Monday, November 28, 2016

Maybe Tonight...

A smile filled my face as I stood on the back deck, watching my breath swirl through the cold air.  Though I couldn't quite put my finger on it, something just felt right about the morning.  Life felt prospective, exciting- hopeful, life felt hopeful.

It's been a while since I graced the internet with my tempest of musings, and today felt like just the right day to bring myself back to this place.

To say that my moods have been intense as of late would be a tad of an understatement.  I feel like I've been running on a treadmill- stuck in place as I try desperately to escape the the emotional scarring left by the events of a few months ago.  My coping mechanisms have shifted, but in the end I realize that I just haven't found a healthy way to deal- at least not that I've managed to stick to.

Today, I've decided that I want to change that.  Today, I feel motivated, excited, and positive, and I want to take that positive energy and create a plan for something good.

Five months ago today, I got on a plane and made a transition that would change my life immensely;  and though I don't regret that decision for a moment, my life has been a roller coaster of its own kind since that day.  Changes have always been difficult for me, and such a massive change as moving across the country to a state where I knew only one person was bound to have some whiplash effects.  It's taken me time to adjust in so many ways, and not all of them have been easy.

Today, though, I finally feel settled in and confident in myself.  It's just coming up on December, and it's about this time every year that I start getting antsy and hitting planning mode- spewing ideas of what I want to change and do in the new year.  Last year I actually had a pretty solid plan...but then I moved- twice- and slowly my plans melted away into the aether of yesterday.

This year, I don't want anything to get in my way.  I want to start doing the things I've been wanting to do that I just haven't- things I've come up with excuses for.  I've always been an all or nothing person: it's so difficult for me to push through and keep going when I feel like I've already failed; but this time, I want it to be different.

Sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in confusion and stress- sometimes it feels like it's all too much.  But someone gave me some advice recently that made me realize something important: sometimes it's we ourselves who are weighing our own wings down, and when we finally let go, that's when we can learn to fly...and that's exactly what I intend to do.

"Maybe tonight we'll start all over, like it's the first day of our lives...."  And maybe tonight, I'll finally get it right.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight

The wind chilled my bare feet and the crisp air filled my lungs with a cool sensation, as I stood out on the back deck.  The ground shimmered wet from the rain, and the sky spread out above me like a grey blanket, enveloping the day in its melancholy.  My thoughts swirled like my hair in the wind, and I wondered a hundred things at once.

It's strange realizing that you've repeated a mistake- coming to an understanding, only to remember that you'd once stood in the same spot with the same thought.  I thought I knew all these things- knew what to be careful of, what footholds to use to keep from falling- and yet here I was again, fallen from the same peak in the same way.

To say that the last month and a half of my life has been a massive roller coaster is a significant understatement.  I have made sizable mistakes and screwed myself over in more ways than one.  When I finally figured out how to cut out the drama, the damage had already been done.

Allow me to elucidate: I got myself into a bad relationship, and the end result was a trip to an in-patient program to help recover my sanity.  Of course, it's a hundred times more complicated than that, but, for the purpose of this exercise, that's the jist of it.

It's funny, in the end I realized that I was simply relearning lessons that I had already learned in life, and that caught me off guard.  Ultimately, though, this lead me to an entirely new epiphany: lessons learned are not always lessons remembered.

They say that time heals all wounds, and what I've realized over the past couple of weeks is that sometimes time also makes you forget what you had once learned from those wounds- and why you learned it.  To me, this makes it all the more important that we remember how to get up when we fall: because we will fall, again and again.  

Life is a long line of falls, but if we get up more times than we fall, we will always win the battle.

"Get knocked down, get back up."- Octavia of the Tree People.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Weather Inside is Frightful

War is coming.  It's always coming for me.  So many days I spend with my mind locked in a battle against itself: the one side aches to drag me down into the depths of depression, while the other side struggles to combat it's aggressor with words of wisdom and optimism.  Some days, though, I find myself in the eye of the storm, as something strikes me and clears the skies; and in those wonderful moments of clarity, I find hope.

It's been some time since I've brought my swirling storm of thoughts to life via the internet, and I must administer my apologies for that.  Adjusting to my new home has take its toll on my passion to write (backwards as that is, as I generally find writing a good release).  Today, though, I have found new inspiration in a beautiful set of words given to me by a dear friend, and I felt the need to write about it.

Like me, my friend has struggled with many emotional difficulties throughout his life, and like any of us, he has encountered situations that left him in an agonizing conflict of emotions.  While recently dealing with one such set of circumstances, in a sea of sadness, he somehow found a drop of hope, and I wanted to share that hope with you:

In so many ways I found this amazing.  There is so much negativity in what he's dealing with, and he's been filled with such sadness that my heart aches for his sake; and yet, he found a way to see the good.  And not only did he see the importance of moving on, but of learning from the situation.  It wasn't just an end to him, it was a means to an end- a tool to help him in his journey through life.

Bad relationships, financial difficulties, food shortage, family feuds: these are just a handful of the myriads of problems that each of us can and do face, and no one can deny the toll these things take on us.  And yet, despite the pain we are enduring, it is an infallible truth that we as humans thrive on positivity.  The question arises, then: how do we find this positivity?

Each day, the sun rises, and the sun sets.  Each day, we have the option of being angry that the day is over, or seeing each end as a new beginning- a chance to start over, while using the day before as a learning tool.  My friend fought for his mind to see this, and we each have that same choice.  And though my friend has had many a difficult day- both before and after he spoke these words- the fact remains that he recognizes the importance of learning from a bad situation, and that is a mindset we all can learn from.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Adventure Time

2:35am- oh god I have no time.  This isn't going to work.  But I can't back out now.  I can't break down.  I can't keep this from working.  No.  It has to happen.

It's been nearly a month since I last graced the internet with my not-so-sage words of sentiment.  I know that seems like a while, considering the frequency with which I was previously posting, but I assure you, I have good reason.   I've taken a big leap- made an impetuous move.

I've been wanting a change bad lately.  It's been an emotional roller coaster the last few months, to say the absolute least, and I was to the point of being ready to give up.

And then, it happened.  Something clicked.  Something changed in my mind, and when I was handed an opportunity, I took it.

This post isn't intended to be anything pretty or flowery- I'm sitting here in an uncomfortable chair in a Taco Bell because this is the only spot where they had an outlet; but I did want to update the blog on what's been happening with me.

Two weeks ago, I made a leap.  I took a chance, I made a plan.  Then two days ago, I enacted it.  And now, I live in Alaska.

Friday, June 3, 2016

"Polly...lens cap."

When I was a child, my mother would buy me a little disposable camera from Wal-Mart, and I would take pictures of any random thing I thought fascinating.  We would return to Wal-Mart and I would place the camera in a little paper bag, after my mom had written her name and the date and some other information on it.  I remember always being curious about the "magic" of cameras- how did they turn "wind wind click" into pictures?  That was a curiosity that would puzzle me until my late teens, when I thought find demystify this magic with a little research.  Turns out, not all magician's secrets are disappointing.

With my recent venture to start as a YouTuber, my eyes have looked upon many a digital camera in search of the right one (in the right price point) for my needs.  This search has, of course, given me some interesting food for thought.

I've been thinking on how technology- though certainly a useful thing- has progressed to the point that arts of days gone by are slowly being lost in the aether of time.  In particular, I was thinking of the art of photography.  Of course, this art is very much still alive, and flourishing; but so much of it has changed, and some aspects are virtually non-existent now.  When I mentioned to someone that I had been wanting a film camera, he literally replied, "does anyone even develop that stuff anymore?"  And that's the saddening part- not many places do.  Not many people do- or even know how to.

And that, my friends, brings me to this: I am overwhelmingly excited to show you my beautiful new acquisitions.  The first is a camera from the sixties- a Honeywell Pentax H1a.
This model was made from 1962 to 1968, and went for about $160 in its time.Whether it will work as a camera remains to be seen, but part of me hopes that it won't, so I can use it as an upcycling piece.

The second is wherein lies the bulk of my excitement: an slr camera from the nineties, with a couple different lenses.

In truth, my photography knowledge is minimal.  I can find a good angle any day, but I know squat about settings and shutter speed etc, mainly because I have never had a camera to play with to learn.  I am ecstatic to have this new piece of equipment to play with, and eager to learn to use it.

Sometimes it seems as though art is slipping through the cracks, disappearing with time, but it only takes a few sparks to keep a fire alive.  I am anxious to no longer be an ember, but a spark in the almost lost art of film photography.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Country Roads Take Me Home

We all have memories we cherish from our childhood.  Maybe it's hopscotch on the sidewalk, or swimming in the pond out back.  Maybe it's video games at your friend's house, or bowling every weekend.  Whatever it is we recall, we replay those times in our brains with a smile, and fondly recall our happiness in those moments.

I'm having one of those days where I over-think everything- where I turn thoughts round and round in my mind, questioning everything and anything.  I've been in a country mood- listening to a lot of country music, and of course it gave me more material to roll through my pensive brain.

I've been thinking long and hard about my childhood, today.  I remember a lot of things.  I remember some good things and some good times.  But honestly, what I remember the most is playing alone, and feeling alone.  I remember not understanding why I couldn't get along with kids at school.  I remember feeling left out from the group of kids my age in my Congregation.  I remember my sister telling me how fat I was, and feeling so self-conscious.  I remember going into puberty and learning to hate myself.  I remember never feeling like I had a place in society.

And yet, a few choice memories stand out to me.  Why?  I don't honestly know, but I do know how important to me the memories of visiting my family in Wisconsin are.  It wasn't perfect- I remember not always knowing what to do with myself, not always knowing whether I was going to be grouped in with my older sister or my younger.  But I also remember just feeling so in love with the life there.  I remember how much I adored the smell of the country, the feel of the small town, and the love I felt from my relatives.  No matter how long I live in New York, there will always be a part of my heart left in that small town in Wisconsin.

So today, I'm spending my day planning a trip back to that place- back to those memories, back to that happiness.  I'm planning a trip to remember the things I don't want to forget, and to make new memories.  I'm planning time to be with people I love that I've neglected for too long.

Today, as I listen to my feel-good country music about small towns and bonfires and good times, I plan for happiness.

***Photo Cred Gaia Pazzagli

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Most Loyal Friends

When I was eight years old, my parents planned a weekend away for themselves to celebrate their anniversary.  The babysitting plans they had fell through, so my sisters and I accompanied them to Maine for a few days.  It was on this trip that I truly fell in love with books.

My family had a tradition when I was growing up- we would all exchange gifts on my parents' anniversary.  My gift from my parents that year was a Great Illustrated Classics book- Alice in Wonderland.  (If you're not familiar with Great Illustrated Classics, they're basically abridged versions of classic literature, made more comprehensible for a child, with the added bonus of pictures.)

I remember how eager I was to age those crispy pages.  The moment I was buckled, I dove head first into the wonderful world of Lewis Carroll's imagination.  I opened the book, and I refused to shut it until the absolute last moment possible- the moment that my parents declared we were getting dinner and I had to leave the book in the car.  I thought of nothing but that book until the moment I could read it again.  I finished it before the trip was done, and my parents bought me a second book before we came home- The Call of the Wild.  I had begun my lifelong addiction.

It's strange how certain things can strike a particular person as so captivating.  I don't even have to be reading, just being surrounded by books makes me feel a sense of excitement and calm all at once.  It's like that feeling of knowing that you're right where you are meant to be.

As I walked aisle by aisle, gliding my hand across the book covers, I felt a surge of enthusiasm to read anything and everything, yet nothing at all.  It's like I don't even need to open the books, because the prospect alone of so much knowledge and so much imagination is exhilarating.

Of course, I do open some- I have opened many, and will open a great many more in the future.  I adore gaining knowledge, or just immersing myself in imagination.  But the fact that I can gain such effervescence purely by being in the presence of books is a curiosity, and I thought to wonder just how common- or uncommon- it actually is.

Whatever the case may be, I have long been enraptured by the beauty of the written word.  I think I echo the sentiments of many when I say that I hope there will never be a day that the enchantment of books is lost.  What I gain from them is far too valuable to see disappear.  Books are a gift to mankind- may we endeavor to appreciate that.