Category Archives: self-awareness

We Move In Infinite Space

Well, I looked out of my window this morning
And I saw the strangest thing
Oh, everyone was walking on water and dancing in the rain

While this blog is partially a way for me to keep you interested people up to date, it’s also definitely a way for me to keep track of myself.

Since I live in a solid state of transience, I get caught up in life and everything consistently feels like a mess with intermittent periods of “Ok… this is actually ok.”

Austin Kleon (I know, right?!) commented on my very first post and said this:

I’m flattered! Good luck on your blogging quest — I was your age when I started blogging, and it was just a place for me to figure stuff out and find myself. Stick with it.

Goddamn. That became the truest truth of all time, in terms of what my own blog became.

Without it, I wouldn’t be able to refer back to posts like this and this and reacquaint myself with the insight I stumbled upon previously.

Because honestly, I never remember shit about anything. Ask Desi. I would have forgotten basically every amazing/hilarious/embarrassing thing we ever did if she wasn’t around to remind me.

And since she can’t remind me about my personal thoughts/feelings/epiphanies, I’m happy that I take the time to sit down and crank this stuff out so that it can be saved for posterity. Because then those moments when I’m like “Good God, what the hell is going on?” are a little less traumatic.

I feel like I was born with equivocal wings but for some reason I’m always trying to make everything concrete/stable and have plans and long-term goals and just create a dependable sense of “future” for myself like most other people seem to have. But every time I try, it freaks me the fuck out. So, then I realize that I have to just let go and live because that’s the state in which I’m content. But for some reason, I forget about the resolve that I acquired and get freaked out again.

This blog kind of cuts that process down to something that requires minimal effort. Because I remember vaguely that I’ve already come to conclusions about a lot of this. So, I just re-read it, re-establish that baseline, and continue on with enough time/energy to come up with new insights because the building blocks are there. Maybe it’s two steps forward and one step back… but, whatever. I’ll take it.

Did I post about Letters to a Young Poet, yet? I’m thinking I mentioned it but didn’t comment as extensively as I wanted to. So, here’s a relevant quote:

People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have no absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have no realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun’s motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

A reference to physics and the solar system during a discussion of self-awareness and fate? YES, PLEASE. I make science analogies all the time. Sometimes I feel like I can really only think in terms of science. My sophomore year of college was a mess of biology analogies for love situations. Rainer Maria Rilke is my homeboy.

Texas is totally fucking with my head. But I don’t have to make the Texas vs. Louisiana decision until like November, so why worry? Also, deep down in my heart, I know I’ll end up in Louisiana because it’s been the driving force of my life for so long. I think I make alternate plans because I’m afraid of the possibility of never actually making it to New Orleans. And/or because I’m afraid that it won’t actually be everything I’ve thought it will be.

Maybe I’m just over-thinking this. All of this.

The shitty thing about my brain is that every day I just want to turn it off. But I have actually turned it off with Adderall and I hated every single second of it.

Some days I’m so frustrated by the fact that my thoughts are incessantly all over the place. Like so frustrated that I could cry. But I’m so used to being like this that when it’s different, I don’t feel like myself. And I honestly think it’s better to be frustrated with yourself than to not feel like yourself.

Although, I really wish I could be studying for today’s OB simulation instead of writing this blog… Why can’t they make PRN medication for this?

I’ve seriously been sitting at a coffee shop since 5:48 and it’s now 8:01. And this simulation is at 11:00. But I’ve been more interested in watching and analyzing the flux of people and messing around on the internet and writing this blog than doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

Coffee shops in the morning are weird. There’s a certain type of person that comes in at 6:00 and a certain type of person that comes in at 7:00 and a certain type of person that comes in at 8:00. It’s so strange. And I never knew this until today… So now I’m blown away by the discovery and can’t focus.

I’m so screwed.

I need Drew to be here so he can hold my face with his hands, look at me straight in the eyes, and say “It’s time to pull yourself together, focus, and get shit done.”

In non-related news, here’s some Jeremy Messersmith just because it’s Wednesday and you probably need it. I sure as hell do.

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Destiny

noun ( pl. -nies)
the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future : she was unable to control her own destiny.

This was my favorite toy when I was a kid… hands down. I remember being obsessed with listening to hearts. It was mindblowing to a 4 year old.

Not as mindblowing as a real stethoscope though. I feel like I’m a 4 year old all over again.

I don’t really believe in destiny, per se. It’s not like this was written in the stars before I was born or something. But I do believe that what you’re interested in as a kid probably means more than you think in terms of where you end up as an adult. Had I just thought about that damn medical kit, I think the answers to my confusion would have be obvious all along. I loved diagnosing people (and stuffed animals) and then deciding what needed to be done to fix them and then providing them with the requisite care and compassion. On the inside, I’m 50% science and 50% nurturing and apparently have been since preschool. The Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes about the human body only fueled the fire.

As 90s kids, I really think we all owe a lot to that man. Here’s a list of episodes dealing specifically with the human body. Check them out if you ever get the chance. The memories will come flooding back.

#4: Skin
#7: Digestion
#23: Blood and Circulation
#20: Eyeballs
#28: Bones and Muscle
#34: Brain
#40: Respiration
#76: Heart
#91: Smell (includes stuff about other animals too, as I recall)

In general, our bodies are amazing. But it’s crazy when you listen to your own heart doing everything that you know hearts do and working in the way you know hearts work. It’s in you right now filling and pumping. I know I sound like I’m high. This is probably less than incredible to you. But one day it will hit you. Get a real stethoscope and listen to your heart. Then think about what a pumping heart looks like. If you’ve never seen one, I’m sure you can find something online. It’s like something is alive inside of you.

It’s like a whole new level of self-awareness. Babies look in mirrors. 20-somethings listen to their heart.

Our bodies are complex and beautiful. It’s like  everything is perfectly choreographed. I mean, just study the basics of homeostasis. So many things in your body have to be at just the right levels to keep you alive. And all the systems work as feedback mechanisms to other systems and somehow it all comes together to keep you breathing and conscious and capable of doing things.

Aside from the CNS, the musculoskeletal system is probably my favorite. I really think everyone should be required to take A&P. Once you know all the major muscles of the body and know what they do and how they work together to move you, life can never be the same.

And it’s weird to think that every single part of you is alive pretty much. Your cells are metabolizing and communicating with each other and fighting battles and all kinds of things. Aside from non-mitotic cells like neurons and cardiac muscle cells, your body is one big circle of life. Cells are born, they divide, and they die. Instead of feeling like one living person, sometimes I feel disjointed because what we really are is just an amalgamation of trillions of cells that are perfectly specialized weirdly work together somehow. The feeling that you’re alive as yourself but are also made entirely out of smaller things that are also alive is a strange one. There’s life in every part of you. Even your BONES are alive. And when you think about it like that, you hit some kind of super-awareness zenith where you feel like you’re bursting from being TOO alive. I don’t know. I definitely do sound high. It’s hard to explain this feeling though.

The human body isn’t exactly perfect because if it were, we wouldn’t die. However, there are some pretty perfect things about it that make me feel perfectly alive every day.

And in a lot of ways, I feel like I actually was unable to control my own destiny. Primarily because of what happened when I just let go. Destiny took over and now here I am where I was always meant to be, I guess.

And What I Lived For (Part 2)

Disclaimer: Nearly a stream of conscious mess. The following entry makes NO sense. But I don’t know how to fix it. So I’m going to leave it as is.

Punks are my people. And I miss my WNY best friends. They do what they want and tell it how it is. But also have the capacity to love more than anyone else. Those are generalizations, of course. Because, yes, they’re many things and come in many forms/varieties with different ideologies/attitudes.  Don’t try to absolutely define punk ideology because it changes with the times and the trends and the waves and the phases. Proof: the wiki. Punk is everything.

And that’s because you can’t really define a group of people. One of the few universal truths.

But for the most part, certain elements are true.

Punk rock is my soul. I can’t deny that. Dissent is my natural state.

More than anything, I believe in freedom and individualism. I will forever be an idealist who refuses to accept that things have to be a certain way. I will tell you exactly what I’m thinking even if it comes off as slightly abrasive. This doesn’t apply to older people. I respect them for the most part. I’m not about to get into it with my boss or someone’s parents or anything like that. I can be ridiculously sweet when I need to be.

Rebellion and independence and dissatisfaction and holding people accountable are all I’ve ever known in terms of how I’ve lived. Revolutions and social justice and counterculture used to be the only things I cared about.

I think I realized recently, for the first time, that hostility is more than just my current state or a temporary state that I go through sometimes. It’s kind of always been part of my spirit. I guess it’s only “hostility” when I’m actively unkind/disagreeable/unsympathetic/selfish/narcissistic. The other times, better words for the state are probably “opposition,” “defiance,” “noncompliance,” or “resistance.” One of my life advice friends says that he and I have “polarity responder” tendencies. He pointed out the fact that if it’s not honed, you can push people away.

I push people away. That’s the truth. But I was semi-incorrect about why. I knew it was the hostility. But I guess I didn’t realize the hostility part was permanent. The reason I’m pushing them away for the time being (and why I have in the past) is because I’m bad at honing the hostility in the aftermath of certain life events. Usually those where my heart is broken and my walls go up and my entire mentality becomes the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. It’s not because the hostility only exists at certain points. It’s always there. I’m just more capable of controlling it and/or providing an outlet for it at some points in my life than others.

This doesn’t change my resolve to be less hostile right now. I’m still a firm believer in the fact that I just need to get it all out and then move on. I don’t know what else you’re supposed to do when you put it all on the line for a person and give them everything you have and open yourself completely and then get none of that in return. I think it’s ok to actively be on a defensive plan of attack after that. Not forever, of course. But at least for a little while until you heal a bit.

This realization does change how I see the situation and myself though. Hostility is not temporary. It’s part of me. But that can be a really great thing if used the correct way. I’m going to accomplish a lot of things that other people don’t have the motivation for because of this spirit I was born with. I’m obviously kind of bad at fighting for myself. But when it comes to fighting on behalf of others, I will knock you out. Not physically, of course, because I don’t condone violence. But when it comes to fighting for love or justice or freedom or peace or equality or anything like that, I’ll try forever. Obviously, punk isn’t necessarily about taking the defiance and doing anything constructive with it. But I’ve always been unable to live unless something constructive is coming out of what I’m doing.

On the drive home on Friday night, I think I sang my lungs out the whole way. It was a freedom catharsis like none other. I’m settling back into myself and it’s starting to feel right again. Between all the shows, roadtrips, and 80s nights in the last few weeks, I’m definitely losing my voice and my hearing. Soon, I won’t be able to communicate at all.

Speaking of shows, the Shamrock N Roll fest solidified my roadtrip epiphany. I can’t remember the last time I went to a punk show. The Street Dogs took me back to everything I was before I met Matt. I don’t know what happened or how I got away from that. In that moment, I knew I was finally free and also that I could never shut any part of myself down ever again. For anyone or for any situation.

Also, CHUCK RAGAN IS PHENOMENAL LIVE. It was him with an acoustic guitar and harmonica and his ridiculous voice + some guy playing a standup base + some amazing guy playing a fiddle. Honestly, one of the top 5 things I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying a lot because I’ve been to a ton of shows. I’m exclusively listening to Chuck Ragan on my way back to Pittsburgh tonight.

The Stiff Little Fingers were there too. It was like the time I saw Bob Dylan. Definitely one of those “I have to pinch myself because this isn’t real” feelings. You can’t encounter old school greatness like that and not be floored. They played all my favorite SLF songs.  My 17 year old self would never believe me if I tried to tell her that it actually happened.

Probable scenario:
24 year old Liz: Someday, you will see the Stiff Little Fingers live. Jake Burns will be right in front of you.
17 year old Liz: I don’t believe it. That’s too awesome/epic to be true.

And the Dropkick Murphys were obviously awesome. I would put them on a list of top 10 bands  that every person has to see in concert before they die regardless of any personal preferences for certain types of genres he/she may have. You can hardly have more fun at any other show. It’s a powerfully good time.

And I already mentioned the fact that the Street Dogs changed my life… so, yeah. They were obviously great too. They played Guns of Brixton. I think I died from happiness.

And life is amazing anytime you hear two Johnny Cash songs at one show.

Long story short: I know exactly what I’m living for. Live music and the realization of idealistic goals. These are no different from 7 years ago. I just got a little sidetracked somehow. But I’m rapidly getting back into who I need to be and what I need to be doing.

Where I Lived (Part 1)

I’ve realized that every new place I’ve moved has refined my sense of self. Though, I like this current edition of my refined self and think I may stay awhile. This realization is precisely why I will forever be a vagabond without a true sense of home.
– Mary

We’re basically the same person 95% of the time.