A list & a playlist

nov20

Is it just me, or does November have the prettiest name of all the months? Hi guys. I’m Cierra. I like words.

Tonight, I am thankful for:

  1. A schedule/workload which permits my laptop to be permanently stationed at my desk (as pictured above), rather than hopping between my backpack, coffee shop tables, and my bed. This means a) my back no longer has to support this dinosaur of an HP’s weight on a daily basis, and b) I am spending less time on my computer, which in turn means c) I am spending more time not developing carpal tunnel (and, you know, living in this beautiful world).
  2. Days like today, when I get free hot chocolate and find out I’ll very likely be spending spring quarter in Rome. Arrivaderci, punks.
  3. Skype, and seeing the face of a friend who has been shivering and drinking hot chocolate in Norway for 3 1/2 months.
  4. Past concerts and future concerts. I had the immense joy of seeing Relient k two weeks ago, all thanks to a scalper taking pity on a small 20-year-old girl who has no idea how to haggle. I’d like to say the high school freshman in me was in heaven that evening, but it was all of me. All of me. My voice was still crackly a week later because I spent two hours shouting “III’M STIIIILL WAAAITIIIING FOOOR YOUTOBETHEONEI’MWAITINGFORRR!” You know how it goes. Matt Thiessen, if you ever read this, I still love you and your lion-worthy mane. And as if that experience was not enough, I bought tickets last night to see Punch Brothers, which I am inexpressably psyched about. Music is good. I’ll talk more about it later.
  5. The glowing promise of Thanksgiving weekend, four days spent with the family I so love. Movies and sleeping in my own bed. The now-annual social media fast. Flag football and probably getting clotheslined by my own father… you can imagine for yourself my sentiments on that particular subject.

And, because I am establishing this as a tradition even if everyone hates it, here is what I have been listening to lately (but if you want a cohesive, mood/genre-specific playlist, look elsewhere):

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Metaphorical Snowflakes

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Since high school, I’ve had this weird tendency to compare myself to glass objects. In an uncharacteristically existentialist/emo moment, I once described myself as a vase – empty, void of my own issues and emotions, consequently having ample room for other people to pour in their problems. I’m not going to explain what I thought I was achieving with this analogy, because a) that’s not what this post is about, and b) I think it’s funnier with no explanation. At any rate, the snowglobe is my metaphor of choice today. Maybe I’ll think about the significance of glass as a material and muse on that at a later date (jk, definitely not doing that).

Like life, a snowglobe has many phases. There’s a snowglobe before being shaken, a snowglobe while it’s being shaken, right after it’s been shaken, you get the idea. Eventually, all the specks of fake snow settle on the little benches and houses and it’s all still (until you shake it again). Well, I often feel like I’m in that stage of life that is parallel with the snowglobe right after it has been shaken. Everything is everywhere. There’s movement, and confusion, but also excitement. You don’t know where the flakes are going to land. I mean, having this stage is kind of the point of being a snowglobe, maybe also the point of being a person. I was not a fan at first. But now it’s different.

I just like the feeling of not being completely settled. I like being able to move around freely, to have more than one home, to change my mind about things. I like the simplicity of being able to live out of a backpack for a few days, if need be. I like taking buses to different cities and paying for them with quarters, and I like gazing out the window while I let some music sink into my bones. I like being young. I like the word “transience.” I like the romantic idea of being a vagabond or a wanderer. I like learning how to ask questions without expecting immediate answers. I like Bono, who describes the feeling more eloquently than I can:

And I have no compass / and I have no map / and I have no reason, no reason to get back / And I have no religion / and I don’t know what’s what / and I don’t know the limit, the limit of what we’ve got / Don’t worry, baby, it’ll be alright / you’ve got the right shoes to get you through the night / It’s cold outside, but brightly lit / Let’s skip the subway / let’s go to the overground / get your head out of the mud, baby / put flowers in the mud, baby / overground / No particular place names / no particular song / I’ve been hiding, what am I hiding from? / Don’t worry, baby, it’s gonna be alright / uncertainty can be a guiding light / I hear voices, ridiculous voices / I’m in the slipstream / let’s go, let’s go overground / get your head out of the mud, baby… etc.

Uncertainty can be a guiding light… still kind of want that as a tattoo. Anyway.

It’s not going to be like this forever. Sometimes it feels like if you just keep moving, you won’t get stuck. If you just keep swiping the paintbrush back and forth, those accidental drips of paint won’t dry and harden and be there forever. You feel like you can elude permanence. It’s not realistic, of course – it’s an appealing train of thought, especially to someone who isn’t keen on the idea of growing up, but it’s just not possible. Someday the metaphorical snowflakes are going to fall where they will, and I’ll learn to love that phase of life too. There’s beauty in chaos, and there’s beauty in stillness. I just happen to enjoy the former right now.

I’m not entirely sure where I thought I’d end up with this post, but I’m still writing it. Much the same, I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with my life, but I’m still living it. Bam.

PS: don’t describe yourself as an empty vase, your friends will think you’re weird.

Week one.

Rain is a somewhat disheartening way to start off the new year. So is a hefty pile of class readings. But by some miracle, I am a happy camper.

I’ve had bad years, I’ve had good years, I’ve had years I can hardly remember (aka middle school). 2013, I think, was an important year; I’m hesitant to say it was ‘pivotal’ since, you know, I only have ten days of perspective. Nonetheless, I spent a lot of my time thinking and listening and – this is the exciting one – speaking. I won’t start yanking everyone on-board my crazy train of thought over the past 12 months, that’s not what I want to write about today. But I am an increasingly sentimental person, so how could I let an entire year of smiling and crying and laughing and internally screaming at people slip by without at least writing a paragraph about it? That’s right. I can’t.

Anyway. About a week ago, I was not feeling the new-year-new-quarter excitement. In fact, I was being reduced to a puddle of tears – sitting on my floor, listening to “Antichrist” by the 1975, and experiencing a new and dangerously intense wave of sobbing every time the lyric “and I love the house that we live in / and I love you all too much” found its way out of my speakers (does this story make me more endearing? probably not). Quite often, I find myself dreading the inevitable pain with which life will one day smack me, and this, friends, was one of those dire times. “LOVE IS PAIN. TIME IS PAIN. PAAAAAIN.” (sidenote: sometimes I think I should get one of those choppy emo haircuts and write depressing poems on my hands in sharpie, like really.) Generally I’m a reasonably optimistic person, so this is not how I pictured day 4 of 2014.  You can’t really anticipate the bad days, but they happen. Conversely, though, you can’t predict the days that’ll be the happiest of your life. And eventually I realized this. And I got up, and I took a shower, and I ate craisins and watched Lost*.

And in the days since – despite the rain and the pages of reading piling up – I’ve done a lot of smiling. I’ve enjoyed some fantastic company. I’ve learned so much in my classes already. And I’ll be damned if I haven’t savored the moments when I can just curl up in my bed and stare out the window. Ahhhhh. Life.

In other news, I rearranged my room and it's basically heaven.

In other news, I rearranged my room and it’s basically heaven.

AH YEAH

AH YEAH

I was going to try to document my outfit everyday, but then I quit. Oops.

I was going to try to document my outfit everyday, but then I quit. Oops.

As you may have noticed, I gave my blog a little makeover. Not crazy about the size of the text, but I can deal. Makeovers are fun.

Here’s to the (ten-day-late) New Year!

*I am on season 6, and seriously (!!!!!) if anyone spoils this for me I will make your life miserable. Already had a spoiler scare when I watched This is 40 a few days ago, DO. NOT. WANT. AGAIN.

 

 

 

Movies, Minivans, and Moving Forward

Got that right.

Got that right.

I am semi-bedridden and trying to overcome the unrelenting numbness that comes with the Annual Winter Break Netflix Binge, so what better time to blog? No better time, I say.

Ever since the autumn of my senior year of high school, I have been painfully aware of my age and the inevitability of it increasing. At that time, I experienced what I would call a “pre-quarter life crisis,” which was largely comprised of fits of tears and a short-lived but passionate rejection of our college-going culture. I freaked out because I could see quite clearly the dark and dreary end of my youth and, let’s be real, I’m pretty severely nearsighted. It was coming. I was sure of it. And submitting to the idea of “growing up” would only put the process in fast-forward.

Over the two years since that November, similar “crises” have occurred. When my roommates and I started searching for apartments and putting down deposits last spring, I literally had to come home and sob to my parents because I was like, “nope… nope. TOO REAL.” Leases are for adults, just like taxes and dinner parties and minivans with pop-out DVD players. I didn’t – and I still don’t, sometimes – feel like I was capable of being a fully-functioning adult. I started seeing my life as this trajectory, this exponential graph of sorts, going up and up and up and never coming back down again. It’ll level out eventually, but the line never hits the same point twice. I’ll never get to be a six-year-old rolling down a grassy hill in the sunshine again. I’ll never be a nineteen-year-old lying in bed with a stomachache again. I only get to go forward – actually, I have to go forward. Unless there’s some crazy scientific breakthrough in the next sixty or seventy years, I’m pretty much committed to this forward-moving, never-stopping  life.

Sometimes I feel the time-crunch. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I chastise myself for not being completely on top of things, or not being completely sure of myself. Sometimes I remind myself that I have the rest of my life to be mature and sophisticated, to iron my clothes and talk on the phone with ease. All of the time, though, I am aware of my fading childhood, my looming adulthood.

Not too long ago, I watched this movie I had been wanting to see for quite awhile. The Lifeguard, starring Kristen Bell who is adorable and loves sloths. It popped up on Netflix, and I was like YES, this movie is going to comfort me and give me the hope that will guide me through my twenties. The premise is that this 29-year-old girl has a quarter-life crisis and returns to her hometown, and I thought the overarching message of the movie would be “it’s okay to freak out about becoming an adult, and you’ll be okay!!!!!!!!” with exactly that many exclamation points. Uhhhh I was wrong. The movie was awful (except for the way it was filmed, which was lovely) and void of all hope. Kristen Bell’s character just waltzes into town, sleeps with a high-schooler, and almost breaks up a couple marriages. I don’t even remember how it ends because I was so pissed off. And, unsurprisingly, a little discouraged.

And then a couple weeks ago, another movie about a quarter-life crisis that I’d been wanting to see for awhile appeared on Netflix: Frances HaJust by comparing the ratings (92% vs. 13%, respectively), you know Frances Ha is going to be significantly better. And it so is. Greta Gerwig’s Frances is quirky and certainly afraid of all the same things I’m afraid of, but she turns out okay. Further, even, she submits to some of the ideas of adulthood, but she still ends up happy and able to maintain at least some facet of her youthfulness (without wrecking other peoples’ lives… cough cough KRISTEN). It just made me waaay more chilled-out about the next decade or so of my life, possibly even excited? We will see. 🙂

I guess this could all be summed up as so: life is weird, I think too much, and watch Frances Ha. Also, oddly enough, both movies feature a different daughter of Meryl Streep. Looks like Grace wins this round, Mamie.

OH. Also. I’ve spent a lot of my life romanticizing the idea of Peter Pan and Neverland and, predictably, never growing up. But then I started reading the actual book not too long ago, and I realized Peter Pan is kind of a conceited asshole. So there’s that.

Okay. Done now.