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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Wendy's LiveJournal:

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Monday, April 7th, 2008
8:09 pm
Half empty
I am out of sorts these days. I am a writer who doesn't write, a runner who doesn't run, a friend who doesn't call. An uptight slacker, an anxious free spirit, an uninspired mystic. I've put on weight, I've lost my nerve. I've been drinking entirely too much, but I make good enough jokes about it to keep myself from getting too concerned. I like to read memoirs about alcoholism and spirituality; sometimes I suspect I am studying my future craft. I am nostalgic for last summer - when nothing was figured out, but more importantly didn't have to be. I am under unbelievable, invisible pressure of my own making, and I see that, but seeing it doesn't change it or help. That's been a new theme: understanding no longer seems related to experience. Understanding, now, seems like "material" for comment rather than a way in or out. My reserves of optimism are depleted and so I focus on staying steady. I am as frustrated as I've ever been, or almost, and my appointment with a prescriber (never should have gone off that Zoloft) is too many days away.*

What is it about the dark, and the trees? The forest and the dawn?

How I get derailed this way I don't know. But when it happens (and it does, it is), it's awful. I had a thought recently that all anyone really needs is One Good Thought. If you have one good thought that convinces you, that keeps you inspired, you'll be resilient and optimistic and take risks - all those things that make a full and healthy life. For some people it's religion, for some people it's an Oscar Wilde quote, for some people maybe it's just something beautiful that makes it all okay, or a fortune cookie fortune. And probably it doesn't matter if that One Good Thought changes every day - that's how it used to be for me. I always had an idea that I could sort of hang my life on, like a coat hook, and relax, and lo and behold it would all work out. Until I didn't have one.

On December 30th, in a private entry to this journal (though I think I posted it for a day or two), I wrote: "I think happiness is a moment - and then another, if you’re good at it. Depression is an hour, followed by another, a long night." Descriptive enough. But maybe another definition of depression (or my particular breed, which is obsessive existential panic) is a simple lack of faith that it will all work out, or at least, that you'll be okay if it doesn't. I guess I'm looking for a Good Thought that will stick for a while.

I should add a disclaimer before I go that I *am* actually okay and I know it. Just wrestling my demons, with plenty of professional psychological guidance and still some measure of common sense. So don't go calling my mother. She knows most of my demons anyway.

Anyway, it's an update.

*My boyfriend, it should be noted, deserves a purple heart. My Crap (anxiety, confusion, judgement, existential angst) seeps out of my eyes and mouth and hands and gets all over him, like so many clothes in his room. And like the sweater rack he got to store all my clothes, he finds some place to put all my Crap so it doesn't mess up our movie night. Sometimes I think he is here to be my teacher; either way I think it is no coincidence he happened along when I needed some care, and he could give it. I hope I can repay the universe the favor some day. And him, too.
Monday, February 25th, 2008
9:17 pm
notes, or posts I may or may not ever write.
I started but did not even come close to finishing a post about - what to call it? - sort of mental gatekeeping. I've been conscious recently of how much what I read, see, hear, etc. affects how I feel and the direction of my thoughts - and not always, or even usually, in a positive way. I do want to write about it but I am having a hard time balancing my job and free time, and in the event I never really get to it, I just wanted to put it down. Here, in brief, like that.

I want to write about thoughts that are more deliberate, too - thoughts from this book about (but not really just about) meditation I've been reading (slash clinging to), and about conversations with my therapist. I know that sounds awful. No one wants to hear about therapy. But my shrink, as I lovingly refer to her, and I have veered into territory much less specific and personal and much more theoretical. I've basically been studying and thinking about how to distance myself (my Self?) from thoughts and feelings that heretofore have sent me reeling. How to be more flexible, and at the same time, stronger. If that makes sense. It will, if I ever get around to really writing about it.

Also, just now, I was smoking a cigarette outside and had a very vivid memory of when I was about 18 or 19, hanging around with friends from high school at Jessica Stites' house, smoking and drinking and feeling about as cool and wild as I ever have. She had this little cabin right outside her parents' house - I don't remember what she called it - and we played Truth or Dare and blew smoke rings and I'm sure talked a lot of trash and deep nonsense. I remembered how smoking outside in the cold then (must have been late summer), blowing smoke rings, made me feel so free and connected to myself and everyone else, all at once, with a kind of sexy edge of recklessness. That feeling is something I associate so strongly with "me," and I think a lot of my mid-20s depression has had to do with missing it. But thinking about Jessica Stites who, last I heard, works for Ms. magazine, and thinking about where I am, I was thinking that those times were when we were more or less kids. Big kids with cars and access to booze, but kids nonetheless. And wishing for those feelings is like wishing to be a kid - it was a time and place, and I am different now.

Specifically, I am an adult. And I was thinking, I don't think I've figured out (unlike Ms. Stites) what kind of adult I want to be. Or what the adult equivalent of that kind of spiritual juju is, for me. I want that magic, if it exists, but I don't want to get stuck trying to party like it's 1999. So all this is - growing pains? Reminds me of Erik's post, in a way: http://snowedin.net/blog/2008/02/23/in-sickness-and-in-health/ Sorry, the hyperlink feature's not working on this Mac, and I don't know html enough...

There's more, always more, but this will do for now.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2008
10:05 pm
"Practical Consciousness" Insight 10: Enjoy Being Ordinary*
I am sitting at PJ's computer (le Mac) listening to "Quinn the Eskimo" and for the sixteenth year or so of my life, thinking too much, and trying not to. The past few months feel like record breakers in that regard, but probably all times like these have, and I've just lost perspective. But in this round I've started getting a knot in my stomach when thoughts of doubt and fear go through my brain. I've also settled into what feels like an endurance test. "Someday I will come out of this," I think, waiting for the sun to set later and the air to warm, "I just have to wait. The real me will come back." But thoughts gnaw at my insides and I get restless and I look for triggers to pull. Dreams to dispose, people to leave, one-way tickets to buy. But just when I'm about to squeeze, I remember that my brain is an enemy and how can dismantling my life help? Sure, it forces you to adapt, to say "yes" to (new) things, to hope - but why, oh why, can't I just work with what I've got?

So I read Eastern philosophy and try to think of "enduring" as learning and accepting. I try to remember that even small improvements are worth it - that I'm getting somewhere, even if it feels maddeningly slow and I suspect I may never get there. I try to be positive, but - this is the rub - my brain (my depressed brain, I should probably specify) seems hard-wired for negative, repetitive, obsessive thinking. It would be easy, I feel, to get relief the same old ways: by pulling triggers, defining myself (again) as a deep river with a strong current, a rolling stone, a dive-bar philosopher, a likable misfit. That's a picture that has always appealed to me intuitively - it's always seemed right somehow, especially at times like this, when things look pretty good on paper but I'm still confused and depressed. I've always suspected that's partly because I listened to certain rock and roll and read certain beat books and had certain rebellious friends at all the right times to sear them into my brain, but I suspect it runs even deeper.

Now, though, I don't buy that picture of my life as much. It does still appeal to me - it seems fun, at least, fashioning a life as romantic and unorthodox as possible - but I feel like I've swung back and forth too many times now between non-traditional and traditional to believe it will stick. I know in a few months I'll feel useless at my "fun" new job in a new field, homesick in my new city, and lonely with all my new friends acquaintances, and less inspired by long nights of drinking and time alone. I won't feel so badass or self-actualized. I'll feel like I'm at square one, and I will be. (Square one: the place where all things are possible, but also least assured and farthest off. There is something about this deal that I am almost always willing to take.) Time to re-evaluate again. Then it will be, okay, time to commit to some things: a grad program, a job track, some people. Time to build a real life. Time to grow up, finally. I see this - I've done this - and it's not a bad process (I mean, you get *somewhere*) but it is frustrating... sort of lateral movement more than forward motion: two steps sideways, one step forward.

Seeing this, I am less inclined to take that route this time around. Two responses: First, I think of more practical ways to do it - or should I say, better ways to rationalize it. Grad programs in California that appeal more for their location than their curriculum. Non-academic jobs in areas other than food service and child care - respectable enough but still conspicuously *not* what I've been working toward. Volunteering at the radical book store, or getting a second job, to meet some new people - what's wrong with the ones I've got? These are reasonable moves in their own right, but I question the real motives, and whether there's really any difference between these and just skipping town to turn flapjacks in an all-night diner in El Paso, before I try to hop trains to Panama.

Second, this thing that feels like endurance. Learning? (Learning.) Accepting? (Accepting.) Meditation. The Art of Happiness. Patience. Wanting what I've got. This feels like the real answer: the true hope. But it also feels, to be honest, So. Fucking. God. Damned. Hard. Talk about square one: I am at a spiritual square one. An intellectual square one. This is truly a new trail for me to blaze. My whole being resists this idea: Acceptance?! Isn't that settling?! Wanting less? Isn't that denying your very soul? It is hard to have this conversation with myself (welcome to my brain) - it is like telling a child there is no Santa, no Easter Bunny, no Tooth Fairy, no Prince Charming, and Disney World is a big overpriced corporate suckhole characterized primarily by long lines and lame rides, all at once. Oh yeah, and daddy and I are getting divorced, because - here's the kicker - nothing lasts forever. Life is not magical, unless you are adept at metaphors.

But that's what it is, isn't it? True. There *is* no Santa, and Disney World really does suck. And believing that your life is going to be one big, beautiful, exciting, Hollywood-worthy holy dream ride is really only going to lead to disappointment when you grow up. Let me rephrase: It really only *has* led to disappointment *as I've grown up.* J used to quote Corinthians: “When I became a man, I put childish things behind me.” When he said that I thought it was kind of a downer. Well, it is. But the idea of trying to build a life around an idea that's more or less a cool-kid fairy tale, and having the real thing never measure up or satisfy, is way more of a downer. More hope in getting over it, and as PJ says, getting into it.

So, Bob Dylan drives it home (he always does; thank God for things we can keep no matter how we change): "Strap yourself to the tree with roots, you ain't goin' nowhere." Somebody had to bring it full circle here. PJ is home; there are beers to be had, and hands to be held, and a real, honest-to-god night to be lived.

I'll write again soon.

* No joke. See "Practical Consciousness: Mastering the Art of Living" by Isaac David Shamaya and Carolyn Shamaya (1994) for more such gems.
Saturday, October 27th, 2007
7:56 pm
Same old, new analogies.
Jesus. Just when I think things can’t get worse, I turn on my phone and learn last night I drunk-dialed the kind of friends you don’t drunk-dial. This on top of making a first-rate ass of myself at the kind of dinner you don’t drink too much wine and make an ass of yourself at. And that on top of fucking up a panel discussion that should have been cake. All of it falling apart, and it’s all too familiar. I've outed myself as the clumsy student I thought I had outgrown. Something happened this fall – this summer, I felt optimistic and motivated – now it’s back to frustration, what feels like imminent depression, and self-flagellation. It’s February, it’s 2003, 2000, 1997. It’s me.

These immediate problems are not unrelated to my ongoing, more abstract problems - they are what happen when I start to lose perspective, when my commitments seem arbitrary, obstructing what I imagine should be a clear path.

I feel like the lone tightrope walker between academia and radicalism, between pragmatism and idealism, performing for an amused but apathetic audience. I feel so alone there, and that these camps are so disconnected that I’m maybe not even walking the ropes, I’m actually hanging in the space between, holding on to the ends of each. I can’t do much without my hands free. So, I can let go of one rope and swing to one side – but which? - or I can let go of both, drop out. That has been my inclination today. Why should I struggle with these abstract problems? Why not just: stop. Get a job, write a personal ad, get a ring, have a baby, buy a new couch, get the good cable, read the best seller. Or pack a backpack, get better shoes, head someplace pretty and peaceful and make camp, more or less. Read Walt Whitman and teach myself guitar, smoke grass and grow old and silly. Why not? It all sounds okay. (But just okay.)

Anthony sat down and talked to me for a while, while I sat immobilized under a blanket in my hoodie, unshowered, watching America’s Next Top Model on mute while I searched for cheap housing in Portland and nonprofit jobs in New Orleans. He talked some good sense into me, too, and for a moment I felt the beginning of relief – the moment the clouds start to part, only to realize it’s almost night-time anyway. Aw, fuck. Why does everything come back to Bob Dylan, the 60’s, Noam Chomsky? Why are our paragons of change so few and so dated? Why do my questions always get the same answers: it’s timing, it’s a platform of credibility, it’s America, it’s capitalism, it is what it is – work with it! Damn, and no! Work with me.

When Erik visited he admitted sometimes he got the urge to meet some pretty girl, get a good job and settle down, buy shit at Eddie Bauer and take vacations two weeks a year. I think he’s dangling between some ropes too, though he seems less frustrated and in better company. Maybe I am in the wrong place - I'm pretty sure I am. Or maybe he knows something I don’t, like there’s secretly a platform underneath my feet I can’t see (like Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom?), and if I loosen my grip I’ll feel it. Maybe there’s solid ground there in between, and room for me, and people there just waiting – even on this curmudgeonly East coast - for me to cut the drama, have a beer, and get to work. That’s a nice thought. In fact, it might be nice enough for me to shower, and hit “Save” and put these thoughts away for an hour or two, and do some of that work that has seemed so pointless all day.

I need to refocus. Revive. And - Jesus - relax.
Monday, July 9th, 2007
8:28 pm
tennessee williams
I think I may be leaving for simpler internet real estate, if I continue at all... but for now - found while looking through old journals:

Excerpt from Tennessee Williams' journal:
"Blank space is the future but if you don't dive you get pushed in anyway. So here we go. No cigs. Mood reasonably black. HATE this hotel. A sort of middle class Ritz. One lives a vast number of days but life seems short because the days repeat themselves so. Take that period from my 21 to 24 year when I was in the shoe business, a clerk typist in St Louis for $65 a month. It all seems like one day in my life. It was all one day over and over. The best way to have new days is to travel or work with intensity on a long creation. Yes, we must not go over and over our same day unless that day is deepy satisfying which is rarely is. One cannot hope for a life of continual change so must devise a good and deeply satisfying day to repeat. A day involving love and creation and security and a beautiful open country. New Mexico. Help me, dear God, to find what I need. Good night."

Also, to anyone who knew me while I wrote those old journals (1998-2003), and hung around, god bless you. I seem barely tolerable to myself.
Thursday, April 26th, 2007
3:34 pm
found through helen
Kind of a cool thing.



I've been wanting to revive the old livejournal for a while but I've been losing my mind over finals and just couldn't find time... soon.
Sunday, January 28th, 2007
8:38 pm
one more

The first acapella I don't hate.
8:00 pm
cut and paste
Lately my head has been way, way overloaded - sometimes I like to think it's a sign of genius, you know, like the turmoil from which masterpieces emerge. But as I'm waiting around for the end to justify the means, I'm not being terribly creative or productive, or even, um, fun - unless you consider baking cookies and watching Lost any of those things. So, in lieu of anything original (epiphany/masterpiece forthcoming, fingers crossed), I give you: Links.  

For you photography buffs

Bill Sullivan explains this, a project that makes me want to make art. Probably because it feels like social science. "At the moment that the subjects passed through the turnstile, unknown to them, I took their picture stationed at a distance of eleven feet. I stood there turning pages of a magazine observing subjects out of the corner of my eye, waiting for only the moment when they pushed the turnstile bar to release the shutter." One of Dooce's links.


For you cancer cure fans
From Erik's blog:
"Researchers at the University of Alberta have found that an old drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), causes regression in several cancers, including lung, breast, and brain tumors. They've tried it in test tubes with human tumors, and in animals. Now they need to run clinical trials in real people. DCA has been used for years to treat people with mitochondrial disorders. We already know it's safe for people. And the patents have run out, which means that it can be produced by generic drug makers for cheap.

In other words, it's a cheap, safe, cancer cure.

Unfortunately, because no drug company holds the patents on DCA, no drug company is going to pay for clinical trials, doctor education, and marketing. Which means government, university, and charitable sources need to step in. If you'd like to help make that happen please spread the word about this story on your blog or whatever."

I love how the writer lightens the load with "or whatever." Phew. For a minute there I thought this was serious.

For you world savers who don't have blogs, but do have ten bucks.
If you're like me, you like to get the most charity bang for your buck. I like my health care with a side of addressing poverty. If it's in the third world, so much the better. Women and children? Bonus. So, these charities working to prevent malaria in African countries have won me over. This NY Times article did it first, and then when the Rev. Dorothy Austin gave her sermon last week she reminded me of it - apparently she read the same article.

For you closet church fans.
Harvard's Memorial Church has been giving some killer sermons this year (with the possible exception of today's, the first 5 minutes of which I did not find compelling enough to warrant further listening) - I've been making an effort to listen to them every week since New Year's. If you're ever curious, you can listen to it online, Sundays at 11 on WHRB. It's a weird plug, I know, but look, I'm not your grandma. I'm not a Republican. I feel weird when they talk about loving Jesus, too. And I totally give that guy with the Repent Now or Burn in Hell Sinners sandwich-board in Harvard Square a wide berth and a scowl. Still, Harvard's church has some smart, eloquent ministers who can really write. Rev. Gomes, in particular. Also, there's some good music. Goes very well with pancakes.



Friday, January 5th, 2007
5:29 pm
Note to self.
Those smug chick magazines aren't lying: a run can clear your head. Do it: Run up a big hill a little too fast and then find a good spot at the top. Check out the view. Then lay down on the grass and do maybe 20 situps to make any onlookers think you're just working out. Then just lay there and look at the sky. If you're lucky it'll be unnerving, slightly gloomy weather, barely-raining and way too warm for January, and dusk. And there won't be any onlookers. Stay there until you start having a serious one-on-one with God (or whatever) moment. Have it. Get up and run back downhill so fast you're pretty sure you're going to get hit by a car at the intersection you're about to be forced to run through without stopping. Then fuck around as long as you can enjoy it so you can say you had a workout instead of a spiritual experience, which is cool and all but sounds kind of heavy as an answer to "How was your day." At this point you should be feeling pretty A-W-E, S-O-M-E, Awesome, awesome, To-tal-ly, with your own chorus of awkward E.O.Smith high school cheerleaders. Uninhibited. So maybe sprint like hell when you get to a heavily trafficked area; it makes you feel badass and like a huge spaz at the same time (two great tastes that taste great together.) Or get a muffin or something and just hang out all sweaty. You feel that? That total-opposite-of-depressed feeling? Hear those very reasonable, moderate thoughts? Welcome back, kid.

Whoop whoop.
Thursday, November 16th, 2006
1:24 am
Book+Slug=Overthink
Rescue
I have been reading Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott, the follow-up to a book my neighbor Bonnie lent me in September. Lamott is a bleeding-heart liberal atheist-alcoholic-come-Christian single mom who writes sweet, sincere memoirs tempered with self-deprecating humor and a taste for the absurd. She has what certain Western Massachusians would call an "earnesty problem," and as always, I am completely taken by it. The first book, Traveling Mercies, literally rescued me from completely losing my grip in October, during an unprecedented, unprompted depression. Or at least it felt like a rescue. Maybe not so coincidentally, Lamott writes a lot about desperation, help, and rescue (mercy) herself.

Tonight I started thinking about rescue on my walk to the store up the street, when I saw the biggest slug of my life. This thing was huge, maybe five inches long, and had leopard-like spots. This slug was beautiful, and I say that as no great slug advocate. I squatted next to it for a minute to watch it slither up the concrete sidewalk, and couldn't help but think 1) that's got to hurt its underside, and 2) about that slug I accidentally squished on the front steps a while back. This slug was too amazing a creature to meet that end, or to get all scratched up on the sidewalk, so I set about finding a leaf big enough to scoop it up on. I set it in front of the slug and coaxed it to slither on enough so I could pick it up (heavy) and put in on the neighbor's lawn. And then go buy some Raisin Bran.


 
Monday, October 9th, 2006
2:56 pm
Proof
Marathon photos are back from the photographer. This is the only one where I don't look exhausted. By mile 25.5, I am questioning everything. Yes, they're just proofs, but I think I might actually buy the last one. That's how I want to remember it: accurately, absurd. There's something I really like about the word "proof" stamped across it, though.
Sunday, September 17th, 2006
3:50 pm
Marathon update
I have a lot of news. Mostly good. But also news of the nature that precludes my updating at any length right now. In other words, I'm swamped.

One thing that's time sensitive, however, is this: My marathon is but 2 weeks away now. And tomorrow is the deadline for my fundraising money to be in. I am currently over $600 shy of my goal. Which means tomorrow my broke-graduate-student ass is getting billed the difference. Now, not to diminish the purpose of this fundraising effort - 75% of all funds raised go directly to the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the patients they serve, and that is the point - but seriously, if you're thinking of making a donation to any cause this year, or to this cause in particular, today, right now, and at this website, would be a really good time and place to do it. Help people with blood-related cancers, and help me. It's almost like your donation counts twice, in terms of karma. I swear.

If you do donate, I'll put your name on my race shirt. If you donate a lot - today - I might take off my shirt. Or, more likely, I'll write you an awfully nice thank you - and mean it.

P.S. If you are reading this after-the-fact (ie after Sept 18), I can still accept donations until Nov. 1 and request reimbursement from Team in Training for what I pay them tomorrow. So go ahead, do it!
Thursday, August 24th, 2006
12:01 am
Overthink is the new overshare.
Two months pass. Other people turn 30 and move to San Francisco, have vegetarian weddings with beautiful toasts, marry their babies' daddies, quit their jobs, discover photography, Dim Sum and new boyfriends. I move in with J, plant a garden, paint a room, grow my hair, attend their weddings, email my grandma, get a blender, get good at my job, rediscover donuts. I compare my life unfavorably to others; specifically, to a falsely idyllic version of my past, and to a wildly idyllic version of my future, both of which borrow heavily from the Greatest Hits of Aquaintances' Lives and Best of Plots of Romantic Comedies.

I hem and haw about What I Really Want (somehow I'm convinced it's a Top 5 list that will change everything, once I get around to writing it) but I know that's just another way of trying to pin down Who I Really Am: A Top 5, which makes me cringe. The old identity crisis (I am too old for this shit!), and so far the list is heavy on the Bill Murray and the advice from Alice, the senior citizen I met on the plane to Seattle. Um, and right now? The greatest hits of the 60's, 70's, and 80's on 105.7 fm. So I sit - or more accurately, watch MTV reality shows or go for 12 mile runs - and wonder whether I'm honoring that essential, yet undefined, Top 5.

I wonder why I care about criminology when I'm going to die in 60 years (at best) and there's all those mountains and deserts and Japanese cities to see, and all those wise old men sitting on mountain tops (the ones with the eyebrows) to meet, and all those barbeque restaurants to dive up to my elbows in, and all those karaoke contests to chicken out of, and all those long, boozy late-night talks to have with all those good friends, and all those books to write, and all those things to learn, like sewing and public speaking and helicopter flying. The career I have planned is going to seriously cut into those activities. But a life without a meaningful job seems just as likely to leave one unfulfilled.

So it becomes a battle of Big v. little deals: The Big things vie for priority: job, relationships, family. Pushing the little things aside leaves big cracks between the big things. The big cracks gape at me: why are there big empty cracks?! The negative space eclipses the solid things that are there. I am ungrateful. "To him who has, more will be given... but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away."

Still, the cracks gape at me. They moan at me when I feel rushed, they sigh when I'm tired and snap at people, and when it's beautiful outside and Saturday, they yawn as if bored: "What, this? This ain't nothin'."
Saturday, June 3rd, 2006
1:32 am
The end of a bad week.
"Think I'm going to pass on salsa." - text message to K, 6:54 pm.

"Six dollars." - bartender, on why I would not be getting drunk on tiny cups of gin and tonic in the (inevitable) event that I found myself uncomfortable, bored, and alone in a room full of salsa fanatics.

"No, thank you. I'm not dancing tonight." - me, to guy #14, 11:45 pm.

"?" - text message to KP, 12:11 pm. (She was supposed to save me.)

"I can't take it anymore. I think I have to leave. I've been here for over two hours listening to this music! and I'm almost bored enough to dance, just to do something. But no. Call me when you leave - I might be at a bar. Where I belong." - me, to K, 12:45 am.

"Someone after you?" - smartass outside a bar on Western Ave, as I ran past to Allston in my glitttery red Dorothy shoes, 12:55 am.

There's no place like home.
And there is only one man who could have got me to dance. (Same difference, really.)
Friday, June 2nd, 2006
12:05 am
26.2 miles and $1975 to go...
In case you haven't heard, I'm running the Maine Marathon in October, for Team in Training. By mid-August, I need to raise as close to $2000 as I can. And let me tell you, I don't have no $2000. All I have is 2 good legs and hopefully, a few good friends. And by "good," I mean rich.

No, I don't. I mean good. Team in Training raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which funds research on blood-related cancers and aid for affected individuals and their families. 75% of the money Team in Training raises goes directly to that work, the rest pays for people like me to train and participate in endurance sports while raising the money. And to put those ads on the T, presumably. In any case, it's a very worthy cause, and I am pretty pumped to run a marathon.

Now comes the part where I have the slightly awkward task of asking friends, family, everyone I know and they know, and strangers, for money. I've emailed a bunch of people (you, probably) already, and Erik P gets the prize for 1st sponsor as well as most compulsive email checker. He rules. If you think you rule, too, and would like the world to know, put your money where your mouth is - or rather, where my webpage is. While it's not yet personalized (eventually I will update on my training progress, put a weird picture of me on there, etc.), you can go to www.active.com/donate/tntma/Wsawyer to see what this is all about and/or donate some of that cash you know you're just going to spend on booze or fancy shampoo anyway. If you donate I will introduce you to all my pretty/handsome friends and lavish you with praise. And baked goods. Well, at least that last part. Seeing as you kind of are my pretty/handsome friends.

Did I mention how pretty and/or handsome you are?
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006
10:40 pm
Fake it til you make it
So after a weekend spent... well, spending, in hopes of consuming comfort, it became apparent that a new method of making myself feel better would have to be devised. One that my budget (which does not have room for overdue out-of-pocket trips to the doctor) can weather. Instead of trying to buy calm and confidence at Loews and DSW, I would have to create some myself. I can't afford not to get my act together.  But where to start, when you're down and out? How about at other people's action plans? I had been thinking, in a vague "someday" kind of way, about devising a rewards system for myself to get shit done for a while. Astonishingly, I always found ways to distract myself from actually doing it, and most of the things I needed the additional motivation for, for that matter. But there it was, all laid out, a solid action plan template, mine for the taking.

8:06 am
I think it's funny that my new roommate posted this description of me and my current roommates just as I was hemming and hawing about making that last post public. The crises don't end entirely after college, Naila. They just become the stuff of infrequent blog posts and private stress binges which end in the consumption of entirely too much alchohol, cigarettes, or in my case, cereal.
Monday, May 29th, 2006
12:14 am
A "private" post will out.
The rumors are true. (Oh, I flatter myself.)
Over the last few months I have gone through a pretty serious spiritual awakening. Sounds like the stuff of Chicken Soup for the Trite Soul, I know, but it is what it is. God happens - to saints and rednecks alike, and even, it seems, to young urban liberal academic types. This will be old news to some of you (maybe three), but for the rest... well, can you blame me for keeping it under my hat? Believing in God - and caring about it - is uncool, no two ways about it. You don't own up to it until you can't deny it - maybe you even hope you're just going through a phase, like when you thought you were a lesbian until you made out with that girl, or you thought you were really into the beat movement except you actually just like run on sentences and the first few lines of Howl. Maybe this is like those things: another identity question. 

Friday, April 14th, 2006
8:20 pm
and April's where we're

Braless and barefoot I write: it's spring. My little room is hot and I just cracked the window for the first time since November. My muscles and skin feel loose in the humidity, accustomed to sleeves and socks and apparantly relieved at the exposure. Sucking on some honey plums I bought with my Fung Wah ticket last Sunday, I am feeling luxuriously lazy. It is the same every year. I am at the mercy of weather patterns, and this week, kids, I will worship openly. I will make little altars of popsicles and empties, douse old flip flops in Sun-In and make burnt offerings, every evening, right after Sisqo's Shakedown. Or whatever they call it these days. Dancing Hoochies By The Pool. Probably Flava Flav's got something to do with it. 

Anyway. I feel pretty good about my attire, and about some other shit too. It could probably be whittled to some Top 5 list or other, but I feel too good about it - and too pleased with my lazy lack of editorial restraint - to make it tidy, ideas to consume. Because it's the best kind of good shit - it's beginnings, it's motivations, it's perspectives: things that stick to your ribs like excellent barbeque, not Doubleshots from 7-11 sucked down in lieu of breakfast. Tonight it is not about witty observations or sudden revelations or The Shoes That Symbolize Something. It's about life getting better, and staying better. 

Okay, maybe it is a little bit about symbolic purchases. I bought a dress. Not a fancy party dress like KP's, not dress I can wear to work, but a thin cotton dress, so simple it is almost offensively quaint. The trends these days are verging on offensively quaint, but I did not buy it because it was trendy. I bought it because I was hot. And then: I ran 7 miles, fast, all the time trying to catch up to another girl, even faster. The sun and the warm air relaxed my muscles and I could have run another 5, thinking of nothing except deep thoughts such as "fast rock music makes me run fast" and "it's pretty out here." I am finally relaxing, is what I am trying to say. The winter is melting off of my bad self and I am making small talk with cashiers and singing Rocky Raccoon to myself on the quiet walk up ugly Western Ave to Cambridge. I have the urge to write long letters to people abroad and to walk though it would be faster to take the bus or train. I got into Northeastern, and I decided to accept their offer. Running makes me happy, no matter how bad my day was, and I know what to expect out of every run. My body and I are not only on speaking terms, we are in love, though have spats like any couple, usually over ice cream or sleep. I have been seeing a lot of old friends, and feeling like my new friends might actually stick around. They threw me a surprise party, and it made me cry - out of fright, and embarassment, and finally out of comprehension. I am lately very proud of J, and impressed by him, juggling his law school efforts and house-buying and cute-boyfriend duties like a pro. I respect what he is trying to do and love who he can't help but be - he is still earnest rock music and games of catch, proverbs, puns, and eyebrows - despite his buttoned-up classmates and high-stakes everything. I have been reading classic American novels - Steinbeck's Travels with Charley and now Willa Cather's My Antonia - and they lend the world around me (even Boston and its ubiquitous $7 sandwiches, tourists, and homeless) a simplicity and human narrative that is maybe false, but charming. I have been writing livejournal entries in my head, and I think I will try to write them. Perfection is giving way to sustainability, improvement to enjoyment. I want to slow down - I've prepared all winter, I've organized and tried to be disciplined, and now there is less left to do, except see if those things, listed on a notecard I labeled "Make Life Easier" before I filed it away (I filed!) will bear fruit.

Mmm, fruit.

    

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006
10:43 pm
announcement
Nay, Proclamation!

I got into grad school. After weeks of waiting and fishing for reassurances from others that my applications hadn't somehow gotten lost or laughed out of committee, I got my first (I say it like it's not the last: I am hopeful yet) acceptance letter today from Suffolk. Hopefully this means the other two will follow this week, and then I can start the hemming and hawing about which program to actually enroll in. Which is kind of like shopping - for a life. And I think we all know how I feel about shopping. Now imagine me shopping with an excuse to take it even more seriously. Oh sweet delight.

Substance? You want some substance? Okay, how about

Top 5 Reasons To Attend Suffolk

1. Center For Crime and Justice Policy Research
2. Specific classes: "Drug Policy," "Race, Class, Gender, and Justice," "Criminal Justice Policy," "Professional Writing for the Sociologist/Criminologist."
3. Internships in state government agencies, good local contacts: Strickland says "James Bamford (A PRETEXT FOR WAR) went there as did all the Irish mafia who have been running state affairs for eons.The upperclass Micks went to BC."
4. 12 month program: Hello, Ph.D! (Alternately, "Hello, next income bracket!")
5. Focus on law - and local justice officials (i.e. the people with jobs I want) serve as adjunct faculty.

Top 5 Reasons Not To
1. Reputation is local, not national - means my jobs coming out will probably be local. See above comment on "Irish mafia running state affairs." Not as "portable" an education as others. (Not like I'm going anywhere anyway... still it's nice to think you have the option.)
2. Broke as a joke.
3. Um, shouldn't I really be going into social work? Or teaching? Or rapping?
4. FUCK YOU. Well, except for that last part.
5. It ain't no Northeastern, mang.
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