Saturday fun day.

It seems that today is a day for updates. Resumes, cover letters, blogs, itunes, awesome new games like Scramble with Friends and Draw Something. Did I mentioned that for my twenty-sixth birthday I received an iPhone from my parents? How freaking sweet is that? And they took the family out to this great little wine bar in Chicago called Webster’s Wine Bar. Amazing food, amazing wine, amazing time with friends and family. A bill that probably should have paid for a small studio apartment, but with nine people and four bottles of delicious wine, can’t really complain too much. And I must, again and again and for the seventy-fifth time, THANK my Dad for being the wonderful host. The last couple of years have been difficult, and it has made me realize the importance of family more and more. With my parents getting older and, well, let’s face it, my sister and I getting older, I think it is extremely important to hold on to those familial ties. Granted, sometimes the annoyance level sky-rockets, but it never seems too dramatic anymore. Maybe life experiences like leaving your fiance, starting over, and moving across the country will do that to you. Big, huge, ginormous things in the past just seem small potatoes in comparison. The only real thing I wish was different was my residence. I miss Chicago terribly. And I miss my friends there. And I especially miss that alive feeling I got when I was there. Poor, but more alive than anything I feel here in Iowa. And I think some of it has to deal with wanting to surpress those uncomfortable memories of when Jonathan and I were here. It’s been over a year, but when I drive through Iowa City, it feels fresh and painful. At least I am not biting my nails anymore! Huzzah!

Since I have no internet at home, I have been sitting at the local Starbucks hoarding the connection. They appear to be cleaning up for the evening, so I think I am going to scoot. Hopefully more updates will happen. I need to make more of an effort to get my ass up and moving in the morning. Peace out guys. And thank you for reading.

Frustration doth boil over.

I am slowly losing patience with almost everything.  I am not even sure what is causing the short fuse, but it is definitely there.  Stress about money and finding work.  I have been at this too long and have seen no results that are actually giving me a paycheck.  Sure, I am interning at Metro (do not get me wrong, I appreciate and love it so much) but I do not see a nickel or dime.  I knew going in that it was unpaid, but at the same time I am in dire straits when it comes to my financial woes.  There are moments when everything is fitting, the stars are aligning, and I know things will be okay, but as soon as it becomes nighttime, and the darkness seeps in, that is all I feel, the darkness.

I wish I could afford more social outings.  I wish I didn’t have to cancel on people.  Or sit there with a look of worry when the bill comes.  I wish that the bills could be paid and still have some left over.  I wish that I didn’t get that look of pity for it either.  I don’t like taking help.  I do not like taking hand-outs.  There is a proud streak that runs through me and it goes down to my bones.  But now, I am one step above groveling at someone’s feet.  It’s pathetic to me.  And it’s especially hypocritical of me to have these thoughts and feelings because if one of my friends was in a similar situation, I would do everything within my power to help them.  So how come when someone offers that same help to me I turn it down with a firm declaration of “no!”?  I am a beggar just like the men and women who waddle by my car on Irving Park.  I am just wearing nicer clothes, though they, too, won’t last much longer.  And I have a mother and father who are at least willing to help by putting a roof over my head.

It sucks when you begin to base your worth off of others opinions or the desire someone may have of you.  And not just romantically or emotionally or physically, but also when you send out countless resumes, fill out applications, even to places you never thought you would, edit cover letters, and desperately go searching for something, anything at this point, that will help with the finances, and you get nothing but dust and mothballs back.  Or when you get something back, an interview or call, and the two people who claim you need a job the most change their tune.  “Don’t just take any old office job, you have the ability to build something.”  Out of what funds?  How do I even begin to live my life when I beholden to someone else?

I was talking the other day with Jonathan and he mentioned how he did not want me to ask if he was doing okay anymore.  I worry about him, and I worry about how he handles his emotions with his father.  It kind of felt like a smack in the face that he didn’t want me to show my concern, but when I got to thinking about it later, I got the impression that he thought my questions after his well-being were a backhanded way of asking how he is getting along without me.  Like I would be some great loss to him and his psyche.  I laugh at that notion.  I laugh because I never felt like I impressed upon him.  If I did, I am sure that the ending to our relationship would have played out considerably different.  Or maybe there wouldn’t have been an ending.  This is not me thinking little of myself, this is me reflecting on actions and behaviors that I was part of, and witness to, for five years.  What’s even more is that usually when I ask him how he is doing, it’s really an excuse for me to try to convince myself that I am doing okay.  He once said he would continue to read this blog, just so he could know how I am faring.  I can honestly say that I doubt he does read this.  If he did, he’d know that my questions to him also reflect the pain I feel and the hurt and the uncertainty.  They mirror my inner turmoil.

Another thing that has become more difficult is living at home.  I cannot thank my parents enough for their hospitality, but there is a part of me that is slowly dwindling down to a reproachful and angry person because of my circumstance.  I do not look down on people who still live with their parents.  I just know that I don’t want to.  I want to make it on my own, and that’s why this situation feels like a complete let down.  I went from having a job, paying half of rent and half of groceries and half of everything to depending on a man, to now depending on my family and seriously giving thought to accepting donations from friends.  And it makes my stomach turn in disgust.  The thought that comes to mind is “oh, how the mighty have fallen” but I can say I have never felt mighty.  I have always felt fragile and shaken, like a deer running from headlights.  Friends, family, co-workers, even relative strangers, have all mentioned the strength I must possess to have gone through the emotional wreckage that is my past.  If everyone else can see it, how come I cannot feel it?

I am sitting at the island in our kitchen.  The house is completely dark except for a single light above the sink and the gentle glow from my computer.  I know this is home, but I have never felt more out-of-place in my life.  Earlier in the summer I was giving thought to leaving, to moving out and hitchhiking across the country and experiencing the tough life.  There is a bird with cut wings humming a sad tune in my heart.  I look at my friends who have traveled, who have moved to new cities and began again, who have made names and careers for themselves, and I am jealous.  There are always circumstances, though.  Forethought and saving money, not having a shit storm hit you and leave you stranded in the middle of an emotional hurricane, getting funding from parents so they can whisk away to Europe.  When I was with Jonathan I thought of the practical.  We saved money.  We made a home for ourselves.  We did not spend extraneous cash on vacations or concerts.  We hoarded it.  We spent a lot of our savings on California.  It was a new beginning for him and the end for me.  He is home, and I can tell.  I am literally home and I feel more out-of-place than I have ever felt.  Chicago beckons me, but I am not sure for how long.  I feel like the main character from the movie Chocolat.  She follows the wind.

I will leave you with this excerpt from The Name of the Wind:

“What flower would you bring me?” I teased, thinking to catch her off guard.

“A willow blossom,” she said without a second’s hesitation.

“I thought for a long minute.  “Do willows have blossoms?”

She looked up and to the side, thinking.  “I don’t think so.”

“A rare treat to be given one then.”  I chuckled.  “Why a willow blossom?”

“You remind me of a willow.”  She said easily.  “Strong, deep-rooted, and hidden.  You move easily when the storm comes, but never farther than you wish.”

I lifted my hands as if fending off a blow.  “Cease these sweet words,” I protested.  “You seek to bend me to your will, but it will not work.  Your flattery is naught to me but wind.”

She watched me for a moment, as if to make sure my tirade was complete.  “Beyond all other trees,” she said with a curl of a smile on her elegant mouth, “the willow moves to the wind’s desire.”

Sushi.

I feel there have been certain things my life has centered around.  A theme becomes clear in the midst of confusion and chaos, and it is something I grasp on to.  It has a weird way of guiding me through the murky waters and the questions that arise.  It is often something small, typically unnoticed but by myself and the few people involved.  For months and months during the difficult break up from Jonathan, stars were a central theme.  There were two songs that I was (and still am) obsessed with that dealt with stars, eyes, guidance, and the wish to not lose someone (the songs are “Beautiful” by The Firebird Band and “Cosmic Love” by Florence + the Machine).  They are two songs that have had such an impact with their lyrics that they are on my queue for future tattoos.  Though I will not get a tattoo of this new theme, it is emerging, and it is becoming central to my life: sushi.

It seems that wherever I go, or whoever I speak to, sushi correlates to building friendships and relationships.  I have always shared sushi dinners with Kaitlyn.  It was, for the longest time, a Wednesday night activity between us.  There is a restaurant in Iowa City called Formosa.  On Wednesday’s they would have half price bottle of wine nights.  We would go and get a roll, a salad, and edamame, and then split a more expensive bottle of red wine.  Since coming back to the Chicago area, we have had similar nights, just talking girl talk and planning the next steps of our lives.  It feels very inclusive and like things are on the right track again.

When in California Jonathan and I did not have sushi once.  You would think that being as close (closer than Chicago or Iowa City) to the ocean as we were that it would have happened.  But it didn’t.  It’s this odd idea that sushi is right and the lack of sushi is wrong.  Things begin falling apart and all the small details that make life good, like sushi, disappear.  Granted, that is because when things go bad you lose some of the patience it takes to realize the small details.  But even in abject sadness, right when I returned from California, Kaitlyn suggested it one night.  Shortly afterwards I had this emotional awakening that desiring what I had is far worse than what I could have.  At least there is hope in what I could have.  I do not think it was the sushi that brought on this realization, but the theme was there, the symbolism that sushi holds for me, and it helped push me over the hump, to face the fear of potential loneliness, but also to help me realize that as long as I have those close friends, I will never, ever be alone.

Now sushi is coming into play again.  Eating it with Kaitlyn on Sunday and then entering Vintage Underground; finding all these wonderful artifacts from other people’s lives and turning them around to create something new and stylish.  The potential for Chicago living and the chance to reincarnate a living situation but with a higher degree of love and compassion.  It seems like everywhere I have gone in the past three days someone mentions sushi, and it is always accompanied with positive and affirming actions.  Beginning again, starting over, letting the cycle birth itself.  Maybe there is a heaven, and it involves Sweet Potato maki.

“I guess congratulations.”

When I was younger and living at home, I always felt like the black sheep.  My dad is a practical man, my mom, though definitely more artistic, has a strict practicality about her.  My sister and I just sit on two opposite sides of the fence on many issues.  Though we are both passionate about our differing interests, we can carry on intellectual conversation that is both frustrating and stimulating.  Any time I try to bring these things up with my dad, though, I feel like he does not “get it” and because of that I am the odd man out.

A few days ago I applied for an internship with the Metro in Chicago.  Yesterday I received an e-mail that said I was a perfect candidate for an internship with in-house promotions, but hiring for that is next fall (2011).  However, she said, I should definitely interview for the position posted because it is a way to get a foot in the door.  I would have a one-up.  After receiving the e-mail I could not stop smiling and was beyond giddy at my prospects.  Metro Chicago.  For a girl who has a music blog and who dedicates several hours of the day to music consumption, this type of connection is huge.  I told my mom and she congratulated me on getting the interview.  She then suggested I call my dad to tell him.  My initial thought was, “hell no, he’ll shit on it.”  But I didn’t want to ruffle feathers.  I dialed his number, let it ring, and when he answered I broke the news, my exciting, wonderful, delicious news: I have an interview for an internship with METRO CHICAGO.  (My heart races just thinking about the exciting possibilities of having my foot in the door to such a Chicago institution for the music scene.)  There was a silence, followed by a sigh, followed by a, “I guess congratulations.”

My dad has never understood my passion for the arts.  More specifically, he does not understand why I have such a deep connection to music.  Why it has taken such a hold in my life and refused to let go after many years.  I am not sure I can even explain it, it just is.  Like how the sky is blue.  Sure, there is some convoluted scientific study about how music and the brain interact and how some people are more predisposed to developing that type of sensory bond, but simply put: it is because it is.  It hasn’t changed in twenty years (the reason I say twenty is because my first memory of truly experiencing music was when I was five).  And he still hasn’t given up on trying to change my view on it.

Last night I went to the Riviera Theater to see fun. perform.  I sat in the balcony with a pen and notebook transcribing impressions, moments of enlightenment, song listings, set design, crowd interaction in an effort to write a review of the show.  To me, the evening, though enjoyable, was not for pure pleasure.  It is my goal and my desire to wrap my life around music the way music has wrapped itself around me, and because of that I am taking the necessary steps to provide a viable resume and offer writing samples when the time comes.  It was work, last night, though I derived pleasure from seeing one of my favorite bands, it was not a solely pleasurable evening.  But in his eyes I am doing nothing but wasting my life.

While at the Riviera, my dad and I got into an argument.  That has happened a lot lately.  He sees me as a failure and has said and implied as much since moving back here.  My emotional upheaval and pain, he said callously, has cost him too much already, and he is sick of it.  I have applied to various jobs throughout the area since the first week I was back.  This is my first real break, and it is in an area I love.  I have not sat on my ass, but I have continued to write and maintain my music blog, created a writing group to not only help others, but give myself an outlet and provide experience in organization and leadership, and have made a consorted effort to explore the promotions side of music not only to help my wonderful friends, but to educate myself.  Events are fun, yes, but just like he always has said, networking is key.  What he doesn’t understand, yet, is that in this side of business, with artistic ventures, social networking is just as vastly important as business networking.  They go hand-in-hand.  Fans creates buzz creates interest.  Business rests solely on the shoulders of monetary draw and money comes from the fans.  And how do you get fans but to advertise and promote?  You can rest on your laurels and believe that sheer talent will push you through to the end, but the sickening reality is that it won’t.  Annie Dillard wrote in her introduction (I posted this a few days ago) that there is a culture of celebrity in the United States, hell, the world.  There is the  next great thing based on talent, but unless you have celebrity, fan-base, and money-making potential, you are far more likely to fail.  I’ll go to a show, but I will talk to more people outside my comfort zone so that I can self-promote a product and promote my friends.  (It sounds so unmoving and conceded, but, it’s the unfortunate reality.  Doesn’t mean I do not make genuine connections, it just means that the symbiotic relationships of business have to co-exist with genuine and inherent interest in a person.)

But my Dad is clueless.  And when he doesn’t understand, he never supports.  “I just want you to be happy,” he says.  Then why are you bringing me down?  Why do you always question every passion I have ever had?  It is not support to tell me I can’t or won’t.  Just say “congratulations,” and be done with it.

A plug: 60047 Creative Fiction & Non-Fiction Writer’s Circle.

Hey everyone!  I created a writer’s circle with meetup.com: the 60047 Creative Fiction & Non-Fiction Writer’s Circle.  I think you should check it out, especially if you like writing and live in the Chicago area.  It is a great group of people and our focus is for beginner writers, as well as published and professionals.  The format is a writing workshop where we are able to critique each other’s submissions and develop our own voice.  We welcome ANYONE and EVERYONE!  We are also using this group as an opportunity to network and look into the business of writing.  We will be copy-editing cover letters and queries, offer suggestions for publishers, and hopefully help one another realize their dreams and goals of becoming published.  Additionally, we are looking to round out this group and have it be an introduction into the Chicago literary scene.  Events will include poetry readings, book signings, more intense workshops, author events, and even theater for those who are dabbling in play-writing and screen-writing.  Please check it out and come join us!