All posts by Avens O'Brien

Avens O'Brien is a second-generation libertarian residing in Los Angeles, CA. She spends an enormous amount of her time working for a digital media startup, and the rest of her time on numerous pursuits of passion: she tends to participate in fun antics and adventures (which she then writes about) as well as pretending to be really smart about politics and philosophy. She's an agitator of ideas, a doer of things, and contributes regularly for DL Magazine and Thoughts on Liberty. You can find all her writing on AVENS.ME.

There & Back Again

My intention at the beginning of June was to post entries along each step of my journey across country.  Obviously I’ve failed at that.  But now I’m staying in one place for a little while, so I decided to catch up.

I left Los Angeles on June 3rd and arrived in Las Vegas five hours later.  I stayed at my favorite hotel, The Artisan, for ten days.  I did some gambling, some work, made a few new friends and realized that I really like Las Vegas – something I hadn’t been expecting.  There’s an energy to it that would definitely wear one down over time, but it’s one of the few places that hasn’t managed to bore me at all, despite the amount of time I spend there.

My last few days in Las Vegas I started writing poetry inspired by a new acquaintance, so I think I may start posting that again. Continue reading There & Back Again

The Birds

I have two small parrots in the passenger seat of my car for this trip across the country.  When I tell people that, they tend to look at me like I’m crazy.  Where will I keep them when I stop on the trip?  Aren’t they loud?  Won’t they fly away? Who the hell brings two parrots on a cross-country drive?

A bird-mama does.

I have given up custody of these dear children of mine once since I’ve had them.  A painful nine months where I simply could not have them due to my housing situation.  It was hard.  I didn’t see them the entire time because I didn’t want to feel guilty saying good-bye every time.  They were in good, capable hands.

Since I got them back – fourteen days has been my limit.  The longest I will tolerate being away from them.

When I was a kid, I wanted a pet, and my mother told me I was allergic to cats and dogs (not true, different story).  So we got me a pair of budgerigars.  Small birds, colloquially known as “parakeets”.  Two turned into four, and my interest in birds grew, so I slowly acquired more – bigger each time. Continue reading The Birds

Traveling

As friends & family know, as of June 1st, I’m officially On The Road.  I moved out of my beautiful three bedroom apartment in the Marina Peninsula just south of Venice Beach on the last day of May, and I’m… homeless.  It’s not a bad thing though.

There’s a two-door Ford Focus parked outside right now, filled with my needed belongings.  I’ve got four months paid on a 5×10 storage unit in West Los Angeles containing the hundreds of books, few pieces of furniture, and various non-essential knick-knacks I’ve acquired over the years.  Myself and my two parrots are traveling via car across the United States and back this summer. Continue reading Traveling

Evolving

The other night, I decided to listen to two of my favorite albums by Fiona Apple. She was one of my favorite musicians throughout my teenage years. Her turns of phrase, melodies and contralto composed a soundtrack to my development into adulthood – the arrogance of adolescence, the catapult of indignation, the soap-boxing, and that threatening but necessary lurch into realizing you fight for independence only to find you’re not quite sure what to do with it. Listening to the songs I loved tremendously – still do – brought back all those emotions and ideas that permeated my thought-processes from ages 12 to 20.

I’ve been keeping blogs for more than 10 years. Looking back, I want to hit myself sometimes, realizing my ideals, my half-formed concepts, my passions and my pains have been posted publicly in a place that doesn’t really have an erase-all option. Even if I went back in, deleting where I could, Google’s got some unforgiving caches, and in the arena of wish-I-hadn’t-said-that, I’m pretty screwed.

My generation, and the ones following us, have this to worry about. My parents might’ve had some wild ideas in the ’60s and ’70s, and a few regrettable Letters to the Editor might be located if one were to dig. The fact remains, however, that the witnesses to those developmental years of paranoia, self-importance, confusion, rationalization and opinion-forming are generally human, anecdotal, and aging. I don’t mean to pick on my parents specifically. Both of them may read this and send me indignant e-mails expressing their certainty that they never had bullshit theories or ideals that would come back to haunt them if they’d been armed with a blog address and an internet connection. I already know they did – they named my brothers after characters in epic sagas of idealistic political philosophy. It’s okay.

The fact remains that young people today are growing up in a world where, by the time they’ve hit college, they’ve already been exposed to political opinions and social ideals that may run contrary to their own. Chances are, through Facebook, message boards, Twitter, or a blog platform, they’ve already had a few things to say right back. They aren’t just reading the newspaper and crafting a carefully worded Letter To The Editor – which may or may not be published. They’re capable of quick-posting everything from “First comment!” to “[the writer] is an [inflammatory remark]!” to “the media is biased!” to “legalize weed” or, well, anything.

I’m not saying that isn’t awesome sometimes. There’s not much that is more satisfying than seeing an intelligent 16-year-old lay down the facts on some idiot online, by giving a well-reasoned reply to a inflammatory comment. But it’s still tough when I see my own commentary from age 15 regarding [insert pretty much ANY political issue here]. Though I’m happy to report I was generally using correct spelling, grammar and a thesaurus, I was also full of a whole lot of bullshit. Not to say I’m completely clean-and-sober of the bullshit now – I just try to cut out the logical fallacies, mass generalizations, and character attacks I used back then.

But, here I am, 23 years old, and thus far reasonably unscathed by the very public and sometimes obnoxious diatribes of my less humble youth. Although, it’d be interesting to run for President some day and see how much of it comes back to haunt me.

Over the past few years, this realization has made me a less active blogger. My 12- to 20-year-old self had a lot of dramatic ideas, especially philosophies of the religious, romantic, and political kind. Heck, I wrote a lot of bad poetry that is still lingering around on the Internet.

I’ve become convinced that no matter how thoughtful I attempt to be in my writing, I’m going to look back at it in five years and think, “Who gave that girl a blog?”

Despite my self-doubt, I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on me, and where I am in the world now.  If I were to compose a letter to my fourteen year old self (which I’m certain 14-year-old me would scoff at and ignore), it’d warn firstly that I will encounter love, loss, heartbreak and lies between then and now.  Secondly, that nothing can indicate exactly what my response to these events will be, just to maybe save my most passionate reactions for the paper-journal, not the digital one.  And thirdly, it’d remind me that I am small, the world is big, and the world revolves around this thing called the sun, not myself nor my generation.  There’s a lot of notes I’d leave myself.  And 10 years from now I’ll be telling my 23 year old self the same thing differently.

But here goes.