Category Archives: Character

Forgive Me

Yom Kippur is a Jewish Holy Day also known as the “Day of Atonement”, which occurs soon after Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). There is a lot of ritual and tradition surrounding the occasion, but my bastardized overview concept is about atonement for one’s sins. I once observed a Jewish friend of mine apologizing to various friends for hurt they had caused, to take responsibility for their actions and to move on from that in the new year. Despite not being a practicing Jew myself, I felt it was a good enough tradition to adopt, and try to recognize it every year with a “moment” of repentance.

I have no deity to confess or repent to, nor any arbitrary moral requirements besides those of basic ethics – to not harm others by my actions.

So this is for you. And my sins are those against others.  Continue reading Forgive Me

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

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.