by the younger me. My ten-year-old self is still in there somewhere, and I am glad that she is making friends with the birthday girl of today.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Transit Strike in NYC

Bre and I decided to go to NYC this year during the holidays to see some friends and have a romantic little getaway in the big city. Little did we know that the day we arrived there would be a massive transit strike that has all but crippled the city's commute, economy, and holiday spirit.

Politically, the city is pretty divided about the strike; it seems that the majority of New Yorkers are against the strike, and who could really blame them? The strike has literally halted holiday shopping and has put a major kink in commuting to work (this is also a hidden blessing for those lucky enough to have a flexible schedule, but really sucks for those that don't), not to mention the fact that we tourists can't actually tour around the city. The mayor has come out and called workers every name in the book, and has repeatedly pointed at the fact that this strike is illegal according to the union's contract.

All this said, I am completely in favor of the transit strike. Unions are vital to a happy and fair workplace; unions have literally paved the way to fair treatment of minority, women's, and children's rights, and have insisted that each person's voice is heard and represented. I believe that one of the essential rights of unions should always be to strike if they feel they are being unjustly treated, a right that has been stripped from the public services. Although this is an extremely inconvenient time for the strike, what better time than this do the unions have to be heard?

The majority of the news coverage here has focused on the mayor's insistance that the strike is illegal, which has been followed by vicious mudslinging towards the workers. Where is the news coverage for the strike's supporters? A recent poll has said that 38% of New Yorkers are in favor of the strike--yet I have not heard word one from the general public in favor of the strike in the news.

What I fear will result is a very angry public backlash as soon as the union members return to their very public workplaces. People are getting pissed here in NYC that they have to walk to and from work (cabs are outragiously expensive and virtually impossible to arrange) in the freezing-ass cold; even the union supporters are starting to get pissed at the inconvenience of it all. It is a bit like a blizzard in terms of its affects on the city. For the first day it was novel and entertaining--a break from the routine; as time has worn on so have people's patience and their pocketbooks, as cab fares are jacked to ridiculous rates and cabin fever sets in.

Despite this fact, we have managed to have a great time in New York. We have spent quality time with friends that we might not have enjoyed had we been able to get to Manhattan. We have played games, talked, read, and relaxed--in the city that (usually) never sleeps.

When all is said and done, we will walk away with memories from an historical time in NY, and we will have made better friends to boot.

Go Union!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Don't Let This Happen To You!

Watch the video
Please watch this video knowing that I had the best intentions and I love you guys!!!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Underground Film: What is Facism?

Rev. Dionysus is a filmmaker, actor, and writer who has recently created a short documentary film entitled, "What is Facism?" This documentary briefly overviews some of the scandalous "pre-war" operations by the US government, including Pearl Harbor, the Oklahoma bombings, 911, and others, and asks some important questions about why there is so much secrecy and confiscation going on around the hard evidence that exists if the facts really are just the facts. This documentary is yet another reminder that our current involvement in Iraq is unacceptable and a call for immediate impeachment is paramount and overdue.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

What Is Videoblogging?

Watch the video
A while ago I saw this kind of obscure post by Raymond over at DLTQ. I was really interested in it at the time because so many people were trying to define videoblogging, and I thought it was fascinating that so many people got so upset about the whole thing. I had originally saved this post to create a mishmash of all of the things being said in the vlogosphere at that time, but since then I have successfully procrastinated long enough that none of the other posts exist in my aggregator anymore.

Although I think that would have been a kick-ass post, I am proud that I have at least created something from Raymond's exploration of the topic of videoblogging. As it turns out, making a remix was much more difficult than I imagined it to be, and I think I did a pretty good job on this (my first). Thanks to all of you that have made such great material from which to draw for the remix!

Remix Until You Get Lucky

Michael Verdi Considers His Year
As the year's end approaches many of us will take the opportunity to reflect on our lives and consider what we have accomplished (and not) over the last year. For those of you who made New Year's resolutions last year (and still remember them) this is often a time for self-scrutiny, self-justification, and self-deception. However, as many vloggers approach and exceed their one-year mark of vlogging, this year is a time to rejoice over all that has happened both personally and publicly in the vlogosphere.

Michael Verdi is doing just that in Lucky. Michael recently passed his one-year mark, and now he can enjoy reflecting on all of the beautiful, mundane, narcisistic, serendipitous, and epiphanic moments that he has shared with the rest of us. What is so remarkable is that, in the revlog of these experiences, as in the vlogosphere in general, there is a sense of nostalgia for both the vlogger and the viewer. Watching Michael's revlog helped me reflect on my own introduction to the vlogosphere and to the wonderful people it inhabits.

So how has your live changed over the past year? Think about it and get out there and make a post about it--you have until Wednesday to post a remix right here!

Originally posted on We Are The Media.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Procrastination: How to Get Nowhere Fast

Lately I have been thinking about changing careers, which has led me re-evaluate my skills, and I have realized that I am incredibly skilled at procrastination. I am so skilled, in fact, that I am able to not only put off the unpleasant tasks in life (putting away the dishes, cleaning out the cat box, clipping my toenails), but I am also fascinatingly good at putting off the enjoyable things (calling up an estranged friend, writing on my blog, taking a shower). You could say that I am an equal-opportunity procrastinator, universally skilled in the area of procrastination, able to put off leaping tall buildings with a single bound.

Now, procrastination has gotten a pretty bad wrap over the years, so let's take a moment to look at the merits of procrastination. When you procrastinate, you are literally not doing what you don't want to do! What's wrong with this? And who is to judge me if I don't feel like taking out the garbage??? This sounds suspiciously like self-care to me! Procrastination is also such a positive word--just look at the spelling--who ever heard of something negative starting with the prefix "pro?"

As it turns out, a lot of the things that seem unpleasant, and are therefore procrastinated, would actually be pleasant in the long run. For example, if I actually got around to cleaning out the catbox, we would have a much more pleasant living environment and we could quit burning all of those candles all of the time. Those candles drip all over the place, and I, for one, am not going to clean that up! On second thought, forget what I said before. Yuck! Chores sound unpleasant for a reason!

All of the above has convinced me that I should narrow my job search to those jobs that have procrastination in the list of required skills. I know I am qualified--it took me three weeks just to write this post! I don't know if it is possible to procrastinate procrastination, but if it is I know I can do it. If there is a job for a procrastinator, I would be perfect for it--if only I could get around to applying...