Posts tagged thoughts
Posts tagged thoughts
I got sucked into this article in The Atlantic a few weeks ago and felt the need to put it here to share it, To Make America Great Again, We Need to Leave the Country.
Initially I didn’t want to read it because the title and brief, brief excerpt made it look like a piece with Thought Catalog placed values - pack up all of your shit and leave all of these problems in America behind for someone else to deal with. But it’s not like that, not at all. The writer of the piece is Elliot Gerson, a former Rhodes scholar. He thoughtfully implores the reader to travel as a means to opening their eyes to what other countries do great and to take said country’s actions and implement them into our own country to fix what desperately needs fixing.
Most people, Gerson points out, consider the idea of going overseas and utilizing great ideas that work there as unpatriotic to America. Not travelling to other countries forces our country to start closing in on itself as well - which is extremely alarming to me to hear. Mostly because it mirrors the crap that roams inside of my head. Last year when I tried (but came up 20,000 words short) to enter NaNoWriMo’s 50,000 word November writing contest, I wrote a futuristic dystopian story about America set in 2098. It was a strange tale. Most of my inspiration came from various news stories I had read throughout the year. I renamed the country N.U.S. (“New United States”) and wrote up a new law process that involved a city-state government as the highest form of power. Marriage laws, the caste system, money, technology, family units, and recreational drug use were all turned on their ear to spawn a compliant class of people who never craved their freedom as much as they wanted to simply go along for the ride and not anger another person or be thrown out of their cushioned world into one that would force them to work, truly work, until they either collapsed from it or embraced the labor and took the hands on work to create a new life with. (There’s an advertising campaign in the story that revolves around the phrase “Be Kind!” which was something someone I used to know and did not like used to tweet as a hashtag. Constantly.)
I reread that document last night and it was just as chilling the first time around writing it because you have to be in a dark place in order to think some of those thoughts. Or just in a quietly contemplative place. Or both at times. But I still liked it. I liked the ideas that were the foundation for the piece. I liked that I was still able to close my eyes and fall straight back into the protagonist’s shoes. And most interestingly enough, I liked that at the time I had been writing it, I was in a very happy place in my real life sans the Word doc and yet could write something that was very far from where I was once more.
Sometimes I wonder what I could have written had I not lived in the United States my entire life. The biggest insecurity I have is that I haven’t been overseas yet. I wish I had been able to go study abroad in college, but I did not have the time for it. I transferred into my university as a junior and the four remaining semesters that separated me from my graduation were filled with internships and work and classes, all of which required me to stay put. Telecommuting during an internship wasn’t really taking off at that time either. The only way I could have studied abroad would have been to enroll in one semester of college and my student loan could not have had that excursion piled on to its already large load. Had I been able to do it, I know for a fact that my life right now would be different. I would have experienced a different way of thinking and leading my life. I’m bad enough with forming sicko attachments to cities as it is and I know for a fact that post-abroad I would have come back and felt a rising upset with where I lived and not have liked it anymore. Had I studied abroad I would have probably met some wonderful people along the way, the kind that are so wonderful that the memory of them makes you cry into your pillow at night because at a certain point, they and everything you did just turns into memories from a time that is well past you.
Everyone always asks me whenever I tell them how badly I want to go overseas, well what’s stopping ya?
Fucking everything! is all I want to be able to shout back until I’m hoarse and can’t breathe.
Everything is stopping me and at the same time nothing is. I can’t uproot my entire life right now because it is so carefully constricted and bound and tied to a series of commitments.
I have my job. My job keeps me in one place. My job which I love so much but don’t want to hold me so tightly and still in what has got to be the world’s most gated, bubbled community in the country.
I have my apartment. It’s beautiful and I love it so hard, love where it’s located and how I can walk in the neighborhood at any hour of the day and still feel safe (you’ve got no idea how rare that is until you live it). But I can’t fold it up and take it with me wherever I go like it’s a dollhouse and knowing that one day I will not be living there is inevitable but quite painful.
I have my debt. It’s all a process of payments, one right after another, and they never stop coming. Sallie Mae is a spiteful bitch and my credit card bills are growing smaller, then rising, then shrinking, but would be back to rising if I moved somewhere else, at least for a short time there. I pay for everything I own myself. If I fell, I would have to catch me. Certainly makes for an uplifting tale of independence in this economy but it’s mentally draining.
I have the stupid fear that I wouldn’t get dual citizenship or even a basic citizenship there. This is the kind of fear that makes everything else - the relationships you have, the people you encounter, the failure and the success you may achieve or not - absolutely diminish in comparison.
Everything is stopping me and at the same time nothing is.
Thoughts from a pre-quarterlife place,
It has been awhile since I wrote in this blog, wrote out a long, drawn out personal entry. And to tell you the truth, I do know why that is. I’ve been facing some great changes in my public and private worlds, all of which I have been in complete control of and have brought on myself. None of which I have wanted to write down or discuss either, outside of a very small handful of people who know me best. Even then, it’s been a struggle.
As of late I have not wanted to hear my own voice. I just haven’t. It’s not because I don’t like it either or I’m getting down on myself. There have been so many times where I feel like so many separate versions of me are in this world and I’m only ever putting forth a few choice sides. The few sides that I know people do want to see, that they will like, that they will envy me for, and to that end I do what I can to make it all look so easy. So simple. But it’s not, not by a long shot. Very few people can even grasp what that means until they’ve lived it. There is good and there is bad with every position in life we take, with the luck that we have and the chances we take and no way of ever knowing exactly what the true outcome of any of it may be.
My personal outcomes as they are I am through with leaving in the hands of others to decide. My boss at my full-time job recently told me that my personality being what it is would absolutely despise working for a corporation. She’s right. I have never liked the idea of someone or some… thing having control over me and I will work my entire life to be sure I will never, ever allow that to happen. Freedom can come. You can manage things and still be free. When I was in the 6th grade, my mom told me after a parent-teacher conference that my teacher had told her I would be at my happiest forever sitting underneath a tree and reading a book. It still holds remarkably true over a decade later.
In the past month, I have:
1) Quit one of my freelance jobs.
2) Attended the Pillsbury Bake-Off.
3) Was one of three panelists on a webinar with over 500 listeners present.
4) Received several new blogging opportunities.
5) Joined a Bikram yoga class.
I don’t plan on going on for too long on any of these but in brief, here are my summaries for all:
1) There is an adage that we’re all familiar with: quitters never win and winners never quit. And that when one door closes, another door opens. But I don’t happen to believe in either one. I believe that sometimes you do have to quit something. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser either. Maybe it just doesn’t work out for you or it’s too overwhelming. And I also quite firmly believe that at times, you have to close a door that was once open on your own because not every open door has an opportunity stays golden forever. By doing so, you’re brave. It’s an act of knowing who you are and of your bravery to do so. Making the decision to quit one of my freelance positions wasn’t one I liked doing, but I had to. Do you know what really made me do it? Beyond rude emails, beyond my sleep schedule getting jacked up, beyond having to go all over the place in Hollywood la la la land of the stars (I don’t like Hollywood at all and if you were in my position, I doubt you’d like it much after either), beyond the endless press releases from pr firms I couldn’t stand- it was the sheer moment where I had a thought at the beginning of March in which I considered staying. Then I realized my original contract end date would be at the end of June. 4. More. Months. And I had been there since last August.
“Yeah, I’m not doing this,” was my epiphany. (There’s so much more on this one I could elaborate on but for the time being I’m not going to. Also, why does sitting here writing this feel so weirdly deja vu’d to me? Like I did it in a dream before. Or maybe because I sat here for so many days trying to get these words out and they never actually got free. Well here they are- freedom in writing!)
2) Oh, the Bake-Off. So near and dear to my heart and also something I’m currently working onto putting together a Giggles post on. I had a wonderful time attending in Orlando, Florida and staying for several days in the elegant and spacious Peabody Hotel. I got to fulfill a childhood dream of mine of meeting the Pillsbury Doughboy which was above and beyond encountering any celebrity, EVER. I ate a lot of food and had dinner with Martha Stewart, one of the guest judges there. We had wine with every entree, I stayed up late every night and woke up early each morning, I got to talk with so many people within the General Mills family tree (a company structure I have known too much for my own good about since childhood), and the weather was in the 80’s and just… perfect. That was my spring break in a nutshell and I loved every minute of it. And in an interesting turn of events, I did get asked out at the airport terminal too… as well as pulled aside for a random security screening but we don’t need to relive the latter of the two again.
3) The webinar was for social media and the topic was Pinterest, as it appears virtually everyone seems to adore the site except for me (Tumblr is my true love). Originally my boss was supposed to present but a family emergency came up and she asked me to step into her shoes instead. I eagerly took the position, but worried a little bit about the copyright law side of Pinterest that is so famous for being highly discussed and brushed up on my knowledge of that before the webinar started. It was a tremendous success and though virtual, I had a wonderful time discussing the merits of the site with the other panelists- as well as getting a ton of replies for my comment that “Pinterest is not for every industry.” (IT ISN’T. I refuse to say it is either- you’re talking about a website that lives by the idea of constant, consistent beauty for popularity with an 80% female user base. Wedding retailers, check! Cake shops, check! Accounting firms, no check!)
4) I am going to opt out of saying just exactly what these opportunities are and where they’re at for the time being. But they’re quite good and I’m tremendously excited for the latter of the bunch which will be airing a TV show in conjuncture with the site.
5) Yoga has been for so long on my to-do list that it saddens me just how long I’ve left it there and did nothing with it. I may walk everywhere but that doesn’t translate into being limber in all areas of my body and today marked my first class at the local studio. Bikram yoga is hot yoga- 105 degrees hot. You sweat like crazy- like dripping everywhere and shaking it off of you like a dog. You contort your body into a million different positions. You ache and get dizzy at times because it is constant. For 90 minutes today, I checked my normally tidy appearance at the door for sweaty palms, stretching, and inner jealousy at all of the other yoginis who were waaaay past the beginner’s stages- they were toned, and muscled and flexible. Everything I want to be and hope to become by taking this class. I’ve already signed up for a month of unlimited sessions (which for new students is crazy cheap, holla at me if you want more details) and plan on going 3 days a week, minimum (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Ideally I’d like to include one Monday-Thursdays in there somewhere but I’m not sure which day would be best without overdoing it.
And there you have it. My life, to a degree, is simpler. I’m working to make it that way. Though there are many parts of it that will not change. I’m still a Boss Lady at work. I’m still writing a whole bunch on the side. I’ll still be hitting up Coffee Bean in the morning, still be glued to my iPhone (on a Bikram note? I couldn’t take my phone into the studio with me. That. Killed. Me.), and I’ll still be laughing at all times at random things I find.
Let the good times roll,