(Entry below was handwritten on 3/25/2014)
On weekends there is too much time. I sleep late, have a leisurely breakfast, go out for coffee and a lottery ticket, run errands, go to the library or a store to pick up a few things.
I while the day away, procrastinating. On workdays, I’m stuck at my laptop. Sometimes work is really slow (like today) and there is nothing to do but sit around and wait for more work to come in.
Today was so slow that I had time to write a blog post. It bothers me that half of my writing is in physical journals, and the other half is online. I wish my story was contained all together in these pages.
The funny thing is, if I have to be up at a certain time, and clocked in and ready to work, I just have the urge to write, more than anything else. Sometimes I long to catch up on reading too.
But I’m awake and caffeinated and sitting at a computer screen, ready to go. And if I could manage to do that on the weekends, have some discipline and get up early to start my day and write, I think I’d have a lot more clarity and creativity in my life.
I would stop the daily world from intruding on my thoughts before I had the chance to get them down on paper.
Clearing out the old thoughts, the old clutter that crowds the head, is the best and fastest way to make room for new thoughts, and access the creativity that lies beneath the minutia of the day-to-day.
I find myself suddenly so curious about other people- so fascinated by others and the world and what I’m really doing here. I know I’m here to learn lessons, have experiences.
And it’s a nice feeling to have myself back, to be in control of my mind again and know that I am really free.
Only I can say which path I will choose to follow. I could change everything about my life tomorrow if I chose to, and no one could stop me. Because no one tells me what to do.
I can do as little or as much as my heart desires. I can choose to disappear for a while, or stay put. I could choose to speak, and know I will have confidence behind my words.
Or I can choose to remain silent and observe. I can choose to expand my knowledge, to research a variety of subjects that interest me at my leisure.
I can choose to discard old things, old ideas I’ve had, old identities, old interests. I can choose to go forth and have an adventure, to push myself physically, to find a silent retreat mentally.
I can choose to consider the possibility that I can be trained for any job. That I could earn more money to take care of myself, my future, and help my family. I can choose to believe that there truly are no limits to who I am, or who I can be.
Prompt: Write down the first words that comes to mind when we say . . . home. . . soil. . . rain.
Home is where the heart is. Home is my family, a home-cooked meal, sitting around a table together, taking pictures together, hugging. Home is coming to a place where everyone loves you and accepts you no matter what. Home is unconditional love.
Home is where you feel most natural, most comfortable, most at ease and most precious. Home is where you can always go to replenish yourself. Home is your sanctuary, you save haven, you shelter from the storms of life. Home is the place you can always go back to and be welcomed with open arms.
Soil. Nothing comes to mind at first when I think of soil. I think of gardening, of planting, of new life, of playing outdoors. Soil is where plants and flowers originate. Soil can be fertile or barren.
Soil can be uprooted, can contain insects, can be soft, muddy, slippery. My mother once said she had the urge to eat soil. It was appetizing to her. A living thing can grow through soil, and be consumed. Gardens can be planted in soil, bringing beauty and joy.
Rain. First thing that comes to mind is the Madonna song by that name. The imagery that comes up is the video for that song. Rain is fun to observe. Rain replenishes. Rain can be fun to play in if you don’t have much self-consciousness.
Rain is what we are protected from as children, so that we don’t catch colds. Rain can be a blessing or a curse. It can be nourishing for crops and farmers. But rain is also destructive when floods occur. I enjoy rainy days for the most part. And the song “Only Happy When it Rains” by Garbage is one of my favorite songs of all time.
Prompt: Moment of clarity
Tell us about a time you’d been trying to solve a knotty
problem — maybe it was an interpersonal problem, a life
problem,— and you had a moment of clarity
when the solution appeared to you, as though you were
struck by lightning.
I wasn’t actually trying to solve a problem, but one day while I was in the shower, I had an a-ha moment. For some reason I was thinking about how people seem to always want pity, myself included at the time.
A big part of what I thought about were things like ‘poor me,’ ‘if only others could see how difficult things are for me,’ etc. I would think about how I dwelled on negative things that I have been told and hung on to them, to no one’s detriment but my own.
Any suddenly, I realized it. That’s what it means when we are told not to play the role of victim. It’s better to release the past and all the past stories you tell yourself about your life and what has happened to you, and why you deserve all this pity from others. No one cares. Everyone has been through difficulties and deals with them differently.
Some people just need to vent, and need a kind ear to listen to them without interruption. Some people seek advice about how to make things better. And some people just bottle up their issue inside them, never seeking relief or help. Instead they choose to feel sorry for themselves and feel that the world owes them something.
I realized that this is faulty thinking. And everyone deals with their own struggles that we can’t possibly understand. We may try to make others see what it’s like to walk in our shoes, but they can’t truly feel everything that happens to us the way we do. We process things through the lens of our past experiences, and our own beliefs about who we are.
I felt this realization was a moment of maturity for me. I won’t get caught in the trap of ‘woe is me’ anymore, because I have too many things in my life to be grateful for.
There is no reason to focus on what’s lacking, when our blessings are way more abundant. All we can do is show others kindness, be willing to listen, and do our best for ourselves in our lives. No one is coming along to save the day. We need to make a plan to save ourselves when the going gets tough.
Prompt: Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.
The last book I read was Girl, Wanted: The Chase for Sarah Pender by Steve Miller. Actually, I read it twice. I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by the story of Sarah Pender, a young woman who was charged (with her boyfriend at the time) of murdering her two roommates.
The blame went back and forth between Sarah and her boyfriend for the murders. He even went so far as to have a friend of his forge Sarah’s handwriting and write him a letter confessing to the crimes. The letter was later found not to have Sarah’s fingerprints on it. Sarah had, however, purchased the murder weapon.
Sarah was convicted and sentenced to 110 years in prison for acting as an accomplice to the crimes. After filing several appeals and getting them denied, she broke out of prison (8 years into her sentence) with the help of some friends, ex-cons, and even a security guard at the prison.
She had used and manipulated them all to aid in her escape. She was finally caught a few months later and was returned to jail, and the friends who helped her received prison time for aiding a convicted felon. One ex-con was sentenced to 7 years, and the prison security guard was sentenced to 8 years.
I think I find this story interesting because of Sarah Pender. She was a smart person who had somehow gotten her whole life turned upside down. She maintains she is innocent but no one really knows if she was the mastermind behind the murders.
She wanted the roommates out of her home because they were selling drugs and stealing her money, and causing problems all around. I’ve tried to make up my own mind about whether or not she was behind the killings, but the book doesn’t reveal much in the mystery. It only becomes more mysterious and strange.
Sarah was featured on America’s Most Wanted while she was out on the lam. She was in the top 15 of that list, and the only woman featured on the list. She was able to outsmart the U.S. Marshall, buying phones for one time calls to her friends that could not be traced.
She evaded capture for 136 days. During that time, she met a wealthy businessman who helped her get a job (under the table) and set her up in an apartment and paid for her expenses in exchange for sex.
Before the murder conviction, she was working a serious, Monday through Friday, 8-5 office job and saving money to return to college where she wanted to major in physics. She managed to charm everyone around her.
And some say she made others commit crimes for her by some amazing control she was able to exert over people. One attorney in the book refers to her as ‘the female Charles Manson’ because of the way she was able to seduce, control and use people in order to get them to do what she wanted.
Sarah is now in solitary confinement and will not be released until she is 75 years old. The show Snapped did a feature episode on her, but focused more on the crime details than on her time after escaping prison.
Sarah is a strange character, showing emotion when feeling sorry for herself at the end, but showing no real remorse about the deaths of her roommates (in the interview portion of the Snapped episode).
She writes a letter (mentioned in the book) to someone and states that ‘killing people is no big deal, people die all the time.’ So I have to wonder if she honestly realized what she was writing, or if she really was unstable or evil beneath the surface.
Sarah presents herself as sweet and innocent, but that’s also how she likely lured people into her traps and got them to go along with her plans and do her bidding, even at the risk of themselves and their own freedom.
I think feeling as socially inept as I often do, I find it so interesting that a young woman could have so much control over others, know how to quickly gain love and trust and friendship, and absolute loyalty from people she meets and befriends. I would definitely recommend this book.
I chose to read this book after watching the movie that was based on the Sarah Pender story, called She Made Them Do It. It aired recently on Lifetime. See official page- http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/she-made-them-do-it
(Entry below was handwritten on 3/12/14)
Prompt: Make a list of things you love. Keep listing until you feel amazing.
(from the book, The Power by Rhonda Byrne)
I love my mother, my niece and nephew, my sister, my dad, my extended family. I love staying in, I love dusk in the summertime. I love the fall season. I love unexpected gifts.
I love days off from work, new pens, a new journal, gray eyeliner and orange lip gloss. I love being warm and cozy in bed, sleeping in late, hot bubble baths, exercising, hot showers, using Wen.
I love buying lottery scratch off tickets, meditation, reading and writing. I love watching movies. I love writing or meditating with a group of people. I love discovering new places I’ve never been to before. I love music, the first few warm days of spring. I love Shirley Manson, Garbage’s music, Blondie’s music.
I love to learn new things, expand my knowledge, do research. I love shopping for new dresses and handbags, and shopping on the charity website- thehungersite.com.
I love getting ‘likes’ after posting an entry on my blog. I love to fantasize, to be quiet and observe. I love weekends, going out to eat Mexican or Chinese food or Italian food.
I love Europe and the effortless style of many Asian women. I love minimalism, not owning so many possessions. I love taking walks, listening to my Ipod or not.
I love comfortable clothing, and wearing things that absolutely suit me and my personality. I love my zumba classes, and dancing as a fun way to exercise and burn calories.
I love being free from debt, remembering my dreams, burning scented candles, going to the library. I love discovering new aspects of myself, and new interests to pursue. I love museums, live musical performances, plays, theater, going to concerts, watching artists draw or paint.
I love wearing jewelry and fancy perfumes. I love my beige, Longchamp handbag, all my furniture, my books, the apartment I live in that’s in a quiet, private home on a quiet street. I love working from home.
What do you love?
(Entry below was handwritten on 3/5/14)
It was another half day of work missed. I had to clock out at around 2:25 because my internet connection kept dropping. So I called my cable company and they sent an emergency technician out to my home to resolve the issue.
His name was Elvis, and when he called to let me know he was on his way, he greeted me with “Buenas Noches.” I guess he thought I only spoke Spanish when he looked at my last name.
He was here for a long while, connecting a new, separate cable line for me. Mine had been split with the cable line going to the apartment upstairs. He also replaced the modem I had with a new one.
I hope this fix corrects the problem, because I really don’t want to go into the office to work. Working at home in the wintertime is just so much better.
Elvis left at 7:30pm, and it was just in time for me to watch In Time on television. It’s the movie with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried that takes place in a future where time is used as currency instead of money.
It’s an intriguing concept, but kind of a boring movie. I read a review online which stated that people really are living by the currency of time, except that we don’t know when our time will run out.
It’s not like in the movie where you can check your wrist and see how much time is left for you. The ‘poor’ people in the movie live day by day, they are risk takers and need to make the most of their allotted time. The ‘rich’ people are cautious, trying not to do anything risky because they want to be immortal and not die by mistake.
It made me wonder how differently I would live my life if I knew how much time I actually have left. I guess people with terminal illness are the ones who really face their mortality and force themselves to create lists of what they want to do and experience, all before death takes them out.
There are so many paths out there for someone like me, someone who isn’t tied down to a husband or kids, or a house. So I have to wonder why I continue to play it so safe. Maybe because of how I was raised- very sheltered and in fear and suspicion of others.
Men have so many more choices and freedoms than women. Men can go out and drive to an all-night diner or bar, hang out there for a while and then go home, without the fear or risk of getting raped or kidnapped in the parking lot.
Women don’t have these kinds of freedoms. I envy women who have the guts to travel the world alone. Travelling alone is a fear that I hope to overcome before it’s too late.
In the movie, In Time, Amanda’s character is rich and always has body guards surrounding her. They advise her, ‘You can’t be too careful’ when she is simply staring at a man, a stranger. She replies with ‘Are you sure?’ I think there is such a thing as being too careful, it keeps you away from living the adventure that is your life.
Prompt: Is being “normal” — whatever that means to you — a good thing, or a bad thing? Neither?
I don’t think that ‘normal’ is a term that can apply to anyone really. I think we are all different. Saying someone is normal is almost like implying that they are somehow better than other people, which I do not believe.
For some people, ‘normal’ has a negative connotation. It can bring up ideas of being boring, stale, stuck in a rut or the same old routine. Normal can mean the opposite of exciting to some people.
I don’t know what ‘normal’ is, and I don’t think anyone really does. Is it normal to get married, have kids, and own a house? For some people that’s a dream, for others, it’s a nightmare.
Is it normal to be cautious or free-spirited? I think that whoever you are, what you have a tendency towards and an interest in, is perfectly normal for you because you are a unique human being.
I don’t think it’s normal to stay in one place and never grow. I think it’s important to branch out of one’s comfort zone every now and then and explore the horizons beyond one’s everyday life.
Living in this society, people like me are made to feel abnormal since I am in my 30s, female, and unmarried. It’s hard to deal with the expectation of marriage and wonder if I will ever get there. It’s something that is pointless to dwell on, because it either happens or it doesn’t.
Being single and marrying later or not at all has become something of a norm these days. I could be meant for something else in my life, and doing something as conventional as getting married maybe doesn’t fit into the ultimate plan for my life and what I truly desire out of it.
There are worse things in life than being alone. I have dealt with that status for so long that it feels practically natural and normal for me at this point.
I think most people balk at the idea of normal or a ‘standard’ for living one’s life. Everyone’s idea of happiness and success is different, and that’s fine. It’s what makes up the human tapestry, and makes the world interesting and fascinating. Without differences, no one would ever be inspired, there would be no magic in anything, no mystery. And that would not be a fun way to live at all.
Prompt: Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity— running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in “the zone”?
Being in the zone, like in the middle of a good workout, is really satisfying and gratifying. It makes me lose all sense of myself and makes me feel powerful, like I can change into someone else. I love how exercise brings you into the present moment because you are focused on exertion, and moving the body just feels good. The body was made to be exerted and to be in motion. The body was made to be put to use.
Being in the zone is a great feeling because there is no sense of time. Activities become fun instead of drudgery. It’s like with writing, or reading a really great book that you can’t put down. I used to get into the zone by listening to my favorite band when I was younger. It gave me a feeling of being almost high.
Listening to my favorite band, I felt like I was floating and blissing out. Getting in the zone of music is very easy for me, and for a lot of people. Music can change your mood and uplift you, even if you’re listening to the most depressing shit in the world. I think music gets you into the zone because it touches certain emotional parts of a person, and you can feel it in your body and heart.
Being in the zone is a sort of lost art. People love distraction and spend most of their lives distracted and procrastinating, or getting into the zone of unhealthy things. I like being in the zone of writing of course, but I also procrastinate just like everyone else. Writing is satisfying when you have a good flow of words going, but can be frustrating when you become blocked, and start to feel like the most boring person on earth who has nothing to say.
But there are always new ways to seek out inspiration. I like to think about my dreams and sometimes write about them. Or simply reading a book of poetry, or observing the world out the window, or looking at some photography online. Human beings are fascinating, and lots of inspiration can be drawn from just observing them, or meeting someone new and getting their view of the world. People love to be really heard, and writers are often good listeners, and gifted observers.
Ideas will always come if you just stop and pay attention to your thoughts. Things float to the surface. For example, I know I need to go write out the answer to the question: Who do you want to be? So I’m going to do that in my paper journal. Sometimes you need to write by hand just for fun, and explore a topic that has been nagging at you. Hopefully it gets me in ‘the zone’ of writing.
(Entry below is an excerpt from an entry handwritten on 2/1/2014)
I just finished reading The Help the other night, and one of the reading group discussion questions at the back of the novel is: Who was your favorite character? Why? My favorite character was Eugenia Phelan, nicknamed Skeeter. She was my favorite character because she was akward and insecure of herself at first, but by the end, her true character reveals itself.
She felt strongly about a topic, and decided to interview maids and write a book about it. This decision was very brave and very dangerous, (considering the time period in which the book takes place) but Skeeter was determined to complete her project and write her book. She even worked around the clock at the last minute in order to get the manuscript to the publishing house in New York in time for the deadline.
Skeeter lost her friends, her social status and acceptance, and her first boyfriend. All that did not deter her from reaching her goal. She decided to write something extremely controversial, yet important, with the hope that it would open people’s eyes and create change. And the book she wrote succeeded in creating a dialogue between the maids and the families they worked for.
I admire Eugenia for withstanding so much criticism from her mother for not having found a husband, and for everything about her appearance that was criticized as well. And then for later dealing bravely with her mother’s serious illness and failing health. Eugenia is a strong character. She is patient and empathetic, as well as blunt and honest.
Eugenia published her book “Help” anonymously. She didn’t do it for recognition of accolades. She did it because it was an important topic to her, and it was something that no one else had ever written about before.
It’s hard to believe that The Help is the debut novel of Kathryn Stockett because the characters are so alive and the scenes are all so vivid. She has a great imagination and way with words. I was thinking the other day, how awful it would be to get to the end of my life having never written or published anything substantial- without having left behind some sort of creative legacy.
I hope that one day I find my own story, and finally get it written down, committed to paper and published.
Prompt: Tell us about something you know you should do . . . but don’t.
I know that I should try to make new friends, meet new people. And sometimes I get a weird urge to, but I don’t do it. I know that I will eventually, maybe when the weather becomes less extreme because I don’t tolerate the cold well. But right now, being on my own is fine for me.
I’m not the kind of person who needs to have other people around. I’ve always been this way. I remember once reading about how Shirley Manson finished her latest tour and went out to a grocery store and freaked out because she was by herself. She realized that for 15 years, she has had someone around.
And it was funny to me how I am the opposite. When I have people around, that takes an adjustment on my part. It drains me mentally at times. And I feel that I need to be on my own again to recuperate for a while. I do like having company, just not all the time.
There is the danger of getting lost in one’s own head, which I tend to do, so I do see the value in pursuing friendships and hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions. Constantly focusing on oneself makes you a bit crazy and unstable and unreasonable. It’s healthy to realize that it’s not all about you.
I think I realize this more as I get older. There is a great big world out there and I’m not the center of it. I’m the center of the world inside my head, but other people are going on about their lives, oblivious to me and what I think or feel every day. Their own lives are what’s most important to them usually, just like me.
Social situations make me nervous, especially when no one is drinking and everyone is kind of tense if they don’t know each other well. I find this kind of thing a nightmare. I constantly wonder if I’m saying the right thing, if the other person gets me, if they find me strange.
I tend to recall stupid things like when I threw a baby shower for a coworker (because others pushed me to) and while everyone was gathered, I attempted to speak now and then and be friendly.
Whenever I would say anything totally normal, two of my female coworkers would look at each other and laugh. And I was just left thinking, what the fuck did I say that was so funny?
These kinds of memories get in the way and anger me when I feel the most vulnerable. I don’t like to be judged or laughed at for no reason. Social anxiety is a very real thing for some people.
My mother tells me that having friends is easy. Maybe it is for her, and the majority of the population. But not for me, for some reason that I have yet to understand.