Saturday, December 10, 2005

A goodbye.

I'm not sure about posting for a while.

Everything we go through in life is "personal", yet I've never had a problem completely exposing my "personal life" to whoever wants to read. Mostly because writing helps me to learn and if I can shed light on similar situations in other people's lives that might help them to learn something, too... well hell, that's a wonderful thing. And if what I'm going through or feel like expressing/talking about is completely different than whoever's reading, that's fine too. I think it's great to be open to the unfamiliar. But all the reasons why I have this blog aside, lately I've been asking myself a really important question. How much do I do for myself?

I don't know if this blog is really mine. Actually, I don't think it is. I write it, and sometimes I go back and read what I write, but this blog is really here for other people to read...under some strange assumption that I write things worth reading. This blog is here for people to learn or question or grow because of me. But this blog is not mine. It's yours. And lately, I haven't felt like my life is mine because I'm willing to give it to everyone and anyone who wants it.

But right now there's too much questioning and growing and learning going on inside of myself to give it to whoever wants it without keeping some for myself.

Some things really should be personal.

Maybe I'll be back. Maybe not. Time will tell. If not, it's been whatever you've made of it.

Fond thoughts, Rachael

Thursday, December 08, 2005

the female artist in despair

My last poetry class today took a look at a few poems by men and women who were discussing the same topic, but the different ways in which the subject was talked about, and then which poem the "editors" of the text thought was of "more poetic merit". Most of the time, the man's poem was considered more meritorious. (I mean, the living white man's poetry is going to be closer than the woman's to the dead white man's model that is considered "great".) The only times when the woman's poem was considered more meritorious by the editors was a few instances when the poem spoke of such despair and genuine disaster, that the comparison couldn't even try to match it.

After class I was thinking about how there have been many many woman artists who "live in dispair", and perhaps this is what has allowed their voice to be heard and not written off. From Joni Mitchell, to Ani DiFranco, to Frida Kahlo, to both Emily Dickenson and Adrinne Riche... the essence of each of these women is very sorrowful, yet fulfilled in knowing that there may be no answers to their desperation. Their art is their freedom and redemption.

At her last exhibition in Mexico, Frida told reporters, "I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint". Also, "My painting carries with it the message of pain.....Painting completed my life.....I believe that work is the best thing."

What a perfect depiction of such a dismal yet contented femal artist.

There have been many male artists who fall under the same descriptions. However, they do not have to fall under this category to be recognized and regarded as "great". Perhaps it takes a woman to go through the deepest and darkest despirations in order to be respected or acknowledged in a man's literary or artistic world.

If a woman becomes recognized outside of this torn description, will there ultimately be some wide spread way in which she will still be degraded? (Too manly or not tough enough, too easy or too prude, too opinionated or too ambivilant, too self-fulfilling or too needy, too peppy or too angry.) I mean just look at all of the most famous women who produce some sort of "art" in this area, from Britany Spears (too easy), to Oprah Winfrey (too self-fulfilling), to Ellen Degeneres (too manly), to Katie Couric (too peppy), Alainis Morressette (too angry.). It seems that the woman who have eventually been respected, are the woman who were deeply torn, distraught, sad, and with art as their only escape. Through the toughest and most genuine dispair may a woman gain respect in the realm of what is considered "art", and perhaps this is, or has been the only way.

Or maybe the effort just isn't taken to criticize the "too forlorn". Perhaps every kind of art will in some way be criticized for no reason better than being misunderstood. Male of female. But I think that true, honest, and raw sadness are subjects that people are willing to sympathize with and even respect. The deepest longings cannot be written off, regardless of sex or race, because perhaps that sorrow is something residing and living within us all.

Rebuttal? Ideas? Opinions? Feel free. Share.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

you're so silly.

remnants of dried up brown sugar oatmeal
crust the corners of my yellow and orange crock.

the clock on my desk is seven minutes
faster than the rest of the clocks that are

my cuticles are pushed back but not clipped
and i've bitten half the skin off my thumbs

but my hands are clean because my
suitemates are sick
and cough on the bathroom door
so i wash with soap in the sink

i can feel the rose on my cheeks recently
kissed by his lips before he went
the elevator
and rode his retro bike to class

cozy under the covers my roommate
sleeps in her underwear as i hover over a florecent
computer with notes in my ears that fill
eyes with tears
but not mine
not today

ouch. my stomach hurts. i ate
too much pizza
grease and acid and spices and soon
my stomach gets mad and
forms a ball as hard as a rock
don't move, rachael
you cannot move
inert and fat

oh, but it's been over a week and
i finally drank coffee flavored
for the holiday
and i feel warm inside and

remnants of a normal day
make thoughts that wake my fingers and
click click click the keyboard to
share a few silly words:

spaghetti, ....

or just one silly word.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

all the things we think we want.

a year ago i couldn't tell you how many things i was wishing for or going after or aspiring to become. but i can tell you that a lot of things didn't happen the way i thought they would have, or hoped they would have. (for one, my heart was set on northeastern/boston and clearly, that didn't happen... ) but it's all worked out just fine. and now i'm fine. and now, part of me says "okay, i don't want boston anymore. i want this. i want what i have."

i've been stressing out lately cause i've got piles upon piles of school work to do and i feel like not only do i have to do it all.. but i have to kick all of it in the ass and master this realm of academics i'm in. but the truth is... i don't have to. it's great to learn, and it's good to work hard, and it's good to try your best, and it's good to challenge yourself. but this school work isn't a life or death situation. and neither was boston. and 2 weeks from now this will all be over and my bags will be packed and i'll be moving out and on to new places and faces. and a grade is a grade... but if we tear down our mental health, or let ourselves become nasty over whatever we're letting "stress us out" then what happens to our well being? what happens to the people around us who are part of our every day lives? how do we treat the people we love when we're stressed about stupid things?

there are a lot of things that i get my heart set on... and once i decide i want something, there's no stopping me from at least trying to get it. or be it. or do it.

i guess that's why i know i'll be "successful"... because i'll end up getting/doing/being whatever really matters to me in life. whatever i really want and really find meaningful and important... i know i'll get. i know i'll find away.

but basically, i'm here to admit that right now i'm lacking a lot of faith in myself. ( i know, i just contradicted what i said two seconds ago.. ) but there have been a lot of let downs... from things in my own life like boston or a speech or a grade or whatever.. that i really thought i deserved, but didn't get... to things in the lives around me like not the greatest marriages or poor ways of treating the people you love. and with a lot of let down, sometimes it's hard to have faith that everything can and will work out the way you'd like it to.. i know i'm a strong person and i know i'm capable of so much.. but i also know that i have no control over the outcome of so many things. and i get scared when i think about that. scared and insecure and worried shitless that the things i have my heart set on more than anything (like brian, or the coffeehouse) might end up the same way... out of my hands no matter how hard i try. and then like old dreams they'll be things of the past that just didn't work out? i'll ending up "wanting" or settling for whatever i have once what i really wanted is gone?

well, i don't want that. i want more. i want something better. i want a happy ending, damnit. but i guess there are a lot of things we think we want. until they don't come true.

the end?

Friday, November 25, 2005

joined through three different tides

nearing the end of this past summer i wrote a poem about jodi, kathleen and i going off on three different "tides of time" into such vastly different lives. before it was time for us to "part" we talked about how when we went to school we knew that we'd all be experiencing so many different things in such different places. more, we knew that the hardest part of it all would be not sharing the joy of our experiences with each other.

we knew it then, but that wasn't enough to prepare us for it actually happening. and it did. it happened. we went off into three completely different tides flowing in three completely different directions.. and through all of the classes and papers and new people and adjustments and boyfriends(well in my case), it was hard to keep each other updated with everything. we didn't do poorly... we called and talked and tried... but there's no comparason to living every day by each other's sides to then going months with out seeing each other's faces.

"moments never have to come to an end if we can just keep up with them" - jodi (don't stop)

it hit last night that our directions really are different now. at first i cried a lot knowing that the connection we had in sharing a similar journey/struggle/direction/joy has kind of dissapeared... but the truth of it all is that this is life. time moves us apart in a way... but the places we are and the experiences we're going through are making us into such larger and better and stronger people! and we really are still connected by something much larger.

a wave can move in any direction
but that doesn't seperate the waves from the ocean
no, they're always a part of the larger motion
no matter what direction they may go in
or what other wave they may crash into
there's something more infinte that the ocean can do
in keeping the waves connected through and through
despite any current that may be new
the waves move in seperate directions
yet flow together through the sacred connection
of unyeilding love and endless devotion

(alright, my poetry's a bit rusty... but it proves my point nonetheless.)

i am blessed to be able to see the growth and the beauty that this time and seperation has done for us. and that's really the bottom line. that, and i love these ladies with the biggest parts of my heart. and i am so thankful.

what they say is true... a lot changes in the first two months of college. but i want to say with confidence and assurance... that these changes will be, and are towards something very different from the past, but beautiful as can be.

and on this thanksgiving holiday, i raise my glass to that. and to you and to you and to you. cheers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

leaves rising

the weather was quite strange today.... cloudy and dark, windy, but warm... about 75 degrees...

so i'm sitting in my dorm looking out my lovely large window and all of the sudden a procession of fall leaves began to rise up into the sky with no retreat. it was quite a sight to see, for what it suggested...that the normalities of life don't always take place. and those times when they choose not to, it seems as though it is exactly that -- a choice, their choice to float up, rather than down, clearly defying the regular. now of course this is not against any "laws of physics" or gravity or force according to science. but it's interesting to wonder if we had to create laws to explain what was already happening. it's not like our scientific laws are what made those leaves floating a reality rather than a defiance. they're doing their thing no matter what we call it.

i guess this all made me think about (or enhanced my thinking about) us living in a realm of laws, and while staying within those parameters, doing something completely different. the leaves weren't surpassing any laws, just floating above the regularities and norms that we're used to seeing.

i recently picked up a book that i began a good bit ago and put down half way through entitled "A Passion for Living" by Shahan Shammas. Shahan is actually my mother's best friend's brother, and i was very fortunate to share a weekend with him two summers ago on the peaceful water of a cape cod cabin. i remember coming away from our conversations feeling so invigorated, enlightened and inspired. i was so greatful to receive a copy of his book from him and now more than ever i'm finding his words extremely beneficial at this point in my life. The topic i'm reading about right now is Understand why we age and die.... and i'd like to pass along some of Shahan's wise thoughts and insights that kind of spurred and emphasize what i'm trying to express:

Imitation is not only the best form of flattery, it is the trademark of any society. If fifty or sixty year old people in our community are considered old and treated accordingly, when we are fifty or sixty years old, we usually consider ourselves to be old and treat ourselves accordingly as well. We are human. Therefore, we behave the way humans are expected to behave. We are social. So we emphasize belonging and we imitate. If the only examples we ever see of how humans are or can be are the ones surrounding us, how are we to break the norms of society and transcend our humanity? We can break these norms by escaping the tyranny of the group and by emphasizing our individuality. We can break the impact of "community pressure" by being in the community, but not of it. We can take the benefits of a community, but not it's handicaps. We do not have to be one of the statistics. General statistics of health, wealth and morality apply to the general population and to the common people. If we distinguish ourselves, then we are no longer common and the statistics have no relevance to us. If we believe we are common, then the common rules apply to us as well. We live, age and die by the laws we accept and internalize. Our community provides us the free software (freeware) that gets loaded into our minds and runs the hardware that is our body. To live individual lives, we require customized software.

Living a normal life, our experiences will only be normal. Normal people live, age and die like normal people are supposed to. If all we see and experience is a reminder of what the normal is, we seldom experience the possible life. Our environment shapes and moldes us. We assume it's characteristics. It requires extra effort to be different, stand out and escape velocity.

so i suppose the leaves rising learned how to be in a community, but not of it... escaping velocity.

enjoy the irregular occurences of every day life. (and leave some thoughts/comments)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

push & pull

Lately I've had these really strong internal forces leading me in opposite directions. The future is chugging forward like a one-way train, while the past is sprinting as fast as it can along the dirt trying to keep up with all it's might. And eventually, the past and the dirt road evaporate into one vauge memory far behind the train's destination. And where am I? On a train that won't stop no matter how many times or how desperately I tug the rope. A train that doesn't go in reverse to the land of old station wagons and bumper stickered cars, or idealized relationships that were doomed from the start, or sitting in the bed rooms of our parent's homes strumming the guitar, or walking through the park, or leaving a mark on some silly land called high school. I'm on a train and it's taking me to a completely new place... one i've never before even known could exist. But if I had dreamed of the greatest place on earth, it might come close to lying in bed with two heads and bodies and hearts enjoying every second of lost innocence shared. All that's missing is all that came before what's living now.

This is beginning again and living then. A push & pull.

It's so strange, but I feel so different. So different. When you hear about growing up and getting married and having a job and kids, it sounds like such a far away dream until you find someone you could actually do it with. And then it just becomes a far away reality. And this whole new world opens up with this whole new set of things to consider and think about... questions and dilemmas and solutions and struggles and wonders.. This whole new set of things that make you grow up.

People always talk about sex as something that takes you innocence. But I think something much larger does if you let it.

"Well something's lost, but something's gained in living every day." - Joni Mitchell

I think this about all I want to let out right now.

My fondest thoughts.