“Every mile is two in winter”

•January 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Last night I dreamed that it was spring. Better yet I found an L lens on the commons and was told that I could keep it…woke up empty handed, of course. It was a rather boring dream, but it reminded me of how wonderful the sunshine can be.

For wintertime I feel as if it’s been relatively sunny this year, as seen in the photo I took on my way to work one day this week. I love waking up with rays of sun streaming through my window – they are a much happier alarm that that of my cell phone. It’s those days, however, of gray and icy mush on the sidewalks that get me down.

My Dad claims he has seasonal depression, and has even proceeded to buy daylight-balanced lights for the entire house to cheer him up when skies are gray. I absolutely hate them; now this might be the film major in me, but I can’t stand the unnatural look of daylight lamps inside our living room. Let the streams of sunshine flood through if nature allows, but on gloomy days even an HMI blasting through my bedroom window isn’t going to help my mood at all.

I wonder if I would appreciate the beautiful days with such zealousness if it weren’t for those days in between. Perhaps I’ll find out during my semester in LA…good god, I cannot wait.

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
And freezing.”
“Is it?”
“Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”
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Why I Love Environmentally Friendly People or Why Al Gore is the Perfect Man.

•January 8, 2010 • 1 Comment

(Lauren being environmentally crafty…again.)

If Lauren isn’t planting chickpeas from our fridge, then she’s probably reusing our pile of newspapers for an art project. I grew up surrounded by self-sustaining farmland and parents that refused to put chemicals onto our dying grass. So sure, loving it only comes naturally. Then again, I’m not sure that it’s the love of the environment that fuels my love for environmentally friendly people.

There are the people that compost without a second thought and then there are those that scoff when someone simply wants to find a recycling bin for their Snapple bottle. I like the idea of organic living, and yet I am not its biggest promoter. So why do I love the hippies?

It seems to me that it has a lot less to do with the fact that they are rolling around in the dirt and more with the idea that they actually look around sometimes. They are aware.

Awareness. I feel like I am surrounded by people stuck in clouds of pollution, people stuck with old ideas or unwilling to see the truth. The people that blow the smoke away, that walk under clear skies, however, are the ones that actually see the fog.  They are environmentally friendly because they are aware.

I don’t mean aware in the sense of looking around at the beauty or stopping to smell the roses or anything. It’s more that I try to friend the people that aren’t obsessed with convoluting the simple things by obsessing over the past or the future. I love the people that do things because they feel they are right, not think they are right. They are aware because they are here, they are now. I can laugh so hard I snort and then we just laugh harder – there is no embarrassment because we are aware that it doesn’t matter. It seems like such a trivial example and yet, the trivial experiences are just as important – but only to those that are aware. The people that scoff at something as trivial as waiting to recycle a bottle seem to be wasting their time.

It is the art of living, the ultimate experience, understanding…I am not trying to be deep. Going too deep is like getting “drunk on Nirvana”, an old phrase used by Bassui, a Zen master. Life shouldn’t be about digging through the illusions, but about effortlessly seeing through them.

So. Aware people are seeing the truth, focused on the present, and living effortlessly. What isn’t there to like about them?

The Phoenix and the Flame

•January 2, 2010 • 4 Comments

I start with a question, rather than a photo this time. Sitting on Jess’ bed in my pajamas this morning, discussing our daily difficulties, (and tweezing my overgrown eyebrows), this question arose out of a series of uncertainty: “does everybody have problems?” It is hard to tell, here at Emerson – are we accustomed to people with dramatic life stories because of the kind of people we surround ourselves with? Are people more normal at say, Boston College? I could ask, “what is normal?” but I’d never get anywhere as per usual, and that’s not exactly what I want to know, anyway. Why are people always saying, “we’re all alone” if in fact, we’re all going through the same confusion…or are we?

A certain ex used to tell me that it was impossible that I was so happy, that I must have problems that I wasn’t telling him about. My biggest problem at the moment seemed to be that he was accusing me of having deep-rooted problems because he couldn’t deal with his own. It wasn’t that I did or didn’t have problems, but more so that some people don’t understand how to be happy and sad at the same time.

For me, it seems that I can deal with sadness and still enjoy the life I’m living. I see this in many people. But I also see many people who are overcome, who can only deal with one emotion at a time. They go through life rebirthing themselves through their troubles. And in a way, I suppose we all do that, but with different degrees of intensity.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish the drama queens from the truly tragic life stories. Sometimes drama queens actually have tragic lives. Sometimes the happiest people are the ones with the most baggage. It’s hard to tell. But can we really compare them? Are lives really that relative to one another? It seems to me that pain, love, happiness, and everything in between is only relative to one life – yours.

I gave this to Lauren awhile back. I love that last line, “beat the gloom and lighten your load”. I think that is exactly how I feel about life. There is nothing wrong with being happy despite all of the tragedy and the confusion.

I don’t know if I necessarily answered the question, “do we all have problems?” There is no easy way to tell what other people are going through. However, in a world such as this, it seems as if the only people without problems are the people who have not experienced life at all. A better question would be, I suppose, is there really anything wrong with having problems in the first place?

Woods and Meditation

•December 28, 2009 • 1 Comment

(behind the old airport)

I go to the woods for many reasons – to escape, be alone, hike with a friend, be at home, be oneself, understand, relax, for motivation, to experience, see the world, feel the world, feel, etc etc. I spent seventeen years of my life living in the middle of the woods and I’ll always feel a connection with them.

When I was in junior high I used to sit on a rock in the middle of the river and write stories. More recently, I read. However, one thing that stays the same are the times when I sit and do nothing. There are chairs here and there that my father has left around, however, I prefer to walk across about two acres, past the campsite, past the pond and out to the old foundations. For old buildings they aren’t the most fascinating, (the ones on Downs Rd. are haunted, evidently), but they are a sign of the past, a sign that connects the now to the then and the then to the future. I like old things and they make me feel comfortable.

I sit on an old rock wall by the foundations and think. And then I cease to think. It is like that period in between wakefulness and sleep, in which you are not aware at all and yet you’re hyper-aware at the same time. It is the kind of direct experience that defies the senses, an experience that is hard to come by in this self-conscious, technological world muddied with signs and structures and ugh, facebook.

My father taught me how to do it when I was little. I don’t think he even knows. He was Buddhist for part of his life, more so for a woman he loved, I believe, but he still continues to pass on the knowledge. Some people would say to meditate you have to focus somehow. For me, I feel like I focus on everything all at the same time, a collective bubble in my mind. No chatter, no mess – it’s all there, but then it’s not.

It’s a wholesome feeling not to think sometimes. Life flows. It’s real.

The Consequences of Being Born a Pig

•December 27, 2009 • 1 Comment

I’ve been in this hotel room for an hour tops and look at the chaos I’ve already created. My crap is everywhere! What I don’t understand about this scenario is that I am clean and organized in my mental image of myself. Why is this?

I’m just gonna say it: I blame my mother! I blame it on the disorganization gene!

Okay, well I wish it was that easy. There really is a disorganization gene but it has more to do with the actual gene mutating into a disorganized mess than it does with my being messy. Apparently disorganization is not genetic; it’s primarily a learned behavior and it can be unlearned.

For the few of you that have actually received a grand invite into the Fox Household it was either for a holiday or my mother wasn’t actually home to acknowledge the event. She is so embarrassed of the mess that nobody is allowed inside the house. However, if you actually made it in and you wade through the clutter, up the stairs, and down the hallway you’ll find one clean room: mine. But I’m not quite sure this makes me clean; I have the feeling it has more to do with denial or rebellion.

For example, I can reassure you that none of my Boston apartment-mates think of me as clean. By the end of the week there is usually a massive pile of clothes, shoes and books in the middle of my room.

This creates a perpetual clash of stress within myself. I am messy, but I feel the constant need to be clean!

Things I do that simultaneously stress me out and de-stress me at the same time:

-To-Do lists: Endless, repetitive to-do lists in my excessively large moleskin assignment pad. I love crossing things off, but I will never be fully de-stressed considering that the to-do list of life is never-ending.

-Cleaning my room: Everytime I get stressed over work or a boy or whatev, my room explodes; invisible tornadoes rampage the place. And then, a week or so later I clean it up. I stress again, and on and on.

-Documenting: I keep records of everything. I can tell you that on January 19, 2005 Saz and I went to the library and then to her place to play guitar. That was five years ago. Sure, it’s fun to remember, but it’s also insane OCD. I stress out when I forget to write something down! I HATE IT.

So what do I do? Do I ban these activities from my day-to-day routine? Will I eventually get over the withdrawal stress of not doing them? I’ve tried and I always come back! That ridiculously catchy line from the Smallville theme song comes to mind…”Somebody saaaaaave me” I seriously don’t know what to do about this problem.

Apparently one can be both messy AND OCD. I just wish I could be content with who I am.

The Duality of Dreams and Reality

•December 26, 2009 • 3 Comments

It’s Christmas day at Aunt Patty and Uncle Doug’s lake house. I head to the basement to join Lauren in a game of DDR, and yet I am drawn to the right of the stairs towards the latched wooden door, rather than into the open, furnished game room on my left. I resist the urge this time, start dancing and head back at night for the above photo.

Behind the latch lies an old bomb shelter. It’s the story of an old dead man, a rather interesting one too; however, that is not the thing that triggers my curiosity. Behind that door lie images that remind me: rows of boxes, of bottles and old machinery. I have always been reminded and before the reminders I had never been there. So what is it about the place that reminds me so?

I stand and feel a constant sense of déjà vu. It reminds me of my dreams. At one point or another perhaps I dreamed about a place such as this. I don’t think I dreamed this exact room; by no account do I believe that dreams can tell the future. There are perhaps images in our dreams that reappear, but life is too coincidental to connect them in such a way. I connect to better understand, but foretelling…I can see how believing that could really fuck up a life.

The awareness that I connect déjà vu to my dreams may actually have some rationale. Some scientists believe that déjà vu is what I just discussed: the feeling that something has occurred before because it has – in one’s dreams. If that is so, than this old man’s bomb shelter is producing a feeling that only a dream can produce.

Feelings in dreams are funny. There is sadness and there is dream-sadness. There is pleasure and there is dream-pleasure. I can dream that I am crying and yet when I wake up crying I am not quite sad in the same way.

Whenever I begin to dream about a life-sense rather than a dream-sense I immediately wake up. This is more particular when lucid dreaming, or when I’ve realized that nothing is real. I remember a dream from maybe second grade. I was standing in the front yard after a horrible nightmare and I’m holding a bag of M&Ms, a treat I had lucidly dreamed up for myself to escape from the nightmare (genius, eh?). As I reach into the bag and place one luscious M&M on my tongue, about to forgive my unconscious or the random neuron firings in my brain – whichever – I am suddenly awoken by apparently nothing. There are no parents fighting down the hall, no light streaming in my window, nothing which should have torn me away from my prize. So what is this mysterious essence that removes me from feeling real life-senses in my dreams?

Interestingly enough, the part of the brain that allows us to experience sense, the thalamus, actually turns off when we enter REM sleep. It is literally impossible to feel life-senses, in the way we know them from reality, during sleep. So what are we feeling?

If dream-senses are actually an entirely different set of feelings than those of life than how are dreams any less real than reality? How is reality real in the first place – isn’t it all up to each person’s perception of the world? Is reality any more set in stone than dreams are?

One can spend an entire lifetime trying to find meaning in a single dream just as one can spend that same time deciphering meaning in a single life experience. Breaking down the illusions is important, but it seems that while we search we have to be careful not to get caught up in our predefined idea of “reality”.

Funny – I just noticed the title of my blog. I suppose lately I’ve been concerned with reality’s tendency to disappoint and I think this is because for a time I’d been skimming the surface, living off of the belief that life is simply life. But there is, obviously, nothing simple about it. There is no simple reality and I’d been ignoring that fact. I’ve begun to re-realize that I must dig beyond these seemingly simple appearances, into reality’s unconscious, per se.  It’s a search till the end and without searching, well, one gets nowhere.

Blogging from the Bedroom

•December 25, 2009 • 4 Comments

I started my first blog in 8th grade when Livejournal was the fad (among only certain groups of us, I suppose). I blogged anything from my day to my crazy boss’ sayings to paintings and drawings I used to work on. We all had them and I remember waiting anxiously for new comments as I drove home after school. I blogged until I arrived at college and suddenly I had…blogger’s block? I miss the ability to look back at my life, to remember better than the brain can by itself. So here I am, drawn back to cyberspace… Hank Moody would say it was the death of literature. I say everything must die eventually anyway.

So my question is…what do I blog now? Lauren wanted us to blog so we could share our thoughts online. She already hears my everyday thoughts; we share an apartment and we’re basically sisters. (She sneaks into my room to eat my oreos without asking!) What else can I do? I say, a photo a day! I think thoughts visually most of the time anyway and I expect I’m not the only one. What better way to share any life experience than through my favorite sense?

I arrived home yesterday and home I am; this is my bedroom. There is so much to say!

For starters, the bed: I always wanted a double bed (and never received one until I moved into my present apartment), but Mom wouldn’t “splurge” on it. The only boyfriend ever allowed in here was not very pleased. 😉 The sheets are old but I am still fond of them.

The bear: He’s been there as long as I can remember. There is a photo of me opening a giant gift box in which he appeared. I was five, Lauren was two; we both received identical bears for Christmas from Aunt Patty. I call him “the bear” because he’s had multiple names over the years and none have ever stuck. It must be my indecisiveness.

The dresser on the left: You can almost see the mirror, but if you can’t tell it has been covered over with ticket stubs, photos, charms, magazine cut-outs, you-name-it. I keep everything (you should see my closet). I think it’s because I’m afraid of forgetting.

The bookcases:  I love my books. I read when I was little because my mom was so determined for us to be super-literate. Now I read more because of my dad; something about finding oneself blah blah, you know. One day I’ll get it.

The slate: Yeah, it’s cliché. Disliking a cliché would only be cliché, regardless. It’s a Midnight Productions slate. In 10th grade Hannah Roble asked me to film a movie for her because she knew I liked to…without that movie I may never have gone to Emerson. Thank you, Hannah. 🙂

The presents in the foreground: It’s Christmas Eve and I’m starting a blog. I’m also wrapping gifts. Mom just yelled down the hallway, “Put your gifts under the tree!” I suppose I should hurry.

The photo seems sort of drab and lonely. I like this. Ever since college began this room HAS seemed kind of drab and lonely. Something is missing and it is never the same when I return. I almost feel as if I don’t have a home anymore…or a permanent one, anyway. My room just isn’t me. Life continues.