Monday, May 30, 2011

No Day But Today

It’s a terrible feeling realizing that your body has a breaking point. It’s scary and weird and overall just not a very fun experience. Today I went out on a run. I run often, and often run (aha!) long distances. Today I was going to keep it simple with about 3 miles minimum, it was a bit hot and the path I chose had little shade. I was roughly half way through and all of a sudden my body just stopped. It stopped functioning. I began to walk immediately, I felt light headed, nauseated, and overwhelmingly exhausted. I could have laid down in the middle of the path and fallen asleep. At first I assumed it was a temporary set back, but as I continued to walk I began to feel worse. I leaned up against a tree, closed my eyes and just tried to breathe. My entire body was shaking and not only from this weird exhaustion but fear. My body had never done this to me before. It had never just given out on me. I mean we all have our problems. I have bad knees, some people have bad shoulders, but this was different. My entire body was in this state of complete dissonance. Even though I had only run a mile and a half maximum, I felt as though I had just finished running ten miles at full speed.

I don’t know if it was dehydration, the heat, hunger, or exhaustion that caused my body to freak out, but regardless it was easily one of the most frightening experiences of my life.

The fear not only was for my body but also for my lack of control over my body. I wasn’t telling it to do this, it wasn’t conscious and there was no inkling that it would occur, but it did. Part of my panic was the fact that I lost control of the only thing I can really control in this world. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose control of my body permanently, to be paralyzed or be confined to a bed with a disease that I couldn’t control. This got me really thinking about life, my life in particular, and wondering if what I was doing was really living life to the fullest. What if I died 5 minutes from now in some freak Panera-related incident? Would I die happy and satisfied with life? Or would I go out kicking and screaming; begging for more time?

In Buddhism we are taught to relinquish worldly desires to achieve enlightenment and to focus on the “inner light”, to respect your body and others, to treat people with compassion, and to live a content life. If I truly was content in life I should be able to die any day and die feeling accomplished and content. The fact that I plan so much into the future is probably a very poor reflection on the type of person I am.

I consistently look towards tomorrow, and rarely do I focus on today. I never just sit back and marvel at all the beauty the world has to offer. Even in meditation it is so hard to just be in the present because life seems to press in from all corners. Life seems to want to rush us forward and we as human beings seem to want to go faster, bigger, better, stronger, and we try to understand the world by becoming greater.

This quest to understand the bigger picture by growing more great and consuming seems detrimental, and as I write this a quote by Buddha comes to mind:

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change”

I am going to start looking for the miracle in the flowers, in the wind, and in people’s laughter. There is no promise of tomorrow, only of this moment. This very moment is the only promise, and I need to live it. This moment encapsulates all that is beautiful about life, and yet I brush moments away, they fade with time, and in the end I am even more clueless and wanting than before…Today is gift and tomorrow doesn’t truly even exist. Today life is beautiful. Every moment life is beautiful.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Who You Are

Lets start with the basic assumption that everyone has an identity. We all have a core of immovable values, morals, ideas, and thoughts about ourself. This core defines the decisions we make and what kind of person we become.  Who you are is such a difficult concept though. How do we even know who we are? Life is constantly changing. We change sides of the political spectrum, we meet new people, try new things, believe and see different things. It would see foolish to peg who we are down to one set idea, because we always grow and change as life goes on. Yet, there is that solid aspect of who you are, there is always that characteristic that is distinctly you. For me it might be that I talk too much, but I like to think of it as my compassion. I want to try and live a life where I treat everyone with kindness and compassion, but I struggle with it daily.

Sometimes who we are isn't "socially acceptable". Sometimes who you are wouldn't or doesn't fit in with the "popular" crowd or the people you work with or even the people you live with. It's always hard to gauge when you should stuff it and just get through the day or when it's a good time to let your freak flag fly. I don't have much experience in the work situation but I imagine keeping your job is rather important. So obviously disagreement with coworkers over fundamental moral issues..probably not the best thing.  However, I do have some experience as far as social experiences come. Who among us hasn't struggled to fit in or find friends? Who among us hasn't conformed or changed something about ourselves to better fit the mold? Who among us has tried and failed?

In middle school I was a nerd. Not to brag but I was kind of the "teacher's pet" and the "smart girl" if you will. I had struggled with fitting in since I was a little girl. I was pretty much unwaveringly blunt in my opinions and I saw no reason not to be, but my peers didn't really agree. While most girls my age were starting to dabble in make-up and boys I was more occupied with the genocide in Darfur and the newspaper. I was pretty much socially incompatible with my peers, part of which was my fault I will admit. I was so frightened of people getting close to me that I would push them away with a ten foot pole. My pole of choice was, and remained so for a long time "I'm smarter than you. I know more than you." It was very effective at pushing people away, yet I always wanted to fit in. I wanted to be like these popular girls.  I tried too. I dressed in American Eagle and Hollister. I straightened my hair and got bangs, I tried to enjoy the things they did, but to no avail. I was always the odd one, probably because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin that I made others uncomfortable in general.  And eventually I just stopped trying. There was no point. People didn't really like me and for good reason. I was angry and a loudmouth and very "high and mighty". I saw it as the only way to protect myself from getting hurt. I saw what these girls did to their "friends" what they still do and what we all do. (Its so much easier to talk badly about someone than to look in the mirror and admit to yourself that you're insecure. Something I personally struggle with, something I think a lot of us struggle with.)

I didn't want to be alone but I didn't want to give up what I believed either. I chose to keep myself apart. I chose to be less socially compatible than to give up what I felt was more important, and by the end it paid off. I learned to be happy on my own, but I didn't learn to be comfortable in myself...that came 4 years later. It was an agonizing wait...

In my previous blog Get it Right I talked about my relationship and how that changed who I am and how I changed who I was to make the relationship flow. Because let's be honest...a very opinionated liberal agnostic dating a conservative born again Christian? Probably wasn't going to go over's times like these I wish I had written a pros/cons list about Matt. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have dated. To be blunt: our relationship was doomed from the start. But I didn't want to lose the attention he gave me and the security of having someone there to hold me, so I stuffed it.

I stopped arguing with him. I sat passively during his dad's racist and chauvinistic remarks. I converted to a religion I thought was ridiculously overblown and (in some cases) over-commercialized and fake (not saying that about all Christians. I don't have an issue with most Christians but not gonna lie..Christianity in some cases is used more as a social marker than a life choice). I became a complete shell of who I was. I'm a very opinionated, blunt, and stubborn person. In some cases it's a virtue in others it's a character flaw, regardless of that though it's who I am and I let that go. I stopped talking to people who I loved to be around and I abandoned my core principles. I stopped asking questions and pushing myself to learn. I became the girl you see everyday, meek and quiet with nothing much to say. I let my hair get blond and I stopped wearing the clothes I loved to wear. I was too scared that Matt might not like them and in turn not like me...It was a brutal cycle and it didn't break until we broke up.

It wasn't until I looked back that I realized how far I had fallen, how far i had drifted away from who I truly was and I know I'm not the only one who has gone through this so you aren't either. It's so hard to be true to yourself and I get that. The world makes it so hard to be an individual, to stand by what you believe without persecution or being socially ostracized. But, if I've learned anything over the course of my life is that life is too short to waste any of it being someone you're not and that it doesn't matter how great you are at conforming, one day who you are will come out. One day you'll wake up and you won't know who the hell is looking back at you in the mirror.

That moment when you realize that you can't even recognize yourself is so heartbreaking. it's so scary realizing that who you are isn't there anymore; that you have essentially drowned yourself in this sick batch of ideas that aren't even yours. It's the most dramatic wake-up call one can have, I believe.

So, words of wisdom (basically this entire blog post summed up) :
Don't lose who you are in the blur of the stars
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing
It's okay not to be okay
Sometimes it's hard to follow your heart
Tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising
There's NOTHING wrong with who you are. 

Peace Out,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Get It Right


I don’t really know how to start this one. It will probably be the most intimate blog post I will ever write simply because it’s my story. Some people may argue that this is a story between two people, but honestly I think this is my story to tell. The other character in this tale has chosen to remain silent, so I became the storyteller, and the story came to mean more to me than I expected. It isn’t until you look back on the path you have made that you really begin to understand why life moved you the way it did. But I guess I should probably tell you my story. I know…the suspense must be killing you inside.

Once upon a time there was a boy named Matt, and I loved him. I loved Matt more than I had loved anyone else. I trusted him in ways I hadn’t trusted others. He was my best friend, my “boyfriend”, and at times I considered him to be the love of my life. I could say how silly that is now, but you always have 20/20 hindsight right? Anyways, I was in love. I was crazy about him and for a while it was amazing. I felt like I could be myself around him. We would talk until 2 in the morning about everything. We’d laugh until our sides hurt. I could tell him anything and everything and the world seemed at peace.

It didn’t really matter to me that I was balancing a difficult workload, going 7am-9pm (7:00-21:00) days at school and then coming home and working harder until midnight, and sometimes not getting sleep at all. I wasn’t eating healthily, I was stressed to my highest capacity. It was not the right time to have a boyfriend, but I didn’t care. He made me happy; he made me feel worthwhile and for me that was enough. Our relationship was uneventful until the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. With nothing to do, he became the focus of my life. After all, we were talking about getting married. I was going to go to college near by and we were going to live happily ever after…but then things started changing. He started to pull away. I don’t know if it was my fault or not but it happened, and like most girls I clung tighter to him because I was so scared of losing him, losing that connection. 

I don’t quite remember where everything started to go sour…If I honestly think about it, it probably started the day school ended for me. Things were already stretched thin. With him playing lacrosse and studying for finals, and me doing Academic Team and preparing for AP tests we hardly had enough time to communicate. I started spending weekends with him in an effort to have enough time together. 

So back to summer: June rolled around and we spent a week together. Day and night and to me it was wonderful, but I began to notice a change. He would look at other girls while we kissed, he was reluctant to do anything aside from lock ourselves in his house and lay around.  I think that’s where my anxiety really began to boil up, when I started to cling to him.

You see, over that span of time my relationship with Matt became all that I had. I converted to Christianity for him, I swallowed my liberal political beliefs, I stopped hanging out with friends and virtually cut out my closest and dearest friend. I was making sacrifices for that relationship to keep working, sacrifices that were not and never will be worth it. I became a complete shell of myself. I began to feel terribly about my body, even about my academic career. I was ashamed that I wasn’t heavier, that I didn’t look like other girls. I began to obsess over my body, over how I acted, what I said, what Matt said in return.

I had known for a long time that Matt had friends who were girls, so I never really started to worry about it until that summer. It was silly, but I was insecure. I asked him to stop texting a girl in his class who wasn’t a part of his “immediate group”. He didn’t. They talked everyday, even though he wouldn’t text or call me that day. I know it’s stupid and ridiculous, but that made me feel even more insecure in our relationship. I began to wonder if he was really as all in to this relationship as I was. I began to panic.

I had already been rather thin due to stress during the school year, but I dropped even more weight. I wouldn’t eat because when Matt and I would fight (which was often) I would get so anxious that I would throw up. It got a point where I was either in a fit of hysterics or barfing my guts up everyday. There wasn’t a day where I just felt level or myself. It was the most terrifying time of my life. My parents began wondering if they could send me to college, and in all honesty, in the state I wasn’t in, I certainly wasn’t ready for it. However, my parents believed that my relationship was my business and they let me alone. Though they were worried for my health, the figured you don’t learn if you don’t hurt, and I agree with them on that.

The weekend of July 23rd I spent with him and his family. At first it seemed like every other weekend, but it wasn’t. I’m not going to bore you with the details of how he told me he loved me and that we would be together forever blah blah blah. Fast forward to the night of July 25th. We had just finished dinner, my mom was over, and the table had grown silent. I felt my instincts tingling, I knew something wasn’t okay or it wasn’t going to be rather quickly.

I’m going to skip the speech and get straight to the point: his father broke up with me. Matt didn’t say a word, he just stared at the floor and held my hand. I felt sick. I had been completely ambushed and Matt had known. He had known the entire weekend (since June actually) that this was going to be the end result. I grabbed my bags and ran out of the house, my mom followed after me. I don’t remember much of what happened after, just a lot of yelling, glass breaking, and the cold cement. I curled up on the sidewalk and cried. I had no idea what had just happened, just that it hurt and that I had never hurt this badly. Matt tried to touch me to “explain”, but no explaining could be done. What happened had already happened and there was no taking it back. My mom and I got in the car and left. I haven’t been back to that city since. Even now, a year later, it makes me feel sick to even think about looking him in the eye.

I could say that it was one of the worst times of my life, but that night was easily the best. It was horrible and it hurt but it freed me. The next day we picked up my best friend in the entire world and I ate. For the first time in months I ate a whole meal. I didn’t throw up. I didn’t feel anxious. A huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. It was as though that night was water to a parched garden.

Of course, it wasn’t a miracle transition either. I didn’t suddenly return to the person I had been. I don’t think that is even possible. I will never be the girl I was when I met and fell in love with Matt and I won’t be the girl that needed him either. I learned so much from that relationship, but only in retrospect. I was angry for a long time and crushingly depressed, but I refused to let that lead my life. I got up every morning and lived my life. I refused to let what had happened control my life and still keep me prisoner.

Eventually days started to fly by again. Minutes didn’t drag on. I could breathe without it hurting. I could think about him without breaking down into tears. My heart was healing, so it was time that my soul started to too. I went to a therapist, probably the best choice I have ever made. I began to look at why I had become who I had become when I was with Matt and began to wonder what lay before me. I realized that what lies before me is all I want it to be. Life became something full of choices rather than a confinement.

I learned that you can never sacrifice who you are for someone. If you have to become someone else to receive love, then you shouldn’t be in that relationship. I learned that it is never too late to recover who you are, that you can always pick up the pieces and become a better person because of the hurt.  But most importantly, I learned that who I am is good enough. I deserve the best. We all do. We all deserve someone who is going to love us without question, someone we feel more than comfortable around, and someone we can love without sacrificing who we are. It’s easier said than done, but if someone reads this and can avoid the pain that I did, then my purpose is served.

I regret nothing. Life has been kind to me and I feel blessed to have had that experience. I wouldn’t be the same person without it. So thank you, Matt. Thank you for showing me how beautiful love can be, yet also how destructive and painful it can be when you stop looking at the world around you.

Life is too short to spend it in regret, but it is much too short to spend planning for a life that you don’t even want.

A year later I am going to college, I am single, and I have never been happier. I take care of my body, I laugh everyday. Life is so much more vibrant and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. And to think, I could have never seen such great beauty if I had not experienced such pain.

Until Tomorrow,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I checked my blog stats this morning and I had over 100 views, which I know in perspective of the billion internet users out there it isn't that great, but I feel pretty damn special. It is truly remarkable how quickly internet can spread things, what messages we can push to each corner of the universe. Yet, it can also be a bad thing. Some people who read this blog probably have no idea who I am and the fact that they can see into some of my most intimate thoughts is scary. Then again, if it really freaked me out that much I wouldn't be posting a blog right?

It's tough for me to write today but I'm motivated to write in this thing as I would my journal, everyday or at least often. I know, how arrogant of me to think my thoughts actually merit a daily blog posting, but ah well :). I kinda want to talk about music today. My high school is a musical school. Everyone sings or plays and instrument (or at least tries/is forced to) and when I walked in the doors 4 years ago I was a singer but musically illiterate. I couldn't tell you the difference between a whole note and a half note (though the name  kind of says it all).

Over the past four years I have become pretty intimately involved with music. it fills my everyday life. I can't live without it. from Bhrams as I brush my teeth to Glee with my friends; Lady Gaga, Adele, The Naked and Famous...I listen to classical, romantic, jazz, atonal, pop, rock, soul...When I walked in those doors 4 years ago I couldn't even begin to tell you why music made me feel how it did or why I loved it so much. Like most people I didn't really know where music came from. Music was just music, sound that made me feel, that I sang along to. And then my world gradually changed. I began to see what  music was made of, how it made me feel what it made me feel. I saw music in the ocean, in the wind. I felt it in the summer sun and in my tears. Music came from what is inside of all of us. Our own hopes, pain, joy, sorrow, anger. It's all in there. It's all in the music.

Some of us like screamo, some of us (like my Government teacher) listen only to Classical music, some of us dabble, and others of us don't "really listen to music" (something that breaks my heart to be completely honest). But what all of this is moving up to is the idea that music is human. It's us. It's everything private and public and beautiful and scary and ugly and amazing about life. All through sound. Music is the most amazing thing in the entire world to me. I cry when I listen to Chopin and I smile when I listen to Freelance Whales. I feel liberated when I turn up Lady Gaga and heartbroken when I listen to Adele.

Music is the most amazing thing in the world. It's so crazy to me just how AWESOME it is. How we all sing along. It's so amazing how universal music is and it has taught me so much. Music in schools changed my life.

I don't know if music is to everyone else what it is to me, but what i know for a facts is that music connects us. It makes us better people and understanding it allows us to understand everyone. Music is the universal language because it moves us all. We all feel it. Music is the only true way to say anything, I think. Because music goes places where words can not. It touches your soul, your heart. It brings out that primal instinct in you to dance and celebrate. So get up. Dance. Celebrate...Celebrate life. It's the only one we have.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Set Fire to the Rain

Today was a rough day. I fought with one of my best friends  I guess we're ex-friends now. We fought over sex. Not between us, between him and his girlfriend. And though I understand that his sex life isn't exactly my business we were super close. He had been "pandering" his girlfriend for sex and he asked me if asking his girlfriend for sex (even after she told him she wasn't ready) was a bad thing. I don't know why but this made me really angry. I don't think it's fair to "pander" or "pressure" a girl about sex. If she doesn't want to have sex, she doesn't want to have sex.

Our culture has become so ridiculously centered on this idea of women as sex objects, there's almost no room for dissent. If you have sex at 16 you're a whore, if you're a virgin by 21 you're a prude. It seems that people have forgotten that some girls move at their own pace, something I feel should be respected. I know everyone says sex is a big deal, and it is for your first time. Society overlooks the emotional repercussions of sex. Some people are capable of having "casual" sex, but let's be honest. Being as humanly close to another human being is an intense experience, and intimate experience, and for most people those emotional repercussions just can't be turned off or toned down. In most cases sex is intimate. It is serious. And often in the first time, it is a well thought out and talked about decision.

Now, I'm not saying that sex for the first time can't be good sex, on the contrary the emotional connection can be one of the strongest of your life, but most of the time it's awkward, uncomfortable, painful, and the girl doesn't get true sexual satisfaction. It takes a woman 20 minutes to orgasm and only 20% of women can achieve orgasm by penetration alone. Men take quite less time to orgasm, and most young men hardly know what a clitoris is, let alone what to do. But it's the young women who don't tell them what they need, mostly because they (we) don't really know. I know this isn't something talked about very often but, women's orgasm/pleasure has become some sort of taboo. A man and his "right hand" are common cultural references and are not seen as taboo, but what about women? Don't we have a right to know what pleases us? Why must our discovery be shrouded in cultural taboo and shame? Why do covers of magazines give you "101 Ways to Please Him" instead of "101 Ways to Please Yourself"?

I'm taking a huge leap here but: isn't sex that is mutually satisfying lead to more satisfying sex overall? I mean I could be wrong, but when both parties achieve orgasm doesn't that make for better sex? Or am I off the deep end here?

I know this is an intimate topic, and most people don't share my stance or bluntness, but here's the deal gents (if any gents read this):

Most of the time she's faking it. Most of the time, you aren't.

Don't fake it. Because once you discover what gets you off your sexual partner will probably be realllly confused when you suddenly stop proclaiming his greatness after a 10 minute romp in the sheets.

And most of all:
Just because you're young doesn't mean you can't know what gets you off. Experiment and enjoy yourself. And just because "everyone's" having sex, doesn't mean you have to, and trust me...everyone is just as confused, scared, and emotionally unprepared as you. You aren't alone. Don't feel pressured by society to punch that V-Card because your first time should be a glorious experience not a 5 minute disappointment. Sex is complicated and scary and yet it can be amazing and special. Wait if you have sliver of a doubt. Wait if you think it's the wrong time. Wait if you think it's the wrong guy because down the road he'll be gone but that memory will be there forever. Set a high standard, put yourself first. Your body and how you feel matter.

Just some words of advice. Not the Bible or the word of God, but ideas.

Peace Out,