Sunday, January 30, 2005

Guest blogger....

Come to me now
And lay your hands over me
Even if it's a lie
Say it will be alright
And I shall believe

I'm broken in two
And I know you're on to me
That I only come home
When I'm so all alone
But I do believe

That not everything is gonna be the way
You think it ought to be
It seems like every time I try to make it right
It all comes down on me
Please say honestly you won't give up on me
And I shall believe
And I shall believe

Open the door
And show me your face tonight
I know it's true
No one heals me like you
And you hold the key

Never again
would I turn away from you
I'm so heavy tonight
But your love is alright
And I do believe

That not everything is gonna be the way
You think it ought to be
It seems like every time I try to make it right
It all comes down on me
Please say honestly
You won't give up on me
And I shall believe
I shall believe

- Sheryl Crow

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I don't really know what to call this.
But it's a moment of introspection.

So I am no longer of legal age for American Idol. I celebrated this momentous occasion over the weekend by gathering some friends and taking a roadtrip to see the traveling version of The Price is Right gameshow. It's a lifelong dream of mine to be on the real version of the show. So when I saw that the live version of the show was coming to Shreveport, I decided that this would do for now.

We traveled. Friend C made annoying t-shirts for each of us to wear to the show (all of which saying something related to it being my birthday). And we participated in the audience of the show. Sadly, none of us were called to "come on down!" AND, there was no Plinko - a MAJOR tragedy in my world. But, it was super fun anyway. Friends A, C, M, and Z made Birthday 29 a fabulous event. Priceless, is about right.

I tell you, even if there had been no Price is Right, it would almost have been worth it just to wear my shirt that said "It's My Birthday!" all day. People are so nice to you when it's your birthday and your shirt says so..... and you tell them you just turned 21. I may wear this shirt once a week, just for the attention it brings from total strangers.

So as I sit here home alone again at 29, something has been on my mind lately. And maybe this is a good time for some introspection that would lead to good changes for me. Here's what it is:

I'm afraid of everything.

Yep. Everything.

I used to think I wasn't afraid of anything. Or very little, at the most. I've always been "tough". Quiet, independent, with the tendency to handle anything that comes along on my own. I don't know why, but I've tended to feel like I need to always present a front of never being phased by things that are hard, or painful, or scary. I'm usually calm, cool, and collected in most situations. And I tend not to say anything about things that scare me until it gets really scary and I can't help but say something. It's usually been on my mind awhile at this point.

But, things happen. Worlds change. Personal strength becomes a load of crap. And suddenly you're left with what is really inside of all the "strength" and "fearlessness" you built around it for people to see instead of what you know to be true. Nothing is left to hide behind anymore. For me, I've come to realize that I have a lot of fear. That's what is inside. And that's what I don't like for people to see.

I don't know that it would be beneficial to go into detail about the things I fear, even just lately. I've been sick, and that has caused me a great deal of anxiety on a number of things related to it. I fear roadtrips. I'm afraid of not having enough money. I'm afraid I've made bad life decisions. I fear getting older and not finding that "someone" we all think is out there, but may not be. I'm scared of being alone, and not in the sense of going home at night, but in the sense of really being an island unto myself. I fear losing people that are important to me in my life. I fear letting people down when it really counts. I'm afraid I'm not what people need me to be when they need it.

I'm afraid that much of my life matters little when it comes to the things that really should matter in life.

But, why do I think this way? Why do I immediately worry that I may fail? Or that the news will be the worst? Or that something bad will happen? Or that people will leave?

Why am I so afraid of so much?

I don't have an answer to that question. Sure, things have happened at times to justify the basis for these kinds of fears. But, I've realized maybe just in the last few weeks that I have a lot of fear in my life in general. I've especially had a lot of anxiety about not feeling well these past few weeks, and about visiting the doctor last week. I don't like to admit the anxiety or the fears I have, but they creep into my dreams when I don't look straight at them and deal with them. This is when I know I'm really afraid of something, or worried, or having anxiety. If I dream about it, I'm likely not dealing with something that I need to deal with.

I've had a lot of anxiety dreams lately.

So as I come to the end of my roaring twenties, maybe it's time to look at this stuff and figure out what is so scary. And then, not let it set the tone for what comes after 29.

It's exhausting to let fear have such an influence on my life. It hasn't been intentional. But it's there, nonetheless.

I see it.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

As I settled in to watch what was left of American Idol tonight, only THEN did I learn that the maximum age for this season had been raised to.... 28!!!

PEOPLE, I will be 28 for 4 MORE DAYS!!!



I know 20 or so who would really enjoy seeing that.

In the future, I need to be immediately alerted to any and all rule changes for any of the important reality TV shows. These are important details, people. Especially if they raise the maximum age to 30 on America's Next Top Model.

I would definitely try-out for geriatric modeling. I could show those young anorexic whipper-snappers a thing or two....

Oh well. The evening was not a total loss. Jonthan and Victoria finally yelled at each other enough to put them in last place and out of the race on TAR6. I have a feeling Phil wasn't genuinely sorry to tell them they've both been eliminated from the race.

My favorite moment on tonight's TAR6? As Jonathan walks down a dirt path, shoes untied, clad only in his underwear and covered in mud, he tells a whimpering and complaining Victoria to "have a little dignity". Or some variation thereof.

Um, dude? Do you realize you have no pants on? The impoverished Ethiopians standing around you are wearing more clothes than you are.

I have to admit, I'll miss their antics. But I will be glad for the break from the weekly over-indulgence of spousal abuse. It's just been brutal.

I hope those kids make it. To counseling. Soon.


Sunday, January 16, 2005

My radio seems to be broken
And I'm pretty sure Kelly Clarkson broke it.

Now, before all my American Idol friends hunt me down to punish me for blemishing the good name of our beloved American Idol (which premiers again on Tuesday!), let me explain.

Usually when driving in the Jeep, I have a CD in the stereo, playing too loudly, to which I am likely singing, also too loudly. But recently I've discovered that I'm sick of all my CDs, I don't know what kind of music I want to listen to, and I don't want to spend any money on new CDs. Mostly because I don't have any money lying around for CD purposes.

So, I have resorted to rediscovering the radio. This has been a disappointing decision.

First, I don't know what radio stations to listen to. This is really bad. I've lived here for over 10 years, so one would think I should know the radio stations. Yet, I do not. I mean, I know the basic stations. But where do I go to find all the music everyone listens to these days? Where do I find new music to fill this current music-void that I am experiencing? (NOTE: I have a music-void once or twice a year. It's nothing new for me. And I usually end up back with my BeeGees or a mixed CD I made myself of old stuff that I'm embarrassed to listen to, and which I've probably titled Cool Music or the name of some independent band that I should be listening to like all my friends do, but for some reason I've missed that music boat and have not yet discovered why everyone likes said band - all in an effort to disguise the fact that my 'cool' CD has Wilson Phillips and Vanilla Ice on it.)

Admit it, you sing along to Hold On when it comes on the radio, too. It's ok. Embrace it, and just hold on for one more day.

Anyway, secondly, despite having owned the Jeep now for almost 2.5 years, I discovered last week that I haven't yet programmed all the radio buttons. I just don't listen to radio, so I guess I've never needed to program all the pre-sets. I have maybe five of them programmed, and only two of them are stations I'd actually listen to. Another one is the 'safe' station for when parents or actual grown-ups are in the Jeep with me. And the rest are static or whatever was programmed in when the Jeep came into my possession. It's embarrassing, really. What if someone got in the Jeep and started scrolling through my pre-set stations? I wouldn't survive it. I would be mocked, then ridiculed, and then mocked again. I must find the proper radio stations and promptly put them into my pre-sets. I won't be able to hold people off the radio buttons much longer...

Third, morning radio is just pure torture. I've determined that yes, I hate radio. On my drive to work it just doesn't satisfy in any way, shape, or form. I want music, people! Not talking. I can't sing along to stupid DJs talking for 10 minutes about how they don't know how to fix a drawer in their house and if they should hire a general contractor for that sort of work. Who cares?!? Or DJs doing annoying bits where they go to a mall and harrass innocent people because they think it's funny. All of that is highly annoying. Not entertaining. Why can't they just play the music I am looking for? I blame the radio for my lack of music at this point in life.

And finally, Kelly Clarkson. This is my most startling and frustrating discovery of my week in car radio hell. Now, I have nothing against Kelly Clarkson personally. I was a fan of hers on the original American Idol. I am glad she has done well for herself. And as far as annoying Idols go, she's the least of the annoying. In fact, I don't even disklike the songs I've heard this week.

BUT, why must I hear her two new songs EVERY TIME I GET IN THE CAR..... MORE THAN ONCE!!!!

THIS is my problem. Kelly Clarkson owns all the radio stations.


I drove home from a friend's house Friday night. 10 minutes in the car. Heard Kelly Clarkson TWICE, TWO DIFFERENT SONGS, TWO DIFFERENT STATIONS.


For the first day or so, I fought it. When I'd hear her come on a station, I'd change the station. Her songs are fine enough, but I just wanted more variety. More music. It was too much of an okay thing. But I quickly realized this was a losing battle. She's on all the stations. All the time. Even my pre-set stations that are only static. She's there. I swear it...

So, after my week of radio research and my search for new music, I have arrived at two conclusions. One, I need to go back to listening to CDs in the Jeep. Clearly, the radio is broken and I will be much better off controlling my own music in the Jeep. And two, I should apparently inaugurate my return to CD-listening by getting the new Kelly Clarkson CD, since that seems to be what everyone listens to these days.

I hate radio.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Way Overdue Movie Review
I didn't have any big plans for New Year's this year, with several things falling through for one reason or another. So, I've decided to make a movie marathon of all this free time, cramming in as many movies as possible throughout these few days I have off and mostly to myself.

I'm several movies in to my marathon, and today I feel like I need to give a review of one of these movies: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Everyone has seen it. It's nothing new. But here's my take on it having seen it again today, if you're interested...

Tyrant's Home-Alone-for-the-New-Year-Rating = 4 out of 5 kisses
(kisses awarded due to the fact that I'm not getting any kisses for the New Year, so some movies might as well get some)

My first viewing of this movie several months ago left me unable to like the movie. I enjoyed the look of it. It's a beautifully made film. And I enjoyed Jim Carrey. Can't help it, I'm a sucker for the guy. Although I hate most of his dumb-and-dumber-type movies. But despite the cinematography in Sunshine, I didn't set well with this film.

I was hung up on the idea that someone would even create a movie suggesting the possibility that given the opportunity, people would erase other people from their memories. Good or bad, the people who affect our lives are given to us for a reason. And as the movie shows, when you start taking away the bad memories, you are still left with the good ones. I, for one, have a strong desire to keep the good ones. But all of the memories come as a package deal. It's all worth keeping, painful as some of it may be, because it is the sum total of the experience, or the relationship. It has value, even if we don't want it anymore. I don't like the thought of getting to pick and choose who would stay or be removed from my past, based on whatever occured (good or bad) to no longer keep someone in my future.

And who is to say I wouldn't be (or I'm not currently) on someone else's hit list to be erased from their past? That's a scary thought. How would you know how many people had decided you aren't worth having in their past, and they've erased you? Not only are they removing you from their life, they are taking themselves away from you. It really makes you think about where you fit into the lives of the people you know and have known. Do you have to always perform well to be worth keeping for the good things, or to be worthy of being remembered in a favorable light? Or when it starts to go bad, is that the moment when it's ok to wish it all away? Who is worth hanging on to, even when bad stuff creeps in? Will the bad stuff be the only thing we can see, once it enters? Or can we be open enough to working past it, or seeing through it. And if we could erase the whole of anyone who affected our life in some way, wouldn't it be safe to say that we are effectively affecting who we are now, too?

I largely believe we are who we are in part because people throughout our lives have left bits of themselves with us, through shared experiences and time spent learning and knowing each other and different ways to go through life, to help form who we are on this day, right now, and days to come. Taking any part of that away, good or bad, would ultimately change who I am right now. But do we get to have that much control over who influences us, to the point of removing things after the fact, to avoid what is painful and bad? Should we even toy with this idea? The first time I saw the movie, I was mad at the thought that anyone would present this as a viable idea. I didn't take it as a storyline, or a way to communicate something deeper. I was just upset that anyone would create a story that would involve taking people away, because we are selfish about who we keep. It just all seemed really selfish.

I think I was struggling with the reality that once people really are gone, you can't get them back. And even when there are bad things, it's mixed in with good things. And the bad things don't make it all worth throwing away from our past. When it's too late and all we have are memories, I don't want to be caught not having appreciated what I had when I had it. Or having only focused on the bad so that I missed what was good.

Having shared some of this thought with people who have seen and liked the movie from the first time, I've been given other perspectives on the movie and other ideas about what it really means. Most people seem to really like it. I decided I needed to give it another chance. After watching it again today, I have a more favorable opinion of it. I don't often like to admit I've changed my mind about something that I feel strongly about, nor do I like to admit other people may have a good perspective on something that is different than mine. But the high kiss rating is awarded to Sunshine because the movie makes me think, and I like that about a movie. Even if I can't necessarily like the movie itself.

I do like it a bit better, though. The romance story is good, and I like watching two people just do stuff together. Silly, goofy stuff that only makes sense to them, but is love.

What stood out to me today was a line from Clementine towards the end, when Joel is walking away from the beach house that is slowly falling apart, and Clementine leans out the window and says, "what if this time, you stay?" She is suggesting that he changes the memory as it fades, and to see what might have happened if he had stayed that night. I've struggled with this in my own memories, thinking back and wishing I had done something different, or something had happened differently at the time, and what it would be like if that moment could be changed. What if this time, I stay? What if this time, I don't let my fear of something more keep me from staying? What if this time, I'm there when I couldn't be before? What if this time, there is something I could have done? What if this time, they don't go? What if this time, they wake up?

What if faced with the exact same choice, would I make the same choice again? Or thinking beyond things we can't change in the past, how often do we fail the opportunity to choose something different? It's like pizza. I love pizza. And I always get pepperoni. I know I like it. But what if this time I actually get a menu and consider another option? What if I think outside of what I know is safe, and instead try something new? I might end up with two kinds of pizza that I like.... Or if I don't like it, it's only pizza.

Ultimately, it doesn't change anything to think back in our memories and wonder what would have happened if we'd made a different choice. Or to make a different choice in our head and see where that leads our imagination. It doesn't change the reality. And we see this in the film. But I think it's ok to think of other possibilities, and wonder what would be different now if things had been different then. Sometimes, I really want things to be different. Should we never think of what might have been? Or can this maybe help us think differently when faced with similar things again in the future? We make choices, and those choices lead to the next step, which takes us to the next place in our lives. Different choices will lead to different things. But I think the trick is that we can't change it once it's happened. Instead, we have to deal with what comes next. And that is the true test.

Wanting things to be different, though, is not necessarily a bad thing. Well, if we constantly go through life wishing things were different, that's not good. At some point we have to be content with our choices, or else start making better choices. But wondering at what could have been different and wanting that possibility sometimes, I don't think that's bad. As long as that doesn't become our reality - changing things in our own perception to the point that we believe the altered version. But I think wondering what a different outcome might have been means we recognize the significance of that moment, or that person, or that choice. And we realize that even given the ability to make choices, we are not ultimately in control. Giving up the control and being okay with that is the challenge before us. Doing what comes next without being able to control it despite making a choice one way or another, that takes faith.

I was also struck by how painful it would be to hear what the people who know you best really think of you when they talk knowing you will never hear what they have to say about you. Complete honesty. Joel and Clementine made the tapes never thinking the other would hear these thoughts about the other. But they end up hearing what the other had to say anyway. And, they hear their own words about what they really thought of the other. The things we deny about ourselves, the things we don't like to admit, the things we try to hide. The things we don't feel safe saying to those we love, out of love for them. Do we ever really hide this stuff from everyone? Or from anyone? Or even from oursevles? Can people see these things about us, and still really love us and want to be with us? And can we handle hearing it directly from them, trusting that they love us enough to tell us?

I don't know that I handle honesty about myself very well, coming from those around me who would know me well enough and care enough to challenge me where I need to grow. I know some people who would agree with me on that, having likely not responded kindly to criticisms out of caring for me. But I should be able to hear these things from them, if they care enough to tell me. I think I appreciate it on some level, and would prefer that people who I'm close to in life not let me continue in ways that aren't healthy. But I can't say I handle that well. It's hard to hear, and to know that people know.

I also thought about how hard it is to run from ourselves and those in our past, no matter how hard we try. You really can't run from it. It goes with you. We can move on without them, but that doesn't make them never a part of our history. We can leave things about ourselves in our past, but we can't take it away from who we are now. We can move it around in our head, change the way we remember it, but that doesn't change the reality.

At the end of the movie, Clementine and Joel are in the hallway of his building, trying to figure out what to do. Having heard all these horrible things from each other, about each other, do they try again? I like how Clementine explains again that she is just a messed up girl looking for her own piece of mind, as though that's an excuse for how she is, and an explanation for not being perfect. And Joel just simply says, "ok." Lately I've realized that sometimes, I just need to say, "ok." More often. Just let people be who they are, and be "ok" enough to want that from them.

And the thought occured to me as I watched Joel and Clementine in the hallway, at the beginning of each other again, do we ever really get to start over? The day before, they thought they had never met. Clean slate. Then they get those tapes with all their dirty laundry on it, and now they are faced with the choice to start over, or to walk away. When we know the faults of others, and have experienced these things with them, do we get to start over? They knew in the hallway that they liked each other. But then, there's all this other stuff they would likely find out about each other if they try again. Tough to let it go and let it truly be starting over, when you know what is really there. Or maybe when you do know what is really there underneath all the other stuff, it allows you to start over. And over again. And again.

Given the opportunity, I don't think I would erase anyone from my past. Sure, I have people and occurances that I would prefer to never think of again. There are really painful things that I don't talk about, and I prefer not to share with others. But I don't want it to not be there. These things have shaped me. I don't always like myself on any given day, or aspects about who I am now.

But I don't think I want the responsibility of being able to control what would stay and what would go, or take the chance that anything I could change would affect who I really am. This is me.

Good movie.