Dandelions Are Not Weeds

The mountains called and I went, but now it's time for something new.

Don’t forget, in a heated argument of opposing views, the other believes they are right just as much as you believe they are wrong.  

And the best debates are had when that is remembered.

Rule of Three

Everyone should follow the Rule of Three

Why? Because I think the world would be a lot nicer place if everyone did, for starters.  It’s easy.  And it teaches patience and understanding no matter what the outcome brings.  It is a simple way to enlighten oneself and be compassionate towards others.

It’s a rule I made up a while ago that began with food (because I love food and I love trying new things) and it eventually expanded to encompass other reaches of the like-dislike spectrum.  

The primitive rule goes as such; you have to give something three tries before decide whether or not you like it:

  1. On the first try, it might have been too much of a shock for you to appreciate it or maybe an unexpected flavor, taste, consistency, temperature, etc. threw you off.
  2. On the second try, maybe the chief was having a bad day or unforeseeable circumstances arose like wrong ingredients, measurements, temperature, moisture, etc.
  3. On the third try, if it is still something you don’t like, it’s alright to rule it out of your diet.  You gave it a thorough chance, or at least you should have, and we are bound to have preferences and non-preferences, that’s what makes us human.

Then the rule evolved to encompass any situation, including people (and I think the part about people is most important because too often do we judge someone before really giving them a fair chance).

  1. Upon the first meeting, the person could be having a bad day; something might have put them in the wrong mood or social tone.  Maybe they were nervous or the setting wasn’t familiar; we’ve all be there.  Be understanding and forgiving.
  2. Upon the second meeting, maybe something unknown came up, maybe they just came from something that rattled them, or maybe they didn’t get enough sleep; whatever the case may be, we’ve all wanted that third chance after the second…  Be patient and compassionate.
  3. Which brings me to the third meeting.  If after three times of trying to get to know someone, you still don’t mesh well, it is completely reasonable that they might just be someone you don’t get along with.  And that’s okay.  

You don’t have to be friends with everyone.  But I hope you keep in mind that you did just dedicated three whole meetings to getting to know them (and they, you).  I would hope that you put in a good effort because otherwise they deserve more - or, perhaps, if you didn’t keep an open mind in those three tries, maybe you are the reason it didn’t work out.  Nevertheless, I hope you remember with each meeting, you gave one other something of your selves in an attempt to connect with each other.  That’s worth something - that’s worth everything - even if you don’t end up liking the person, at least you gave it a shot and you now have compassion for another human being; you must, if you really gave each attempt a good, honest effort.  

So go ahead and not like things, that’s okay, but give them a chance before you make up your mind.  The Rule of Three is a good rule to follow.

A different side to Vegas

So basically, my Vegas experience was better than anyone else’s and here’s why:

  • First, I didn’t go to Sin City for the living-on-the-edge reasons that most people go and I think this is the reason I was neither let down or sent flying.  I had a genuinely good time and I left with no regrets.  The nightlife and culture isn’t really my thing…  The reason I went to Vegas was because I have this incredibly awesome brother who happens to live there and I haven’t seen him in a really long time; pretty soon I’ll be moving across the world and won’t see him for a very long time again, so basically I missed him and went to visit.  He also happens to be the funnest brother in the world and could have made Nebraska seem like Disney World.
  • The trip started off with a bang and not in the ‘I-locked-myself-in-the-bathroom-with-a-tiger’ kind.  We got locked onto a third floor balcony at 3am with no way of getting off, and as terrifyingly claustrophobic as that sounds, the view was amazing - the Vegas lights (although an environmental nightmare) are really something to behold.  And that led to a hilarious evening where I questioned my lack of Parkour skills.
  • We found secretpizza!  And, as everyone knows, secret makes everything better (I don’t even like pizza usually).  
  • I won like $40, which is the most I’ve ever won and it was a crowning achievement.  I pretended that I had lucky fingers for a while after that (…we won’t talk about how much I lost).  
  • I ran into a cactus and now have this weird bruise/rash on my leg… I pretty sure it will be fine.  But, guys, I ran into a cactus, that’s not something I would normally ever say- Hell, the only cacti I ever even see are little Walmart-style potted ones.  It was pretty cool (you know, aside from the sting).
  • I won a race.  It was a lot more thrilling than those four words make it sound - First it was against a group of Las Vegas natives, driving a car, all with smartphones.  I, on the other hand, was travelling via my own two feet, am not a runner one bit, have asthma, and a worst sense of direction than a potato.  AND I WON.  Move over, Usain Bolt, I’m gonna lap you.
  • I danced my feet off.  I love to dance; I love the way the music moves my body, the way my muscles can feel the beat, and the freedom it gives me.  It’s the closest I’ll ever get to feelin’ like I can fly.
  • Also, Pinball Museum, an endless supply of quarter-fun and blast-from-the-past laughs. Must I explain more?
  • I’ve added some new drinks to my drinking repertoire.  I’m not much of a drinker, especially one who drinks to get drunk.  Usually I just like a good beer.  But I like to drink real drinks like I like to eat: for the experience of trying something delicious.  Before I went, I had a list of drinks that I’ve always wanted to order but have never been brave enough to spend money at a bar on.  So, in a Vegas, where cocktail waitresses appear like mosquito in spring, I ordered away and now have a whole array of awesome drinks added to my arsenal… as well as a few that I don’t ever want to touch again. (Manhattan’s are particularly wonderful)
  • Lastly, and most importantly, I got to see my brother and, although we sometimes want to rip our hair out after long periods of time together, he’s always been one of my best friends and I love him and miss him constantly.

So, that’s why, with the right kind of people and the right kind of fun, Vegas is pretty spectacular. 

Social networks personified

  • Facebook is that domineering “cool kid” everyone secretly hates, but for one reason or another they can’t get away from him.  Also, he has an older brother, who was once popular but now lives in their parent’s basement trying to relive his glory days.  His name’s Myspace.
  • Then there’s Twitter, who is actually really awesome and says whatever is on her mind, but has a hard time connecting with people and is kind of a loner.  But she’s okay with that.
  • Tumblr and Imgur are fraternal twins, but hate it when people think they are the same.  They are dorky and weird, but everyone feels at ease around their quirkiness as if they’ve known them a really long time, even if they’ve never technically met before.  When they grow up, they’ll act normal in public even thought they are actually closet-geeks.  They have the potential to unite all the other closet-geeks, if only they’d get off the computer.
  • On the other hand, Blogger and Wordpress are the class poet and writer, who act too cool for school and want to make it in the real world, but will probably never leave their hometown.
  • Youtube is always stoned, but makes a really great collection of videos.  Sometimes Youtube collaborates with Facebook, but they usually end up fighting. 
  • Recently a couple new kids moved into town.  Instagram is a photographer and can take decent pictures, but relies on editing too much.  Whereas her brother, Snapchat, is usually drunk and perverted, but everyone likes him because he’s also straightforward and funny.
  • Google+ is that kid who always stinks and no one ever goes near, but he comes from a really successful family that kind of rules the world.  We’re not even sure he goes to this school.

Recently I’ve really been trying to learn how to be a better writer.  And I’ve come to learn a great many things about this beautiful art form.  I’ve learned that writing is like an iceberg: you see the surface and it seems daunting, but then you hit it and it’s so much more than you ever could have imagined.  But, like most things, it’s a mastery that is just about putting the time and effort into practice.  Also, writing isn’t about the words written, per se.  It’s about the world you’ve created and want to express that is veiled behind the words and the words, therefore, are the most important tool to show the depth of that idea.

Also, I think writing is one of the most important things we can do. It’s communication— a marvel of the human race.  But what’s more astounding is that writing makes your own character—your own-self— more interesting because you have to truly look at the world, the people, interactions, and mannerisms around you in order to grasp what you want to expresses.

Lastly, while I think it is immensely important that people write (even if it’s just a bunch of gibberish or random thoughts), I don’t think writing merits attention.   Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to share work and read other’s.  But just because someone writes, doesn’t mean it’s worthy of being read.  

So my demand for today—a soft demand that’s not actually a demand at all but rather an assertive suggestion, is that everyone sit down and spend ten minutes writing whatever comes to your mind.  You might want to rip it up and burn it after, or give it to your whole family to read.  But then do it again tomorrow.  And the next day.  And the next.  And so on, forever, until it’s a habit, like brushing your teeth, and eventually you wonder how it was ever not a part of your routine before. 

Just write.

It might send you into a spiral of darkness or delight, wondering how certain thoughts could ever have crossed your mind.  It might make you question everything about the world.  And as it seems, it might even unhinge you.  But it’ll open your mind in ways you never could have imagined and think things you never thought possible—things you wished you never knew and never could live without.

So, just write.


Talentless dilemmas

I think it’s only fair to admit truths to oneself.

For instance, as much as it pains me to say, and as hard as I’ve tried to prove it otherwise, I am not very good at playing the guitar.  In fact, I’m awful.

I’ll be honest.  

I’ve given it a go a number of tries; both by self-teaching and once with a class in college.  And I’ve watched more Youtube videos, studied more books, and created more calluses than I can count.  But for some reason the instrument just doesn’t musically connect with me. I can hear it like crystal; I can hear the sound it should make, and I understand the mechanical gist of it.  But when I try to put those truths into practice, it’s like my ears instantly become tone-deaf and my fingers turn to jelly. 

Beyond my helpless inabilities, I don’t know why the guitar hates me so much.  It’s like unrequited love; the sound is so nice, the body so beautiful, and the ability to manipulate its strings so appealing.  On top of that, it’s an instrument that connects the world.  Yet the guitar hates me.  

Even if, for example, I follow someone else’s simplest strumming pattern precisely, my echo always comes out like a souffle-gone-wrong: floppy and miserable.  

It’s not like I’m a complete musical train-wreck.  I can play piano well enough, I use to be able to play the flute decent, and I’ve dabbled in violin and harmonica.  But guitar is by far the most frustratingly impossible instrument there is. Period.

And yet, I still so desperately want to be able to hammer a simple tune when the night is right and the silence is comfortable, like the wild woman I wish to be.

Woe is me.  

So the question is: do I admit the truth and move on, perhaps to an instrument more suited for my musical inabilities, or do I plunder on and hurt my neighbors’ ears for an eternity?

After all, some things are just not meant for some people and I can take pride in my other strengths.  But then again.  I’m apparently quite stubborn; so I’m told.

Symmetry is killing me. And what I’ve learned from it is that nothing is unique and nothing is the same. But also nothing is the same and nothing is unique.

I’m losing it.

Sometimes when I think I see something from the corner of my eye;

And deep down I’m pretty sure that it is real;

I pretend that it was nothing, nothing at all, 

Because it’s easier to think that

Than it is to think it might have been a spider.

Talking to myselves

Do you ever wonder what it’d be like to talk to your past-self?  What would you say?

If I could converse with my college-self, we’d probably meet in the coffee shop that I always studied in.  I’d probably marvel at how studious and strangely-quirky she is, and how I’m still that same way.  But I’d also wonder how everything could be so different from her to me.  We’d probably theorize about the world and about our philosophies, and we’d probably enjoy each other’s company very much.  The college-me would probably try to convince present-me that I’m too cynical and too harsh on the world.  Our stubbornnesses would probably cancel each other out and it would end in a draw.  She would probably wonder what made me this way and why I let myself fall into pessimism’s grasp.  And I would tell her not to get so hung-up on her thoughts and lost in her mind.  I’d also tell her that it’s okay to make a few mistakes and not to miss out on everything around her.  But mostly I’d let her know that her grand plans aren’t going to pan out the way she wants, and that’s okay. In the end, we’d probably learn more from one other than simply argue who’s right and who’s wrong.  We’d probably be equals and walk out as good friends.

If I could catch up with my high school-self, she would probably be the hardest to be around.  We’d probably both roll our eyes at each other and I would tell her to stop trying so hard to fit in.  She’d probably mock my nerdiness and wonder what our future was coming to.  We’d probably fight about the reality of our life: she’d tell me I’m being completely unreasonable and she’d question every decision I’ve made to get to this point in life; I would probably try to explain how this is exactly how we have always been and that she’s the only one who tried to suppress it.  Mostly I’d try to convince her to stop trying to be that imaginary girl—to stop trying to blend in with everyone else. Hopefully we would be able to end on good terms and some light would be shed on how the me of the past and present me could ever be the same person.  But ultimately, we’d probably just end up scoffing at each other and walk away irritated.  

If I could see my preteen-self, I’d tell her she’s wonderful and to never get lost in the madness that happens to everyone in the next phase of their life (the hormonal, basket-case stage, who I previously visited).  I’d tell her to never stop imagining a world that is fantastical and magical.  I’d tell her she doesn’t have to change for anyone… beg her not to.  And I’d tell her to never forget that life is truly beautiful for someone with so much curiosity—sad at times, but mostly beautiful.  I’d want her to tell me one of her stories because they were always so much fun to make up.  I’d also want her to keep searching for Narnia in the back of the closet, to keep building castles in her backyard swamp, and to keep an eye out for that Hogwarts letter (even if it never really comes).  We’d probably end with a bear hug and a long laugh.

If I could visit my kid-self, the one with a sweet, innocent voice and knotted-blonde hair, I’d first kiss her and thank her for making her brother her best friend and her mom her hero.  I’d want to tell her that everything will be okay and that the world will not (as far as she can tell) knock her down to badly.  I’d also assure her that her asymmetrical family is not normal, but it’s better that way.  I want to let her know that someday things will get very confusing and it’s not her fault when he leaves for good.  I’d want to tell her there will be gloomy days, but the rain is so beautiful in spite of it all.  I’d want to tell her so much—more than the others.  But I wouldn’t.  She’s too young for those kind of thoughts and someday she will just have to figure things out for herself.  So instead, I’d probably just sit contently listening to her babble on about something, and I’d wonder how on earth she could have been such an endless talker at such a young age.  We’d definitely leave each other as friends, because she always left everyone as her friend.  She was kind and curious and brave, and I need to remember that; remember her.

What would life be like if we could sit down and talk with ourselves at different times in our lives?

This has become an obsession.

Ah, writing.

Every time I write I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel of emotion.  

I go up and around, thinking: this is the greatest thing ever conceived of; my writing is flawless; I am John Steinbeck.   

And then I go down and I doubt every word, thinking: this is the most horrible piece of literature ever imagined; I’ll never write again; I’m worse than…ehem, a certain sparkly vampire writer.

Then I go back around and try to fix it, thinking: this is not so bad.  Until it starts all over and I regret ever knowing how to spell.

Second-hand books with love.

When you buy a new, old book and find someone else’s notes in the margin it makes you smile and wonder what they’re up to now, like you’re old friends rekindling.  Only they don’t know it.  And, I guess that’s kind of sad.

This is dedicated to the previous owner of The Poetry of Robert Frost, the Henry Holt and Co. edition.  May we be friends in another life.