November 26, 2009

Big City

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. --Alan Alda

All I really had was a suitcase and my drums. So I took them up to Seattle and hoped it would work. --Dave Grohl

One of my friends told me that her long distance boyfriend of maybe two months had spent almost how much she pays in rent on a piece of jewelry for her. They're in love, he's adamant that he's the only one for her, and have began to discuss their lives as newlyweds. I'm sure a few of you clutched your heart a bit, or shook your head, like I did; and if you didn't, perhaps you have no reason to feel so jaded. And I'm sure there's at least one of you wondering why I'm talking about my friend's boyfriend when the title of this entry is "Big City."

Let me explain.

I mentioned briefly to some that I had been in a rather unsavory relationship. At eighteen I opted to date a twenty two year old, I fresh out of high school and he fresh off his first half of tour of duty on the front lines of Iraq. This scenario in no way automatically spells trouble, though I feel that to a certain degree I should have known better, or at least expected the possibility of what was to come.

At eighteen I was headstrong and fighting for my independence and my place in things. I've never considered myself beautiful in any capacity, and my lack of popularity never bothered me because I firmly believed then, and now, that a person must love you for who you are, not what they expect. Even still, the idea that a nice enough looking guy four years my senior, off doing worldly things and being an adult, wanted to date me was nice. I loved him and he said the same, he believed he was the only one for me, and so on, and it pleased me. So much so that I endured nearly two years of mental abuse and severe depression as he tried to cope with his anxieties about the war and himself by using me as his point of rage.

I'm not saying my friend will end up like me (mostly because I simply won't allow to watch my friends be brutalized in such a fashion after having gone through that myself), but it reminded me of why I moved to Seattle in the first place.

Yes, a large portion of my decision was based on the fact that I was accepted into the University of Washington after I had completed my AA degree at my local community college, but UW was the only four year institution that I had applied for. I reasoned to my parents later that it was because UW is the only institution that doesn't automatically accept transfers-- and that's true-- and if they didn't accept me, I could easily go to Central like my mother wanted me to.

In reality I craved Seattle. My dearest friends lived there, urging me to move out to be with them. I wanted so desperately to move on to some semblance of normalcy, normalcy for a young woman of twenty one, and be with my friends my age that my ex had done nearly everything in his power to keep me away from. I wanted to see them, I wanted some control over my life, and desired to try something new, even if that meant moving three hours away from everything I knew.

Most importantly, I wanted to leave me behind. My friends in Seattle, while close and dear to me, did not see the me that had been broken and devastated, all they know of are accounts that I have told them. They remembered me as the vibrant and stubborn teenager bounding down the field in my purple graduation robes, smile and laughing and happy. Part of me is sad that they weren't there for that part of my life, regardless of how sad it was, because it is very much a part of me and something they have difficulties understanding, but back then I relished in the thought of no one knowing I was a statistic, a dumb girl who let herself be abused, and could be seen again as the cheery and intelligent girl that I had left behind only a few years prior.

Seattle has done many things for me. I still have my insecurities and neuroses like every woman does, but I feel alive again, and proud. I met new people, reinstated my social life, succeeded in school, and while I purposely strayed away from romantic relations, forged friendships with people who love me, and mean it. It took an act of anonymity to bring me back to acknowledging myself, to love myself, and for that I will always be in love with this city and its inability to cope with snow.

November 22, 2009

Cell Phones

To be happy in this world, first you need a cell phone and then you need an airplane. Then you're truly wireless. -Ted Turner

I still have my bad days when I think I'm not getting everything I deserve. But those pass quickly once my Mother gets on the phone and says, 'listen, we used to eat rocks and walk 80 miles a day to school. -Bonnie Hunt

It's hard to imagine that the moment I transcribe all of this mess that's about to come, my thoughts will be outdated. In truth, they already are, in terms of the subject. It's 2009 and I have a flip phone. It's sleek, made of titanium, with camera and music functions, but clearly not comparable to touch screen phones. Now that the iPhone is in its number more than one generation, more companies are fighting to compete with a market now dominated by everything Apple. I'm considering joining in as well, letting Apple ride me like a cash cow, despite the fact that I really don't use my phone for anything other than talking and texting.

At a certain point, someone will look at this and wonder what the hell I'm going on about. "Cell phones? Touch screen? Music, pictures? iPhone? Pah, how primitive!" they'll say while reading this particular entry on a particle visor screen projected from a bluetooth like attachment wrapped around their ear. How did the world ever get along without a particle screen phone?

Actually, I can answer that.

I was born before the rise of the cell phone, the true rise, anyway. I remember bag phones, my family had one of them, and we stuck it in our van. I don't remember it ever being used, and perhaps that was why it wasn't considered a big deal. I remember watching Hook with Robin Williams as Peter Panning ran around with his cell phone ignoring his family, one of the first to make a connection to the negativity surrounding wireless communication. I remember receiving a similar type of phone in middle school. And while I remember having a phone upgrade in high school (this one had Tetris!), I still remember how important and awesome it was to have your own phone and phone line in your bedroom. Even better if your parents let you have three way calling (or what we usually called "a party line") so you could chat up two of your best friends about boys and your favorite songs.

I remember spending a lot of time on the phone in high school, considerably more than I do now. Though it's arguable that I'm more addicted to my phone than ever before.

See, with land phones, you couldn't take them with you. Ever. Well, you could, but they wouldn't work since they needed to be plugged in and all. Cell phones? I can't leave home without my cell phone. It's made a little outline on all of my jean pockets and always set to vibrate in some capacity when I wear it in said pocket. Missing a communication is unacceptable, and I went through a period of weaning and mourning when I realized that my office clothes weren't cell phone friendly. I used to frequently check my phone stuck unceremoniously in my purse (I did make it a nice little nerd related cover in hopes of appeasing it), I like to think that occurred out of habit and perhaps comfort. I reached an eventual plateau of uncaring-- until my friends started calling me multiple times during my work day to make plans and demanding why I haven't gotten back to them about said plans, and that threw my plateau all out of sorts.

On the few occassions I leave without my phone, I feel uneasy and a bit afraid. What if I'm mugged? I can't call for help. What if my parents call me? What if someone texts me? What if someone calls trying to make plans for tonight? I'm equally as neurotic when my phone is on the verge of dying. My phone has become my lifeline in terms of communication that, in this day and age, I find rather personal. I find it more thoughtful to text a friend then write them an email. In truth, the email requires more thought, but the text is so instantaneous that it conveys they're a seamless part of my ever busy day.

And have I become busy lately. I thought I was busy in college, adulthood has proven me wrong. But let me do say, after all of that talk of phone dependency, that I love seeing and being with my friends more than a phone call or a text. The reason I communicate with at such frequency is due to our inability to connect on a physical level, not necessarily out of habit and comfort of distance. I miss people, so I text them. If I really miss them, I call them. And when I really, really miss them, I call them in demand of being let into their apartment complex.

People are not wrong in their fears of a society where face to face communication becomes obsolete; where social skills are left to the wayside and people are not longer able to connect to each other verbally. But I have faith that for every person so absorbed in their singularity, there is another person like me invading their physical space.

November 20, 2009


Journal writing is a voyage into the interior. - Christina Baldwin

When my journal appears, many statues must come down. - Arthur Wellesley

Blogging is hard, I've realized. It's never quite just a journal considering the public nature of these things (and if it is, well, be warned that nothing is ever gone from the internet) which makes it somewhat difficult to write with the ease and fluidity that some need. Some that have so much to say and are so very much inhibited by their laziness a good portion of the day. And yet so many people have blogs. How do they do it? Do they have excessive amounts of free time? Probably not because when I do, I spend it excessively staring off into blank spaces as I've already correlated productivity to paycheck. Do they outsource it? I suppose if I had kids, it would be free labor?

I suppose it's talent, and commitment to that talent-- and dammit it all if I can't have that talent, too!

In truth, I probably don't. A blog is a dance between the blogger and the readers, fueling entires for the reader to enjoy. That's true in all forms of writing, and I won't lie in saying I don't want to have a part of that myself. But at the same time, I'm choosing to blog with a certain amount of anonymity. Balancing personalization and anonymity is also difficult, but like I said before, the public nature of these things just doesn't lend well to what I want to write about, and I only care to write about what I care to write about.

Which is me and my life. The past, present, my future if I can develop my inner eye, and everyone and everything that comes with it. You can see why being entirely forthcoming would be, at least, entirely detrimental.

And this isn't like my other blog that covers my personal thoughts and expeditions in Seattle, though I'm sure there will be some cross over in the sense that being a nerd is very much a part of me, but this blog is really an outlet for my thoughts, thoughts that I've kept pent up inside for so long because I never knew how to express them before. The kind that need to be said, in any way, in order to alleviate the stress of not saying them at all. It's like keeping a secret. You need so badly to let it out, just once, because it's eating you up inside, and once you do find that other unfortunate person (or people, for some of you) to share, you feel relieved.

Of course, the downside to secrets is now that person(s) you told? Well, they need to go tell someone else, too. And if they're anything like you, it's probably multiple someones.

I think that's why so many of us have blogs, we're addicted to sharing. I feel that there's a certain amount of self righteousness when it comes to blogging, as in, somehow I've found myself important enough to scribe all about it online regardless of whether or not I'm really worthy of such presentation. But I think the truth is that we just want to tell someone in order to alleviate being stifled, for whatever reason. Be it our employer, our significant other, children, friends, parents, that stupid college student pedestrian that doesn't look when they cross, and so forth.

And when I say this blog is rather personal, it is. All of us go through many experiences in life that changes us, and unfortunately those experiences are usually bad. I still have some difficulties dealing with mine, trying to sort out what happened, how it happened, how I let it continue, and how that affects my identity today and in the future. Perhaps it's a bit self defeating to remain as anonymous as possible when getting these experiences out and the thoughts that go with them because they really are eating me up inside. But my way of coping is to write, to express, and to share, and my greatest hope, if anyone were ever to read any of this, is that someone can take anything from my blog, even just a glimmer of a fraction, and realize that they're not alone.

So, to the person who took a glimmer of a fraction from my blog, you are not alone.