26 December 2008

A crumb of nirvana, fed to the dogs.

I've reached an important moment in my emotional development (but does it really count if I can acknowledge it as it occurs?), but this time is incredibly difficult to describe. It's more of a state of being, not like a stage of development and more like a new level of awareness. Buddhist-style.

I am absolutely in love with life. Not just my life, which is pretty damn awesome, but life. Komodo dragons, oak trees, baby foxes, wheat fields, rice paddies, mushrooms. Life. Sometimes I can feel my heart swelling with adoration of everything if I, a human being, am literally absorbing the richness of being from our Mother. The closest image I can formulate to present my state of being is this - me, lying in a field of grass (the frolicking kind), just simply being. Becoming the grass. [And no, I'm not talking about that kind of grass, you freaks.]

But that reminds me of other times in my life when I've had this feeling. None of those times were natural, if you catch my drift, and each time was followed by a period of disconnection. I had felt connected to the world around me but I wasn't part of it in the end. In fact, afterwards when I was myself again, I just felt empty, as if the joy that had puffed me up had been slowly and painfully extracted from my heart, leaving my soul with a gaping wound that nothing could fill.

Anyways, back to my whole connection to life. The more aware I am of the beauty of life, the more in love I become with being alive. And, then, the more in love I am with being alive, the more scared I am to die. I once heard lyrics to some Boy Least Likely To song where the singer says something like, "If I didn't like living so much, I wouldn't be so afraid to die." Before, I sang to this song without much thought...and now I completely understand. I am terrified of dying. Although I believe that I will return once again, I love my life, this life.

Also, the more I am in love with life, the more I find life-affirming things to reflect on. Currently, I am madly in love with La Blogotheque's Take Away Shows. La Blogotheque is a production group based in France that gets some of today's most awesome musical artists and gets them to perform in streets, in elevators, in apartments, in bathrooms, wherever their music takes them, and records it. The resulting film is usually not edited or simply edited for time, meaning that the music is raw and real. No overdubbing or retakes, just pure, simple music. Naked. Beautiful.

They've been doing this for a few years, so there's plenty to choose from. Here are my favorites, in no particular order.

  1. Man Man. There's a lot of build up to the final video, but it's totally worthwhile to watch all of them. They get these kids from the street to help them make music and it's purely genius. It's completely the spirit of La Blogotheque - to remember the human love of music, to hear, to create, and perform it, together.
  2. Bon Iver, parts I and II. Now, I have to admit that this was my introduction to Bon Iver (boo Laura for being behind on her music!), but I can't get enough. There's this simplicity to his music that touches my spirit. It's so sad, but it's honest. It's human. There's also a really good story behind his music (bad breakup, poor health, etc. led him to spend three months in a cabin in Wisconsin - I think - and voila - brilliant music!). Anyways, be sure to watch the one for "For Emma, Forever Ago" because it's some great acapella.
  3. Yeasayer. By far, one of my favorite Take Away Shows ever, ever, ever. They're a great band to begin with, but their Redcave on the subway is phenomenal. Plus, listen to the lyrics at the end of it...completely how I'm feeling these days.
  4. Sound Team. An Austin band, filmed in Austin. No more explanation needed. (Oh, they also sing in front of an immigration rally, with a ton of Mexican flags. Que bueno!)
  5. Andrew Bird. I. Fucking. Love. Andrew. Bird.
  6. Arcade Fire. The first ever video I saw from La Blogotheque, and I just read that Take Away Shows were created for Arcade Fire. Anyways, it's just a big fucking wow. Ripping a magazine with the beat? Talk about a musical orgasm!
Side note: Because I love Andrew Bird so much, I'm going to give you EVEN MORE videos to watch of him! Aren't you lucky?
I think part of my previous melancholy was because I wasn't into anything. I dabbled a bit in this, a little in that, but I was never really in it. Always taking a taste but never a full bite. But now that I have time and I'm swallowing music whole...I just want to cry from the beauty of it all. I really wish I had kept at the violin when I was growing up. I know, I know, it's never too late...but when you have so many things to do, some things are just implausible. Besides, I'm happy to delve into other peoples' music to find myself. I'm within someone's instrument at any point of time. Right now I'm split between Bon Iver and Andrew Bird. epic struggle! But my money's on Andrew Bird winning in the end. Nevertheless, we shall see.

Anyways, before I forget, back to the whole life thing. Next semester I want to embark on a journey of epic proportions (I like the word "epic" tonight, apparently). Since I love life so much, I want to confront death head-on. I either want to volunteer at a hospice for AIDS victims or at a nursing home, just being with the people there. I don't know which I'd prefer...AIDS would be good for my resume to join the Peace Corps, but I would also really like to learn from the older generations. They have so much wisdom to give us young, impressionable ones and they deserve to have their voices heard. But I am also deathly afraid of elderly people ever since my grandma was in a nursing home for the last years of her life. Hmm. Dilemmas.

A closing image. My grandmother was a vegetable for the last few years of her life. She had horrible, horrible Alzheimer's, which caused her to lose everything - not just her memories, but also her ability to eat, speak, or walk. For years she could only scream and moan to communicate, and at times she seemed just like a child, unaware of the world around her and only present to her pain.

Visiting her was so hard and I was so young. Sometimes I could have sworn that I saw some recognition in her eyes, some vague remembrance that yes, I was her granddaughter and that she loved me dearly. But those moments were fleeting. I remember the smell of the home, not that it was a poorly managed one, but just the smell of age. I connect that smell to sadness now, and loss.

When she died...well, when she died, I didn't really feel a sense of loss. I felt relief. She wasn't dependent on people to do everything for her. She didn't need diapers or a feeding tube. She was free. But looking at her in her casket was, as they say, like seeing a shell of a person. It wasn't my grandmother in that grave, it was simply a body. But I could barely look at that body anyhow.

A year or so later I found a picture of my grandmother somewhere, the place and time escape me. But she was younger, though not "young," smiling and standing on a deck next to a lake surrounded by evergreens. And though she had wrinkles, unsightly glasses, and short, curly, thinning, gray and white hair, she was beautiful. She was happy. She was alive, and not just in the biological sense. She was alive.

That is how I remember her, now.

I know I will die someday, but I hope that I will live in the way she did that day on the dock.

[Sorry for the excessive use of italics and was just an italicized link kind of day.]

Oh crap, a post script! Here is something that affirms life. The trailer for Earth, the movie they're making from the Planet Earth series, which totally blew my socks off. I almost cried when I saw the trailer for the first time (maybe because I was PMS-ing hard core), but it's just beautiful. And then they just had to choose the most perfect Sigur Ros song to go with it.

Dude, I just cried when I made sure it was the full trailer...oh, life.

22 December 2008

Cynicism's Vulgar Resurrection

[Disclaimer: I probably won't be this upset, cynical, or vulgar this time tomorrow. This was written in anger, frustration, and despair. I should probably keep this to myself, but I wouldn't want to disappoint you stalkers. And I just cut out the cruelest part of the's probably better not online.]

An interesting development tonight in the S situation furthered my romantic cynicism. I had softened up a bit in my lack of relationships, forgotten how much bullshit you have to put up with. I forgot how to read through the crap to understand what's really going on. When you're with someone, you have to learn to hold their words up to the light at that perfect angle so you can see what they really mean.

I won't make the situation any stickier than what it already is. I know I shouldn't be writing about it so soon after the fact (or at least so soon after I found out), but I need to cope. To make a story as succinct as necessary, S moved on much too quickly for his words of love. And it hurt.

(This is where I said "fuck" about twenty fucking times. Oh, self-censorship!)

Okay, now for why it hurt.

Lately it seems like any relationship I am in (or near-relationship) ends with the guy saying, "Well I like you, but there's someone else that I want to see." Only once did this happen (this summer) when I wasn't upset. That was under special circumstances, but every single other time hurt me incredibly. I wish I could be the other woman but I'm always the one who gets fucked over. Why do guys feel like I'm good...but not as good as X?

To top it off, I'm sick and fucking tired of guys saying stupid shit like, "I love you," "You're amazing," "You make me so happy," "I need you." Hey gentlemen, news flash - I'm onto you. You don't fucking love me and you don't fucking need me. Whatever hormones you have flowing through your veins just makes you want to screw me, not marry me and have babies with me and get that house with the picket fence. Don't give me bullshit about how awesome I am and how amazing you feel when you're with me because you will get over it. Wait a few goddamn months and then if you feel the same way, okay, we'll talk. Until then...well, shut the hell up. I don't want to hear any of the crap you think you feel or you think you need to say.

Most of the time if I heard a girl saying stuff like this I'd tell her that the guys are probably just trying to get into her pants. But if you could have seen the looks in some of their faces...Jesus Christ, they all think that whatever we had was monumental, once-in-a-lifetime awesomeness. I tell all of them that I'm not into that romantic crap, but they all say they can't help it. They're just dying to tell me about this thing called love that they found with me. Whatever. Besides, they're much more likely to get into my pants if they don't mess around with all that crap.

So maybe I should be happy that S reminded me about all this. I had grown so soft and malleable thinking that maybe his love really was real, and even though I couldn't just made me feel better about life in general. Oh Laura, such a simple mistake shouldn't have been made by a woman like you!

Now, before anyone gives my words the wrong meaning, let me get this straight - I believe in "love." Quotations because there are so many kinds of love, but the romantic type is the first one thought of when the word is mentioned. I have loved before and will always love that person for as long as I live. I think I've written about this before, about how it's very, very rare and very, very precious, blablabla.

But now for the addition to my theory. People are so ready to fall in love because we are all so painfully lonely and scared of solitude. Sometimes loneliness in people is almost tangible. I remember this girl in my biology class this year who was very lovely but very lonely. I could sense it, but that sadness strangely made her beautiful to me. But most times that loneliness sits beneath the surface, threatening to raise its ugly head with the slightest provocation - an insult, a meeting stood-up, an eventless weekend. And when we feel this innate human tendency toward loneliness, we crave romantic love.

This is dangerous. Sad people clinging to others for affirmation of their desirability...not healthy.

So these lonely people want to be loved in all the ways they could never love themselves, so they give their "love" freely. They will love whatever loves them. It's not a selfish aspect, just a human one. We like to feel needed. (I am guilty of this.)

I remember hearing a long time ago that you can never truly love someone unless you love yourself first. This makes complete sense to me now. If you're not longing to be wanted, you can love someone for who they are, not for how they make you feel. Now that I think of it, that summer that I first loved was the first time I had been in a relationship while feeling good about myself. I was young and loved the world at my feet and myself as I walked it. I was able to give of myself to him without needing anything in return. Ever since then (and before then too), I have been at odds with myself, unsure of my feelings about who I am. I dislike my body, feel inadequate in class, and hate how I treat people. (I'll get into how I'm going to fix this in another blog, but it's quite good and I'm aching to write about it...just not now.)

But once in a while, two self-loving people find one another and truly love.

And it is beautiful.

But most times, they're just two sad, lonely fucks.

[After about 20 minutes of music-searching, I finally settled on Bert Jansch's "Needle of Death" to write this to. Somehow Vivaldi, Damien Rice, Joe Purdy, and Isobel Campbell just didn't work out.]

20 December 2008

The Great Leap Forward (minus China)

I haven't really seen anyone so far this break (three days? four? five?) and have become quite the recluse. It's not that I want to break off ties from my Corpus's just that I want to be alone right now. I'm simply reflecting, reflecting on myself, my life, those around me, the world before and behind me. I sound quite narcissistic contemplating all these vague concepts surrounding only myself...but what else are we to know?

I am not who I thought I was.

In my sociology class this year, we talked about how the West emphasizes finding oneself (as opposed to doing all those other things in life, like think about it in general). We are so disconnected, our minds and our bodies, that we feel that we must rediscover both of them. And we do, we must. That is what college is for, reconnecting the two halves of the self that was torn asunder by The System (which created college as well, in that mindfucking irony). Right now, I'm attempting to restore my mind what? Maybe restore isn't the best verb. I'm no English major.

I find it odd that I missed him when I wrote that last sentence. It was something I would have said with that smirk on my face that I knew made him mad (for me). He would have responded with his personal adage, "Laura, you know I'm not a good English major. I fucking hate grammar." And I would have rolled my eyes (and hated that I did so).

I had a rare conversation with my mom today, rare in that we spoke of life on the personal level. We're good at the philosophical level, the hypothetical level, but we generally fail at anything personal simply because we do not try to talk personally. But today I took a leap and landed on my feet, her hand guiding me.

I told her about the situation with S (you know who I'm talking about, but I like to pretend to be mysterious), minus the painful details about the true nature of our relationship. I told her that we were just friends but that he wanted more, and when I told him it wouldn't happen, he said he could not be my friend anymore. I was upset, telling her that it was childish of him to respond that way. Why couldn't he just give it up and let things be the way they could be?

But she reminded me that once that leap is taken, neither can go back up to where they jumped from. If one of the two wants to go back to the way things were and the other doesn't, they simply cannot sync any longer. It would be too imbalanced, too painful, too unnecessary. Not worth it for either involved. And she reminded me that I probably (definitely) hurt him and shouldn't think that just because I wasn't hurt that he too would be fine.

But maybe I am hurt. (?)

He asked me to take a leap and I couldn't. What does that say about me?

I don't know. I really just want to have a conversation with him now, ex post facto. Our last conversation...I just cut him off. I wrote before about why I was upset, but that didn't give me a reason to thrust my anger out into the open like that. He grabbed my arm before I left, tried to say something, but I pulled away from him. I pulled away from him. And then I left.

Anyways, I didn't start out writing this as (another) post-relationship blog. I really wanted to talk about something else even more depressing.

So I saw Seven Pounds today, you know, that remake of the Pursuit of Happ(y)ness, but more depressing. It was generally good, minus how contrived it was in the end (and how much that ruined the mood) and how many tears I had to stifle.

It made me think about death and life, in that order. I imagined what I would feel like if I knew I only had a month or so to live, depending on when my heart decided it was time. We all pretend to understand that we will die someday, but inside we believe ourselves to be immortal. To have that crushed, to have a time limit on your survival that you can hear if you quiet your world down and listen to the beat...unimaginable. I imagined how I would spend time with everyone I love, how I would memorize each movement, each word, each detail of every moment just to live life more abundantly. Make up for lost time, ahead of time.

And thinking of that makes me want to cry...(I am). I think of certain people - my parents, my sister, J, DD, C - and instead of thinking of dying, I think of how much I love them. I really am so full of love it hurts.

I've done a certain kind of meditation a couple of times before where I think of a certain person I care about and then think only positive thoughts toward him/her. In this meditation, you concentrate all your positive energy on that person (and if any negative energy emerges, like from a past fight let's say, then I reabsorb it into myself so as to not taint that positive flow...then I convert it to positivity). Although I haven't become very advanced at this method, in theory you are supposed to work your way to larger groups, including people you don't know, until eventually you only have good feelings for everyone and everything in the universe. A lofty goal, indeed, but it makes you feel so much better afterwards. Giving is receiving.

I think life is beautiful, and that beauty generally outweighs the ugly. (I stole that from someone who was much too wise for me at the time.) There is so much majesty to behold - a smile, a couple's love, a plastic bag dancing in the wind - that the perfection of it all...well, that perfection trumps any suffering. Yes, I sound anti-Buddhist, but that's not my angle. Life is suffering until you can see the beauty (and liberate yourself from desire, blablabla).

I found something beautiful today, something old but something lovely. Andrew Bird singing Weather Systems and Spare-Ohs through the streets of a French town...just amazing...filmed by the same lovely people (La Blogotheque) who brought us the downright epic film of Arcade Fire singing Neon Bible in the elevator. Yeah, I know, I'm still in awe of the very mainstream of "indie," but I'm branching out. Thanks!

(See how much beautiful music raised my spirits? That's the beauty

16 December 2008

Air for G String

Apparently huge cinder blocks hold in the heat better than my 20-year old house. I'm back in Corpus, freezing in my room upstairs that never seemed to get quite warm enough during the winters of my childhood (oh, those horrid Texas winters!). As a kid, I always wanted to have that white Christmas and those elusive snow days, but now that I'm a semi-adult I can see why grown-ups hate cold weather. It sucks. The snow is fun until it melts, the ice is funny until someone gets hurt, and the pain in your joints during the changing weather is crappy until, well, the weather changes.

I'm happy to be in Texas right now.

So another development in my life - the ending of a mutually understood heterosexual arrangement. While he asked me not to write about it, I will in a very responsible way. I have nothing bad to say about him and neither do I want to hurt him in any way. I hope, if he reads this, he will understand that writing is my way of coping with these distasteful developments in life and that I am incapable of restraining myself from it.

And here. We. Go.

In the beginning of round two, we decided not to go out with each other but to keep some of the advantages of a formal relationship. Interpret as you will. That was phase one, which last a whole of a week or so.

Phase two lasted a week for me and until last night for him. This was when we discovered some feelings that had been lodged in our throats since round one. We had a discussion about it, during which I understood that we were going to keep things as they were. He's leaving in May, after all, and we were happy at that moment, so why bother messing it up with the expectations of a relationship? After this conversation, I dislodged the remaining feelings from my trachea and returned to phase one.

We framed our relationship to each other differently. I framed it as a mutualistic relationship where we both used each other, both benefited, and were both protected from emotional damage. He framed it as a Relationship. That's right, capital R.

I should have said something earlier when I first realized this disparity in definition. But my mouth stayed closed. I was still getting what I wanted, he was delighting in his delusion, so why bother that?

Because it's hurtful.

It's so hurtful that he can't be my friend if there is no "girl" in front of it. I took so long that by the time I blew the whistle, he was already framing himself to my contours. Now he's hurt and either can't see me at all or must be "seeing" me.

I became angry when he told me this last night. Selfishly. I was so overcome with disgust that he couldn't cordon off his emotions like I did, angry that he had ruined a perfectly good arrangement. He was kind enough to drop me off at my room in the freezing weather, but I still wanted to leave my hand print on his cheek.

And that was The End.

I don't know why I have become so disillusioned with love that I can drop my feelings more quickly than my pants. I haven't had any more heartache than most women my age. I haven't had an evil, psychotic boyfriend since my junior year of high school. But then, neither have I had someone I truly wanted to love.

No, I don't believe that you have to want to love someone in order to fall in love with him/her, because then forbidden love would be mythical. You love whomever you love, but when you want to love that person on top of I've just been at a loss for wows lately.

Not that he's a bad guy, either. He's a great person. He's intelligent, kind, and gentle. He always listens, never complains, and tries to understand you to your innermost core. He's a steady man, flawed with too much generosity, unwavering in his ardent outpouring of affection.

But free spirits like me (he used that term) can't even feel like they're being tied down. Although we agreed to cap the relationship at May, it felt like everything had ended. I had already lived every day of us that I could. So, yes, the flaw of the agreement was me. You can't make two incongruous puzzle pieces fit together, try as you might. And yes, I accept the responsibility and apologize for remaining silent so long.

Now, I know some people (guys) might be reading this thinking, "Holy cow, Laura's fucking single! Now's the time to make the move!" But gee whiz, people, I'm obviously not looking for that right now. I'm just looking for air. I need to breathe and clear all the smoke from past relationships/arrangements/crushes that I've had since puberty. My mind needs rest, my body needs solitude.

[Call me in a month or so...]

13 December 2008

Coke Zero

I'm coming down from two weeks of hyperactivity, but this kind of hangover has no good memories to laugh about while you're puking your guts up. I only have glimpses of information learned - the implications of the NWICO, the basics of structuration theory - dry pieces to keep me fueled. I always try to water down these pieces with savory liquids, but once my body empties itself...well, I'm empty.

Nah, I'm just exhausted.

Since I was still in hyper-mode last night, I got the brilliant idea to redecorate/clean my room. Now I'm swimming in a sea of Laura refuse. Old course packets. A half-empty/full Coke Zero bottle. A tipped-over trashcan. An assortment of hair ties and bands.

I'm lying next to a damp towel and my feet are cold. I need a nap.

11 December 2008

The Globalization of Love

I'm looking through my notes on the Reuters Factor here at Starbucks and just happened to glance up a few seconds ago at this couple across the room. They're probably in their early 50s, but they show as much interest in each other as a young child who doesn't know its impolite to stare at strangers. There's only a little more than a foot between their faces and it seems that as time goes on, they only want to get closer. Are they paying attention to what they're saying, or are they so entranced with each other that they're not concerned about the words coming out of their mouths but about the taste of each others' lips?

And then they kiss, and they remember that musical taste they get when they sip their mochas together, more in love than an innocent child with his mother.

09 December 2008


In my dream last night, I saw a huge wasp-like insect in my formal dining room in Corpus. For some odd reason I reached out and touched it, and it began to fly around the room. Suddenly fear filled me and I tried to bat away/kill it, but my hands were sloppy. It landed on the palm of my right hand, which I could not move, and I tried calling to my mom for help. But my voice was shattered. She couldn't hear me.

I woke clutching my hand, alone.

07 December 2008

[Cyber]space, the final frontier.

I'm running on highs and lows. Ess told me the other day that I'm more stable than I was when he knew me before, but that just confuses me. If he's right, then I must have been riding in elevators non-stop a few months ago.

I'm on a high right now. [Note: not "I'm high right now."]

I've been going through a little hipster phase lately, as in I'm getting into the whole blogging/online scene. I started a Twitter account this morning and have no idea what all the fuss is about - I mean, a site just for Facebook statuses? Sounds kind of lame, but I'll give it a try just to be in the scene. I've also been stumbling a lot lately and have found some pretty rad sites.

My favorite two:

  1. Aurgasm - a collaboration between some really cool people who know all the music you won't find out about for months/years to come. You get to sample music very easily on the site, plus it has a never-ending scroll feature that let's you scroll scroll scroll your way to a auditory orgasm, no matter how long it takes. My favorite find on the site so far include Robert Francis' Little Girl and RF and Lili De La Mora's Eleven Continents.
  2. Music-Map - ever wanted to find artists similar to the ones you already know but didn't know where to look? Ever get stuck in a rut listening to the same shit and just want to branch out with some new shit on your iPod? Well, the answers to all your questions is in this little bottle - Music-Map creates a map of whatever artist you want along with all the artists who are similar. The closer the new artists are to yours, the more similar they are (and the more likely you are to enjoy it). Quite the scandal.
I have one exam, one final, and one group project left to do, but my mind is in space. Not the final frontier, but cyberspace...

03 December 2008

Romance Languages

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who responded to my last post, whether online or in person. It really helps to know that other people are either going through the same things I am or are just willing to try to understand what's going on. I find that I still can't talk to people about it in person, so it's awesome to be able to get the support I need after reaching out online. Call it the downfall of Western society, but wireless relationships can sometimes be the most influential.


I find that I'm not nearly as stressed out as I "should" be right now. Yeah, I have three tests and a 8-10 page paper due this week, but somehow I'm not freaking out about it. I thought I was getting sick on Monday, but after a good dose of Airborne, a few extra hours of sleep, and some positive thinking, I feel good as new. I know that if I had been stressed out, I'd be coughing up my lungs/sneezing out my trachea/barfing up my guts right now, so let's give a hoo-ha for the mind-body connection!

But seriously, I have no idea why I'm not feeling overwhelmed at the moment. But I'm not complaining.

Something's on my mind, though, but it's not troubling me. I'll try to be very vague right now, but it seems like in the past when I thought I was being elusive, I was actually painting big red arrows to what was going on. So here's my try.

I thought I could separate my body and my mind, but I failed miserably. I told someone that I could easily do so and advised him to do the same, and now I want to say everything I never thought I would feel. I talked to Dee about this today, and just thinking about it made me want to cry. Not a sad cry, but perhaps a happy one? It was almost impossible to trace, like a three-second phone was there and then it wasn't. So much time has passed since the last time I was this vulnerable, so forgive me if I'm rusty in these areas. This language tastes foreign to my tongue, my native tongue bitter.

It possesses me and I want it all the more. When do I speak up?