the monster inside my chest.

2 Jul

the monster inside my chest.

i find myself wanting you
like a wave laps at the beach
hoping the grains will take notice
after thousands of years of longing

we could have been a whirlwind of
sea salt and skeleton bones
cracking as we’d collide
in torrid embraces
turning ourselves into dust

i imagine your kisses
taste of tree sap

but who am i kidding

you are nothing more
than a vessel for a
fabricated day dream
that i can never release
as it passes from body to body
searching for its next host

i have a crippled heart
waiting to be serenaded
but you are not my savior

but you are not my savior

Word Vomit: A Rant About Why I Loved “The Unfortunates”

22 Jun

unfortunates4A little over a week ago my family arrived in Ashland, Oregon, to attend my long-awaited graduation from Southern Oregon University. Along with suffering through two and a half hours of dreadful heat and watching hundreds of students trudge across the stage to receive their faux-diplomas, we also had the opportunity of attending two Oregon Shakespeare Festival plays during our weekend together. My father and I have been attending OSF for going on eleven years now. Hell, OSF was one of the leading factors in my choice to attend Southern Oregon, where I graduated with a BA in both Theatre Arts and Creative Writing (and a minor in photography).

That Saturday, after the graduation commencement had ended, we saw A Streetcar Named Desire, which was quite enjoyable. Kate Mulligan brought a new energy to Blanche I’d never seen before, Jeffrey King was a lovably perfect Mitch, and both Danforth Comins and Nell Geisslinger made a great duo as Stanley and Stella. While Streetcar is not my favorite Williams play, I had a great time seeing this rendition. However, while a great production, Streetcar is not the play I want to focus on right now.

The night before graduation my family went and saw a play entitled The Unfortunates. I knew nothing about this show walking in, except that all my friends raved about it and demanded I buy the soundtrack. Since we were running late, I didn’t have a chance to flip open my program and read the plot synopsis before the play began. So, trusting in the magic of OSF to do no wrong, I sat back and let the players take me down a path I had not quite expected.

Ninety minutes later, my family exited the Thomas Theatre. There seemed to be a general consensus: they didn’t like it. The Unfortunates wasn’t what they had thought it would be and were all sorely disappointed by this fact. My godmother quietly remarked that at least the music was catchy and the performers talented, while my brother and godfather barked about how the plot was unfollowable and how nothing had made sense.

This took me by surprise. Had we been watching the same show? The second the lights had come back up after the play had ended, I immediately turned to my father and told him, “That was one of the best things I have ever seen. Ever.” How was my family going on in this way about such an amazing piece of theatre?

After hearing more squabbles from them, I came to the defense of The Unfortunates. “No, there was definitely a coherent plot,” I insisted, as my brother made a face of disagreement. “There was! You just didn’t get it.”

“Okay, well, what was it then?”

I opened my mouth to speak.

I faltered.

What was the plot?

unfortunates5I had gotten that there was something about being in a prison cell and people being shot, and then there was a bar… but was that bar a flashback? An imaginary realm? And everything else, what about all of that?A gambling game? Something about a plague? A strange love story? Some very hungry rooks? A dead king? An armless prostitute? What was the plot? I threw my brother a quick response about the play focusing on the last moments of a prisoner of war’s life, but even then I wasn’t sure I was in the know.

So why was I so taken with this show; this show that I couldn’t summarize for my family, or even myself? Why had I found myself with a large grin on my face, hands clamped on my cheeks, as I witnessed it unfold in front of my eyes inside the Thomas Theatre’s black box? As I thought more and more about it, I came to realize that this wasn’t a show you could explain in a text or a tweet. It was one you’d muse about with friends over coffee, that you could write endlessly about on your blog or in school essays, or that you could simply think about as you sat alone in your room at night before bed. It was a story that would fester in every inch of you and wouldn’t let you go – at least, not right away.

(Warning: it gets spoilery from here on out, so tread cautiously.)

I found reading the playbill’s pieces on The Unfortunates and, eventually, the script helped me grasp the pieces of the plot I was missing. Little things were brought to my attention that I had missed upon seeing the show, and it was easy to see the entire story after I was done reading. Yes, I had been right in what I had told my family, about the prisoner of war aspect. If we were to assign this show a dramatic statement (dear god, the SOU theatre department is going to haunt me the rest of my life, isn’t it?), The Unfortunates is a play about a man finding solace and courage in the power of music – or, rather, the power of his own song – before he is about to die. It turns out, this show is all about the music. It’s about holding fast to music, even when times are brutal. Joe escapes into his fantasy-bar where he’s king, drawing in parallels to his prisoner of war surroundings (such as his deceased friends taking on new personas and his fists – oh this fists, we’ll get to those fists in a bit), and how he finds comfort in the music. How, even when his fantasies take a harsh turn, the music is there to help him find his way and face his deepest fears (I feel like “Guard the Right” is the number one example of this). Plus the tones of the show were constantly shifting, dragging you along with it at every turn. There was the chilling opening as each man was taken away, the fun vaudeville-feel of the bar numbers, the romantic inclinations between Rae and Joe, the creepy feel of the Doctor’s stage presence, and the overwhelming rush of emotion at the play’s end. If anything, I think The Unfortunates is a show that should be viewed on two separate occasions, so the first time you can find yourself lost in the music, and the second time you can lose yourself in both the story and the music.

This leads into the number one reason I believe I was so instantly taken with this show: the music. Now, I’m a huge fan of musicals. Back when the girls in my class were belting ‘N Sync and Britney Spears on the playground, I was off humming Music Man and Les Miserables songs to myself. Showtunes were all I listened to up until the last couple years of high school, and while my taste in music has definitely expanded in the more recent years, I still listen to showtunes quite often. So, going into The Unfortunates knowing it was an original musical, I expected the usual slew of showtunes that appear in contemporary shows.

unfortunates8I was surprised that a number of the songs in the play were that of rap and hip hop, and, what’s more, that I found I loved them. Really, really, really loved them. Nothing personal, I’ve just never felt a connection with that genre of music before. However, The Unfortunates did such an amazing job taking these musical genres and crafting them to fit the story. Not only that, there’s also a beautiful mix of gospel, folk, r&b, and a capella incorporated into the soundtrack of the show. They all blend together, making for a truly gorgeous musical score.

There is not one song in this show that you cannot hum or snap your fingers along to. Upon leaving the black box, I immediately purchased the soundtrack, knowing full well I’d go crazy without this new music in my life. The recorded songs, though a tad different than the final product you view in the show, are wonderful and great to sing along with. My favorite song changes on a day-to-day basis; however, gun to my head, I’d have to say “Quarantine”, “Good to be the King”, “Down and Out”, “I Want You”, and “Tell Me Where It Hurts” are my five favorites. They’re all unbelievably catchy, and it’s almost impossible not to dance or sing along with certain numbers. It’s also fascinating to read about the history of some of the music; where it came from and how it inspired the playwrights.

Not only is the music beautiful, the dialogue is as well. The style in which many of the characters speak is akin to spoken word, in my personal opinion, which is another reason this show resonated deeply with me, as I have definite ties when it comes to spoken word. There are many magnificent pieces of dialogue throughout the play, but my absolute favorite is a speech Big Joe gives during “Tabs Are Always Open for an Addict”:

“I never wanted nothing more than the breath I was breathin’, the moment I breathed it. I never had nothin’ I wouldn’t mind leavin’, includin’ the breathin’. These fists are a fury, this tongue is a torrent of suffering stuffed like a bittersweet cup. I nearly tore my heart out just to feel touch once, but ain’t nothin’ so bitter as want. I want, I want, I want to rip open these fists, grip a life that’s slipping in between these fingers where nothing else gets, blood flow from my fingertips kissin’ my wrists as it drips, warming a heart that only exists for your lips.”

You read that? That’s fucking poetry right there. Beautiful, mesmerizing poetry.

unfortunates1I’ve also come to love thinking about the symbolism in this show, particularly that found in the characters’ hands and arms. The two forefront characters are polar opposites in that sense: one has no hands and one has giant hands. In the opening, we see Joe’s fists raised in defense, which speaks of him in that reality, trying to defend himself from the inevitable. When we’re taken to the world of the fantasy-bar, suddenly his fists are huge. They allude to Joe being a boxer in the opening song, so perhaps that’s why his fists become five times bigger, fighting being what he knows best, or perhaps it’s his subconscious needing to physically protect himself from the reality that awaits him (ie. his execution). Then we have Rae; beautiful, graceful, armless Rae. Why is she armless? This was the number one question my aunt kept pestering me with the rest of the night, and having no idea at the time what the answer was, I finally just told her, “Character device.” Looking back on this show, I realize there was much more at play than just some arbitrary character device. In Joe’s reality, he clutches a picture. From the whistle the enemy soldier gives we know the photo is of a woman. No doubt it’s the woman in the photo that the illusion of Rae is based off of. To me, her lack of arms symbolizes how she is stuck in a world she cannot escape from; she is being whored by her own father and there’s no way to claw her way out. She is helpless and in need of rescue (again, this is Joe’s fantasy, so her character reflects heavily on him and his wants). What’s more, her state of being contrasts Joe’s completely. He can’t unclench his giant hands to hold her, no more than she can wrap her nonexistent arms around him. It’s not until she dies that she can finally be whole again, just as it isn’t until Joe has finally accepted his inescapable death that his fists disappear; the moment they’re both finally freed (ie. no longer having to be a prostitute and Joe’s acceptance of death) is when they can return to normal. Then there’s the whole sequence where the Doctor’s arms stretch out to enfold Rae – goddamn, that moment gave me chills (and was when I finally started crying) – and just that contrast with everything else going on in the play… It just comes together so magically. I don’t know how else to describe it.

unfortunates7Finally, the performers. Ah, the performers. Each one of them was absolutely brilliant. From those opening moments of the play when you’re not quite sure where the characters are or why, you’re able to pick up immediately from the body language and acting of the performers (and, okay, the offstage gunshots help too) that things are not all right. Each actor, and the musicians too for that matter, are just wonderful. They’ve each got powerhouse voices, and each hone their characters’ personalities and physicalities beautifully. Not to mention all four original creators of The Unfortunates are in this play, which, as someone who considers herself both a writer and a performer, is absolutely fantastic. Everyone in the show used their talents to the best of their abilities, and did a kick ass job doing so. Plus there’s a live band on stage throughout the show, and goddamn if they’re not equally as amazing.


So no, The Unfortunates might not be what you expect when you walk into the Thomas Theatre in the next few months. It’s not your classic My Fair Lady or Music Man musical. It doesn’t abide by the expected showtunes and overdone story structure. But you know what it is? It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s exciting, which I feel has been lacking in a lot of new theatre (especially musicals) as of late. We need more musicals like this one, that’s for sure.

I would like more than anything to see this play for a second time (no big surprise, right?), and I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be able to. I take off for New Zealand in exactly a month, and the time before my departure is going to be quite hectic. I’m planning to go down sometime in a couple weeks with a friend who loves the show just as much as I do, so hopefully that will pan out. If not, hey, at least I got the chance to experience The Unfortunates just once, just as everyone else has or should.

… But seriously, if you’re in Ashland and you haven’t seen this play yet, what the fuck are you doing?

Go buy a ticket to it.

Right now.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

unfortunates2

unfortunates3

diary of a moth.

20 Jun

photoWelp. I’m back in Portland, for good this time (sort of). I’ve been meaning to write up a goodbye letter/poem to Ashland and share it on here, but I haven’t had the energy or the inspiration just yet. I’m sure I’ll get to it sometime next week, once I’m done unpacking and settled into my pre-NZ routine. I’d also like to write a review of The Unfortunates, which will probably happen at some point this weekend.

Anyway, in my Advanced Poetry class during my last term of college, we were required to make chapbooks. I’m not going to post all of the poems from my chapbook, which was entitled diary of a moth, but I am going to share a generous selection of them. If you’d like a hard copy of my chapbook, just leave me a comment and we can work something out.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~*~

failed science experiment.

five days into my last college term
I was diagnosed with severe anxiety

I had gone to the emergency room
because I thought I was having a heart attack
the doctor who looked like Roger Waters
told me I was lucky it wasn’t a blood clot

and Beckah said “you’ll be fine
and Nick said “you’ll be fine
and Wilkie said “you’ll be fine

but it’s hard to agree with their sentiments when
fingernails drag through my arteries but only at midnight
thumbtacks and paper cuts and violin music fills my veins
helium lodges itself deep inside my brain
my heart runs a ten minute marathon without stop
while my breath tries to catch up

one                  two                  three               four

one                  two                  three               four

breathe           breathe           breathe           breathe

breathe           breathe           breathe           breathe

I                       am                   fine                  I

am                   fine                  I                       am

fine                  I                       am                   fine

screaming into black pillowcases into friends’ mouths
into shaking palms into cellphones into wine bottles
seeing person after person after person after person
who all come to the same conclusion

you’re broken, but we can fix you

well who the hell dropped me in the first place?

~~~*~

thirty-eight minutes of separation.

we’re not alike
we’re not identical
we’re not psychic

we’re not the made for TV breed
you find on sitcoms or in young adult lit
who pull hijinks and speak in sync
there’s no Weasley blood twitching in our veins

both pledged to a fraternity since birth
destined to forever share the same
bad eyesight and cheekbones

once we were a band of pirates
pockets filled with Pokemon cards
but that clock stopped and now
drunken texts about Mad Men
are how we choose to communicate

so I wish people would just stop —

but the thing is I once wondered to myself if I
would know instinctively if he were ever hit by
a car and an hour later I got a phone call about
how he had in fact been hit by a car and my
heart stopped dead inside my chest because
maybe we hadn’t lied to Cindy Modjesky ten years
ago when we tricked her into thinking that we
were telepathic at Rachel Lowary’s birthday party

no, we’re not alike
no, we’re not identical
no, we’re not psychic

but we are something

~~~*~

my hometown is more than just a tv show.

patches of orange cackle on the island

riding pioneered escalators
towards a heaven of cinematography

lloyd’s beckoning me nigh
practicing voodoo
on my thighs and stomach

flying through the park of oak
mouth crammed with
green clouds

tumble down the water hole
keep your ground control in check
vault down your blitz or you’ll jinx henry

sit upon your throne of literature
berkley can wait
forever lost in the maze of saturday mornings
filled with hoards of drunken santas

science is not only for children

~~~*~

the only time I ever felt patriotic.

When I was ten I
fell in love with
John Adams.

I inhaled his letters.
I cartographed his lineage.
I painted visions of his farm, his trials,
his speeches inside my mind’s eye,
and people would crease their eyebrows
whenever I’d shout:

I care!
I’m there!
I could be your Portia!
I’d be your Diana and Miss Adorable!
So long as you’d be my Dearest Friend!

And friends never understood the obsession,
even after I tried to explain
the pride of his Boston Massacre win,
his undying passion
during the Second Continental Congress
of the late seventeen hundreds,
how he spent almost half his life away from his wife
but never once stopped writing her love letters.

If only I had realized back when I was ten
that being in love with the dead
is as useless as being a poet,
but my tempered heart never did stop beating
for our nation’s second president,
who died on my birthday
one hundred and eighty-seven years ago.

You bid me burn your letters.
But I must forget you first.

~~~*~

adama.

I thought I saw
Edward James Olmos
on a bike outside Bimart
and I almost cried out to the
aged Commander to take me away
aboard his vessel and save me from myself,

but it wasn’t him.
It was just some
guy. I should have
known. He did not
have a Commander’s
pride.

~~~*~

forestiera.

I spent the train ride wanting to scream
I am fifty percent of you

I grew up on faunes and gnoochi
and ravioli once a week
my nonna taught me
to count to dieci on her knee
always surrounded by cornicello
and mano cornuta necklaces
pizzelles and pignoli were distributed
around the natale tree
while my cumpari and cumari
praised their favorite bambina

but how do you communicate that
to a dozen or so strangers with
your big blonde curls and
your big blue sunglasses and
your big bulging suitcase and
no trace of knowing
the tongue of your heritage

~~~*~

hey quiet girl.

where did you hide your tongue

words are thick in your
birchwood mouth
and never seem to seed

fingers hidden in curtained bangs
owl eyes impressed on your palms

no one likes a shy beast
no one likes a doubter
no one likes a wallflower

stop imagining fictional destinies
when reality has a bone to pick with you

people think you don’t like them
so you cannot blame the silence

~~~*~

inked.

I wish someone had clued me in
on how often it would be
misinterpreted and sexualized
and violated and touched and called
into question,

because I feel like
Jim Henson is probably
rolling in his grave right now
and I’m
to blame
for wearing his words
on my skin.

~~~*~

michael.

I proposed to you back
in our kindergarten days
of red rover and monster tag
hand prints hung on walls with
drawings of glitter and magic markers

you didn’t care that I had proposed
to Kenny Laszlo and Alex Wagner
in the same hour or that
they had both said no

our two year engagement ensued
until the day I broke it off
when I realized come second grade
I wanted Parker Unruh’s buzz cut
more than your pudgy face

and you tried to kiss me
in the lunch line
in front of Cindy Modjesky but

by
that point
I had stopped

~~~*~

dream life.

I wish I lived
in a tiny flat in the middle of NYC;
the summer sun kissing my shoulders
as I’d float around to
bookshops and black box theatres,
eating my weight in pizza
and photobombing tourists.

I wish I lived
on a farm miles out of town
with twenty-four palominos
that I’d ride across sloping fields of barley,
and my cuticles would always be dirty
and each day’s end would mean
sunsets and apple pie.

I wish I lived
in a fictional realm
where people could fly and Muppets rode bikes
and there was always a Han or a Donna to
solve my mundane issues;
where evil was definable and defeatable, and
I had a viable excuse to own a katana.

I wish I lived
in a log cabin that smelled of wet dirt, and
I’d have with me an old typewriter
and a drawer filled with red flannel shirts,
so I could spend each day feeling like the
Thoreau of the common age as I’d ponder life
and the universe over a mug of Kahlua.

I wish I lived
in a multitude of realities and dimensions,
but I only live in the one
and I do not have a license and my wallet
is always bare, and for some reason
my feet are glued to the ground
and beg me not to go.

I wish I lived.

~~~*~

failed science experiment II.

I tore my ticket to the circus
into ten star shaped shards;
one for every week,
every broken speech
swollen on my teeth.

I smashed the violins.
I cracked the fingernails in two.
I chucked the helium canister over the moon
cause I am done being spoon fed.

One     two      three                           four

One                 two three       four

I           have    won                             I

have                won     I           have

won                 I                       have    won

no        thanks to                                            you

I know now the world was
the one who dropped me,
but that’s okay because
this broken girl learned herself
a healing factor,
better than James Howlett
and Kal-El combined.

It’s nice to remember
how to breathe again.

two.

1 Jun

sometimes I close my eyes
and try to envision what it will be like
somehow sheep always work
themselves into my visions

(statistic: there are
seven sheep to every kiwi)

but when it comes down to the fact
I can’t imagine how it will be

the uncertainty
the insurgency
the enormity

the freedom

no permanent residence
no Christmas tree in December
no room to call my own
no sense of home

just a pack flung on my back
the wide open road
and my heart’s song

I think I can live with that

~~~~~*~

six || five || four || three || two

The Office Finale: Bidding Adieu to One of My Favorite Sitcoms

17 May

So last night The Office aired its final episode.

To be completely honest, the last couple seasons of The Office haven’t been my favorite. To me they were sort of lacking in everything that the earlier seasons excelled in: the humor, the relationships, the plot lines (but mainly the humor, and the fact that Andy got a million times more annoying the second he took on the job of Manager). Because of this, I didn’t think the finale was going to effect me all that much, despite the fact that I loved the three or four episodes leading up to it (and even teared up at the end of each of them). I figured I’d shed a tear or two, be a bit nostalgic, and move on.

But Christ, that finale. It just… I mean, it had everything I wanted to see happen. They hit all the right notes; all the right stops. The episode as a whole was beautiful – the coming together of old friends to celebrate and say farewell – and everyone got their ending. Everyone was where they wanted/needed to be. It was wonderful to see happen to characters who have been with me for so long that I might as well consider them friends. Not to mention the humor was first-rate, and it felt just like the good ol’ days at Scranton once more. Honestly, there was no other way they could have ended it.

I was emotional throughout the entire experience (especially when one Mr. Michael Scott showed up), but I really lost it at the end when the characters were speaking for their last time to the camera and they started showing flashbacks of earlier seasons. It all seems so long ago; not just for the characters on the show, but for me as well. I was a sophomore in high school when I first started watching The Office on a regular basis. I had tuned in the year before, back when I was a freshman, a few times, but I think the awkward-cringe-humor was a bit much for me at first. However, I remember EXACTLY where I was the moment this show finally hooked me and the episode that did it (ie. I was on a cruise ship, it was about one in the morning, Rachael Lowary was asleep three feet away from me, and I was watching “Casino Night” on my iPod). After that, I rewatched the entirety of seasons one and two, and then watched the show devotedly for the rest of its run – even when the episodes took a dip in their later years. I was obsessed with it when I was in high school; it was the quintessential comedy in my life. Hell, I even have fan fiction that I wrote about it back in the day (which is by far the most embarrassing fan fiction I have ever written and I will never speak of the premise ever because of how embarrassed I am about it and you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands to ever read it – only Connie Limbrick knows why, and I’ll kill her before she ever gets around to telling anyone about it).

I watched the finale at work last night – thankful that no one came into my own office, as I was heaving with sobs by the end of the episode – and as I walked home after I clocked out I cried the whole way. I couldn’t figure out why the ending of this show was taking such a big toll on my emotions. I didn’t cry this much when 30 Rock, Ugly Betty, or any other show I’ve ever watched ended. The only show I could think to equate my emotions to were what I went going through with LOST‘s end (except LOST was a million times worse and I literally couldn’t get out of bed the morning after its finale because I was so sad it was over). However, I began to think about it, and I realized that my experience with LOST was a lot like my time with The Office. Both shows started back when I was a freshman in high school (2004/2005) and stayed with me until I was in college. Unlike LOST, which ended three years ago, The Office stayed with me until now. That means it lasted from March 2005 (freshman year of high school) until May 2013 (senior year of college). I think a part of me is projecting a lot of my sadness/anxiety about school coming to a close on the Office’s series finale. The Office has been with me for so long, and it’s what I’ve come to know and expect from my Thursday nights – kind of like school (except with, y’know, life in general, not just Thursday nights). And I journeyed with all these Dunder Mifflin characters every step of the way, and now their time at Dunder Mifflin is ending at the exact same time my journey with school is ending. It’s hard not to equate life with television right now, especially when no other television show has been with me for as long as The Office.

As scared as I am about leaving college and entering the real world, I found so much of what the characters were saying at the show’s end encouraging. Plus the fact that many of them were moving on to do bigger and better things… well, I just found it comforting. I could relate to what a lot of the characters said about coming to terms with endings (“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them…”), but there was one quote that truly stuck out to me. One quote that I truly found encouraging as I make my dreaded approach to graduation:

“I didn’t watch the whole documentary. After a few episodes, it was too painful. I kept wanting to scream at Pam! It took me so long to do so many important things, it’s just hard to accept I spent so many years being less happy than I could have been. Jim was five feet away from my desk and it took me four years to get to him. It’d be great if people saw this documentary and learned from my mistakes. Not that I’m a tragic person, I’m really happy now, but it would just make my heart soar if someone out there saw this and she said to herself, ‘Be strong, trust yourself, love yourself, conquer your fears, just go after what you want and act fast because life just isn’t that long.’

So thank you, Dunder Mifflin. Thanks for the laughter, the tears, the memories, that time the bat got stuck in your office, and the journey.

I’m gonna miss you.

one month to go.

13 May

I’m feeling good today, which has been really nice. I’ve been in a rut for the last week, feeling depressed about life while also feeling excruciatingly lonely, so I’m happy that today has been a good one.

I think there’s a whole combination of reasons for my positive outlook on today. For starters, I got to write some articles for BP this afternoon. It’s been a while since I’ve been asked to write for them, and there is no greater feeling on this planet than getting paid for your words. Then this morning I went for a run and listened to I Am America, which was just an amazing way to kick start the day. I also found out Nick is coming to town this weekend, which just fills my heart with glee. To top it all off, the weather is just beautiful (and not sweltering hot like the last couple days), and good weather always puts me in a good mood.

I realized today that I’ve begun to slowly come to terms with The End. The end of school; the end of my time in Ashland. It’s a rather bittersweet feeling. I’ve wanted out of this town for a while (since my junior year, really), but now that the end is in sight I’m sad to leave it all behind. I’ve been reflecting on my definition of “home” recently and have come to realize that, in almost two months, I’m not going to have a home for an entire year. That both scares and invigorates me. Ashland’s been my home for so long; so much so that Portland doesn’t quite feel like home to me anymore.

Anyway, I’ve got about a month left before I leave Ashland. In that time I’d like to revisit my favorite restaurants/bars/coffee shops, say goodbye to all my friends, walk all of Lithia Park one last time, hang out at Emigrant Lake, perform in the Rogue Valley Poetry Slam for my third (and final) time, and perhaps see My Fair Lady or King Lear at OSF.

It’s funny. When I close my eyes I can see my dorm room back when I was a wee freshman; Amanda sitting on her bed in the corner sketching while I watch CSI over at my desk across the room. Things were so different back then. I was so different back then. I was still a kid. I didn’t know anything about the world. And now… well, okay, I still don’t know much about the world, but I know so much more now than when I was a frosh. A part of me feels like I’m just a giant kid wrapped up inside an adult’s body, and I think I’m always going to feel that way, but I can also recognize how mature I’ve become. Nowadays I love cleaning, budgeting my paychecks, grocery shopping, cooking/baking, running/exercising, drinking, writing poetry, and having a job. I literally despised all of those things I just listed when I was eighteen.

The gap between an eighteen year old and a twenty-two (going on twenty-three) year old doesn’t seem like much, but holy hell, it really is a lot. You just deal with so much in that time frame. You try new things. You learn new things. You learn who you are and how you perceive the world around you. That’s one reason why I’d argue the importance of going to college; not so much for the degree and all the student loans you’re guaranteed to wrack up, but because of the people you meet and the interactions you partake in and the experiences you garner. Would I have turned out differently if my neighbor back in the dorms hadn’t slowly transformed into a transwoman before my eyes? If I didn’t gain friends who outwardly enjoy sex, weed, and alcohol? If I hadn’t dealt with friends coming out, friends expressing suicidal thoughts, and friends who went through pregnancy scares and abortions? Would I be the same sheltered girl that I was when I was eighteen, so wide eyed and naive to the ways of the world?

Probably.

This wasn’t meant to be a rant. This was supposed to be a quick update on how I’ve been having a good day, but then I got… nostalgic? I guess I’m just grateful. Despite wishing I had chosen a different college many times throughout my education, if I had to go back I wouldn’t have chosen differently. I’m sure I would’ve had a great time at other schools as well – and probably gotten more for my money – but I wouldn’t trade in the friendships, experiences, and memories I made at SOU for anything in the world.

One more month to go.

Let’s try to make the most out of it.

September, 2008

 

May, 2013

tea and acne.

11 May

If anything positive can be said about the anxiety I was diagnosed with, now over a month ago, I think it’s that I’m now taking better care of myself. I’m running on a consistent schedule. I’m eating small portions (ie. not gorging,) and snacking less, and eating healthier overall. I’m trying to go to bed at decent times. Basically, I’m treating my body like a temple, and all that good stuff.

So in the last two weeks I’ve stumbled across two things that have made life just a tad better.

1. I have discovered the power of tea.

Don’t go classifying me as a tea drinker just yet (I still prefer coffee overall), but I think I’m slowly being won over. Since my anxiety started, everyone’s been recommending I start drinking tea. Despite my constant response of, “But I hate tea,” I finally caved and bought two different blends: Nighty Night and Breathe Easy (and yes, I bought both based on name/what’s been ailing me, STFU, I know nothing about tea, don’t judge). I was hesitant about both types I bought. In the past, the only time I drink tea is when I’ve got a sore throat, and normally I just drink a peppermint tea which I kind of hate but endure because, hey, it really does help.

To my surprise I really like the taste of both blends, not to mention they’ve both been doing wonders for me so far. Breath Easy really does help me breathe a whole lot easier (the first time I drank some it felt like a weight had literally been lifted off my chest). Now, instead of lying down and trying to monitor my breath whenever it’s suddenly hard to breathe, I just make myself some of this tea and my problems go away. It’s quite nice.

And I finally tried Nighty Night last night, and it was the first time in over five days where I was able to fall asleep in under twenty minutes (as opposed to the two hours of tossing and turning that I’ve been dealing with).

So. Yeah. Tea. I think I might have to buy some more.

(My only real qualm is that, holy hell, it is way too hot to be drinking tea right now. Stupid early summer weather.)

2. I made my own facial treatment.

I’ve been going through a bout of mighty bad acne recently, which is weird because acne’s never been much of a problem for me (I’ll get a zit or two once in a while, but I’ve been relatively lucky in retrospect). I started getting breakouts on my forehead about six weeks ago, which I’ve been linking to stress (especially since it started up around the same time as the anxiety). After weeks of using store-bought products and not yielding a positive result, I took matters into my own hands.

I began looking into different home remedies for acne; researching the different products used in each of them and why certain ingredients were effective. I finally landed on one facial remedy, and christ, it has done wonders for my skin.

All you need is water, oatmeal, honey, and a blender. You basically toss everything into a blender, mix it up, and it’s ready to use. I tend to use more honey and oatmeal in my mixtures, since that makes the facial thicker, which helps it stick to your face. I’ll usually apply the facial and then read for ten minutes, before jumping into the shower and washing it all off. I went ahead and made myself a big batch, which I store in my fridge. That way it’s ready to be used at a moment’s notice.

I’ve been using this facial for almost two weeks now and my skin is just about back to normal. So, if anyone’s looking for a way to fight acne, I highly recommend this!