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People are the worst, and the best

Sometimes people really are the worst, and you realize that humans suck, and that they scare you. I think that on a frequent enough basis, on top of all the global shit going on.

I was on my way home from running some errands after work. Boring stuff, like updating our home internet plan (hell yeah, faster internet for $5 less a month), and running to the store for bread and peanut butter. My windows were down, because it was in the 60s and comfortable.

I was minding my own business.

A mere few feet ahead of me, I’d say three feet or so, sparks started jumping off of the road in front of me, accompanied with loud pops. Someone had tossed lit fire crackers into traffic, right in front of me, with my windows down.

My brain goes on auto-pilot during moments like this. I was very calm when I pressed the button to roll my windows up, while inwardly panicking that it would be too slow, that one would get tossed into my car as I drove by, but I was fine. I glanced in my rear-view mirror to see if the person behind me was reacting, but he didn’t appear to have noticed. Luckily the light two blocks down was red and I could get a moment to breathe even while my hands shook.

When I got into downtown, I rolled my windows down half-way, assuming I was safer there. I put Hamilton on, because it makes me happy, and I wanted to sing about Eliza swooning over Alex to boost my spirits.

Sometimes people are great.

Again, I was minding my own business. If you’ve been around me while music is playing, you know I sing along. But when I’m by myself? I have no shame. At another red light, someone pulled up beside me. I didn’t think I was singing loud enough for anyone to hear, even without my shame. The young woman was in the passenger seat of the other car. She looked out her window and said something to me. I paused my music and rolled my window down the rest of the way.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear you!”

“You have a lovely singing voice!” she said.

I got a little flustered and shy, so I thanked her and asked if she’d heard of Hamilton. She said no, so I explained that it’s a hip-hop musical about the Revolutionary War, and that it would change her life.

“I’ll look it up! Thank you for changing my life!” she said.

The light turned green.

They turned left. I went straight, thinking about her kind words, and how these moments happened only minutes apart.

Thank you, sweet girl, wherever you are.

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Why I love Cinderella stories: or, Things that don’t come up in polite conversation (but are always there)

Content warning for abuse.

Continue reading “Why I love Cinderella stories: or, Things that don’t come up in polite conversation (but are always there)”

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Get to know me musically

I’ve been reorganizing my playlists and music library, and found a couple playlists that had overlap. A lot of people have that one playlist that’s Their Mix, a list of songs that represents them or they identify with. It gave me an idea, so I’m going to share mine with you, in sections.

I have links to the Spotify playlists, and embedded them in here, too.

Who I Was: (link)

Who I Am: (link)

Who I Want to Be: (link)

Bonus: Favorite Songs (link)

Blog post, Politics

Fire is catching…

Mr. Trump,

If I were not alive during this time, to witness the news updates of what your administration is doing, I would say your actions are those of a dystopian fiction villain; however, this is real, and your behavior is that of an abuser, an oppressor, cutting off our ties from neighboring countries little by little to isolate our country, and pit citizens against each other. I’ve read works of fiction set in worlds where the media lied to its citizens, where people trusted bloggers over traditional mainstream news sites, where our country was cut off from others and our states’ communication cut off from one another. I thought, “This is excellent and intense fiction, but we would never let that happen here for real. We’re better and smarter than that.”

I was wrong. I see how those worlds can be real.

To quote one of my favorite series: “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” Thus far, your “inferiors” know you think we’re little more than a slug beneath your shoe. We are just another rung on a ladder you are climbing to acquire more power and wealth for yourself, your family, and your fellow financial elite. You do not care for the welfare of the middle and lower classes, but instead view us as things to be controlled and confined.

Know this: history has its eyes on you. I hope future generations will look back on this moment and shake their heads. I hope that our country learns from this and can say “Never again” and mean it. I also hope that maybe, just maybe, you will have a change of heart and stop undoing all the good things we have. I do not wish you harm, but I do wish this had never happened. I do not know how or why the voice of the people was not honored, because you are unfit to serve.

My voice is not loud enough to reach you, and I am not in a position of power. I am not a warrior. Still, I do have a voice, small as it is. I may not be someone who can stand on the front lines of this fight, but I assure you that there is a fight, and I will be here to support those who are bolder and stronger and louder than myself. Right now I have this blog on the internet (and if I am lucky, a handful of people will even read it), and I have letters to write my representatives. Hopefully I will be among those who stand outside with a sign in my hands and righteous fury on my lips.

If my history books, and great works of fiction, have taught me anything, it is that there will come a time when you will be stripped of your power. It may not be soon, but it will happen, to you and those who stand with you.

Because you are Goliath, and We the People are David.

So if we burn? You burn with us.

Sincerely,

Jamie

Blog post

Trying to go back to school

Today I applied to school. Now it is just a matter of waiting to hear back on my acceptance.

Originally I planned to start taking classes during the summer. It would be nice to turn some of those 16 or 18 credit hour semesters into 12 hour semesters, if possible.

Making this happen at all — going back to school– will be a challenge. I have some realistic doubts and concerns about the likelihood of this happening. Time and money were the reason I dropped the program a few weeks into it the last time I tried to go back to school. Distance was a factor then, too, which is not an obstacle I have this time around, at least. When I went back to college before, I worked full-time during the day and took night classes part-time. It was not a great arrangement for me. I want to take classes during the day this time,  but I will still need an income for monthly bills. That won’t just fall from the sky because I want to go back to school full-time.

There is the option to go for a certificate only. This would cut down the number of classes required, which means less time to divide between class and work. I would not have to take non-essentials (like English Composition, or Intro to Psych, for example). It would cut my course-load in half, and I could always go back and take some of the other classes I was interested in that aren’t part of the certification requirement. The problem is, I don’t know if I would be eligible for financial aid if I go that route.

I am getting ahead of myself, I suppose. I still have to hear back to know whether or not I am even accepted, and if I am, I plan on discussing all these options and concerns with an adviser. I am not the first thirty year old woman who has gone back to school. Those of you who have or are going through this, or know someone who has, please share any and all tips.

(Unrelated, but please don’t mind the clashing colors. I’m playing with a color theme so things don’t match right now.)

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Hello, 2017. Let’s make some changes.

Hello, 2017. I am glad to put 2016 behind me. A lot happened, but I also did not hit many of my goals. Hardly any, in fact. It was generally a draining, tiring year, but I look forward to making progress this year.

A friend, Carma (whose work you should check out if you read romance), asked me if I had picked out a word for this year. Believe it or not, I had never done that in all my thirty years. I gave it some thought, and came up with a few; “risk” and “chance” were among them, but did not quite capture what I wanted. Admittedly, I don’t take many risks and play it safe. I thought “chance” might be it, to take some chances, but that was too similar to “risk” and still does not encompass everything I hope and want for this year.

Then I realized I was off by one letter. “Change” is my word for this year. Playing it safe all the time has kept my life stagnant. I turned thirty in 2016, and the milestone has made me even more introspective. My life is not where teenage-me expected it to be. There are a lot of life experiences I still have not, well, experienced, and I still don’t live in a big city. I still do not have a career I love; I have a job, which pays my necessary bills.

On the other hand, there were good things that happened last year. I formed closer bonds with friends, and made new ones. I went to my writing group’s retreat, and came up with more story ideas.

And so, here is my belated list of goals for this year.

  • School? I entertain the idea more and more about signing up for classes and going back to school. I did try going back once, in 2008, but the money just wasn’t there to afford my commute, and I paid out of pocket for the cost of classes. I live closer to campus this year, and my job is just minutes away. If I apply sooner I may qualify for some financial aid, too. I liked the program and have thought about trying again several times since then. The past few weeks the idea keeps poking me, so I want to give it more thought and planning.
  • Finish a damn story. No, finish at least two damn stories. Go big or go home, right?
  • Put more into savings. Spend less on junk.
  • Also put more toward paying off student loans, ugh.
  • Spend more time on spiritual things. I do not talk much about my spiritual views, but also do not hide the fact that I think of myself as a novice witch. I don’t know if I consider myself pagan or not, but I want to develop myself more in this area.
  • Travel more. A few friends have talked about going out of state, and I want to make that happen.

Now to stop making excuses for myself and make my changes happen.

Blog post

I just have a lot of feelings

Hello, friends. I want to talk about kindness.

On the surface, being kind may seem like the obvious thing to do. I am here to tell you this: being kind is an act of revolution.

From small things like holding the door open for someone, or paying for someone’s coffee who is behind you in line, to donating money for people in need, no act is too small. Random acts of kindness warm my heart and fill me with so much hope for humanity. For a little while I see that yes, we are capable of so much good. We have so much potential to be better than we are. Embracing our emotions and expressing our feelings when everything else is telling us to suppress them is incredibly brave. Letting yourself be vulnerable around others is courageous. Holding others up when they are on the verge of crumbling is in direct opposition to the vitriol that says we should let them fall apart.

I try to be that person. I want to be someone’s safe space and comfort, and make others feel valued. There is too much casual cruelty during day-to-day life to spend my time and energy tearing others down when I could offer a hand to hold or shoulder to lean on. Perhaps I am too aware of this to a fault, because it is nearly always on my mind. I constantly look for ways to put others at ease and take the phrase “Be the change you want to see in the world” very seriously. I am so mortified of the idea of making someone uncomfortable that I rarely initiate anything, which is a ridiculous notion, because these things work both ways, and that also undermines the autonomy of others.

My point is, I want to strive to be better and braver. I want to open up more, and live more vulnerably while also developing a thicker skin. I spend so much time trying to read others’ emotions while keeping mine carefully tucked away so they experience minimal bruising. That makes it difficult to fill my day with kindness, and even more difficult to make new friends when I am worried about seeming too forward or enthusiastic.

I cannot think of anything more admirable or badass than being kind when opportunities present themselves. Even better, create your own opportunities. Surprise someone. Be their moment of calm, even if just for a few seconds. Be a small revolution.