Monday, July 2, 2012

The Build Up

Independence Day

 There are several things I need to say.

 One of them is that just once I wish I was sure when a fireworks show was actually over. Not, 'okay, was that the finale?' but 'wow, the finale was great.'

 First off, I am not a huge fan of fireworks anyway. Literally burning money. Second off, the fact that we do it to celebrate America's independence from England is also a little ridiculous. It is basically simulating the "bombs bursting in air," right? That's the idea, isn't it? Well, that is is little fucked up to me. How many people died from those bombs? Or the bombs that have gone off or are going off or will go off in order for America to ensure the freedom that Independence Day commemorates?

 To be clear, this post is not meant to be anti-American. America is great, for the most part. Most of the things that piss me off on a daily basis are those first world problems that always end up as internet memes. What I am angry about now is not America, or being American, or freedom, or any of that. What I am mad about now is the entire process. Yes, I think we should celebrate our country's history. Yes, I think we deserve to celebrate. But we need to know what it is we are celebrating. We need to know why. Maybe a Bud Light and an artillery shell is all we are celebrating. Maybe that is America. 

But if that's the case, don't bring freedom or liberty or any intangibles into the equation. If we are going to talk intangibles, then all the 4th of July should be is an entire day of silence. A day to reflect on what we were and what we are now. Not a day off work to dehydrate ourselves and blow shit up. Let's be real about this.

 Anyway, I've gotten off track. I should have mapped this out better.

 Fireworks. I hate them. There is no finality. Certainly not the finality I am interested in. Like the closing of one chapter of my life and the beginning of another one.

 I'm moving. It's not much of a move, but it is a necessary one. One that should have happened a while ago, but one that I put off. Because I was comfortable. Because I was afraid of not being comfortable. 

For the next two years, maybe more, I have committed my life to the study of International Politics. It is definitely not the dramatic decision I dreamed up when I realized that this chapter was in need of an ending. But, I have found through my studies in literature that the large, grandiose endings in works of literature are often overdone, bordering on stupid.

 So, for now, I will subtly transition to the chapter of my life I will call, for lack of a better title, "The Build Up"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Summer is Coming

With summer, comes decisions for me. I am forcefully uprooting myself, because, as my grandmother taught me on endless summer days helping her in the back garden, that is really the only way to kill a weed. In fact, last summer, when that same Grandmother died, I clung to the life I had already set up for myself-- my friends, my town, my family-- anything that seemed normal or safe. So, as for this summer, I believe the opposite should happen. I have allowed myself to sit comfortably, knowing that I was unhappy, despite being comfortable, for too long. A year wasted by delving too much in my terrible mindset and psuedo-depression.

Though, this year has not been an entire loss. In spite of not being closer to goals I had set for myself, I have, in fact, been writing a lot. A longer work that started in June 2011, and now is, I can say with relative certainty, done. Short stories (which are a monster I am still attempting to tame), and a few poems that turned out a little better than mere scribbles. On top of that, a friend and I (though mostly his doing) have put together a series of readings in town. So, in my intensely small microcosm of life, there were some successes to take out of Fall 2011 and Spring 2012. I have found it is best not to think big picture at this point.

As for where this summer will take me, I can honestly say that I do not know. This is something I have fretted about for a while, as every resume I sent out received no reply, when nothing more than more dead ends fell into my lap. It sucked. It continues to suck. But, I realized something recently that I think is at least somewhat true of my situation-- it doesn't matter where I go. I mean, it matters in that whenever I go will be the physical space I will occupy, and it would be nice to enjoy it, but it honestly doesn't matter as far as my own goals are concerned. When I say it doesn't matter, what I am really saying is that there is no real wrong decision. I go one place and try to make a decent life, or I go another to another and attempt the same. OKC or L.A., Bismarck, N.D. or Hong Kong. It doesn't matter. Sure, I would much rather be in Hong Kong than North Dakota, but the principle is that same-- it is going to be difficult to make a go of it where ever you end up. The variable, I guess, would be the opportunities unique to each place, and the age-old adage that social connections fair better than outright knowledge.

Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stockholm Syndrome

Have you ever been trapped? Like, truly trapped? And not the convenient kind of trapped, wherein you don't really have a choice in the matter. I am talking about being trapped and seeing escape routes around every corner, and yet you continue to allow yourself to be kept in a place against your will.

Tonight, it's raining. It's pouring. I won't burden you with imagery, because everyone knows what rain is. If not, I fear for the amount of fruits and vegetables available to you. I think it might finally be Spring. The season of new birth, the shedding of skin, the stretching and yawning after months of hibernation. Spring is a time to move. Time to escape from whatever it is that has trapped you the past few months.

I'm being cryptic, I know. So let me get to the point: I need to leave this place.

Kansas is a minimum security prison: sure, they give you enough food, treat you relatively fairly, and provide you with ample free time, but it's still captivity. There is still a free world out there beyond the walls. The problem with this prison is that the walls are transparent. There's no barbed wire keeping you in, or riflemen manning the towers,the doors stand wide opened. There is just you, standing, looking out, and despite some of the inmates accepting you into their inner circle, and the excitement that every Wednesday is fried chicken for lunch, you still know that it is not freedom. Heh, maybe it's the lack of conjugal visits that reminds me... Metaphorically speaking, of course.

I know all this, and yet, I cannot bring myself to step outside the gates. Cannot throw my shoulders back, stand tall, and walk straight out, without fearing what will happen. You always hear of those chronic inmates who keep going back to jail because it's the only world they understand. Well, it's dramatic, but I sympathize.

I feel like if there was someone or something standing outside the gates, beckoning me to leave, to take that step and not look back, then surely I would have no problem walking out of there with my head held high. But there is not. There is only me. Me and my damned stockholm syndrome.