Goodbye, 2009. You sucked, you hurt, you challenged. I leave you stronger, wiser, and more aware. Not only did I survive you, but I came out all the better for it.
Goodbye immaturity. I am an adult. I have responsibilities. I answer for my choices.
Goodbye bad influences. It's time to weed out those who bring me down, and stick with those who make me happy.
And, sadly, goodbye Blogger. You are not fulfilling my needs. I am moving on... to BasicallyRead
As 2010 begins, I say "hello" to many things.
Hello life in NYC. I finally made it. I cannot wait to see what you bring.
Hello self reliance. If I cannot depend on me, who can I depend on?
Hello self awareness. I am what I am, and what I am is amazing. If you cannot see that, you are not worth a damn.
Hello endless possibilities...
The biggest piece of information learned this year that I bring with me to the future:
We have control over everything that happens in our life. Yes, we cannot control the thoughts and actions of those around us. However, we can control our OWN thoughts and actions, as well as our reactions. Our reactions are what define us the most - they are what define our ability to learn and grow. Take time to think things through, take time to evaluate what things really mean to you. If you don't, you may lose the things that matter to you most.
And always remember - only you have the ability to control your life. YOU decide what and who you want around you. Choose wisely...
Schmuel would work till half-past ten at his tailor shop in Klimovich. Get up at dawn and start again with the hems and pins and twist. Forty-one years had come and gone at his tailor shop in Klimovich. Watching the winters soldier on, there was one thing Schmuel missed
"If I only had time," old Schmuel said, "I would build the dress that's in my head. A dress to fire the mad desire of girls from here to Minsk. But I have no more hours left to sew"
Then the clock upon the wall began to glow...
And the clock said: "Na na na na, na na na Oh Schmuel, you'll get to be happy! Na na na na, na na na I give you unlimited time! Na na na na, na na na So Schmuel, go sew and be happy!"
But Schmuel said "No, no, it's not my lot I've gotta make do witht he time I've got"
Schmuel was done at half-past ten and he said "Good night, old Klimovich!" Put on his coat to go, but then the clock cried, "Wait! Not yet! Even though you're not wise or rich you're the finest man in Klimovich. Listen up, Schmuel, make one stitch and you'll see what you get"
But Schmuel said "Clock, it's much too late - I'm at peace with life - I accept my fate..."
But the clock said, "Schmuel! One stitch and you will unlock the dreams you've lost!"
So Schmuel, with reluctance, took his thread. He pulled a bolt of velvet and said, "I should take out my teeth and go to bed I'm sitting here with talking clocks instead!"
And the clock said: "Na na na na, na na na Oh Schmuel, you'll get to be happy! Na na na na, na na na, I give you unlimited time Na na na na, na na na Just do it and you can be happy!"
So Schmuel put the thread through the needle's eye, and the moon stared down from a starless sky. And he pushed the thread through the velvet black, and he looked, and the clock was turning...back! So he grabbed his shears and he cut some lace as the hands moved left on the old clock's face, and his fingers flew and the fabric swirled - -it was nine-fifteen all around the world.
Every cut and stitch was a perfect fit as if God Himself were controlling it! And Schmuel cried through a rush of tears, "Take me back! Take me back all forty-one years!"
And on it went down that silent street 'til Schmuel's dress was at last complete.
And he stretched his arms. And he closed his eyes.
And the morning sun finally started to rise.
And the dress he made on that endless night was a dress that would make any soul take flight. Not a swatch, not a skein had gone to waste, every ribbon and button ideally placed. And sewn into the seams were forty-one seasons of dreams.
Dreams that you could feel coming real.
And that very dress, so the papers swore, was the dress a girl in Odessa wore on the day she promised forevermore to love a young man named Schmuel, who only one day before had knocked at her kitchen door.
Plenty have hoped and dreamed and prayed but they can't get out of Klimovich. Maybe it's just that you're afraid to go out on to a limb-ovich - maybe your heart's completely swayed, but your head can't follow through.
But I say, "Na na na na, na na na oh honey, you'll get to be happy. Na na na na I give you unlimited time."
Take a breath.
Take a step.
Take a chance.
Take your time.
Life isn't about being over. Life is about to begin.
Happy 2010, readers.
I thought that you should know that I have recently been learning the game of chess. I know, terrible, right? That I had never learned such an iconic game before, I mean. Truth be told, I just never really had the interest. At least, that is, not until I recently witnessed a match. I was intrigued by the rules- entranced by how the pieces move.
In the game of chess, there is no undo. One can only wait for their next turn and then move backwards, if it is permitted.
It's strange, you see, how chess parallels life. I mean, until the future where time travel exists, there is no way to go back in time and changed the past events of one's life. What is done is done, and one may only make newer choices to try to figure out his path.
I am not a leftover;
I am not a home wrecker;
I am not a second choice;
I am not a toy;
And I am certainly not a pawn.
I am not a piece to be used and easily discarded.
I am sorry for you that you could not see what I am or was. You could not see what you had, and you took your next move for granted. It's not my problem, really. You did some damage, I'll admit it, but I have recouped from the losses, and strengthened my defense.
I know who I am, what I'm about, and what a catch I am. You were lucky to even play the game with me. You see that now.
But now is too late.
Hear It!: Your Move- Yes
People say that once you become an adult, life starts to go by fast; like a freight train.
Really, though, it's like a roller coaster, speeding up and down; twisting and turning.
I'm excited, kids. I hear it, below me...
"Click click click click click click."
I can feel the bumps as each gear clicks into place.
Hello, new job with a lighting company in New York City. Hello, apartment search. Hello, life.
This time, I'm doing it right. I'm loving it.
Listen, though, sweethearts, try not to stare at my cute little tushy as I'm on my way up... the floor may be dirty, you don't want your jaw to be, too...
Hear It!: If It Kills Me- Jason Mraz, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things
A lot can happen in four months.
I'm counting on it.
I am who I am. I was who I was. And I will be who I will be.
Acceptance is the first step towards living.
Hi. My name is Red. I enjoy professional sports, IPAs, working with my hands, and getting dressed up.
I like to get dressed up because when I take the time to make myself look good, I feel good. And I look good... I mean like, damn fine. The man on the subway told me so, after I gave him the dollar he needed to feed wife and two kids. He didn't tell me so much with words, but by brushing his hand against my bottom. Kind of like a football player congratulating his teammate on a great play.
I live with my family. I love them, and they love me, although we cannot stand each other sometimes. We live in the suburbs with the dog and the fence and the neighbor who has a warrant out for his arrest. Apparently, the kids are all on heroin nowadays, did you know about that?
I work and stuff. People offer me jobs, and I take them. It's pretty cool. I like to get paid. But really, who doesn't? Am I right?
Autumn is my favorite season. I love when the leaves change colors and there's that slight bite to the air and even your sweater isn't enough so he wraps his arms around you and you get drinks and sit by the fire and watch your team kick ass and eat some stuffing and...
Which reminds me, I need a new sweater.
What else would you like to know about me? I'm pretty new at this game...
My friends tell me I'm a good listener. It's just a gift I guess. I mean, I don't like to brag, and it's not like a save people's lives, but it feels pretty awesome to be there for them. It makes me feel a little bit more sane myself, you know?
But enough about me, tell me about yourself... tell me your favorite color, and what you like to do in your spare time. Tell me about your dreams and aspirations and about where you see yourself in ten years...
Most importantly, tell me, what are your thoughts on beer?
The ability to feel fear and keep moving forward distinguishes the living from the merely breathing." Nicholas Lore
What are you afraid of?
I've come up with a totally great way to get FREE BASEBALL MERCHANDISE!!!
Okay, okay, okay... so listen up...
oooo it's just SO GOOD!
So first, we gotta make a baby. Not just any baby, but something really cute looking, preferably female. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against ugly babies, but let's be real here, ugly babies aren't cut out for The Television. Plus, who wants an ugly baby?
Next, spend the first three years of said baby's life instilling the religion of baseball into the child. Baby's first words? "Walk-off home run." Baby's first trip? Cooperstown, NY. Baby's first trip to the hospital? Hit in the head with a wiffle ball because Baby was watching butterflies instead of paying attention during Baby's first game of catch.
Now we're cooking right along...
Ok, so, sometimes, in order to get free stuff, you gotta spend some money. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out...
Now that Baby has reached her third year, training is almost complete. The next step is to buy you and baby some sweet tickets to the ::Insert favorite baseball team here:: game. Maybe something right on the foul line. That should do you right. Once you have done this, your journey is almost complete.
Next, get to a store, and buy you and Baby matching baseball caps featuring ::Insert favorite baseball team here::'s logo. You might want to buy yourself ::Favorite baseball team::'s jersey, too, and perhaps a supportive Koozie (c) to show how dedicated you are to your team.
Continue playing catch with Baby, making sure to tell her to ALWAYS throw the ball back. This is the most important step- Baby must ALWAYS throw the ball back. It is imperative to the success of this mission.
Your training is now complete. Baby is ready for the big day, the moment you've been waiting for... Baby's first baseball game.
You get to your seats and sit back, waiting for the right opportunity to arise. (Blogger's Note: I will sit on the couch at home, proudly watching through The Television as my two stars get to work.)
Then, finally, it happens... Foul ball, hit right into your outstretched hands! You stand, decked out in your baseball gear, waving your arms and fist bumping your neighbors, looking ecstatic. You turn to Baby, looking expectantly up at you, waiting to do her part, and you hand her that special ball that will change your lives, a barely noticeable knowing look in your eyes.
Just as she was taught, Baby throws the ball back... onto the field.
You feign a look of shock perfectly, you've been practicing in the mirror for days. People are none the wiser (Blogger's Note: except for me, of course, jumping up and down in the living room, yelling "It worked! It worked!"). Baby turns to you, her hands outstretched, waiting to be rewarded for her part in our plan.
This is the time to throw on the charm. You smile- melting the hearts of even the hardest viewers, and wrap Baby in your arms. (Blogger's Note: At this point, tears are rolling down my cheeks. I've never been more proud.)
LET THE FREE MERCH ROLL IN!
Next thing you know, Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera are banging down our door, asking us to visit them on The Television. Which we do. You tell about how you always wanted to catch a foul ball, but how your love for Baby surpassed it all.
Then, it is over, as we gather up our jerseys and baseballs enclosed in cases complete with signatures, dollar signs in our eyes...
HOW GREAT IT THAT! It's the perfect plan... so simple, so complete...
Wait, what's that?...
It's already been done?...
Are you sure the new health care reform won't cover this situation?
What people need to remember, however, is that three short years ago, Disney acquired a little company called Pixar, and fear rose up throughout the land that Disney would wave its magic wand and Pixar would never be the same.
We were wrong. Pixar continued to work under genius John Lasseter and create animated films in the same vein as their previous hits (Finding Nemo (2003), for one,) if not even steps above. Consider WALL-E (2008), a commentary on the greed of human kind and the possibility of its redemption, complete with gorgeously hideous textures and intense attention to detail (and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature); or Pixar's latest creation, Up, a heart wrenching tale of life and death, as well as the choices we make and how they effect others, complete with adult wit and childlike wonder. Disney not only didn't stifle Pixar's creative engines, but enhanced them by recognizing the potential that Pixar held and by providing almost limitless resources for Pixar to grow on that potential alone.
Consider, then, the positive opportunities that the Disney/Marvel deal can present. Eleven years ago, Marvel was a company that was going down the drain. The problem was that kids were no longer interested in comic books or reading, and in turn, trading cards (Marvel's other big endeavor). Television took over in the late 1980s and even further in the 90s, and children became accustomed to moving images without the "hassle" of having to read words. Why read when the character can speak for his/herself?
Why is lack of interest in comic books an issue, you say? Before I go into the point of my ramblings, let me share with you a story about myself in order to better illustrate my meaning:
I remember, as a little girl, waking up every Sunday morning and running into the kitchen, where my dad would be seated with his coffee (black, with the distinct aroma of burnt dirt) and the morning paper (on lucky days, it would be both the Newsday AND the Daily News). To me, there was always something special about the Sunday edition. The hugeness of it, teeming with information and colorful pamphlets, made me hope that someday I could read the whole Sunday edition and be as smart as my Daddy. I would sit next to my father and watch as he would flip the pages, stopping every now and again on something that would catch his eye. Sometimes, he would pass me the sales adverts, and although I had no idea of what a good deal was, I would take in all the pretty pictures.
My favorite part of the experience, however, is when Pops would finally get to the Funnies section. Pushing the rest of the paper into the far corner of the table, Dad would make room for me to scoot in next to him (and, unfortunately, closer to the burnt dirt). When the ritual first began, I was young enough that I did not yet know how to read, so my father would read to me while I studied the pictures. He always pointed to whichever frame he was reading, so that I may follow along. Comics, at this point, not only included funny non-sequitors and witty snippets of life, but included strips such as Prince Valiant, Little Orphan Annie, and Dick Tracy, complete with continuing story lines, bigger words, and more complex content. I was introduced to story telling in ways that books were unable to reach- small bursts to keep my interest of multiple subjects, as well as the anticipation associated with having to wait a week for the continuation of the story.
Slowly, my father started to ask me to read with him, starting out with certain words he knew I could handle and graduating into full frames and finally strips. Dad always made me feel like I was a part of the reading experience with him- like no matter how much or how little I actually read aloud, we were a team, reading together. I felt smart, accomplished and grown up; excited to practice my reading and to get a glimpse of the fun and exciting pictures that went with it. I became a quick reading enthusiast, craving more of the fantasy world that stories brought to me, learning to create my own comic strip pictures in my mind while reading the words on the pages in front of me.
While I know that I do not owe my reading skills wholly to the Sunday comic strips, I have a deep appreciation for what my weekly experience with them did for me- starting up my thirst for the written word.
Overall, kids are no longer interested in the written word. Yes, there are plenty of exceptions to this generalization, but the facts are out there. The literacy rate of America as a whole has dropped significantly in the past twenty years. 14% of Americans have "Below Basic" literacy skills, meaning no more than the most simple and concrete literacy skills. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's population clock at 12:00PM E.T September 7, 2009, there are 307,384,108 people currently in the United States. This means that 43,033,755 people in the United States at present moment can barely make it through basic and necessary reading throughout the day. Explains a lot, really, as to a downgrade in our society, as we become more and more obsessed with our television sets and fake "realities" and less interested in expanding our knowledge horizons. As of 2003, 11 million people in the United States were considered non-literate in English. Of that figure, only 4 million were due to language barriers. The remaining 7 million were not able to answer simple test questions.
Disney is a big component to this equation, what with their Hannah Montana's and Kim Possible's. Instead of encouraging kids to practice their school work, these shows focus on fantastical situations for the young characters. Unfortunately, this will continue to be a trend for Disney, as entertainment sells over education.
However, the real interest is in the combination of Pixar and Marvel. Word on the street is that Pixar is already looking to produce Marvel's Ant Man movie. The question here is- how could Pixar create an action hero movie while still sticking to its overall past theme of morality and "close-to-home" relate-able storylines? This balance could be the driving factor behind the success of said collaborations. Pixar has always brought an adult voice into their features, however subtle, through slightly advanced story lines and pieces of humor that, while sailing over younger viewers heads, hit home with parents who are tired of having to sit through the same old cartoon fluff. This is where the genius lies- an action hero movie that can speak to both the young and the slightly older (as well as those who wish to stay young forever), and create a new rage in animation popularity.
How does this link back to literacy? If the popularity of animated films about action heroes is back on the rise, so will the interest in all products related to said characters. New releases in comic books may hit big with older kids, (ages 10 plus), and the trickle down effect will occur, because everyone remembers how much we wanted to be like our "cool" older siblings.
Now, I'm not saying that comic books are intense reading that will teach kids words every word from "aberration" to "zealot", but I think back to how those silly snippets from the Sunday newspaper piqued my interest in reading- apply that to full comic books and perhaps we have something to work with.
It certainly would not be an overall fix to illiteracy in America, but it could be a small step in the right direction.
Life isn't perfect... No matter who you are, where you are, or what you are doing. We always want more. It is in our nature. It is the fact that drives our capitalist society.
There is no such thing as a life plan. We CAN plan; we CAN set things up for the future; but nothing is ever set in stone. The beauty, and curse, of this planet we live on is its chaotic nature. The future can be planned for, but never predicted.
Today I stepped back for a moment and examined my summer- everything that happened, everyone I've met, anything that brought me to where I am today. It is interesting to me that summer happens to be the season that usually effects me the most. It is usually when I have had the most live changing happenings and experienced the most growth.
Reading through my past entries, I realized that I had lost my voice. I am falling back into that place where I started out, the zombie-state of disconnect.
I will not let that happen. I cannot let that happen.
Please don't let that happen.
There is a time in everyone's life when they have hit rock bottom. A time when they need support, and a time when they might not know how to ask for it.
I thought I had hit that time before. I was wrong... because I am there now.
The fall from a great height is much worse than tripping on the ground. About a year ago, I tripped, and couldn't figure out how to get back up. The process was slow, until about three months ago, when I not only picked myself up, but started climbing. I got to a height equal to or above anything I had ever seen before.
And then I fell. And now I am in pain. And sometimes that makes me angry.
Mistakes can cause broken bones, hurt feelings and even broken lives. They are sometimes small and manageable, and other time hideous and cruel. We are judged upon these mistakes, and the choices that we have made.
It sucks... Big time...
So I say, hello, readers, my name is Red, and we will be restarting this journey full of knowledge and understanding and especially, new experiences. Please open your minds and your hearts to me, and I will try my damndest not to fail you, although I can promise nothing more than all that I can give. Are you with me? I will be here for you when you need me, will you do the same for me?
Spring may usually be the season associated with re-birth and renewal, but Autumn will be my rise from the Fall...
I feel oddly at peace with the ups and downs that have comprised this summer. I took a huge step forward, tripped, and fell back a pace. But in tripping, I learned for the future.
Proactivity doesn't hurt, but the cards will fall where they may. I was making myself crazy over decisions I was forced into making, and it wasn't worth it. Things happen, deal with it. If you want something to work out, make it happen. If you can't make it happen right away, work at it until you can.
Life is about challenges- relationships, monetary, lifestyle, etc. Otherwise, we would be bored.
No matter how hard it may be or how scared you are, don't give up on what you want. Listen to your gut. If you really feel it, don't let it go.
Hello, Autumn... are you ready for me?
This one was very realistic; a mish-mosh of what is going on in my life right now.
I dreamt that I got a well-deserved raise.
Now, this could have happened. I have just reached the one year mark at my job. I wear a lot of hats there, and do good work. It felt so right...
...there the check was, floating in space, right in front of my grasp...
So I grabbed it. Then my whole world changed- my hopes, my dreams, all fell away, and that one small raise lead to a life of of compromise, longing, and regret. A life stuck on Long Island, strapped with debt, wasting my artistry, "visiting" the city, staring at what I could have had.
When I woke up, it was all gone.
I realized that my subconscious hates me. Either that, or it is super worried.
Am I wasting an opportunity by moving back home to LI and staying with the "comfortable" job? Should I throw it all away, forget the car, and go for it with everything I've got?
I don't know... I really don't know. I've never felt more frustrated and confused.
New York City is the land of opportunities- the artist capital- the place to discover yourself.
So why do I feel like I'm losing me?
...and that's just what I've been doing.
Life was moving forward. F A S T...
And then the car accident happened. And then my car was fixed. And then my car was totaled.
And now I have to move back home.
Sure, I went through all the stages... Denial, depression, weight loss in the wallet area. But I came out of this with something invaluable- experience. The short time that I had in my apartment taught me not only about myself, but about the experience of moving out on my own. I feel sad that due to extenuating circumstances, the tenure there was so short, but I am confident that I will get there again.
Not only will I get there, but I will surpass it. I know what I want. I am determined to get it.
Sure life is twisty-turny and likes to get in the way. It happens all the time. The real challenge is in how we deal with it.
I'll admit it. For a hot second, I broke down. But the fire is lit now.
I just hope lemon juice isn't flammable...
The newest contest for me now? How quickly I can turn around and get back to NYC. First stop- employment... wish me luck!
That's right, my friend, times are tough...
No, I will not get out!
I'm serious. It's all a person can do not to go crazy from the rejection of it all. Just gotta pick yourself back up, dust off, and hit up the nearest bar.
Who cares that my bank account keeps flashing at me -$389.72 -$389.72 -$389.72
And so the drinking problems begin. Well, wait a second, I don't know if I'd call them problems... at least not from the get go. It starts out as a solution, doesn't it?
The other night I saw the new Harry Potter movie (Half Blood Prince, herein referred to as HBP, because I'm lazy.) I'm a huge fan of the books. However, the first five movies fell short for me. I just remember leaving the theater deflated with defeat, and as the next movie approached, the hope would build that THIS one would be the one to change my mind.
They never did.
At least, not until HBP. Maybe it's because I am now studying Visual Effects, and I was 85% impressed with the VFX on this film. Maybe it's because the characters are getting older, and the proper humor and "romance" that offsets the action can finally be infused into the film. Maybe it's because I'm finally getting over the books, and just seeing the movies for what they are.
In any case, after the movie, I went home with a sense of pride in what I hope to eventually do with my life. The artistry AND technicality that goes into these features are a hugely awesome undertaking.
And as I downed my third bottle of a six pack of Sam Adams Summer Ale in celebration of my chosen field, the mood slowly started to sour into disgust at the non-success of my job search.
That night, I had a dream. I not only dreamt that I had a job as an artist, but I was filming a documentary called "Life at Hogwarts: The Harry Potter Chronicles." That's right, reader, I was making myself some magic about magic. (Blogger's Note: Don't hate.)
In this dream, Hogwarts really existed. It was a living, breathing castle full of living, breathing witches and wizards. I, myself, had gained the right to hold a wand. It was exhilarating.
I wanted a camera over there- Swish! There it was. I wanted the light to look just right- Swish! I didn't even have to think of how to do it. I felt powerful; in charge! This shot didn't look right... Swish! Insta-onscreen camera move. More action in this shot... Swish! Blowing things up without ever touching a thing.
I made things happen... Swish!... like that...
And then I realized, it wasn't me making things happen. It was my waving, magical wand.
It was too easy. I hadn't accomplished anything.
The fun was gone. It just felt empty.
If it all came easy, would we ever really try? Would anyone ever strive for greatness?
Would there even be such a thing... "greatness?"
Sometimes, when I feel really beaten down, I'm sure that I will really miss that wand.
Today, however, I am proud of how I got to where I am, and the journey I plan to take to where I eventually want to go...
...starting with the nearest watering hole... Cheers, reader!
I have a job and I get paid steadily, bi-monthly.
I have a job and I get paid steadily, bi-monthly, and I have full medical benefits, dental benefits, and will soon be able to open a 403-b paid by my employer.
I also have talent. That may sound like I'm tooting my own horn, but I have artistic talent, I know that I do, because I've been told it a good amount. And everyday that ticks by, I'm wasting it.
I feel like a girl in high school who is trying to determine whether or not to break up with her boyfriend for the new guy, making lists of "pros" and "cons" of each scenario. Debating comfortable versus challenging, safe versus fun. Rolling over and over thoughts of job market instability, bills, savings, information, expenses, health insurance, gas money, (what if I got in an accident?)... the constant crushing of numbers... crushing, crushing, crushing...
Time to shit or get off the pot. Time to explore my photography more. Time to get my hands on some video and practice what I know from school.
Time to work with the clock, instead of against it.
Who's with me?
Cause I just don't fucking get it.
Let's slow down to stare at someone else's misfortune, and then, hopefully, cause some of our own...
B R I L L I A N T !
Day 3 of commuting... this is gonna be great...
Today I am having a defeated day.
They say that "what goes up must come down." Maybe this is what I get for the excited exhilaration I have experienced over the past couple weeks at the ways I have decided to change my life. Maybe it's because I am finally winding down a bit and understanding more of where I'm going and what I'm doing.
Maybe it's because I feel let down...
"Spinning wheel, go round and round..."
I love roller coasters. They are fun and challenging and exciting and scary as all shit. So I should love my life. And I do, mostly.
There it is again! That nagging poke at the back of my head, saying, "Hey! Are you sure about this? Don't eff it up!"
This voice sounds oddly like my parents.
Right now where I could really use the loving support of my family. I want them to be proud of me. I want them to see the kind of person I am becoming and how hard I am working and to be there when I need to talk about the hard times. I want to be there for them.
But I can't carry this weight anymore.
Tomorrow, I move into my first apartment. It will be a long moving process, without aid from my parents or sister. Luckily for me, I have friends who are willing to help out- a family I have been gathering over the years.
After a day of heavy lifting, one would expect that I will be tired and sore, but I expect quite the opposite. Tomorrow represents a bigger metaphor for me. I will be lifting the immensely pudgy pest of a tot off my shoulders and setting him down in my old LI bedroom, where he belongs. Sometimes, when I visit home, I will pick him back up and we will play the old games for a bit.
Sometimes, I will miss him.
But mostly, I hope to be free...
This only helps to draw out the packing process, as memories flood back and one must take a moment to reflect, which in turn adds to the frustration and worry of not finishing your packing on time.
However, it is necessary to look back on the ridiculousness of our former selves and laugh, cry, and gain closure.
Which is exactly what I did when I found a letter from myself in my "Memory Box" (a device given to me by an ex, a clever idea for a girl with little to no memory capabilities.) This letter was an exercise that my "friends" and I decided to do at the end of of Freshman year of college. We were to write to our future selves, or others who will follow in our footsteps, put the letters in bottles, head to the beach, and toss them out to sea.
We were dreamers... or drunk, I can't remember.
The letter is as follows:
Thursday, May 13, 2004, 11:35 PM
Well, I've just completed my freshman year of college, and I have to say, I learned more in this year than in the rest of my life. And I'm not talking about book smarts. Here are some examples:
Everything happens for a reason. Little moments in time that seem insignificant now may mean the world tomorrow. Remember each and every person you meet. A chance meeting may be your best friend, soul mate, or arch enemy.
The most important lesson in life is just to be. Let life roll- you can't force it to be something it's not.
Learn to let things slide off of your back. It doesn't matter what others think of you - you are all that matters.
Don't try to please others. You'll spend all your time doing things you don't like, and that's dumb.
Sometimes you can have the best time doing nothing.
There is nothing like lying in bed with your love interest/lover/partner in crime, especially when you keep each other up until the sun rises.
When life gets really bad - DON'T DRINK - it's never a good thing. (Author's note: Still don't follow this one... it's a toughy.)
Life gets really rough sometimes. When it seems like it's at its worst, remember, it can only get better.
Sometimes all you need is music- like shouting "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by Meatloaf out the windows while driving with your closest friends at 2 A.M.
Don't take anything for granted. Take every opportunity you can and run with it, otherwise, you'll regret you didn't.
Every single thing in life is a sexual innuendo.
The best conversations are the ones in which you talk about the deepest topics for hours, fight the entire time, and come to no conclusions.
Nothing is better than cuddling after a long day.
Nothing is better than cuddling on a rainy day.
Nothing is better than cuddling.
Kings can be one of the scariest experiences in life.
It is possible to hate someone and to love them at the same time.
Sometimes it is necessary to act before thinking- experience is the best way to learn.
Love every moment, you can only live this moment once.
All in all- live by this Swedish Proverb:
"Fear less, hope more;
Eat less, chew more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Love more, and all good things will be yours."
Good luck- Lord knows we all need it. Share your experiences with those you love, but let them experience for themselves. Wherever you're at now are the best days of your life- enjoy them.
I sat in shock and remembrance as I read through this letter. Shock because I couldn't believe how smart I had been five years ago- how I had had these revelations and then forgotten about them for five years, only to come full circle and finally really understand what they meant and live them out five years later.
It is so weird how our minds work. How we realize things that are good for us, or understand how to live our lives, but sometimes, we are just not ready to follow the right path. The twists and turns we make finding our way shape us into the dented, broken heaps we are- people with character and stories to tell.
I had to share this moment with you, readers. I am in a turning point in my life in many ways, and with that, an emotional mess.
An emotional mess who is getting things done. EFF YEAH!
It feels great to be going forward, one foot in front of the other, but the journey is long and scary and frustrating and difficult.
Sometimes it helps to stop and take a look back at where life has brought me. I only hope that, at 24, I continue to learn and grow and reflect and be able to share my thoughts and experiences with those around me. It is a gift that I hope will never be taken away from me. However, if it is, I will always have that letter to myself dated May 13, 2004, 11:35 P.M.
But really, readers... SPF 30, it's the way to go...
I apologize for my last entry, which was totally bogus. Truthful, but bogus. I will try harder next time. Maybe.
I arrived into work this morning and a co-worker had left papers on my desk with a post-it note on top asking me to mail some letters for her. Which is fine, I mean, I don't mind helping out when necessary.
You know what I greatly dislike, though? The letter "x".
See, this is how she signed the post-it:
"Thanx, [insert co-worker's name here]"
WHAT IS THAT?
Who gave the letter "x" the right to take over so many different words? It's like, one day, someone said to himself,
"Hey, Self, I think that letter "x" is lonely. He barely ever gets to come out and play. Let's spread rumors that he's really, really cool and maybe he can take over some more common words and start to feel better about himself."
For real, people? Let's see... there's thanx, xoxo (kisses and hugs, for all of you who live under rocks), xippie (click the link, it makes me too sick to actually write what it is), Spanx (c), AND the ever loving X-mas (how lazy are we, people?!), among many others.
Then we have the words where we felt that the "x" got a little jealous of our favorite letter, "e". Xtreme, xplain, xactly...
Will it vr nd?
So we do all of this to help out little ol' "x", and then wonder why the kiddies can't spell ANYTHING.
Now, if ull xcuse XmeX, my bff .:Steph:.s having a xobile xplosion! im xcessively xcited! ttyl!!!!11!!!1!
I'm not even going to lie to you, I'm scared shitless...
However, I'm also the most excited I've ever been in my life. Change can be the most liberating experience on the face of the planet. It is envigorating to be taking control of my life and determining my own future. Do I worry that I might be making some hugely wrong decisions? Sure, don't we all. But the journey is going to be one hell of a ride.
I had gotten to a place in my life where I was the most unhappy I had ever been. Life definitely could have been worse, but getting myself stuck in multiple situations that made me miserable caused so much stress that insomnia and nightmares made me a walking zombie. If you haven't been in this spot before, Congratulations! You are one of the lucky few. Unfortunately, due to the fast paced, dog eat dog world we live in, the streets are full of these sleepwalking brain suckers. I wasn't alone, I knew that. But I sure felt like it.
Which was odd, considering my boyfriend, many great friends, and the fact that I lived with my family and a full time job with 30 fellow co-workers.
As a freelance lighting designer and technician, my life had rocked, but I had no job security and no health benefits. Instead of sticking to my guns and following my dreams, I panicked, and took what I believed was the easy way out. I took a steady 9-5, continued living at home with my parents, and stayed in my comfortable but going-nowhere relationship. The only thing I did was added my schooling on top of things, which, while making me feel somewhat better about myself, only took away my small but precious social life. One day, after drowning in my 42nd ounce of coffee, the lightbulb clicked on.
To be frank, I had become a bored hermit with no connection to anything stimulating. Hence the brain sucking.
So, the incandescent popped on above my overly-caffeinated head at a time when I realized that I was not ready to surrender myself over to a life of numbness. My first step was to break the ties to my sweet but non-relationship-savvy boyfriend. The hardest part for me was hurting him, if that shows you anything about how into the relationship I was. We had been sticking band-aid upon band-aid over deep-reaching wounds, smothering it instead of giving it the air it needed to mend. The break-up came with that same quick pain of pulling the band-aids off. It also was as liberating for me as it was for the wound, and I could feel myself begin healing ever so slightly.
That night, I slept like a baby. The first real sleep I had gotten in probably half a year, if not longer.
And it AMAZED me. I almost felt human again, even throwing out my brain straw and returning to solid foods!
Not long after that, some old friends started to contact me again. Different people from different times, reaching out to little ol' me. Instead of turning these friends down, like I would have done in the days before, I found a balance of juggling school and social life. It was the best decision I have ever made. At 24, I was wasting my life away, not experiencing my time with the kind of carelessness only the young and unattached can have. I reconnected with people I had missed, and met some new friends along the way as well.
Ironically, this refreshing new pace led me back to nights of no sleep. The difference is, I'm enjoying myself now, living instead of hiding.
It is e n v i g o r a t i n g.
It also led to my two other big decisions right now- to move out on my own and to focus on following steps that will lead me more toward my desired job goals instead of focusing on safety nets. These choices have come with overwhelming frustration at times, especially with the way things are out there right now. Last I heard, even McDonald's wasn't hiring, but don't quote me on that.
Why, then, am I so overwhelmingly determined to follow these choices?
I feel alive, people! Pro-activity about one's own life is something that nobody else can take away from you. You are doing something, FOR YOU! When you finally get to where you want to be, you can say, "I did this. Me. Look at what I accomplished."
Looking back, I am astonished that I let my life get to where it was before my 24th birthday. It is so hard to see what your life is like while you are living it. However, that is the most important thing that anyone can do for themselves, especially when he/she may feel malcontent. Most of us are creatures of habit, and we get used to doing the same things because we are comfortable with them.
WARNING: DANGER AHEAD is what I have to say to that.
I'm not saying that you all should quit your jobs and go to clown school, or whatever. But I am saying that this is our time, fellow Generation Y-ers, don't spend it rising from bed, brushing your teeth, commuting to work, writing TPS reports, looking for your Red Swingline stapler, commuting home from work, eating a frozen TV dinner, brushing your teeth again, and laying awake in bed, repeat. Don't settle for comfortable; don't let the fear take you down. Take action. Maybe things will work work out right away, maybe it will take years and many failed attempts. But with failure, at least you tried, and eventually, you will find the way.
Take control of your life while you still can. It is yours, YOU should hold the reigns.
And trust me on the sunscreen...
I have the luxury of having a full time, steady job complete with health benefits. I'm happy about that, I really am- especially with the way things are in the economy and the fact that I'm racking up even MORE school bills while reaching for my Master's degree. While my savings account has taken a couple of nice, big meals and is growing up nice and fat, I feel nervous and oddly detached. Why is that, Red, you might say? Well, readers, let me give you a visual...
This is me before my current job, back when I was using my hands and being an artist (to a degree):
And this is me now:
Okay, not really, but the sentiment in the pictures illustrates my point. Being an artist is hard! I tell people I'm going to school for Animation and Visual Effects and the number one response is, "Wow, that must be SUPER easy!"
NO, ::insert angry name in New Yorker accent here::, IT'S NOT!
Not only do artists have to have skill, talent, and knowledge, but also persistence, humility, and the ability to take life with a grain of salt. Also necessary- the ability to live on little to no money, which I naively thought I could bypass with blinders on throughout my whole Theatrical Design undergraduate program. Now, I'm not saying I'm high maintenance, but I like me some comforts, such as the ability to not have to eat fast food for every meal. My body just can't handle that shit all the time, and yeah, I might adjust, but dang, I don't want to get to that point.
Let's hold the phone here for a second: what exactly do I mean by artist? Well, pretty much any job where a person conveys a story, emotion or feeling to another person. This encompasses the fine arts (painter, sculpture, photography, etc. etc.), writers, story tellers, designers of all kinds, musicians, all the way down to my genre areas, theater and film. Now, I definitely do not want to omit actors/actresses from the subject of artist. I have seen some incredibly touching actors already in my short time on my career path. However, I feel this line gets thoroughly blurred when it comes to the term, "Celebrity."
As a newbie in the film industry game, it has really come to my attention how terrible most film actor/actress "celebrities" are, and how most should NEVER be classified in the artist category. Now, I don't want to include everyone in this statement, I love me some Brad Pitt (for his actual ability, and his damn fine looks don't hurt it too. All I'm saying is, watch some Snatch, Fight Club, and Burn After Reading... 'nuff said). But the pay scale for these so-called actors is just bogus.
Take for example, Vin Diesel. This man got his real start in the movie "Saving Private Ryan." (1998) For that blockbuster movie, he got paid a whopping $100,000, more than triple my current annual salary at a job where I try to make a difference for the everyday Long Islander. It gets better, though, peeps, because at over $216 million, that was Vinny's highest grossing film to date.
Now let's talk about the movie "The Chronicles of Riddick." (2004) My main man, Vin, had made his mark on the world by blowing things up in the stunning film, "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) Okay, scratch that... dude made his mark on the world by having big pecs, a bald head, and pretending to blow things up, while his stunt double did all the hard work. The "Riddick" film consisted of enough effects to entail the employment of well over 200 visual effects and special effects artists (closer to 300, I'd say). "The Chronicles of Riddick" did not do so hot, pulling in only a cool $57,712,000 (1/4 of "Ryan"'s total), and Mr. Diesel took home $11.5 mil of that. Dame Judy Dench was in that movie as well, and we all now Dames make a lot of dough!
Now, let's try some math for a second (I know, I know, I ask a lot of you.) $57.7 million minus $11.5 million equals $46.2 million. Take half of that ($23.1 million) to divide among the remaining 50 credited cast members, and divide the other half by the 300 special effects artist, and you get $77,000 each for those special effects guys. But, wait! There are still producers, writers, directors, cinematographers, camera operators, editors, designers, sound people, make-up artists, wardrobe, lighting techs, PAs, extras... all to be paid.
Where is their pay?
But, Red, you say, people don't go to movies to see the special effects artists, they go to see the actor or actress in the movie.
I call BS on you!
Look at todays "talent" pool. I'm sorry, kids, but it is SLIM pickins. And with the way technology is running today, people ARE going to see movies FOR the visual effects. Chris Pine did a phe-nom-i-nal job as Jim Kirk in the new Star Trek, but damn, if the effects sucked, people would be pissed! Today we are watching less and less of the actor, and more and more of the computer's fixes to make the actor look like something he is not. That is where the experience of going to the movies comes from- the detachment from reality. Heck, I just spent three hours of my life watching a digital Brad Pitt head do a bang up job of aging backwards and reattaching to his body!
I want to know what the average vfx salary was on "Benjamin Button". According to SimplyHired.com, the average vfx salary throughout the industry is $61,000, as of June 1, 2009. Hey, I'll take that in comparison to the average artist salary, which is $40,000, and on Long Island, means diddly squat.
So, why is it that we give the Vin Diesels of the world millions of dollars (which they usually end up using for ridiculous things that ruin their lives) for their insanely bad artistry, while the over worked, under payed, seriously forgotten, no-name visual effects artist has to pan handle on the street corner in his spare time?
Maybe without hard times and starving, we wouldn't have artists, but that's another load of stinky stuff, I say.
Anyway, this brings me full circle back to my doom behind a desk. While I know that I am striving for that knowledge component of my "artistic ability," it takes good, cold hard cash to get what I need in order to hopefully "make it" someday. (By "make it," I mean work on a movie that I am proud of telling people about, and maybe get a reasonable sum of money for it, but I don't want to push anything.) The problem lies here within- I put my work as an artist on hold for my current 9-5er and full time schooling. This means that I am no longer working on my resume for my ultimate goal- which consists in an area where it's all about experience and networking, but where it is also impossible to get into regulated, steady jobs unless you know someone or have a good amount of experience.
Is this Catch 22 blowing your mind yet? 'Cause mine's been gone for a couple of weeks now.
What was I talking about?...
Oh, right. So I go into my office, work, come home from work, sit at my computer and do my classwork, get a couple winks, rinse and repeat. The weekends consist of random gigs as a stagehand in order to keep my name still hanging on to something in this industry.
I'm sorry, social life? What does that mean?
But I angrily digress. The issue at hand is that I can't seem to figure out that balance between both of my worlds, as well as the proper time to dive into my dreams. I KNOW that I have it good with a steady paycheck and the promise that if I get appendicitis, I won't end up in the gutter somewhere because I can't pay for my medical bills. But that comfort in my safety net is holding me back, because I've lived the artist life before (thank you, college!). I also know what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck and to not know when your next gig will be and to finish the year with (-red) all over your budget.
The world would definitely be a boring place without artists. We depend on artistry everyday, and in everything we do. Why, then, is it such a forgotten and discouraging job, and why do we proudly support the "Celebrities" of the moment, such as Octo-Mom, Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears?
Oh, right, because they make us all look sane, which in turn makes us feel better about ourselves...
Hey! There's that ugly Birken bag I saw Jamie-Lynn toting around the other day! I gotta get me one of those...
Unfortunately, again, this makes me a rare breed. I urge my peers to turn off the Ipods, take the speakers out of their ears, and remember what it was like to have human interaction. You never know who you might meet and what you might learn from that person.
PS, readers, great place to start- Prop 8, just saying...