Books I’ve Read: Yes Please by Amy Poehler


As always seems to happen when I feel good about where I’m at in life, things got crazy and overwhelming and not so fun. So I decided that I was due for some me time and in that time, I finally finished another book.

I had started several heavy books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Walden and a book called What Language Is. But all of these are sitting on my nightstand partially finished, too dry for my mind at the time. And so, at the suggestion of my boss, I picked up Yes Please.

Yes Please

 

I very rarely find a television series that I really love– as in watch in order to completion and then go back and do it again, or pick a favorite episode, especially when I’m feeling down. Parks and Recreation has become one of these series. Humor that isn’t too over the top, a strong story line, and loveable characters are some of my favorite elements of the show, and the Leslie Knope is the best at all of these.

 

Imagine my joy when I found out that Amy Poehler is Leslie Knope off the set too! The optimism and related but off topic insights translate well from on-screen Leslie Knope to on-paper Amy Poehler. The honesty on everything from her experimentation with controlled substances to her lesbian temptations was fascinating to me, as I’m so used to everyone talking about their sterile “American Dream” upbringing, esp

 

 

ecially in upper middle-class suburbs like the one Poehler was raised in.

While it took me some time to actually finish the book, it was an easy read, and quite pleasurable. Light enough that it made laugh after stressful days in customer service, and deep enough that it really made me think about my life and what I’d like to do. Working for the government and being an improv comedian are not likely lucrative paths for me, but being a genuine person and jumping into new opportunities are definitely on the list.

Would I recommend this book? Yes please and thank you.

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Back To It


So I logged in today for the first time in quite a while. And next to the bell in the top right corner was that little orange dot signaling a notification. I click on it, and what awaits me? An anniversary notification.

6 years. I registered here on WordPress 6 long years ago and started writing. Because that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I imagined I would be a poet first. I moved on to novelist. And then I decided I wanted to be a journalist. None of those have happened at this point. I tried out each for a bit, with moderate beginner’s luck as both a poet and a journalist, but I couldn’t find my niche– at least, I don’t think I ever did.

Now here I am, with an itch to put more words to paper, to create something out of nothing, to write the story that I’ve started and given up on at least 7 times, to send my written ideas out into the void, to influence someone with the symbols I’ve strung together to provoke emotion and conversation and deep thought. Will I keep it up this time? I hope so. I’m even juggling the idea of freelancing.

Maybe this is still what I want to do with my life. I guess I just have to get back to it.

 

The Parables of the Internet


I love clickbait, by which I mean all those stories designed to tug at a heartstring, either to make you cry at the dark parts of life or to rejoice in the bright parts.

“Snopes it, it’s all fake,” say the cynics.

To which I say, “So what?”

We see true stories all day, every day in our 24-hour news cycle. We watch the bombs exploding and the riots developing and the pollutants billowing into our environment. In fact we see these so much, and on such a broad scale, that we become desensitized.

“It’s just another destroyed village.”

“It’s just another oil spill.”

“It’s just another shooting.”

It’s horrifying, is what it is.

In a world where we see hardly anything worthwhile or inspiring, where the “upbeat topic” for the day is a parrot that can waterski, we need that clickbait. It gives us hope. It keeps us compassionate. It keeps us human.

We become numb to the plights of humanity at large, so clickbait gives us the plight of one, it personifies it, it gives it a face and a name and a story we can care about. And as any good story does, it makes us feel. We need to remember how to feel.

The story of the cancer patient who placed a sign on her window and had strangers bringing her pizza and singing to her. The story of the dog that not only saved his owner’s life, but the lives of countless others on 9/11. The story of the Syrian girl who fought through a terrorist regime and an immigration nightmare only to be denied access to freedom from fear. The teenager that invented a device so that someone with a disability can feel able again. These stories are important, whether they’re true or not.

Think of them as parables. Think of them as motivation. Think of them as goals. Because if we can be more like the good, kind, hardworking, caring people in these stories, then the world can fully become the beautiful, harmonious place that we see through them.

Read clickbait. Feel something. Stay human.

 

 

Thoughts While Resting Through A Summer Cold


I am sick. While in the midst of my summer adventures. And 75 miles from home. Yay me! What have I chosen to do all day?

  1. Worry about how much I need to go to the gym, do dishes, and clean up my now roommate-less room
  2. Briefly glance at job openings for when Cedar Point comes to a close
  3. Attempt and fail at registering for classes at Cuyahoga Community College
  4. Go to the doctor, to no avail because Flonase allergy medication has not helped my supposedly non-infection sinus issues
  5. Take pictures of the fly I’ve come to think of as a pet because it spent a whole episode (I think the second of four so far) of Criminal Minds on the corner of my laptop. If I sleep on the couch tonight, it will also try to curl up with me. It’s buzzing is more annoying than dogs barking, so it will be swatted away.
  6. Listen to the singular cricket stuck in the heating vent in the living room and thought about the melancholy chirping of a single cricket with no chance of escape, since I have no way to get it out or even see it in the vent, and it has no friends trapped with it. This would be day two of imprisonment. Also, I think the chirping has stopped. Which makes me sad and grateful all at the same time. Hopefully, because it died of natural causes, it will not be bad luck for me.
  7. Eat a bunch of stove-top and prepackaged food because I have no desire or energy to find something healthier, which is why #1 happens a lot.
  8. Brought in supplies for a miniature gardening project, except half the plants I bought might be dead because I waited so long, so the supplies might sit in my room for a while now that they’ve sat in my car for about two weeks.
  9. Coughed, sneezed, and blown my nose so many times that I might already be close to filling the trash can with a box of used tissues.
  10. Contemplated religion, humanity, the lessons of Harry Potter and how much I want to be J.K. Rowling, the sadness of my financial situation, fear of the future specific to myself and general to all of humanity

So I’d say it’s been a fairly productive day for being sick and not wanting to pass germs on to people at work. At least my brain has been working hard. Or as someone so politely put it, I’m going stir crazy. I did shower, dress, and brush my teeth, so life can’t be too bad, right?

Paraphrasing Robert Frost


Forest_Trail_by_sun_stockI’ve always enjoyed getting lost in the woods. From fishing with my father when I was little to sneaking off with a date as I got older to taking a break from life and work and school when the responsibilities became too much, a walk through the local park has always been a part of me. However, the term ‘walk’ is misleading in the context of, well, me.

I cannot stand those wide paved paths that most people use in parks. They’re so… Prescriptive, and frankly, quite boring. I usually find myself seeking out a small opening in the trees with something that looks like a trail. Sometimes it’s man-made. Other times, I’ve stumbled upon a deer path. Whichever type it happens to be, it’s almost guaranteed to be thin, made of dirt, hiding rocks and tree roots, and grown over in places with high grasses or thorn bushes. Oh, and it’s not flat by any stretch of the imagination. In other words, it’s a challenge, and it offers more chance to break a sweat, think creatively, and feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins than asphalt next to a road.

What I’ve realized about life lately is that, for quite some time now, I’ve been walking on that paved path, the one that everyone walks down, that has only fleeting glimpses of the gorgeous waterfall hidden behind a copse and barely increases my heart rate. Why would I allow myself to do this, knowing full well that’s not who I am? And suddenly, I know why I’ve been feeling so down. I’m bored. I’m tired of looking at that stupid white or green dotted line down the middle of dark gray asphalt, endlessly repeating for miles and miles and miles. Country singers need back roads, Billy Joel needs the Hudson River. I need that tiny little dirt path that no one else really dares to follow.

Bring it on.

Life…


I am not living. I am existing. And it’s not enough.

Living is feeling, feeling everything and feeling deeply. Living is having the breath stolen from your lips by the beauty of a sentence, by the intensity of a color, by the sonority and harmony of a chord. Living is not thinking, just doing, just feeling, just going with it and having a fantastic time. Living is putting your soul into everything, experiencing as much as possible, engaging deeply with the people and things around you. In this sense, I have not been living.

I go day to day just checking things off, simply wanting to get it done. And when I tell people this isn’t enough, they tell me I have to do it in order to get to the living part. Like living is only an adult thing that happens after you get an expensive degree and a career to pay the bills and maybe a life partner and start a family. Never mind the people my age and younger even who lived more deeply in their thirty or forty years than some people will in eighty. Never mind the great works of art, the masterful novels and poems, the entire social movements created by young people who wanted to really live, not just exist.

Maybe my discontent is a mortality thing. It’s hard to believe that there will always be a tomorrow like everyone tells me when breaking news constantly says otherwise. It’s hard to wait when everything keeps changing, often for the worse, and making my dreams harder and harder to believe in. It’s hard to know that getting older means more options and perhaps more stability, but in that less flexibility and more chance of waiting for the right moment turning into never getting there.

Maybe I’m scared to just live because everything I’ve ever heard and learned from society has conditioned me to believe in the checklist, the rules, the system, even though everything I’ve enjoyed reading, that’s really spoken to my thoughts and my emotions, has gone completely against all of it. It’s hard to throw off existence for living, and maybe I’m just not strong enough.

I’ve been told by some very important people to think outside the box, follow my dreams, live for myself and no one else because we can never make everyone happy. But I can’t figure out how to do that. I don’t want to fail, though I know failure is the only way to get better. I’m not sure if I can pick myself back up. I’ve never had the chance to try. I’ve also been told by other important people that the first people were wrong. I’m conflicted.

Life the way I imagined it has not happened. I understand plans change, that we can’t predict the future or anything. But things have gone the way someone else wanted them to, and I am uncomfortable, unhappy, and unsure. I am still the visceral, creative, adventurous, curious, confident person I’ve always been, but that part of me is hiding because it doesn’t fit with the world I’m stuck in right now. I need a change, because I’m failing in a not so constructive way, and I know I won’t be able to come back if I hit the bottom.

Yellow Jacket For Life, Buckeye Forever


Today is the College Football National Championship game, with the Oregon Ducks going up against my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes. While it isn’t THE Big Game for Buckeye Nation, it is a really big game, and I really can’t wait to watch it. I’m just hoping my professor at Baldwin Wallace University lets us out early this first night of class so I can see the whole thing.

But with the first day of classes, the National Championship, and the Buckeyes competing in the National Championship, it brings up a lot of emotions for me. I sit here in the library, a senior at Baldwin Wallace University, wishing I’d followed my upbringing to Columbus. I was born a Buckeye, and will forever be one in my heart, but alas, I am actually a Yellow Jacket.

Baldwin Wallace isn’t a bad school at all. I’ve enjoyed my time in Berea and met a lot of great people and learned from some fantastic professors. But college hasn’t been what I expected, or what I planned for, and I feel like I’ve let myself and so many others down. I was prepared for a huge campus, a stadium packed on Saturdays, the game broadcast on national television, being in one of the most famous marching bands in the world, and being able to find my school colors and name plastered almost anywhere. I was ready to be a few hours away from home, exploring a very new city, attending classes with a few hundred people while mingling with thousands more outside class, and trying new things or continuing my former hobbies. What I actual got was a lot more small scale.

I’ve had people tell me I wouldn’t be happy at OSU. They think it’s too big for me. But I feel like BWU is too small. And it’s too close to home. I love my family and friends dearly, but college was supposed to be a time to break away from all of that, to get out and explore the world and learn more about myself. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished that at all. I’ve learned some pretty cool things and taken some great classes, but I still feel like the same old me– actually, more like I’ve regressed. I feel shy and unsure of myself, and as many of my teachers from grade school can tell you, that wasn’t me at all. I gave up on marching band– and music in general. I haven’t been on stage since senior year at Bedford High. And I haven’t been as dedicated to my school work or my other ambitions as I would like to be. I’ve mostly just been working to pay for school and make it through. They say college is what you make it. I guess I made it something else to check off the list. My heart just wasn’t in it. And that bothers me.

Tonight I’m going to watch as much of the football game as possible– I didn’t watch any of BW’s this season or last. I’m going to shout at the people on TV that the refs made an awful call and that I want to see The Best Damn Band in the Land instead of a bunch of washed up players over-analyzing the plays we all watched and analyzed. I’m going to wish I could be in that stadium to feel the excitement and the tension shift with every play. And I’m going to celebrate or mourn– but hopefully the former– as if I were going to be a real Buckeye with a degree from The Ohio State University come graduation. Script Ohio