Great first day back to work. I love the customers and the people I work with. The people will help sort me out this year. The people will force me to face my shit. What a nice, narcissistic job being a barista is. At least once or twice a day people ask me about what I’m doing with my life. And they always seem to have more faith in my future than I do. “You just need to be brave!” “You just need to research!” And I’m like, what, you don’t want me to make your coffee for the rest of my life?
Had a moment with a Eastern European woman who always orders a cappuccino with whipped cream. She had just got off work- works in a factory line making mailboxes. She was so tired- but so happy. She told me not to worry- to follow my passion. And that following your passion is the easiest thing in the world, because it is whatever makes you feel good. She said you still have to be brave, and you still have to do your research, but your passion wins out in the end. And you follow it.
She talked about her sons, and how she could tell what they would do with their lives from an early age. Their passion was always there. It made me think, and I realized that there is a direction that I have been pushing most of my life, as well. Honestly though, it terrifies me. So when I say I have no passions, what I am actually lacking in is courage and understanding. I am so terrified of pursuing the life I want that I won’t even take the first step in informing myself.
She said, it’s a shame to waste your talents. She looked at me sternly, and for the first time in a long time, I indulged in the idea that perhaps I could have talents in certain areas, and be important to people and myself.
In that moment I also realized that my worst fears are slowly turning into my greatest strengths, and someday might be those talents I seek.
And conquering fears ties directly into writing, as my favorite author Erica Jong says, “You’ll never know fuck all about writing if you don’t learn courage.”
So there is absolutely no point in staying “safe” and comfortable. Writing is my overarching passion, and to improve writing, I’ve got to live. And the life that I want to live scares the shit out of me. So it’s the best possible life for a writer and/or human being.
My favorite regular, a cowboy from Santa Fe who puts his hands together and does a tiny zen bow when I fill up his coffee, told me tonight that he is moving to Chicago in February. I told him I was thinking of heading that way as well. Small world, seems everyone is heading to Chicago. I need to hang out with zen cowboy before he rides off into the sunset to the big city.
Had a medical student grill me about how I will use my IR degree. Becoming increasingly flustered and bothered, I slid his macchiato toward him and lifted my arms in defeat. He grabbed it, nodded in approval, and as he was walking away said, “Don’t worry. Life is the best.”
And I thought that was spot on.
Don’t worry. Life is the best. :)
I fucking love Kansas. I think possibly because my time here is coming to a close, but also I have a newfound respect for it now that I’ve realized it will be possible to get out.
Went to a concert tonight, and as I was walking back to my car, snow starting to fall, a bunch of farm boys ran yee-hawing past me. They were wearing cowboy hats and boots, plaid shirts tucked into their naturally faded jeans and carrying girls on top of their shoulders as they ran. Just a few years ago I would have been disgusted and depressed by this display of country culture. But tonight, as I walked past, it brought the biggest smile to my face. And I realized I was one of them- stopped trying to separate myself from them in an intellectual and elitist way, and realized that they were part of my home, my history, but they don’t have to be a part of my future anymore.
The other day, while making drinks at work, I look up to find this guy grinning at me. A few minutes later he walks up and tells me he loves my hair. He stumbled across some sort of sentence, equating my hair to a “boy in the morning who wakes up and does his hair to make it look like he doesn’t do his hair and has bedhead.” But I do it “all natural!” I am severely blushing right now, as all I want is for no one to notice my rolled-out-of-bed faux-hawk, much less discuss it with me.
“You look like an anime character!” Was his parting gift to me, shaking his head in amazement as his anime fantasies had apparently come to life.
He walks away, and another guy is standing there smiling, waiting to order a drink. He’s heard the whole thing, and apparently this is enough to bond us for life. We talk about coffee, L town and the new cafe in L town, tossing names in the air like dollar bills. He says he remembers me from somewhere, and we realize he used to come to the cafe I worked at in L town, FOUR YEARS AGO!
We introduce each other and exchange names, now that we are instant compadres, and he comes back up for about 5 or 6 refills in the span of an hour, and we discuss a vast amount of information.
Apparently I WAS a cartoon character that day, because every expression I made received uproarious reactions from the customers. I started to like the limelight and started playing it up a bit.
In the past week I have served tea to a German woman. Made a latte for a Russian man. Single Americano for an American who lived and Kenya for most of his life. And also hid from a woman who lived in Saudi Arabia for 14 years. Because she is just so goddamn cool I can’t handle it. ;P
The last time I spoke to the woman from Saudi Arabia, she asked where my humsa was.
I love that everyone remembers me by my humsa and my hair.
“It’s still on, just hidden under my shirt today.” I said.
She showed me the Ethiopian symbol around her neck, and we talked about how symbols cross cultures.
The humsa itself can be traced back to Judaism and Islam, with (according to my customers) connections to Buddhism and Hinduism.
At least once a day at the cafe, someone compliments me on my humsa. And attempt to share a knowing smile with me. Which I desperately want to return to them, but have no idea what the secret smile is ever about.
Everyone always has a different reason for admiring the humsa, so I ask them what it means to them. Most people who ask about it are Jewish, and I wish so badly that I could answer them “yes” when they ask me if I am.
I have a regular customer from Tel Aviv who told me that the humsa represents the hand of god, and the eye is to ward off the evil eye. She showed me her necklace from Israel with Arabic inscriptions.
Last week at work I made lattes for my new friend from Kazakhstan and her American friend.
“I’m a huge fan of short hair,” her friend tells me.
(Apparently hair conversations are pickup lines, now?)
We go on to talk about hippies and Russian pronunciations, as what normally follows in a conversation about short hair.
Yesterday at work I handed a latte out the drive through window to a guy I went to high school with. We weren’t that busy at work, so I caught up with him on the past few years. He’s in grad school now. I jokingly said, “at least you’re not working in a drive through!” And he got visibly upset at my lightheartedness. “Don’t say that. You’re fine. Just apply to grad school. You’ll figure it out.” He also told me some of his fears about failure, etc. All in a drive through window. Then, of course, we bonded over the humsa in his car.
Something has changed as of late. I am way busier than I was before, but I have also found something inside myself again. Something that is beginning to see life in every moment, and create even more.
So Lawrence visit. Got to Trina and Jess’s house late Sunday night and ate take out Indian food in pajamas and talked about feminist and gender theories.
Next day spent the morning chatting with Trina and reading zines. Then she went to work and I went to Henry’s for coffee.
Spent a good two hours reading and writing by myself. And I have to admit, I really enjoyed the solitude. It was different than the solitude when I am in Manhattan. There is something about being away, and and alone, that brings out new thoughts and emotions that are empowering and intoxicating.
After awhile, I called up my best boyfriend Brian from last year. We spent so many late nights at Sunflower house hashing out life and meaning and justice, usually over a few cases of IPA. This time, we just had burgers and water and simple conversation. And it was great to talk to him again. So great. I think he’s a life long friend. :)
He’s going through a bit of a rough patch right now, but is better than I have ever seen him. I’m really excited to see where he will go next. I think I will drive up to Lawrence this semester when I can and help him out with his activism. Because, god, he knows how to be an activist and organizer.
After burgers, we went back to Sunflower house to pick up Carlos and Jono. Carlos wanted food, so we went to Zen Zero, and Brian and I packed on a second full meal of curry in the span of an hour.
I offered round three, but Brian wasn’t feeling quite up to it.
Carlos and Jono seem to be doing good. Same place I left them in, almost. Except better beards and polos. Glad I got to take them out.
We all went back to Sunflower after that and were going to smoke Hookah upstairs in the FER. But I kept running into people I knew and wanted to hug, and never made it up to the FER. Ended up sitting on the couch in Robert’s room, and the whole house piled in. Just like old times.
My friend Jack is leaving to study abroad in Buenos Aires this summer. Of which I am so jealous of.
Justin is dating a new French girl who lives in the house. She is super adorable and we talked about Europe a lot. Justin just got back from spending a month with in her hometown.
Sam just got back from a 16 month backpacking tour of the world. Said the most important thing he learned was that New Zealand food is horrible.
Alex is doing alright. We bonded on the feeling of “alright”ness. He is still coordinating beautiful organic brunches once a week for the house. I wish I still lived there just for that.
Robert is applying to grad school at KU for sports journalism. I think I might have gone on and on about the tyranny of sports after a few drinks that night, accidentally.
Tom is the same as ever. Had gotten in a fight with a bonfire log and grown his hair out. Next time I come up I want to take him out to eat. The few times we hung out while I was living there we talked about everything from life to death to pancakes to procreation.
Mel is living at the house again. She was my first friend at Sunflower. She is quite possibly one of the sweetest, most mysterious people that I know. Actually, I have never felt like I knew her. She was always impossible to pin down. She was fixing some amazing vegetarian dinner for the house. Showed me her new room- Clint’s old room. And bonded over barista life.
Sometime later, the bell rang for dinner, and everyone ran down to the kitchen. And it made me a little sad, because I started down the stairs after them for dinner like it was the most natural thing ever, and then realized that I do not live here anymore. And it is not mine anymore. And so I grabbed Brian, and we slipped out the front door without telling anyone goodbye.
Brian said he doesn’t feel like he can relate to anyone there anymore. He’s changed and moved on so much, that it would be impossible to go back. I thought about it, and realized it would still be easy for me to go back. I don’t think I’ve changed so much in the last six months as recovered. I have spent the past six months trying desperately to get back to where I was when I moved into that hippie house. And I think I have finally accomplished that. But it’s not time to move back in, it’s time to find some other path to go. I know if I did move back, I would repeat all of the exact same mistakes. I am taking a different path now. Going to make new mistakes if I am going to do anything. :)
So after going over the Sunflower the other night in Lawrence, I went to Java Break just to make sure I hit up all the old haunts. It actually wasn’t sad to go back, and I remembered why I disliked college at times. And it was nice to be back, and not be in college this time. In a bittersweet, but relieving way. I have been waiting for this for four years, I remembered. And now I’m here. So here I go. :)
Got a tea and read a bit, and then my friend Shelby showed up. We headed to the bars.
Started at Henry’s, and then on to the Bourgeois Pig. After awhile, we realized that it was getting expensive, and we didn’t even have a buzz yet. Shelby had a bottle of wine in her car, so we headed to the parking lot and got trashed in her car, just like highschool all over again.
Shelby and I have always had radically opposed views on almost everything, but we’ve always been able to make each other laugh more than anyone else can. The night included a lot of hilarious misadventures, but I was not prepared for where it went once the wine started flowing.
Suddenly, Shelby was ranting about gender equality and feminism and American exceptionalism, and I was a bit drunk, and thought I was imagining it all. I just listened in awe for a bit, and then started to join in. We were both yelling by the time the bottle was almost empty, passing it back and forth between observations and declarations.
We covered so many areas that I can’t even begin to recall them. At a certain point, Shelby held up the bottle of wine and said, “Annie. This is the first time I am saying this, and I never thought I would say it. But I am a goddamn feminist, and we are going to fucking take over the world. I wish we were broadcasting this across the radio right now. Women need to realize that we all need to stand together. Let’s write a book.”
We talked a lot about relationships, and how it’s a “man’s duty” to win the woman over in the beginning, but that is a short period of time, usually. Once it gets physical, it’s the woman’s duty to keep the man “interested,” and that can be a lifetime obligation of insecurity. We talked about entitlement and self hatred and empowerment.
We met up with our gay guy friend a little later, running down the alley screaming “vaginas.” I tried to be diplomatic in my drunken state, pulling in my knowledge from women’s studies classes, which made it very clear that women’s rights meant gay rights as well as human rights for all. We work together for gender equality and all benefit, yeah? But Shelby was like, fuck men. We don’t need them. We are so stupid to fall in love with them. Women are smarter and happier without them. We don’t come from a place of entitlement, so we don’t take as much advantage of power when we have it.
Which is a bit true.
I tried to do cleanup, as Shelby’s newfound feminism was confirming so many men’s fear of feminism to a tee. But at the same time, I let her have it. I remember that’s how I felt when I first started thinking about gender politics, too. Anyway, our friend thought it was hilarious, and we had a great night of dramatic and hilarious conversations.
Shelby is moving to Spain in two months— and if all works out, I might meet her over there to travel Europe a bit more. I want to see Eastern Europe. I’m sure we can tone her hatred of men down by then. But maybe not too much- I kind of like having a man eating bulldog around me.
We crashed at Shelby’s brother’s dorm- falling asleep on a futon and under blankets her Dad brought back from Afghanistan. As we were falling asleep, Shelby said “I bet you can fall asleep anywhere.” And I told her that she is absolutely right. I cannot, however, sleep through a whole night, apparently. Her brother lived with three other 18 year old boys- and I had a face to face encounter with each of them over the course of the night. Every time once of them walked past us, for a drink, a piss, a cookie, a shower, I would pop up like a prairie dog, eyes wide like a fucking puffer fish. And I would just stare at them, so confused and alert.
The next morning we drove back down to Mass St. and I got a new bag (I got a new bag, Joe!) and then we had lunch. Checked out the Dusty Bookshelf- I played with the cats while Shelby checked out feminist literature. Then got a tea and I headed back to Manhattan to take a shower and be an appropriate, upstanding citizen again.
I am so artistically inspired right now. When I was in Lawrence the past few days I met up with a guy I was just getting to know as I was moving out this past August. He had told me then he was a writer, painter, singer, traveler, poet. That’s what all of us cool kids say, so I didn’t give it much weight. I was interested, but not intrigued. Now I am intrigued.
We were over at his place the other night, and someone starts talking about his book. And I’m like, you wrote a book? And he said yeah, he’s actually written a lot of books. And the conversation changes, and I’m like, whoa whoa whoa, back it up a bit.
I buy three of his books, and start reading them later that night. They are exactly what I’ve been searching for in writing– poems strung together to create stories. Filling in all the spaces that prose cannot.
And then he gave me his two blog addresses. And then told me to give him my email address so he could send me some music. And by music I figured he meant a playlist of his favorites. No, of course not. He emails me original acoustic songs he’s recorded himself. And is going to perform later on this year.
I do not understand this self confidence in art that people seem to possess. To me, art is such a vulnerable and private thing that it should never leave your notebook. But here he is passing out books and recordings like they’re candy.
He also had original paintings all over his room– something I never thought about before. Decorating your life with your own art, not someone else’s. It always seemed egotistical to me, but now I am reconsidering and thinking maybe it’s just common sense. You create art that inspires you, why would you not want to be reminded of that flow state daily as you wake up and look at your walls? Sort of similar to my tattoos, I guess.
Then we watched his stand up comedy online from his time in San Francisco. He had told me that he lived all over, but I didn’t realize to what extent. Last night I read one of his books where he set out to chase Kerouac across the country on a many years long road trip, and did a pretty all inclusive job of completing that goal.
We went out for drinks at Henry’s the other night, then got Taco Bell after. Let’s be honest. Every good artist loves Taco Bell.
Earlier today, Shelby and I were in Lawrence eating lunch and had the most extensive conversation I’ve ever had about Greg and mortality with anyone. We have never really talked about what happened together before, and we had never been able to connect things as well before.
Coincidentally, Shelby just texted me a few minutes ago to tell me that she just realized it has been three years ago today. Neither of us knew it, at least not consciously, but we spent this day of all days remembering him.
We love you, Greg.
Remember that night we went to Abe and Jake’s together and danced and drank so much that I lost my shoes on the dancefloor, stepped on broken glass and we just kept dancing? And then you carried me to Java Break after we realized the glass shards in my feet weren’t going to fix themselves. And we got a taxi back to the dorms and passed out on the couches together- not paying attention to anyone else in the world.
And then the next day we went to Taco Bell instead of class.
That time that we smoked a joint outside of the movie theater like thugs, and then sat through a whole movie without watching it, just sitting perfectly still and trying the gauge the other’s reaction.
And the time that you, the other Greg and I were going to start a band. And I said I could rap like K$sha while you and Greg played keyboard and guitar. And we met for our first band practice and I confessed that I couldn’t really rap.
And that time sitting outside on the front porch after a long night of drinking and hookah, and how we smoked so much weed, and I thought they were just cigarillos.
The time we all went out in Lawrence together and Shelby ended the night by blowing on your toes. For hours. And how I will never let her live that down. Whatever the fuck it was. :)
And the time we watched the Notebook together with a bunch of people from our dorm, because that’s what all freshmen do apparently, and you were like, let’s get out of here. And I was too scared to be alone with you because you were way too cool.
How you told me that your roommate’s voice put you to sleep. How he had a radio voice and you loved to listen to it at night, it comforted you.
How I wish I could have comforted you. Hopefully I did a little bit.
How you were SUCH a fucking ladies man, and every girl in sight was in love with your beautiful curly brown hair. And still is. How you were the artistic, thoughtful, easygoing athlete that all the guys were jealous of.
How everything came so easy for you, and you were always so humble.
How many botched attempts at going on dates we tried.
How much I wish I had chose you instead.
How in our highschool photography class, I would ask to borrow your track jacket so that I could dip out of class when the track team left for meets. How you thought that was hilarious. And never let me forgot it.
How good you were at photography.
How, as we were graduating highschool, you came up to me in the library and told me you were going to go to KU as well. To be an art teacher. And I fell in love with you a little bit. And was excited to get to see more of you the next year.
How the first time I met you, when we were 15 or so, I thought you were sent from the heavens above. No one was supposed to look that good.
That last summer, how many night we spent driving around town, parking in a deserted area, sitting down and hashing out life.
How I wish I had understood more.
How you worked at the Chinese restaurant, and told me that sweet and sour sauce was actually made out of ketchup and apple sauce.
How you would always update me about the parties happening in town.
How, one of the last times I saw you, I wanted to grab you and tell you that we love you so much. And life is shit right now, but it will sort itself out. And you are brilliant and beautiful and worth it. And how I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t want to be overbearing. I still wanted to be cool. So I didn’t say any of that. I gave you a hug and expected you to intuit all of that from a tight squeeze.
How you were wearing a new necklace. How you looked so tired.
How you were so fucking good at painting and guitar. And impressive as shit at Beatles rock band. And your house was an artist’s paradise. And your family is so sweet. And you loved them so much. And just wanted them to accept you. Or understand you. Or you wanted to understand yourself. And we didn’t see that. We just thought you loved excitement.
How you loved parkour. And one of the first times I went over to Ben’s house you were there, and did a fucking flip off the side of a tree. Just casually.
How you had a great mouth. And your glasses were perfect for you. And your clothes fit your tall frame just right. You had such good style in the most relaxed way I’ve ever seen.
How you wanted to skip class with me and lay around all day. And I said we should get to class. And I wonder what that day would have been like if I hadn’t chosen it as the only day in my college career to attend my lectures.
How my first boyfriend was your best friend. How I didn’t know how to talk to him about it after it happened.
How you switched dorms a few weeks in so we could all be in the same building. How cool it was to see you so much more often.
How you left Lawrence at the end of the semester. You had had a bad trip and your parents wanted you to come home. How my parents almost made me come home as well. How I wished you weren’t leaving, because we were just starting to get used to each other.
How we talked about the meaning of life in Shelby’s car one time– and I was distraught over my failed attempts at finding meaning, and you said you just wanted to have fun. That’s what you wanted out of life. And how I didn’t know if I believed you or not. I’m still not sure.
How you played soccer like a beast. Traveled the world before any of us made it out of the U.S. and won awards like it was nothing.
How many people were at your funeral. How much I kept thinking you were going to pop up again and everything would be back to normal.
How everyone handled it, or didn’t handle it.
How you were the first person my age that I knew who died. How I still feel you are alive, and don’t know if I’ve ever really processed completely the fact that you are not.
How I still expect to see you serving Chinese food and texting me about going out. And having eternally good hair, and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen in my life.
And making art a lifestyle, not something to be ashamed of. Making feelings real for men, not something that was overlooked.
You might have held a lot in, but were already so much. You were perhaps more honest than most of us ever were.
You were always dependable, and ready for anything. You were the friend that would say yes to any proposition. You never wanted people to be alone.
You loved and you are loved.
I love you and will always love you.
And I won’t forget you. If anything, as time passes, you are just going to get clearer and clearer.
You have impacted so many people in so many ways, and that is impossible to think that you are not a part of the world anymore. You exist within each of us who knew you, and you always will.
You’ve made us all think, and believe that there is more to life than coming off cool. If I ever got the chance to go back in time, I would grab you that last time I saw you, and tell you exactly what I was thinking.
And I wouldn’t let you go.
That night I got coffee with Pat. As I was dropping him off, I asked him if it was okay that we hung out. And he said Annie, you’re not the only girl I’ve known in the past few years. And my supercharged ego was a bit hurt, but also my burden was lifted. He said we can be friends. And I think I feel good about that. He’s graduating and moving to Denver this summer.
Later that night, around midnight, I made my famous dahl- adding brussel sprouts, peas, mushrooms, onions, red potatoes and whatever else I could find. It didn’t really turn out to be dahl in the end, but it turned out to be pretty healthy.
Then tonight I had chips and sour cream for dinner.
Am a walking contradiction full of love. :)
Someone mystery customer left a little blue origami flower as a tip for me today!
Supposed to go to a wine and cheese party tonight, as well as help my friend set up for her artshow at work. And I just want to go running and drink green tea and clean my room, slowly sifting through the papers and books and clothes and money and letters and bills and to do lists that is my life, absentmindedly strewn all over my floor.
But I am making an effort to be present this semester, and actually enjoy the people around me. And I bailed last night- so I should probably follow through tonight.
First off- I have about 30 W-2 forms in my room to fill out. My job hopping from this year is really apparent right now. I can’t believe I have worked so many jobs, and had so many lives since last January!
This morning, I arrived at work with bedhead, and limited words. My boss is so wonderful, though. She is literally the most easygoing and calming and entertaining person in the world. She gives a lot out into the world, more than she should, probably. But I love working Saturday mornings and picking up on her vibes. If I thought I was good at making people feel comfortable before, I have been seriously inspired in the past few weeks to challenge myself even further now. And the better you get at it, and the more you do it, the better it feels. And the better everyone else feels. Last week, one of the regulars told us that there have been many mornings that he did not feel great, but then he came in and we set the tone for the rest of his day to be positive. And he said we probably do that for a lot of people.
The big men at the top of the company might have the money and the “power,” but all the girls working at the bottom, sharing face to face care and connection are the ones with the real power. The girls I work with send so many people out into the world with a smile on their face. And, I’m beginning to feel that is the ultimate power.
Who defines power, anyway? I want to redefine power right now as the ability to have a positive influence on others’ lives.
Last night I went with Diana to see Ben do stand up at a comedy competition in town.
Ben did really good– he won and will be performing in the second round next week.
Halfway through our first pint, Diana decided it would be a really good idea if we both got pissed. Though we have known each other since we were 10, we have never gotten sufficiently wasted together.
So that is exactly what we did.
Three or four drinks in, we leave the audience and decide to just sit at the bar and forget about the comedy (comedy which was increasingly boring and misogynistic anyway). It was dollar off on whiskey that night, so we had quite a few whiskey cokes.
At one point, we started talking about Gurth and I teared up. This happened to be at the exact moment my brother walked by.
“I think you’ve had enough to drink, Anne.”
“Let’s just get you one more, Annie. You just need to get over the hump. I always cry before I start having a good time.”
Well, we kept drinking, and I did start to have a good time. We hit up about three bars last night, and had the unfortunate luck of finding all of the half price drinks ready and waiting for us.
Then we went to godawful pita pit. We walked in, I kept dropping the same water cup over and over again. We were those annoying drunks at 2 am on a Wednesday night who think they are the first people in the world to discover the wonders of drinking. And who believe that every blunder they make is irresistibly cute, and every comment undeniably witty. There are about 30 ingredients at pita pit, and when they asked what I wanted on my pita, I said everything. I was that girl. I asked how many people get “everything” on their pitas, and they said they had only seen one or two before me. I smiled and smurked in drunken pride. I seem to remember they put cranberries and mango in my falafel pita, along with the 28 other ingredients.
We go back to Diana’s. Consume our pitas. And then, we’re talking about Gurth again and I break down. Diana got what she was asking for when she insisted I only had to “push through the tears” with more booze. Now it was approximately a million times more dramatic. I was wailing, waking her whole apartment complex up. We went for a walk, and then stood outside in the frosty air while was had the ultimate girl talk. Disgusting? Maybe. Beneficial? It was a devastating and enlightening night.
I had a hangover most of today– feel good now, but still have a fuzzy brain. So, I’m happy that I chose today of all days to write extensively about my life.
Now or never, eh? Sometimes a little hangover is what is needed to get me back in a writing groove. In a life groove.
So I was bailed on like three times today, and have ended up having a really contemplative, interesting and solo day alone.
Which is what I have been having a lot of lately, minus the contemplative and interesting.
I decided not to let life overwhelm me today, and decided to write for a few hours. Because being bailed on three times in the space of twenty minutes is actually quite a ridiculous and comical amount. I decided to try some of the hippie-feminist medicine I have secretly and slowly been spoonfed over the past few weeks by one of the regulars at work, instead of indulging in my recent adolescent slide toward a spiral of angst.
I have decided to respect myself and my life. And begin to change the way I perceive the world.
So I wrote. And I remembered that writing was never about producing anything for me. Writing was never my career or my breadwinning skill. It has always just been an extension of my life- highlighting and bringing color to the past, present and future.
At the beginning of last year, I was so confident in every direction of my life. I wasn’t as scared of rejection, or failure. I wasn’t doing much because I was happy not doing much, not because I was scared to jump into it.
Well, maybe there was a bit of fear, but it was very hidden underneath my strong sense of self and direction.
So maybe being this vulnerable and empty was a necessary step. Maybe I needed to empty myself of all preconceptions before I was ready to really start my life. Maybe I needed emptiness before I could truly begin to work towards fulfillment instead of just distraction.
What I really need is to hit my stride a little, impose a totalitarian routine on my life and stick by it. Stop wandering around, listening to the radio and occasionally bursting in tears at sad and beautiful songs.
I need to see the beautiful and sad in every moment, and learn how to embrace it. Or live it. Or whatever.
Work is good for me to stay busy, but it is not going to be everything. I have a lifetime of days off of work, and I need to find a new hobby or direction for my life now that my fake cover of “studying” has been whipped out from beneath me.
Let’s be honest. I never studied. I almost always did exactly what I did today while I was a student for the past 17 years. Sat and wrote and researched my own interests. I couldn’t wait until I could actually do that full time. And now that I have that, I am absolutely terrified. I loved that cover of having to “study”. Then I didn’t feel like a freak for reading books and writing.
I remember in highschool, the day that I realized that the way to get boys to notice you, and the way to get more friends was to be absolutely SHIT in school. To pass notes throughout class or else to skip it. To claim you’re an artist, not an academic. To go to parties, not to read.
And I’m still struggling with that. I want to get really involved in something, but then the uber-socially conscious part of me will start warning me that it might look like I actually care. And even now, when I am no longer surrounded by peers, I still feel like I should shy away from caring, and make sure I am perfectly, cooly indifferent.
But when you don’t have anything to slack off in, the identity of a slacker doesn’t really apply.
You’re just someone who doesn’t know how to fill their free time.
So. I will start caring about things I want to care about. And I will try to fight the voices in my head, ingrained in me since elementary school, saying that I am lame for being smart, for liking to learn, for being a girl who is good at math.
Because those people are no longer in my life. I’m going it alone right now, and I’m going to come out on the other side with the people who care. The people who see the world in color.
Running after work today in 55F weather. The sun was smeared across the sky like a pat of butter melting on big, warm pancake.
Just drove home in a blizzard- horizonal, violent snow- was wearing a tank top two hours earlier.
Had coffee with Jon earlier– walked to the new cafe and met the 20 something owner. Jon fell in love with him. They are meeting back up again later tonight (after I’ve left) to plan their takeover of Manhattan, and thus the world.
The pour over coffee was quite good.
Walking home, we thought it might be the end of the world. Within minutes the sky turned a deep red and leaves, sand and angry wind blew directly into our faces for the 10 minute walk back to his– cow manure assaulting our sense of smell for our last remaining moments on earth.
I turned to Jon and said, I always knew it would end this way.
We got back to his, figured out life and purpose and direction in our lives as the apocalypse got worse. But the world can’t end until you figure it all out, so we left a few holes in our messianic like understanding of the world.
I like Jon a lot. He is so lost, and so together. We should become better friends.
Today I met an eight foot tall Australian who punched me in the gut and an 80 year old dietitian from Egypt who stole my heart. My coworker Morgan and I participated in repeated awkward interactions with customers while also setting objects aflame with our demonic mental powers.
I had a nice coffee and read after work, something I want to get in the habit of. Just because I work in a cafe doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get to relax in one as well.
And then I went running all night.
Now I am going to fall asleep.
Got a few things checked off my list before work this morning, and then saw a bunch of fun people at work including my classmate and neighbor from elementary school, David. Also saw a girl I worked with at my first job at the breakfast place when I was 14. She was always so sweet, and I always liked her but everyone always made fun of her. And I could never figure out why, and wasn’t mature enough to do anything about it. I made sure to make her coffee nice and tasty. One of my other favorite regulars ushered me over to the side halfway through my shift to tell me about a drag show that night downtown. I think I must look like they type of person who would be interested in that sort of thing. Probably because I am that sort of person.
Also a British lady came up and ordered a coffee and I teared up a bit when I heard her accent; she thought I was mental. ;) Also I met your American twin today, Joe. He ordered a fucking disgusting pumpkin and mint Italian soda, so of course we became friends. He made me tear up a bit, too.
On my way out of work, passed zen cowboy and picked up the book he was reading. It was, of course, Nietzsche. I announced Nietzsche was a sexist pig, because that’s how you made new friends, by implying they are biggots in front of a whole cafe. We ended up talking about nihilism and shit, and it was great. It’s decided we are going to get drinks soon. Who can resist a nihilist? You know I can’t. ;)
After work had a burrito, then ran to Mr. K’s for a second dinner with GBFF Joe and Billy. I got some garden hummus hippie sandwich, and they got macaroni and cheese hamburgers like true Americans.
We had great conversations- it was my first time hanging out with Billy, and within three minutes of sitting down, the feminism card had been pulled out in a energetic conversation and debate.
They were talking about the movie “Frozen,” and I said, oh, doesn’t that have a feminist flare? And Billy was like, you can’t listen to all the negative things the critics say.
And I was like whaaaaaaat. Feminism in Disney movies is a major step forward, not backward. And he was like, well, I guess I don’t know exactly what feminism is. I just know that feminists hate men and want women to rule the world.
And I said, child, come, let’s talk. Feminism is equality. What is so scary about equality? And he said he wanted a woman to need him, and feminism takes that away. And I said, do you want to need a woman? And he said yes. And I was like, well, you are a feminist then. As long as you place the same expectations on yourself as you do women.
By the end of dinner, Billy had placed equal amounts of ketchup and mustard side by side across the table in an act of solidarity.
He’s from Wisconsin. He says “soooda” and grew up eating a pound of cheese a day. He’s joining the navy in March.
Billy asked Joe about “gender roles” in gay relationships. It was very interesting to hear that dominant and submissive roles still exist in same sex relationships. The whole “male and female” dichotomy is fading quickly. We are slowly coming into an age where people are just people, and they act however they feel comfortable acting. If a straight man wants to be dominant that is fine, but he needs to find a woman who also wants that. And if a straight woman is dominant, she needs to meet a man who is comfortable with that as well. And gay people also sort out power dynamics within their relationships.
Also, Joe and I discussed how, just because someone holds a submissive role, it doesn’t mean they have less power. It is a different type of power, usually an emotional power, while dominant traditionally holds the physical power.
It was all really confusing, spontaneous and lovely, right after a long day at work. Really easy conversation, no debate, just questioning from each face around the table. And various creative designs with mustard and ketchup.
Obviously, after this conversation, we hit up the local drag show in town at the Asian cafe.
It turned out to be a bust, but I’m happy we tried. I mean, we are in Kansas. Had a drink and then parted ways before it was too late to leave. I made my way back downtown for my third dinner, this time the mother of all dinners, Hunams veggie lo mein. Brought it home, got in bed and watched an episode of some shitty tv show on my laptop while shoving my face.
It was a lovely evening, to say the least.
I miss my British friend a lot, but I’m happy I am here in Kansas right now. I feel like I need to be here, and there are a few more things I need to learn before I leave it.
So I’mma gonna learn ‘um.
Headed to KCMo for a real drag show this weekend.