Saturday, February 19, 2011

we both go down together.

I've noticed that as of late, I've become a lot pickier about what I want to post here. I don't want to post inane ramblings, or miscellaneous film reviews. I haven't posted pictures in awhile, mostly because I haven't really done anything worthy of documenting and I never have my camera with me anymore. I'm in an unusual state of mind, trying to finish strong at Cal and make a decent entrance into the so-called "real world." I'm so unsure of what I want and of where I'll be in the next few months that it's making it really hard to focus on the present.

School is stressful. Such a simple sentence for such a complicated statement! Last night, I came to the alarming realization that this weekend I was way behind on on work. I needed to write a 1 page response on the documentary "We Live in Public" (which I HIGHLY recommend watching if you get a chance, it's on Netflix Instant watch!), a 4-5 page analytical paper on an image and the cultural myth/ideologies it perpetuates (which is far, FAR more complicated than it sounds; I'm writing my paper on this image), a 4-5 page segment for my thesis on the methods I'm utilizing PLUS editing and re-writing my literature review (the first 10 pages of my thesis). I also had to watch The Jazz Singer, and this isn't taking into account the hundreds upon hundreds of pages of reading that I have yet to do, or the stuff I have to do for my Apartment Assistant job.

It's so funny to me when I hear people tell me that they think I have it "all together"...if that were the case, I wouldn't be freaking out right now! I guess it's best to appear put-together rather than frantic and mildly neurotic, but it's also frustrating that people don't believe me when I say I've got a lot on my plate; a double-edged sword indeed. It's stressful, but when I think of how far I've come, I start to feel better. I'm a transfer student and yet I've taken on so much; I'm actually really proud of myself, and when I think about that, it helps me calm down and focus. I've made a to-do list and a calendar of the weekend, trying to balance out my ridiculous amount of work with a pathetic attempt at a social life and I think that if I stick to it, I should be alright. I've been at FSM all day with Nick, one of my fellow AAs and I've already finished the 1 page response paper and outlined a lot of my 4-5 page image analysis, so hurray!

Also! This past Monday was Valentine's Day. It's a holiday I've never liked (reading through my old paper journal, I laughed when 13-year-old me complained about the commercialization of love~), but my friend Katie surprised me with tickets to go see The Decemberists at the Fox Theater in Oakland. It was without a doubt one of the BEST concerts I'd ever been to, and it was a necessary reminder to stop killing myself over school and live a little. When they played my favorite song ("The Engine Driver") I started crying; to finally hear a song that has helped me through so much played live, by the people who wrote it...that's a feeling unlike any other. They also married a couple on-stage (!!) and had a jam session...all in the middle of a song. It was, in a word, epic. Another word? Perfect. Another? Amazing. There are not enough good things to say about a band that I've loved since I was sixteen and has been with me through some of the most challenging and important moments of my life, and I'm so lucky to have been able to see them for a second time with such delightful company :)

Here's a video someone in the audience took of the very last song they played in their second (!) encore, "June Hymn." Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

blue valentine.

Nothing lasts forever. We're born, we live, and we die. What happens after that, no one knows, and although we have no control over our birth or our death, we certainly have much to do with the quality of our lives while we're living. There's no such thing as "forever," at least in my mind, and that was one of my favorite parts of Blue Valentine--the acknowledgement of the idea that we live and love in the moment, but that's all we can do. We don't know what the future will hold, so how can we control it, or pretend to think that we know what will work 30 years from now? We don't, and we won't. I'm quickly learning that it's all about living in the moment. I know we all have our share of bad days, but it's about trying to see what we don't like and taking it upon ourselves to fix it. It's easy to let the negativity get to us, and much too easy to let it overwhelm us. I'm incredibly guilty of this, but I'm trying to fight back.

Today I was talking to my boss, complaining about the last few days. They'd been pretty shitty, to be honest--thesis-ing is stressful (as much as I love my topic, it's a bit daunting), and add lots of work, root canal recovery, hundreds of pages of complex reading, a 3 hour silent film about white supremacy (watched for a race & film class, mind you) and an unexpected break-up to the mix and you've got all the makings for disaster. "But you know," I said, "life goes on and all that jazz." My boss made a comment about admiring my positive attitude, and it caught me off-guard. Me, positive? When did that happen? The truth of the matter is, I was always a negative kid. It would drive my parents crazy how I would always find *something* to complain about or be upset about. But, reading through my past few blog posts and my own personal journal, I realize that I've made a complete 180 in terms of the way I look at the world. It's been a slow process, but all of the sudden I am finding the best in everything around me. Dumped unexpectedly? It sucks, definitely...BUT, I am super busy with my thesis/last semester of undergrad...and who wants to be tied down when I've got the world ahead of me? There's always a silver lining. It was what it was, and it was lovely while it lasted, but it's over and that's that. Time to move on, focus on my research, my future, and my life. My friend Morgan and I were discussing this over mimosas at La Note and decided that this is going to be known as "Fresh-Start February," a clean slate to start over with. As President Bartlet would say, "What's next?"

Speaking of my thesis, I'm writing it on the Internet, identity, and privacy--why do people post what they post, and how does this determine the image they want to give off to the world? Obviously, I don't have an answer yet, but in terms of myself, I've always found that writing is the most therapeutic way to deal with the world. The reason I post is that I hope that someone will read this and find that my words help them through a similar situation, or that they feel that they have an ally in the world, even if only on the Internet.