28 February, 2017

Bulletin N° 1

my reflection

I’m taking a poetry course this semester, a class I’ve never taken before because I (respectfully) have never considered poetry. I like reading poetry, but it’s something I separate myself from, with the knowledge that I don’t practice writing it, and I am almost fully certain it will never take over my life.

With that considered, I have to turn in my first major poem six days from today for a grade. Yesterday, I had to turn in a rough draft of a poem, where my focus should have been on imagery (showing-not-telling), and telling a narrative about my origins (vague instructions are my professor’s specialty). Writing with both a prompt and a deadline in mind is not one of my strengths (as keeping a diary—a strength—requires none of these things), so I had a lot of trouble.

The decision-making process on how to write my poem came down to one question: “What answers the prompt in the most aesthetically pleasing way?” The answer to that question was, a bath. Baths are a recurring image in my life, and I am constantly having transcendent experiences while I’m bathing. So I free-wrote about what I think a bath looks like when I’m sad, what it looks like when I’m angry, and what it looks like when I’m happy.

In retrospect, I realize that my poem (which is now in the hands of my professor) did not clarify anything about my origins, nor did it flow in a melodic way.  It wasn’t strategically poetic. It had no clear end or beginning. Although I was proud of some lines I wrote, I was not proud of what I turned in. As a result, I’ve been cringing to myself every couple of minutes.

I cringed this morning while I toasted some bread, I cringed as I took a shower, I cringed by the sink as I refilled my water bottle, I cringed every time I walked into my room. I felt shame all day. I imagined my professor reading my work and then wincing in embarrassment, thinking to himself, “Yikes! Someone turned this in!  Yikes! Yikes!”

I wish I could show you, reader, what it’s like when I say “Yikes!” in person. I can promise you it’s much more cruel, cutting, and evil than the way it’s transmitted in text.

I was in the middle of slapping my hand to my forehead and cringing again, when I asked myself, "Wait, how many poems have I even written in my life?"

If I count a poem I was asked to write in high school for a senior project, and haikus I wrote as a fifth grader, I've probably only written four poems in my entire life.  And... how silly would it be to expect me to be good at anything that I've only practiced four times in a twenty-one-year life span?

My poem sucks and my poetry will suck for because I've never written poetry before.  I want to be better, and I love reading poetry enough to keep practicing it despite how much I suck.  But I will suck.  And only through putting work in will I get better.  That, and setting my pride aside.

The Venn Diagram of "Moments That Were Ruined By Me" and "Moments Where My Pride Showed Up" is a large circle.  I'd rather bail, or cancel, moments that have the potential to embarrass me.  As an expressed thought, this seems irrational; however, in my head, it sounds like the truth.

The objective truth is that I cannot do everything, and that I am not perfect, but my brain tries to convince me to strive for this anyway.

I don't know how to master that inner demon quite yet but, uh... watch this space for more pseudointellectual inner reflections.

One of the greatest downfalls of existing with this particular brain I own is that I can't seem to tell stories in a concise manner.  I won't apologize for it, but know that my spirit appreciates it if your spirit isn't irritated.

"Last year I abstained. This year I devour."
Margaret Atwood

inside the carsabrina iiisabrina i

The wind is howling fervently in Southern California, today. Writing that sentence begs the question: does the rest of the country find it unbearable when Californians divide themselves as either Northerners or Southerners? I think I just really want everyone that exists outside of Californian culture to know that North California is very different from South California. One (me, specifically) may even argue that California is divided into three parts, North California, The Bay Area, and Southern California. I’ve been to San Francisco twice in my life (which gives me full authority to make this claim) so dammit if I just don’t think San Francisco is anything like Del Norte, California? There was a train of thought here, but we missed it.

“Travel writer” is such a sexy term… if I didn’t have ardent agoraphobia and didn’t find planes to be so horrifying (the word “horrifying” here not used hyperbolically), I would be our world's next Rick Steves.  In 2011, I actually came across Rick Steves when I was in Paris?  Outside of Café Central on Rue Cler?  He was with his camera crew?  This doesn't add to my point, but I just like to name-drop.

Isn't the combination of words, "travel writer", so sexy?  Both those words separately already tickle your brain, so put together they're...  sexy.

I miss planes, though.  My family has the opportunity to take a family vacation this summer, and they asked me whether I'd be willing to try taking a four-hour flight.  I laughed and said hell no.  My mother, ever the Leo, hesitated before leaving.  She lingered by my door and looked at the ground for a bit.  She raised her gaze, looked into my eyes, and said, "Are you sure you can't even try?"

Am I sure I can't even try.  That was a good question.

Feeling ashamed, I googled variations of these words put together: agoraphobia, planes, claustrophobia, sedation, flight duration, etc.  I watched a clip of a so-called "Plane Whisperer", Ron Nielsen, who helps people overcome their fear of flying.  I cried whenever I saw people perform behaviors that I recognized, behaviors I do when I'm in a situation where I could potentially panic.  I also cried when I saw people cry happy tears.  By the end of the video, a man who has avoided planes for 35 years decides to drive back home, since he was terrified the entire time.

It makes me sad to imagine that that might be me.

el mar

Maggie Rogers (of viral internet fame) has been very good to my soul lately: her music has specific sounds throughout it that trigger memories of when I was a child, so I feel like I’ve heard her music before? In specific times when I was a little girl? This isn’t really important, I suppose, and I think pop culture plugs in blog entries sometimes fail because it dates a blog entry? But that’s my purpose here: I just really want to remember this specific thing that is helping heal me during this weird time.

It's such a strange thing to start a sentence with, "Don't you think...?"

This doesn’t add or subtract to the flow of this post, but for record-keeping purposes, I just walked outside, in the middle of writing this, to fetch my mail, and as I walked out, a USPS truck drove past, and our mailwoman leaned out and waved at me! My cheeks hurt from smiling so much! It’s such a lovely feeling, being remembered.

chinese flame tree at dawn

I get secondhand embarrassment when this plot point happens in television shows: someone is in situation where they don't want to be seen, like, they're trying to be incognito as they spy on someone?  And somebody that they know approaches them out of nowhere, and the incognito person look visibly annoyed, responding in a curt manner, and the person that just just arrived is oblivious to this?  How can they be oblivious to this?  If I detect even the slightest bit of negative intonation in someone's voice when speaking to them I am bail the fuck out of any conversation.

Caring perhaps too hard about what other people think about me and how they perceive me is a running theme in this blog, you may have noticed.

Things that occurred since this space was last updated: Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. Carrie Fisher passed away.  Debbie Reynolds passed away.  I fell into a depressive state during the month of January.  I accidentally crashed into a parked car.  I had all four of my wisdom teeth taken out.  I started going to a new therapist.  I added four new potted plants to my room.  I haven't spoken to M. since my birthday.  I've read five books.  Calvin Harris released "Slide" featuring Frank Ocean and Migos.  La La Land was a thing that literally happened to me.  I saw half of the films nominated for Best Picture.  The 2017 Oscars were the best Oscars the world has ever seen.  

The pictures in this post were taken in October 2016. I've realized I spend a lot of time at home and I feel a lot of shame in that realization, but when I confront that shame with the question: As opposed to what, I feel calmer.  Where else will I comfortably, realistically be if I'm not home?

c'est moi iii

This train of thought is... kind of trash... but putting off writing anything because "it's not good enough" is just an excuse.  Plus, it's always fun to read back anything you wrote a long time ago.  So keep that in mind, eh.

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Thank you, pal.