June 2014 archive

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Tuesday, June 24th was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I do not care to quantify days as I believe our days are largely good or bad depending on what we do with them. However, this Tuesday carried with it a persistent dark cloud. Without getting into it, I’ll just say that physical and emotional pain can sometimes be greater than we expect.

The purpose of this post, however, is not to lament what happened but to explain some insights that this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day provided. After we got the bad news, my husband worked very hard to get me to smile and lift some of the burden from our hearts. We decided to go to one of our favorite breakfast places in Marietta, Douceur de France, in order to postpone having to face anything, and our initial waitress was completely void of any personality. She wasn’t mean or rude by any means, but she was just lacking the accustomed personalities of great waitresses. Perhaps she was having a bad day, too, as we only saw her one other time. Another, more cheerful waitress took over for her. Her cheerfulness was a salve to the wound we were currently nursing, and she had no idea how much her spirit and the good food were helping. Externally we were just another couple eating breakfast; internally we were dealing with the worst day of our lives. I started to look around the restaurant at the other patrons and waitresses, and it hit me that we never know what another is going through. Even with friends, we are so good at concealing ourselves from one another, letting only a chosen few know what is really going on inside. It’s so important for us to show grace to each other because beneath our calm exterior there may be turbulent waters.

This later extended to Facebook for me. I admit that I am sometimes too touchy when I see certain posts, and on this terrible, horrible day, it was no exception. So many posts seemed to dig at my open wound, and the callousness and abrasiveness with which some people posted made me actually cry. Now, I admit again that I was not in a good place emotionally, but when some people posted about things they had never experienced or simply complaining about how the rain made their day just horrible, I had trouble not getting wrapped up in the posts. I shut down Facebook as this was in my control and let it rest for a day until I could look at it more objectively. Like the insight I felt at the restaurant, I realized how what we put on social media may deeply affect people in ways we had never even considered. It made me rethink what I post and try to evaluate how what I say may affect those around me. Yes, I know it is my right to speak my thoughts openly, but as a person seeking to become a better altruist, it is my responsibility to try not to be callous and abrasive. These qualities may have a time and place, but I doubt Facebook, or other social media, is the place for it.

I have learned other things through this experience of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, but these are the two insights that can be readily shared. I may feel able to talk more openly about what happened on this day, but until then, I shall keep it close to my heart and strive to become a better person through what I learned.

Hollywood’s Skewed Portrayal of Voluptuous Women

We need more women in television, in movies, and in video games! This sentiment is one that has been gaining ground, attention, and support in the past few years and is one with which I agree. However, women rarely are the main character (unless in romance movies) and are usually seen as supporting characters and/or highly sexualized. A recent study made the following observations about women on television and in films in 2011: “female characters are sidelined, women are stereotyped and sexualized, a clear employment imbalance exists, women on TV come up against a glass ceiling, and there are not enough female characters working in STEM fields.” (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.) Films with female characters rarely pass the Bechdel Test that requires two featured females to talk to each other about something other than a man. Women and men alike are outraged at this bias in our media, and who can blame them?

Despite how much the bias bothers me, however, I am even more angered by the portrayal, or lack thereof, of “plus-size” women in film, television, and even video games. (I put “plus-size” in quotes because I do not care for the term since it implies an otherness to larger women. However, I’ll use it in this post because it’s one of the acceptable terms in our society.) Yes, there are a few shows that feature plus-size women, such as Mike & Molly, Drop Dead Diva, Super Fun Night (cancelled within first season), Glee, and The Big C. However, all of these shows focus on the weight of its actresses at some point and use it to either get laughs, produce sympathy, or just focus the whole damn series on weight. And don’t even get me started on Top Model and how they brought in plus-size models that didn’t even qualify as plus-size in the real world. Do you want a medal because you chose to bring in women who still didn’t reflect the average American woman, Tyra? Don’t hold your breath.

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Glee gave us Mercedes Jones, played by Amber Riley, who has a magnificent singing voice and a personality to fill the screen. However, she was hardly ever given a lead, having to bow down to Rachel Berry’s awesome awesomeness, and she hinted at how her weight affected her confidence in a few episodes. In recent episodes, this doesn’t seem to be the case, but the series has taken a few turns since our initial meeting with the vivacious Mercedes Jones.

super-fun-night

Super Fun Night introduced us to Kimmie Boubier, played by Rebel Wilson, who not only was plus-size but was also a geek. Shock! The show portrayed three single women who had seemingly no social lives for 13 years. Kimmie constantly battled with her confidence pertaining to her weight as other characters made fun of her. The show even tried to get laughs from the audience through poking fun at Kimmie’s plus-size habits and looks. Even after Kimmie realizes how in love she is with her friend and co-worker Richard, there is no way for them to be together romantically. He’s just too fit and handsome for her. Guess she’ll settle for the plus-size man James that comes into her life. They’re a better match aesthetically to American audiences anyway. No wonder the show was cancelled.

Drop Dead Diva

Drop Dead Diva had a different premise than I’d seen before. A model named Deb dies, goes to the great beyond, and when she accidentally pushes the wrong button, her soul gets transplanted into a size 16 woman’s body that is dead on the operating table after being shot but revives with Deb’s soul. The skinny model Deb is reincarnated as the size 16, lawyer Jane. Admittedly I’m still on the first season, but I find it difficult to watch episode after episode. While every episode has a good message to take from it, most of the time Jane and her friends are focusing on her weight to some degree. How are the supermodel views of Deb changing as she becomes plus-size Jane? And let’s not overlook the fact that the plus-size woman’s name is “Jane,” as in plain Jane. It gets a little monotonous after a while.

MIKE & MOLLY

I haven’t watched a lot of Mike & Molly so I cannot comment on the content in detail. The way the two plus-size main characters met, though, was through a Chicago Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Um, what? And as for The Big C, I haven’t seen the show so all I can comment on is what I’ve seen online. The lovely Gabourey Sidibe plays Andrea Jackson (not the main character), and at one part in the show, the main character offers Andrea a cash prize if she can lose weight. Again, um, what?

While I do appreciate these shows featuring plus-size women, I am still angered by their portrayal. Yes, there are certain issues plus-size women face that others do not. Yes, it’s important for the general population to be aware of some of these issues if just to break down prejudice. However, why is it that plus-size women are only cast in roles that revolve around their weight? Why must their weight always be an issue? I look forward to a day when plus-size women can just play normal roles, much like I look forward to the day when geeks and nerds can be portrayed without poking fun at their interests and quirks (I’m looking at you, Big Bang Theory). I’d like to see myself reflected in roles across the board, not just the quirky friend, the large protagonist that can’t get past her weight, or the character thrown in for diversity’s sake but has no real substance. Why must plus-size women be boxed into the roles that they play? Although, as I look at how most women are pigeon-holed into Hollywood’s roles, I suppose I should just be glad that plus-size women are cast at all.

(For an interesting view on how Disney female characters are teaching dangerous lessons, click here. Not to mention the only plus-size woman in Disney is the evil witch Ursala trying to hurt the poor, skinny Ariel.)

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The Honor of Having Grandparents

As my husband and I contemplate having children of our own, I reflect back on my childhood and what and whom had influence on the woman I am today. As anyone would expect, there are numerous people, events, setbacks, etc. that helped mold me, but I find myself focusing on my grandparents. My grandfather, whom my brother and I affectionately refer to as “Pop-Bob,” recently had heart surgery, and with his failing lungs to exacerbate his medical problems, no one knew how he’d recover from surgery or even if he could make it through the surgery. Pop-Bob lost my grandmother Sue-Sue over ten years ago, and this woman, as I’ve expressed before, helped mold me into an avid reader and writer. She was the other side of my coin. However, all of my grandparents have had an effect on me throughout the years, and Pop-Bob’s recent surgery has made me appreciate my grandparents even more.

I was blessed as a child to have both sets of grandparents alive and active. My maternal grandparents—Grandma and Pop—lived in southern, rural Georgia in a ranch-style home with acres and acres surrounding them. My brother Sam and I would visit them frequently, as my dad was usually stationed in Georgia or Alabama, and would sometimes spend a full week with them in the summer to give my parents a vacation and to bond even more with Grandma and Pop. My mom, Sam, and I even lived with them for a year when my father was stationed overseas at a location where family was not permitted. My summers were full of four-wheeler rides, exploring the woods, swimming at the river, and getting Reese’s and Coca-Cola from my great-uncles’ convenience store. Before any adventure, Pop would take us to Uncle Harold’s and Uncle Garnold’s store. Sam and I would pick out a treat or two and have a Coca-Cola from the glass as Pop shot the breeze with whoever was at the store, usually a flock of retired men. Sam and I would patiently sit on milk crates snacking on our candy and bottled caffeine, knowing the day was soon to begin. Pop would then take us on grand outdoor adventures.

Pop and Me Pop and Sam on the four-wheeler

We’d ride in the back of the truck down the bumpy dirt road that lead to the river and go swimming. Pop is the one who taught my brother to swim in that dirt-brown, Georgia water. Sam wouldn’t trust anyone in the water, including numerous swim instructors, but Pop was a river warrior and knew all there was to swimming. We were never afraid of moccasins or alligators as long as Pop was with us. After I grew up, I did see a few gators and snakes in that river if I was ever without Pop, convincing me more of Pop’s river magic. Instead of the river on some days, we’d go explore the forest either on beaten paths or just making our own way. Pop would show us different tracks in the forest—deer, raccoon, snakes—and point out the different sounds we heard. He was teaching us how to read the forest in its way, and as he cooed like an owl, he was replying to the music of the woods. On other days, we’d swim at the creek under the bridge, which is where I saw my first crawdad, or we’d wade around in the creek that cut through the forest. And if the heat was too sweltering, even for glass-bottle Coca-Cola, we’d race through fields on four-wheelers so the air would cool us down. Pop taught us kindness to people and to nature. He grew our appreciation to the world around us and helped us see the beauty in the everyday.

Grandma was usually left out of these grand adventures. It was sweltering after all, and she had permed hair. She usually had her hands full preparing whatever magic she’d serve us for lunch or dinner. To this day at twenty-nine, I still have not eaten any Southern food as good as Grandma’s. I can follow her recipes exactly, even her little notes about using buttermilk instead of water in cake batter to make it moist, but none of my recipes turn out quite as delectable. She conjured up her magic in the kitchen, and if we were lucky, we could help make some of that magic as well. At Christmas time, it was always necessary to get to our grandparents’ home a few days early. That way we could help with the Christmas sweets. We could help stamp cookies out of the cookie gun and frost and decorate the 1,000 cookies that Grandma would make. We could help dunk the Ritz cracker, peanut-butter sandwiches in milk chocolate and watch Grandma assemble a seven-layer cake. We could then gorge ourselves on Christmas cookies, chocolate cake, coconut cake, and caramel cake. Grandma always spread kindness through cooking. She’d send a famous casserole when a loved one died or one was sick in bed. She’d send Christmas cookies to all her neighbors and family. She’d even celebrate big events with a nice meal out at Cap’n Joe’s. People still ask for her Christmas cookies, though now she isn’t able to cook even half as much as she did. My mother, my aunts, and I have taken the torch of cooking and preparing food for most occasions, and although this is a heavy torch to carry, we could not be prouder of this responsibility. Grandma taught me and continues to teach me that the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. She teaches generosity to people and love for family above all else.

In addition to their separate molding, Grandma and Pop together helped mold me into the woman I am today. When Pop died in October 2012, he had been married to Grandma for sixty-one years. On their fiftieth anniversary, the whole family flew out to Seattle for a big celebration. We celebrated in many ways but the moment that sticks out the most is this fancy restaurant overlooking the water. We all ordered crab because us Georgians like our seafood. Pop then started a contest with the table over who could get the biggest piece of crab out without breaking the sweet, white meat. We got loud in the restaurant, and all Grandma could say through her smiles was, “Oh, Gene,” as she’d periodically roll her eyes. This was the public version of the ritual they had after any big meal that Grandma prepared. Pop would rub his belly, say the meal was more than adequate, and then tell Grandma that he’d renew her contract for another year. In response, Grandma would roll her eyes and act like she didn’t hear him, using her hearing aids as an excuse. Pop would restate his sentiment and say how he chose a good woman all those years back at Orange Julius, and Grandma would smile and say, “Oh, Gene.” Through all their interactions, there was no hiding how much Grandma and Pop loved one another even after all the years. To a young woman who didn’t believe in lasting love because there was an ongoing war between her own parents, Grandma and Pop showed her that lasting love did exist and was something to strive for.

Grandma and Pop in their early years Grandma and Pop in their later years

My paternal grandparents Sue-Sue and Pop-Bob lived in Omaha, Nebraska, and for this Georgia girl going to visit them was like stepping through the wardrobe. They had a split-level two-story house with basement, and my brother and I always slept in the blue room with two twin beds. Mom always had a problem getting us to go to sleep because Sam and I would giggle and talk throughout the night. We weren’t used to sleeping in the same room, but we couldn’t resist this sibling opportunity. My grandmother Sue-Sue would just laugh at any of Sam and my antics and urge my mother to just let us be kids. Omaha was where Sam and I were no longer well-behaved military brats that said yes ma’am and no sir and sat primly in our chairs. We ran wild, and it was glorious. Sue-Sue would take me for special visits to the library so I could stock up on books for our stay, and on our weekly phone calls, she’d always ask what I was reading and what I had written lately. She was a lot like Pop in that she enjoyed nature, and she would sit for what seemed like hours at the breakfast table, watching the hummingbirds or the squirrels or the deer at the salt lick or the occasional raccoon. I’d sit with her and observe God’s creations, as she called them. She talked about nature with a reverent tone and had a soothing spirit either in person or on the phone. She’d usually take us to the Omaha Zoo because she knew animals were something all kids enjoyed. To this day, I usually would rather go to an aquarium or a zoo than most anything else. Sue-Sue grew my love of reading and writing, but she also taught me the pleasure in being observant. She taught me how to love the small things and that family is everything.

Sue-Sue and me Pop-Bob and baby me

In my youth, Pop-Bob was the video game bad-ass and winter-world explorer. In the basement, Pop-Bob had both Ms. Pac-Man and Spiderman Pinball. Sam and I could play for hours in that cold, drafty basement, but there was nothing like watching the master at work. Pop-Bob could conquer level after level in Ms. Pac-Man, showing us levels we never would have seen on our own. He had the magic to keep the pinball from ever going down the chute and could make it dance up and down the board, lighting up different contraptions and making the machine sing. He’d make us suit up in our snow boots and overalls, stocking hats and gloves and then explore the great, white outdoors. He taught us how to make snow angels, how to build a snowman, and compact the perfect snowball. He could get at least one of us cousins to lick the salt lick just so we knew why the deer loved it so much. On days when there was no snow, he would push us on the swings by their house and watch us see-saw. He has this great big voice and booming laugh that cannot escape any ears within his vicinity, and making Pop-Bob laugh fills us with such satisfaction. He taught us and still teaches us to love the art of playing, to do things just for fun, and to laugh with your whole being. He also taught me about lasting love because the way he’d look at Sue-Sue was a look that I have trouble describing. She was his world, his rock, his home, and I could see it in his eyes whenever he looked at her, appreciating every curve and every action.

After this reflection, I can barely wait to see what our own kids learn from their grandparents. They’ll be lucky to have three sets, and each set unique in their own way. My mom and other dad Brian, my dad and step-mom Jan, and my husband’s parents will help mold our future children into the adults they’ll one day become. And I can’t wait.

Pop-Bob and Sue-Sue Sue-Sue, Pop-Bob, and Me

I Read YA Literature and am NOT Embarrassed

Adults should be embarrassed to read YA literature?? The author that wrote this has sparked my ire, and I need to express all the ways in which this article and author are incorrect. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, feel free to Google the article entitled “Against YA” by Ruth Graham. I will not be providing a link to said article.

Perhaps I should start off by explaining why I think I have any say in this debate. I studied both YA literature and children’s literature in my undergraduate program and graduate program. I’m an avid reader, reading from 50 to 90 books each year, and this reading list includes about 50% YA literature. And I’m proud of these numbers, not embarrassed. Yes, I read current fiction and mix in some classics as well. Most avid readers have classic authors they know and go back to often. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Alexandre Dumas are just a few beloved writers for me. However, I revel in reading YA literature and am surprised more often than not that certain issues are 1) presented at all and 2) presented with respect and beauty.

First of all, Ms. Graham, have you read enough YA books to be able to criticize the genre as a whole? I’d hate to think that you base your opinion on a small sampling of books or even the one current book you appear to have read – The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I’m not talking about when you were a child reading YA literature back in the early 1990s; I’m talking about a sizable research sampling of current YA literature. From To Kill a Mockingbird to The Lord of the Flies to The Book Thief to Thirteen Reasons Why, there is a plethora of weighty content and beautiful prose provided in YA literature. Yes, the reading level is lower than most fiction written for adults because YA literature is written first and foremost for young adults, but this lower reading level does not mean that characters cannot be complex, plots cannot contain anything of substance, and the writing is just fluff.

Ms. Graham, you say that YA literature from your childhood in the early 1990s helped shaped you into the reader you are today but that you are a different reader than that past time. Therefore, you have grown out of reading YA literature because you have changed. Good for you. I believe most readers evolve in their tastes, and there’s nothing wrong with this evolution. However, there’s no shame in still appreciating and enjoying YA literature. I loved macaroni and cheese and popsicles as a young adult, and even though my tastes have changed and are even more sophisticated, I still enjoy mac-n-cheese and popsicles and am not ashamed to say it. You may have changed as a reader to not enjoy YA literature, but it doesn’t mean all adult readers should follow suit. No two people are exactly alike, so why would you expect all adults to have the same tastes as you?

You go on to say that grown-ups read YA literature in search of “escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia.” I do have to agree with you on the “escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia” reasons for reading, but this doesn’t apply to only YA literature. I read because I enjoy it. I read because I like to learn about the human experience. I read because I enjoying learning. Notice that there are a number of reasons why I read including reading for enjoyment. There is nothing wrong with seeking these three things in the books adults read. If we read nothing but books that are starkly realistic and/or books that are written only to convey knowledge and increase IQ, there would be a lot less readers out there. This isn’t to say I don’t read books like this; I simply like a variety in the subject matter of the books I read. I like a variety in the reasons why I read the books that I read.

You write, “It’s not simply that YA readers are asked to immerse themselves in a character’s emotional life—that’s the trick of so much great fiction—but that they are asked to abandon the mature insights into that perspective that they (supposedly) have acquired as adults.” Wow, you must have life all figured out to have such “mature insights” as an adult that the very idea of any sort of immaturity is to scoff at. As a 29-year-old female, I do consider myself an adult. However, I have not left behind my childhood completely. There are times when I still laugh uncontrollably at silly things or even nothing at all. I still enjoy goofing off in the pool and building a blanket fort. I still enjoy eating popsicles on a hot summer day and will perk up when I hear the ice cream truck. I still enjoy playing board games and having friends over after work. I have not abandoned my childish whims and fantasies. I have matured and grown into the woman I am today but refuse to leave behind my youth. Perhaps I am one of those people at which you scoff. Perhaps I would not be mature enough to run in your crowd. But that’s OK with me. Because of my youthful outlook on life, I can enjoy YA literature and remember what it was like to be a young adult. I don’t have to abandon my “mature insights” to enjoy YA literature because, as an adult, I can have more than one idea in my head at a time even if a new idea may conflict with my “mature insights.” Sure, I may be able to see how some maturity or experience may have helped a character in a book, but I can say that about “grown-up” fiction as well.

Ms. Graham, you go on to say that a major fault of YA literature is “endings [that] are uniformly satisfying.” You explain, “These endings are for readers who prefer things to be wrapped up neatly, our heroes married or dead or happily grasping hands, looking to the future.” I do admit that many YA literature books do have some sort of “satisfying” ending, even if this includes the death of a young girl’s whole family, the suicide of a best friend, or the death of a lover. These books do have endings. Shock! I would be interested to see your list of books without your definition of “uniformly satisfying” endings. I can think of Hard Times by Charles Dickens, although that ending is still succinct and wrapped up if not to most readers’ satisfaction. The Great Gatsby had an unsatisfying ending, in my opinion, but according to your definition of a “uniformly satisfying” ending, The Great Gatsby still fits into this definition neatly. Even modern, highly lauded books like The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson have, by your definition, a “uniformly satisfying” ending. Most events and characters are wrapped up neatly in an ending even if it’s not necessarily the ending readers may have been wanting. The definition of ending is “an end or final part of something,” so I guess YA literature does wrap things up in the end. Go figure.

You then allude to the fact that YA literature is filled with only “’likeable’ protagonists.” That can’t be right. What about Katniss in The Hunger Games trilogy? I would say that she wasn’t a very “likeable” protagonist. She was realistic, but she wasn’t someone with who I would go to the mall (if only for the fact that she may push me under a bus if things got dicey). What about Eustace Scrubb in the Narnia collection? He starts off as very unlikeable, and even when he is supposed to be a more likeable character after his mishap with a magical golden bracelet, I still dislike him. Even when he gets a book starring himself and Jill Poole, I disliked him. C. S. Lewis did such a superb job of illustrating him as a spoiled baby in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that I found it impossible to like him in The Silver Chair. And don’t even get me started on Jill Poole. Ugh. Those characters were much too realistic in their bickering, pettiness, and selfishness. I wonder why Lewis would create such unlikeable characters in his books. (I say with sarcasm.) There are other YA protagonists that I do not like, yet I could at least sympathize with them to some degree. It goes back to that whole human experience I mentioned earlier. The same can be said for particular “grown-up” books as well.

I know you’re worried, Ms. Graham, that this boom in YA literature’s popularity will hinder young adults today from going on to read grown-up books. However, I believe that if a person truly loves reading, there will be no hesitation from switching between different genres. There would be nothing wrong with them continuing to love YA literature, but like most avid readers, young adults today will feel the need to explore the varieties of books that are available. YA literature does not create an impenetrable wall around itself; YA literature creates a bridge to other genres. To the “snobbish and joyless and old” Ms. Graham, adieu.

Migraine, Migraine, Go Away

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I had to go to the emergency room yesterday because I had a migraine that wouldn’t quit. Thank goodness for modern medicine, a husband who understands if not empathizes with my pain, great nurses and an attentive doctor, and Diluadid and Zofran. I know a few of my family members and friends know what it is to have a migraine, and my very first post on this blog had to do with migraines. A migraine is NOT just a really bad headache. Calling a really bad headache a “migraine” is like calling a bicycle a semi-truck. I’m a headache sufferer, almost on a daily basis, but I will take my headaches any day over a migraine. Not only is the pain an excruciating, insurmountable, almost tangible, white hotness in the head, but migraines are also usually accompanied (at least for me) by half-body numbness, auras that sometime make it impossible to see, and violent vomiting. Yesterday, however, I experienced none of the precursors to the pain (numbness and auras) but only had the accompanying vomiting because the pain was so intense. I woke up a little before 6:00 in full-blown pain. Here’s a poetic look into the migraine and the experience it warranted.

Ice Pick in my Head
Ice pick in my head
Slowly turning and twisting
Stabbing and then twirling
Until the prize of vomit shows up.

Burning, blistering bile
Singeing my throat and mouth
Killing taste buds as it passes
To leave an all-day sore throat.

Sweet relief from upchucked stomach contents
A juxtaposition of wanting to do it again
And wanting to avoid it at all costs
Since it means the meds are no longer in the belly.

Pain so fierce and white hot
I cannot lie still on the bed
Pondering trepanation
Pondering peeling out the eye
And hacking away the skull
To get to the pain.

A trip to the emergency room
Through rush-hour traffic
Trying to contain my remaining stomach juice
Within my body.

A nurse deftly searching for a vein
In vain
As I squirm with pain on the hospital bed
And the sweet purple relief
Of a needle going into my hand
To briefly take my mind off my searing head pain.

A body pumped full of saline
And a lovely friend called Narcotic
To cool my boiling blood.

Narcotic and I explore the reaches of bliss
Making my limbs feel like heavy logs
That somehow start to melt into the bed
Coloring the blue sheets with fleshy color.

And I am at rest
Somewhere between alertness and unconsciousness
With the pain in my head driven away
By Narcotic’s trusty gray steed.

All that’s left is a bruise behind skull
And an after-headache when I get home
That’s a sweet relief from my previous pain
Still a bright, hot memory.

The Empty Theater

I went to see Blended today in the theater alone. My husband didn’t want to see it, and all my friends work during the day. However, I wanted to see it and wasn’t going to let my party of one hold me back. I went to the first showing of the day and was the first person in the theater. I got some snacks as I decided to spoil myself since I was alone. I entered the theater and watched the whole movie without a single person entering. It was glorious.

The movie was entertaining (I’m a big fan of Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler together), and the experience was enjoyable. But the stillness of the theater, the knowledge that this movie was playing just for me, were what made this awesome. I enjoyed this public quiet. It was just me and the screen for two hours.

I don’t do a lot of things by myself except for the occasional errand or shopping expeditions because I’ve been afraid of being alone and having no one to share the experiences. For some reason, though, I’ve found myself doing more and more activities by myself during the weekday instead of staying at home. I’ve gone out to eat a few times and have now seen a movie by myself. There’s something about exploring the world while the rest of it works—almost like exploring the world when everyone is asleep except during the day all the places are actually open. And through this aloneness, I’m starting to enjoy the person I am even more. I like being with myself. I’m no longer constantly looking for someone else to help me forget my insecurities. There is no stifling me. My solitude is my close companion, and I cherish the time I spend with it.

 “If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” – Aldous Huxley

May Resolutions Update

If you recall from a previous post entitled “Welcome 2014,” I made three resolutions for this year. I resolved to publish this blog every week, to read 80 books by the end of the year, and to create a piece of art or a craft project each month. To keep me honest to these resolutions, I’ll be posting my progress each month on this blog. Here we go!

You can tell by my previous posts that I have kept up with posting at least once each week if not more.

For May, I’ve read the following books, which brings the number of books for 2014 up to 50:

  1. Black, Holly. The Coldest Girl in Cold Town.
  2. Dessen, Sarah. Just Listen.
  3. Dessen, Sarah. Keeping the Moon.
  4. Dessen, Sarah. The Truth About Forever.
  5. Dessen, Sarah. Someone Like You.
  6. Dessen, Sarah. That Summer.
  7. Dessen, Sarah. Dreamland.
  8. Dessen, Sarah. Along for the Ride.
  9. Khoury, Jessica. Vitro.

Here is a picture of the craft project I did this month.

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