Let’s talk about my failing blog, shall we?
I think my blog is yet another victim of something I tend to do—which is not unique to me (I’m pretty sure nothing is unique to anyone)–which is shutting myself in with my thoughts and never letting them out. To anyone. For any reason. Until they explode (and even then, they’re pretty guarded).
And it’s not so much that I’m afraid of talking. I’m pretty resolute on how I feel about just about anything, but I also acknowledge the impossibility of black and white truths. Part of the problem with committing your sins to pen and paper (or the interwebz) is that there’s always evidence of them.
Which is also interesting because I largely don’t give a shit if my current or future employers see my blog. Look, the job market sucks sucks sucks and honestly your odds of getting a job doing what you love are… well, keep trying. Chances are you’re going to have supplement it with another job that you don’t prefer anyway. But, what I absolutely would like to think I have the right to be choosey about is not working for employers who would discriminate based on my particular views on hot topics, or how I choose to live my life. Especially if it isn’t hurting anyone else (which is debatable because I could be very well eating something, wearing something, buying something, and/or using something that infringes on somebody’s ability to live their lives well, out of sheer ignorance). I had a friend ask me recently if I ever take my nose ring out for job interviews, and I have to say, I’ve had this nose ring for almost ten years and have only taken it out for oral surgery. Because it doesn’t matter unless it poses a serious risk in the job environment. If I do what I do well, then not much else matters. That said, there is a way to dress and act in certain situations (also known as “playing the game”), but that’s another conversation for another time.
But again, it’s difficult to put yourself out there. Especially because even though I don’t care WHO reads my blog, I care who reads my blog… There are certain friendships you maintain out of necessity, out of curiosity, out of being professional, due to history, etc., but each of those friendships are only privy to certain types of information. Though I think some of the best relationships in life develop from complete vulnerability, some of the most necessary relationships I’ve built come from a distinct lack of detectable vulnerability. Not all relationships need to be privy to every part of you, but by participating in the blogging world, some relationships are given to more information than they every really needed. And I don’t have time to blog this person and that person from every little thing I do.
But what I do for a living involves a lot of vulnerability; ideally, making music would be so incredibly vulnerable that it is at once perfect and imperfect in a single moment. Being a classically-trained musician also means being a machine to some degree, but perhaps this is the most vulnerable position to be in.
Anyway, I can’t call what I feel “scared,” but I am apprehensive. I want to write. I want the things I do in my life to be passionate and multifaceted-no one-trick ponies over here. But they also need to be focused. I’m learning that my resistance to reigning in my passion and taking stock of it is perhaps exactly what has held me back in the past. I’m taking more control of that now.
That said, I need to figure out what I want to say and how to say it on this thing. I also have to decide that it matters when often I don’t think that much of what anyone says ever matters because the world is going to keep spinning regardless. But, in terms of our little insignificant lives, perhaps what we say and do matters quite a bit. And, you never know who is reading what you write, watching what you do, and listening to what you say. This is no reason to be guarded, but rather, resolute in what you put out there.
Moving forward, though, I was reminded of this quotation today:
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
I read Eat, Pray, Love after it became a New York Times Best Seller, and after I had bashed it a number of times based on its title alone. Which is funny, because I’m definitely not opposed to any of those three things. I just though it sounded like an everything-is-roses-lalala kind of book, and because I’ve found ways to be happy without ever believing that everything is fucking great all the time, I didn’t want to read a book that I thought might tell me that the world is a magnificent place where only good things happen. (I really tried to edit that sentence to be shorter, but it really didn’t happen. This is a learning curve I hope to overcome in future blog posts.) In short, I thought the book would be supremely naïve, but it turns out that I was in fact the naïve one. For those who haven’t read it, you won’t get a synopsis here, but I INSIST that you read it and the follow-up she wrote a few years later titled Committed. This is a woman who examines everything and then DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT. At least eventually. Which is really the point, right? Dwelling on something and picking something apart is only half the battle.
I’m not happy-go-lucky person. Never have been. I don’t have the tendency to jump up and down and scream for things that are exciting. I think even if I won a Grammy, I’d keep my poker face ready (which says a lot, because I REALLY want a Grammy even though the Grammy committee has been slummin’ it for a long time now. Stop giving U2 Grammys for crappy albums, guys). That said, I can honestly say that in the past (at least) 7 years, I’ve INSISTED upon my happiness and have really searched for it. Sometimes I’ve found myself happy in situations I previously could have never fathomed being happy in. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching my father destroy himself with something as simple (stupid) as alcohol, it’s that I have to fight for myself. I do that in a number of ways, and today I’m giving myself credit for doing so. I could have very easily decided to go the other way and I didn’t; I can assure you that barring blunt head trauma that changes my entire personality, I won’t let it go the other way.
Perpetual loose ends in life aside, I think it’s important to continually and shamelessly insist upon your own happiness. I think education is a huge part of this, learning things and reading things you’re not ready to face, examining yourself closely to the point of depression, and continually putting yourself in challenging situations that put you at the very edge of your comfort zone. And then, after all is said and done, make sure that there is a small semblance of comfort, of things you know you love, people you know you trust and love, around you to help see you through.
I can’t say that this a perfect recipe, but I’m 27 and alive and trying so very hard. That’s okay with me today. Tomorrow, who knows? But either way, I will always participate relentlessly.
… but then I thought to myself “girl, you have one eye and all your fucking limbs. Push. Harder.” (And no shrapnel in my body… icing on the cake.)
So I did, in fact, push harder. To this:
The above are all working titles for this post… in no particular order. I guess I should start by saying “hello”… Hello! Being on that grind makes for very little time for blogging. I always admire the hundreds (thousands? millions?) of bloggers who keep up with their blogs while doing the school-thing and the work-thing and the mom or dad-thing, etc. I’m a work-in-progress (just like everyone else, I guess).
Civil Rights/Get your head out of your ass is a shout out to all those in this country and abroad who are fighting for basic human rights. Let’s not pretend that DOMA is about anything other than prejudice. Keep your religion and/or your ignorance to yourself, because neither should be governing a community of any sort, most especially the U.S. Get your head out of your ass.
Speaking of freedom… I love comparing and just generally enjoying several different versions of songs. This is what I’m hooked on today:
And let’s not forget Nina Simone:
Occasionally I’ll find myself in discussions with friends over “unplugging” and living “off the grid.” Our use of technology has become an addiction: smart phones, constant, quick access to the interwebz, BLOGGING, #selfies (don’t get me started… wait, was that me who took one on the previous post? That doesn’t count… ;-p )… That said, while the addiction is very real and very disconcerting, I’m thankful to live an age of information bombardment… no, really. The fact of the matter is, I can spend hours on the internet searching for memes of angry cats doing shit (slash just take pictures of my own to share with the world…) or cross-referencing information about other countries and people and cultures I will likely never ever experience first-hand. The internet has also become this major resource for self-improvement. My commitment to a healthy, cruelty-free lifestyle (ps: there’s a really great picture of Dave Navarro being… Dave Navarro on this website, haha) has been fully supported by the internet, and furthermore, WOMEN have found a real presence out here in cyber space, aside from porn.
Apropos of this bombardment, I’d like to share with you some things I’m reading/loving/have stumbled upon as of the past week:
WHAT IS YOGA DOING TO OUR CHILDREN/WEARENOTACHRISTIANNATIONGETTHEFUCKOVERIT Thoughts? (The hyperlink description is my own, not NPR’s, so get mad at me not them should you have a problem with it.)
Vaccinations and Vegans With some really great comments from devoted readers. Also: Eating Right Gives the Most Protection During this Flu Season
My current favorite workout:
Lastly, I’d like to know your thoughts about this CrossFit promo (below). As a person who has struggled with disordered eating and distorted body image, there have been times when watching Zuzka’s workouts, or reading fitness magazines, or being bombarded (there’s that word again) by celebrity media has not helped my recovery. I’ve been more selective in the past few years with what I’ll expose myself to or fitness programs I’ll support. The fact of the matter is that movement is better than no movement, so fitness program or no fitness program, or supporting certain programs over others is really your choice, no judgement here. For me, I find Zuzka’s workouts and those similar to CrossFit or P90x or TurboFire to be more up my alley in terms of ways that I enjoy spending my time. That said, there’s an image being maintained here, and it’s hard to separate “what I should look like” with how you’ll look once you’ve put in the hard work. I think the girls in the CrossFit video explain some things really well, but again, there’s this establishment of an aesthetic: if you don’t match that aesthetic, then you’re not pretty/healthy/fucking awesome, etc… There’s no declaration of this in the video, but for people who have struggled with themselves in this way, it can be interpreted as saying just that:
I also appreciate your comments/questions/concerns/musings on anything else in this post–enjoy, and I’d love to hear from you!
“If we do not discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us.” – William Feather
I came across this quote recently in my daily reading travels on the interwebz. Of course, it was fortuitous timing because I have been lacking inspiration (though not lacking in aspirations), and if you continue to look, you’ll find what you’ve been searching for—good, bad, and in between.
I’ve been thinking about where I’ve been and how I came to this place, meditating on these past ten years, as they’ve been the most painful, tumultuous, progressive, positive years of my life thus far. Part of that has to do with the age range (16-26). That’s self-explanatory. But part of that has to do with things that have been both out of my control and in my control and how I chose to deal with various events or realizations.
I often say to friends, perhaps ad nauseam (actually, I’m sure of it), that yoga is something that I believe helped keep me in the game and realign my life (and my spine). Somebody asked me some months ago, “Why do you do yoga? In what ways do you find it helps you?,” to which I replied, “It keeps me from killing people.”
I don’t have the most verbal finesse at times.
What I meant to say was that it allowed for me to discipline and heal my body at the same time—like a perfect balance between work and play, pushing forward and relaxing. That said, nowadays, I don’t believe that yoga is the only way to achieve this simultaneous stimulus and release. I myself have fallen in and out of the practice due to several issues including proximity to a yoga studio (I prefer practicing with others despite my aversion to humans), money, focus (ha!), boredom, etc. This bites me in the ass when I don’t fill that time with another discipline. Now, I allow myself to teeter back and forth between several different disciplines as I like. I used to be very totalitarian toward whatever activity I was engaging in, leaving no time or thought for anything else, but I’ve found that that destroys me and negates the goodness of any activity, particularly physical activity.
The other important factor is that physical activity allows us to explore discomfort in a controlled way, so that we can then learn to feel comfortable within our discomfort. The fact of the matter is, life on the macro-level is not easily controllable but your interactions and reactions are (not easily, but yes, they are controllable). So, in any sort of physical discipline, you are training your body to take on various stimuli being hurled at you—physically, mentally, emotionally, you name it—and find a solution or positive reaction or interaction with it.
And sometimes, that means looking at a particular set of circumstances and accepting that they are what they are. Nothing more, nothing less.
Back to Mr. Feather’s words, life will fuck you up if you keep sailing along waiting for something to point the way for you.
Going into this next semester, it occurs to me more than ever that we need complimentary (read: not equal) parts physical and mental activity. I personally refuse to stay sitting for too long or stay in my office for other or a practice room. I’m still finding the perfect mixture that works the best for me at this point in time (change is imminent, after all).
And now for some photos ranging from early December to just a few days ago. Beware: they’re all Android photos and while it’s got a pretty good camera on it, I know full-well that my photos should be banished from the blogging world. But it’s what I’ve got for you at the moment.
Also: This lady is EVERYTHING.
Because whatever you’re passionate about has to take priority over your idiosyncrasies, addictions, and life’s bullshit. I almost forgot about this song (this rarely happens… gotta get myself together, now…)!
I haven’t forgotten about my blog, nor do I want to. But, I’m still feeling out how to consistently post and do what I need to do at school and with my jobs. So… if you enjoy reading, thanks and don’t go away; if you’re reading for first time, thanks also, and I hope you come back more and more and see less sporadic posting!
Anyway, I’ve been enjoying being a performer and an academic as of late, and also cooking when possible. When my days are hard, I usually have something ready to go in the fridge, like a lentil soup, or a bunch of rice and pre-cut (by me… it doesn’t long… don’t act like it does), or occasionally rely on Amy’s frozen meals as a quick pick-me-up.
I’ve been lucky enough here and there to be able to go out and get some fantastic vegan food, mostly raw:
Now that that’s out of the way. I want to litter your life with things I really dig as of late:
This blog: Manifest Vegan
This writer: Tim Kreider (READ THE BOOK DESCRIPTION!)
This article: Reconciling Pop Music
These workouts: Zuzana Light
This artist, THE artist: Prince
This song, its video, and its sentiment (even though she wrote the song slightly out of her range):