Thursday, December 16, 2010

#Reverb10: 16.0

December 16 – Friendship

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

(Author: Martha Mihalick)

So I've either been too busy or not interested enough in the prompts to write for the past few days. However, today's prompt needs to be discussed, because one of my friends profoundly influenced the way I live my life.

My friend Amy Jesse convinced me to go vegetarian.

Amy's one of the most unapologetic and least hypocritical animal rights proponent that I know. Although I don't always agree with her views (example: her allegiance with PETA), she has a way of articulating her arguments that makes them difficult to refute. Listening to her views, coupled with a viewing of the documentary "Food, Inc.," convinced me it was time to cut meat from my diet. I started in January, immediately cutting out pork, chicken and beef. Once the BP spill occurred in the Gulf, I cut out fish. I have made an effort not buy any new leather accessories (although I am having a really tough time with finding cute, non-leather shoes in my size). I feel I'm doing my part in my own way and I'm happy with the decision I made.

I want to go off-topic for a moment, however. I have never found myself as questioned in my beliefs as I am over MY PERSONAL CHOICE to not eat meat. Seriously, what the fuck is that about? I could care less what you do when it comes to eating. Do I feel a certain way about eating meat? Yeah, I do. But that doesn't mean that I go around harassing people at steakhouses. So what right do you have to question the leather seats in my car (a '98 that I paid for in cash in '07, so suck it)? Or how I haven't cut out dairy? Why are people so threatened by the personal actions of another person when it absolutely doesn't involve them? I think it's because those who question are trying to justify their own actions by poking holes in my lifestyle. If you feel guilt about eating meat, then that's your baggage - I already made peace with mine.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

#Reverb10: 11.0

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

Author: Sam Davidson
50 Things Your Life Doesn't Need

11 Things I Don't Need in My Life:

[First off, let's break down the word "need," shall we? It's both a noun and a verb. It's intransitive and transitive; you can do it and it can be done unto you. Mrs. Merriam and Webster describes the noun version as "a necessary duty: obligation;... a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism." It's also an acronym for the National Energy Education Development project. But let's assume that I am to take eleventeen facets of my life that are not obligatory nor necessary to be functional. That means I can't include things like taxes and rent (obligatory) or going to the dentist (necessary for healthy functioning). But do I go so far as to include things like my ridiculous cable package? Granted, I don't "need" it, but I want it and like having it. I also don't "need" my closet full of shoes, but I don't foresee giving away my collection anytime soon. So how do I go about making this list? I think I'm going to ruminate on this one and read some other posts to see how people interpreted the parameters of the word in question.]

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Friday, December 10, 2010

#Reverb10: 10.0

December 10 – Wisdom

Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(Author: Susannah Conway)

The Top 10 Wisest Decisions I made this year:

1) Chugging through Spring Break to bang out my thesis.

2) Going home with Erica Goodman (aka my lifesaver) on my birthday.

3) Standing firm with my work on going back east for Christmas.

4) Going to talks featuring Jim Sheeler and Kelly Kennedy, reading their work and working with Jim on my thesis and writing.

5) Staying in Colorado for at least another year.

6) Not killing the dog after she tried to eat my Fryes.

7) Signing up to volunteer at the Great American Beer Festival (and taking the bus and leaving by 7pm on the second night).

8) Leaving the bar at midnight (this occurred on several occasions).

9) Although it pains me to say this, not buying Stanley Cup playoff tickets. I had two of them in my hands for the final game against the Habs and I turned them down. I would have spent double on the plane ticket. In the end, it was a wise financial decision and the Flyers just really need to be good forever.

10) Taking on this project and sticking to it.

#Reverb10: 9.0

December 9 – Party

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Author: Shauna Reid)

Oy... another toughy. I'm really bad at selecting one thing when it comes to the "best" moments or favorite things. For one this year's not over, and there are 21 potentially epic nights to be had. I think though, this year, I had a pretty rocking time on the day I defended my thesis and on my 27th birthday. Both involved copious libation and big groups of friends. But I also count Boulder Humane's "Puttin' on the Leash" event in April as one of the most fun nights, and I was volunteering, not partying. I also had a blast playing in the King of Mountain volleyball tournament in Vail with Amy (that only involved a little beer and lots of ibuprofen).

It's weird how my social life has changed in the last two years. I used to be a superheavy partier in Philly, going out several nights a week and drinking my weight in Jack Daniels. I would often only be getting in an hour or two before I had to be at work and would suffer through the day only to stifle my hangover by going out again. I'm not glorifying my life, but I'm glad I lived through it (literally and figuratively). While I still like the occasional crazy night (last night, for example, which I am paying for today), they are few and far between these days. But my most fun social gatherings involve the same elements: my friends, music, and face-splitting laughter.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

#Reverb10: 8.0

December 8 – Beautifully Different.

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

(Author: Karen Walrond)

What makes me different? Than what? To whom? To be considered "different," you have to believe that there is a "normal," or at least a standard by which all people are evaluated. And I'm not entirely sure that exists. There are standards for athletes and models/the fashion industry (the existence of sample sizes in clothing and shoes prove this). But what's the standard for 20-something underemployed people with graduate degrees from the east coast who moved to Colorado and love their dog more than most people?

I think there are a lot of things that make me beautiful, but I'm not entirely sure they make me different. I like my smile, but that was created by $3000+ worth of orthodontics when I was 12. My hair is amazing, but I have my genetics to thank for this, and a lot of people have curly hair that's thick and dark (like my entire family). I'm also tall, but not freakishly so, unless I'm wearing one of my many pairs of 4-inch heels. I'm also scathing, funny, and blunt; but so are most of my friends, and that's why we like each other. I have tattoos and piercings, but so do a lot of people. Body mod isn't exactly unique anymore. My only discernible differences are my weird medical ailments, and they certainly don't make me beautiful. They hurt my body and cost a lot of money, and they're a nuisance in my life. My experiences are also different, and they do make me beautiful to some extent, but only if I choose to use them to not repeat mistakes and to learn and grow, as opposed to using them to wallow in self-pity or loathing. I don't want to use my life as a crutch or reason that I'm different from others (in the way that "no one understands me"); I use my experiences as fodder for the creation of the person I want to be.

I've also found that people who try to be "different," to rail against ANY standard that they believe to be the norm, are desperately attempting to fit in somewhere. Anywhere. Look at any high school. Or watch any indie movie where the chick is so weird and "look at me, I'm DIFFERENT!" that it becomes a ploy for attention so sickeningly desperate and reeking of insecurity. If you love yourself, you don't try to be different: you just ARE.

With the increasing number of people in the world and a perpetual desire to become "individuals," are our differences really all that discernible?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Technical difficulties

I was all set to post a #Reverb10 rant about how "communities" can turn into "cliques" but how the animal rescue community on Twitter rocks but I feel like crap on a cracker so I will be doing nothing of the sort this evening. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on the reverbbing tomorrow. Regardless of what I think of the prompts, I'm striving to write on the daily. I guess this technically counts... eh, probably not but whatever, I need to go to bed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And the inevitable mash-up

I can always count on Brownie to help me realize my dreams:

Lady Hewes. Or Patty Gaga. Whatever you want to call it, I love it.

#Reverb10: 6.0

December 6 – Make.

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

Lady Gaga sunglasses.

Damn right I made them! There's no $3 piece of plastic that can't be jazzed up with some rhinestones and glue. For real - I love bedazzling shit. If it were socially acceptable, I would bedazzle everything. That's why I take out my love of embellishment on my dog, for whom I also made a collar with shiny things glued to it. These same jewels adorn my Fat City tote (and have remained glued after two years of tough wear, go me!). Underneath this classic, sporty exterior there is a drag queen who just wants to bathe in glitter. Who knew?

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

#Reverb10: 5.0

December 5 – Let Go.

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

(Author: Alice Bradley)

I wanted to say "cigarettes," but I allow myself the occasional puff of a clove now and then (and half a pack of P-funks on my birthday, in between taking shots and forcibly making out with my friend). I believe that to truly quit something, you can't kill yourself over satisfying a craving now and then.

I would say "meat," but I did buy a pair of leather shoes last month. PRADA leather shoes. But at least I'm not eating animals anymore. I cannot say the same for processed, non-animal soy patties that taste like chicken. Those are awesome.

I could absolutely say "sex," since it's been well over a year since I've gotten any, but a long-winded post on celibacy would probably make my mom uncomfortable, mostly because odds are she's getting laid more than I am at half her age and that's weird. But good for her, if that's indeed the case (by the way, I really don't need/want to know either way, so let's pretend those last few sentences never happened. I'm still a virgin).

I'd like to believe I let go of Army John, but after talking to his mom last month, I was reminded of that failed relationship. I'm still angry with him and the way things ended. I don't think I need calm, adult, logical closure, but I need him bound to a chair with duct tape in a sound-proof room and 30 minutes to scream and beat the shit out of him until I feel better.

I thought maybe I could write about [redacted], but I'm still angry (upset? I don't know) that she chose to end her life. It still doesn't seem fair: to us, to her, to anyone. I think that in my desire to let go, I ignore how little I've actually been able to do so and how last November still haunts me with all the things left unsaid.

I really want to write about giving up part of my family, because I think I've finally come to terms with that. I've stopped blaming myself for the short-comings of others and know that your *real* family are the people you choose to be closest to you. Love isn't conferred by birthright (um, obviously). But, honestly, the entire situation is complicated and makes me very sad and I don't really feel the need to publicly write about it. I also don't need to be Googled by said family then listen to angry voicemails about my writing (note: I didn't get voicemails when I graduated with my master's, but I'll get them about something I write online. Sorry to be crass, but fuck that noise, right?).

I guess what I'm thinking is that I'm bad at letting go.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

#Reverb10: 4.0

December 4 – Wonder.

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

It's too early for me to lie: I Googled.

According to the almighty Google, "sense of wonder" either refers to the book by environmentalist Rachel Carson or relates to science fiction. In Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction Jeff Prucher writes that a "sense of wonder" refers to "a feeling of awakening or awe triggered by an expansion of one’s awareness of what is possible or by confrontation with the vastness of space and time, as brought on by reading science fiction."

I'm not sure that's what the prompt's author had in mind. But, my mind doesn't work in those terms.

I don't think in terms of "wonder." I'm not casting a judgment on it, either way, but that's not how my brain works. That's not to say that I'm not invigorated by or interested in the world around me, but I've never found myself in what I would consider a "sense of wonder." When I read about the possibilities of the world, I'm not awed so much as aware and accepting of the general state of things. Reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything might have been the closest I came, when I really, seriously and logically considered how freaking rare the cultivation of life on this rock was some billions of years ago. That's how my sense of wonder works: pragmatically, realistically.

Most of the concepts that demand my attention are tangible and timely. I prefer to get passionate about causes and concepts rather than sit back and revel in them. That's what "wonder" has always seemed like to me: inaction, sitting back and being dumbstruck by something, and that's just not my style. I do take time to enjoy the world around me (see previous post about "moment"), but rarely do so passively. For me, wonder isn't something I consciously experience, but maybe it works for others. But that's the beauty of words that signify emotions: they're open to interpretation as is the entire world around us.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Friday, December 3, 2010

#Reverb10: 3.0

December 3 – Moment.

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

(Author: Ali Edwards)

Wow, this is a tough one. I've had some pretty intense experiences this year, all of which happened while I was outside. I feel most alive immersed in nature. I think one of my most prominent "alive" moments happened when I summitted my first 14'er, but that doesn't count since it happened in 2009. Another one from this year was my first concert at Red Rocks. I went to see Gogol Bordello and Primus in August and it was a perfect night. I cannot confirm or deny the existence of substances which may have heightened said experience, so this one doesn't count either.

This year, one of my most "alive" days was when I turned in my thesis and took off to Breckenridge for a bluebird day of late-season skiing. It was the last week that Breck was open and it had just snowed two inches the night before. I woke up, emailed my thesis to my committee, and peaced out. It was one of the most perfect days: sunny, warm and I had a great day on my fatties (which had thrown me a learning curve last season). There was almost no one there (seeing as it was a Wednesday in April) and I had so many moment and trails to myself. I tried skiing backwards without fear of falling (or, more importantly, of being made fun of). The air was fresh and crisp, and it still smelled like winter. The picture I took from the top of Peak 10 was my background on my laptop for a long time.

I also had to make a difficult phone call that day. Back in the parking lot, I dialed my friend back in PA (who I had known since I was 12) to offer my condolences. Her mother had passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. I hadn't spoken to this friend in years, and it was nerve-racking to dial her number. It's funny how friendship maintains itself though; and it was odd how she ended up offering words of comfort to me. She was sad, but at peace with the situation, and just glad that she was able to spend her mom's final moments by her side. That moment was a life-affirming one - that the powers of friendship and love are stronger than death, stronger than stress and more powerful than fear.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

#Reverb10: 2.0

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

Is this a trick question?

Everything I do contributes to my writing. My writing is fueled by my life and my experiences. I write about what I like, what I hate, but most importantly, what I know. Hell, even television contributes to my writing (thanks, Pajiba!)

If I really have to answer this, my job doesn't contribute to my writing right now. Don't get me wrong - being in retail gives me TONS of fodder for anecdotes, rants and advice columns. However, I can't write about any of it because I don't feel like getting ratted out/fired. (And, yes, people DO get fired for shit like this... ask me or Chez Pazienza).

So, I guess I could eliminate my job, which would also eliminate my apartment, food and comfortable bed from which I write this morning. But that seems counter-intuitive.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.

#Reverb10: 1.0

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

One word for 2010:

This has been an interesting year. I came into it having lost very close friends (some to death, some to their own lives) and knowing I would end my graduate career in May. I spent four months dreadfully unemployed and three without health insurance. I had 15 days to find a place for me and my bully breed dog to live and no idea where the first month's rent was going to come from. I was screwed over by family members and finally finished separating myself from their drama back east. I watched friends get married while I myself was coming up on a year of celibacy (and nearly three of not being on a legitimate date). Don't get me wrong - I had some good times, but I had a lot of roadblocks that just kept popping up, one after another. And I made it. I have a job, a beautiful apartment, a job (not a great job, but a job) and I like my solo life. I still don't know where the rent is coming from or how the bills are going to be paid, but I do know it's going to be alright.

Potential words for 2011?
Now, we all know I'm no good at choosing one thing for any thing. What words do I hope for 2011 to embody? Manifest. Succeed. Love. I want to manifest my dreams into reality. I want to finally achieve the level of success I feel I should been achieving at this point in my life (in whatever way I feel that should occur). I want to love what I do, who I am and the people in my life. I already love my dog so I got that going for me. I'm envisioning big things and this time, I know they're going to happen. Bring it, 2011. I'm ready.

#Reverb10 is a project that encourages people to reflect on the current year and manifest what's to come in the next by responding to a daily prompt. To get involved with #Reverb10, click on over to their website and join in the fun.