Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Bulldog on the Corner

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A few weeks ago, (meaning it must have been mid-July) I was hurrying through the 80's to meet someone at the Met. My train had run late, making me run late, and I was very nearly running to the museum. On the corner of 84th and Lexington, though, I had to stop. Plopped down, like a dollop of cream, was a bulldog, tan like milky coffee, belly pressed to the sidewalk. His arms and legs stretched out on either side of him, and his tongue bobbed gently in his mouth. I'd never seen anyone more content than that puppy.

I've noticed about myself, for my whole life, but mostly since I graduated, that I have a very rough time with appreciating where I am right now. If I have a part-time job, I need to be working on getting a full-time job. If I'm home on the weekend and I'm not writing, I'm wasting my time. If I'm spending my time doodling or messing around with watercolors instead of writing, I'm a failure who will never get published. If I'm not at a poetry reading, I'm clearly not committed to my future or meeting people in my field. There are so many things that I think I should be doing, that I almost feel like I shouldn't feel happy when I'm doing anything other than those things. And that makes for a heckofalot of feeling sorry for myself and fretting about where I want to be.

But back to the bulldog. I smiled, and other walkers-by smiled, as his owner tugged and tugged at his leash, sweetly saying, "Come on now, let's go, let's go" but he wouldn't budge. He laid, he looked around a bit, she continued to coax him, or try to. But everyone was smiling, even the bulldog looked as happy as anyone ever could. He was lazy, and he slowed us all down a bit, with the way his belly rested on the pavement.

I have an awful tendency to create metaphors out of everything, or try to. Most of the time, they don't work (think, "I am the last brussel sprout on the plate") but here, I like to think I've gotten at something, or at least the bulldog has. Am I applying to many jobs? Nope. Am I constantly writing and creating? I try to write at least once a week. Am I making any art that is good enough to sell? Probably not. I am very good at focussing on what I don't have, and latching myself to the idea that what I have is not enough to be happy. Right now though, there are so many good things in my life. I do not have a salaried job in my field. I do not know what my "field" is, or why it is even called field, like are we playing soccer or what. I am not published. People are not knocking down my door (e-mail inbox) asking me to write for them or be their own personal poet laureate or whatever. Most of the time, this is all that I see, and I overwhelm myself to the point of saying, "Oh boy, what's even the point of trying ANYTHING?" I have a flair for the dramatics. What I have the hardest time remembering is that I just graduated. That I am only 21. And while I love plans and shit, and while in my head of course I wanted my entire life to come together in a beautiful Disney-movie-esque way right after I got out of college, the idea of having my life absolutely set at the age of 21 is sort of terrifying.

I have a part-time job and get to work with some people I really like, I'm in a poetry workshop and have gotten started on a project, I'm meeting more new people, creative people, that are inspiring and who I want to work with. I have a lot of time to do whatever I want. Some days, it will be lying around in American Apparel hot pants and watching Supernatural from the time I wake up to the time I leave bed to go to the bathroom and the kitchen, and then again until it's time for more sleep, and other days it will be going to a poetry reading in the city, or writing a poem, or submitting my poems for publication, or drawing some really hip spooks. Now is a time where I actually have time, time I will regret wasting with wishing for something to fill it with once I do actually have that full-time salaried job (positivity!).

But back the the bulldog. After dallying a bit on the corner, I left him there to go meet my friend at the Met. I don't know how long he laid there, but I have to imagine it was for as long as he wanted to. I always feel that if I'm not moving, then I'm not doing. If I'm not creating, then I'm wasting. But really - and this is the hard part - If I'm enjoying whatever I am (or am not) doing, then that's all that matters right now, said the bulldog on the corner.

Blouse, skirt, tights: Uniqlo, Jean Jacket: Salvation Army, Shoes: Dolce Vita via Marshalls, Hat: Newbury Comics

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013


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Last week, Justin and I journeyed down to Philadelphia for a much deserved overnight trip. I'd never been to Philadelphia before, but assumed it was a city I'd like well enough. I have a tendency to get excited over historical tourist attractions, so Philadelphia seemed like the right place to head. I didn't realize just how much I'd love the city though. I'm not sure exactly what it was. It probably had a decent amount to do with Reading Terminal Market and it's warm 99 cent blueberry fritters and the fact that Benjamin Franklin's head is mounted all over the place. It might have been the old brightly shingled buildings and the brick sidewalks. Maybe it was the uncrowded streets, and the little restaurants tucked into the corners of every side road we walked down. It could even have been the sidecar a bashfully talented bartender made for me at midnight. This is all just conjecture, of course.

Honestly, most of the time, when I visit a new city (and it's pretty rare that I do), I tend to idealize it. Whenever you're on vacation anywhere, you take a break, you set out to enjoy everything positive a place has to offer. Traveling to a place is just much different than living in a place. And honestly, I think because I don't know where I want to live or be or like, do with my life or whatever, seeing a new place just makes me excited. I know that I don't want to stay in New York, so everywhere I visit just becomes a possible future I guess. Philadelphia just feels like a place I could see myself living, happily (employed-ly?) in the near future, and that makes me happy despite all of the "WOAH WHAT AM I DOING WHAT'S GOING ON" uncertainties I got goin' on right now.

Here are a few of my favorite snapshots from our trip. Spoiler: They are mostly of food.

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Photos by me, Justin, and a friendly security guard

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Tricks


I have a lot of problems with the phrase "laid off." Obviously, it's a major bummer, but my main problem is that it sounds like it shouldn't be such a let down of a thing. "Laid off" makes me think of "lay down" which makes me think of reclining on a mega comfy bed while I watch marathons of Breaking Bad and have someone feed me bites of soft pretzels.

On Sunday night, I got unexpectedly laid off from my new internship. They didn't even buy me a soft pretzel or anything. I've mostly gotten through the soul-sucking self-doubt/crying on the floor while listening to Neil Young records/eating gouda while mumbling Gotye lyrics to myself part of this whole thing (mostly), which means beginning the much more difficult task of facing what to do next.

I've heard a lot of really wonderful supportive things, like "It isn't exactly what you wanted anyway," "Now you can take the time to apply for what you really want," "take this time to focus on yourself," and "At least you don't have bills to pay, this is a good time for this to have happened." And these things are all true. But the problem sometimes is that even the advice with the best intentions, said by the people you love the most, doesn't always Oh shoot, did that make me sound like a dick? What I mean is that it helps, it all helps. What the problem really is, is that I want someone to make it clear to me what I should do next and how I should do it, what my dreams are and how I can work towards them. I DON'T ASK FOR MUCH.

Not having an income is scary, and not having a schedule is also scary. But the scariest thing of all, at least for me, is not knowing what I'm doing. Having a part time internship/job that paid me was a good distraction from a lot of grander, more important things. Yes, I was still applying to jobs, but half-heartedly. I jotted a few lines of poetry down here and there, but nothing too substantial. Now, though, I uh, have nothing to distract me from what it is I want to do or even, more importantly, figuring out what it is I want to do.

This is a good thing. Did you believe me when you read that? For real. I'm being serious. Not that I've completely convinced myself. Like, at all. But I'm trying to think small scale here, not like, what do you want to do with THE REST OF YOUR LIFE??? Thinking about that makes me want to dig a hole just big enough to fit me and a bag of marshmallows so I can mourn my lost youth and eat marshmallows.

So, what do I want to do with this (hopefully not gaping, huge, and/or mega-extended) window of time in my life? That's the hundred dollar (zero dollar, tbh) question. The number one thing I don't want to do? Mope over my joblessness when I'm really being presented with an opportunity to grow. I want to write more, and journal more seriously. I want to get back on the ball with my 365 poetry project. I really want to make a zine, possibly about erasure poetry and possibly about what classic works of literature would be like if they were pasta-themed (if you guys are interested in collaborating in some form email me, for real). I want to apply to jobs that I care about until it becomes evident I should settle for something less than what I want, and even then I don't want to settle completely. I want to put together my Hobbit LEGO set. I want to go to the Museum of Natural History enough times to actually learn the layout. I want to make more watercolors, because I needed even more craft hobbies, right. I want to figure out another etsy shop idea that I can get excited about the way I got excited about Faces and Faces. I want to read! What I guess it comes down to is that I don't want this to be a stagnant point in my life. I want to grow and get excited, and make things that make other people excited. So I suppose that's just what I'll do.

These are the first outfit photos I took in a long time, so I like, forgot how to pose. I thought it would be like riding a bicycle, but then again, I'm not very good at riding bicycles.

skirt: vintage, top: H&M, sandals: Madewell

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

That Never Sleeps


Recently , I read this wonderful article my friend Callie posted to Facebook. While it’s not required reading for this post or whatever it is suggested reading for life, btw. In case you’ve decided to forgo my sage, elderly wisdom, the article is essentially about how we, as a people, are using our mobile internet devices to distance ourselves from people, as a means to justify not interacting with people in person. That is a terrible summary. This is why I am not a professional summarizer, though I would one hundred percent be a professional summarizer because for real I need a job if anybody’s, uh, looking for a professional summarizer. But, I digress.

I think part of the reason I was so affected by the article was because it verbalized (textualized? Sexualized? Not sexualized) a lot of the things I had already been mulling over. I’ve been thinking an awful lot lately about the city that I live in – which happens to be New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do, let’s hear it for New York New York New YORK. Since I started my new internship, I’ve been commuting into Manhattan three days a week, which means I’ve been taking the subway an awful lot more. The 6 train has rapidly grown into my favorite place to observe and think. I generally ride at its most crowded hours, and find that being wedged between a bunch of fascinating, tired people lends itself greatly to looking closely at a bunch of fascinating, tired people.

My feelings for New York are probably the most fluctuating, unsteady feelings I’ve ever felt towards anything, or anyone. This time last year, I would have told you I was eager to pack my bags and get the HECK out of this cruel, urine-scented world in favor of the west coast. But then I started to do more. To explore more. To spend more time by myself. To spend more time with people.  And then I started to warm up to New York. “Maybe I didn’t give you enough of a chance, NEW YORK!” I yelled, to myself, in a crowd of concerned onlookers. It was like that boy that you just don’t give the time of day, not because there’s anything wrong with him, but because you’re just so into yourself right now, and not ready to be with anyone, so you blame your problems on this one guy when REALLY you’ve got to you know work on yourself. It’s, uh, like that, sort of. The thing about New York, though, is that it’s a fickle lover, and sometimes it is, in fact, the problem. There are days when New York has made me feel so lonely and discouraged that I had to sit on a park bench and cry about it. But then, there are days when I walk by a man playing beautiful accordion music in front of a dirty Walgreen’s and everything seems infinite and possible.

But again, I digress. Though, in my defense, this digression is more relevant than the last one. You’ve probably all read that infamous, motivational “Wear Sunscreen” article that’s always floating around on tumblr in bits and pieces. One of the pieces of advice is something like, “live in New York, but leave before it makes you hard.” There are a lot of New York stereotypes – one of the most common being that we are all a bunch of dicks who will kick you when you’re down, after putting you down in the first place.  The article I mentioned at the beginning of this post, coupled with my spending so much more time exploring and working in Manhattan these past few months got me to thinking – what is New York doing to me? What am I doing here? Do I like who I’m growing into in this city notorious for changing people?

In that article about technology, Jonathon Sanfran Foer, talks about how using our phones in a social situation creates this thought gap in us. Our instinct to react instantly to help someone is delayed and kind of muddled by our ability to use our phones or tablets, to distract ourselves from the situation long enough for it to end without our intervention. While my concerns aren’t really technology based (I mean, like, right now, for this blog post. My concerns are uh, pretty generally technology based tbh, but anyway), I have been thinking about how I react to things. Things are always happening around you wherever you are, but on a crowded downtown street, you can find yourself in a new potential situation with every few steps. Over the past few months in particular, I’ve noticed my reaction time quickening its pace, in good and bad situations. A few days ago, a lady was walking past me holding a bag of food, and the bottom gave out, and her napkins and receipts all started flying away, so I leapt – almost literally? – to help her out before she lost all of her paper products to the night wind. Last night, I was in Grand Central,  and this drunk young guy was walking down the up escalator to be obnoxious, and then he started running up it, right as I was reaching the top. I said to him, “Okay, you need to CHILL OUT” to which he responded “Don’t fucking tell me to CHILL OUT” to which I responded “You’re running up a friggin’ ESCALATOR while I’m on it, it’s DANGEROUS” to which he huffed and puffed and moved his arms like a freshly harpooned octopus.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve noticed this quickening, that I’m reacting when I want to react, instead of considering my options for so long that by the time I make up my mind that I should, in fact, be sassy, the situation, and my opportunity to sass, has passed. I’m not quite sure how to feel about it honestly. Sure, it’s a good thing that I’m my response to help people seems more immediate, but is it a good thing that my fuse can be short enough to get into an altercation with a drunk bro that I really should have just ignored? I’m tired of taking a backseat to things, tired of certain people feeling more obligated than other people to do what they want, but I think there’s a responsibility, a need for check, that comes along with this sort of following of gut feelings. Now, I don’t know how much of this is New York. This city is fast paced. This city has a tendency to be self-involved. I have lived in this city my whole life, but feel like this is the first year I’ve really been living in it, with it. I know that I feel myself changing, as I have every day for the past few years, but now that change feels directly linked to this city, that is, for now, my home.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Facing Forward

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And here I am, one week from graduation, sitting at my desk. My bangs are messily but artfully clipped back into a Johnny Bravo fashion. I have been staring at my resume for the past two hours wondering if it is jazzy enough, after a prior two hours of staring at jobs on like “gurl is this all you GOT? I know this ain’t all you got for me, gurl. I thought we were CLOSE??” I have become a little delusional. I blame the Johnny Bravo hair.

The truth is, I feel like I should have something interesting to say upon my impending graduation. HECK, I had something to say about my high school graduation, which wasn’t even important, but we don’t need to revisit that. You guys don’t need to hear about me missing my teachers and things “never being the same AGAIN.” I recently read a short piece I wrote right before I graduated high school and was struck by how different I feel now, four years later, graduating from something else. I feel ready to leave in a lot of ways. I don’t feel clingy. I don’t have a chronic fear of losing connections, maybe because I’ve seen the connections I’ve kept and lost since high school. I just feel very weird about it all. Note: It will probably be worth my while to keep a tally on the amount of times I use the word “weird” in this post.

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Whenever someone congratulates me on my upcoming graduation I have the tendency to say something like, “CONGRATULATIONS FOR WHAT? FOR MAKING IT TO THE EDGE OF THE ABYSS THAT IS MY FUTURE? OH, THANK YOU. THANKS SO MUCH.” Then I growl and foam at the mouth a bit and steal away to a hovel a la Gollum. Not really. But I really have used the word “abyss” in the past two weeks more than I have in my whole life. The truth is, I am excited about the possibilities of “the post-graduation abyss” as I will now lovingly (unlovingly) call it. On the other hand, it is, uh an abyss. And an abyss is an inherently scary thing because of its mystery, its cool unknowability.

It is a terrifying thing, for me at least, not to have a planned next step. I am very good with planned next steps. They are something I like a whole lot, in fact. Go to high school after grammar school, and then college? YES! Keep my current job until I find something new to move on to? OBVIOUSLY! Plans are cool. I dig plans. Right now though, the world is my metaphorical oyster. The problem is I’ve never tried oysters. And they seem kind of slimy and off-putting, tbh.

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As I’m sure is not at all obvious at this point, I’ve been doing a lot of dwelling and not a whole lot of celebrating (though there has been plenty of beer involved). In fact, if you’ll recall the beginning of this post, I was being super broody about everything (particularly my floofy hair). Then, I decided that now was a good time to write a blog post and take stock of what’s really going on versus what my anxiety says is happening (“THE ABYSS!”). With school ending and my work coming to a close, I’ve had some increase in free time lately, all of which has been filled with a very satisfying mix of good food, lots of (you have no idea how many) movies, late night talks, family time, frantic reconnections, and ideas. Good things. Now is a weird time, where my obligations are quite fewer than they’ve been for a long time. It’s a time where, well, I have more time. Or, the same amount of time but differently allotted. Now is a time where I can look back at projects I forgot, and create new ones. Find focus. Learn. I can look at the abyss as a bottomless pit or a road that takes me somewhere new, a place where I’m falling and can’t ever find footing, or a place that allows me to sit and rest for a while as I figure things out. Would I like to have a plan? Yes. Would I like to have a job lined up? Of course. But it’s important to look at the reality of things, I think (it is also worth noting that I am terrible at looking at the reality of things) in order to move forward in a way that is productive and makes you feel good. So, I might not have any advice for you, or for myself, on graduation and the “real world.” But I can say, or hope, that maybe the post-graduation abyss isn’t so scary when you look it right in the eyes.

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As for what I've been wearing - frankly, it hasn't been all that interesting. Having a personal style is a lot harder when you feel your sense of style changing but can't buy new clothes because you don't have an income. Also, laziness. I decided I really wanted overalls, and then dug these gems out of a drawer of hardly worn bottoms. Maybe summer will bring back my ability to dress like a cool dude?

Overalls, Shoes: UO, Shirt: Gap, Tote: Lil Bub

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Odds and Odds

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This is weird. Is this weird for you? It's a little weird for me. Right as I started typing a red bar popped up on Blogger that says that there was some sort of error in my post, but I'm going to go with this anyway. This past month since my last post has been...a lot. There have been wonderful things, terrifying things, all sorts of long nights, sleeping in waiting rooms, not sleeping in beds, crying in hospital elevators, trying new beers, seeing new things. There has been a lot of new, a lot of adjusting, and a lot of unexpected. I mean, though, I guess our lives are mostly unexpected moments, right? I mean, no one expects a piano (metaphorical or literal) to drop onto them from a rooftop. No one expects to meet a boy through a long series of wonderful people from New Hampshire. No one expects their 20-something year old sister to need brain surgery. Life is full of a variety of unexpectednesses, and I suppose it's more about how you deal, how you do, what you do. I've been eating a lot, laughing a lot, walking around Manhattan a lot, using ghetto slang a lot, talking to Cheryl and Mike a lot, writing and failing to write poetry a lot, being selfish a lot, being thankful a lot, sitting in bed wondering how I got here a lot. I apparently have also started taking my camera out to play again, after not using it for weeks. Not a lot though, just some of the time. I ain't no photographer, bros. I'm on spring break right now, sort of, and I thought it might be nice to pop in, drop some photos, drop some mics, write a little about what's been going on, and show you a little bit too.

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photos by Justin and me