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.

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
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 a toddler trying to look after himself, it just doesn't work.

Friday, November 20, 2009


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.
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


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.


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 a safe place.

It still works.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


There is a time and a season for all 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.

Call your manager and explain the situation. This is the best thing to do.

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!