Saturday, May 22, 2010

to the left, to the left...

the most common question i get these days is some version of, "How are you feeling about the move?" to which my most common response is: "Terrified." and it's true. i am. terrified. i'm also incapable of producing the gold-standard blogs i usually churn out so do be patient with my lack of... um, my inability to... uhhh --- i can't write real good right now. my brain is too busy exploding. deal with it.

anywhooo --- what was i saying? oh yes. i'm terrified. in a good way, i think. i just have no rose-colored-glasses about this impending season of life. i know it will be hard work, i know that eventually it will (hopefully) be rewarding work but mostly i know that it's just going to be really really ('scuse my Portuguese) fucking hard. the job of teaching will hard enough -- compound that with the inevitable and devastating amount of homesickness and oooweee we've got a doozy. there are just things here in Seattle that are irreplaceable.

i wrote a blog for my band the other day and just writing it sent me into a total boo-hoo-a-thon. i really hate thinking about the fact that i won't have this amazingly fun thing to do twice a week and that i won't get to play these amazingly fun shows every month. i mean i hope i can find some musical outlet when i get to Philly but man oh man... my band right now really is sort of the perfect gig for me. the music is fun to play, the commitment is enough that we do good work but not so much that it's overwhelming, and seriously every single time i play with these guys -- whether it's practice or a show -- i spend most of the time either laughing at something stupid one of the dudes did or doing something stupid to make the dudes laugh. it's magical, really.

another impossible thing to replace: Deanne. ugh. i mean the past few weeks, we pretty much spend all of our free time together. sometimes just "studying" (i.e., watching TV and farting around on the internet) or going to local hip-hop shows in an effort to make up for all the lost time not going to local hip-hop shows (seriously, how did we not know about this?) or just, i don't know -- spending time together. there aren't other Deanne's in this world. i keep trying to trick her into moving to Philly with me and she's just so stubborn about it. it's getting annoying. :)

and my dad! UGH. my dad. fixer of fruitplates, personal chef and my biggest fan. my therapist keeps trying to peer pressure me into writing a g'bye letter to him but even mentioning it makes me cry (i refuse to cry right now -- I REFUSE!). i recently realized that this may be the last time i live under the same roof as my father and man... it absolutely kills me. no one in my life has ever been as unconditionally supportive of what i do and who i am. that's all i can say about that right now because there are tears forming behind my face and i REFUSE DAMNIT I REFUSE!!! (don't worry, i'll be discussing this refusal with my therapist at our next session.)

the thing is, it's not just my band and my Deanne and my dad... it's everything. everyone. everyplace. there is no other Seattle. there is no other y'all. this whole starting-a-brand-new-terrifying-career would be exponentially less terrifying if i could do it within the comforts of my city, surrounded by my friends, living with my dad. and though i know i sort of wished for this cross-country move myself just a few blocks back, that whole be-careful-what-you-wish-for thing is kicking my ass right now.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Love, Daddy

i found this old email from my dad and it was so sweet and unintentionally hilarious that i felt the need to share.

Hi Jessica, It is your Daddy speaking. Wondering how you are doing. Have you changed oil in your car ? Is car running OK?. Hope you are having a wonderful day. Talk with you soon. Love, Daddy.

*sigh*... it's really hard to think about the fact that i'll be thousands of miles away from him in just a matter of months. not only is he an incredible man and an amazing father, he's the best roommate ever.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

excited to go but so sad to leave

i'm guessing that 99% of my blog readers are connected to me by via some other form of social media so i'm just going to assume that you all heard the fantastic news: i got accepted to Teach For America! it's been a week since i officially got the word and i'll be honest, it's still quite surreal. i don't know who's in charge over there at TFA but it was some shmuck's bright idea to put me in charge of a high school (possibly middle school?) English class somewhere in the city of Philadelphia next fall. (yeesh) and you may or may not be aware of the fact that Philadelphia was indeed my first choice so the already surreal news that i got accepted has been made that much more surreal knowing that i got my first choice. i've been not-so-secretly daydreaming about living in Philly ever since my fantastic visit last September so this really is a (day)dream come true. [rim shot!]

all kidding aside, even though i am beyond elated and beyond excited to get to teach next year in the fabulous city of brotherly love, i'm also incredibly broken up about leaving Seattle. the past two and a half years have been filled to the brim with learning, growing, connecting, reconnecting, and perhaps most of all, healing. i've been reminded of who i once was and inspired to be more than i ever thought i could be. sounds cheesy but it is the absolute truth. between my amazing friends, my amazing church, my amazing band and my AMAZING family... i honestly don't even know what to say. i'm just so, SO grateful.

i hope that those of you here in Seattle won't mistake my excitement for this next season with a desire to leave. despite all my daydreaming, i honestly don't even know how to tell you how painful and difficult it is for me to imagine my life away from home. tonight my dad -- who by the way has been so supportive, so proud and (i'm sure) so pumped about me being gainfully employed -- my dad told me tonight in his most forcibly nonchalant tone, "i really don't want you to go." and i know what he meant, i know he understands that i feel like i have to do this, and i know in his own way, he's excited for me too. but man... hearing him say what i know he's been feeling all week -- honestly it just rips my heart right out.

i don't know that there's really any point to this entry other than to maybe warn my Seattle friends that for the next three months, i'll probably be a bit more prone to tears than usual. and if any of my Philly friends are reading, i guess i should warn you that i may be a little teary for the first few days or weeks or however long it takes for me to work this sadness out of my system. i'm sure once i actually get to start teaching, my sadness will be curbed by all the excitement, anticipation and (let's be real) stress that will surely come with this new venture. sooner or later, i should be back to my normal drama-free self but i'll thank you in advance for your patience with this unusually sensitive version of me.

those of you that know me know that words are hardly ever a struggle for me but i really don't know what else to say about this boggled mix of emotion that is currently masquerading as myself. just -- thank you. and i love you. a lot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

facebook vigilante

i've been picking a lot of fights on facebook lately. i try not to, believe me. i know it's only facebook and i know that my friends (and their friends) mean well and i know that it's entirely too easy to say ignorant things on the internet without meaning any harm -- and yet still i can't help but speak up and pick a fight.

today's mini bout went down like this:

my friend posts an innocuous status about a grammatical error - "Saw a licence plate frame the other day that said 'my son go to UW'. Obviously his mama or daddy didn't."

a friend of hers comments: "haahaha! Maybe they were Chinese?"

i pause, glare at the screen, say a few choice expletives under my breath and plot my next move. do i respond? i mean i don't even know this chick! surely she didn't mean any harm and yet here i am, feeling harmed. if i do respond, is "eff you" too hostile?

pause again. heart beats in chest. i take a deep breath and start typing: "as the daughter of hardworking immigrant parents who moved to this country and picked up an entirely new language in their adulthood so that i could have a college education, i'm gonna go ahead and say 'not cool' to that last comment. i'm sure you didn't mean any harm, but man oh man it is taking everything within me not to swear a lot right now."

heart continues to beat with a quickness. a moment later, the friend of the friend responds: "Sorry. No offense was intended."

i imagine that her heart, like mine, was beating quickly as she typed. i imagine that she thinks i think she's an asshole. i imagine that she thinks that i am an asshole.

i put on my metaphorical big girl pants and type the following: "i appreciate that a lot. i know you didn't mean any offense but i had to stand up for my parents. thanks for being understanding. big love and many blessings in 2010 y'all. :)" the smiley face was probably superfluos but i'm trying my best to appear reasonable and non-assholey as i know that hostility isn't exactly the most effective weapon in a war of words.

[end scene. kind of.]

the [unintentionally] offending commenter has since deleted her [unintentionally] offending comments and i'm wondering if i should delete mine as well. i pride myself on my drama-free lifestyle so it seems a bit out of character to leave my dramatic flare up lingering in the ether. and yet i can't bring myself to erase it because i really do want others to read it. i hope that someone out there will think twice before looking down on that accented small business owner. i hope that someone won't laugh quite as hard at the chinaman cameo in this movie or that. i hope that someone will be just a little more patient and deny the temptation to speak louder broken english at that college educated immigrant who can't quite wrap their mind (or their tongue) around this complex language of ours. i know that may be a lot to hope for, that maybe i'm asking too much of facebook, but those are my hopes.

i hope this doesn't make me a troll but even if it does, my facebook friends are just gonna have to brace themselves for the consequences. though i'll never know what impact (if any) my internet tirades will ever have, i'm afraid that i am simply not wired for silence -- audible or otherwise.

Monday, November 16, 2009

round and round

i wrote an entire post about how i want to take a break from academia because i feel so trapped in this vicious cycle of self-congratulatory ego-coddling rhetoric and then i realized that the entire blog post i had just written was really freakin self-congratulatory.

ugh. i really need to figure out how to blog like a normal person. [ha!]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

something to talk about

so this is the post that i was going to post last time but didn't because of a flash wave of hyper self-consciousness. not that i've suddenly given up my neurosis (a hallmark of my personality, after all) but several factors have collided this evening and worn down my inhibitions: 1) i feel guilty for my irregular blogging; 2) this blog was already basically done and prolly shouldn't go to waste and 3) i have a feeling that few people have the patience to read through to the end of these tirades anyway so there's really no need to get all diffident about its contents. anywho, here goes:


i could start this post by apologizing for how long it's been since my last post. but i'm not gonna do that. i will say that a lot has changed in the month and a half since that last post. okay, so maybe circumstantially things are pretty much the same (still in my last year at UW, still living with pops, still doing most of the same day-to-day stuff) BUT my mind has been racing and i'm just trying to keep up. hence the lack of bloggination. [okay, so maybe there are several other reasons for my lack of bloggery including but not limited to a generally lackadaisical constitution but let's just pretend that my intense existential contemplations are to blame, k?]

so last time i checked in, i let y'all know about how i was all bound and determined to go straight from undergrad to grad school but as the quarter went on and i started to look into what grad school would entail, i found that my heart just wasn't in it. i'd google it up, read what i needed to do, read about the amazing programs, think about all the amazing writing i'd get to do... and then find that i had absolutely no desire to do any of it. all that spunk and enthusiasm and excitement that once was just wasn't any longer. when i started to feel my excitement wane, i went into my characteristic "why am i doing what i'm doing and why am i thinking about thinking about how i'm doing what i'm doing when i'm doing said thinking?" meta over analysis to attempt to figure out what was going on with me. was this just a means of self-sabotage set up in order to avoid the potential rejection? was i just being straight up lazy and trying to get out of doing the work i'd need to do? could it be that i'm an imposter and that all this time i haven't been as nerdy as i thought i was? [that last theory was promptly thrown out. obviously.] though my human propensity for self-sabotage and my fear of rejection are certainly plausible factors, after much careful consideration i think i've concluded that my change of heart may actually be valid.

as an American Ethnic Studies major, i've spent a good chunk of the last two and a half years studying up on history of racial injustice in our country and its effect on our present moment. it's been incredibly empowering to be able to articulate all the angsty frustrations i've experienced first-hand and why they matter. it's also been really important to see my experiences and in essence, my life within the larger context and to put words to the unjust cultural practices that persist in our world. but in the last few weeks in particular, i've grown weary of this academic self-congratulatory speculation and i'm beginning to feel like it's all way more self-serving than it is outwardly focused. in other words, being so deeply entrenched in the academic end of things has removed me from real life and let me feel like i'm "doing" something when really all i've done is theorize about what hypothetically should be done, not to mention point the finger at all the things that have been done wrong. that's not to say that the theory and academia aren't important! the vocabulary i've gained has added depth and substance to the difficult conversations i've been having about the larger issues of injustice and i believe those conversations have been life-changing for all parties involved (especially me). though the conversation is an incredibly important first step, it is only the FIRST of many steps. and for me, i think step two means stepping away from college classes and into the public schools.

though institutional racism is a gnarly monster, education is often identified as the "silver bullet" and i think i have to agree (in theory). i'd like to put that theory into practice and try my hand at the difficult work of teaching the underserved communities of our nation. though it's certainly tempting to want to take on a michelle-pfieffer-in-dangerous-minds/hillary-swank-in-freedom-writers-esque savior mentality about this kind of pursuit, i know that i have more to learn than anyone else and that any service i'm able to engage in will ultimately change my life more drastically than anyone else's. i also know that it sounds like this brilliant cute idea right now but the reality will probably be far less glamorous. nevertheless, i just can't in good conscience continue to talk talk talk without doing something God willing, i'll get to do something sometime in the not-to-distant future.

Monday, September 21, 2009

lefty loosey

i have trouble letting go of some things. case in point: i have 4 email accounts that i use regularly including (but not limited to) an antiquated hotmail account that is daily inundated by spam mailings and the various email lists i've signed up for over the years. i rarely get any personal correspondence and the format is terribly inefficient, especially compared to the genius of gmail [one of the 4 email services i employ] and yet -- i can't bear to let go.

other things, i let go of with shocking ease. my living arrangements, for example. in my four and a half years in nashville, i lived in 7 different places. in fact, since moving home 2 years ago, this has been the longest i've lived in one place since i first moved out of my parents house post-high school in 2001. though i hate packing more than anything and though moving is a universally despised ordeal, somehow i manage to pick up and change addresses with only minimal consideration.

which brings me to my current quandary: where next? this year marks my final year as an undergraduate at the University of Washington. as we all know by now, college round 2 transformed me from reluctant slacker student to über nerd and thus graduate school is the natural next step my nerdy progression. i plan on pursuing an MFA in creative writing and in my initial googlings, i've found that the programs that appeal to me the most are on the other side of the country. i guess i should be a little more honest here: i'm finding that the programs that appeal to me the most are appealing BECAUSE they're on the other side of the country.

don't get me wrong, i LOVE seattle. i love waking up to my glorious a view of the mountains over the puget sound. i will never find another roommate who does my dishes, cooks me fresh salmon lunches, and doesn't charge me rent (thanks, dad!). the thought of trying to find a faith community as spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually engaging as Quest feels near impossible. my brothers, aunts, uncles, and most of my cousins are within 40 minutes of me at any given time. and my friends! my amazing, beautiful, supportive, hilarious, wonderful friends!

i know there are plenty of fantastic schools here in the greater seattle area that would be able to offer me an incredible education and yet -- inexplicably -- i'm still feeling the itch to move. i don't know if it's fear of settling down or love of change -- maybe a little from column a and a little from column b. maybe it's a lot from column c: my amazing east coast visit last week. my time in new york and philadelphia was shockingly life giving. shocking because i was a bit reluctant to leave for the east coast in the first place after my long 2 month european excursion. so imagine my surprise when i felt sad to come home! again, this says nothing about my love for seattle or any ostensible lack thereof. there was just a newness and freshness about the east coast -- new and fresh to ME, mind you as both cities were plenty old and plenty dirty. those of you that know me know i'm far from peak physical shape and am in no way motivated to get there AND YET i walked MILES in each city without complaint and with a spring in my step! explain THAT whydoncha? i felt like both cities both brought out my truest self and made me strive to be a better version of me. i know that's a pretty strong statement to make after just a week and a half away but there you have it.

i suppose it would be unfair to say that the charm of the cities alone have injected my heart with this new jolt of wanderlust. truth be told, i was quite charmed by my friends, both new and old. i got to connect with friends i haven't seen in years, friends i haven't seen in months, and friends i met for the very first time. and though i've never been accused of shyness, don't let my gregarious exterior fool you: i've always found it difficult to open up and let myself relax with any real degree of depth. but in the short time i spent with them, i feel my friends in new york and philly split me open in the best way possible.

all aspirations aside, my fate is still more or less in the hands of the admissions officers at the schools i'll be applying to. i can daydream and whimsy all i want but if the schools don't accept me, there's not really much i can do. okay i take that back, i'm sure there's plenty i can do if i really want to move but i guess the impetus to move will be sort of deflated. but who knows? in the next few months, seattle just might re-woo me and i may end up staying on the left coast after all. que será, será...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

self-fulfilling prophesy

on my crowded and disorganized bookshelf, i have about a dozen or so mostly empty journals. each was started with the best of intentions and each began more or less the same way -- with an entry apologizing to my future self for discarding yet another journal in the vain hope that this one just might be the one i finally get through, cover to cover. but without fail [or rather, with abundant fail] i leave each new journal behind with only a few months worth of entries a piece, some forgotten circumstantially and others forgotten forcibly, discarded because of the shameful Judy-Blume-ish confessions within. looking over my past few weeks worth of blog entries, i'm quite tempted to cyber-chuck this beast altogether. despite the difference in medium, i'm finding my paper journaling habits are being unwittingly duplicated for all the world wide web to see.

in my noble attempt to return to a regular rhythm of writing, i've turned to this blog for lack of inspiration to write anything else. as a result, the past several entries have been written in moments of weakness, times when my focus has been nominal and my sense of shame dulled down by too many hours of reality television. and though i know i shouldn't make excuses, dagnabit i want to make excuses and last i checked, this was my blog. so there. [reaaaal mature, jess.] i would love to get to the point in my journaling when i don't feel the need to constantly apologize for the last thing i wrote but sadly, i can't even accomplish that in my private journals much less this public one. i blame my constant and overwhelming desire to be perfectly understood, an unattainable desire if ever there was one.

i know i nagged y'all for comments and then apologized for nagging y'all for comments so please take the following explanation with a grain of kosher salt: when i get no feedback i.e., no comments, my mind goes BANANAS! i imagine all that's being thought of me and about me and though i've managed to keep it from defining my general self-worth, it continues to effect the way that i blog. as a result, i'm plagued by the need to beat my imaginary critics to the proverbial punch so that before anyone can think to themselves, "damn, homegirl is CONFUSED!" i'm able to acknowledge and articulate my confusion at length first, not to prove any of my hypothetical naysayers wrong per se, but rather to prove me more right. granted, as i already explained the last time, i know that my lack of response is most likely my own fault and yet STILL when i sit down to write, i feel panicky and can't bring myself to write about anything other than me and my own cuckoo craziness. it's sick, i tell you -- SICK! almost as sick as the stupidly long sentences that have overwhelmed this paragraph. nevertheless, i'm hoping that by exorcising these nagging abstractions via this [*fingers crossed*] final demonstration of neuro-vomit, maybe juuuuust maybe i can one day channel my neurosis into the discussion of something other than the innards of my buzzing brain. thank you for your patience in the meantime and please, don't feel overly obligated to respond. we've all got to work together to snap me out of this mess.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

too late to 'pologize?

okay, so that last entry was probably kind of an a-hole move. the one before it kinda wasn't awesome either. how do i know this? not only were the two comments left apologies [you're forgiven, by the way] but several of my real-life blog reader friends have also made a point of apologizing to my face, not only for not commenting [you're also forgiven] but for the sad state of affairs reported in the entry before last.

i usually pride myself on limiting my public declarations of internet emo but i think i need to both humble myself in the sight of the Lord and of the computer screen. sure, i've still got the know-how to not post vaguely accusatory passive-aggressive one sentence bursts of emo all up on my FB and twitter statuses [statusii?] but let's face it: this blog is totes emo. it reeks of emo. it's all "wah-wah-WAHHHH" and "boo my feelings got hurt" and "daggumit i wish i had a boyfriend" and whatever what not. somebody really ought to wrangle up one of these dudes. it's intense.

so now it's my turn to apologize to y'all: sorry friends. i can't really blame you for not commenting when i write a veritable novella every time i sit down to has this junk out. i rarely have the patience to read anything more than 3 paragraphs long so i realize i'm asking a lot of the few readers i have as it is. it's hard enough to get through each entry, let alone muster up the brain juice to respond accordingly. and per the whole "boo-hoo i'm single" thing, if i'm honest about it, my desire for romantic companionship is mostly a desire for the convenience of having said companion. it would be really nice to have a man-friend just so that i could have one and people could get off my case. i don't know how it is for you fellas, but for us ladies any inquiries into our love life [or lack thereof] are usually followed up by recommendations for how to resolve the affliction of singleness. i would elaborate on this notion further were it not for my aforementioned resolution to be more concise with my blogging. i will just offer this closing lil nugget of comfort to those who were understandably concerned about my seemingly fragile emotional state: i'm really okay -- fantastic, in fact! i love my life, i love my friends, and not having a dude is about as tragic as not having a million dollars. both of those things would be nice to have but i'm doing more than fine without 'em.

Friday, August 21, 2009

so analytical

being the savvy techmological mind that mine is [mmhmm, you heard me] i utilize the most sophisticated modes of analyticalnessiocity to keep track of this here blizzery-blog. according to the great statistical minds over at google analytics, my blog traffic is down 18.6%. needless to say, i found this information to be both disturbing and not awesome. i happen to know that i have 3 blogger followers. not that impressive. so i hopped on over to my good friends at google reader to see how i was doing on the subscription front and they informed me that there are all of 23 of you out there subscribed to my humble cyborg-journal. this boosted my morale significantissimally. nevertheless, it's been days since my last post and i've yet to receive the satisfaction of the only currency worth cashing in here in the blogosphere -- that's right chil'ren -- the comment.

no comments! i poured out my heart [or at least my brain cells] and still nothing? i was having a bit of a carrie bradshaw moment [what with the mac laptop and all] and i couldn't help but wonder: is it me? did i say too much? did i get too emo? should i have followed my instincts and ommited all the whiny "waaaahhh i'm single" bulldookey???

and then i though -- no wayyyyy y'all! my whiny emo material is golden!!! BUT -- only after a little tweaking. and then it occurred to me -- maybe my subscribers are only getting the raw first draft! they're reading my writing in an embryonic state so maybe they just aren't reaping the spoils of the many rounds of painful whittling and adjusting that takes place in the minutes [*cough* hours *cough*] following the first publishing.

now you might be thinking to yourself -- why not just edit thoroughly BEFORE you publish? sure. i COULD do that. and in fact, i DO do that. ["do do". hee hee.] the fact of the matter is i'm a terrible proof reader of my own work and always have been. i can edit and tweak my writing within an inch of its life but even then, there will always be a typo or three that sneaks out. i know it's painful to be confronted with the reality that i am not, in fact, a flawless writer [breathe, my babies, just breathe] but it's time y'all knew the truth. and it's also time that you subscribers learned that you may be missing out on the best version of my work and it's worth checking back once or thrice for the director's cut.

and thus concludes my shameless plea for comments. feel free to indulge or deny me my sweet validation. know that i'm working on acquiring the techmology to track y'all down one by one so that soon enough, i'll be able to call you out in the STREETS! [don't think i wont, neither]