Thursday, November 22, 2012

More Weight

I can never again make fun of Taylor for crying at the end of Apollo 13.  Not after I just spent the past two hours sobbing at this movie:

Man alive.  It was roughly two years ago that I finally decided I was allowed to have emotions, and I knew that it would be a strange, difficult road, but I never expected this.  I never thought that I would become the type of person who cries during movies.  And I don't even have any hormonal excuses!  Just pure, unadulterated connection with a beautiful work of art.

I read The Crucible as a junior in high school.  I had loved books before, but nothing had struck me to the core like Arthur Miller's words.  They kept me awake at night, pondering over implication.  The Salem Witch Trials, a topic I thought I had pretty well covered with my extensive Ann Rinaldi readings as a child, suddenly became a new experience, rife with the meaning of dignity and justice.  That started me on my love of American writers, led me to reading more postmodern works.  The Crucible defined my adult reading palate.   It sharpened my sense of talented writing.  And watching the movie again tonight, for the first time since high school, I was struck again.

Words are powerful.  They carry weight.  And the way we use them shapes us.

I know.  Super deep.  But let's face it, I abandoned all pride the moment I started choking up while watching justice die as girls screamed about Goody Good with the Devil.  Ah well.  At least I'm not crying at chick flicks.  There's mercy yet.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fawkes-y Lady

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Isn't my title punny?  It makes me chuckle.  I'm celebrating this November Fifth by watching V for Vendetta tonight.  Not super creative, but it's tradition.  I'm also wearing my Guy Fawkes shirt at work--it's underneath a professional button-up, but it's there.  And it's bringing me secret joy.  And that's all that matters.

Too lazy to take a picture, so this will have to do.  It's practically a self-portrait anyways.

I feel like I've been needing to write a follow-up to that last post.  To be perfectly honest, that post was always meant as a precursor--a way to announce my participation in Nanowrimo.  But then the announcement started needing in-depth explanation, and then the explanation took over, and by the time I was finished wallowing I was finished blogging.  After all, it was about ten thirty at that point, which is an hour and a half past my school-induced bedtime.

So.  Here's a rundown of what I've been doing to beat my defeatist nature. [Sidenote:  Beat the Defeatist sounds like it should be some kind of game.  Can someone who develops apps get on that?]

A few weeks ago, I decided I was tired of not being brave.  I had all these grand plans of what I wanted to do, and how I wanted my life to be.  I was talking about all the things I thought were amazing, all these jobs and experiences I wish I could have, but nothing was being done about them.  It became this grand game of comparing the life I had to the one I wanted, and it was impossible to win.  It's foolish to get in that mental competition.  The life you have and the life you think you should?  Without action, there's just no winning.

And then, like a bolt of some type of electrically charged weather, it hit me.  I was talking about all these things I wanted to do, things I wished I was a part of, but I was doing absolutely nothing about it.

"Oh, I wish I sung more."
"Oh, I wish I had more than slight skill in music."
"If only I wrote more regularly."
"If only I read as often as I used to."
"If only I got involved in my community."
"I wish I had the job I wanted."
"I wish I could just do this-or-that for the rest of my life."

And so on, so on, so on until the end of time.

So I finally decided to do something MORE than whining about what my life should be like.  I decided to work on making it the life I wanted.

Ways I am working towards what I want to be doing:

1) Participating in Nanowrimo.  For the uninitiated, that is where you write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.  It's big.  And scary.  And any encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

2) Taking the GRE in Nov. 28th.  Also big.  Also scary.  Also containing math, my great nemesis.  Once again, any encouragement will be appreciated.

3)  Participating in a singing group and performing Christmas songs at nursing homes and hospitals around Seattle.  Even though this gives me uncomfortable choir flashbacks (repressing high school rage, repressing high school rage...), I think it's enjoyable.

4) Applying to grad schools.  I'm still trying to find the perfect program, but I'm feeling optimistic.  I want to get a Masters in Journalism, most likely in magazine work because I want to do media criticism.  Any experts out there with advice?

5) Heading up a musical program on Polynesia for my school's multicultural event.  I have never directed anything before.  To my drama friends--thoughts?  Suggestions?

6) Creating a poetry unit for the fifth graders.  This is just exciting, exciting gravy on the top of my to-do list.  Nothing helps me relax and notice the beauty more than poetry.

On my way to work, I listen to podcasts.  It keeps me from going insane from the commute.  One of my new favorites is the Nerdist podcast, which can be stellar if they are interviewing a person you're interested in.  The two I listened to last week were Conan O'Brien and Seth Green (I love my gingers), and they were delightful--ideal inspiration for creative people who want to succeed.  Both interviews made me believe that I could achieve success in my chosen field. Conan, because he was a proponent of finding balance between depression  facilitating creativity, using one to fuel the other but not wallowing; and Seth, because he was all about finding what you love and working as hard as you can towards that.  He noted that the previous generation could not imagine enjoying work.  A job was something you went to during the day, and then you tried your best to choke down unhappiness as you spent evenings with your family.  It's remarkable that we can profit from passion, and we should recognize the gift that is.

So those are my goals.

Be Brave
Work Hard
Be Kind 
Love What I Do
  Don't Whine* 
Be Grateful

The crazy thing is, since I've been trying to do this, I've felt... invincible.  Like I can do anything.  The fact that I am actually doing something to try and improve my life is weirdly empowering.  And it's spread to everything!  I'm more productive at my job, a better communicator with friends and family, and more willing to stand up for myself.  Who knew that becoming an advocate for yourself would be so great?  It's like I have a super power.  So watch out, here comes Assertive Woman.  Here to save the day and make her own life exponentially better--which will hopefully make other lives better.  Don't go thinking I'm totally selfish.  I'm just vowing to no longer live in self-pity.

* Or, don't whine too much.  Let's be realistic.