Tuesday, January 20, 2009
They say to save politics until at least the third date when in courtship. But these days it's almost impossible to hold it in for so long, and our generation has made its own rules. We are currently living in a very exciting political climate. New heroes have emerged, old crusty policies are being questioned, stereotypes have been broken, new enemies have been made, and the (start of the) fulfillment of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dreams for his birthday: all occurring while the stakes are the highest they've been since the Great Depression.
Today Barack Obama became Mr. President. Two million people stood at the Mall in Washington D.C's freezing weather- but no one I saw let the frosty cold reflect on their face as they watched the President of the United States swear in, and for the first time in our history he was a black man. To have been there would be an irreplaceable experience, even though I'm no fan of cold weather. To feel the excitement of change, to finally see the good side of America again, to have renewed faith in what She can be.
I was partly scared of what could happen. An outbreak of violence in some form. My generation knows too many examples of the brutal fact that there are people out there that want to ruin a good party. We've seen how quickly good times and peaceful gatherings can turn into terrible memories. But even the cynics can breathe a sigh of relief: the dark heart of man did not reveal itself publicly today.
My inaugural celebration was of a much smaller party. I woke up late and in a tizzy I turned on the television, realizing everything was about to begin. My mom had coaxed my sister and I into going to her house and watching the inauguration, tempting us with the promise of mimosas. At home, I waited until President Bush and Cheney started rolling out in procession then I turned off the TV and decided to make a dash for it. (I figure the worst punishment for celebrities is to ignore them. And George Bush & Co. are closer to the mentality of celebrities than of a presidency). I opened my front door and vaa-la! it was a Winter Wonderland. It rarely snows here in my hometown, and it seemed like a gift, even though I'd had a hint at its coming. After a squeal I ran back inside for my coat and dashed back out the door.
On the way over to my mom's my windshield wipers started acting strangely. I had no control over them, except to only make them go faster, then only slightly faster. As the snow was then subsiding, their quick pounding was unnerving and wholly unnecessary. When I got to my mom's and turned off the car, I was hoping the possessed wipers would stop, but even with the car off they kept a-pumping.
I hopped inside and started watching history. I decided that the speech and surrounding ceremony was more important then the health of my car battery. There were no mimosas, as my mom was hungover, and my sister had opted out of the event to go surf the snow waves. It was still nice, and I enjoyed the late morning snuggled inside on a blistery day, with someone as excited as I was. I went back out into the flurries at intervals to try my luck at calming the car wipers, but couldn't figure a cure. So huddled back inside I enjoyed the poetry, the music, and even the prayers of the inauguration as my wipers trooped on outside:
whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh.
My mother was finally able to reason with me and we took my car to the auto-mechanic, and dropped it off to have its demon exorcised. Blowing me kisses she drops me off at my place as my friend Sami calls and says she is on her way over. We went down to this large ritzy shopping area and popped in a couple stores. We talked, we browsed sales, we spent little money.
It was not lost on us that we have been together on the darkest and brightest days in recent American history.
Sami and I met on September 11, 2001- she was in my freshman gym class, and we were goofing around with an ab ball after we had just met, and the news was turned on. On this morning the U.S. felt a thrust of violence different from anything we had experienced before, and at first we didn't really get it (Man, what was that pilot on to fly into a building??) but together we gradually grasped the magnitude of what happened. We walked back to campus housing together never realizing she lived above me in the apartments until we were in front of the building. And thus started our friendship. Our time together abroad in Wales cemented our friendship. Four years later we were together when the country elected Senator Barack Hussein Obama into Presidency and we celebrated with half our town at Reel Cafe.
And Sami and I found ourselves together on another historic day in American history, and on the first day of the rest of our lives. It feels good to have someone in office that I can trust their judgment, someone who will positively represent our country and who is willing to fix, or at least try with every means at his disposal, the many problems politicians have shrugged off for several terms.
So today I am feeling the hope I've been hoping for. The glass is now half full, and we're halfway there.
In Pomp and Circumstance,
*Credits to Drunk Elaine: Obamarama!
Monday, January 12, 2009
I live in a land of milk and honey. A land like the one sought by a group of people a couple thousand years ago in the Middle East, as they wandered around in the desert... for decades. On the mere faith they would find this bountiful locale. I think the group of people eventually got their milk and honey, but not before some naughty dancing around a gold statue and a bonfire. (You see, I live in America's South, and people 'round these here parts talk a lot about these stories). These people fell on many more hard times, but that is an entirely different story for some other storyteller.
And in America, we live in this age of milk and honey. Depending on where you live, you can usually drive less than a mile or two to a supermarket. Inside each brightly lit supermarket are rows and rows of foods, sorted by category, most often in colorful boxes or bottles, shouting for attention. Then sorted by different brands of food (the same food-thing but in different packaging) and some food even sorted by caloric value. You will find various whimsical flavors, fake food, enhanced produce, and a frozen food aisle: once dubbed with a sigh as the loneliest grocery aisle by a past classmate of mine.
So would you like soy milk, lactose free milk, goat's milk, government milk, or chocolate milk? Or do you care for organic honey, store brand economical honey, honey ham, or honey in little bear shaped bottles? Anything you want.
But there is a catch you know, there's always a catch. You must hand over money to the clerk at the front of the store. And you have to work for money, and some people can't do that. Oh, there are many reasons, some their fault and some not. Some have jobs but get paid very little and have other things to pay for too. Some of us have had luckier breaks than others, and some of us were never given a chance.
The food waits for people to come free it from the shelves. The supermarkets put out more than they need to so the shelves look nice and pretty and full. So much of the time, food rots away on the shelves, and must be thrown out. Sometimes they'll lower the price before this happens, but not always.
So we have an abundance of milk and honey and pretty much, whatever else we could desire, so close, a few dollars away. We can look at it, and most of us can pick it up whenever we want, take it home with us and have a really nice garnish to breakfast. But what's left we just toss, we can't just give it away.
But will this period of excessive choice be always? Why is this so normal for us when there are people so hungry all over the world, and even in our own country? We scheme other countries out of produce, out of fisheries, out of resources, so our shelves can be full. Now people are finding it harder to hand the money to the clerk waiting at the front of the store, we are finding we are something called a recession, which has everyone in America in a tizzy. At least our government will throw you a borrowed dime, you may not get any honey but you can get some bread.
One of the worst experiences a person can have is to be truly hungry. Oh, I do not know this from personal experience. I have never known hunger that was forced upon me; if I was hungry it was because I had chosen not to eat. But I do have it from second-hand knowledge. My grandfather was a POW in World War II in the Phillipines and Japan. One of the last living people that has experienced the Bataan Death March and the mistreatment in the following camps. He grew to know hunger intimately- it's smell, the anullment of taste except for the memory, it's lingering breath. But what makes him so amazing is his positivity, for every sad story from that time there is a lively one, and usually interesting. I call him SuperFred, and never has a nickname suited someone better. Our lives are so entwined it is hard not to speak of him, so you will get to know SuperFred through me. His story is truly more amazing than Forrest Gump's. For serious.
As we've covered some of my ancestry, a dash of consumerism, and a pinch of world hunger-- I believe that is enough for this entry. Come back anytime.
In Rubrics and In Rainbows,
"I had once believed that we were all masters of our fate- that we could mould our lives into any form we pleased . . . I had overcome deafness and blindness sufficiently to be happy, and I supposed that anyone could come out victorious if he threw himself valiantly into life's struggle. But as I went more and more about the country I learned that I had spoken with assurance on a subject I knew little about . . . I learned that the power to rise in the world is not in the reach of everyone." -Helen Keller
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
One thing that terrifies me is the blank page. It staring back at me in all its blankness... I worry what I am going to say isn't important, or fear that what I'll say is wrong because I've been wrong so many times before. But I've decided to put my thoughts out there, and maybe someone will find it interesting, or important, or crazy: you have your own mind to make up about me. Or you already know me and have already made up your mind. But about one thing you can be sure: I will write my version of the truth and do my best not to lead your mind awry.
A little about me: I'm a poet who's shy about her poetry. I went to undergrad for it: English Literature and Creative Writing, which turns out not to be all that worthwhile of a degree in the 'Real World': the realm most people find themselves stuck in. The only blog I've written has been on myspace, though incomplete and sparce. I have not published anything since the 7th grade.
(Seventh grade? you might wonder. A teacher of mine had submitted a piece I had written in response to Little Women, printed in a collection of middle-school writing. I remember the piece: I wrote from the point of view of Beth, a letter to her family on her deathbed, ending with her impassioned declaration that she is not afraid of death. Which borders on cheese, but if it's one thing I know: people love all kinds of cheese).
I have been writing, only secretly. Ninja style.
I've always been a creative mind and I constantly need to express myself but most often I don't put what I make 'out there'. I'm not calling it a New Years Resolution even though it is the time of year we collectively think about these things, but more of a man-up order to myself. There are plenty of writers who were late bloomers in this art and I consider myself now among them. Just one thing I'm going to attempt to tackle.
2009 is to be a year of growth for me. I believe in trying to improve oneself, and this year I am determined to make great strides. 2008 was a hard year for me, as it was for most people I've talked to. I will elaborate on my story later, but for right now I'm focusing on what I want to come. I am going back to school to build on my education. I want to build on my knowledge of Spanish. I want to write more and publish. I want to travel again and I have promised my friend Haley a trip to China, where she will be teaching English beginning in March. I also am working on improving my health by quitting smoking and getting back into shape. These are my major goals this year, and I'll let you in on my progress. You know, if I'm not feeling secretive ;).
Now I have broken my silence, and I hope you will enjoy reading my thoughts, opinions, and stories. My page is no longer blank, and this is my one step closer to where I want to be.
Kisses and Kittens,