A person whose life you’re curious about

Sometimes I wonder about front porch sitters and the previous owners of GoodWill sweaters.
I wonder if they wonder about me–
The car that drives by too slowly because I like to see things that aren’t blurred by speed,
The stranger walking down the street with their name on my back.
I wonder if other people are wanderers like me.
Like how my head can be in so many places at once.
Like how my thoughts fill with so many words so much so that sometimes I don’t remember what my response was.
I had so many possible answers in my head…
I wonder if their physical presence keeps them from exploring even when they are sitting still.
I think about why they would be sad
Or what made them laugh last,
When they took a dump
Or combed their hair.
I wonder what kind of underwear they wear or what position they like in bed.
Not because I want to see it,
No,
It’s just because I’m curious as to how other people function,
How they learn,
Why they learn,
Or what they are reading.
I can’t decide if I would want people to be reading about me so I have to be understanding that they won’t tell me their little secrets–
The little things they do when they’re in the car alone.
Or what songs they sing in the shower.
But sometimes I get furious when I can’t read them so I wonder about their wall.
Exactly how tall have they built it?
Is it stacked with broken years full of fallen tears robbed by another’s fingers?
Or moments of misery made easy with some self deceptive trickery.
I wonder when it started and how long they plan to keep it.
What can knock them down and what keeps them going.
I end up knowing way too much about myself because I wonder so much about everybody else.
I answer by own questions just to feed my curiosity.
I wonder if there’s something wrong with me…

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Prompt: Imaginary Cities

Imaginary cities
Full of imaginary moments,
Handshakes that shed dead skin from hands that haven’t been alive since birth.
No one wiggles their fingers anymore.
No one kicks their legs out of excitement, or falls down in frustration
But I have images of imaginary cities ignited with innocence and purity.
But not the kind of purity that creates insanity.
Not the kind that holds lust back from crossing over the edge of hip bones and covering collarbones with kisses.
It’s the kind of innocence that stems from a luscious mix of ignorance and minds open for expansion.
It’s cities that hold imaginary concerts when change jiggles in their pockets as they roam the street
And people dance to the imaginary beat that comes from standing too close to someone else in silence like their energies are competing for a spot in life’s lead role.
I can picture their imaginary hearts driving their moments in the same way.
The way sentences are finished by a foreign mouth,
Or the way grocery isles become runways to first time small talk,
And phone numbers become pinky promises.
I promise you there’s no flat tires or broken windshields.
There’s no walls or fences built around grass.
In my imaginary cities grass is made to be between naked toes and brushing the back of necks until goosebumps explode from fall-weathered skin.
In my imaginary cities
People live again.

XYZ

A few friends from Word Hammer, the slam poetry club I’m in at Central came over today for a rainy day full of hot chocolate and writing. One of the prompts we decided on was the ABC prompt. Every line has to start with the next letter of the alphabet. I cheated by throwing in “and” beforehand but here it is.

 

About ten years ago I didn’t day dream.
Big ideas didn’t flow through my finger tips,
Concepts of far stretched land,
Dark nights lit by dancing fires,
and Endings that started too soon hadn’t yet fallen into my vision.
For about ten years now I’ve been developing thoughts that thrive on adventuring–
Going every where I can see on a map,
However, about ten years back, I hated walking.
I joked with friends about needing a hover-round for window shopping in crowded
                malls populated by overly “mature” 12-year-old girls.
Just ten years ago my days were lined with makeup.
Keeping up with “fashion” seemed to actually make sense and I never felt lonely.
Loneliness doesn’t come when you don’t miss your own friends.
Mischievous summer nights kept my empty dreams occupied like a screen saver.
Nights of flashing boys through windows,
Opening my jeans just to tease the heads on premature dicks,
Pushing my ass against them when I walked by…
Questions only stemmed from other people’s opinions, not my own morals or ignorance.
Reaching belly laughter was easily initiated.
Staying up late happened when someone had something interesting to say on instant messaging.
Ten years ago my days were my dreams because I hadn’t yet learned to dream
                of more favorable days.
Unoriginally, I’m sure I wasn’t alone.
Values of importance form later,
When all the truth or dare make out games get replaced with road trips next to good company.
Xerox copied memories printed in 12 year old friendships become laughs and dismissive
               head shakes.
Young comes with a price:
Zero concept of day dreaming.

Misery Speaks

Coming back from Colorado I have noticed that I am significantly more stressed. Even though I had the weight of a camper’s life in my hands at camp I still felt at ease, however, back at school, it’s a different story. I’m bombarded with deadlines, papers, activities, classroom research, projects, emails, and early morning classes. I found it a lot easier to wake up when a camper was there holding out their arms and saying, “Good morrrrning” with a big smile on their face. It’s hard to go sit in fluorescent lit classrooms with whiteboards that blend into the wall. It’s hard to sit in chairs that don’t feel right with tables that often move too easily when you rest your arm on them. It’s hard. Somedays, I feel miserable thinking about it but I quickly try and change my mindset.

I’m going into a field where misery is not an option. No matter how stressed I am, how many worries I have in my personal life, as soon as I walk into the classroom the students come first. It is their education and it is their life I am affecting. It would be unfair for me to let my stressors get in the way of my personality, attitude, and overall class management.

I am lucky enough to be going into a field where positivity is practiced and well rehearsed.

Throughout my recent travels to Vermont I have learned that not every job allows that. I’ve thought about it before: all the jobs that make people miserable. Whether or not a parking enforcer is given an expired meter a ticket, a cop that is pulling over someone who is speeding, or a debt collected calling for money, those are jobs that cause stress. Now, I’m big on the whole empathy thing so I can’t possibly see how people can go day in and day out ruining moments of other people’s day. I just don’t get it. 

I once worked with a boy who needed to be directed in a very matter of fact way. He didn’t do well if I made things a suggestion or a light hearted direction. He needed to basically be scolded whenever he was supposed to complete something. It drove me crazy. Not only because that’s not how I like to interact with people, but because when I left work I would feel so mean and miserable. It’s true that when you smile or laugh you start to begin to feel happy. Well, I think the same goes with frowns.

When I was crossing the boarder into Canada only an hour or so into my  10 hour drive I encountered one of the rudest authority I have ever come across. First, he scolded me for not stopping at the stop sign in “his lane”. Let me just mention that there was NO ONE in line, it was my first time crossing the border while driving, I was overwhelmed with all the signs and “to-do’s” they list before entry, and yes, I did slide through a stop sign before his lane. No one got hurt, in fact I don’t think anyone else even noticed. After giving me a hard time about that he continued to talk down to me when I didn’t understand what he meant when he said, “What’s your port of entry?” My response?

Me: I’m entering Canada right now…

Border Patrol: What is your port of entry? (In a more harsh voice than the first time).

I’m sure I looked flustered when saying that I didn’t know but he continued…

Border Patrol: Listen to my question…

That’s what I got mad. I was clearly listening. I had responded with what I thought was the correct answer. Didn’t he ever learn in school that there is no wrong answer to any one question? It’s clear he’s not going into education…

After he finally got the answer he wanted from me (New York is where I was entering back into the U.S.) he troubled me to give a specific place in New York because “There is about eight entry spots.” At this point, I was flipping through my maps, looking at my directions, and zooming in on my GPS when I finally just mumbled, “Maybe Buffalo?” My answer sufficed because he threw my passport in my car window and said, “Bye.”

Now, I understand that he is in a position to grill people. What are you bringing over the border? Do you have any guns? Where are you going? Why are you going there? Basically, he’s a nagging girlfriend. But why, why does one have to put such a negative tone to everything? It makes me wonder if he’s a miserable person because of his job or was he a miserable person before his job and that’s why he wanted to do it?

Either way, I hope to never bring misery into my surroundings.

jjj-challenge

Going from A-Z, once a week writing a post with the corresponding letter. I’ve missed the first 9 weeks but better late than never!

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That, right there, on the right, is Justine. She was a fellow counselor this summer and an absolute Joy to be around. Throughout the summer Justine and I cleaned dirty briefs together, helped campers shower, traded campers if necessary, and all around spent a lot of time together. She was just one of the many unexpected friendships I found at camp. If I ever woke up in a bad mood I could bet that Justine would come up with some crazy one liner that lifted my spirits before I could even think about frowning. 

One of our campers had a very, very silly sense of humor and randomly decided to dress in a ninja turtle outfit with a tarantula wig for our weekly dance on Thursday night (originally she had a bright red wig on but changed it last minute). The camper alone in this outfit was a sight to see. It was hilarious, really. About three weeks ago I go on Instagram and see one of the most brilliant picture I have ever seen. Here it is:

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Our camper is on the right, Justine is on the left, and they are both rocking one of the best put together costumes I saw all summer (Misses Clause riding a tricyle miiight have them beat, it’s hard to say).

Anyways, this is just a small clip of the joyous Justine, truly one of my favorite people.

I think I’ve been watching too much HGTV…

Today, as I lazily sat on my couch listening to music, procrastinating the cleaning/unpacking process that is my room, I looked down. What I saw was nothing new. It was nothing I hadn’t seen before. In fact, I’ve been living with this pink and purple pillow for five years now. When I was moving into my dorm room at CMU my mom went out and graciously bought me four pillows to put on our couch to make it look more…lived in. Dorm room decorating ain’t no joke, people.

Two pillows were pink and purple on either side. The other two pillows were green and blue. Just to be clear, the colors were more on the neon side than neutral. ImageThey worked in our dorm room but five years later and the style of my living quarters has kind of changed. Most everything is a neutral color. We stick to a lot of tans and beiges. Some dark maroon and forest green thrown in. Maybe some blue here and there. Somehow throughout my college years I have lost all three of the other pillows. I don’t know where they went or what happened to them but this pillow that sits on my couch is the only survivor. My roommate disliked the pillow and talked about covering it multiple times, even though, if my memory recalls correctly, she had a neon pink computer chair and purple sorority pillow sitting on top of it…hmm (sorry, Han ;] ).

Today, after my friend left I felt Hannah’s frustration with this neon pillow.
Image had had enough of it’s bright colors and I decided to cover it. First, I thought t-shirt. Then I thought sweater because it would be softer on the skin but then, finally, I remember a bag of clothes I’ve had stacked away for a week ready to take to GoodWill.

I reached inside and pulled out one of my used-to-be-favorite articles of clothing. It was one of my first finds during my newly found appreciation for thrifting back in the day. I was proud of it and I thought it was really cool.

I just recently decided that I didn’t wear it more than it sat on my shelf (along with some other sweaters and shirts) so I bagged it hoping to forget about it once I gave it away. It’s soft, kind of furry actually and it was perfect for my new pillow case cover. I shoved the pillow inside and it was nearly a perfect fit, which just justified me cutting it to shreds instead of donating it to another person’s closet. People seem to have way too many clothes these days anyways…

First, I cut off the sleeves.

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Then I cut the bottom into strips like those commonly made fleece tie blankets.

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I repeated the process with the side…

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…but then I realized that I “measured” incorrectly and had less fabric than anticipated on the other side of the shirt so I had to be creative and just the hole where the arm was got tied. Oops. But whatever, asymmetrical stuff is in, right?

Also, I put “measured” in quotes because I don’t ever actually measure things when I craft. It’s always a rough guestimation. I eye ball things or use some part of my arm or finger to get a more precise size. It usually works out, and when it doesn’t I make it work anyways. Tim Gunn would be so proud of me…

I cut the patterned strips from the sleeves (the coolest part of the shirt, in my opinion) and used them as ties on the top of the pillow case. ImageOnce again, I hadn’t measured very well so the sides were uneven and I had to finagle something good.

I took a couple of breaks, walked around a little bit when frustration set in, and then I finally sat back down and got to it. Truth is, I was a little intimidated by a faulty snip of my scissors, but everything worked out fine. Just like I would tie two strips together, I cut holes in the pillow case and just threaded the patterned strip. I think it looks pretty cool.

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I used the front button of the shirt instead of tying it over with a strip of fabric.

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It blends in pretty well on our couch. It’s more comfortable to touch, feels cleaner, and I’m pretty impressed with my crafting abilities on this one.

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The pattern strip even matches the colors on the couch.

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