Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Turning Point

It seems as though every time I sit down and place my fingers on this keyboard, all the thoughts that were previously settling in my head become so frightened by the prospect of being expressed that they scare themselves back into a frenzied cloud, like so many birds on the beach. Whatever important thing I had to say has completely eluded me, making this yet another post almost completely devoid of meaning.
A bit has come back to me. Irony?

Earlier, it dawned on my for the umpteenth time that I cannot pretend to really know anything. Especially someone as young as myself, having existed for a mere eighteen years, cannot expect to really understand anything in the world at all. Those older than myself generally have more valid insight, but even they do not really understand much of anything. The world changes too frequently to really draw any solid conclusions; our being is too infinite and incapable of understanding itself to actually grasp anything at all. And so the greatest truths of our history have come from men and women who observe the nature of man and our repeated behaviors. But there is such a small collection of predictable human traits that most of what we can solidly deduce about the human race has already been voiced.
And on a general scale, we are too busy in our own times and spheres of being to understand those few truths of human existence and apply them.

Of course, just because a thing is known does not make it manifest. For most truths of human existence go completely unrealized. And even when we have learned something about ourselves, we quickly forget our motivation and reason for change.

______

And so it is with my own life. I changed, putting faith in Christ instead of the world, and it was apparent to me the reason for my change. For a while, anyway. Now all I can do is recite the words in my head that used to spark such passion in me, only to find that the nothing in me moves. I watch sort of disembodied as I take slow, meandering steps away from Christ, following this daisy path to destruction.
The strange thing is, I know none of this can end well. I know I'm setting myself up for failure and defeat and rough times...but I can't seem to do anything to stop myself. I could, of course, I have the power over myself to control what I do...but it just never seems to happen.
The turning point evades me still and I'll be stuck here a while longer, I fear, before I'm able to feel the depth of my own self-destruction.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Recovery

I am dog tired. Mentally, spiritually, and physically. Tired in every possible area of my being.

Mentally, I am exhausted perhaps simply because of the holiday season. Christmas began for me at work, where a massive line of people and drink orders filled the Tully's. Nonstop eight and a half hours of coffee-inspired mayhem. But a good feast and celebration with my best friend made Christmas worthwhile.
Generally, the holiday feels like one big excuse. The "holiday spirit" everyone talks about, where generosity and brotherly love are the focus of the season, should be something that happens everyday, not just one month out of  the year. It feels like one big opportunity for business owners to reach into the pockets of every last man, woman, and child, and a way to make you feel as though you've done something saintly, providing you with a feeling of purity meant to last until next Christmas season. I can't complain about the general overall improvement in people's spirits, but it would be nice if it was more than just a few weeks out of the year we could watch out for each other and smile like we mean it.

Spiritually, I am devastated beyond belief. I remember making a promise to myself, a promise that I was very good about keeping for the first month I lived here in Seattle. That promise was that I would be better than I had been in Incline. That I would seek God more fervently, that I would love Seattle and its people with all I had to give, that I would live simply and selflessly. For that first month, everything was going exactly as I had hoped. I was loving, living, smiling, and becoming more pure than I had felt in years.
However, much to my utter unsurprise, for every step I have taken forward, I have taken five back. In fact, I hardly make time for church anymore...I haven't done a good thing for anyone in weeks...and I've gone farther with a man before marriage than I had ever hoped I would. It absolutely floors me every time I think about how completely ludicrous this whole situation is. Everything. My life in general, my love life, my spiritual life...none of them work in coherence with the other, and I have forsaken the most important of them all...my Spirit. It must be in a coma somewhere deep inside my body, because there is a surprising lack of concern from within at the recklessness of my life in the past two months. There is too much existential haze floating around in my head, and too much thought crusting like hard water to the inside of my veins.
Its a slow death, and a happy one for now.....................................I'm just waiting for that panic to seize my lungs and suffocate my very existence.

Physically, I am at my body's end. Too little sleep, too much work and play and I can't keep up with myself. I would have slept at the manfriend's house again tonight, but I get very little sleep when I am with other people, and he has to wake up at the crack of seven. I intend on sleeping in before jiu jitsu.

Tomorrow...tomorrow will come and go, and I will be no better than I was the previous day, left wondering why on earth I allow these things to happen.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Potatoes...


Here we are, less than an hour away from the dawning of Christmas Eve and my best friend and I sit across the table from one another. She is drawing, I am writing, the crooning tunes of Muse provide the filler for the lack of conversation. The most surprising and completely understandable part of the whole situation is that we are able to sit here, having not seen each other for three months (an eternity by our standards) and be content without conversation. The simple fact that the other is close by provides comfort and satisfaction.
My only minor dissatisfaction with this portion of the holiday season is that I am not able to spend more time with my dearest friend. Of course, the one time that she comes to visit, I work five consecutive days. I suppose my biggest concern, though, is whether or not I can get the 26th off...if I can't, I won't be able to see her off when she boards her Greyhound for San Francisco.
Oh, its been too long since I wrote...there is so much floating around is this head of mine. It feels like a massive, slippery octopus, tentacles sliding purposefully across the walls of my skull in an attempt to find an exit. It seems I have finally unplugged my fingers from my ear holes, and the octopus has found its exit. Cascading down my shoulders and trickling onto my hands, it spills forth onto the keyboard in some sort of rapid cautionary exodus.
Thank goodness this octopus is a cheery one. My brain has been too happily fatigued to delve into the depths of gelatinous brainmatter and pull out the stringy noodles of important thought that hide at the bottom of all this inconsequential goo.

We have constructed a Christmas Potato. A Christmas tree would be too uncharacteristic of our characteristic weirdness, so, in light of that fact, we had to birth a Christmas Potato. More festive holiday creations are soon to follow.
Despite the lack of time actually spent with my best friend, this is the best way to celebrate my first Christmas away from "home".

What better company than that of my other half and the weird things that result in our being together?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Resurfacing

This is the first time in a while that I've been able to sit down at the table and just sit...I don't have anywhere to go, nothing to do...and goodness does it feel amazing. I have spent so much time in the last couple weeks doing things with people from work, jiu jitsu, and elsewhere that I have had no time just to simply sit.
My mind is numb and heavy like a large gelatinous fuzzball--much like a white lychee.
Sometime tomorrow or the next day, my dearest friend arrives in Seattle. We haven't seen each other since September...it seems like so much longer than it actually is. She will be staying through Christmas, and I am ridiculously excited about it! Great shenanigans will ensue.

Blarg.

There is so much to write about, so much to say...the general recounting of everyday life, and the underlying significance of it all. Perhaps too much to cover tonight.

But it never hurt to try.

Stories for next time:
My current relationship situation and how it relates to my faith.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kindred Spirits

There is something deeply comforting in the thought that there are other people whose minds so closely resemble our own. Even hundreds of miles apart and through various modes of communication, the connection to those people is never lessened.
Oh, so many people...so many different people.
For the last couple days, the only subject my brain has really ingested has been--people. Specifically the way they get along with (or don't get along with) one another. For example; I love my coworkers to death--couldn't ask for a better set. But, quite often lately I feel like my sense of humor, my mannerisms, and theirs...don't quite fit together right. We are all able to tolerate and enjoy each other's company, but really won't ever be fast friends or even interact that regularly outside of work. Conversely, a fair share of my jiu jitsu classmates are people I can truly get along with. My sense of humor and mannerisms fit in pretty well there as far as I can tell...
What makes one person compatible with another? How much of a role do fear, pride and self-defense play in dictating what relationships one initiates? If we were all completely honest with one another, what would we have to say about the people we surround ourselves with?

I suppose it is nice every once in awhile to be that friend that people love talking to because they can't relate to anyone as well as they can to you.

Another good day, slightly on the up side of that neutral line. Maybe tomorrow will be worse, maybe better. Either way, I pray for more "revelation".

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Trainwreck...

Lately words have been a massive dilemma for me...I am stuck between wanting to write incredibly eloquent, long passages and only having the desire (and energy) to write concise, choppy paragraphs.
Whatever happens happens. Hopefully something mildly better than mediocre will come out of this...

I told myself I wouldn't, and here I am. In one line...one single line, I paved a vast stretch of my future. There has never been another time when I have so completely grasped the reality of one decision's consequences. Like standing at a fork in the road, and knowing full well what the outcomes of both paths will be...then choosing the one side just for the hell of it. And once it was said, once those first steps were taken, there was no way to undo any of it.

And now, here I am, laying on the floor, bewildered and completely unsurprised that I've ended up in this situation. God have mercy on me for being so stupid...so arrogant...so ridiculously aware and unable to control myself.

If everything falls apart, I can't say I'll be surprised. I weighed the pros and cons painstakingly and with much thought...then promptly threw them out the window and said "to hell with it. I'd rather see this all go up in flames than play out well."

Ha. After the acceptance of the fact I've screwed up again comes the ironic laughter. What can I do but laugh and throw my hands in the air as that train comes barreling down the tracks?

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Simple Post

So...tired...
Too many good things happening all at once.
Despite the impending emotional darkness that is winter, joy still prevails. Despite yesterday's heartrending feelings of being replaced and abandoned, I can still say...things have been well.

The overwhelming joy is almost too much to handle. I haven't felt so full in years. I can only pray that it is not a circumstantial joy, but a substantial joy. One that won't fade when things don't go the way I expect them too.

All I can do is thank God that I have a family who cares, friends who are good to me, and that I have everything I need and more. Thanks, Big Guy.

There is too much to say and my fingers are too excited to type it all. And, as I remembered so recently, the best thing to do...is praise my Father for all the undeserved gifts I have received...

Til next time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rahab

I inhale; short, adrenaline-tinged breaths, heart perched high in my chest and my face a worried mask.
Again, the foretelling of my downfall, the magnetic prediction and inescapable future...I see through the thin veil of the present, surrounded by images of a broken miracle. Bridges burned, misunderstanding budding like wretched weeds in the garden of good intention, ties severed and hearts marred.
My body knows...deep in the sinews and veins of my flesh, it is awake. Well aware of that vicious, silent beast, that livid and hungry giant, dripping with pestilence that calls itself my friend. It whispers to my skin, shadows over me and grasps my jaw, putrid lies snaking through my ears, breathed hot and wet from its lowly growling throat.
Beast, o beast! You tempt me so...make me believe that we are one, that you are I, and I am you, and we are one together.
But you have caused me nothing but pain! You took my friends and turned them into concubines, you took my confidantes and made them lustful pursuers. The damage you wreak is without boundary, and its effects everlasting. How many countless rivers of sweet milk have you turned sour? How many gardens turned to ashes?
Each time you twist my intentions, make me believe that I want more, that what I want is not trust but passion. O evil abomination, be gone from me!
I will be damned if I let you burn my Promised Land! Forty years have I walked in the desert, and forty years have I squandered. Now, finally, to be given a garden!
Were I a weaker being, I would fall to my knees and beg for mercy with clenched fists and a furrowed brow.
But I will not. Cowed, you will weep in a dark corner and hide your face from me! Subdued, you will gnash your teeth and snarl in hollow threat! Broken, you will prefer death to my wrath!

I have risen.

consummatum est.


Monday, November 30, 2009

An Exploration of Passion...

I am amazed...until today, I hadn't fully realized just how jaded I am. I have so far removed myself from everything that I am no longer even connected to myself.
An emotional artery was severed somewhere in the past two years. And just now I realized how devoid of passion and life I have become.

Nothing I say invokes movement in people. No advice I give is really relevant. In some ways, I am so self-absorbed that nothing I do really is of any help to anyone.

When did this happen? I recall being so much more useful at one point...I recall actually providing a service to those around me, and being more concerned about their wellbeing than about my own. This is the way my life still should be.
That ever complex battle between confidence and selflessness rages beneath my skin...and while confidence is winning, selflessness is withering in the dark. This is not the way I wanted it to be.
I never intended to become so detached...

I have not felt true passion in over a year. I have not felt courage or conviction or strength for equally as long. Now everything I do lacks meaning and comes out empty and dry...I feel like a puppet playing myself.

There is nothing in this world worth doing that won't stir the soul to move. Whether it is a move to action or a move to rest, if the soul is not shifting, then something is missing...
My coworker read me some of her spoken word poetry tonight, and for the first time in over a year...I felt that I could be better. I felt PASSION and CONVICTION and importance in my words.
I HAVE A VOICE.

From this point forward I am exercising my emotions and FEELING what it is like to do things again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Your Views of Friendship Concern Me...

Last night I penned a post concerning my aggravation with making friends in a different age bracket. I woke this morning to find two comments that didn't leave me feeling any better about my circumstance. The first went like this, and I quote:

"Everyone is caught up going to work and building or maintaining their relationship with their significant other and taking care of their kids and hobby of their interest. People see no real reason to add more stress and work to there life by trying to facilitate a friendship. It plays no essential role in there life right now. A friendship doesn't pay the bills like a job nor provide companionship like a spouse, it doesn't provide joy like a child does, and it doesn't captivate our interest like our hobbys do.

So you might ask what good does a friendship do?

I think a friendship might simply be a barometer for our culture as a whole showing how much we care about ourselves and how little we care about others. How selfish and materialistic we are as a culture. How many people sacrifice a friendship even with their spouse and kids to live in the house "they want" and drive the car "they want" and do the hobbies "they want." When you find yourself alone at 65 with no job to keep you busy and pay the bills. What are you going to do then?"

Wow. If this was supposed to cheer me up in any way, it didn't. In fact, it just brought up a lot more questions about friendship. Whoever the anonymous author of this comment is, he/she has some good points on friendship.
No, a friendship doesn't pay the bills.
No, a friendship doesn't provide intimate companionship
and
No, a friendship doesn't provide that same level of joy a child does.

But all that being said...

Why can't a friendship be as captivating as our hobbies?
Is a friendship really more "stress and work" added to one's life?
Should a friendship have to be "facilitated", like forced labor?
How can friendship not hold a place of importance in someone's life?

A friendship is as much of a hobby as any other hobby we possess. Friends are interesting, fun individuals that we like to do things with. They offer us something, and we in return offer them some attraction,  and form a symbiotic relationship. Because friendship doesn't work unless there is output from both sides.
Friendship shouldn't be a job, either. It shouldn't be considered something that adds more work and stress to our lives. If a friendship is adding stress to your life, odds are, you're doing it wrong. And it shouldn't need to be "facilitated" either. The connotations of that word are so...official and stoic. Friendships can be nurtured, but they should not be "facilitated".
Everyone needs friends. Whether or not they are aware of it, everyone needs people they can relate too, people they can laugh with, and people they feel loved by. It is a basic human function to love and want to be loved in return.

And while our society is incredibly materialistic, I refuse to believe that every last one of us would sacrifice friendship for money, status, and personal gain. It makes me sad to know that there are people in this world who would actually do something like that...
It is hard for me to grasp how those things could ever be more important than a personal relationship with someone.

So what will I be doing if I find myself alone at 65 with no job and bills to pay?
I'll have friends, that's what.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Growing Tired of the Age Gap...

I have somehow managed to throw myself into a world that is not accustomed to people like me. People of my age, more particularly. When in high school, one dwells in a sphere of adolescence, surrounded by people of the same age and therefore the same sphere. Next, one heads to college and is immersed again in an atmosphere of similarly aged folks. And then, somewhere around the age of 23, the individuals are released upon the world to mingle and proceed as they wish.
I seem to have skipped a step.
Or at least have done things a little backward...
In anticipation for college, I've found a place to live and a job to work at, places to hang out with and 'friends' of sorts. All of this is fine and well...except the people I find myself interacting with are all from that final sphere--the group that finished college and began life in the "real world". Which means they are all at least in their early twenties...while I sit here, a mere 18. 18 sounds so little when compared to a 37 or a 33...or even a 22!
I find that more so than the age itself, it is the privileges that accompany the age which make the relationship awkward. Anyone 21 and older has the right to drink legally. And while I don't drink anyway, and wouldn't even if I were of age, it simply makes things weird in both camps when anything related to the issue comes up...
All I want are friends. Ballard BJJ has given me the chance to meet so many wonderful people that I would love to call 'friend'. But I don't know if I can call anyone 'friend' that I don't see off the mat. Which is all of them. A friend is someone who enjoys your company and vice versa, and therefore makes an effort to actually spend time with you.
But everyone there already has friends...they already have established lives and things to do and places to go. They have LIVES. I would like to think I have one of those, too...but who knows. So far, its only just being born.
I am only just being born.

Only time will tell...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Regardless of Intention...

I was reminded today, via a sore throat and the signs of inevitable sickness, that regardless of my intentions, the day would carry on as it was meant to.
Last night I was foolish enough to buy a pair of four gauge earrings. I have been wanting to stretch my piercings to a four gauge for a couple months now, and so I was excited to finally be able to afford the earrings. However, upon returning home, I remembered that stretching a piercing hurts and then remembered that I have jiu jitsu today. Put two and two together, and it doesn't make sense to stretch a piercing and then roll around on a mat with people constantly touching your head.
So I told myself, "I'll wait until Friday, when I won't have jiu jitsu for four days,"
And I was doing really well. The blue glass spirals lay next to my computer all night, begging me to put them in, but I resisted their temptation. Self-control is a new found skill for me, and so I was proud to show it off...even if only to myself.

But alas...I woke up this morning with a dry, sickly throat, feeling like I am made of more like ninety percent water rather than seventy.
So much for self-control...regardless of the intentions I had, life has changed without my permission.

I suppose I wanted to use this story to illustrate something larger...things will happen the way God intends them to. The means of getting there may not be the best way for it to happen, but the end will always be achieved. For God uses the folly of man and his evil intentions to form good things in his people.
So, in spite of my plans, God has chosen to move in a different way. Hallelujah! It is so nice knowing that I am not my own...He does a much job of taking care of me than I do with myself...like a toddler trying to look after himself, it just doesn't work.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Drifting...

To preface this newest post, I would like to say that a wave of revelations and resurfacing "knowledge" has hit my brain.
Although there is never a time when I am not philosophizing, now seems to be particularly saturated with heavy thoughts. Thoughts of knowledge, friendship, and helplessness...solitude, isolation, and defense mechanisms.

Jesus has taught me quite a bit. He has made me into a mature(ish) child of sorts, one who understands some things, but also lives the importance of being a little kid. Most of the petty problems I spawned in my younger years are no longer issues to me. Things like men, self-esteem, and responsibility. While, of course, I still mess up (quite regularly, I might add) and play moral hopscotch in reverse, things are much more in perspective now than they were three years ago.
The book of Ecclesiastes says that for all things there is a season. All things happen for a reason, and all things happen in God's time. A colossal lesson. All my anxiety over waiting and being frustrated with whatever my situation may be has ceased.
Worrying never adds a single hour to a man's life. I don't worry anymore, because I know I don't have to. It would take more energy to worry than to simply give up the things I cannot change and leave them in my Father's hands.
Man...having God around makes things so much simpler.

I know that I know nothing...but sometimes, I can't help but feel that I've caught on a little faster in certain paramount areas of life than others have; I've learned things that seem so simple to me, that others have yet to figure out.
And all I want is to be able to tell them the answer. I want to see them learn and understand what life is about...

But most people don't like my answer.

Because my answer is Jesus.

Without him, the world makes a whole lot less sense.
And I can't help but feel utterly and completely distressed at this point...I want people to understand that when the name "Jesus" passes my lips, it is not a religious plug or a sales pitch. It is my genuine answer to all the problems you will ever face and have faced. I can't tell you to go find a self help book, or do yoga, or drink tea. Because those things never really fixed anything. I can only tell you that Jesus, if taken to heart, and really loved and understood will fix every broken part of your spirit.
It crushes me to keep my mouth shut when I hear the problems people bring to me. I know that if I say "Jesus" they will turn away from me, close their mouth, and stop coming to me for help. But if I say the things they want to hear me say, if I tell them to get the self help books, do the yoga, and drink the tea, then they listen and continue to entrust my ears with their problems.

It is better for me to deliver one solid truth and burn a bridge, than to feed a friendship with inane pandering.


Because I would rather see you angry at me, and have one real piece of advice, than to walk away with a bunch of garbage feelgood that maintain the status quo of your self destruction.

Who knows...I don't...maybe my thoughts will make more sense in a couple of days.
Til then, remember that the world is not as serious as you might think. Laugh, and respect the life around you.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seattle, Birthplace of Men Who Wear Sweatshirts Under Blazers...

As I sat at the table with my eggnog yerba mate latte and a piece of vanilla cranberry bread after clocking out, I did a bit of people watching. Coffee shops are ever the most enticing places to people watch. Sitting, leaned over a small round table, the heat from the coffee seeping through a paper cup to warm your hands; the mind cannot help but wander. And wander it does, sedated to the point of acute complacency, where the only things it computes are the actions of the people around you.
The man at the table in front of me is writing a novel; I read the Microsoft Document containing his work over his shoulder. He will never know that I have seen his novel.
The man from the ASPCA across the street is cheerfully chatting up the passersby, hoping to get a petition of some sort signed.
The guy running the ClearWire internet booth outside the store is packing up his table in preparation for the coming rain.

Tens of other people sit packed into this Tully's all deeply engrossed in their individual delusions of ownership, which are in turn rooted in the actions of the other people in that same atmosphere. To each and every one of us in there, the Tully's was our own space, where each one of us was king for the time being.

The simplicity of sitting...sitting and taking in, not putting anything out. Just absorbing everything that's going on in a passive, neutral way.
It is surprising, the surge of inspiration that arises from such times. My head hasn't entirely figured out what to do with this new found energy, but I am glad for the fresh air.
My mind was growing a little stale.


Ahhh, yes. Men who wear sweatshirts under blazers. I remember having a conversation with my father lately about how certain fashions one sees in other cities originated here. I couldn't quite place my finger on what the style I was referring to is called, and still don't know if there is a proper name. Today, as I sat in the Tully's, absorbing and doing a bit of simple thinking, I saw a man begin to cross the crosswalk who was wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with white drawstrings underneath a grey blazer, complete with tightish brown cords and the doublestriped sneakers. To top it all off, the man had a beard.
Viola.
The epitome of the style born of Seattle. It would have been perfect had he been listening to his iPod, carrying a cup of coffee, and toting a messenger bag. Whatever the name for this style, I found it amusing. I rather like it, I must say, but I found my mind thinking quite a bit about the connotations and undertones of this particular statement of dress.
All fashions have something they want to say. I mean "fashion" as a broad umbrella term meaning the things that one wears. I would hardly consider myself a "fashionable" type in the ordinary sense of the word. But the things I wear definitely speak of my character, and so the same is true for a whole genre of style.

So I find myself wondering tonight...what is it about this style that is so inviting? So lovable, like that scrawny kid with glasses playing his heart out on a basketball court in big, thick-rimmed glasses, converse, and a sweatband. What is it?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nightbeast...

I am very much a creature of the night. Most of my writing happens in the small bracket of time after the sun has set and before it rises again. I have come to think that the lack of light eliminates distraction and allows my mind to focus purely on imaginative things. That, or it is simply the time of night when I am most out of my mind.
Tonight, I think about the work that lies ahead of me. Work in the most immediate and regular sense (improving my barista skills) and work in the metaphorical sense (what to do with the mountain of stale pastries sitting on my counter).
All things in due time, I suppose. Before I get ahead of myself and start spouting off things I wish I could be doing with my life right now, I will bite my tongue and take a deep breath. Patience is rewarded...patience can go a long way. God willing, in the near future I will be feeding the homeless, building relationships with them, and loving them. God willing, I will do the same for all others I meet on the street. This little district of Ballard is quickly establishing a fond place in the center of my life.

The Good Lord continues to bless me for reasons unknown to me, but either way, I thank Him endlessly for those blessings. What a life this is becoming...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

50 Days In...

The realization has finally dawned on me that I pay rent. I live in a place, far from home, go to work, make money, and pay for everything I do. Isn't this what adults do? Isn't this the kind of thing we see people do, but never really expect to be doing ourselves?
When I say 'we' and 'ourselves' I mean children.
The transition from...what shall we call it? I cannot call it 'young' to 'old' because that transition is many years in the future. 'Young' to 'old' is the physical aging of the body, which is inevitable and slowly approaching. I cannot call it 'childhood' to 'adulthood' either, because I will always be a child. The world gives very poor written definitions for the word 'adult'. An adult is someone who has forgotten what it is like to see the world with the eyes of simplicity, purity, and adventure. A child experiences these things in a way so foreign and intense that it is unlike anything we know. And it is astounding that we were all children at one point. I speak of children as though they are within themselves a different species. In many ways, they are. Yet, it is as if we are born more capable and adept beings but undergo a process of devolution to end up as more internally complex, confused mammals. Watching children play and learn and live and breath is more edifying than any lecture and more enriching than any scholarly text. Whether or not it is a conscious recognition, people are drawn to and intimidated by children because of their unwitting mental and spiritual freedom.
Somewhere along the way we start to, as they say, "grow up" and forget what it is like to operate with such pure and harmless intention. How it is that we forget so completely the ways and rituals of childhood is beyond me. Yet somewhere lodged deep in the cockles of the soul are the tiny remnants of childhood, waiting to be uncovered and looked upon with warm fondness. Sadly, these occasions are too few and often overlooked.
Society has for thousands of years built itself upon the backs of adults, and the tradition continues to this present day. Even those of us who would rather die than live the life of a proper adult are forced into the yoke of mediocrity, ever struggling to maintain some form of identity and simplicity in the self-induced chaos of the modern world.
The thought of a world where one must have a credit card, debit card, and gift cards, borrowing money against themselves in order to live a proper life makes me ill and outraged. I refuse to believe that the world and its people cannot be better than this. It must still be possible to lead a simple and happy life without being a hermit in one of the few undiscovered corners of the earth.

Which leads me again to this transition...this transition from...'immature' to 'mature'? No, maturity is a state of mind. Maturity is a checklist of socially acceptable behaviors that place one in a supposed higher echelon than those who do not abide by "the checklist". Nonsense. I am still immature, as well.
This transition from 'then' to 'now' we shall call it. I was still thinking in 'then' for the past fifty days which I have spent in Seattle. Although I still feel that there is much to be realized, this has been but the first real grasping of a whole new life.
To realize that I pay rent is monumental. I have paid rent for two months. But only now am I realizing the weight that those three words, "I. Pay. Rent." really carry.
I am more entertained than anything else. It is not negative, nor is it particularly positive...simply a new angle on a subject covered many times over.
When I was a child and heard the word "rent", I thought nothing of it. When I was a whippersnapper and heard the word "rent", I thought money; no big deal. When I was a young teenager and heard the word "rent", I thought work for money for a place to live; interesting. When I was a bit of an older teenager just months ago and heard the word "rent", I panicked and thought nervously about the days to come when I too would have to shell out hundreds of my hard earned dollars to live and sleep under a roof that was somehow "mine". The subject has been covered many times over many years, but with each new experience, a new light dawns on it. This new realization is but another bulb added to the already illuminating light show.

Rent.

I am a young, immature child who pays rent for a space to built a fort. What does one do with a place that so intensely reeks of adulthood? Why, build a fort in it of course. After all, that is what children do to escape the terrors of their mind...build a safe place.

It still works.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Introspection...

There is a time and a season for all things...now is the time for quiet introspection. To speak would only weaken my focus and introduce unnecessary distraction. My roommate may feel snubbed, or hurt by my coldness, but I can't care right now. Perhaps later I will explain. Perhaps not.
After all, it is not my responsibility to apologize and rationalize or even edify others to the motivation for my antics.
But I digress...
Introspection...there is nothing like a shower, taken in the warm darkness of a steamy bathroom. The lack of optic stimulation leaves much of the brain free for lofty and otherwise interesting thoughts.

It is a sad thing when the opportunity for thinking fades. Fatigue mixed with the noise of a Hunter S. Thompson biography being played too loud makes it difficult to think. Initially, I had planned to write about the meaning of things, childhood, purpose, and all kinds of wonderful things. Perhaps I am being to trite.

When the season for solemn thought is not yet upon me, it is very difficult to produce sincere creations. Because the only good writing is writing that does not have oneself in mind; one must be completely separated from self-interest and thoughts of achievement to produce anything of real worth. Writing with the aforementioned qualities is good for a cheap laugh or a quick thought, but the real works of genius are produced by those who thought, thought, and thought some more without any intention for personal gain of wealth or recognition. Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, Soren Kierkegaard, Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth...all men and women of genius who wrote for the novelty of thought and internal discovery, not personal gain.

And while I would in no way equate myself to them, I would hope to employ some of those tactics to my own writing. While it naturally happens in the appropriate season, it is scarce when my soul is not in winter. Spring and Summer produce the lighter, less dense writings. Fall and Winter bring heavier and darker productions.

Ack. The time gets to me. Sleep.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

On Being the "New Person"...

Being the new person sucks. Flat out. No one ever likes being the new person. And with good reason. Every time you have to start a new job, you end up at the very bottom of the totem pole with the least amount of skill and the largest amount of screw ups. What better than this for a person with no self-esteem or confidence?

I am honestly surprised I even have a job at this point...I started off the day by being late. Scott scheduled my first training shift for 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Four hours, not a big deal. I set my alarm clock the night before for 6:45 a.m. so I would have plenty of time to get ready in the morning. I go to sleep for a bit and wake up to the sound of my roommate crashing into everything in the apartment after what I can only assume was a huge party. He's incredibly drunk. The time is 4:35 a.m. "I have to wake up in two hours. I could just get up now...but no, that would be over kill. I don't need four hours to get ready. I'll just go back to sleep for another two hours."
I open my eyes. Haven't heard the alarm clock. Sit up, look at the LCD, and do nothing for thirty long seconds. As I sit there, barely cognizant, my heart begins to race and I can feel the blood rising in my chest.

11:30 a.m.

I am in utter disbelief that the time is actually 11:30 a.m. Wasn't I supposed to be at work at 8:00 a.m.? I desperately throw myself out from under the covers, checking every other clock in the house, praying that they will have something different to say.
Maybe my clock died and reset the time! Maybe there was a power outage! Maybe its just WRONG!

Nope. It's 11:30. And I'm officially an ass.

I swear to you, I am the most irrational person I have ever met. What would be common sense to most, is anything but for me.

COMMON SENSE DICTATES:
Call your manager and explain the situation. This is the best thing to do.

IRRATIONALITY DICTATES:
Don't call anyone. Sit in your apartment all day and just go in tomorrow. You can come up with some crazy story later to explain why you didn't show up on your first day of training. Yes...this will work.

Rita honestly contemplates Option 2 a great deal more than she considers Option 1. Thank God she went with Option 1. I call my manager, muster up the most apologetic voice I can; not because I am not sorry and don't sound sorry, but because my voice is so hopelessly monotone that most people cannot tell whether or not I am actually being sincere.
Much to my surprise, my manager tells me its okay. Its okay? Its OKAY?! Who says that to an employee they just hired? This has to be the crappiest first impression ever, and he's telling me that its NOT A PROBLEM?!
I don't believe him. Nothing he says during the day will convince me otherwise. Secretly, he thinks he's made a mistake in hiring me and really wishes he had gone with one of the other two candidates. No one could possibly have screwed this up as bad as me.

So I show up at 12:30 p.m., as ready as I will ever be to start my first training shift. The manager immediately puts me to work on the register, an archaic temperamental piece of equipment that has not been updated since 1992. Regardless, I manage to take FOREVER on just about every transaction thrown my way.
Biggest mistake of the day: Forgetting to get pastries for everyone who bought a pastry. Every single time. Someone else had to get them for me because I was so nervous I totally spaced it.

Suffice to say, after this long diatribe, I am scarred, mentally and emotionally damaged, depressed, and utterly self-loathing. Getting out of bed tomorrow may be a very difficult task.
Suddenly remembering that you are a complete and total waste of space with no skills or talents to offer the world is not pleasant. I should have seen it coming though...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Call Me the Chambermaid, Candy Lady, Anything You Like...

Of all the holidays to restore my faith in humanity, I would not have expected Halloween to be it.

Being from a small town, I had expected droves of children to show up at my door in their varied but wonderful costumes, greeted by the chorus of "trick or treat" every time I opened my door. After sitting at my house for a bit, looking outside occasionally to see if anyone was around, I decided that no one was coming. My first lesson on holidays in the city: Halloween is not the same as it is in small towns. People go to the malls for candy, not to people's houses.

So I grabbed my pot of candy and paraded out the door, determined to find people who wanted candy. At first my goal was to find children who were trick-or-treating, and give them the candy. But I realized quickly that I wasn't going to find many of them. I went down to NW Market St. and, with pot of candy on my head, walked around, hoping that people would want candy. Several people asked me what was in the pot, and it was these people that I tried to give candy to.
Most of these attempts ended in really bad pick-up lines, sexual innuendo, and me getting hit on.
I was a tad bit discouraged at this point.
But, determined to bring candy to Seattle's candiless, I marched back to the apartment and printed out a sign that looked something like this:

 
I first came across two teenagers dressed up and trick-or-treating. They were surprised and shocked that I was giving out candy, but I believe pleasantly so.

With hope restored, I marched down to uncharted and dangerous waters to begin my candy giving escapade.

Left and right people were smiling. When they read my sign and walked shyly by, they would smile and giggle, or openly laugh. When I asked if they wanted candy, most people accepted pleasantly. As if people's reactions were not encouragement enough, it was even more wonderful to see people that had seen me several times before.

"Okay, I've seen you walk by three times already. I just have to ask: what are you doing?"
"I'm giving out candy. Would you like some?" I said, lifting the pot down from my head.
They laugh merrily. "What made you want to do that?"
"Well, most of us don't trick-or-treat anymore; there has to be some way for us to get candy!"
Another hearty laugh as they pick some Smarties out of the pot.

If people were too afraid to ask, I would simply insist that they take some.

So many people were encouraging and sweet and happy. I am amazed that all the people who I thought might be too full of themselves to accept my offer showed themselves as real and personable humans.

Several people who saw me multiple times would encourage me every time I walked by with words like, "This is such an awesome thing, keep it up sweetheart!" or "I love what you're doing!". For anyone to step outside of their comfort zone, say something like that, and be inspired, is enough for me.

I went home; the people of NW Ballard St. had cleaned me out. Instead of going home with a bag full of candy, I returned empty handed and happier than I had expected myself to be.

The night was a total success.

There are so many individual stories to tell about Halloween night, that I can't even fit them all in here (for fear that I may bore you all to death).

Suffice to say, Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Adventures of a Silly Girl in a Room Full of Men...

Since that first day of walking into Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu, which was only five short days ago, a lot has developed.
Before, I watched timidly from the sidelines, enamored with the sport and the skill of the men and women who did it.
Now, I am able to walk into the room, receive warm smiles and handshakes from all the men whose names I accidentally forget, and have a go at it myself.
It already feels like the third branch of my Seattle family. I can't thank God enough for bringing me to such amazing people. A little love and respect goes a lot farther than I previously imagined it could.

I am amazed at what rolling around on a mat with a bunch of dudes can do for my physical and mental state.

I arrived to class yesterday completely stressed out and teetering on the verge of depression. I had had my interview with QFC and the situation was the same as last time; show up, sit in a line of equally nervous candidates, try hard to ignore one another as the thickness of competition in the air killed any urge for conversation, and wait to be called up those stairs to that table. The woman who called me back for my second interview told me that I should bring my social security card, just in case I passed the second interview. If I did, I would move on to a third and meet with the store manager, then take a drug test, and if they liked me, I would be hired. Having had this information when I went to the interview, I was a little distraught after being told they "would call me in a couple days". I left the building flustered and wanting to collapse on the sidewalk like a small child refusing to go to day care.


I just want to work!


Thankfully, I had an appointment with a photographer who has employed my limited services to construct a website of sorts and upload her photos to it. She's paying me twenty dollars an hour to what? To upload photos. Yes. So yesterday I did make a little money. Two hundred and fifty dollars for a good twelve and a half hours of work.
For once, getting stuck in traffic was a good thing. I had nowhere to be for the next three hours, and so while stuck in the terrible Microsoft traffic on the 520, blasted Meshuggah from my little truck's speakers for all my neighbors to enjoy. Frankly, I didn't care if they didn't like it. I did.

Still feeling hopeless and completely discouraged, I folded up my gi and headed to class.

Aaaaah, what better way to spend the next two and a half hours than putting men in armbars and getting choked? Its surprisingly more fun and less S&M than you'd think.

I have recovered (mostly) from the mental chaos of yesterday, and once again push forward in my search for a job. In about an hour, I have yet another interview with the manager of Tully's Coffee for a possible part-time position.

God willing, this is it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Return...

So after a brief trip to Irrationaland, I am back; returned from a swirling, melodramatic performance of panic.
I have removed the magnifying coke-bottle glasses of absurdity and returned to a balanced state...as is natural for us Libras.

...take a deep breath, close my eyes, relax my shoulders and let my arms fall limp to my sides. Oh, how easy it is to deprogram after a day of stressful dealings. It will never cease to amaze me how five minutes of solitude can heal the wounds of a busy soul.

Today was my first day of work with the professional photographer. We met at my cousin's house, as she is the mutual friend, and began laying out a plan for her website. Thank goodness my cousin was there, because if there is one thing I cannot do, it is plan. For most of our meeting I sat between the two, swiveling my head from right to left as they talked over me. On occasion I was consulted for input, and, of course, taken completely by surprise, could not manage to utter anything that didn't begin with "uuuummm...yes."
However, things are now well on their way and I am free for the next three days to do my work without social interaction. Yay!

Once the meeting was finished, I sat on the floor with my cousin and her husband and talked about rugs. For about an hour. Along with being continually amazed at the resilience of the human spirit, I am also amazed by the time I spend at my cousin's house talking about things like rugs. Who knew rugs were so complex? Or that I cared so much about them?

When I returned to the domicile it was a mad dash to get my resume, application, and cover letter ready in time to catch the manager at Tully's.
Once again, Panic and Indecision teamed up and did a marvelous job running around inside my skull, shouting completely ridiculous, confusing things.

"Crap! This application is like seven pages long? Do you think he'll even read it? I mean, it is the application after all, so he kinda has to read it...but what if he doesn't? Maybe he'll get bored half way through the application for his own store and then there will be no hope for me! But it was the only thing I could do! I mean, I wasn't going to fill out this application and just let it float around in cyberspace for all eternity!
Maybe he won't get to the back of the packet...which would suck, because that's where my resume is. And that's the most important part!
Okay...I signed the cover letter...
Now how do I keep everything together in one neat, tidy bundle?
Staples?
Clips?
I don't have clips.
Okay, no clips.
Staples?
Staples.
One staple or two staples? Are staples unprofessional? Great Odin's Raven this is ridiculous!"

And thus Panic and Indecision ran rampant through the tunnels of my brain, screaming and waving their arms like wild crazed men.
Yet, in some strange way, the chaos they created inward manifested itself outward as increased productivity.
Figure that one out.

Panic + Indecision = Increased Productivity

Doesn't make sense to me either.

So the application is in. I need to stop by tomorrow to ask Scott if he read that accursed book, and hope that he remembers my face when I introduce myself.
And then proceed to bug the crap out of him for every day after that.

My eyes are upturned on this one.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Trip to Irrationalland...

If there has at all been a day when I have felt completely hopeless here in Seattle, this is it...
In spite of my efforts to ignore my reality, it still manages to grind away at me. There is nothing short of a miracle that will get me the money I need to make rent. Unless I miraculously get a job that pays $10/hr and I work at least 28 hours in the coming week, I will not be able to pay my rent.
And my roommate will be pissed.
And I will look like an ars.
And the feeling of failure that is ever present in my life will once again have reason to mock me.

Things sounds so great. Really, I have nothing to complain about. My God is gracious, and provides me with so much. Only...I find it hard to trust Him with finding me a job. I want nothing more than to just say, "Here you go, Big Guy. I know you'll find me work." and then really believe the words coming out of my mouth. But sadly...its a lot harder to say it and mean it. Especially when the future of whether or not I have a place to live is in jeopardy.

Its discouraging when everywhere I go, I am just a little too late.
If I could recount every excuse for why businesses aren't hiring that I have heard in the last few weeks, I would have nearly a full page of BS.

I am almost to the point of begging. Getting down on my knees and begging for a job, any job...because, for as little self esteem as I have, I know that I could do a job well, I know that I would be a good addition to someone's pay roll.

If only they would hire me. Give me a chance.

Hopefully tomorrow Steve will call me with good news. Maybe Parsons is right...maybe Steve can become the first member of my "special sphere of influence", as I have dubbed it.

Or maybe not. Maybe the next thing you'll hear of me is that I'm going to a homeless shelter and will be eating my next meal out of the garbage. Maybe you won't hear anything because I'm selling my computer for the rent money.

Or maybe I'm just a little too melodramatic and need to calm down.

A Visit to BJJ Heaven...

Its close to one o'clock in the morning and I'm sitting at my computer, waiting for my roommate, who has the only key to the laundry room, to get home so I can wash my massive heap of laundry.
I've never found it so hard to waste time on the internet. No one ever has a problem figuring out how to kill time with the internet. But, the one time I actually want to go to bed before three in the morning, my roommate is nowhere to be found and I'm having trouble finding ways to do nothing.
In hopes that I might get something important done, I click open another tab on Firefox and type in the url to my new found love: http://www.ballardbjj.com.
I need to send an email to Micah, the man who runs Ballard BJJ.
Hello Micah,

I was walking down NW Market St. the other day on my way to the grocery store, and out of the corner of my eye I caught a sign that said something about "BJJ" on it. Over the last couple of years I have become a rather large enthusiast of the UFC and so the term BJJ was not unfamiliar to me.
I recently (as in under a month ago) moved to Seattle/Ballard and one of my primary goals has been to find an MMA gym to train at or to at least somehow get involved with the martial arts.
I did a double-take at the sign, surprised that someone was teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Ballard. In all my research of the area, it hadn't come up. Looking around, I tried to figure out what building it was on the second floor of (not yet knowing what the Firehouse was), but couldn't seem to locate anything. I went home, Googled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Ballard, and was discouraged by what I can now say was misleading information. I thought the place had closed, and so I thought the sign had been misplaced.
However, upon further investigation, I found your website and figured, "they must not be closed if they have such a well-maintained website..."
I stopped by today around 1:30p.m. today to see if anyone could answer my questions and/or show me around the facility. But no one was around.

In short, I wanted to see if there was a good time for me to come by and visit/find out some more about what you offer.

I look forward to hearing back from you,
Rita

This ridiculous and unnecessarily long-winded email was what my night time delirium produced. I felt like apologizing when I spoke with him later.

Now, I had this preconception that when I walked through the door, there would be a front desk with a receptionist who would tell me everything I needed to know.

Nope.

I pulled open the door to find a room the size of a small one bedroom apartment, the majority of its floorspace taken up by a raised blue gym mat. The rest of the floor (which wasn't much) had a futon/couch combo, some cubbies, a fridge, and a small display case.

At this point, I almost chickened out and left. There were groups of people sparring on the mat right in front of my feet and I felt like a total idiot for even being there. 98% of the humans in the room were male...there were a total of three women, two of whom were new as of that day and weren't even sure if they wanted to join the class. At this point, I'm so horrifically paralyzed by intimidation that I can barely walk through the door and over to the empty part of the floor.
This room is too small for me to go completely unnoticed. My brain sees its chance to strike:
"Its only a matter of time before someone sees me standing stiffly in the corner like an awkward kid at the school dance and introduces themself. Maybe if I just stand farther back in the corner...No, wait, there are people back there too. Dammit. Maybe if I stand closer to the wall...Oh crap, crap, crap! Here comes that one guy! What's his name?! I saw his picture on the website--"

"Hello" An outstretched hand reaches out towards me.

"Hi..." brief silence, not long enough to be considered awkward. Smile. "Rita. I sent you an email yesterday about coming and checking the place out."

"Yes, hi. Micah, nice to meet you."

And we're off! Phew! That wasn't terrible. His short response to my lengthy email had lead me to believe he was either really serious all the time, or was just lazy and didn't want to respond in an equally lengthy post on his Blackberry. Thank goodness my suspicions of the first had been denied.
He offered me a gi, told me I could take off my shoes and get comfortable, and was off to mingle with his students. A very mild man, gentle, and personable.
"I could get along with him."

I immediately begin taking off my shoes, being the barefoot child that I am.

At this point, I can't help but be totally giddy. The atmosphere, the people, the energy...are perfect. Its everything I was looking for in a training facility.

A man speaks from behind me, though I don't know he's speaking to me.

"What's you're name?" I ignore him, not wanting to be pretentious enough to think he's talking to me.

"Excuse m--"

"Me? Rita" I reply, realizing that yes, he is talking to me. He points to his ear, letting me know that he can't hear me. "Duh..." I think, realizing that there is no way he could have heard me whispering my name from ten feet away. I get up and move closer, extending my hand for the handshake.

"Rita," I say again, this time so he can hear.

"Ian. Nice to meet you. Who are you here watching?"

"No one--" he cuts me off before I can explain any more.

"So you aren't here with anyone?"

I laugh. What else am I supposed to do? Who asks that kind of question in the first ten seconds after an introduction?

"No, I'm not--" Cut off. Again.

"So what brings you here, then?"

Finally. A chance to answer," I'm actually interested in starting training here, so I figured I would come by and check the place out."

A little bit more useless chit chat, and I learn some interesting things about the place.
Several others come over and introduce themselves, are introduced by others, and by the end of my first ten minutes in the room, I've met almost half the people in it. And they're all amazing!

Several minutes later, everyone is doing warm ups and Ian is teaching the two new girls how to go from side control to a full mount. I had no idea Ian was an instructor.
I'm fascinated by the techniques he is teaching the two women, fascinated by how quickly  they learn, fascinated by the whole thing.

I'm completely sold.


As soon as I can find a job, I'm paying my $65 a month for unlimited training at Ballard BJJ.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Interview with Incompetence

It didn't hit me just how incapable I am until I was sitting in the waiting area, reading a list of dress code materials, and unwrapping my pen  from a plastic shell like a straw.
There were three cheap, black fold-out chairs lined against the wall. Me and another man sat on the ends, ignoring each other entirely, both pretending to be deeply engrossed in the lame, official packet we had been handed; essentially a list of things I wasn't allowed to do.


My heart sank a little.


I had somehow imagined that applying for this job, getting this job, and working at this job would be more fun than this. Ha. The longer I sat in that chair, the harder it was to maintain my delusions.


Dress Code:
No jeans
"Dammit..."
No shirts exposing mid-riff or deep necklines
"Cleavage? Check. Dammit..."
No frayed or worn out clothing
"Frayed Xenophobes patch chillin' dead center on my right leg. Dammit..." 
No colored or printed undergarments that would show through a white piece of clothing. 
"Oh, if they could only SEE the underwear I chose to wear today. Lime. Green. Lacies. Dammit..." 
No extreme stretching of ear piercings...
"Crap! What do they define "extreme" as?"
...Up to 5/8"
"Rita- 1, QFC- 4"


Sitting cross-legged, cold and nervous, I couldn't help but think things weren't going to go very well. Men in crisp suits were sitting next to me, briefcases perched officially by their chairs, polished shoes laughing at my well-loved Converse.
Of course, my mind didn't have time between irrational thoughts to calm me down and prepare me for the coming interview.
"Should I button up one more button on my shirt? I can't do that...if I do that in plain sight, everyone will know why I'm doing it. Then it will be obvious that I'm completely unprepared. And if they see I'm completely unprepared, there's no way I'll land a job...and my socks! I can't hide these bright green knee-high tube socks I'm wearing under my Converse. Bad choice...bad choice. Why did I choose these socks? I can't hide my Xenophobes path either. Crap! Those people at the table who handed me this paper must think I'm a complete twit..." 
Well done, brain. You've managed to turn a manageable thing into something unsurvivable.


Finally, the woman comes down to get me. We head up a small set of stairs into a room with three other tables, spread out, where various men are interviewing, their ridiculous black business socks the only thing I can focus on. The room feels like its falling over. Even my interviewer can't help but comment on the lopsidedness of the floor. "Awesome. Interviews with permanent vertigo," she jokes. I laugh.


First question.


"So what made you want to apply to QFC?"
Thankfully, We The People has trained me for this. Answer quickly, even if you're talking out your ars. Sound confident, they'll believe you even if you're wrong.

Meanwhile, my brain is backseat driving, "What the hell?! Why weren't you prepared for this question? You should have at least prepared SOME kind of answer while you were sitting at home eating toast. This question was inevitable. You're retarded..."


Round Two.


"Give an example of some time that you gave outstanding customer service."
Of course, the first example I come up with is the coffee example. That example sucks. The words coming out of my mouth sounded okay in all reality, but my ears are hearing them as, "One time, I made coffee for a lady, and the lady was like "this is better than Starbucks!" and she was happy and stuff." Oh, good job. Its your command of the English language that impresses me most, really.
Worst. Example. Ever.
Thankfully, I recovered from this one with a fantastic example of fixing a woman's messed up membership at the athletic club. I think she liked that one.


Curve ball.


"What qualities do you possess that would separate you from the other candidates?"
"Well, ma'am, if you have to know, I'm completely unqualified in any way, shape, or form and would in no way be a benefit to your establishment. In fact, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to take a moment to bash my head into the nearest wall and answer the rest of these questions when I recover from temporary comatose."
"I am incredibly flexible, enjoy working with people (LIE), and am always willing to do whatever my co-workers or customers require of me to ensure the best possible experience and work environment. I am personable, friendly, and really love putting in the extra effort to help others."
Please kill me now.


Somewhere around four more questions that I don't remember, another section to read in some job description booklet, a lecture on the six month learning curve for night crew, and eventually being told they would look to get me into a Starbucks. And that full time as a Checker was really hard to get. 
Stand up.
Shake her hand.
Thanked for my time.

Leave.



And yet, somehow, I'm still actually hoping they contact me within the next week for a position. Ha.


Regardless. I can finally go check out the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu place down the street and make a fool of myself there, too.





Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brain Exiting Skull...

Ugh, I'm not gonna lie, my brain feels like its going to fall out of my skull right now. Waking up at 10:45 this morning was the hardest thing I've done in the last month. Remind me not to come home at one o'clock in the morning and make "dinner" for myself. Bad idea.
But after hitting snooze six times, I'm finally up, still yawning, and ready to go to lunch. Need a glass of water. Need to do my hair. Need to "put my face on" as the good friend who called me five minutes ago said. Need to put the icing on the cake...no, literally. I really do need to ice a cake.


But pardon me. I'm distracted.
Over the last few days, I had several ideas to blog about, but none of them came to fruition. One of them involved sidewalk chalk. The other involved the run I took at 2:30 in the morning two days ago. Sadly, I cannot write about sidewalk chalk because I have not yet been able to find any. Apparently Seattle doesn't need sidewalk chalk. Which is crap. And I simply just haven't gotten around to writing about the run yet...which will happen in the next few days, I guarantee it. Not that its of any great consequence to you.


So I'll shut up now.
Enjoy the rest of your day everyone.
You'll most likely be bothered by me again this evening.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ready...Set...Sleep In


Sometimes there is so much to write about that I never actually get around to writing anything at all. And sometimes it just takes reading another person's blog to get back into the swing of things.


Again, I woke up at noon. In some ways, its a very disappointing way to start the day; getting out of bed with the knowledge that half my day is already gone and the rest of the world has been awake for hours. When I went to Starbucks and the woman behind the counter said, "Enjoy the rest of your evening," I was more than a little confused. Until I remembered that my "long day" had consisted of only four hours up to that point."
After pounding the pavement, this time in the rain, and returning photo-copied applications to every Starbucks I could find, I made an impulse stop at the Jo-Ann Fabric Store. A wonderful little lady behind the counter informed me that they were looking to fill four positions. Fantastic. Maybe I will work fifty feet away from my apartment in a fabric store.
I somehow ended up driving to Target after I braved the grueling trek back to my abode. Let me just say I have never been in a more confusing Target in all my life. I walked around like an idiot with an empty, red, ergonomic basket for maybe a half hour before I found the printer paper which turned up on the second floor, not the first. One feat down, three more to go. Now...where is the women's hygiene isle? All of a sudden, looking for razors didn't sound so appealing anymore. Again, I ended up doing laps around the upper floor looking for something that shouldn't have been that hard to find. Of course, when I finally found my prize, I didn't do take the logical path, which would have been to pick up a package of my usual brand, throw it in the basket, move on to objective #3; no. I had to stop, peruse the options, weigh the pros and cons of switching to something new. Honestly...shopping for razors should not be this difficult. Just like finding them shouldn't be difficult.
My last feat was to find a receptacle for my clothes...all my clothes are currently living in cardboard boxes in the corner of my unfurnished room. So I found this absurdly heavy shelf apparatus that I would have to put together myself to store my clothes in. I had not anticipated leaving Target with such a heavy item, so I hadn't bothered to park my car anywhere near my current location. Great. No problem.
Putting the thing together has been like a bad episode of Tool Time...but its finally built. Well, mostly. I was hammering an innumerable amount of nails into the back of the thing when I realized the tenants who live above me probably hate me. Hammering nails at 12:30 a.m. doesn't make friends.


All in all, it was a rather mundane day, aside from feeling like I may have accomplished a few things I wanted/needed to do. And sending an email to a good friend.


This blog was supposed to be a great deal more serious, as it usually is, but alas, my roommate insists on making me laugh, so tonight's post is rather lighthearted.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The World Cries Loudest In the Morning...

What bliss it is to be able to sit with a cup of freshly brewed tea and write about the glories of the world.

There is seldom a prettier sight than the first echoes of light singing into the sky to announce the coming of the sun. It happens not once or twice a year, but every morning of every day this world will ever know. I pity the man who has never risen early enough to breath the sun as it clips the mountain tops and saturates the air.
And it is during this time, when the sun is making its first appearance for the day, that the world cries the loudest. It is during this time of peace and solitude when everything has yet to rise that the world sings its sweet melodies. What better time to appreciate the stillness than now? What better time to grasp the purity of this fragile new-born day? It is during this time that one's breathing, movement, and thought process reduce their speed until they match the tempo of the rising planet.
And so begins a day.
But it is at that time of day when all is alive, all is awake, and all is busy, that the voice of life is most absent...not absent, but inaudible. In the background, behind the constant thrum of soles upon the concrete, little messengers cry out to be heard. They appear as things unseen until we take the time to stop, breathe, and slow our souls to match their heartbeat. A moment such as this never goes unrewarded. It is as if the small majesties of life can feel the synchronization of the human heart to their own, and upon making the connection, jump at the opportunity to make themselves apparent to the individual who has stepped into their world. Often times such an event occurs involuntarily, when one slips into a state of brief contentment or stillness without being aware of the transition. And it is at these times when a small smile will grace their lips, and they will, even if only for one brief moment, remember the purity of life.
For as dirty as this life constantly seems amidst the rank attitudes of our fellow humans and the ever present wash of filth, there is still beauty to be found in all the in betweens.

Look for it.
You will find it, I promise.
And when you find it, remind someone else that it exists.
Because they may need it as much as you do.

Profundus Sententia Ex Cunabula

Exit 38 and Jesus...

The days here just keep getting more and more interesting...or perhaps just more and more "different".
I went to sleep at two o'clock in the morning yesterday after a long day of garage sailing in my relatives' relative's house, only to woken at eleven thirty by the sound of my telephone vibrating. I knew I was supposed to hang out with a guy I had met at Stone Gardens, a rock gym here in Seattle, but I didn't really know if I was up to it...of course, as is inevitable, although everyone tries to avoid it, I sounded like I had just woken up when I answered the phone. I got ready and forty five minutes later I was in the car and driving to some place called Exit 38. It was cold as the dickens outside, and I didn't know if my hands were even going to work in this temperature.
But, much to my pleasant surprise, they did. We started with a 5.7 right next to a bridge (the concrete was in), and then moved to a series of 5.9's on another wall a little ways away. Those were by far the most fun. It takes a little time to remember how to feel when climbing outdoors. The atmosphere is so vastly different than that of an indoor gym. Everything is a little bit scarier and you aren't quite as bold. After the first few climbs, it all comes back, though...sadly, the temperature didn't improve, so we called it quits after a lesson in cleaning an anchor and a 5.11 variation of the first route. All in all, twas good fun.
Afterward, we headed back into town and ended up in Wallingford at a little place called Kuan Yin Teahouse. My excitement to be in a teahouse was only magnified by the crispness of the day and my inability to feel my hands. Formosa Green Tea was served (an excellent choice, I might add) and I drank my fill while eating little wedges of cheese bread.

However, the most exciting part of my day was what happened after.
At 7:15 on Sundays, church happens! Mars Hill is a large church, much larger than anything I am used to, but I'm trying to squeeze my way into the Ballard church community. It seems there is an incredibly high volume of college students that attend the service. This makes me a little apprehensive, because it also seems in some ways that college students are the least approachable. For all the credit that modern society gives college students for being more mature and more adult-like than they were in their high school years, they don't seem to have progressed much. The majority of the college students I see are the same immature, egotistical, closed-off, tactless adolescents they were in high school.
Although, this has just been my experience...and I am no one to judge. So I'm giving this a chance, despite my initial apprehensions, and seeing if I can't fit somewhere into this massive colony of people who attend church en vogue. (I mean seriously...showing up in high heels with perfect hair and designer clothes? I thought this was church, not an audition for America's Next Top Model)
But I am too harsh...I need to give it time.

On a more philosophical note (now that the mundane has been recorded), I have begun to notice with increasing discontentment that I am incredibly judgmental. Despite my best efforts to control my thoughts, the seven me's seem to just run rampantly around inside my skull, shouting the most obscenely hypocritical they can come up with. The sad part is, I'm not really that critical. I don't like to be. But recently, I can't seem to look at anyone without my first thought about them being something terribly judgmental.
Save for those people who seem like underdogs.
I still like them.
But anyone who seems like they may in any way, shape, or form be a threat to those whom the "average" person would consider "strange" or "weird", my mind attacks.

This is one of those problems that only prayer and obedience will fix. Jesus can only help me as much as I want to help myself, for I am the keeper of my salvation. While Jesus provides salvation, it is up to me to remember His sacrifice and remain weak enough to need Him. Because every time I feel that I can stand up on my feet without Him, it fails miserably and I end up lying on my face in the sand, stretching my hand out towards Jesus again.
And every time, though I don't deserve it, He finds me, places his arms beneath my own, and picks me up again.

Thank God that He is in control and I am not...I make such bad decisions.

Profundus Sententia Ex Cunabula

Friday, October 9, 2009

Too Early to Be Late...

I took a walk -- my first walk -- around Ballard tonight.
A night walk is so much different than a day walk. Everything is alive in a much more interesting way at night. During the day, people have to be out; they have to be working, and moving, and going places. At night, people go outside largely because they want to. The absurdities of the human race are magnified in such a glorious way...as if when the sun sets, we shed our skins and become whatever manner of beastly creatures we so desire.
Tonight I stayed away from the main drag, NW Market St. Its a Friday, so everyone who worked a long week is out to have "fun" at the bars. I'd rather not deal with that tonight. I'd much rather see and enjoy the smaller gifts of the city that hide on smaller streets...at least for just this night.

The buildings were whispering to me, as well. They said, "Come and climb me," and I wanted to. But city people are a different breed than those who populate small towns. Here, there are no ways to reach the tops of buildings, save from the inside. Although I can't blame them for designing the buildings that way...I'm sure that thousands of times before people have climbed to the roofs, and just as many times its been to do something stupid. I merely want to get to the top and...sit.
The tops of tall buildings are such wonderful places to observe the world. Perches where one can step back from the world for a minute and just look at it. I don't know what others see when they look out upon the great masses of people across the earth, but all I can see is beauty. Though we humans are such a plague to the planet, I cannot help but have hope for us. The thought that each being has the potential to be someone great is too much for me to ignore.
And it isn't that everyone has to be Mother Teresa or Gandhi. Everyone can make a genuine difference in even just one other person's life. And that would be enough.
The joy of giving to someone else emotionally is possibly the most fulfilling thing in the world.

When I left the apartment at 9:30 p.m., I had expected an Inclinian level of desertion to await me outside the door. Much to my surprise, there were people all over the place. I recently discovered that there is a park diagonally across the street from me, and so I was going to go sit under the clouded October sky, breath in this frigid air and think about all manner of things...only to find at least six people still in the park. In Incline, this would never have happened. A night walk could go completely undisturbed at any time of the day, as long as one did not approach town. I forget that this is the city, though.
In some ways it is incredibly comforting to see other people walking around at night. Yet at the same time...I wanted in some small way to be alone at the park tonight. As I was returning to base after other trekkings, I read the rules posted at the park...it stays "open" until 11:30 p.m. Sadly, I was too early to be late, and so I continued the extra twenty feet back to my domicile to await the illegal park visitor hours.
Perhaps then I will have the park to myself.
And if not...there is always tomorrow.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cardinal Sin

Am I committing any kind of cardinal sin by posting twice in the same day? Well, its almost tomorrow anyway...

Life feels very colorful these days. Despite living in what most people call the greyest city in the country, I don't feel its like that at all. Moving out and getting started on my own really doesn't feel as jarring as everyone said it would, either. People asked if I was scared, nervous, excited, all those emotions...but really, all I felt was...normal. I got in my car, drove to Humboldt, spent time with my best friend and met some new people. I drove from Humboldt to Seattle, and showed up at my relatives' house. I woke up the next morning and started looking for places to live. I moved in a couple days ago to this two bedroom apartment, which I share with Jake, who is thus far a fantastic roommate. It feels like I'm on an extended vacation, even though I know I'm not.
I did sit down and think about it yesterday and a small pang of sadness gripped my heart as I realized I would never again be living under my parents roof as a child. And though I am still very young, and would not consider myself an "adult" (nor do I hope to ever hold that title), I can no longer consider myself a dependent. Everything is different now, and I can't even feel it.
That's what happens when you travel a lot as a kid. And I can't say I'm not grateful for this feeling. It would make life infinitely more difficult if I felt home sick or displaced.

On a completely different topic, because I digress, I saw one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a while just a few minutes ago. I was washing my hands and picked up the bottle of soap. I squeezed the bottle on accident while it was still upright, and a host of tiny bubbles came bursting out of it. And they just hovered there, all these different sized little bubbles, happily bouncing around in the air. It made me really genuinely happy for some reason. Here I thought I was looking at and admiring the small works of God, but even when I think I am focused on the smallest of them all, He shows me yet another that I have missed.
Thank God He's God and I'm not.

Profundus Sententia Ex Cunabula

Dear Blog...

Today feels like one of those days when I must address my blog as though it were a person. If it were in fact human, it would be a man. And his name would be Jerry. I'm not incredibly fond of the name Jerry...but it really doesn't matter does it?

I started my day at noon. I had intended to wake up at nine-thirty and start it then, but alas, sleep was more alluring. And thus I was foiled. In fact, I have been sitting, standing, laying, and rolling around in the apartment for close to three hours and forty minutes, telling myself that I am going to the Kragen Auto Parts store to see if I can get a job.
If I had to draw a pie chart to show the contributing factors to my inactivity, it would be comprised of fifty percent sheer laziness and fifty percent fear of failure. I need a job and I know it. But the silly romantic in me keeps hoping that someone will kick down my door, take the hero stance and shout, "The workforce wants YOU!" And then rational me butts in and shatters my fantasies...but probably for the better.
It is a sad existence when "I know" so much, but am never able to act upon it.

Perhaps if I get out of this room any time in the near future I can go to the store, buy thumbtacks, snacks, and go find a job...maybe.