June 29, 2006

I am Infinity

Talking to doctors makes me feel so much more fucked up than I am. First it's the woman who tells me I'll never be able to play sports, never be able to work in a job that requires standing, no backpacking trips across Europe, she might as well said, "Well, you should pretty much refrain from living." And then the sinus thing, which they keep putting drugs on top of drugs onto, like, "Well, these pills haven't helped you recover for six months, so, maybe we should keep trying them. Take them three times a day now." Ridiculous. And, for the first time, they want me to talk to someone about being crazy. Woo hoo! As if I didn't think... hell I don't even know. Its just, you go into an appointment, thinking its a pretty routine physical for a college file, and you leave feeling like that cold afternoon in sixth grade, after being told that you'll spend your summer in a wheelchair, that, yes, you are broken. I don't want to be broken anymore. Problem on top of problem... and then there is that thought, that stupid thought, that won't let me go, that won't give me a minute of peace, I need another shock to my system, but I don't want alcohol and I don't want drugs and I don't want sex... and I don't know what I want. Because the only... no. Goddamn. That thought needs to go away and leave me alone with my future. Because that's the past. And I'm moving forward. And that's gone. Forever.

June 27, 2006

Oops, I burned the fl-g.

Well, not really, but it got your attention.

So I was watching CNN this morning (I know, I know) and Senators in D.C. are voting today regarding a proposed Constitutional Amendment making it illegal to desecrate the flag.

So, let me get this straight. We're in an endless war with an invisible enemy, global warming is causing another huge tropical storm in North Carolina this very second, the government is a fit of bribes and corruption (nothing new, but stilll...) and we're dealing with FLAG BURNING!? I mean, does anyone even DO that anymore!?

Apparently not. The last court case involving flag burning was some drunken teenager last year, and before that, only a few cases since the Supreme Court protected the right to burn the flag seventeen years ago.

So this amendment... it's, um... huh?

It'll be right up there with the amendments prohibiting slavery and granting women the right to vote. It's definitely that important.

Oh, it's an issue of National Morality? I see, well, in that case, I can see why- oh, wait. This was the last major accomplishment of Randy "Duke" Cunningham before the Republican Congressman was jailed for taking $2.4 million in bribes? To sponsor an amendment to the 217-year-old Constitution? At least he's an expert in moral issues.

And who gets to define desecration? Can we sew flags on our backpacks? Can Old Navy still make t-shirts? Can I paint an american flag with my own blood and vomi- oh, wait, nevermind. Scratch that last one. Can we paint flags on childrens faces on the Fouth Of July? Do we have to start referring to it as the fl-g in writing?

Does anyone else think this is completely ridiculous!? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

82 percent of people recently surveyed said they would go back into a burning building to save their pet.

But would they save the flag?

June 20, 2006

An Inconvenient Guilt

I suppose many people would call me fickle about my occupational future. Granted, a side affect of being raised in the post-humanist You-Can-Be-Anything era must be the startling number of future dolphin trainers and astronauts among the youth of today, but I suppose some would claim Ive held on to this idealism much longer than most. Up until a few years ago, I had steadfastly believed I would be the future President of the United States of America. I was that little girl with the pigtails and peace sign in every newspaper photograph of a war protest, I was the one spreading petitions to change school policies of attendance, I was the one that wanted to change the world. I had it all planned out, starting in Congress, drafting some revolutionary legislation, and catapulting into the center stage by my late thirties, all while keeping up with writing the Great American Novel, solidifying deals in my blossoming art career, and raising the All-American golden children of the twenty-first century.

Then came Advanced Placement American History, and with it, the ubiquitous coming-of-age onset of nihilistic cynicism. Completely blindsided by the deep-seeded corruption and collusion throughout the whole of American politics, I automatically shifted gears to a new career path, and decided I didnt want to bring any children, golden or otherwise, into a world so resistant to progress. Faced with the newly realized hypothesis that the change I wanted to facilitate was not going to come through politics, I set out to control public opinion directly, through journalism. Through the course of the past presidential administration, Ive sunk deeper into the appeasing promise of my future, confident in my decision to take a left turn off the highway to the White House. I became content with the goal of criticizing policy, seeing as I couldnt face the moral numbness it would take to draft it. Content, that is, until I saw a movie.

Al Gores An Inconvenient Truth startled me in a way I had never expected. I was instantly looking away from my comfort zone of sarcasm and historical perspective, and looking towards the reality of the future. Despite being billed as the most frightening film I would ever see, it wasnt only the scientifically validated impending doom of global warming that gave me chills, it was the revitalization of that forgotten motivation to change the world first hand. As the disturbing realities of scientific facts (The flow of ice from glaciers in Greenland has more than doubled over the past decade) after political ploys (the classification of global warming as a refutable theory and not an undeniable fact) after apocalyptic predictions (More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050) were piled high, I felt myself literally itching to drive myself directly back to that road to influence I had once found myself on.

Though truly frightened by the warnings of Gores stirring film, which I pray will be seen by millions, I was faced with something more that fear. I felt guilt. I felt that my past few years of cynicism had left a breach in the political levy, allowing polluted individuals to filter through the already damaged system. The prospect that international sea levels could rise by more than 20 feet with the loss of shelf ice in Greenland and Antarctica, completely destroying densely populated areas worldwide without any political efforts to prevent it, made my abandonment of the political sphere seem completely selfish. For the first time in years, I wanted to be a politician again.

Images of oil companies, military entanglements, and political denial of the inconvenient truth flashed by, both on the screen and in my mind. I no longer want to criticize, I want to take the reins, and I want to be able to apologize for the mistakes of the American Government on a worldwide scale. As reported by www.climatecrisis.com, If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced. I no longer feel content with laughing at the mistakes of our blundering government; I am now aching to change the path on which we find ourselves.

Please find the time to see this film, a work so powerful it was able to lift me out of the oppressive cloud of teenage cynicism, a work strong enough to bring the moral back to the political arena. While I might shift occupational gears again, as the fickle are wont to do, I pray that I will somehow find a way to herald in that elusive change, and hold on to the possibility that we as a nation may again find idealism in the face of so much inconvenient truth.

June 15, 2006

Nerves and Doubt

I don't think I can practice my speech anymore. It's starting to sound pretty ridiculous the more I read it out loud in different voices with different emphasis. About to leave for the sound check... Goodness, I just know I'm going to squeak, or pull a Tourette's Guy and really shout out "Fuck you all." or a random "shit." And all you placing bets on whether I'll cry or not? All I can say is, you people that have faith that my mascara will stay in place, I hope you didn't bet your first born son.

Ughhh. I let someone borrow my cell phone today. I swear I had never seen her before. And she was a senior. We started talking, and it really made me wonder what kind of friends I would have made if I had met EVERYONE. Don't get me wrong, I love you guys, but, honestly, I wonder who else is out there. I really wish I could meet everyone before my speech. Because, I'm sure, there is nothing worse than waiting in a freakin robe listening to some random person ramble on about their own life experience. I mean, come on, what more do I know about the future? What great words of wisdom do I, me, this dweeb right here, have to offer to thousands of people. All I know is I'm wearing a funny hat.

Well, suppose I should stop typing to nobody. I swear, someday, people are going to read these random thoughts, and it will all be worth it. Or, they wont, and I'll die alone and unpublished. And THEN people will read it. It's a crazy world.

An estimated 35 percent of African-Americans are descendants of at least one passenger of the Mayflower.

And, ironically, half of THEM are illegal immigrants.

Up too early, thinking too much.

This morning I literally jumped out of bed at six, greeted by this absurd golden sun that we usually only get to enjoy at the END of the day. I'm sitting here in hot curlers, fully dressed, anxiously waiting for today to actually begin. This has been a tradition of mine for as long as I can remember, waking up as early as possible on days that I know will mean something to me. From field trips to the zoo in kindergarten, to History Day interviews at Nationals, to my eighteenth birthday.

But this day, this first milestone day, couldn't have started to soon. I have no idea how today will turn out, if I will be happy with the way things went, if I really will start bawling during my speech... but by the end of today, I, along with the rest of Upland's class of 2006, will become... graduates. No more experimenting with walking in a straight path through halls to see if people will walk around us, no mo- ok, no, I cant do this. I hate it when people do 'no more's and "this is the last time...." Really, though, regardless of tonight's ceremony, I know my life at least has changed in the last week. Jobs, new opportunities, new clothes (what... it's important...), it's as if all this time we were waiting in line for a really big roller coaster.

I know, I know, stick with me through this one... it's early, cut me some slack.

So we start off waiting to be tall enough to even wait in line. I imagine this took longer for some people, because I was pretty much ready to ride out of the womb (Oh, the sexual innuendos... acknowledge them and let's move on) but there was a wait nonetheless. So, ok, we're tall enough to ride the coaster, now we have to wait in line. A REALLY REALLY long line. There's not much to do in line but make friends with the people around you, even if you're only talking to them because they are stuck in the same line. As you near the entrance to the ride itself, you're issued warnings about possible dangers, and told how to take certain precautions. Effin saftey rules. I guess they might be good fro something.

Right, so, I think you know where this is going, what with endless analogies to roller coasters in graduation speeches (I promise... no theme parks in mine) but I'm not going to go as far as saying the ride has even started. We aren't facing some steep slope, we aren't entering the "real world" as so many people are fond of saying. Granted, some of you may be, but for the most part, it's college. Hardly the real world, kids. But anyway, back to the ride. I think high school has been all that fussing about the ride operators do before the ride starts. You know, checking if seat belts are fastened, checking if safety bars are in place, looking for loose articles of clothing, confiscating beverages, getting us ready before the ride even starts.

So, even though there is no climactic end to my analogy, because I don't think the ride has started, and I'm not even sure when it will, I feel like because we made it to this point, this morning, of this day, we are prepared for whenever it chooses to go.

Granted, some of our safety bars are loose, some of us hid those contraband beverages that will end up spilling all over us when we go through loops, and who knows if the ride was even worth all that time talking to strangers in line, if its any better than the kiddie roller coaster that never had a long line and we were always tall enough for... but here we are, getting strapped in...

There's no turning back now...

Unless the ride goes backwards.

June 14, 2006

And here it is, the end.

Filling my life with 90's music, tan legs, Saturday nights dancing, Sundays at the beach, and a whole fucking lot of celebrating the end of the year.

You know how I used to talk about loving to meet new people, because you can be the person you are AT THAT MOMENT, and not have to deal with all the shit you went through to get to wherever you are now?

I feel like I'm at some kickass turning point. I want to run out right now and meet new people, so I can show off who I am at this second. I really like me, and I'm going to try harder than ever to keep this feeling this time.

Really, like, for serious, I'm breathing easy for the first time in a while. And it smells like summer.

Goodness next year is going to be amazing. I feel like packing up everything, sitting in my car, and driving up to Portland right now. It's going to change my life like nothing ever has, and I can't wait.

June 12, 2006

Ten Things I Hate Don’t Like Very Much

1. Vacuum Cleaner/ Lawnmower Noises. We have silent JETS. Why can’t someone mass produce something quiet to suck up my trash. Get on it, inventors.

2. Dirty Living Spaces/Cars/Life. Sometimes I’ll just be sitting at home with a headache, wondering why I feel all gross, and I look at my floor, and immediately need to clean to get any sort of relief. I’m nuts.

3. Library Due Dates. I must have donated thousands of dollars to the effin library in my life. Can’t they just except the fact that I need them for longer and just let me have it.

4. The way your hands are still wet after you wash them and dry them with a towel. Or worse, the way your hands feel after getting fed up with holding them under a half-assed blow dryer at school. I mean, honestly, those things don’t do shit.

5. Rotten Rancid Ketchup. Now, this seems like it would be a once in a lifetime kind of thing, and for a while it was. I was in New York, and my sister and I put some ketchup on fries, and it started bubbling. Yeah. So ever since, I have to smell ketchup before I eat it. It was just a joke for a while, but, honestly, one out of ten is bad. No lie. Restaurants just refill ketchup bottles before they are empty so the bottom stays old. Mmmm. Not.

6. Discussions like “What IS truth” or “What IS art.” Because, honestly, they all end up the same way, people always make the same cliché statements, and it’s annoying.

7. Stupid Unavoidable Catch phrases. Like, when all of a sudden you find yourself saying one thing in response to whatever anyone else says, even if you don’t like the phrase. I hate saying cool beans, but I can’t avoid it. And lately, my response to everything has been “sweet,” and that's just wrong.

8. Ugly people that make out all over school. One thing I’m not going to miss about high school. There is no other age where people have to grope each other in PUBLIC because they aren’t allowed to be alone in PRIVATE at home.

9. The Disney Channel. I hate stupid kids TV shows. I mean, I know a lot of people watch them, but, honestly, they all make the same predictable jokes and are so lame. Why can’t we show our children intelligent funny things. We are raising a nation of stupid funny. And that’s not cool.

10. The way I’m seconds away from busting into ridiculous tears every time anyone says anything about graduation. I’m so completely ready to leave, but I get all gross and weepy at the thought of “this is the last time...” and “OMG, you’re really leaving” and “Too bad you’re going so far, and I’ll never see you again” and all the stupid graduation songs that I hate but find myself sobbing to. Effing hormones.

Holy Moses, I love lists. Lists are totally #1 on my list of Things I Love Like A Good Deal


I wanna be better than oxygen
So you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees
I wanna speak louder than Ritalin
For all the children who think that they've got a disease
I wanna be cooler than t.v.
For all the kids that are wondering what they are going to be
We can be stronger than bombs
If you're singing along and you know that you really believe
We can be richer than industry
As long as we know that there's things that we don't really need
We can speak louder than ignorance
Cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

I wanna see through all the lies of society
To the reality, happiness is at stake
I wanna hold up my head with dignity
Proud of a life where to give means more than to take
I wan't to live beyond the modern mentality
Where paper is all that you're really taught to create
Do you remember the forgotten America?
Justice, equality, freedom to every race?
Just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy
Make up and hair to the truth behind every face
That look around to all the people you see,
How many of them are happy and free?
I know it sounds like a dream
But it's the only thing that can get me to sleep at night
I know it's hard to believe
But it's easy to see that something here isn't right
I know the future looks dark
But it's there that the kids of today must carry the light.

On and on, and on, and on it goes
The world it just keeps spinning
Until i'm dizzy, time to breathe
So close my eyes and start again anew.

June 06, 2006

Instant Shock

Goodness, it's hard to breathe all of a sudden. It's like an instant shock to my system, just the concept of things being over, things beginning, school, love, life, ups and downs are taking over, but for once in my life I feel like I'm able to separate myself from it. This emotional detachment from outcomes is working indeed. While people fall apart around me, calling apocalypse at the end of the school year, I'm just sitting by while I get everything in order. There is no need to make the end of high school into a big deal, I've been wanting to leave for years.

But then... why do I feel a tiny bit scared all of a sudden?

I read my speech to Stuelke, the vice principal, today. He started crying. He said it was the best Valedictorian speech he had heard in all of his teaching years. Now, him breaking down is nothing short of a complete disregard of natural law. This man, to most, all right, to all, is more or less dead inside.

And I made him cry.

A good day, at the end of it all. My Google movie is finished, hopefully that goes over well.

Fun fact... The Disney character Bambi was inspired by President Harry S Truman.

June 04, 2006

Salty Pop

(Note: This is in no way a sexual reference.)

Why are there no savory long-lasting treats on a stick? Think about it. There are so many candy flavors, but why no salty ones... why don't we have chili-cheese suckers? Other than corndogs, which are in no way long lasting, I can think of no salty delicacy that is stick mounted. (No, really this isn't sexual.)

I mean, so much of what we snack on is salty... chips, cheese, jerky, nuts (jesus. really. Not sexual)... so why not make it stand the test of a long flavorfest. You're sitting in class, and you're hungry. That lollipop just won't satisfy your... salty tooth, but you don't want the mess or conspicuous constant hand to mouth movement of that bag or Doritos. You could reach for a Ranch Lozenge. Mmmm.

There are already half and half candies, what with Paydays... hell, even Reeses' are a bit salty.

It would add a whole new dimension to snacking.

Join me in a food revolution. Embrace the salty pop. (Ok, now I'm just going along with it.)

New Goal

I'm detaching myself from the outcomes of events. I'm shifting into an "I wonder" existence. Instead of saying "I hope I don't suck at graduation" I'm switching to "I wonder how I will do at graduation." Instead of, "I wish I was going somewhere cool this summer," it's "I wonder what will happen this summer!"

Waking up every morning, without stress, thinking, "hey, I wonder how my life will change today."

This way, I stop living on the outcomes of things I can't control. I am simply experiencing everything as it comes. It's in beta, but here's to hoping it makes things happy.

I wonder if it will last.

Fun fact: The number of brands of pipe tobacco outnumber the number of brands of cigarettes three to one.

Valedictorian Speech

I feel like I’ve been here forever. I can hardly remember life before high school, before these halls, these parking lots, this football field. I was sitting against the wall outside of the choir room after school a few weeks ago, and from where I was sitting I could see the quad, the senior parking lot, and this mass of people walking by, Upland athletes, dancers, AP kids, those that defied labels, and those that made their own. But I think what astonished me more than the variety of individuals was the fact that I didn’t recognize half of them. Its amazing, and frightening in a way, that I was able to attend one school for four years, and still encounter countless people that I could swear I’d never seen before. Even more frightening was the realization that half of those students had no idea who I was. And so, sitting down to write this speech, I was faced with something more challenging than figuring out which pop culture reference to make, or whether to be funny or poignant, I wanted to be able to speak to every member of the senior class, even those of you that have never seen me before.

This challenge haunted me for a while, and I spent every passing period walking through campus, trying to figure out what we all had in common. I soon became so overwhelmed by the differences, the different languages, the different hairstyles, the different slang, the Hollister next to the Hot Topic, the pumas next to the combat boots, it was too much, so I just started staring at the ground. That's when it hit me, the one thing all of us had, it was right under my feet! The quad, or Scotland Yard, as I suppose some long gone administrator had wanted us to call it, has been there all these years, however much it has changed. It seems like a fantasy now, but when we were freshman, we had grass. We were so young then, even if we didn’t want to admit it. We were a lot like that grass, needing constant help to stay fresh and maintained. Sure, the quad had its wet spots, those places where the drainage was less than perfect, and all of us had to learn how to jump over those muddy areas when things didn’t go exactly as we had planned. But by the end of our freshman year, we got the hang of it. Despite this growth of experience, we had no idea what was to come, that some construction, some growth of a different sort, was on the horizon. That green fence! Those portables! Our sophomore and junior years, it seemed like Upland had become a war zone, and our quad, our common thread, was the center of combat. Despite all of our complaining, that construction was necessary, the school was simply growing too fast to stay the same. Again, the same could have been said for us. As we went from Sophomore to upperclassman territory, we outgrew old clothes, old ideas, even old friends. But that growth, while sometimes difficult and messy, was the construction that made us into who we are now.

Now? After all the construction, the progress of our quad and ourselves, where are we now? Senior year, the portables come down, the mess is cleaned up, and we’re left with... nothing. A far cry from our beautiful lawn of freshman year, the field of dirt is now a blank slate. There’s no need to worry about the long term, Upland students of tomorrow will reap the benefits of our war zone. But what about our own empty fields? In our minds, we leave that quad a field of dirt, but more than that, a field of possibilities. Years ago, we were so much like that freshly cut grass, we were so much a part of the dust of construction and difficult progress, and now we find ourselves trying to fill our own empty quads. I’ve seen the plans for the future quad, grass, trees, it really looks beautiful. I can’t say that I’ve seen all of the plans for our own future, but I know we have the opportunity to plant whatever we wish. Some of us will go on to plant gardens, some of us might favor this Astroturf of sports field fame, and some of us will keep watering the dirt until we are ready to move forward. Whatever we decide, we are going to grow. Congratulations, my fellow graduating class of 2006. As we leave Upland behind, we leave it together, and I can only wish that we may, each and every one of us, find our own field of dreams.


"If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were."