Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Horsing Around

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Last year, when Hurricane Irene hit, I put up this intense, thoughtful blog post about perseverance and growth. Now, Hurricane Sandy hits and look at me, I'm prancing around in an absurd horse sweater like it ain't no thang. The truth is, I've been doing an awful lot of thinking. When you're stuck in a house with all of the highways and subways closed, and your classes are canceled for a whole week (seriously, things are actually pretty bad in New York) you get a lot of time to think. You also get a lot of time to eat, oh boy. So you eat cookies, and you listen to the wind yelling at you for eating cookies, and then you start thinking about the entire trajectory of your life because HEY, if the wind's mad at you just for eating cookies, then what other serious life errors have you committed, am I right? There's actually a decent chance I'm alone on this one.

Over the weekend, I visited my dear friend Callie and had a wonderful time, being silly and having the best talks. Not to mention that being in a different state kept me from a whole lot of "hurricane updates." Seriously, I got home and my parents were like "THE FRANKENSTORM, THE FRANKENSTORM" and I was like "I guess I should have stayed on the train?" Honestly, I've been feeling like a bit of a frankenstorm myself - a gross, beautiful amalgamation of good and bad parts, partly striking fear in the hearts of men (u know how i do, ladiesz) and partly spiraling around off the east coast not quite sure where I'm headed exactly. Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. I'm not being purposefully vague, but frankly, it's the same old reflections that a lot of people my age are struggling with, and that I've voiced here before.

Sure, today was Halloween. And I made up my mind to just leave the mope behind and wear this horse sweater. Because sometimes, you just need to wake up early, convince yourself to do yoga, get a decent amount of work done, and do it all while wearing an absurd sweater, just to remind yourself, "Things aren't so bad," and "I can do this." Am I right? I think I'm right on this one.

Skirt: Madewell, Top: Urban Outfitters, Sweater: Goodwill, Shoes: Thrift

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This is one of the many flattering faces when I see a stray cat

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Then I picked up some leaves, but didn't know what to do with them

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So I examined them?

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Until tomorrow,

Monday, October 22, 2012

Praise the Baby Step

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I've been thinking a lot lately about ability, and capability. Every now and then I like to regroup and "praise the baby step," a phrase I just coined about 20 seconds ago. Over the summer, I took a lot of big giant ogre steps. Plane rides, train rides, asking my brother in law to give a cute boy my number for me (okay, okay, that last step could have been bigger but WHATEVER). Then autumn hits. And don't get me wrong, autumn is my most favorite, but school started, work got more hectic, and I started having more responsibilities than I could shake a stick at. A STICK. So, not a lot of room for ogre steps. No big trips by myself. No courting Disney boys. No making my brother-in-law court Disney boys for me.

I have been doing more moping than I would like to admit, so I won't admit it (it's been a sizable amount of moping, btw), over my "lack of progress," or lack of pushing myself, or lack of kicking butts, or lack of kicking my own butt, though that last one is physically difficult so I will cut myself some slack there. So now, when I sat myself down to write this post (I'm actually laying down, but the phrase "lay myself down" sounded a little more seductive than I wanted it to, honestly) and felt a gnarly little whine creeping from my fingertips, I thought, "WELL, HEY. LET'S PRAISE THE BABY STEP."

The baby step doesn't get much credit, though when babies take first steps everyone absolutely flips their hypothetical lids. When we pseudo-adults take baby steps though, no one's impressed, and because no one's impressed, we don't feel that encouraged, or good about our achievement, no matter how baby-steppy or ogre-steppy it is. Today I just ASKED where something was in Joanne's instead of wandering around like a dumb, nervous ninnie. Last week, I went into a coffee shop I'd never been to by myself. At work today, I wrote well, and felt good about what I had written. Last week, I made the decision to look for spring internships to try and get myself out of the comfortable, albeit sort of simultaneously uncomfortably goopy, work rut I've fallen into. Tonight I admitted to a friend that a guy was not worth my time, because he was not acting like I was worth his, as much as it almost physically pained me to do so. I am friggin' teaching a group of high school kids who don't seem to think I am as lame as they think their parents are. I finally wrote a poem without a clear narrative. Last week I hemmed a dress, and wore the heck out of it the next day (and it didn't even rip). PRAISE THE BABY STEP. I want you all to praise your baby steps, because it's easy to forget that, when we're not leaping over pits of failures and self-deprecation, that we are still always making progress. So I will move these sometimes baby, sometimes ogre, feet, and feel proud of it, because I deserve to, and you deserve to, too.

A note about my clothes. I am wearing a bear sweater; it is my favorite. I am also wearing a very short skirt. Today I dropped something off of my desk and there was a near bottom flashing incident, but I played it cool, and probably didn't flash my young man coworker. Probably.

Sweater: JCPenney Men's Section, Skirt: H&M

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Until tomorrow,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let's Go Crazy, Crazy, Crazy 'Till We See the Sun

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I thought that would be an appropriate post title because I have, indeed, been going crazy, crazy, crazy (thought not in the "tonight let's get some!" way, unfortunately. Ahem) and it's been raining a lot. I have been very overwhelmed, lately. Hence, things have been uncharacteristically quiet up in this joint. This week has been very difficult. A lot of things have happened in a short amount of time, which triggered thoughts and thoughts and thoughts, about everything. I've been hard on myself, and then very selfish, and then optimistic, hard on myself again, and stressed to the point where I probably could have thrown up if I really tried hard enough. It's just that, simultaneously I feel things changing, feel myself changing, the people around me changing, my needs and expectations changing, situations changing, and it's a lot to take in. Really, I'd rather not take it in. I'd rather hide under 30 blankets and not look it in the face. At the same time that I feel things changing, though, I feel stagnant, and stuck. I remember feeling this to a lesser extent when I was a senior in high school, but I didn't expect it being a senior in college. This itch for new-ness, coupled with this fear my own shortcomings. At this point, I'd like to invite you to sigh with me. 1, 2, 3...sigh. I feel slightly better now that we've sighed. This is turning into a rambly mess, but I think that's okay. Sometimes my thoughts are messy, sometimes I can't formulate them all into a coherant blog post, but (un)lucky for you guys, I TRY ANYWAY.

These outfit photos are from over a week ago, but I think they're apporpriate. This is an outfit I keep repeating, because it feels very me, whatever that means. When a lot of things are changing and feeling mega weird, it's nice to have even a small way of feeling good and comfortable and stripey.

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Until tomorrow,

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Why I Make

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I've been writing poetry seriously for about three years now. God, that phrasing is so lame. Let's start over. I've been writing poetry for years and years and years but only started gaining confidence in my potential to create weird, beautiful things in the past few years. Ah, that feels better. The idea of "writing poetry seriously" just sounds morose and ungainly, like I sit in my pipe organ chamber by candlelight furiously quilling away for days at a time until an inky masterpiece has formed. Actually, that doesn't sound too bad. But anyway, though my love of poetry never seems to wan, my confidence in my ability to "do it" (not "do it" do it, I meant do poetry) is always in flux. Now that I'm senior in college and everyone is all "thou must havest thou's shit together," their response when I tell them that my passion (maybe, probably, I think) is in poetry is "what do you plan to do with that?"

I've said before to friends as we commiserate over the "what do I want to be when I grow up question" that seems to be inching closer and closer, that sometimes I wish I had been born with an innate desire to become a doctor, or a lawyer, or a scientist of some sort. I mean, I don't really wish that, though those are all cool jobs. It's just the idea of being interested in something with a bit of a clearer path that's appealing. But I'm interested in poems, and how they work, and how they feel, and the noises they make when you stroke the hair from their foreheads. Last time I checked idealist (yesterday), that's not really in many job descriptions. So, cue my unfortunate poetry spiral.

I've been in the down section of my poetry flux lately, questioning my ability to create much of anything, let alone anything people want to read, SUPER let alone anything someone eventually may want to publish. You know, to make money. My poetry tends to be focussed inward, about myself, not trying to relate to anyone else in a very selfish way. Because, I suppose, I write for myself. The more poetry I read, the more published poetry I read, feels like it's got more of a universal appeal. Well, maybe not universal, but at least it feels more like, "Well this could be about me, or the author, or some young adult Canadian somewhere." This made my writing stagnate even more. Being unable to write but trying frantically to do so, then being unable to write but trying frantically to do so to try and please other people, leads to one big headache, and one frustrated Nicole, and two entirely devoured pumpkin pies but let's not even go there.

I started drawing when I couldn't write. This happens when my poetry sectors are down. I feel an itch to create, but if it can't be writing it still must absolutely be something. So I drew. I've been doodling. I'm no expert doodle magician, no sir, but I do it because I like it. It's been freeing, and calming, and has allowed me to express myself when I feel quite bottled up. And I think it's been so easy and relieving because I'm doing it for myself. These drawings aren't going anywhere. I'm not going to sell them. I'm not going to try to get anyone to want them. They're just something I've been making for the sake of making. I'm a maker. I bake, I write, I draw, I sew, I think, I brooch, I dabble. It's a big part of who I am. I make because I feel the drive to make. Poetry is the medium that feels simultaneously the coziest and the most challenging to me, and that's how I know, or at least think I know, that it's something I can never give up on. However, I have to get back to making poetry because I want to, not because I have to, or because I need to make money, or because I need to "get my name out there," or whatever that means. I have to write poetry to remember people and moments by, I have to write poetry because a spider made a web across my notebook while I was sitting in class and it was a caricature of my life, I have to write poetry to commemorate the color of your hair and the way your t shirt smells. I have to make because I want to, and I have to make what I want to make, and those are the most important things.

Dress: Madewell, Jean Jacket, Shoes: Thrift

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Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Apple Picking

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Autumn is absolutely, decisively my favorite season. For a while, I was between autumn and spring, but last year autumn so totally won. You've got sweaters of every color and cozyness, you've got pumpkins, you've got pumpkin flavored delights, you've got ruddy golds and oranges and glowy browns taking over the trees, you've got my birthday, you've got thanksgiving, you've got hot chocolate and blankets and cuddling with yo' bad self or someone else's bad self, you've got apple picking, and a ton of other awesome things I'm missing because my brain just can't handle all this fall splendor, holy cow. However, I'm super busy this autumn and my weekends have been spent mostly reading about the Russian revolution while pulling my hair out. That's when I was all, Hey, I need to be doing more fall things, or fall's going to be over and I'll have nothing fall-y to show for it, and will then be depressed. So, last weekend I baked pumpkin muffins, and this weekend, I got more ambitious and ventured out to Barton Farms for some quality autumn adventures! We did a whole lot of apple picking, and strolling through what felt like endless rows of apples and apples and apples. I ran around a pumpkin patch because, holy cow, I love pumpkins (and I found a favorite to take home!). We ate apple cider donuts, and apple dumplings, and I ate an apple right from the tree because why the hell not. I really just love autumn, okay guys. Please enjoy these photos of me nerding out. AUTUMN.

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Until tomorrow,