What it’s like to be a crazy person

It may seem like a typical morning for a semi-lazy, not-completely-useless adult human being in America. I slept in until 10:30, washed my hair, gave our 40 lb Border Collie, Argos, a shower because he has bad dandruff this winter, and worked on estimating my taxes. (Working on my taxes? Does that knock me out of the lazy category all together?)

But despite the semi-productive things I accomplished, if you look at my habits lately (waking up late, playing video games, only performing the most necessary of responsible tasks) compared to over the summer (waking up early, being very active, proactive, creative, etc,) you would notice a drop in motivation. You might throw me a bone, “Well, it’s cold, people tend to be less active in the winter.” But here in Alabama we have been enjoying clear skies and mid-day highs in the upper 60’s. So that’s no excuse, unfortunately.

Why am I concerned with the new behavior? Well, it tends to be a sign of other underlying problems. Let’s just say that when I went to Massage school in 2013, there was a question on the orientation form asking about my mental and emotional stability. I hovered over that check box. I have never been diagnosed with any psychological disorders, but that may only be due to my never having been to a psychiatrist. Since barely graduating high school, after a brief recovery period, I have ascended to the status of being functional in society. This is how I gauge my stability and wellness. Last summer I went through one of the worst depressions of my life, and I still managed to function, show up to work, keep up with my house and responsibilities, etc.

However, sometimes chemical imbalances and old childhood baggage pops up to halt your progress just when you thought you had it all worked out. When I notice the signs, I go, “Ok, where is this coming from?” I feel like this latest phase has been one of over-indulgence. It’s like I just want to check out (not in the drugs way; I have never done drugs) and be cognizant as little as possible. Hence: sleeping in late, playing video games for hours and hours, and taking ridiculously long hot showers. These might not seem like major problems, but they are all ways I can gauge my escapism. I usually despise waking up late, and enjoy an active morning where I read, play games or brain-storm. Long hot showers have been a classic way for me to escape things I don’t want to deal with. And, there’s nothing wrong with playing video games. When I am at my healthiest I usually enjoy an hour here or there. But when I play for 5 hours straight, and go about my day wondering when I will get a chance to get behind the controller again… um… I’m having an escapism issue.

There is a quote, I don’t know from where, that goes something like, “If you’re rich, you’re eccentric. If you’re poor, you’re crazy.” Wage-wise, I probably fall right above the poverty line, but I have more than enough crap and I certainly feel wealthy, so maybe I fall somewhere in between the two. I certainly have some eccentric behaviors. Being un-diagnosed and un-medicated, I find interesting methods to shake myself out of a hitch.

This is why, at 1:30pm today, being fed up with my lazy behavior, I was pacing the house, repeating aloud a phrase from one of my favorite childhood Jim Carrey movies: “Everything you do matters, and everything you don’t do.”

Say it out loud with me, people. We so often feel that we are insignificant, but each and every one of us matters.

“Everything you do matters, and everything you don’t do.”

That last part is important. It’s not just that what you do isn’t harmful, it’s whether you take action on things you believe in. It’s whether you fall silent when others are being mistreated, or when certain people or groups are causing harm in the world. No, we can’t dawn a red cape and go take out all the bad guys, but we can explore every option and take every possible action to create a safer, fairer world. We can speak up. We can vote. We can, at the very least, be conscious consumers and vote with our dollars.

Now, the speaker from Liar, Liar was referring to a father showing up to his kid’s birthday party, but I think this phrase has grander applications–like to life, and everything. So I feel pumped now. I am actually shivering. I’m not sure if it’s chilly, or if it’s the coffee, or because I have stirred up a new fervor, but I’m shakin! It’s time to get out of this rut.

So here is to the importance of our actions and decisions every day.

Here is to finding new motivation, not just to take care of necessary remedial duties, but to go above and beyond in being the best human beings we can be.

Cheers! *Raises coffee*



Today I ran through an open field.

Why? Because, why not?

The first step is to step outside. I wondered, where am I going? What should I bring? But there was a nudge at my back, a whisper in my brain. Just go.

Sunday morning was like a ghost town in my neighborhood. It was before the church down the street was filling with people, so everything was eerily quiet. There was even a soft, steady breeze whistling through the trees. It was cool for a summer morning and the empty streets were slightly overcast.

Walking down my street, I couldn’t help getting that post-apocalypse feeling. I decided to go somewhere different–some way I don’t usually go when I walk around. Approaching the campus area, I turned left toward the highway instead of right toward all the familiar campus buildings, the giant new Art gallery on 10th Ave. In front of me was a vacant lot with the familiar sign: “Permit Parking Only.” There was a hill next to it. I had passed this hill but never seen the other side, assuming it was another lot or some boring office building. Climbing the hill, I saw it was a large white hunk of cement with bold black letters that spelled “Epic School.”

“What seriously?” I asked no one–perhaps the wind. Was this some group or art installment affiliated with the college? Under the bold title was a smaller indented designation, something about perpetuating the imagination, and the name of the person who started the school. No, it was just an elementary school. This thing was one block from my house. How did I never see this? The building was all corrugated metal and weird, slanted rectangles for windows. It looked more like an abandoned science lab.

The parking lot exited onto a familiar road, the one that led past the sports fields and a couple of campus parking lots, eventually feeding onto a main road. I would usually be unconcerned with the sports fields, but on the other side of the fence were the first two humans I had seen this morning. They were dressed in uniform, obviously warming up for some exercise. Passing the opening to the fence, for some reason the thought occurred to me to run out into the field. I shook it off, but it had a strong hold. Well, I thought, seeing the water fountain right at the entrance, they won’t mind me stepping just inside to get a drink. My throat was a little dry.

So I took a sip, glanced to see that the two men hadn’t noticed me at all, and continued on my walk. But several feet down the road I stopped again.

Why the hell would I not run across that field? Sure, I would look weird, but who were those people? It wasn’t as though I would disturb them, they were obviously having some informal practice, and on the other side of the field. What would it hurt? Who would care?

Before I knew it, I was walking sternly back toward that opening. There were even stairs leading right into the grass–beckoning. My heart was pounding.

When is the last time you did something that made your heart pound in your chest?

And then, with a smile, I was climbing those stairs, and the wind was blowing past me, and my feet were beating into the grass, the ground hard and sturdy beneath me, and all that was in front of me was open field.

Glancing back before I left, breath catching, heart still pounding, I saw that the two men hadn’t noticed me at all.


The Big City

“When we graduate, let’s just buy an RV and drive.”

Shelly looked at me uncertainly. I wasn’t joking.

I was fed up with school and I hated the idea of a desk job. Monotony. Routine. I wanted adventure. I wanted to be different. I looked up the prices–55k–not to bad. We could do it if we really wanted to.

Shelly and I never got that RV… probably for the best. But just about a year after I graduated high school, a good friend of mine moved to New York. He was majoring in something sensible and minoring in acting.

I had thought about L.A., but after learning more about the culture there vs. New York City, I felt the Big Apple was more fitting for me. Yes, I dreamed of big lights. Big, bright lights, with me right in the center. I wanted to entertain and astound people.

So I told Cato I would move to NYC with him. He was all about it. But he wasn’t going for acting until after he got his more sensible degree… whatever that was. We talked on the phone from time to time. He was very busy and told me about learning music and acting lessons and late night parties. “Everything moves very fast here,” he said.

“I can see you in New York!” the fortune-teller said, her eyes all a-glitter. “You will be poor, but happy,” this prediction came more calmly as she turned over the Sun card. But she was older and very fond of me. I could tell she wanted this for me, which meant the reading was subjective. Somewhere in my heart I knew it would never happen.

I heard from Cato less and less. He was always losing his phone and getting a new phone number. Then, over the course of several months I sent him email after email (usually the only way I could get in touch with him.) But he didn’t respond. I searched for him on facebook–nothing. I asked our high school friends but no one had heard from him. And neither did I… ever again.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Make It Anywhere.”


My Morning With Depression

You could say I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Or the wrong side of my brain.

For a disclaimer, let me say that I have been mostly happy lately. The last several years have consisted of long, consistently positive times, punctuated by a few dreary occasions when my depression crept up. This morning was unexpectedly sad. The plan was to get up early and do yoga. But as I rolled out of bed after laying in for an extra hour, I found I didn’t feel like doing anything except sitting on the couch. I snapped at my boyfriend a couple times, which is very unlike me.

My good friend texted me.

One thing every person suffering from depression needs is a friend who understands depression.

When she asked how my morning was going, I answered honestly. “Shitty.”

“What’s wrong?” I used to hate this question. I didn’t want to face my problems or my feelings when I was younger, but now I appreciate it as an opportunity to put my issues into words and hopefully find solutions.

I explained that I felt like I had no direction in life (which is usually what my anxiety attacks break down to.) There are two compents to depression in my experience. One is the whole chemical imbalance thing: feeling sad for no good reason. But, while the emotions can fluxuate and quickly become escalated, I don’t feel like they are completely groundless. In my case, at least, I found deep-seated fears and anxieties that were at the base of my mood swings.

Before my friend kindly consoled me, I went out onto the porch. It was a beautiful day. I love the sun reflecting on the leaves on the trees towering over my neighborhood, the soft whisper of the wind passing through. It’s been chilly, but today was warmer, and before noon the temperature was perfect. I felt instantly calmer. I thought of a couple things I might accomplish today. By the time I went back inside, I felt better.

An hour later I went on a walk with my neighbors–some really wonderful friends of mine as well as friends of theirs whom I don’t know, and their kids. I got into a long conversation with one of the women.

While trying to explain my situation to this new friend, I found myself putting my whole situation into words in a way that it made more sense to me, which resolved my anxieties and questions from earlier.

And the rest of my day was pretty great.

I had some new insights, read an interesting article, thought about life, and printed out some more Passion Planner pages, which always makes me feel better about life! I think it is amazing that I can wake up absolutely hating life, and then go on to have a really great day.





The philoso fee

of your thoughts is free

You can’t take free speech away from me.

*I thought of this little poem while trying to conceive a new title for my blog, but I felt “Philosofreedom” might be a little too pretentious.

**Also, when I studied the brain in massage school, one of the purposes listed for the frontal lobe was “Ideation.” I marveled at that word. “Ideation.” Our whole world, our lives, our society, is built on “ideation.” So, just now, I wondered if “ideate” is a verb… ? One Google search told me YES IT IS. So go, my people. Go ideate today.


10 Minutes of Unfiltered Mind

Hmm, 10 minutes of my unfiltered mind? Are you sure you can handle that? I type fast you know… I can probably write a novel… Here we go!

Work going well and not going well. Oh, of course work is the first thing I think about. Yes, I punctuate when speed writing. Today I felt better. I sensed some newness, the old newness that used to accompany me. It goes by you know, it always goes by no matter how much I treasure it, how much I aim to savor the moment at the end of the day the day still ends. This is what I have been struggling with most. But que se-freakin-ra right? That is how it must happen. Without time, we would accomplish nothing. Without time, we would be motionless thought-blobs with no physical, no evolution, no cycle of thought, action and consequence. So I’m back to square one. Might as well enjoy the moment because you can’t stop it from melting into a pool of memories.

Human evolution. That keeps me going. If there is one thing worth all our efforts it is the idea that somehow the future is brighter ahead and we have made some sort of a mark on society that might make lives better for those who come after us. There are even those traditions who believe that we are those same people over and over, so the idea that I could even experience this future is a little heartening. I don’t want to miss out on the fruits of my hard work, after all! I am joking of course. I don’t work that hard.

So yes, speaking of work, it has been a little difficult. A couple of encouraging friends, a few good healthy emotional breakdowns, and I am feeling more and more like my good-ol’ zen self. Peace. Tranquility. The beauty of now. And the knowledge that because of finality, we must strive. We can’t just hang around. We gotta do stuff god dammit because otherwise WHAT IS IT ALL FOR.

The Dalai Llama is coming to my town. MY TOWN. I didn’t manage to get tickets, which is very sad, but I am glad his presence will be here. In this local magazine article he was quoted saying to wake up every day being thankful to be alive. Thankful to be able to experience the beauty of the world one more day. To try and have a positive effect on others as much as possible.

I will hang on to these words, though I have heard them before. To experience Love–true Love–Universal Love…

Inspired by Daily Prompt

Life, Prompts, Uncategorized

When all the little units are strong, the whole will be a thing to behold

Community, and as a by-product, conscious consumerism, are huge topics for me. I think a lot. I say to myself, ok, let’s not just take this at face value. Let’s sit down and pick it apart. And often it doesn’t go beyond that–I think about it. I don’t join a group or start an organization: I just think about it and go on about my way. But one thing I have made a true effort to change in my daily lifestyle is consumerism. How are the aforementioned topics related? Oh, very closely.

It starts with the Government. I thought a lot about our Government and our Country. There are too many schisms, I thought. We aren’t one unit anymore, and people get lost in the vastness of it. Most people in my generation don’t take action on what we care about because we have the world at our fingertips… and it is too big. We say, “How can I conquer this?” But if you just look around at your local community, it doesn’t seem so unimaginable to make a difference. After all that thinking, I came to this conclusion: strong communities are the building blocks of a unified nation. Preferably one with over-all good intentions. Impossible? No it’s not impossible. You just start with your community.

A good community comprises many things. One is involved people who love and care about each other. Another is health–a healthy biosphere and healthy food lead to healthy people. Another thing–a very important thing–is industry and commerce. In order for a community to thrive, it needs talented people, places for them to work, quality goods and a thriving economy. That is where conscious consumerism comes in.

You see, if you are like me and you want to support a healthy community, you have to think about what you buy, where it comes from, and what it is made of. This is important for the individual’s health as well as the community’s. Items made of toxic chemicals are bad for the environment and the health of the people. Your dollar is a vote. When you buy something from a company, you aren’t just making one purchase: You are supporting that company. You are saying, “Hey, I vote for you. I want you to keep doing what you’re doing.” Therefor it is important to support companies who make good quality products, contribute the community, and treat their employees well. Is this idealistic? Sure. But striving to live up to ideals is how people and communities can improve.

There is also the obvious benefit of buying locally–supporting the local commerce. If no one is buying locally, that community isn’t getting any money, and its economy will deteriorate. You need a good internal economy as well as imports and exports.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, so thank you anyone who is reading! My lifestyle had greatly evolved as I continue to become an independent citizen and conscious consumer. I pay more for things because they come from companies I believe in and they are made of ingredients/materials I trust. I don’t make very many whim buys (when I do, it is usually coffee!) People get annoyed at me because I try to eradicate plastic from my life. I don’t want to fund slave labor overseas. I don’t want to fund toxic chemicals being pumped into the atmosphere. I don’t want to be any part of the quick & easy thoughtless consumerism lifestyle. I am passionate about this because I believe good, quality items are better for those producing and those making the purchase. I believe helping our environment and being mindful of our home is the key to sustainable living. I believe a strong community can reduce crime and poverty and increase health and happiness. Yes, I believe in happiness! I believe that if we build strong communities, we can have a strong and mindful government, and we can be unified as a country.

Thank you for giving me a moment on this soap box.


*Inspired by the Daily Prompt

Life, Uncategorized

Manic Pixie Dream Girls Are More Feminist Than You Think

    Whether or not you like the term, the following female protagonists are accused of being written only for the purpose of their relation to the male protagonists’ personal development. While there are certainly examples of just such a fallacy, I feel these specific female characters represent independent women, and my reasons are listed below.

1. Summer–“500 Days of Summer”
    Summer does not exist solely for the inspiration of Tom. If anything, Tom exists for the temporary amusement of Summer. She dumps him in the end because he was an experiment to her. And does that make her, in the writer’s eye, a heartless bitch? No. (Though Tom’s character might disagree.) She actually finds true love in the end, just not with the male lead. Sure, his character is bitter, but the movie is from his vantage point. This doesn’t mean the writers are saying that Tom’s views are accurate.
    Was she spontaneous? Yes. Was she some care-free optimistic hippie love-child? NO. Like many modern-day tweens, she carried with her a barrier of sarcasm and cynicism to fend off emotional attachments. She didn’t even believe in “true love” while they were dating.

2. Clementine–“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”
    This movie toes the line for the trope in question as Jim’s character, Joel, is morose–bordering on useless–and his only inspiration is MPDG Clementine, who dyes her hair different colors and will eat off your plate the first time she meets you. In defense of the writing, though, this is noted as a personal flaw by the protagonist himself. Also, Clementine is independent from Joel in several ways, the most notable being that she deletes him from her mind so that she can get over him and move on! This independence is part of his agony and desperation to get her back.

3. Sam–“Garden State”
    Sam might be most in danger of falling into the trope because she is so emotionally dependent on Large. But this also gives us a chance to observe finer nuances that make the difference between a reductive, poorly written MPDG and a well-balanced (though caricatured, but only as much as every other character in this movie) female role.
    For one, thing, there is a long lead-up before the main character, Andrew Largeman, meets the female protagonist, which makes the movie less centered on romance and more centered on a ensemble cast.
    Also, not only is Sam an inspiration for Large, but he is also an important part of her personal development as a functional human being. The movie is more about two people with social quirks who help each other love and grow, and less about how this girl only exists to help Large learn things about himself. Unlike other romance movies, Garden State also goes to great lengths to create an honest narrative, highlighting the unique experiences and ideas that punctuate the personality and give our lives story.

In conclusion:

    Men are allowed to appreciate the way a woman took part in their personal growth without reducing her value as an individual person. I can appreciate how various relationships were part of my personal growth without only considering the men involved as they relate to me. For most people, confidence in a relationship translates to confidence outside of that relationship and vice versa. You don’t develop as a person for the sole purpose of finding love. You don’t develop a relationship for the sole purpose of having a better life. But the two tend to go hand-in-hand.

    So yes, we need female roles in the media that are more than just about women in regards to how they effect men.

    But, though MPDG can easily be misused, that doesn’t mean we should wipe the board of this character type entirely. Because they exist. I am one. I stop what I am doing so I can go dance in the rain. I occasionally wake my boyfriend up at 5am so we can drive to our favorite peak and watch the sun rise over the city. I read local papers, drink local beer, listen to live music, and do almost ALL of my clothes shopping at the thrift store.

    The trope really narrows down to is the belief that in order to be a carefree, fun-loving optimist you must be naive. But the truth is people can be care-free and optimistic while also being smart, wise, and responsible. This balance is what some forms of MPDG represents, and this is the character type I would love to see more often. On a larger scale, our society values need to reflect appreciation for women equally to men.

P.S. If you think women are poorly represented in movies, try playing video games and reading comic books. There is a huge feminist frontier in these mediums, and we are making progress inch by slow, painful inch.

Life, Prompts, Uncategorized

A prompt and a song.

Writing prompt. If you can, look up this song and listen to it while you read the prompt. Otherwise, you can just try the prompt without music (or put on your own playlist.) Read the prompt and finish the story, or use it to inspire an entirely different story. Please share your results!

Artist: The tallest man on earth.
Song: I won’t be found.

The morning hangs ad infinatum. Time hangs in limbo, holding its breath, contemplating. Small breezes tug, unsure, at her hair and the free floating folds of fabric set about her shoulders, falling gently down. A friendly touch, free of expectations, free of desires, gently hugs her hips, dancing around her legs.

With no one to hear her, the silence of dawn broken only by the feint rustling of leaves, a million shimmering teardrops on each blade of grass, she whispers: