Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Baleful Demons Subside

Today's day is one not fitting unto itself. My reality is one of countless caught beneath the blanket of implacable strangeness that weighs heavy on the day. It is a day in which deep, somber thoughts lope forth from the thickest shadows of one's emotions to be dwelt upon in relative safety. Were it any other day, they would be liable to spring forth from their melancholy guise and tear our delicate inhibitions to shreds, or devour them slowly with creeping dolefulness.

Yet today, the overwhelming sense of lostness confuses even our own demons, rendering them still baleful, and harmless.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dearest Friday (Validus Mos and the White Belt)

Consider this an extension of yesterday's frivolous updates...
I introduce to you Validus Mos. She is (as stated by the tag) a Sempervivum 'Proud Zelda' (and mother to several pretty chicks, I might add). Jim the Succulent Man provided an ample selection at the Ballard Farmer's Market, but she caught my eye from beneath one of the tables amongst her sistren and brethren. He told me that when the seasons change, the succulents follow suit and dawn new and astonishing hues. Succulents are also known for their ability to thrive in harsh conditions; the less hospitable the climate, the happier the succulent. And thus, I named her Validus Mos, meaning 'mighty will' or 'strong-willed' in Latin. In the words of Succulent Jim, "they thrive on benign neglect"...what better plant could I have purchased? She only needs to be watered every one or two weeks and even then she doesn't need much. Soon she will have a bigger pot with more room for her and her chicks to grow. Beautiful, isn't she?

While Validus Mos is not particularly new, my third stripe is. I was promoted a little over a week blue belt is not so far off as it once was. There is still a great deal of work to do, though.
To me, I do not deserve my stripes yet. Maybe I have remembered enough to warrant the first or even the second stripe...but not the third. In some ways, though, it serves as a reminder of how hard I need to work to actually deserve that stripe. Because when I arrive at my blue belt, I want to feel that I have earned it.
Six months move by quickly. Six short months ago I was standing at the end of a line, dozens of people outranking me; I was literally the lowest on the totem pole. Now, I have outranked people who started before I even arrived...then again, I spend every possible minute outside of work playing jiu jitsu.
All I know now is that I love it. Not as a sport or as a hobby, but as jiu jitsu...just jiu jitsu.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I could feel the sickness coming on Sunday night. Sitting on the couch, watching the UFC, I tried to remove what I thought was a piece of popcorn skin lodged in the back of my throat with copious amounts of jaw breakers. As the night progressed, however, the scratching spread farther down my throat until I had to concede to the fact that I did indeed have...a cold. Sunday night I hardly slept. My mouth was so dry it hurt to breathe. Monday morning I woke up with less of a sore throat, and it continued to lessen throughout the day...moving instead to my sinuses and filling them with nothing other than oodles and oodles of mucus. Hurray! Tuesday saw me drinking abnormal amounts of fluid in an effort to drown my body's invaders. That night I slept like a spluttering old man on his back, snorting and gurgling in between absurd subconscious tries to take in oxygen through clogged nostrils. Wednesday was like Tuesday on repeat, though I slept a little more soundly (save for the dream involving a small girl afraid of an even smaller imaginary girl and a knife fight with an old man and his dark, math-studying son).
And so here we are, arrived at Thursday and still not a clear nostril in sight. I'd hoped to be back on the mat by now, but my sinuses won't have it.

In addition to my illness, I now have what is most easily explained as the equivalent of three weeks "off". Yesterday marked the delivery of my fourth write-up concerning cash handling. Doomed as I am in the math department, it figures just as much. My manager has graciously given me a fifth chance to rectify the problem. As a disciplinary measure, all my shifts have been hacked away, leaving me with one "register training shift" and one closing shift in the next two weeks before leaving for the Pan-Ams. In the meantime, I will be searching for a second job to "pass the time", if you will. At $8.75 an hour plus tips, I need more to keep myself alive.

So now I sit, sipping (or rather, gulping) my third consecutive cup of tea in the last half hour, waiting anxiously for my return to the mat and a lovely dinner with co-worker and manfriend later this evening.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Beast

Some days I get in my car and the strange sensation that this life is not actually happening washes over me, and just for a moment my perception of myself and everything around me is radically altered. Everything that I have ever done or have thought about doing is stripped of its value, and in the very same moment all things are possible. As if the thought of an action would be enough to bring it into existence. And in the same vein, the doubt of existence would be enough to unmake me.
Some days its hard to believe that this life is "mine". I see with increasing clarity why it is often asked how one ended up where they are. Time is a thing perceived as quantifiable; It is unchangeable, therefore I can measure it and measure by it. However, the tables are most undoubtedly turned. Time is a man who laughs at our false grasp of him and all his vastness, who quantifies and measures us by our unchanging nature and ceaseless folly.
How arrogant a race are we, to think that time is in our hands, and we control our own lives!
To think that any aspect of one's existence is solely in their own hands is asinine.

Tonight it is not time that has me reeling, but change once again. Change is back to force me to do the things I need to do, but do not feel prepared to do. A new job may be in order tomorrow, as the odds of me getting fired are high. And even if I end up keeping my job, I will still need a second job to make ends meet. Though the Jiu Jitsu Pan-Ams are coming soon and the vacation is much needed.

So, for tonight, I exhale and surrender my worries for tomorrow is another day and all things are possible. A Wednesday is a perfect day for a new beginning.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Intelligence and Language

The internet is both a source of great inspiration and great disappointment. To be able to research the history Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in one tab, where I can train in another, and book my flight to the Pan-Ams in a third is brilliant. To be exposed to the masses' inability to spell and use proper grammar is another thing entirely.
In days past, it would have made me angry. Now, I suppose I just feel disappointed and dumbfounded more than anything...
Seriously? "Relationship"? I'm pretty sure that one is a word you should be spelling right by the eight grade at the latest. I suppose not everyone is "good with words", but it makes me cringe a little to see "relationship" become "realashionship" and "spider" being spelled "spyder" by ninth graders. I mean, for heaven's sake, by high school you should at least be able to spell the words you use frequently when you speak! And with today's technology, if you aren't sure how to spell a word, the click of a button or five seconds of research will set your straight!
Perhaps some people just don't care as much as I do...those "math and science" people have their priorities organized a bit different than the "art and language" people...but it would be nice, even if you can't spell correctly, to try and form a semi-intelligent sentence every once in a while.
If anything, writing well at least makes you sound a little more credible. Or a little more together. Even if you aren't. And I suppose the ability to do really difficult math problems and spew scientific facts does, too. But writing is something done on a regular basis, whether it be a cover letter for a resume, or a post in a forum.

Sometimes the internet makes me want to retire and never look at it again. Sometimes I like it just enough to keep trying.
Now, I just wish there was a larger body of people spelling things correctly.

And, of course, its mostly just me...I can't say that anyone is less of a person because they can't spell well. Its my pet peeve, and I have a hard time letting it go without a momentary grimmace or a longwinded and empty complaint. There are definitely loads of intelligent people who can't spell to save their lives, but hey...give me an easy subraction problem and I'll get it wrong three times before finding the answer.

So who am I to talk?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Past Is The Present Is The Future

I suppose that the pattern of life never can be learned...perhaps because it has no pattern. Life is so extremely unpredictable that no two scenarios will ever play out exactly the same. Several days before, my life was seemingly in mental and emotional shambles. Last night I fashioned a desperate entry concerning my relationship with Darren; how it is nearly inevitable that he will become bored with me and decide that I was a bad choice. I suppose much hasn't improved in that area, no thanks to my inherently self-deprecating nature.
But, an old friend wrote me yesterday night as well. I haven't heard from her in at least a year and last time we did, she was into some pretty bad stuff. So I was surprised to hear from her...partially surprised that she was still alive. Whenever we used to talk, I was excited that she still remembered me and called me a friend. But at the same time, there was always an underlying tone of sadness...I was scared for her and her life and where she would end up. Turns out that she is marrying her boyfriend of three years, moving to Hawaii, and starting life anew. Which makes me happy and nostalgic all at the same time.
Any time a friend contacts me from a previous era of my life, I can't help but remember the things we used to do when we were five, twelve, fourteen, etc.

So, it brings me relief from my own struggles to hear that she is doing well. And all I need now is a reprieve from my own head. I need to simply lay and think awhile about things unrelated to rent or my job or money completely. Though I have taken some very large steps backward, I think its not too late to save some face.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Days and Days and Days and Days...

Everything seems to be shifting to a different plane these days. As if when I began to let money mean so much, life somehow changed. I don't like this unsupported struggle. There is a vast difference between a struggle in empty space and a struggle with some faith. Currently, my struggle resides in the most expansive of voids, floating like an astronaut lost in the blanket of space.
Life is too much and not enough.
Because I've made it so.
Why is it that the most important things are the hardest to keep?

Monday, March 8, 2010


Change is the ever present threat. Regardless of circumstance or preparation, Change charges blindly (yet with such great purpose) into the plans of man. He commands flawless tact, moving with grace and guile to win his prey, yet possesses the brute force and immovability of the will of God.
Though disruptive and chaotic, he is wise beyond reason and sits at God's right hand.

Change has taken an interest in me today. He has tied me to a pendulum and swings me to and fro, this way and that, commanding my direction as easily as the wind commands the grass. My mother came to visit, and it was a success. I have the money to go to the Pan-Ams and will be buying my plane ticket today. I was written up for the third time for cash-handling problems. Next time I screw up, there is a good chance I will be fired. Two of my shifts were taken away. There are still many more hours in the day...there is still much more time for Change to redirect my momentum entirely.

We will see.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Things To Come...

My mother comes into town tomorrow morning. 9:30 a.m., to be exact. Due to uncontrollable circumstances, she was not able to make her original flight, scheduled to come in tonight, and had to reschedule for tomorrow morning. However, I can't complain. I'm simply excited to see my mom! Its been six months since I've seen her in person, a few months since I've seen her face at all. Thanks to the miracle of Skype, I was able to "see" her once.
I wish I could say that there has been so much going on, I haven't had time to write. The truth is, I'm a "high-class writer" and lead myself to believe that I need certain circumstances in order to be able to write well. For example, I can't be standing up and writing, or typing on a keyboard with a stubborn period key. I find that sitting here, at my own kitchen table, in my own quiet apartment, with my own Tarquinius (my computer) is where I am able to write "best". Or so it would seem. Sadly, I am almost certain that I've made myself believe these things because I am having difficulty writing lately. It seems to be a repeating complaint of mine lately. Somewhere along the way in the last six months, I have forgotten how to write properly. Or write at all.

That fear of the blank page, the overwhelming thought of the infinite possibility of words that could find their way on to the is cripplingly present and disappointing as ever. When writing is all I really have, it is like severing my limbs from my body when I do not have the ability to write.

Perhaps the drought is nearing an end. My brain has had flickering moments of clarity, signs of life that have not appeared in quite a while. It seems that normal life has a knack for destroying one's ability to focus on anything other than paying rent and working.

Pish posh.

I can still live life the way it is intended to be lived, and rise above the common denominator of broken souls. Hopefully pull a few up, as well to join the ranks of the living.

March will be a month of writing for me. Every day, I will write something. A basic exercise, but hopefully a worthwhile one.