Saturday, June 27, 2009

No Regrets When the Worms Come

wouldn't it be great to lie in your deathbed and be 100 percent content with the way your life was spent? no regrets. Everything you dreamed of doing, done. Even a failure wouldn't be a bad thing, as long as you put in your best effort.

Yet, here I am. my bedroom floor is covered in junk and dirty clothes. I am unemployed, and scattered on my desk are at least a dozen short-term goals that I feel too discouraged to pursue (along with a slew of dirty dishes and unpaid bills).

I have started 7 full-length screenplays (120 pages each, on average) and of those I have one that has made it past the first 20 pages... and I'm planning to scrap it and start over. Sheesh.

daily junk

Oky, so I know the past couple of posts have been downers... I'm not really sad. I guess I'm just anxious, for several reasons. At any rate, I think I'm going to sensor myself less, thereby having more to say about my day-to-day.

Supposed to go boating today. But I wonder if I should. My back is out of whack. I was playing on a trampoline about two weeks ago, and I managed to fold myself in half in the wrong direction... I nearly kicked myself in the back of the head while doing a stylish face plant on the the tramp mesh. Anyway, my back cracked like a whip, and now I ache in my very lower back. I only notice it when I'm straining, but I think I might have really messed something up.

I think I'll go, on the off chance that it just needs some exercise.

Now comes me not mentioning Michael Jackson's death.
Moving on.

About a month ago, I decided to apply for a summer (unpaid) internship with National Geographic. There was a posting for my dream internship, logging footage for travel/cultural documentaries. About 12 hours later they took the listing down (in my best Ellen the British maid voice) "the position 'as been filled."

Not one to give up, I decided to make a special resume in the event that they re-open the position for applications. They never did. But the next best thing came along, logging footage from "Crittercams" (stationary cameras placed in the vicinity of a certain "critter's" home or feeding area/water source. Kinda voyeuristic really....) which would entail sorting the footage into a trash pile and a keeper pile, as well as participating in research of observed traits. I called my academic adviser to find out what it would take to get approved for the internship through the film program. She said it was too late to apply for summer internships, and that I would have to go through the school to select an available internship (Nation Geographic is in D.C., and most certainly not on the list). But, I'm not one to lose hope so easily. I asked if there was nothing to be done to cut through the red tape (much of my education has been slipping through one crack or another, skirting protocol..) She said I could call Jan, who is assistant director for the Digital Media program, who could make an exception for late application. Perfect. Why would she deny me an opportunity to pursue something in my intended career path just because of some arbitrary deadline? especially if I have already shown the motivation to seek it out myself.

Well... she didn't answer her phone or return my call, and now it's the weekend and I'm certain that by Monday it will be too late (N.G. doesn't have trouble filling their unpaid internship positions).

I still have my fingers crossed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thick as a Brick

I've always been stubborn.

When I was younger, being home-schooled, my dad tried to drive home the importance of an education. I think he went about it in all the wrong ways, humiliation was his tactic. He would ask me multiplication tables in public. or ask me the same one over and over again until it became a joke-- but one that conveyed that he had zero confidence in my abilities. I think he wanted me to apply myself so I could one day surprise him by knowing the answer. But, this blog isn't about some deep-set resentment toward my dad, it's about me.

My dad would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. "a computer programmer" was my reply for much of my childhood. Then I turned 13 and got a guitar, and then it was "rockstar" (we wont get into his criticisms of that).

And I really thought I would be rockstar. forget learning methods, or "music theory" or "Scales" and how to read music... I was going to revolutionize the world on my own terms. I dreamed of being the only one on the stage, because I was just. that. good. I think somehow I was Idolizing Dick Van Dyke's character "Bert" at the beginning of Mary Poppins more than more traditional rockers...

I wouldn't say I was determined, I just was convinced. Surely it would happen.

Then I saw a movie (I wont say which. And if you know you had better not either.) that made me think of what it must be like to be behind the scenes of filmmaking. I'll admit, I didn't really consider it being a viable career choice for a while after, but I did begin trying to figure out they made things work on film. And when I came around to the decision to go into film, I was determined to make it on my own. I wasn't going to buy into the whole Hollywood scene, I was going to do it all on my own.

Only very recently have I realized how I've stunted myself by rejecting the easy road. not even the "easy road", the traditional route. And it goes deeper than that. I think that the reason I did so, was so I could claim all the glory when I succeeded. So I could revel in my accomplishments while everyone else just wished they had known me. It may even be a driving factor still today... proving people wrong, making them regret not giving me a chance, showing them what they missed out on. But what I'm realizing is that I'm delusional. How does one make a film my himself? Even Charlie Chaplin had help....

I have just been selfish. feeling that there is only so much fame out there, and I want the biggest slice I can get. I suppose there is a polar opposite that is just as bad, which is still self-centered, but at the expense of those around you. at least I wasn't trying to take undue credit... not really.

But still, I guess all my life I have seen myself in a dog eat dog world, only because I refuse to run with a pack. There's safety--belonging--in numbers.

My friend just got engaged. Wonderful news. But at the same time, really depressing. I push people away because I refuse to compromise, only later to learn that I was dead set on something I didn't really want. I can't celebrate other people's accomplishments and fortune because I'm so focused on getting mine... When am I going to grow out of this?

One for Sorrow

I really want to write something tonight, but nothing is really coming to me. Nothing noteworthy or remarkable. I'm sure I could write a self-deprecating poem, a lament on the past.

That's really all that's on my mind lately, Perspectives. How true it is that hindsight is 20/20.

Sometimes, when I'm people-watching (something I tend to do quite a bit), I try to imagine what the world looks like through their eyes. That entails seeing from all types of perspective; Physical, emotional, intellectual... And beyond that, I find myself contemplating the difference between them and myself. It's really overwhelming to try and do since, obviously, as an observer, I cannot really consider anything outside of my perspective in any sort of validating way. I can try and imagine that someone has an aversion to mushrooms, or the color black, or the taste of water in an unfamiliar city... but it all filters through my own experiences, and certain residue of myself inevitably corrupts a clear understanding.

I can remember a time when I saw bright, vibrant colors everywhere I looked. Now, most of the time, I feel like I am seeing the world through a dirty lens. Maybe my eyeballs need a good scrubbing. Can they do that? I guess they probably can, with lasers and whatnot...

I also remember when I was so emotionally volitile, that a song could physically affect me. I guess you (yes you) may be able to relate when I say "that first crush feeling". Like when you drink 7up, and you get a "bubble in your nose", except it's a sensation that spreads through your entire body. I don't experience that often at all anymore, but I used to get that feeling just thinking about someone. Just thinking about thinking about someone, you know? An old mix tape from a girl you barely know... when I was 12 or 13, pop music stations could put me through so many different emotions, even in a single hour. One song would say "I'll love you more with every breath..." and I was swept up in the concept... like I went from "bubbles-through-my-nervous-system" to being pumped full of helium. Yet, the next song would have a melody that just sounded sad. All I can describe the feeling as--have you ever nearly drowned? where you're anticipating your lungs collapsing. Or have you been on the bottom of a dog-pile? where you could swear your heart stopped beating. yeah. that.

I'll probably take this down tomorrow.
thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thoughts on Self-improvement.

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately... "know thyself".

Someone the other day said "you know when you were a kid, and it felt like everyone was constantly watching you?..."

But the funny thing is, I experience this sensation constantly. Especially when I'm working, and I notice someone is watching me... I go back to my work, and try to ignore them, but I have this sense that there's still a set of eyes on me. eventually I'll look up, and almost ALWAYS they are nowhere to be seen. Sometimes they have even gotten in their cars and left. It made me wonder if there's something in me that believes that I'm just so interesting that I couldn't imagine someone not wanting to just sit and watch me... some sort of subconscious ego.

Anyway, ever since I've noticed this, I have been pondering the possibility that how I perceive myself may not be what someone else sees at all. And that makes me wonder which of us is right.

On more than one occasion, I have been mistaken in my judgment of others, supposing them to have a selfish end in mind when they gave me false information, never imagining that they may have simply erred or misheard. I was quick to judge, and my judgment was harsh.

I learned a trick recently that not only makes sure that I don't find myself unfairly accusing, but allows me to take a look at myself, and perhaps find some room for improvement. it goes like this.

When I begin to accuse someone of something, or to imagine their faults and flaws, I take a moment to identify what exactly I am attributing to them: laziness, vanity, stubbornness, arrogance... it could be any number of things.

Then, instead of deciding for myself that I have judged this person accurately, I sincerely search myself, to see if I am not equally as guilty. I'm almost never innocent. And, since being a hypocrite doesn't help matters at all, I find it hard to state my accusations.

Something I'm NOT good at, is taking an honest look at myself before I'm ready, as when someone else points out my faults. Call me shy, but I don't like feeling eyes upon me when I'm stripped of my pride. I imagine the Emperor's response to the matter-of-fact child who informed him he was in the buff went something like this "(...oh my!) STOP LOOKIN' AT ME THEN!" It hurts to be accused, and it's uncomfortable. My mental response is strangely similar to Adam and Eve, who beheld their nakedness and were ashamed, my instinct is to cover my nakedness... or my flaws. I'm working on being able to see the opportunity to address my faults in total honesty with myself, and those who are brave enough to tell me the truth when they see me parading about in blissful oblivion.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Think about it.

I'm not trying to be mushy or sentimental here. just read this...

"I love you."

It's a complete sentence. It's a statement.

I'm not a pro with linguistics. I can't really label words or dissect a sentence. but I do know this. Love is a verb (as I typed that, it called to mind a song that says exactly that... maybe this post wont be very original at all).

Think about it. Hopefully, we say those words all the time. Hopefully we hear them all the time. but do we really take it to heart? do we really say those words from the heart? Are they like a vain repetition? something we feel obligated to say? Are they, in our minds, simply a good conversation closer? A polite outro?

You may expect, in a dime-a-dozen dissertation such as this, to hear that "we don't say 'I love you' enough". While this is probably true, I'm more concerned with quality than quantity. If we could be certain that each 'I love you' was sincere, we may find that we have been saying "I love you" too much.

A story comes to mind --I'm unable to recall all the particulars-- of a parent who, in exercising either a strong will or (simply) good discipline, sensed some resentment from their child. "do you love me?" they asked, soliciting affection. After some deliberation, the response came: "I love you, I just don't like you right now."

That is not an example of an insincere 'I love you'. I think it is perfectly natural--the temporary inability to see past your own desires or emotions, and sense and embrace a connection with another. In fact, I think this child's statement is more than adorable, it's admirable...I don't want to get derailed here (I'm sure I've already been on more than one hypocritical rant about the invaluable benefits of open and honest communication).

Getting back to the thought that inspired this post.... It donned on me today, when reading the word in all it's typed, and simple glory (complete with quotation marks), that this sentence serves simply as a reminder. Actually, I was kinda blown away by the fact that it isn't "I love you _____(sometimes, right now, when you...)". I like to think of the words as a terrible understatement. I don't think that hearing "I love you" should garner an emotion in anyone (though I believe it does) without ample evidence of the truthfulness of the statement. Words do nothing in and of themselves. They are a sign for something real and evident. We don't need words to witness something. Words come after the fact, or in reference to the facts.
While showing love is probably more natural for some than for others, this is true for everybody: it has almost nothing to do with expressing it in words.

So why are these words so powerful?

Because they affirm something we already know. These words are meant to remind us of a truth, a fact. They could be the "big picture" when our minds and emotions are constricted by tunnel vision, as when we have been hurt and fail to comprehend why. Any reminder is just this: when we think we are considering the big picture, reminders show us that we aren't. Interesting, because truth can be overlooked in two polar extremes. One way, is that we are so focused on finding meaning in a swirl of confusion that we forget that it is nothing more than a brushstroke in the expansive mural of our lives. The other, is that we are attempting to focus on the overwhelmingly vast canvas of our lives that we fail to appreciate the details, the shading and shadows that give depth to big picture, and reminds us that we could never see the big picture if it weren't for a light source.

Hope this hasn't been a bore.. this is just what is on my mind right now... thought I'd document it.

Thanks for reading,