Friday, February 28, 2014

Dreaded Anniversaries

Sometimes, anniversaries can be wonderful things. They can be markers of something great that has happened, a lovely reminder. Yet sometimes, that reminder isn't so lovely, but a stab to the heart of something that would be better forgotten.

My grandmother passed away February 26, 2013. I've been thinking about her ever since. On February 28th, I was still reeling from her death, going to her viewing and to her funeral right about now as well. Now I associate Februarys with her death and the end of February even more so. I usually think of her every day, but it's been worse right about now.

It's just a reminder. Another awful reminder. Of course, no one said anything around then, although my father said something briefly before then. I was thankful for that at least.
These reminders are hard, but I expected them to be harder. This anniversary is a jab, but no worse than ones I feel at subtler reminders of her. If this is the worst, then I guess it isn't so bad. The prepping for it, the dread was worse.
Grief comes out at the strangest moments. At one point, it will barely be there. Others, it will become so powerful it makes you double over.
It's bearable, though. I've managed. And when it's March again, everything will be normal.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dreams (of the Sleep Variety)

I have the weirdest dreams. I know everyone says that, but, for me, it's actually true for me. A lot of people describe having these vivid, cool dreams that actually shed insight into their character and what they're thinking. Sad to say, that's not the case for me. My dreams mostly don't follow a plot, or it will rapidly change from one plot to another (it almost feels like a reel of random scenes, and when that happens, it's never resolved). Most of the time, I'm not even myself in my dreams, but someone I know, a character I made up, or some random person that I don't recognize.

The dream not having a plot seems to be common in the people that I meet. Dreams are supposed to be random and not make any sense. That's fairly constant. Not sure if the shifting plot lines is common, but the random dreams are.

Being other people in my dreams... Not that's not that common. I get odd looks when I tell people that one. I feel like I have been all genders, ages, races in my dreams and all with different situations. One particularly vivid dream involved me being a nameless Boy Scout who had to break away from his troop to pee on a tree (and yes, I was a boy while I was doing this so... that was interesting). The only other people who have experience this that I have met have been writers. This has led me to believe that the two are interconnected, that the reason I experience this because all day, I create characters and/or further develop them. I have to get them in my head and often have intimate knowledge of them. So, of course, naturally, this extends to my dreams. A lot of the time, this means doing my best to make it perfect, discarding or changing all of the details that aren't quite right. I have wondered if my dream characters are my throwaways.

Of course, it is rare for me to remember a dream as it is for most. Most will forget their dream within a day, maybe a few minutes. Some people make it a point to write down their dreams in a dream journal and, while this is admirable, I have two reasons I can't do this: 1) my brain can't think when I first wake up and 2) I barely have enough time in the mornings as is. How could I fit in doing a dream journal, which would at least take twenty minutes?  

Some people dismiss sleep and dreams as an REM process, our brain just making sense of the day. Most don't think that it means anything. Yet others really make it a point to analyze and remember their dreams. There is even a website called devoted to dream interpretations that I frequent from time to time and some seem quite random (dreaming of canned foods means bottled emotions?). I try to analyze my dreams and some I can, but most I can't make sense of.

A percentage of the population can even experience lucid dreams. Essentially, lucid dreaming is active dreaming, that is being able to know that you're dreaming and manipulate the events in the dreams. This can be a time to act on fantasies you wouldn't be able to act on in real life or flexing one's creative muscles. Apparently, this can be accomplished through hypnosis and the keeping of aforementioned dream journals. I have tried hypnosis, but it hasn't worked for me. This is a shame, because lucid dreams sound like a lot of fun. But oh well.

Dreams are what makes sleeping fun, though. Nightmares are never fun, naturally, but other dreams are. Often, my dreams can be very pleasant and are puzzles for me to figure out. In my most tired moments, I don't dream, but that's no fun. It's always cool to get so stuck in my dream that it puts me in a deep, deep sleep, because that usually makes it more enthralling. Sleep would be so different without them.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Getting Published

Seeing your printed word on the page is a feeling that never gets old. Opening crisp paper to see what's inside is a priceless sort of feeling. There's always something that feels unreal about it, not quite real. I've gotten published in a variety of places since I was in seventh grade (of course, I've also been rejected multiple times as well, many more times than I've been published). The first time I got published was in the newspaper in seventh grade, writing an op-ed on censorship, and I've been published a few time since, mostly my poems.
This time is no different. There's still that giddiness, knowing that your work has actually been published. Knowing that so many people are reading it. It never gets old. You still want to run around and announce it to the whole world. It gives you hope that you might actually be talented, that there's hope for you to make it bigger. That you still have a chance. The bigger the publication, the bigger the deal.
Of course, there's nothing like that first thrill of seeing your name in the paper. That feeling is unique. There's also that unreal feeling about it, like one of your strangest fantasies coming true. Then it hits you: thousands of people are reading your work! It's exhilarating. After a while, that feeling stops feeling unreal. Still, there's this thrill that runs through you when you see your name published, that lovely feeling of satisfaction. Despite all of the rejection that you might have gotten, this time you succeeded. That feeling helps give you the encouragement to keep trying to publish more work, because submitting your work is the only way it can possibly be published.  
I can't wait until I get a novel published. That would be the biggest deal of all. Of course, it doesn't look like that will be for a while yet. I was working on getting one of mine published but now, looking back, I'm not really sure that it's ready for that. The people who are supposed to be editing it have been taking a while, and I've been too busy to do more with it, so I'll wait. Still, I definitely plan on doing it eventually. It will take quite a bit of time, but I'll be able to do it.
For now, I'll accept these streams of victories and take them for what they are. Because no matter where you're published, it's still pretty awesome.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Won't Stop Snowing

It's been snowing for days straight. The snow is a constant on the ground, shrouding everything in white. Just when it starts to go away, there's more. In addition to snow, there's also been freezing rain and thundersnow. I didn't think that was possible, but it was.
This week has been absolutely insane. This has been my first full week in weeks and even then, I had two delayed openings (the one day the snow still wasn't plowed yet, so I witnessed various cars collide, get close to colliding or become stuck in the snow). I've lost track how many snow days I have had. The snow has been on the ground for quite a while, mounds and mounds of it. Even though it is warmer, the snow is still on the ground.

 It still won't stop snowing, though. It won't stop snowing and it's going to snow some more Tuesday. It literally won't stop. One day, it snowed the entire day. It's like an on/off switch that's stuck on the on.
Like I said, though, it's not just snow, though. No, the crazy amounts of snow just aren't enough, because the weather continues to keep trying to push the envelope more and more. Like I said, there was thundersnow. There was thunder booming as it snowed and it was one of the weirdest thing I ever experienced.

The weirdest weather thing I experienced this week, though, was the freezing rain. Now, freezing rain was never that big of a deal before. It usually just leaves a little bit of ice on the road. There was freezing rain when I took my driver's license. So I thought, no big deal. Only problem was that when I went outside to go to class the sidewalks and asphalt had turned into one big ice rink. Literally, it was a sheet of ice. There were kids screaming as they lost control of their feet and skidded down hills, various kids who fell (and even one unfortunate into the mud). I figured that I would be okay as long as I was careful. Yet when I opened the door to go to my locker, it was so slippery that even that was enough to make me fall. After that, my school declared lockdown, meaning we all had to stay inside until the grounds were sufficiently salted and that meant skipping two class periods.

Oh and now there's randomly frozen fog when I go to school now. What the crap? My one friend even thinks it's the Norse apocalypse come true, but let's hope not.

Punxsutawney Phil must have seen more than his shadow this year, that's all I can say. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Feeder Rats

With their big eyes and adorable whiskers, rats beseech whoever is looking at them to love them. Most do not heed their call. They focus on the tail, the myths they've heard about them, and recoil. Still, can even the coldest person drop them in a cage with a carnivore and watch them struggle for their life as they twist, squirm and shriek under that reptile's hold? Can they carry those rats home in a box knowing that they will send them to a painful death? Can even the coldest person contend with the idea that some of these poor little creatures spend their entire lives with barely enough room to even stand, covered in their own feces and urine? I don't get it. Ever since finding out about the existence of such creatures, I have been incredibly disturbed. I already knew of lab rats, but this feels different somehow.
Most of my objections are at a purely emotional level. I recognize that any arguments I say is purely hypocritical because I eat meat. I do the same thing those snakes do, minus the hunt. For this reason, this post is merely an exploration of the topic, rather than something meant to be persuasive.
I suppose my discomfort comes from the fact that I know rats in a way I don't know farm animals. Rats are intelligent, kind and sweet. The idea of them being devoured is equally as horrifying as eating a dog or a cat. Surely less intelligent animals can serve the purpose of snake food? It seems too cruel that a rat must serve the purpose, or at least domestic rats. Why can't another breed serve the purpose? 
At the very least, if one must end up breeding feeders, they deserve to be treated humanely. This means in sufficiently large cages that are regularly cleaned, and they deserve to be fed properly. I might even venture to say they deserve stimulation. It might be easy to discount them as street rats if you don't know them, but it's not right. Rats can feel emotions just as a human can. Yet feeders don't have to have the same health standards as pet rats.
Another part of it is that snakes kind of creep me out in general. Before I was live and let live, but now that I know they eat rats live (not just frozen, but live), I feel differently. Why would anyone want a pet snake? They can't cuddle or snuggle or give affection. And it would creep me out to have it in the house. How can that be safe?
I'd love to save some of the feeders, though. I definitely will when I'm older. Those rats deserve better

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

valentines day flowerslebanonIt looks like it's that special time of year again: Valentine's Day. The time of Hallmark cards, hearts, chocolate and romance. Couples approach it with mixed feelings, while singles usually tend to look at it with exasperation or dread.
I used to be in the dread camp. Every Valentine's Day since I became a teenager and Valentines from classmates stopped, I would feel the usual sadness over being single. Watching everyone else only made it worse. Why wasn't I with someone already? I thought I would die a spinster. People my age were already hooking up and I hadn't even kissed anyone yet. But now I do.
I'm looking at this through a different lens now that I have a boyfriend. Now I can see things through a more objective lens.
It was named after St. Valentine in the fourteenth century. St. Valentine was killed for adminstering weddings to soldiers forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians. Ever since, people have been celebrating it in a variety of odd rituals. In the US, the holiday is mostly commercialized with the buying of various goods.

 Valentine's Day is a totally ridiculous holiday anyway. At this point, it's more materialistic than anything else. So many places serve to make a buck off of the holiday that the real message of love has been drowned out. Hallmark has taken over the holiday.
Unrealistic messages saturate the media about love and romance. It also puts emphasis on being in a relationship. Everything is supposed to be wonderful and peachy; the media rarely portrays the complexities of the job. Valentine's Day is only a part of this, saying that buying flowers, chocolate and cards is a vital way of proving love.
When you don't follow this tradition, it's like World War III. My mom wasn't able to get my dad a card because she was stuck home during the snow day, and my dad wouldn't even bother opening it. It brings unneeded drama if you ask me.
Of course, Valentine's Day is a little cute, I admit. I like the romantic emphasis. As it happened, we didn't have school today because of the weather, but my boyfriend and I got to Skype. We define romance on our own terms and I hope other couples can do the same.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Obsession has a way of flinging around in your head like a ping pong ball. It flashes in your head over and over and over again so you can't get it out. It's the flashing red light in your head that won't stop blinking. It won't stop rearing its head and that's why you get caught up in its cycle.

I get obsessed with things easily. Sometimes, that can be a positive thing for me. I get obsessed with shows or books or even people and then it's all I can focus on. It's fun, those obsessions. I don't know if it's healthy, but it's just what happens. I like it whenever that happens, because it feels fun. It feels good when I think about it.

I have an addictive personality, I suppose. Once I get attached to things, I can't let go. Once I'm determined to do something, I have to do it.
Sometimes, it's not so much fun, though. I do something wrong and I can't stop thinking about it. Something isn't right and I can't stop thinking about it. I have something important to do and I can't stop thinking about it. I dwell and I dwell and I dwell. This usually happens for days, but sometimes, it's months. It feels like my brain is on loop. I try to get it to stop, but I can't.

Of course, I know that obsession can make you do far worse things. It can be dangerous, leading people to stalk and hold scary thoughts.

Most of the time, people just call me passionate. Sometimes, I am. A deep love leads me to do a lot of great things like to write (on this blog and elsewhere). It seems much more real, much more permanent, much more healthy than obsessive. But I can be obsessive too. A lot of people call me determined, but that's usually because obsession makes me that way.