Tuesday, February 28, 2006

L's to the Left of Them...

Lemme tell you what I'm not in the mood for...

Bullshit.

I am SO NOT in the mood for bullshit.

Lemme tell you what falls under the catagory of bullshit for me:

School
Howard University
Working Retail
School work
Howard's decidely sub-par facilities
The ignorant people who's life is to work retail and don't understand why my ultimate goal is not, in fact, overpriced handbags.
Class
Waking up@8am to go to class
Busywork given in class to take home
The Metro
Taking the Metro to work retail
Professors who don't give a shit and don't bother to develop a real lesson plan or show up for class and then have the nerve to threaten to fail you
Going to class at Howard University

Am I sensing a theme?

Maybe I'm just being bitchy. I dunno. But I am taking Ls from every angle. 2 Midterms on Friday? 1st one I freaked out and fucked up on.
L.
The 2nd one I was so fucked up from fucking up on the 1st one that I took another L for that. The Ls abound! The Ls are all around me. Sigh.

This morning had another midterm. Don't think I necessarily failed but I didn't do my best. 2 more finals later on, I KILLED them, A and B on my performances, respectively. And then what does my teacher tell me? I'm not doing enough, my technique is better than what I'm displaying in class, I'm fat and not losing enough weight quickly enough. Ruined that there minor victory.

Bullshit.

Tomorrow I have to go to my least favorite class, the bullshitty-est of all the bullshit class as there is no clear cut lesson plan, class structure or assignments and most of the time the prof doesn't even bother to show up. Because of this fact, and the fact that I can't sing apparently even though I've been doing it well all my life, he is threatening to fail me. I am inventing new and inventive ways to skin a live man.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Home is Where the Heart is... or ANYTHING Less Corny

I am home. And it only took me 36 hours, 1 crying fit, 2 nice ladies and $300 to get here. Woo!! But GOD I really needed it. By Thursday I noticed that I was snapping at innocent people (like the food delivery guy for not having a pen and the children who have a school on my campus taking too long to cross the street...when they had the light) and that small screws were turning tightly in my brain, the pressure of which was forcing little bits of my brain to peek out from inside my ears. Kidding! And also, gross!

Oh and the hives. Life just isn't complete unless you spontaneously burst into bright red hives with very little provocation. Thank GOD for my collection of turtleneck sweaters!

I share all of this TMI to pretty much say, I am stressed. So I did what I think was the most proactive and healthy thing...

I ran away.

Woo!

I got the swell idea that since it is a long weekend and I am not really needed back on campus until Tuesday afternoon that I should go home. Why? Because my daddy is there, and because my
joy is there and because my little brother still hasn't successfully taught me to play Halo. Herein of course lives the problem; 13 BILLION other people also are trying to get to Daddys, Joys, and brothers. Can you imagine my difficulty in finding a flight? (36 hours) After deciding maybe I'd just fly standby and that not working out well for me AT ALL, I burst into tears at the Delta counter (crying fit) and 2 very nice ladies took extreme pity on me (or maybe they were deathly afraid of the tiny girl with last nights mascara running down her face) and helped me find a ($300) ticket. (In first class no less!!) As I finally settled down and called my mother to explain to her exactly how stressed I was and how bad it had gotten because I really hadn't admitted it to anyone (she didn't listen by the way. Not that I am at all shocked or surprised) I started thinking...

Why is it that when someone tries to tell us what's wrong with them, what they're struggling with, what their pain is, what they're dealing with, we never really listen? I mean at best, people usually go into fix it mode. At worst, we dismiss their stress and problems and tell them they are being lazy, dramatic or selfish for needing time away. And why is it that, when we can't qwell our own need to "fix" things all the time and essentially are incapable of giving this person what they need (just someone to talk to), we are shocked and even mad when they feel they can't talk to us?

I have never been particularly forthcoming. That I can admit. And the more soul searching I do, the more I begin to understand the reasons why (the subject of another VERY VERY long post). But also, my friends, the people that truly know me, KNOW this about me already. Which is why for the life of me I cannot understand how my wanting to talk to someone often turns into some variation of the "you're just being lazy, that's life, suck it up but let me tell you what's going on with me" theme. Do you think this is encouraging me to talk? Now I am not saying that this indicative of all of my friends or that they mean to be maliscious or even that they are necessarily wrong with their advice but COME ON. As hard as I work, as much as I stress, as hard as I am on myself do you really think I need you telling me to DO MORE?!? I DO NOT want HIVES to accessorize every outfit I wear for the REST OF MY NATURAL FUCKING LIFE.

And... breathe.
O......k.

Sometimes I don't want advice. Sometimes I don't want to be encouraged. Yes, obviously I know it's not gonna be bad forever, that I am stronger than I give myself credit for, and I will be ok in the end. Blah, blah, BLAH. Most of the time what I really want is just someone to talk to, someone to listen. Someone that will let me talk until my words start to tangle themselves around each other and my tongue goes numb or I pass out, whichever comes first. Mostly, I'd just like to know that I have someone to come home to, metaphorically speaking, that is gonna let me speak my heart without feeling like they have to offer unsolicited advice or unneccessary encouragement. Mostly, I'd like to not feel that my moments of weakness are being judged or that if I tell someone that I'm tired they won't make me feel as though I am being lazy or being a brat. Because I do alot. Probably too much. And of all the people I know, nearly no one does as much with as little help as I do. So cut me some fucking slack.

I have a friend, Pizo, who I work with at the radio station and one night a couple weeks ago we were talking and I was venting about some shit that was going on and I felt like maybe I was complaining just a little too much so I just abruptly stopped talking. "Do you realize," he says to me, "that you will stop yourself from talking even when you have someone that's listening to you just because it's what you're so used to doing?" So then I felt stupid, #1 because I hate when people get to know me so well and #2 because I hate that I hate when people get to know me so well. I said that to say that I am not innocent. But I certainly can't take anymore of your goddamn encouragement. Why is it that when our friends are going through something, we can't just let them go through it? Yes, we want to save them from further harm, yes we think we're helping but how much stress are we adding by trying to push them forward at the pace we think they should be moving with our "advice"? Who asked you? What puts you in a position to give such good advice? Shut your face.

Mostly, I try to be the friend who listens no matter the time of night, who only gives advice only when solicited and who distributes it mostly in the form of questions that will eventually lead you to make the decision that's best for you on your own. I'm sure I don't succeed all the time because, well, goddammit I love you guys and hate to see you hurting, but I try. So there's my challenge. Try to keep your advice to yourself. Cuz you're probably not helping as much as you'd like to believe you are. Watching Dr. Phil does not make you a people expert. Hell, BEING Dr. Phil hasn't made him one.

So anyway, now I'm gonna go downstairs to the kitchen and ignore my daddy yelling at me when I sit my "big ole Georgia booty on his countertops" and watch him cook. Why? Because I wanna see my daddy, because I am happy to be home and because the kitchen is where my daddy and I do most of our talking and it truly is the heart of our house. And because when I tell him that I'm tired or burnt out all he ever says to me is, "I know. And I'm proud of you anyway."

Monday, February 6, 2006

Just a Few Things I am Too Chicken Shit to Say in Person

I know you're still reading. Mostly, because I got your text message. I didn't think you would read anymore after December. But you do. I did 1 of the 2 things you asked me to do... I did delete your comment before too many people could read it (I think) but I somehow, accidentally read the comment a little. Is 'oops' still cute at 21?

I realize I kinda pulled the rug from underneath you there on Christmas. And I am sorry. I know I probably should have said something a long time ago...maybe before our first date, maybe before our first conversation. Maybe I shouldn't have even taken your card so many months ago. But I did. And I'm glad I did. Sorta.

So I'm babbling and talking in circles, yes, which you have come to know means I am vastly uncomfortable. But I'm pushing myself through anyway-

By the way how upset am I gonna be if I have to work next Sunday? I can't miss Grey's Anatomy. Did you see that friggin' cliffhanger?!? I know you were watching because you turned me on to the show. But COME ON THOSE IS GOOOOOD TV MOMENTS RIGHT THURR!!! Ha ha. Remember that?

Anyway, I digress. After we got off the phone last night, I heard the little chime my phone makes when a call is connected and I felt...sad. It made me think about the conversation we had about waking up in the middle of the night and realizing that the person you fell asleep with has left the bed. What did we call it? Detachment? I can't remember. Sometimes that night felt like years ago. After you said that you might be moving, I panicked on the inside. Had I said everything I needed to say? Would I be ok if I never saw you again? There was a part of me that felt like I wanted to cry and I haven't cried in months. I felt horrible because you said all this wonderful stuff to me on the phone and all I could muster past the extreme cotton mouth I was experiencing was, "Uh huh." You didn't deserve that at all. You deserved a thank you. Many thank yous in fact.

Thank you for truly being so "wonderful". Thank you for letting me like you at my own pace, which, if I am to be honest, made me like you even more. Thank you for talking me to sleep last night even though I know that you had to get up early this morning. Thank you for knowing how I like my coffee and that I like sauteed shrimp but not fried shrimp. Thank you for putting up with my neurotic behavior and for even telling me that my random cleaning fits in the middle of the night were "cute". (You're a terrible liar by the way...) Thank you sending me flowers just because my day started out shitty...and some of my favorites nonetheless. Thank you for coming to my job, bringing me a smoothie and charming the hell out of my co-workers. Thank you for bringing me groceries when I was working way too hard and way too much and was way too busy to shop. Thank you for making me go to the doctor even when I swore I didn't need to, for making me slow down and just be 21 for a change, if not younger. Thank you for laughing at my stupid jokes, for telling me I was beautiful even when I had a stomach virus, for sending me random text messages when you were thinking of me, for staying up with me nights I couldn't sleep. Thank you for making me take my lazy ass to the gym and for driving all the way to Baltimore to a club just because it made the best sangria and had the best Salsa night. (I'm still a better dancer than you Hector!! haha) Thank you for bandaging my feet for me after I'd hurt them in dance class, for letting me watch Meet the Barkers when you wanted to watch ESPN. (You're SO HOOKED now aren't you... ADMIT IT.) Thank you for coming to see me perform even when I told you that you didn't have to and for understanding when I just can't talk to you because the Heat game is on. Thank you for listening to me complain when things were hard and never making me feel like I was being lazy, ungrateful or spoiled. Thank you for telling the RUDEST and MOST OBSCENE joke I have ever heard IN MY LIFE after I'd thought my friend's dad had died. Thank you for letting me play with your puppy like it was my own, for letting me sleep in your bed while you crashed on the couch, for having deep and real conversation with me, for making me play Hide and Seek at 3am, for introducing me to your friends. Thank you for listening to me curse and yell in frustration for 2 hours after my mother left town and for even telling me that you think the fact that I curse worse than most sailors is "endearing". Thank you for listening to my inane stories about Joy and I growing up no matter how small and pointless they must have seemed to you. Thank you for calling me Ashleigh because I offhandedly mentioned to you that I preferred my middle name to my first. Thank you for telling me that my impulsiveness wasn't stupid it was "spontaneous", that my emotional irrationality wasn't crazy it was "passionate", that my bullheadedness wasn't negative, it was "self assuredness", that my ambition wasn't fueled by fear but rather was "brave". (You sure you don't wanna be my PR guy? Pay ya lots of money...) Thank you helping look for job openings and auditions when I was so scared of what was coming next. Thank you for listening to me constantly dissect things with my ex, for putting up with me when I tried to push you away, for making me laugh when I was certain I could never entertain the thought of laughter again, for trying to teach me how to throw a perfect spiral in the park. Thank you for letting me drive your car, for encouraging me to be me, for telling me stories about you. Thank you for midnight walks, for fried spam and cheese sandwiches (SOOOOOOOO KUNTRY) and for telling me that I don't have too many pairs of shoes. Thank you for taking me to church just because I felt like I needed to go and for not judging me when I laugh at people. Oh and definitely thanks for letting me be Lola (LOL!!!). Thank you for being patient and for making me believe. Thank you for giving me faith and peace of mind.

Maybe those things seem trivial, but not when your entire frame of reference is fucked up. Not when your life feels like you're holding it together with bubble gum and paper clips. Not when you're realizing that you're entirely distant from people and it's mostly your fault. Not when your emotionally irrational and impulsive behavior has caused you to do some really stupid things. And not when it comes from you.

I guess I should have told you that. Anything, I guess, is better than "uh huh". Anything is better than acting selfishly and childishly, operating under the pretense that I am alone in the world and that my decisions do not radically affect others. You have shown me that I'm not. So thank you for all that. And I'm sorry as well because maybe I should have never let any of those things transpire between us. Maybe that was selfish on my part too. I truly am sorry if all of this is too irreparably broken, even to salvage a great friendship, which I think we could have. And now, you may be leaving and I honestly don't like the thought of you not being right down Seventh street. Maybe I took for granted that you always would be. Maybe I took for granted all of the things I should have been thanking you for all along, out of fear and mistrust. I asked you last night if you felt like I had used you. "Not at all, Ashleigh. I think I served a purpose," you said. And I'm fairly certain that you did. I'm sorry if I didn't see that before or if I took you for granted in anyway.

So let me make it up to you. How about I buy you a cup of coffee? There's this great place in Dupont Circle. I went there once with a guy and we had to be kicked out because we'd stayed until long after they'd closed talking and giggling way past the limits of normality. I had a lot of fun with him. Anyway, it's right on Connecticut, green awning. I hear they make the strongest coffee in the city, almost like they put crack in it. You know the place?

Friday, February 3, 2006

funfreakyfreshfriday

I was gonna do the whole post without spaces just to convey the excitement that I'm feeling right now but my guess is thatwoulddriveyoumorethanalittlecrazytothepointyou'dprobablystopreadingmyblogforever.

Am I right?

LOL.

Hold on... song break...

They say your attitude determines your latitude
Well I'm high as a muthafucka
Fly as a muthafucka

Anyway, I'm not excited for any other particular reason. Nothing happened. I should be sleepy since I've been up since 6am, but I'm not. I'm full of energy. So much so that I went to all of my classes which is, in and of itself, a feat considering the fact that of my 2 classes on Friday on intimidates the hell outta me and one bores me almost to tears. After leaving my second class where I wrote HANDS DOWN THE BEST 6 PAGE, 40 MINUTE PAPER THERE EVER WAS IN LIFE, I walked outside invigorated. It's a beautiful day...a DC day that feels like the fall I got cheated out of. I put on my (new and expensive) shades (so necessary to go with my cute hair) and walked across the yard, smiling, singing REALLY LOUD to my Friday playlist, stopping to talk to the millions of people I know on campus, and even found myself literally laughing out loud at my IM convos on my sidekick. (Olu- CHOCOLATE!!!!!!! LOL) I stopped at the flagpole and looked around me, the noon hour bringing more traffic on the yard than any other time. And it hit me... I'm gonna miss this place. If it wasn't for the fact that my makeup was so immaculately applied I might have cried. (Kidding!!)

Right now I'm listening to my Friday playlist on my mp3 and getting ready to go meet my favorite guy and his little brother for an afternoon of being a kid. Then, to a dance concert. (Only at Howard is it ok for a professor to make it a mandatory part of your grade for you to go see a performance they are putting on) Then, the movies with Ana (my newest gal pal. HAHA I said 'gal pal'. I'm like a bad US Weekly.... No I'm kidding. We all know US Weekly isn't bad. It's the bible.) Tomorrow is grocery shopping with Ana for our Super Bowl/Grey's Anatomy party (GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!) then work then probably out. Sunday, all day cooking and watching football with some of my favoritest people. Oh and drinks. LOTS O' DRINKS. (Peach Cosmo anyone?) And isn't that REALLY what Sunday is all about?

Today feels and looks like one of those days at the end of a romantic comedy when all is well in the world and the weather reflects it. Like one of those days for starting over, when all is calm and well. When you look back on things and realize that you're farther than you thought you'd be, out from under things you'd forever be trapped under, when you can really look back on things and laugh, maybe even have a little clarity and, if you're REALLY lucky, some objectivity. This feels like one of those days that you realize just how old you're not, and feel free to act half your age. And Lord knows, ain't no feelin' like bein' freeeeee when your mind's made up and your heart is in the right place. (a little Destiny's Child off the playlist for those of you who don't know.) This is, by far, one of my favorite Fridays I've had since I've been at Howard. How good do I feel? How's this.... I called my MOTHER. For no reason, just to talk. And I talked to her for a whole hour. NICELY. WOO!! Oh...


And I called Mr. Wonderful.


Yep. Today is gonna be a good day. :-D


Songs on Lauren's Friday Playlist She Gives you Permission to Adopt onto Your Own:

Love of my Life Common
Free Destiny's Child
ThisWay Dialated Peoples
September Earth, Wind and Fire
Brand New Rhymefest ft. Kanye West
Change the World Eric Clapton
bubble pop electric Gwen Stefani
Feelin' so Good j.Lo
It's Love Jill Scott
Everything is Everything Lauryn Hill
Harder to Breathe Maroon5
Fallen Mya
It Takes Two Rob Bass and DJ EZRock
Smooth Santana ft. Rob Thomas
As Stevie Wonder
Hey Mr. DJ Zhane

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

What Lies Beneath

"Beauty is, by far, the most dangerous of illusions. It is very much like
trying to peer at the ocean floor; it is far too beautiful on the surface to see
where it has been worn jagged."

I wrote this as part of an essay in middle school and it has always just kindastayed with me. I love how accurate it is. We as a society put such a premium on beauty...what it means, what it can do for you, what defines it, how to attain it. And is it really that important?

I have been called beautiful all my life. Despite my multi-layered illusions of deep shallowness, I have never believed it. But here lies the problems with being considered "beautiful" (which, in my case, apparently just means because I am fairly light with long hair):

1. It causes people to assume you'restupid. ALL THE TIME AND WITHOUT FAIL.

2. It causes people to be irrationally intimidated by you.

3. You cannot and will not EVER be judged for anything but being attractive.

4. You suddenly become a bitch, or at least you are perceived as one.

5. You are no longer a person but rather an entity; an armpiece, trophy and/or template against which all future women will be judged.

6. You somehow IMMEDIATELY become a gold digger and/or groupie-video-hoe thing. Do you know how many videos I've been asked to do?

7. Did I mention people assume you're stupid? Oh and if you happen to have a slight country accent as I do (being born and raised in the south and all), not only are you stupid, but you're stupid and COUNTRY. Which might be worse.

There's always been a part of me that resented being called "beautiful". Especially because it is so often followed with some variation of the phrase, "I had NO IDEA you were so smart!!" And I mean what does it really mean anyway? Not much except you were lucky enough to inherit the right balance of features and genetics that all somehow mix together in an amalgamation that does not scare small children and animals. But what does it MEAN? Why is it so important? Why do people go through so much trouble when really, sometimes when you're "beautiful" you wish someone would just compliment you on how funny/thoughtful/intelligent/kindhearted you are as more than just an afterthought.

So I know someone is shaking their head at me, at the sheer audacity of me calling myself beautiful, let alone having the gall to complain about it. But really, it hurts. It somehow strips you of the ability to be human, to be flawed, to feel pain. Somehow, because I am beautiful, my pain is less real, less valid? I couldn't have possibly suffered in life because I am beautiful? Life is suddenly peachy for me because I am beautiful? There's no way possible I have ever been left, ever had my heart broken, ever been lied to, deceived, manipulated because I'm pretty? How so? Because this has not been the case for me. Maybe I missed that particular pretty boat. Who knows?

But I challenge everyone to think differently. You know that one pretty friend you have that you're always complimenting on her shiny hair/great breasts/abnormally flat stomach/nice butt/pretty smile/perfect makeup or some variation of the theme? Find something else to compliment her on that doesn't have a thing to do with her appearance. I bet she's dying to hear it.