It’s been a week since you passed away. It’s been a long, hard, difficult week.
Although I can’t really remember, I think I said to someone how strange it was that a woman who created so many wonderful memories for so many people couldn’t remember any of them herself. Alzheimer’s took you away from us in the worst way. It took the “you” out of you. So if I’m glad for anything, it’s that you aren’t trapped in your body anymore, suffering through the pain of trying to remember or recognize anything.
Since I was maybe twelve or so, I’ve had a running list of rules to live by. You could call them “core values,” I guess, but considering half of them are usually nonsensical or strange one-sided in-jokes, they’re less values and more… loose rules.
The list changes fairly frequently, maybe once or twice a year. It’s not always the same length, and I’ve added to it and made revisions based on my experiences. For example, I added my driving rule when I was eighteen, and removed a rule about being polite in cars driven by other people, most notably my mom (“Do not grip the car door tightly in fear. It will make them mad”).
This is the current list, which I thought I’d share in lieu of not actually posting anything else on this blog. Maybe it will give you some insight into how I live and what guides my decisions.
- Always say “thank you.”
- Hate is a terrible, powerful thing that has no place in your life. You do not, and never will, truly hate anyone. You may dislike them intensely, or strongly disagree with their beliefs, but you will not hate.
- Always forgive those who hurt you. Even if it takes months or years. Don’t do it for them. Do it for yourself.
- When in doubt, wear purple.
- Keep a safe driving distance. When stopped or parked, you should be able to see the back wheels touching the street. If you are nervous while driving, you are too close.
- Read something new every day.
- Write something every day. Even if it’s only an email.
- Ask for help.
- If you need someone to talk to, you can always go to your mother.
- “In everything, be more like a turtle. Grow a thicker shell.” (This merits some explanation — see below.)
- There is nothing that a trip to Target can’t fix.
- There is no mood that Owl City cannot accomodate.
- It is perfectly fine to only sound like Hayley Williams once every two weeks in the privacy of your car. You are not destined for vocal greatness and that is okay.
- Stop eating ice cream the second your throat feels tight.
- Take an Excedrin the second you feel a “twinge.”
- Seriously, take the Excedrin. The migraine will happen. You have never ignored a migraine away.
- Your voice is needed more.
- You are too wordy. You can always make it shorter. You can always edit it down. There is always room for improvement.
- Don’t burn bridges. Don’t even light a match near them.
- “Someday you’re gonna be the only one you’ve got.” (Credit to Paramore on this one.)
So, just to quickly explain the turtle shell one: I had some pre-wedding counseling sessions with the pastor who married Tim and I, and this was his advice to me. He told me to grow a turtle shell so I didn’t take everything personally, and only allowed myself to be affected by what I chose. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I’m still getting there, but I am getting there.
These are my rules. A little silly, a little strange, but that’s what I live by. Do you have any rules of your own?
As I’m sure… well, probably no one noticed, to be honest. But I — yet again — allowed this blog to die for a period of several months.
My struggle to keep up with a personal project is ongoing. I have no issues maintaining a job or work project for years… but when it comes to my own endeavors, it seems like I’m out the door the second the “new”-ness wears off.
Let’s see if I can put a stop to that for good this time. I’m still paying for hosting and this domain name, after all. Might as well try to use it.
Q: How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Don’t be stupid, feminists can’t change anything!
I used to tell jokes about other women and feminists. After leaving high school, I rolled my eyes hard at the notion that those pretty, popular, seemingly flawless female classmates of mine needed anything like feminism. They had everything. Why would they need an outdated campaign to gain rights for them that they didn’t even need?
I went through a (somewhat long) point in my life where I took my bitterness at being a not-so-pretty, awkward, chubby tomboy out on other women. I criticized their driving. I snarked at their fashion choices. I loudly declared myself different. And I laughed at feminist jokes.
Things have changed for me now. I’ve come to realize that just because a woman is beautiful, or talented, or intelligent, or unique, she doesn’t need to be excluded from a campaign that is not at all outdated. As much as I tried to set myself apart from “the others,” I was one of them all along. And by declaring myself different, or trying to be more like a man — actively trying to be cool, or nerdy, or smart, because those were the characteristics I associated with men, not women — I was actually setting the campaign back.
About an hour ago, I settled down with my laptop, opened my email, swallowed, and whispered “I don’t think I can do this.”
Thanks to a beautiful chain of connections, I had my very first freelance writing assignment placed gently in my lap on Friday afternoon. “It’s who you know” indeed. I was excited, honored, eager — and terrified. I’ve been looking for freelance writing on the side for a week and a half or so, but I had expected my first assignment to be a short and largely unimportant little thing. You know, a 300 word company bio or 10 short product descriptions or something.
Instead, what I got was a hugely important project that will be published in my local paper. And it’s not just editorial content: it’s editorial content that is meant to convert readers into buyers, because it’s part of a full page ad. So my writeups are going to be extremely important for compelling people to visit these businesses.
No pressure, right?
So let’s talk about blogging. It takes me two and a half hands to count the number of blogs I’ve had in my lifetime. Well, not even my lifetime, to be fair, but in the last eight years. I’ve opened, updated, and subsequently closed probably fifteen websites. And I am not proud of this fact.
It takes a lot for me to stick with something. I have very few hobbies that I stay with beyond an initial 2-3 month period. I’ve tried… oh god, what haven’t I tried? I inherited a stamp collection as I child that I meant to keep up with until I found out none of it was worth any money. Every couple months the Food Network inspires me to pick up cooking as a hobby, but after a week I’m too tired to continue. I did Pokemon cards, POGS, friendship bracelets… pretty much everything a kid in the 90s did. At one point I even seriously announced my intentions to pick up singing. (I was laughed at.)
The point is… sometimes my attention wanes quickly. I sometimes tell one of my coworkers that she has “Shiny Thing Syndrome”: she gets distracted mid-sentence, even mid-meeting, by a passing thought or distraction. Though I pick on her for this, I’m just as guilty–but in a different way. I start a blog, and after six weeks, forget about it because I’ve moved on to a new pet project or interest.
This site is my attempt to break that habit. I’ve never really had a personal blog, a place to write about anything. All of my blogs so far have been niche (Japanese music, Japanese music videos, Japanese music produced specifically by one company… oh yeah, that’s niche alright), and while read by a solid group of people… well, I had nowhere to go when I wanted to talk about a different topic. So although I can’t expect to get readers by blogging about everything under the sun, I can perhaps break my sad habit of killing blogs right and left and make a nice place for myself to let loose.
So here’s to one more attempt at becoming a blogger. Where this one will go I guess I’ll have to find out for myself.