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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Writers Block

It seems that my burgeoning career as a blogger has seriously stalled...It's not that I don't want to write, it's just that lately I don't have the greatest material running through my head.

I have this list in my notepad on my iPhone, and when inspiration strikes me on the bus or at work or anywhere else that I can't immediately sit down and pound out whatever genius idea I have, I take it down (I just misspelled "genius" by the way, which really made it hit home for me that I am not one). The problem is, when I go back and look at the things I wrote on this list, I have no idea why I thought they would be good topics for this blog, let alone a conversation with any other human.

For example (and these are verbatim):
  • "believing everything you read"
  • "everyone seems interesting and cool at first bc you convince yourself"
  • "high school-my life as Liz-nerd mentality can be just as bad"
  • "eckhart tolle being present vs. longing...longing leads to creativity?"
  • "how unattractive it is when ppls insecurities show ESP if they are trying to cover it up and over comp"
So yeah...I assume when I took those topics down I had some amazing, thought-provoking things to say about them, but I have no idea what those are now. My memory sucks, and all I'm left with are random strings of thought that probably never should have been written down in the first place. Let's view these as fun little samples of all the BS that occupies my mind day in and day out.

I mean, "everyone seems interesting and cool at first bc you convince yourself"? I wish that were true! And "longing leads to creativity"...I'm such a tortured artist at heart. "Believing everything you read"...I do have a tendency to do that, actually.

The point is, I have nothing to write about right now because I'm a normal fucking person working a 9 to 5. I've chosen not to divulge any overly personal details in this blog, which is a big setback in terms of keeping it interesting and maintaining a steady stream of material. I mean, you want should see my diary. Please don't actually read my diary, if you know me and know where I keep it. But I'm just saying...there is some real scandalous material in there. It's just none of your business.

What can I tell you about myself lately...I've had R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" stuck in my head ever since that football player sang it so intensely on Glee two weeks ago. My car insurance premium is due, and I mailed it this morning, which sucks because I'm going to be broke until my next paycheck. I accidentally left my TV on all day today while I was at work.

See? I have NOTHING TO REPORT! And the sad thing is, I'm content with my mediocrity right now. The most exciting thing I have to look forward to tonight after I put down this laptop is dinner, and I'm pretty fucking excited about that. If I want material, I'm going to have to go undercover as a drug mule or something and write about that. And I REFUSE to do that.

Uneventfully yours,


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Living in the Moment

So much to say right now...first of all, I've been extremely sick for the past week and especially for the past two days, and today I started feeling like a human again. And it feels amazing. There's nothing like having a bad cold to make you realize how awesome things like breathing and not sleeping propped up in a full sitting position are. By the way, can we please reallocate some of the resources being used for, say, the war on terror, to finding a cure for the common cold??? Thanks.

Maybe it's the fact that my mind is no longer clouded by three types of cold medicine as it has been for days on end, but I just had the most introspective bus ride EVER and I'm going to share all my philosophical findings with you right here right now. YES. Get ready. It's my 30th post and I'm going all out, getting deep on you. What, you didn't think there was a deep side to me? You thought that all I do is party and then complain about how I don't want to party anymore but then go party again the next night?

Well you're wrong. I also read (chapter books!) from time to time, and I just read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Eckhart Tolle is this German New Age writer/philosopher/spiritual guide and he's definitely introduced me to a new way of thinking. I'm not going to write a book review because I recently realized how much I hate writing book reviews, especially for a certain website that has an asshat for an editor. That said, I recommend this book.

The main takeaway from A New Earth in my opinion is learning to be present in the moment you are living in now. Dwelling on the past or longing for the future ensures that you will never be satisfied with your life. Also, learning not to immediately judge a situation as "good" or "bad" and simply taking it in and dealing with whatever comes your way. It's a pretty basic concept really, but it has honestly changed how I live.

For example: on Friday I drove to work, which I usually don't do because I work near the Giant's stadium and there is a game basically every day, meaning the parking garages in the area charge exorbitant prices because they can, and everyone loses. Anyhow, the first garage I attempted to park in recently made the stellar business decision not to accept credit cards, so I couldn't park there and had to drive to another garage. As I was pulling out, I failed to notice the car driving down the alley I was turning into, and panicked. At the last minute I saw the other car and tried to break but instead accelerated, lurching into it.

Here is what the old Jessica would have done, and I know this because I've reacted this way in every other accident I've been involved in: burst into tears. Partially because I was upset, partially to gain sympathy from the other party (I'm subconsciously calculating and I can't help it). But this time was different. I think I said "FUCK!" and then I sat there for a second. I told myself, "yeah, that just happened, it was your fault, and now you need to deal with it". And I did.

Yeah, it sucked, but me being melodramatic would have actually only made it suck more. The same concept applied today when the shady insurance-recommended mechanic informed me that my bumper will cost $1300 to fix because some foam spring something behind the bumper and some type of light were damaged also (I DON'T SPEAK CAR). I'm actually fully aware that I'm probably getting screwed but guess what? I've accepted it. This is what is happening and I can judge the situation as "bad", or I can just see it as something that simply "is".

Focusing on the present moment also changes the way I view what is "real". I feel like I've tried so hard to ensure that people and situations in my life are "real": a "real" man, a "real" job, "real" friends...the exception being my hair color, which as my sister will smugly affirm, I have spent large amounts of time and money to get it as far from "real" as possible. What the fuck is "real" though? If we live by Eckhart Tolle's beliefs, every moment is real, because the present moment is all that matters.

I like to think about this is in regards to romance. How many times have you told yourself that something you thought you had with someone wasn't "real" because it didn't work out the way you wanted it to? Maybe it was real...if you felt it in that moment, it was real in that moment. Even if the other person didn't feel the same as you, if in that moment you believed that they did then maybe it was. In your pathetic, desperate mind only, yes, but still.

The more I write, the more I can see how this line of thinking could easily lead to delusion. All I know is that yes, I want to live in the moment. But I don't want to forget the past. But I don't want to dwell on it either. And I do care about the future. But I don't want to miss out on what is in front of me because I'm so focused on it. WHAT DO I WANT???

I want to be able to capture the moment of my choice and come back to it, just for a second, when I feel like I'm forgetting it. You know those moments that just make you feel an insane amount of happiness and freedom and excitement? How do you hold on to them? There is only one thing that has ever been able to transport me back to a certain moment, and that is music. The thing is, that only works if a specific song was playing in the moment I want to remember.

Sometimes I can't tell if my life is completely awesome or completely pathetic. The last couple days I've been alone on my couch surrounded by a mountain of kleenex, so the consensus was most definitely pathetic. But today I feel better, and I still have a new job that I love, and killer friends, and two more days until the weekend, and I'm leaning towards awesome. I guess it doesn't matter either way, since I'm no longer judging situations. Really though, if you've read to this point I have to both commend and thank you. I have no closing argument, so I'll end with a link to the song that I have been playing obsessively for the past week. It's AWESOME.

Paper Romance-Groove Armada



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burning Man

I can't believe it's been an entire week since I left Burning Man and came back to reality, or "the default world" as I heard it described there. I've been wanting to write this again and again but every time I tried I gave up because there is no way that I could ever put that experience into words, and it's frustrating. Here I am again though, sitting in front of this damn computer, and I'm going to try.

Most people have heard of Burning Man before, but it exists in their mind as an abstract concept; a strange festival in the desert where a bunch of dirty hippies run around naked and burn stuff on drugs. I'm not going to pretend that that doesn't go on, because it totally does, but Burning Man is so much more than that for most people. This was my second year, and my favorite year thus far.

Describing this chronologically would be difficult, because once you arrive at Burning Man time sort of melts into itself and ceases to be important. My friends and I left San Francisco around 9 am last Wednesday morning, endured an extremely long and arduous drive out into the desert, and still didn't manage to set up camp before dark. To make matters worse, the first place we tried to set up camp was "reserved", so we had to put everything back in the car and resume our search for an available campsite. I'm really selling you on this, aren't I...

The next place we stopped to set up camp seemed available, but just to be sure we asked two guys lounging there. They told us that someone named "Pond Scum" had saved the space for some friends, but he would probably be ok with us camping there. That was good enough for us at that point, and we pitched our tent in record time, threw on some weird clothes and headed out to the Playa. I never ended up meeting the infamous Pond Scum, but PS, if you're reading this, thanks for letting me camp on your turf.

Let me backtrack now, since after this point in my story time has no bearing anyway. Burning Man is held annually in Black Rock Desert, which is a huge, dried out lake bed from the fucking Pleistocene era. Now it's a desert of fine, white silt and it's referred to as Playa. This location is literally one of the most beautiful places I have ever been...especially at sunrise and sunset. It's freezing at night and blistering hot during the day, not to mention the dust/sand storms that randomly come without notice. And I love it. And I don't even camp in the real world.

Keep in mind that every year Burning Man, or "Black Rock City" is completely recreated from nothing...nothing is left behind from the year before because the rule is to "leave no trace". 50,000 people come to this desert in the middle of nowhere (and trust me, it is in the middle of nowhere), build a city with art and installations, party their ass off, burn shit, and then take it all with them when they leave. There is no trash disposal there, so you're responsible for anything you brought with you. These rules are actually followed year after year, which is why the party is allowed to keep happening.

My favorite part about Burning Man at night. I prefer to sleep during the day rather than brave the heat, and nighttime is also party time obviously, so most of my experiences there are nocturnal. Once the sun set each night, my friends and I would get dressed (and by dressed I mean piece together the brightest, furriest, sparkliest components of our wardrobes), fill up our Camelbaks (which constantly leak leaving you with a soaking wet back all night, by the way) and head towards the action.

The festival is set up like a clock, with all of the camping areas on the outer edge named for times (ours was 9:30), and with nightclubs and such in the center. As you get closer and closer to the middle you can hear the beat of music coming from all directions, see crazy lazers and LED lights beaming across the desert, and feel the excited energy of everyone around you. There are hundreds of things to do at any given time at Burning Man and it would be impossible to experience all of them in one trip (or even one lifetime), so I'll just name a few of the things I was lucky enough to do:

-Danced my ass off every single night at numerous "nightclubs", my favorite being the "Opulent Temple", where you party with hundreds (thousands?) of other people underneath the stars while fire spews above you in time with the music and lights. Ummmmm yeah, it was sick.
-Climbed lots of huge, amazing art installations. Everything at Burning Man is interactive, so it's essentially an enormous playground for adults.
-Stumbled into a roller disco rink in the middle of the desert and attempted to roller skate.
-Wandered around. Wandering is a big part of Burning Man actually...generally the consensus is walk until you find good music, cool art, or interesting people. You end up stopping a lot.
-Jumped on an enormous art car decorated like a boat with a dj and dance floor that drove us all out miles into the desert so we could barely see the lights of the festival any more but nobody cared and it was awesome.
-Watched in awe with thousands of people as the "man" and the temple burned. Indescribable beauty and power in those moments.
-Met some of the nicest, most generous, beautiful, interesting people existing on this planet. From all corners of the world. Partied with them like it was 1999.
-Grew even closer to my existing friends that were there. Love you guys!

If that seems like a lot, it's nothing. It doesn't even scratch the surface. Because it isn't what you do at Burning Man, it's how you feel when you're there and when you return to the real world. A lot of people actually consider Burning Man to be "home", which is why everyone is greeted upon arrival to the festival with "welcome home" and a hug. Yeah, yeah, it sounds cheesy and maybe it is but it's also real. I can't explain why, and I just tried for about ten minutes and then deleted everything I wrote, so just take my word for it. Or see for yourself.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It's the freakin weekend baby I'm about to have me some fun

Why do Friday afternoon and Sunday morning have to feel like worlds apart? Why do I always go into the weekend feeling like a rock star and end it feeling like a pathetic loser? How long can this go on before I finally find that thing called "balance" that people speak of?

To add insult to injury, I'm 25 now. I've come to terms with the fact that that isn't very old in the larger scheme of things, but it's not exactly young either. What I mean is that the guilt I feel when I wake up hungover and miserable on a Sunday morning is only magnified by the fact that I've had a quarter century to get all this out of my system and it's still there. My favorite place in the world to be is still the dance floor, as cheesy as that sounds. I still live for the weekends.

The problem is, there is a very real dark side to partying...there comes a point in the night when everyone's eyes become soulless and glazed over and there is this unspoken feeling that everyone is trying to stay out as long as possible to avoid dealing with reality, and then it all starts to feel a little sad. I've started to wonder what I'm trying to escape from...I like my life.

It bothers me that this is even an issue, because it's A. easily avoidable with even an ounce of willpower and B. one of so many things that people in their 20s talk about as if they were the first person ever to experience when really it's old news. Also, I'm fully aware that if I were writing this on a Friday afternoon rather than a Sunday evening, the tone would most likely be a lot different. It's a vicious cycle, but not vicious enough to have any tangible consequences, which is why I keep repeating it.

I have this vision of my ideal weekend self: spending my days exercising and catching up with friends over tea followed by peaceful evenings of home improvement projects, then in bed by eleven. Maybe this will be me someday but for now the most I can hope for is to strike a balance. Go out one night per weekend instead of two. Come home before the club closes. Try my hardest not to dance on any tables.

I'll let you know how that goes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I cant.

Today was a great day for equality (Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional!) but a horrible day for ME. Today was the day I cried not once, but twice in public, both times because of evil MUNI employees. I realize how ridiculous that sounds, but that's what went down.

I rarely cry in public. Just the other day I saw an article on titled "How to deal with public weepers" and thought to myself "Why would anyone cry in public? God, people are so weird." In retrospect, this is all probably karma for thinking that. Awesome.

Let me start from the beginning. I woke up this morning and before I even opened my eyes, I could tell it was going to be a bad day. I couldn't even summon up the energy to do my morning affirmations (a new thing I've been trying), because telling myself "I am a powerful creator of good in my life" just felt lame and annoying. I tried on five outfits and still walked out the door looking like shit. I was doomed. I jumped on the bus, swiped my Clipper Card (bus pass) and instead of hearing the "BEEEPPPPPP" that it usually makes, I instead heard the "beep beep beep" of the card being declined for lack of funds.

That bus driver didn't seem to care, and I figured it was a fluke because I set that thing up to autofill itself every month, so I continued on to Embarcadero station, the second stop on my route. This time I had to scan my card to get through the gates, and when it declined for the second time, I had no choice but to go talk to the man sitting in the ticket office. I explained to him that my Clipper card was being declined, but autopay was set up so I didn't know why. He started barking at me that if I didn't have a receipt for the payment MUNI police was going to give me a ticket.

Flustered, I stormed over to a newsstand ten feet away and started rifling through my purse for coins to buy a ticket. After watching me do this for a good two minutes, the ticket man came up to me and handed me a transfer. Nice, right? Well when I walked back up to the gate and waited for him to buzz me through, he took the opportunity to start lecturing me about my "attitude" over his microphone. So that everyone walking by could hear. I was forced to apologize and hurry down to the Subway, fuming at this point.

The second I got on the bus, the fucking tears started coming. I tried holding them back, taking deep breaths, looking down and then up, but they wouldn't stop. I finally resigned to crouching in my seat, hiding my face with my hair and wiping my nose with my sleeve. When I reached my stop, I rushed off and tried as hard as I could to pull it together before walking into work.

Surprisingly, the work day went by pretty smoothly, and I was convinced that things were looking up for me. I had gone online and put more money on my Clipper card and printed out the receipt, just in case there was an issue on the way home. There was. Getting back onto the 38AX bus, the card again was declined. I turned to the bus driver and explained that I had refilled my card, but as it said on the receipt that I was showing him, it can take 72 hours for the payment to process.

"YOU PAY FARE!!!" he screamed at me, as the other passengers filed past me, taking all the good seats. I tried explaining again, as I dug through my purse for coins that I knew weren't there, but to no avail. He just kept screaming. Overwhelmed, embarrassed and defeated, I simply turned and walked off the bus. A second later, the tears were back. I was crying in public again, and now I was on Market Street (the busiest street in the city).

Some days are just harder than others. The simplest things become monumentally difficult and frustrating, and usually the more upset you become, the worse things get. Today was definitely one of those days. Just existing was a challenge, let alone riding MUNI. Call it a mood swing, quarter-life crisis, whatever. It was just a bad day...part of me wishes I had followed my instinct and not even ventured out of bed.

There is a silver lining, though. Once I stopped crying for the second time and gathered up the change and will to hop on the next bus, I called Clipper card services. After AT&T dropped my call four times and I sat on hold for 20 minutes, I was connected to a wonderful gentleman by the name of Julian...or Joseph...or Juan. He listened to my issue, agreed with me that bus drivers are assholes, and credited my card $6 for my troubles. It doesn't sound like much, but after the day I'd had it restored my hope in humanity (and public transportation).

Another bonus is that I finally felt strongly enough about something to write again! MUNI, as much as I hate you, you are my muse.



Thursday, June 24, 2010

Living Alone

So I was just returning from happy hour, thinking about how amazing it is coming home to my own little studio, everything just the way I left it and noone to answer to but myself...

And this is what I walk into: shattered glass all over the floor. A picture had inexplicably fallen off the wall, a picture that has hung happily for four months with no issues, now suddenly on the ground. I stood there staring at it for about two minutes, and came up with three possible explanations:

1. There was an earthquake. This is San Francisco, its totally possible.
2. My upstairs neighbor, who has a penchant for stomping around, usually between the hours of 6:00 am and 7:00 am, got a little overzealous doing...whatever it is he does up there. Zumba? Capoiera?
3. I have a ghost. I'm not really ok with this explanation, and I don't have any sage or psychics handy so lets consider this a highly unlikely explanation.

Now I have a fucking empty space on the wall, which is totally noticeable and annoying. Also, even though I did the best job I could sweeping the floor in 4 inch heels and with 3 drinks in my system, I'm not entirely confident that I got every single shard. So what if I get up in the middle of the night to pee and step on glass, fall down bleeding, and my cries for help are not heard for days? Will anyone even wonder where I was?

I've really loved living alone thus far...I can watch Hannah Montana and order pizza and play dress up and sing dramatic renditions of "Careless Whisper" as much as I want. Not that I do any of those things. I'm just saying, they are things that I could do if I wanted. My point is, I've never felt scared or lonely once since I moved in in March.

I'm not going to let this strange little incident change that. All I'll say is, to my friends, if you haven't heard from me in a few days...just call me, k? And if I don't answer, come check on me? K thanks!!!



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Miss Independent

One of my friends, who is 24 years old like me, saw a financial adviser yesterday to go over all that boring crap like her 401 k and the status bank accounts. She emailed me this afterward

"My goal was to own a condo by the time I am 30. I was informed that it would be virtually impossible unless I experience a drastic increase in income.

She said that I could aggressively save 10-12 more years and hope its enough to put a down payment on a condo in that market. She said that she did not want to discourage my dreams, even though they are not feasible. She paused and then suggested, 'or you can get married in the next 5 years and you would definitely have enough!'"

(In case you were wondering...yes she really writes like that in casual emails to friends. Love it.)

If I were Carrie Bradshaw (just saw SATC2 by the way...meh), my commentary would go something like this:

"We're taught as little girls that we don't need a man, and we can achieve our goals all by ourselves. But what happens when we really do need a man to achieve those goals? Was woman's lib...just one big fib?"

Well Carrie Bradshaw I am I say:

What a fucking bitch!!! If my financial adviser told me that I would spit on her. then I would tell her that I am a lesbian and this state doesn't ALLOW me to get married and make her feel really awful. I mean seriously, is suggesting that a 24 year old woman get married within 5 years in order to afford a condo really considered best practices in financial advising?

I would respect this woman more if she had told my friend to fly to Columbia, smuggle a package home, cut it with some baking powder and head to 16th and Valencia to sell that shit. Or whatever the fastest way to make 100K is these days.

So, to my girl, here's to you for not being a gold digger and I'm sure we can find you a better financial adviser on yelp or something.