Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why she wrote

nothing beats gripping a pen in hand and scribbling on the page
nothing beats finally sharing it with the world
nothing beats having people listen
because they want to
not because somebody forced them.
nothing beats adding punctuation
only when
you feel like it
nothing beats deciding when to start a new line
for your own reasons
that nobody else knows.
nothing beats watching them try
to figure it out
to figure you out.
nothing beats always having someone to listen
and not needing a response
nothing beats metaphors
that mean something different
to everyone who reads them
nothing beats jumbling it all together
so they can tear it all apart
without breaking it

Monday, January 8, 2007

Life from the Top

I think people view the lives of others in aerial view. I think that this happens often times with problems. I might have a problem that seems to have me imprisoned. I might feel as if I'm lying on the ground, completely immobile, held in place solely by this problem. I might feel as if I have no escape route, and all I can do is lie in place until a solution makes its way into my crowded mind.
I might share this problem with another person in order to get some ideas. However, I realize that the two of us would be located in two different areas. I'd sit somewhere on the ground, next to a huge body of water, representing my problem. This problem could easily drown me and I wouldn't even have the ability of swimming to my safety. The person I'd share my problem with would be sitting on an airplane looking out the window. My body of water would look like a blue dot, if the person could even tell that it was colored blue. I've heard the reference of "looking out the window at all of the ants," before as a young child. At that time, I laughed at it, finding it funny that such large objects could appear as tiny as ants depending on the viewpoint.
Now the entire idea makes me think. Certainly if one of my seemily major problems looks that small to someone else, I can find a solution.
It puts me at ease that I can look at life from many different points of view. I just have get on that plane, look out the window, and realize that the world will never revolve around one obstacle.

New Territory (Poem)

New territory that I'm frightened to explore
I think I'll pace around the borders
before I pry open the door.
New territory & I think I'm almost ready
Spent the past half hour shaking;
now I'm trying to get steady.
With the precision of a gymnast on a beam,
I take cautious steps & then I swallow my scream.
& I know that I can't go through life with both of my eyes closed
My pupils aren't film; they won't falter when exposed.
So I smudge my fingerprints all over the clean slate
So if I attempt to turn back, it will be too late.
Teeth perched sharply on my lip
I'm still not allowing a scream to slip.
Time to stop dwelling on what is behind me
'Cause I've left evidence for the future to find me.
After the past gasps for its final breath
I throw dirt on the casket & the past gives in to death.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

This is your Brain on Drugs (short story)

Lisa walked through her doromitory hallway, inadvertently overhearing Derek and John's dialogue through a door that she instantly wanted to break down and bulldoze out of existence.
"I already feel a buzz," she heard one of them declare, "and it's barely even been a minute."
Lisa lifted her hand, preparing to knock, but her hand remained poised in front of the door as she heard the echo of the other boy's response.
"That's not a buzz. That's called breathing. This stuff makes breathing feel better. It makes everything feel better."
Aghast, Lisa stood silently and still.
For the first time, she didn't want them to hear her, though they never seemed to hear her when she wanted them to.
Suddenly the boys' worn out dormitory door seemed symbolic. How could such a barrier build up between people who used to actually enjoy each other's company?
Emersed in trepdiation, Lisa felt herself begin to break down. She considered turning up the volume on her mp3 player, then sheepishly recalled that she had intended to ask Derek & Josh to borrow a pair of headphones because hers had broken.
She had become so engrossed in their perturbing discussion, that she hardly cared about the music that she passionately listened to every day, her quotidian routine of relaxation. She wished the boys would listen to music to relax, instead of performing the slow deterioration of their bodies.
She finally came up with the courage to knock.
"Guys, open up, it's Lisa." she called to her former friends.
She recognized the familiar noises that come with guilty people trying to obscure incriminating evidence.
While her insides screamed and felt like they might combust if she made one incorrect motion, she managed to create an artificially nonchalant tone of voice.
"Guys, I'm not the freakin' RA, let me in," she exclaimed. She even added in the best giggle that she could muster while she really wanted to scream, cry, and beat the shit out of the boys to prevent drugs from gaining the satisfaction of killing them.
As the door opened, Derek greeted her by explaining, "The word RA is forbidden in this room. It freaks Josh out too much."
"Even if the RA did come in here," Lisa replied with an obnoxious enunciation on the word 'RA,' "you could always tell her that you tried to snort a powdered donut. With your GPA, she'd have no problem believing it."
"Oh, but we already went with the pixie stix excuse last week, still think she'd buy it?" Josh teased.
Derek sneezed, and blood began to stream out of his nostrils and on to his lips.
"Damn it! Do you have a tissue?" he asked Lisa as he smeared the blood onto the palm of his hand.
"Do you have a brain?" she shot back.
Acting on impulse, Lisa decided that she could give Derek a louder "buzz," and a better bloody nose. Without warning, she clenched her fist and punched him in the face. She knew he'd hear the ringing in his ears for a lot longer than he'd remembered the night that he'd kissed her & never mentioned it again.
Oh, he made her so angry sometimes. He positively infuriated her and made her shake, sweat, lose weight and skip meals out of utter nausea. Yet she continued to come back.
All at once she realized that he felt the exact same way...

Invasion of Privacy-- My Opinion

I'm hearing about it everywhere and reading about it everywhere. I'm getting tired of hearing about employers checking out people's facebooks and even "googling" prospective employees for the purpose of obtaining background information. What ever happened to simply looking at a person's GPA and resume and judging on factors that actually apply in a workplace setting? Why don't I think it matters if someone partied during college? Well, what exactly do these people think will happen if heaven forbid, they hire a person that frequented parties during their college career while still managing to maintain a stellar GPA? Perhaps they expect a scenario like this:

A company hires Jack, a Penn State graduate who majored in accounting, as their financial controller. Jack graduated with a 3.7 GPA, studied diligently throughout his 4 years at college and also attended parties every weekend. The company saw Jack's partying pictures on facebook but decided to disregard them and focus on his work ethic. What a huge mistake they made. For the first few months, Jack performed admirably at work. Then, one day, Jack decided to take the elevator instead of the stairs which he usually took every day for the purpose of exercise. People thought nothing of it until they realized that Jack had hauled a keg into the elevator. As he dragged the keg into his office, he yelled, "The keg is in my office, it's crunk time!" He then proceeded to turn his speakers up the highest they would go and blast "Living on a Prayer," by Bon Jovi. When his boss stormed angrily into his office, Jack explained that he just wanted to turn the workplace into a more collegiate atmosphere. "You should have looked at my facebook pictures more carefully," he sneered.

Or perhaps Lisa and Jen who both majored in crime law and justice and now work as partners in a law firm. Unfortunately, they never kicked the drinking habits that they both developed while partying at Penn State. One day, they had a case which held incredible importance to the firm. They got completely blackout drunk the night before the case and Jen passed out in Lisa's bathroom. They woke up and decided to pregame prior to the case. "Here's to Mens Rea!" Lisa exclaimed. "No!" Jen argued. "Here's to Actus Reas!" "Oh man," Lisa said. "Our bosses really shouldn't have ever hired us." "Yeah," Jen agreed. "Good thing we deleted our facebook pictures before we went on our interviews! Now let's take 2 more shots and head down to court."

Unless employers actually expect scenarios such as these two hypothetical, highly exaggerated, ridiculous situations to occur, why do they bother checking peoples' facebooks and searching for people on Internet search engines? I'd place a high wager that many of these employers themselves attended parties during their college careers. In fact, maybe some of them even went out to the bars on midnight on Saint Patricks Day, completely covered in green clothing. Now, these people are perfectly successful. I seriously have a lot of trouble understanding this concept. If someone has pictures of them drinking, but also has a 3.8 GPA, obviously the drinking has not had an effect on their success in classes at college.

I think I've made my point now. I'm going to go take a few Tequila slammers and stagger into class with my clothes giving off a stench of alcohol. After class I plan on shotgunning a few beers before writing a paper, because clearly if I have pictures of myself drinking at parties, then this is how employers will assume I behave on a daily basis. I better live up to their expectations!

Self Identification

People really have difficulty identifying themselves these days. It involves a lot more than simply writing a name down on a piece of paper or looking at a reflection in the mirror. No, people change even the most simple characteristics about themselves. Almost everyone embellishes their natural qualities. Normally I would not find this problematic, but recently I've taken to thinking about how extreme some people take these metamorpheses.

Most people know me as Aly, not my full name, Alyson. I have no problem with the name Alyson, but if people would begin to call me Alyson at this point in the game, it would feel strange because I have identified myself with the name Aly for years now. Some people knock out their first names completely and go by their middle names. Others have a nickname that sounds nothing like their first, middle, or last names. Some people create a name to go with a new persona that they have created for themselves. They want no remnents of the previous version of themselves, so of course they need a new name.

Now, onto the reflection part. Hardly anybody maintains the look that they had upon first waking up and peering into a mirror. To a certain degree, this is natural. My hair sticks up in all sorts of directions when I wake up sometimes, and of course I would not want to go out looking that way. Yes, sometimes I wear a little bit of makeup, but I don't wear it all of the time and it's not a lot. Others have turned makeup into a lifestyle, into something they absolutely (think that they) cannot survive without. People will not leave the house without their foundation, concealer, lipstick, or whatever it is they choose to use in order to change their appearance. Oh, how could I forget about bronzer? Some people feel the need to look tan even in the winter time. Snow on the ground? Who cares? These people still need to have that skin tone; pale went out of style. Forget bronzer, what about tanning salons? People lay down on a bed (or stand up in a booth) and allow dangerous rays to seep into their skin just for the purpose of what they consider beauty. Some people look completely different, almost unrecognizable, after these transformations.

This occurs in photography at well. Some of the most beautiful people hardly ever find satisfaction in pictures of themselves. Well now, nobody needs to worry because we live in the era of Photoshop. I have even used it for the purpose of removing red-eye from otherwise perfect pictures. Others take it to a higher level. Bad picture? Don't discard it, change it! Erase all of the imperfections and replace them with perfect features. These new features do not genuinely belong to you, but what does that matter? Your picture looks the way you wanted it to now. Does that present a problem? Do too many people have the desire to look like someone else? Even models in magazines have their pictures airbrushed time and time again. Half of the time, the picture probably looked decent before the change, but people strive for perfection instead of reality.

What happens when it comes time for people to describe themselves? I got bored last night and went on Myspace and read some peoples' "about me" sections. Many people (not surprisingly) have trouble filling out a short description about themselves. How does anyone know which qualities to include and which to omit? What one person finds important, another person might not care about and skim over instead of reading carefully. Besides, can reading an "about me," or an "about the author," or anything like that, really introduce you to a person's character? I don't think so. I think it takes a lot of effort from both parties to actually get to know someone. I just don't know how many people are up for the challenge.