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Jun. 21st, 2011

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Short, Angry post

Applied for MassHealth in October.
Moved out of Massachusetts in November.
Changed my address in January.
Finally heard from MassHealth in May and called to cancel my coverage the minute I opened the letter (which was right after I took it out of the mailbox, directly after the mailman delivered it).
Today I get a bill for $112 from MassHealth. Called right when I opened it and they told me that I was being billed for the month of June.
If I tried to use my MassHealth coverage in June I would have been denied because of my Connecticut address, and yet they are telling me that I still owe them for a month in which I wouldn't have been able to use the insurance.
I have to apply for a hearing.
Am I stupid, or does not one bit of this make any sense?

And still I know that I'm going to get fucked into paying them for coverage that wouldn't mean a damn thing even if I used it. I get it, universe, I will never live in Massachusetts ever, ever again. I promise. I could understand if they billed me for October or even November, but I didn't start getting coverage until after all 49 other United States of America knew that I was no longer living in Massachusetts.

My mind is totally blown.

May. 29th, 2011

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Writer's Block: Going boldly

If you could be any Star Trek character, who would you be, and why?


I have thought about the question a lot.
If I were to say which character I identified with the most, it would be Data, the android with human aspirations.  Of course it's not all trying to learn to whistle and never grasping the concept of humour, it's the fascination with humans and their cultures, their capacities, limitations and constructs.
But, if I were to choose to be a Star Trek character, my answer, hands down, would have to be Q.  To be an omniscient entity that can exist in any time or place, on any plane.  John Delancie's Q, in my opinion, is the best character ever written or played in the history of Star Trek.  His sarcasm and wit, his indignance, and, in contrast with my aforementioned connection with Data, the fact that he knows that humans aren't all they think they're cracked up to be.  To interact with Jean-Luc Picard, the exhaulted Star Fleet captain with all his poise and dignity, and be unmoved is something so distant from our human point of view, but honest.  I would love to be able to flit from time and place, to take any shape, to do anything and know everything, ah, what a life, even if my home planet was a boring dustbowl...

May. 9th, 2011

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Zu Viel Stress...

I'm just going to take a minute to post, which never really takes a minute, but I need to de-stress a little.
See, I got this job that I've wanted for a while. Nothing extraordinary, nothing career-pathish, but while canvassing the area for a job I decided to put my application in to the local nursery and I got that job after calling the place back for a couple of months. The job is good, I pretty much just run a register and find people who know something to answer questions. I always thought I knew a bit about plants and gardening and stuff, but I don't. I know absolutely nothing. That is stressful, but the place is nice, the staff is nice, it's a small local business and the customers, since they're mostly buying plants and engaging in their hobby, are nice as well. I was just going to be working three days a week, Friday-Sunday, eight hours a day, no big deal. Since I'm so goddamn obliging and I worry that people are going to think that I'm lazy, and since I'm doing really well with the register and what I was hired for they've decided to give me a call when they need help. I can't pass up the money, either. Yesterday they asked me to work Thursday through Sunday, and I just got a call and they want me to come in tomorrow. This is stressing me out, but I guess I can manage. What am I going to do otherwise? Smoke, eat because I'm bored, waste gas and drive myself nuts with all the things I know I should be doing but don't have the motivation to do? It's better to make money, but I can't help but feel some panic. Where does this come from, and how do I make it stop?
Tonight I'm going to meet a guy I went to high school with, which doesn't sound stressful, but to someone like me who worries and panics about everything, this is a very big deal. Now I know that I have to come home, go to bed, and go to work in the morning on top of it. Fuck, another friend wants to hang out with me, too, and we were kinda thinking about doing it on Tuesday, so I'm going to get out of work, go hang out with her, and then have to deal with an interview at the library.
Before I felt like I could handle some stress, but stress doesn't trickle in to your life, it comes in torrents, and I can't handle a torrent right now. All I wanted to do was make a little extra cash while I figured out what I was doing with my life.
And that's another stressor. At the nursery everyone is asking me what I do and I keep saying that I do art when I don't. I haven't done any real art in a long, long time. So long that I don't even know if I can anymore. Of course, I am working on that drawing for my neighbor, but real portfolio-building art, none. What am I doing? What do I want to be doing? I'm in such a transition and I know that the library is going to ask me what my goals are on Wednesday, but I don't know. I'm writing and sewing and trying to get myself back into art. I'm cooking all these things at once to see which one gets started first. Maybe all this dissemination is what's keeping me in this place. I have all these big dreams and then I look at my life and I think how I want a place of my own and to be debt free. I guess those are the realistic dreams, but outside and so much more interesting are my dreams of being published, of starting a small business, of being a gallery artist. I can't seem to get started and I fear that I'm too nice and too neurotic to ever do what I want to be doing. I can't stand the thought of just existing for the rest of my life, or never having my creations be noticed, but then I look at myself and say that there's nothing there. Maybe I don't have the balls right now to get out there and do things. I wonder if I ever will?

Apr. 25th, 2011

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(no subject)

I did a bad thing this morning. I had a question about an SSI payment, so I called up, struggled with the automated phone thing (it has a hard time with my mother's maiden name) and waited on hold. When someone picks up they just say "social security", and I told her why I was calling. She didn't understand me and repeated what she thought she heard back and said "I don't know what you're talking about, there's no such thing as (my mutilated statement)" then she said "Who am I talking to?" Irked, I told her my name and gave her my address and restated the question. So she pulls up the letter that I had in my hand and starts reading it to me in this placating tone (you know what it is, stresses on simple words, slowed cadence, clear diction, a little strained sweetness) and I lost it. I said "I can read the fucking letter, my question is..." and she goes "Alright, I'm not going to-" and which point I hung up and resisted the urge to slam my phone into the wall.
The one thing that makes me snap faster than anything else that humans do is mockery/understatement of my intelligence.
I calmed down, called back to get another agent, and read the letter again. Turns out I was wrong, but who the heck is that lady who doesn't know me from Adam to treat me like a fool?
I'm still bothered by this, a few hours after it happened. It bothers me that I was wrong, but if she had treated me like a human adult I wouldn't have flipped. It bothers me that she treated me that way. It bothers me that I lost my temper. I'm so shocked that this person would answer the phone at work like that and assume that I'm some doddering/drooling illiterate idiot.
What also bothers me is that I have no way of perusing justice. That people get treated like this all the time and there's nothing they can do about it except take it. Just because someone is on disability doesn't mean that they are a million years old or that they are mentally retarded. I made a mistake and if she had just explained it instead of talking to me that way I would have realized, laughed and said "thank you, bye." But she'll go home to her big dumb boyfriend/husband and talk about how horribly some stranger treated her today without mentioning that she approached the whole situation very unprofessionally.
And my parents often tell me that I'm too sensitive, that they don't understand how I know that people are treating me this way or that, or that someone is this way or that, and it makes me realize, now, that I have had this experience, that people largely don't notice body language and intonation. There is a wealth of information there and I refuse to feel bad about myself for being sensitive when it's actually a positive thing. When people don't notice that someone said something a certain way it blows my mind like people who don't understand sarcasm. How could you not notice?
I know that if the apocalypse happens in 2012 I will perish along with everyone else, but it will be nice to know that the slate is wiped clean. Fucking humans...
I need to clean up my language...

Apr. 20th, 2011

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(no subject)

OMG REALLY?!?!?!
I have decided that this is the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. It will not be from nuclear waste or biological testing, it will be from doctors', pharmaceuticals manufacturers', and insurance companies' greed. They will not stop until everyone is so drugged up that they can't move or speak and don't really care so they just go along with whatever the cult of personality says.
Fuck I hate this. All this fucking publicity for mental health problems. It's not helping. Just look at the "emo scene." You can't throw a rock without hitting someone on uppers, downers, anti-anxiety meds, and they all pledge to be "straight edge." Wake up and smell the capitalism, people. You're being duped. And you are so easily duped because prior to this psychotropic abundance era you were suckled carefully on the idea that you're "misunderstood" and "nobody gets you" and "you have feelings that are real." Maybe it's all true, but what else is true is that you GROW UP. Ever wonder why your mom didn't understand you? Perhaps it's your communication. But now you can't communicate except to say "I need more Xanax, doctor, this just isn't working!" And stop bitching because your dad makes you take out the garbage.
Look at Catherine Zeta-Jones. She was all over the tabloids when her husband was dying, they were saying that she was having mental breakdowns and for some reason I think one of them said that she was happy he was dying blah blah blah. If your husband is dying and you're trying to come to terms with it, you're bound to have some mood lability. So she "swallows her pride" and checks into the looney bin. I don't need to tell you that nothing will get a fading star more publicity than extreme antics, and "admitting" to having a mental illness (*ahem* Charlie Sheen.) Maybe you're depressed, maybe your acting crazy, and maybe you don't like it, but it's natural for what someone like Catherine Zeta-Jones was going through. And fucking Sheen, man, don't diagnose him before he's detoxed! What the hell?!
What makes me so mad is that people who genuinely have mental health problems, bipolar I, severe depression that has convinced them that they are actually dead and rotting, schizophrenia, get the shaft. You say to someone "I'm bipolar" and they're going to roll their eyes and say "yeah, me too..." Or at least they should because these quacks in psych wards won't take the time to truly diagnose people, they're just filling beds, pumping the patients full of drugs and shipping them out. Mental health has become industrialized.
And why is it that nobody ever confesses to being schizophrenic or antisocial or bulimic, or any of the other problems that are still socially taboo? Maybe they'll say that they were bulimic (Fergie did) but they quickly say that they were "mostly anorexic." That's the "pretty" one. It's about doing without. I've also never heard a bulimic celebrity publish the fact that they can eat more in one binge than the average person can in three days.
God, people are fools.
Edit
Taken largely from my personal journal. Yes, I realize the possible ramifications of borrowing from private life, but I feel so strongly about this topic. I'm putting it in quotations, but it is all me. I don't feel like dealing with a segue.
"...Y'know, it's like, we see Charlie Sheen and they call him manic. He's on drugs, he's obviously narcissistic. Get him clean and get him to realize that the sun doesn't rise and set on him and then diagnose him. Then we see Catherine Zeta-Jones (and countless others like her) and, sure she may get crazy sometimes (which can probably be explained by the fact that A-list celebrities comprise the modern manifestation of the Greek and Roman pantheon, we all know how well they behaved) and that she's struggled but now she's all better thanks to going to a treatment facility!" We see the end, just like Ashlee Simpson when she said she struggled with an eating disorder. We all say "aww" and "so glad you're better!" But we don't see the continued struggle, and they'll never show it. It's not just pills and done. It's not.
"But bad behavior can be explained away by 'I forgot my medication!' and results in instant publicity. The rest of us ruin relationships when we don't take our meds."
Then people look at you and wonder if you actually have a problem. Or else they think you're really nuts because you're looking into Transcendental Meditation and looking up nutrients that you should be making sure you get in your diet to help regulate your mood.
"But no! People need their medication! It's the only way their problems can be managed! But let me as you bipolar and depressed masses: have you ever truly believed that you were god, free to damn or absolve people at your will? Have you ever tried to sleep but couldn't because there was a little blue alien at the foot of your bed waiting to devour you the second you fell asleep? Have you ever come back into your body with police around you and your relationship in shambles?
This is insanity, and this is insanity that the majority of the population believes requires medication. Now, what if you experienced all that and more and someone approached you and said that all your problems could be solved if you took this pill every day. This pill is expensive, even with good insurance (completely unaffordable if you don't have insurance), but you trust them when they say that you absolutely need it. If that doesn't work, you need to add this other pill, and another that is more expensive than the other two combined, but you have insurance, right? Months go by, and the pills are okay, but you find that you're spending the bulk of the time you don't spend working in line at the pharmacy, holding your breath and hoping that your insurance will allow your prescription to be filled. One day you realize that you have been stripped of everything that you held dear, every ability that defined you is gone. After doing some research on how your pills are working, how they might be affecting your brain you come to realize that your health care professionals are little more than witch doctors and snakeskin oil salesmen with a college education. Your life is nothing but work, sleep and bland conversations with your estranged significant other, and so you decide that life is better with your beloved skills, although you're afraid of being "crazy" again. You stop the pills and only find out afterward from your doctor that they have horrible withdrawal symptoms.
Now you find yourself at square one with nothing to show for your former faith in medicine but that original instability, a wake of broken or withering relationships and a mound of debt that you have no way of paying back.
There is no miracle in modern psychotropic medication. It's all Russian roulette. If you want to live your life your own way, learn to manage your stress and learn to communicate, to learn to live your life without chemical intervention people either dismiss your problem or treat you like a ticking bomb. This may not be the sugar-coated panacea for celebrity misbehavior and addiction, and this is surely not the beautiful fantasy land painted in your psychology 101 textbook, but this is the reality of mental illness from someone who is living it.
Drugs are so much easier because the doctors hand the prescription to you with a disclaimer to hang around your neck saying "I'm not responsible for my actions or feelings, you see, I have a mental illness" I want to be. I want to be in control of myself and my life. And I'll tell you right now that my problems stem from my low tolerance for stress. Maybe I don't know all the hows and whys yet, but I hope to through (new-age wing nut alert everyone!) talk therapy, meditation, hard honesty with myself and spirituality. Call me crazy, but I'm no longer interested in chemical dependence.
We hear lots of stories from doctors and hospitals and drug companies of how medication has helped them- healed them! And I've heard it all, Van Gogh was bipolar, Manet, too. They never took medication. Sure, they had their own drugs and alcohol problems, but they were free to create. Maybe they would have lived longer if they were medicated, but for what, really. Without the ability to create, what is life for an artist.
And there's another issue for the mentally-ill artist. Say I could create on medication, could I call it my own, or is it the medication? On the other side, if I was successful and not on medication my work would just be the brilliant creations of mental illness. They can never be my own.
I fear that the fervent and disjointed tone of my mental health posts detract from my credibility, but I know this to be true. It makes me angry how people disagree with me because they themselves have been so brainwashed by the drug companies. It also makes me angry that these are the people who question all other authority. Seems to me that this has all been set up carefully. In the '80s and '90s, although depression was taboo, more people were talking about it, little kids started talking about being "stressed" because that's what they heard their parents talking about. Our society is always looking for the quick fix and now it is realized with the new drug culture. There's a pill for everything and anything. If only we got down to the real issues now that people realize that they're not alone in their feelings, if we could strip away the idea that talking about feelings was wishy-washy and pathetic, and if there could be real discussions about feelings and the catalysts, if people could accept personal responsibility then we could really get somewhere as a species. We could be seeking true fulfillment instead of instant relief from uncomfortable feelings.

Apr. 19th, 2011

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Job Hunt

This resurgence in my personal job hunt is brought to you by TD Bank who told me politely, but sternly that my car was up for repossession next month and that, even though they were getting a payment monthly, I was still two months behind and I'd better pay up or else.
So I worriedly fired up my trusty laptop and started busting out applications to any job I could find. Here I am, college graduate, respectable (if disjointed) work history, three years retail experience with a large company, one year managerial experience, not looking to make big bucks or start out at the top, I'm feeling pretty attractive to potential employers. So I throw one out to three Stop and Shops in the area, FYE, Big Y, Price Chopper, Petco, every big company I can think of. Today I get an email from FYE saying that I "do not meet the minimum assessment requirements."
I can only assume that this is in reference to the shitty multiple-choice questionnaire they give you to find out if you would steal from the company. It turns out that they are not looking for an honest answer, or that they are looking to hire programmable robots. One question, for example, is something to the effect of "you see a co-worker stealing do you a. pretend not to notice, b. make eye contact to let the coworker know that you see them stealing, c. immediately tell a supervisor, d. confront the coworker." My answer is d. My answer will always be d. I've worked with this person for a few months now, I imagine, and I'm going to go up to them and say "what are you doing? Are you out of your mind?" Of course I'm going to talk to a supervisor about it, and I'm going to tell them that I'm going to talk to the supervisor about it, but that's not what I'm going to do immediately. As I said in a letter to my cousin, dropping everything and running to get the boss, to me, smack of the Nazi youth who ratted out their parents during the fascist regime of Hitler.
God I hate corporate America. I don't get the chance to actually talk to someone, find out if I'm right for the job, I can't even get an interview to express the fact that every situation is different. In the aforementioned example, anyone who knows me know that the one kind of person I cannot stand under any circumstances is a thief. One of the questions was about your boss asking you to do something that is important and then the higher-up asking you to deliver materials. The right answer was "schedule a conference call to properly organize priorities." I chose "perform the task your boss asked you to do and send someone else to deliver the materials." I would do neither of those things. What I would do is explain the situation to the higher-up when I have him on the phone and find out what they want me to do. Organize this, assholes.
And on top of it all, the thing that really pisses me off, is that an employee cannot simultaneously provide "excellent customer service" and kiss the asses of management. Can not be done. One of the questions said "A customer on the phone wants detailed information about a product that you have a lot of experience with, but your boss just asked you to perform a task immediately and finish it in 30 minutes." There are no bosses if there are no customers, and I'd rather deal with a moron customer for half an hour than a moron boss. I can't stand it, I just can't stand it.
Foolishly, perhaps, I dream of a company where people are honest and speak in real terms that mean what they say. JoAnn's doesn't have "customers" for example, they have "guests" because we need to think of them as being like guests in our home. Fuck that shit. I didn't invite them, they came in to potentially buy something. Also, you don't want people lazing about your store and not buying things. Are we supposed to offer them fresh linens to stay the night? You'd think someone with a management degree would notice the distinction between a customer and a guest.
They had another thing called "ACE", Achieving Customer Excellence. I think that sounds like we're working on our customers to make them excellent, not trying to make our 16 year-old cashier stop rolling her eyes at the elderly customers. How about you can the acronym and call it "Achieving Excellence in Customer Service." That's what it is, after all. Do we need an acronym to remind us that we have to be courteous to the customers?
And the conference calls and the goody-two-shoes store managers who are kissing the DTL's ass in hopes of snagging his job and blah fucking blah fucking blah. These aren't real people, I swear.
But back to my fantasy land: I heard about companies who are completely democratic, like a co-op where people actually own the company, everyone who works there. When a decision needs to be made, they discuss it and they all vote on it. One person gets one vote and nobody's vote counts more or less. A land where people care about making quality products from materials that nobody died for, or died making. A land where there is success from honesty.
Down the road a ways I dream of opening such a business. A boutique filled with the work of local artists. Not the stupid "seaside town" crap, but real, artistic designs. My fashion designs, local jewelery makers and designers, other fashion designers, accessories, things that are handmade and well made. And I dream of us all riding a wild wave of success and socialism to the top where everyone is in awe of us, all the celebrities would die for our products, we are gods and it's a huge economic event when we refuse to incorporate. Raw, talented, intelligent artists who buck the system and it's meaningless jargon-ridden world.
And while I'm at it, I want a pony, too...

Apr. 16th, 2011

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(no subject)

After receiving another upsetting call from TD Bank (car loan) a fire was lit under my daydreaming butt and I dove into the internet and started applying for crappy jobs that I don't have to care about. I guess that's the key. With disability I can still work 100 hours a month. At $8 an hour that's an additional max of $800 bucks a month. Enough for at least my car loan payments. Fuck I need a job regardless of my mental state.
Which brings me to the primary reason for my post. In my desperation I meandered onto craigslist who's always looking for people to do odd jobs for next to nothing (I'm your gal!), and I found a posting for a humor writer. I don't know that I'm all the funny, but I think one could say at least that I'm amusing. I hope that they find my writing to be amusing, at least, and I don't get a "don't quit your day job" reply, seeing as I have no day job to quit.
And I often sit at my computer or relax with my journal, or just type to my sister and get a laugh out of someone, even if it is just myself, but now I'm thinking "okay! Time to write and be funny!" I hope this doesn't blow up in my face. Last time I replied and was accepted for a job on craigslist I got really excited and then my significant other kicked me out of Massachusetts...

Apr. 14th, 2011

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(no subject)

Today I received an email from Citibank, with whom I have a private student loan and this is the email that I was extremely tempted to send back to them:

I spoke to someone last Sunday about my account. I fully realize that I have fallen behind but it is by no choice of my own, all of which I explained to the person who purportedly entered it into my file and the person before that, and the person before that, and on and on and on and now I'm wondering if any of them actually enter the information or just prattle away on their keyboards pretending to hear anything other than "can I give you my card number over the phone?" For months I've been telling this and that person, whoever has my name on the call list (never the same person, but you're a big, important company, I know, and you're too busy and it would cost too much money for you to assign one person to my case who knows my situation and it would be a risk to have a human being connect with another human being, you understand, after all, that all college graduates are manipulative and will pluck any heartstrings necessary to get out of paying for their students loans so they can waste their money on drugs, alcohol and their compulsive shopping habits.) I get calls all day long, every day of the week. I've stopped answering because every time I talk to someone they're trying to get me to sign up for this or that program, all of which I can not afford. And now I get this insipid form email from you telling me that you are "here to help" and "take a moment to call" (I'm never on hold for less than a moment) and that you've "helped" your customers. You're not helping me by calling me at 9:00 on a Sunday when you have no intention of connecting me with a human being. You want to help? Take the money when my father can afford to send it to you. This is hard, of course, because you don't know us at all. You don't know that my father has a mortgage, pays my mother's enormous medical bills, is still trying to pay off some of my medical bills (there should be a reference to my medical issues in your "file"), is supporting me and my mother with a job that takes his talent and pays him nothing for it. You don't know that my last job drove me to the brink of insanity until I was forced to quit and that regardless of the applications I've put in to this and that place I still can't find a job. You don't care, though, because you've got fat pockets from your good choices. Money, that's all you care about, not helping any one of your customers. You're all just bloated ticks on the back of the working man's children who foolishly took your candy when you said "I'll help you pay for college, it's easy to pay back and you'll have a shiny, high-paying job so you won't even notice when we gouge you for interest!" Who foolishly believed that college was the way out. Turns out that college is just another way for the upper class to pick the lower class' pocket. We get the degree, we do the work, we turn out the product for you to make a profit on and although you technically give us a paycheck every week, you end up taking it right back through loans and fees and taxes.
But instead of feeling guilty you genuinely feel that people like me, and like my father are just lazy, we should take initiative, we should work harder. That's the key, work harder, make more money for, well, all our money would be going to... So, I guess we're making more money for you. Not for the bright future you and the colleges painted when you lured me into "higher education."
By the way, remember people like my dad, people who are afraid to answer the phone (if they even do anymore) because it's just going to be a bill collector who claims to understand and then in the same breath demands payment? I know that this is cliche, and it should be water under the bridge by now, but do you remember how money from the pockets of people like my dad paid you $300 billion to bail you out when you got into financial difficulties of your own? No? Doesn't ring a bell? Probably a product of all those alcohol-saturated "business trips" you took with the money. I guess we all have something in common. We all sometimes bite off more than we can chew. However, I can guarantee that, were I given $300 billion I would make sure to give you your chunk to stop your phone calls and another chunk would pay off my car, and the credit card I used to pay what you refused to pay on my tuition, and all my medical bills (there should be something about that in your file, remember, if Juan, Marissa, Paul, Andrea, et al. actually typed it in). It would go to these things so that I could start saving some money to start my own company (isn't it precious that I still have dreams?) instead of cruises and benders and a Maserati.
But people like me will never have money like that. We weren't born into it, and so the best we can hope for is a bleak future trying to scrape together enough money to buy our kids shoes while the debt hangs ubiquitously in the background. But that's my fault, I was born into the wrong class and I don't enjoy the sound of pulling a knife out of someone's back.
So thank you for extending your helping hand, but I've already taken your helping hand, remember? Around 2004 when I graduated from high school? And I remember what that got me. So I'm going to stay in my little town and root around until I can find enough money to pay you back the money you so generously lent me. And, if you wanted to scare me, you should have gotten to my credit score before everyone else. Maybe you could hire a few company hit men with whatever is left from the bailout money...

Apr. 6th, 2011

Q

Feminism, Perspective for the Artist, Playing the Guitar, and Running a Small Business

I lieu of doing real writing work, I blog. It makes me a little annoyed because I want to write, but when I sit down, regardless of the myriad things I've been thinking of I don't feel like I have anything to write about. This concerns me. I think about musicians and artists and writers who have written things that I love and have completed works that I would be more than pleased to have my name on, but I don't feel capable of actually producing this kind of work. Problem number one (I feel like I've been numbering so many problems these days...) is that I don't particularly love myself. I don't think this comes as a surprise, and I imagine that it's included in the territory of my age. Sometimes I think that I need to finish things and get going before I can really love myself because my lack of success is one of those things that makes me judge myself harshly, but then I think that I can't feel success until I learn to love myself. It's hard to keep in mind all those little pieces that I find important to what I like about myself. The spiritual, versus the "glamourous" versus the intellectual, versus the energy versus my quietness. I know that everyone is multi-faceted, but I want all of these pieces to be fully developed.
Today I went to the library and got out a few books. I often go to the library, at least once a week, but today I took out four books that I want to be reading all at once. The Feminine Mystique, that Betty Freidan tome that I was told was nothing but schlock and sensationalist womens' lib crap. I've only read the introduction, so I can't really make a comment on it as of yet. I've avoided it because I kind of shy away from the womens' lib movement, being that I hold the current product with such disdain, but I'm willing to know, and maybe it can help me solidify and inform my current stance on womenhood. I don't like that women feel they have to work when they want to be housewives, and I don't like that housewives feel that they have to be power-hungry maneaters as the only alternative. I personally think that women are great, and I truly enjoy being a woman (for the most part, I'd say a good 96% of the time)so I get so upset when I do things that are traditionally "woman" but think "that's just what a woman would say." More on this to come as I peruse the work.
The next is a book by Dora Miriam Norton entitled Freehand Perspective. That's right, I've finally swallowed my fear and picked up the sketchbook again. I'm glad to be doing it, even though it's not garnering the results that I expect. I used to be a force to be reckoned with in college as far as drawing and painting goes, but since I joined the corporate workforce and suffered through countless med trials I stopped drawing. I'm out from under the yolk of mainstream business and free of psych meds and my pencil feels more natural and I'm not as terrified to set it to paper any longer. It's a nice feeling, but it's like being an Olympic triathlete who was in a coma for a year. The muscles aren't working and it gets frustrating, but I intend to get back to where I was and then some. Watch out art world. Funny how that's the initial thought when I don't really care if I'm in the art world or not at this point. I want to create work that I am satisfied with. If I produce enough of it, maybe I'll venture to a studio or two, but I'm not going to freak out.
Which brings me to my next passion, I took out Fredrick M. Noad's book Playing the Guitar I no longer have great public aspirations when it comes to music and that feels so nice. I do practice like a high school senior trying to get into Julliard, but that's because I want to and it brings me so much enjoyment. If I were going for the golden ring here, I wouldn't practice so much and the joy would be sucked out. This happened to me when I thought I wanted to be a classical clarinetist. Truth be told I enjoy playing instruments for the same reasons I enjoy speaking foreign languages. I'm more than likely never going to have a chance to speak German or French, but I like the way they sound and I like what I learn about my language, and I enjoy learning about other cultures, what people do, why they do it, etc, etc. It's not the destination, truly, and I'm so glad that the frantic "I need to learn this in order to do this" is gone.
The fourth book I took out today deals with my real-life aspirations. It's by the J.K. Lasser Tax Institute (whatever that is) and it's called How to Run a Small Business. I know, I know, what could a person who's earned a BFA in ceramics want with business and haven't I disdained the entire world of money for as long as I could speak? Here's what I want, here's what I'm working on, I want to open an alternative boutique and fill it with my designs and maybe the designs of other small/local artisans. I had this passing thought when I lived in West Springfield. I was sitting on the carpet with my sewing machine in front of me (I didn't have a desk) and fantasizing about filling a cool little boutique with my designs. I don't want it to be the typical new-age crappy boutique that you find in little coastal towns. I want serious fashion, I want cool, new stuff from people who are genuinely good. I want to sell people things that they like, that look good, that are well designed, fashion-forward, well made, made from materials from humane sources, and priced reasonably. I saw Michael Moore's "Capitalism:A Love Story" in which he visits a company that, although not large, is a democracy. Everyone who works there is an owner, not in the "stock package" kind of way, but they truly have a say in what goes on. I want to surround myself with intelligent, interesting people who want for the business what I want. I don't want to just make money, as long as the business can stay open under our terms and the investors are happy I don't care what profit it turns. I just want to show people that responsible and interesting and fashionable are all things that they can have every day, and that those things can all figure into their lives.
My first foray began yesterday. I know nothing about business, so I figure that my little etsy shop can help me out. I read tarot and tarot books tell you to keep your cards in a silk pouch. Silk is not the friendliest of industries, especially if you're a silkworm, but I had heard a while ago about humane silk, so with a little research I came to this site for Ahimsa Silk. They harvest the silk without killing the moths. Being the merry Wiccan I am I cringed at the though of protecting the energy of my cards at the expense of a living creature. (I don't think that the Goddess would approve, y'know?) Step one, a little step, but a step nonetheless. And this makes me happy. I am happy. For all my constant neurotic thought, I am happy.

Mar. 24th, 2011

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Blithering (but remarkable productive) Idiot part 3

One quick burst of a post to calm me down enough to finally get to sewing.
I went to the DMV, returned my plates, and got my license! My picture is awesome, and I am glad to no longer be terrified (still scared) of cops.
So the next step is to get insurance. I've spent the past two days doing exhaustive research this time figuring out what I need and I'm confident in my decision, but I'm still scared to commit. Of course, I need to call them or else I get to opt for auto pay. No thank you.
My search for a responsible bank is discouraging. I'm looking into local banks, but if I move I'm just going to have to change banks again. I don't know what to do. I hate to have my money resting with the fat cats, but I also get tired of having to change banks and PINs and shit. Also my parents are giving me shit because, although I'm 24 years old, they still think they know what's best for me and what my fiscal needs are. I'm stressed about minimum balances and I hear mom talking to dad on the phone about how I'm "freaking out" about having to keep a minimal balance. Of course banking and budgeting has always been easy for her because she's never had anything to do with it. Minimal balances are fine for people like dad who have a little disposable income every week, but I need every last cent of my money to get back on my feet. I don't want to be fined because I've only got $1.06 in my account. Of course there will come a time when I don't have to worry about minimal balances, but that time is not now while I've got collection agencies breathing down my neck. At this point, if I could keep my money in a mattress I would...
What else. My beloved friend got me a ticket to go see David Sedaris speak in Stamford on April 1st with her and her boyfriend. I'm very excited.
That's it, I've got work to do. I have a lot of things I want to do right now, but I can't because it's 10:00 pm on the east coast and nobody is around to talk to about insurance and medical coverage and the tax collector is not open, alas. Time to sew!

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