There's some downtime at work right now, and I found myself browsing (read: stalking) through old Facebook posts out of general nosiness and a longing for my youth when life was overwhelmingly easy but we were all convinced it was hard. There was the post from Jeffrey Harris about the hot mess that was my 21st birthday party at La Veta (you mean crying on the stairs as I thanked people for celebrating my birthday while the guy in the argyle sweater is being threatened with his life isn't a good way to end a night?); the yearly "Acoustic Anthology" lists from Graeme that helped me see a world of music beyond bubblegum pop and KIIS FM; the photo albums we had to create after every single Thursday night out at Paul's no matter how blurry each and all those pictures were. And then there was this trend in 2009 we all did, the "25 Random Things About Myself" notes that went viral on Facebook.
I won the lottery when it comes to Facebook stalking with this. I found these posts from the woman who is now my boss, the guy I was closest to being in love with in college, the old friend I haven't seen in five years. I know I did one of these, but can't find it anywhere -- in the archives of this blog, on Facebook, on my old laptop. I'd love to see just how much of a hot shit I thought I was four years ago, and judge the hell out of myself now but it seems that isn't going to happen. So we're going to revisit this. If you want the intelligent, thought-provoking answer as to why, it's that I think when you're in a place in life that you find yourself re-examining who you are and where you're going, writing is your best avenue. Photography and copy editing and my overall tendency to bury myself in too much work has taken me away from it for too long, and I ache for it. But I've sat at home the last few nights, staring at a blank computer screen, and I find myself without anything to write about anymore, and I feel useless. Maybe this inane exercise will help.
If you want a more simple explanation: I'm bored and borderline narcissistic.
So if you're stayed with me this long, here's a bit more to waste some time on:
1. I haven't had a good night's sleep for as long as I can remember. Sleeping isn't a talent of mine, it seems; I always feel like I'm missing out on the opportunity to use time for something more important. But at any point in the day, I can rock a great afternoon nap like no one's business.
2. I went through a health scare a month ago that left me confronting the ever-so-slight possibility of not being able to have children. The resulting panic and despair that ripped through my very core with that news was the first time I started to feel like more than a college grad playing grown-up.
3. There is nothing that will get me in a better mood than a perfectly executed cucumber and jalapeno margarita.
4. I like to talk a big talk about my superior musical tastes in folk musicians you probably haven't heard of, namedrop The Gospel Whiskey Runners and Joe Purdys of the world. But my secret guilty pleasure is dancing around my apartment to crappy Kei$ha songs, and when I was a kid I used to sing into a hairbrush in front of my mirror pretending to be Gwen Stefani. I am as tone deaf as they come, but listening to music at decibel-breaking levels and screaming along to lyrics you have no business singing is good for the soul. (Bonus points if you do it in the car, even after the guy next to you has noticed and is giving you weird looks.)
5. One of my favorite places in the world is on top of the Orange County Register parking structure at night when everyone has left. After a late shift, I'll stand out there and watch the lights from cars along the freeway, listen to the slight hum of electricity lines and feel small.
6. The studio apartment I live in now is the first place that I have taken pride in as my own home, and oddly sentimentally so. I find solace in its walls, and at some of the lower points in the last few months I've found a weird sense of comfort and safety in just sitting in the middle of the room and pausing to remember it as my own. I bought a white couch, and the words, "No shoes on the furniture" have actually come out of my mouth. My kitchen sink gets cleaned with bleach on a weekly basis. Those things make it feel like home.
7. Though I only had but one or two of them myself, summer rain will always remind me of hot July afternoons in the backwoods of Marietta, Ga.
8. I always wanted to live a summer on a boat, and I'm pretty disappointed in myself that I haven't made this happen yet. I don't know how to sail, don't know anything about it in fact, but I love being out on the open water in the middle of nowhere, I love when the ground moves and I love the smell of salt in the air.
9. I'm looking forward to my 30s. They're not far off, and I feel like that's the age all bets are off; you can finally tell your mom about the time you smoked pot in the garage after curfew, or stole the car for a midnight joyride or got arrested that one time in college for minor in possession, and somehow be closer for it afterward. I didn't do any of those things, but I'm sure if I wrack my brain hard enough I can come up with something she won't be allowed to be mad at me for anymore.
10. I absolutely despise dating. If I could skip the awkward first few dates, the moments of self-doubt where you're not sure who likes whom and how much, and just fast-forward to the boring Friday night in where you're cuddled up on the couch watching "Law and Order" reruns with a bottle of wine, I'd do it in a second. I have always been phenomenally bad at dating.
11. No man has better shown me what love should be like more than my grandpa. I most definitely did not appreciate him enough when he was alive; I'd like to chalk that up to being too young and self-absorbed when he died, but not valuing the time I had with him when I did is something I still beat myself up for to this day. When you're 16, you don't expect anyone to die, but it was then that I started living like I did.
12. I have cried during the vows of every single wedding I've been hired to photograph.
13. I know when the time comes to have kids, you're supposed to say things like "It doesn't matter whether it's a boy or girl as long as it's healthy," and I'm sure I'll feel that if I'm ever so lucky. But also, I want a little girl, damnit, and if that doesn't happen I will be a little snippy at God.
14. The first short story I ever wrote was a murder mystery based on the board game Clue. I was 12 and in a creative writing class in middle school. The teacher asked if I thought there was any chance I was plagiarizing, and I swore up and down I wasn't. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I had just seen the movie version starring Tim Curry, and I most definitely was for sure ripping that plot line off.
15. As an 8-year-old, I would get in trouble for stealing my mom's Stephen King novels and sneak-reading them under the covers with a flashlight when I should have been sleeping. "It" is still my favorite book to this day.
16. When I'm sad, I research the smartest things Leonard Cohen has ever said and read them over and over again.
17. I went into journalism wanting to be a reporter, and abandoned that idea because I couldn't handle the idea of some sources not liking me. A weakness, but a truth.
18. As a freshman in high school, I took art as an elective. The first day of class, a senior named Brandon introduced himself by sharing a panel of comics he had just drawn of me and my friend Tara, and whether he knew it, stepped into the role of big brother that I so desperately needed at that time as my family's eldest sibling. It was the month after my dad had just died, and though I haven't spoken to Brandon since essentially then, looking back at those years, a large intersecting point of where life could have gone and where it did go, started there.
19. Likely a minor form of OCD, I can't do even numbers. My alarm, the radio volume, the time I put into our page deadline grid at the newspaper -- I quite consciously plan them all to be odd numbers. I will cook popcorn for 3 minutes and 1 second, I will wake up at 8:03 a.m., and I will never, ever send an even-numbered batch of photos to clients.
20. There is nothing that will make me laugh more than the dancing Kia Soul hamsters. Nothing.
21. Every year, I get upset at myself for letting another one go by without making it abroad. At least once in my life I need to be in Ireland, with my camera and a stockpile of whiskey and Guinness.
22. I've been biting my nails since I was 4 years old. There have been two times in my life I broke the habit: the summer my dad first moved away to Georgia, and the beginning of this year for a few weeks. I've yet to come up with any explanation for either time.
23. My mom is the only person in my adult life who has gotten me a nice piece of jewelry; for my 21st birthday, she surprised me with a white-gold Tiffany's ring that I wear on my right ring finger. It's been lost and miraculously found countless times throughout the years, and it is the only piece of jewelery I wear on a consistent basis.
24. Life got exponentially better for me when I was blessed enough to meet the two girls who would become my college roommates. I was never lucky enough to have that one friend I knew since kindergarten or to be part of that group of kids who grew up together. It took a long time for me to learn what real, unabashed friendship was, and those women were it.
25. Every poem I've ever liked enough to post on this blog, I've written under the influence of alcohol.