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Week One: No Wasted Time

Published Monday, March 19, 2012 by Chasing Neptune

Week One: Monday, March 12, 2012 to Sunday, March 18, 2012

Goal: Do not waste any time. This means that I must find a productive way to spend my downtime. (ie: Don’t spend time uselessly creeping around the internet or vegging out in front of the tv when I could be working on homework, writing, reading, spending time with my family, etc.)

Timing: I decided to do this challenge over my university’s spring break, so that I would have time to devote to whatever I thought would be a productive use of my time. On one hand, I think the timing helped me, as I did not put off anything that I wanted to do for me. On the other hand, without the academic pressure of a normal school week, I put off a lot of the course work I wanted to accomplish over spring break.

Accomplishments:

As you may or may not be able to see, my Spring Break To-Do List is almost entirely accomplished (save for the rather extensive course work section.) However, I did make it to all of my appointments, do most of the tasks for my sorority, and find time for my fun items.

Monday - I dominated Monday. I cleaned the entire downstairs of our house (4 rooms, 2 bathrooms), washed & unloaded dishes, took a walk with my mom and neighbor, worked, played my video game, and did several little tasks for my sorority. I ended the day feeling exhausted, but accomplished and proud of myself.

Tuesday – This was no Monday, but it was still successful. I finished some work, took another walk, went to an appointment, went shopping, and welcomed a new dog to the family. Overall, more personally successful than academically/Greek-ly.

Wednesday – At first I thought Wednesday was a failure, but I actually kind of rocked. I cleaned my own room and bathroom, worked, worked for my sorority, did homework for one of my courses, and worked on my sorority’s chapter website. The tasks were few, but time-consuming.

Thursday – On the whole, this day could only be productive in a subjective sense. I had a doctor’s appointment, went shopping, played with my new dog, and finally watched Dawn of the Dead (albeit the new one, not the original [which is probably better]). So, not the best use of time. However, I did get a tattoo, which will obviously last forever…and that’s a lot of time.

Friday – Personally, I did not waste any time Friday. I spent the day hanging out with my best friend, working a bit, and figuring out my schedule for Fall Semester. Though, I probably could have done more on the academic front.

Saturday – I finished my work for the weekend, took a walk, filled out an application, and spent time with my family. I felt semi-successful, but the end-of-spring-break-guilt began to sink in that night.

Sunday – I took a nap (waste of time or necessary relaxation?), visited my grandparents, played with my dogs, and did work for my sorority. This morning I failed epically, but tonight I made it up.

Overall Lesson: That which constitutes “wasted time” is entirely subjective. From an academic standpoint, I sucked ass. From a personal standpoint, I had a fantastic week. Overall, I am happy with my success. This challenge helped me to think about what I should do with those hours that I feel like wasting. In short, if I don’t feel like being “technically productive” (ie: writing papers and reading journal articles), I should get off my ass and do something for me. Like I said, these 20 weeks are all about being selfish, and I intend to indulge myself in whatever I want.

Week Two: Excessive complimenting or excessive music acquisition? I’ll have to decide when I wake up later this morning!

A Failure and a Promise

Published Monday, November 28, 2011 by Chasing Neptune

Most people who know me relatively well, including myself (as ridiculous as this all will sound), give me too much credit for my ambition. You see, I’m a talker. I have a million grand plans for myself. I know exactly who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. I have a plan for the present and am forming one for the future. I am tied down by obligation and a sense of duty, but I still find time for myself, and in that time, I watch Supernatural and listen to bands that I like to pretend people have never heard of and…make more plans.

In my defense, most of my plans are well thought-out and relatively realistic (other than the ones that involve marrying rockstars and NASCAR drivers). I want to go to graduate school and live in Jersey for a while with my best friend. I want to own one of my dream cars and spend my weekends at concerts and race tracks. I want to write a novel. You see? All obtainable, not easy, but obtainable. The only problem is that I can never actually accomplish a damn thing.

I have my plans and my lists: a bucket list, a list of fears to conquer, a list of music/books to contemplate, a list of things I want out of life. And I can talk the talk, oh boy can I talk it. I interviewed my way to several opportunities in high school. I made my big ideas sound so well planned and so damn easy that I’ve got a lot of people convinced that I have some sort of potential lurking inside of me, just oozing out of the seams of my soul. I know I sound like an arrogant prick right now, and I apologize…because in all honesty, I’m just someone who knows how to fake it.

I often tell my roommate that I feel out of place at comic book stores. I think that feeling is what started this rant to which I am subjecting you, my poor, defenseless reader. You see, whenever I walk into a comic book store – having only read two or three comics in my entire life – I feel like a fraud. Sure, I’ve learned how to browse the shelves, have a pointless loyalty to Dark Horse, and know which titles to peruse and purchase. However, I have no real knowledge of the comic book industry. And I get it – we all have to learn sometime; this is my chance to dive into that world if I so choose, to slowly assimilate myself into a culture which I have long misunderstood and now long to join. So I walk into the store, faking my confidence and waiting for the moment when the part of me who is presently clueless and longing to grasp the meaning behind the art finally combines with the future part of me who fully appreciates that art.

Another unsettling notion is my attempt to “write.” I am so full of shit that it’s terrifying. Since the second grade, when my “talent” for writing was first recognized, I have declared that all I want to do with my life is write books. Ha. Yeah, great idea, Kate. I am a Creative Writing major (like that’s going to do me any good in life), who has turned out no publishable work, save a handful of elementary-level poems. I have failed at National Novel Writing Month (miserably, I might add) for my second year. Sure, I had school work and extra-curricular obligations – but had I truly committed myself, I could have made the word count. I’m not saying my novel would have been anything more than a pile of dead carcasses and a crushed can of Mountain Dew, but it could have been 50,000 words long. Instead, I am sitting on a way-too-low word count, using my beautiful tongue to smooth over my indiscretion to everyone who believed in my big plan to “actually succeed this year.” And what am I doing now? Instead of writing my novel, I am writing a rant that no one will read and hypocritically ripping myself to shreds.

I must get some sort of sick satisfaction out of watching myself fail and then bitching instead of taking control of my life.

In simple terms, here is the problem: my present self has become bored with herself and is ready to take the next step in her character development. However, she is also extremely insecure: afraid of the world and her self. Moreover, like all humans, she finds comfort in what is known and expected and never has the guts to actually try to push herself.

Yes, I have begun referring to myself in the third person. Thus, it is logical to conclude that I am insane and can now rebuild.

From my feelings of inadequacy in situations in which I wished I belonged, as well as my recent failures to stick to any of my big goals, I have concocted…wait for it…another plan. Fantastic, right? Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

Long story short, the ticket stubs that once filled my cork board are now safely tucked away in a scrapbook, leaving me with a glaringly blank brown canvas. This is going to become my inspiration board, which I will fill with pictures and quotes and (of course) lists and plans. Also, I am going to make yet another potentially (aka most likely) ill-fated promise to myself.

Every single day, for 365 consecutive days, I am going to do something that inspires me. This activity may be diving into an interest that I’ve always felt unworthy to explore, tackling an item from my bucket list, confronting a fear, or fulfilling one of my long-lost promises to myself (yeah, I’ll totally work out for 30 minutes today). Hopefully someone out there will hold me truly accountable to this. We’ll see…

If I were being logical, I would declare this to begin on January 1, 2012 – start the new year with a new me. But I know me. If I put this off, I will never do it. Also, if the world ends on December 21st, I will fail by default, so I need to start now and stack the deck in my favor as much as possible. ;) All else aside, it’s in the midnight hour, and nothing logical ever happens in the midnight hour.

So here we go. I began this post Sunday, so lest I succumb to cheating already, I will not count it as my Monday item, even though I am technically finishing it today. And again, I cannot count my mission as beginning Sunday, because all this post has been is incessant ranting, useless self-bashing, and whole lot of ambitious talking.

And I think we all know how I feel about my talking.

Not a Normal Girl

Published Thursday, July 7, 2011 by Chasing Neptune

Tonight, I had an interesting conversation with someone who I have known basically my entire life. However, as he pointed out, we don’t really know each other very well at all. I don’t know what spurred his interest in knowing more about me. Well, I have a hunch, but I don’t want to get my hopes up. Let’s just say that his honesty surprised me. The conversation started in the typical way, “What have you been doing lately?” I answered, among other things, by saying that I’ve been playing video games. Why? I like to kill zombies. A few texts later, I received one of the greatest compliments ever, “You are not a normal girl.”

And no, I’m not being sarcastic. He really made my night. :)

Anyway, I’m not sure what exactly my purpose is in writing this post. Usually, I have a clear purpose. For example, my picky eater post was all about bitching out people who question my sense of taste. But this one, I don’t know. I guess I just felt like I needed to close a meaningful night with something thoughtful. After all, I’ve spent the rest of the evening making dinner plans with one of my best friends and discussing inspiration and creativity with two other great friends. Writing just felt…needed, you know?

Maybe that is one of the things that makes me “not normal.” I mean, being a “writer,” I know a lot of “writers,” and most of them feel better after writing things out. However, although the lifestyle of a writer seems spontaneous and creative and romantic, most people don’t feel comfortable turning their thoughts into words…let alone posting them in a blog for all the world to see. Then again, maybe I’m just arrogant and think that the world wants to hear all of my innermost musings. Psh.

De todos modos, in continuing with the spirit of the night, I think I will make a list of things that most people don’t know about me. Sure, I’ve already done a post of confessions, but I promise not to be redundant. So here it is written, ten things that make me “not normal,” ten little quirks of which I am proud, just for you. You know who you are.

  1. When I’m feeling really inspired, I like to write my ideas on my bathroom mirrors in dry erase marker. When I’m stressed, I write song lyrics. A couple of weeks ago, I did both in one night. My bathroom mirror still holds a four-step process for making a demon, and four lines from “Heaven Help Us” by My Chemical Romance.
  2. On my best days, I like to turn the surgical scars on my wrist into critters – stick bugs, butterflies, lizards, etc. This started when a friend doodled on me, and I just keep doing it when I’m extremely happy. I don’t know why.
  3. Similarly, I like to write bold words on my forearms or neck, but I’m seldom brave enough to do it. Every now and then, though, when I’m going to a concert or Chateau and feel really gutsy, I will.
  4. I really want to be one of those people that gets up at dawn and runs/jogs into the sunrise every morning…but I hate mornings and exercise.
  5. I refuse to drink/get drunk/party for two reasons. One, the people that I admire most in this world don’t drink. Two, I’m afraid that I would get caught up in the dark romanticism of self destruction.
  6. I have a world map on my bedroom wall. I have stars on everywhere that I have been and dots everywhere that I want to go.
  7. Even though I have had my braces off for almost five years, I still sleep in my retainers. When I speak with them in, I have a lisp. My roommates think it’s cute.
  8. I keep a journal, and in it I list positive things that happened to me, my mood at the beginning and end of the day, the color of the day, the song of the day, something that inspired me, something that I learned, something for which I am thankful, something I accomplished, and something I am anticipating. This began two years ago, when I would list three positive things that happened every day on my calendar. I still do that, too.
  9. I don’t dress like a “normal” girl my age. I refuse to wear sweatpants unless I’m going to bed or feel like total crap. I do not own a single pair of flip-flops. I think one of the best sensations in the world is the slight throbbing of the feet when I slip out of a pair of high heels, because if I spent an entire day in heels, it means the day was not wasted; I must have been doing something important.
  10. I have a huge sweet tooth. I hate to cook, but love to bake, especially from scratch. My favorite candy is Kit-Kats, although Reeses have been giving it a run for its money lately. And right now I really want to try the new Triple Chocolate Blizzard from Dairy Queen.

I am sure that there are people out there with very similar quirks and attitudes. However, I like to think that this combination, among other things, is unique to me. Call me a hipster or whatever other “non-conformist” label you kids use these days, but I love that I’m “not normal.” Also, I think that having pride in being my own person is important, and it is something that everyone should have. Everyone should be proud of who he/she is. Sorry, soapbox, give me one more, though…

I want to thank my true friends – the ones who want to know all these little quirks about me. Nowadays, there is so much drama and impersonal, technological bullshit that actual, personal connections are hard to come by. I am grateful for every one of you, because you make me feel special, you make me feel appreciated, and you make it so much easier for me to be me.

I guess that is the point of this post: Be proud of yourself and be thankful for those who make your pride possible.

Letters to those in my Inbox

Published Thursday, June 23, 2011 by Chasing Neptune

Dear Miss November,

You will never know how much I appreciate your enthusiasm and passion. I would not have survived senior year without my best friend. I am so thankful that we have managed to stay so close, even when everyone else fell off the map. You’re one of my favorite people.

Sincerely,

Miss Way

Dear Mr. June,

Thank you for your honesty. You have always been such a good friend to me, and I know that I can trust you with anything. I love you like a brother, and I hope that is enough.

Sincerely,

A Thankful Friend

Dear Miss April,

Thank you for listening to me and always understanding what I mean when I cannot find the words. You are more than my friend; you are my sister. I do not know where I would be without your encouragement. You are a constant source of inspiration.

Sincerely,

Miss Neptune

And now for the hard part…

Dear Mr. February,

I could never say this to your face, because I would be too afraid of your response. However, I am holding to the conviction that you will never read this, and that gives me a strange sense of comfort.

I just wanted to say that I am sorry. I am sorry if you feel as if I led you on last year. I am sorry for the abrupt nature of my text message, whose words lacked the compassion my voice could have held. You were gentle, genuine, and patient. I was nervous, frightened, and pressured – not by you, by everyone else – our friends, my mother, society. I didn’t mean not you. I meant not now. My last wounds were still infected, and I needed time to heal and become a better person before I could deserve the attention of a guy as sweet and thoughtful as you.

Part of me wants to try this again. I think that I could be better this time. I am no longer broken, and I have learned so much about myself in the past year or so. However, at the same time, I am afraid that if you are willing to take a chance on me, we’ll only be disappointed. Maybe I’ll get scared again. Maybe we won’t have any chemistry after all. Maybe you won’t like what you find.

I do not know what your intentions are in rekindling our friendship, and that makes writing this all the more frightening. For all I know, you are only talking to me again because I am basically the only one left in town. But a small part of me has begun to hope that maybe, just maybe, it is because you didn’t give up on me after all, at least, not completely.

I think that this is the most exposed I have ever felt when writing. I always try to protect myself. I figure that if I keep my true thoughts hidden behind a wall of confidence and sarcasm I won’t get hurt. This is one of my imperfections, one of many, but at least I can admit this to myself.

Again, I regret the way things ended, before they had even begun. I hope that if you do stumble upon this, and you do not have any romantic feelings towards me, our friendship does not become awkward and ruined. This catastrophe has just been on my mind lately, and I needed to flush everything out.

Sincerely,

The One Who Ran Away

The Picky Eater’s Guide to Idiots

Published Thursday, June 2, 2011 by Chasing Neptune

This blog post began as I was drifting off to sleep as an entry entitled, “5 Oddly Specific Things that Annoy Me.” However, after contemplating one of my irritations, I realized that it is aggravating enough to warrant its own complete entry. Hang on; let me kick off my heels so I don’t wobble on my soap box.

I am a Picky Eater. There are just certain foods that I absolutely cannot eat because of their taste, texture, smell, etc. Unfortunately, there is a
world full of ignorance out there that wholeheartedly believes that I am simply a spoiled little brat who pretends not to like certain foods for the mere purpose of gaining attention. Yeah, that’s my game. Anyway, after a lifetime of experience dealing with these hypocritical trolls, I have decided to compile a list of their most common assertions about my taste buds (because clearly my acquaintances are experts on my tongue) and how to refute these ignorant statements.

You haven’t even tried it.

Most of the time, I try a food before I pass judgment on it. However, there are certain instances when the food just looks and smells repulsive, to the point that it makes me slightly nauseous. Forgive me for not wanting to stick the innards of a raw shellfish into my mouth. I don’t try to shove it down your throat, so don’t try to force it down mine.

It may taste different in this form, with this other food, when cooked this way, etc.

Let’s say that you do not like mandarin oranges, nor do you like cottage cheese. However, your friend insists that you try the two mixed together, because apparently fruit and cottage cheese taste best when combined. I believe anyone with half a brain cell will realize that if you do not like mandarin oranges, nor do you like cottage cheese, you will probably not like the two flavors mixed together. Similarly, I do not like caramel. I do not like it in Snickers, on ice cream, on apples, with nuts, or plain. So what in the world makes you think that I would like it on a brownie? Of course, there are exceptions to this. But from a logical standpoint if A & B are gross in situations 1, 2, 3, & 4, they will be gross in situation 5. 

You’re just picky.

Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. Get your damn fork out of my face.

If your mom would have breast fed you, you wouldn’t be so picky.

Hmm. Well, considering I was an infant and had no choice in my primary means of gaining nourishment, I hardly see how you can hold me responsible for this. If you would like my home address so that you can lodge a formal complaint with my mother, I’m sure she would be delighted to hear that she raised me inappropriately and ruined my palate with her poor parenting. It’s a miracle I have survived this long under such negligent care.   

It’s because you’re an only child, your parents just spoiled you.

Wait, just a minute ago you were about to call Child Protective Services…This assertion is ridiculous for several reasons, but I will stick to food. No, my parents did not spoil me. They gave me certain foods for dinner, and I either ate them or I didn’t. As long as I tried everything once, my parents would trust my judgment when I said I didn’t like it, and then they wouldn’t force me to eat it again. We would just have green beans instead of broccoli. I still ate my veggies before dessert, just like every kid with siblings. The lack of additional procreation did not change our dinner routines.

Your taste buds change over time.

This is true, and I will concede this point to a certain extent. Taste buds do change and mature as humans grow older. However, I do not like tomatoes. I did not like them when I was four and tried one for the first time. I did not like them when I was nine and my grandmother forced one down my throat. I did not like them when I was seventeen and my ex-boyfriend held one in front of my face until I ate it in its entirety (In fact, I got sick that night. Coincidence?).  Therefore, I am going to be logical and say that if I have not liked tomatoes in the three times that I have been forced to eat them, I will probably never like them.

Why don’t you like it?

There is no answer to this question. I am not a tongue expert. I have no idea why the sensation of certain foods causes my taste buds to send, “Gross” messages to the nerves in my brain. It’s not like I choose to be disgusted by certain foods. Don’t you think that my life would be a hell of a lot easier if I did not have to order my sandwiches without tomatoes, onions, pickles, and peppers? Besides, you cannot tell me that there is not at least one food that you do not like like. Oh, you do not like carrots? Well why not? Yeah, that’s what I thought you dumb hypocrite.

You can’t even taste it.

Yes, I can, or I would eat it. Any other picky eater will back me up on this. When I peel a soggy slice of tomato off of a savory bacon cheeseburger, I can still taste the flavor of the repulsive vegetable in the juicy excretions that it leaves on the lettuce. I am sorry that the complexities and sensitivity of my palate offend you.

You’re the only person I’ve ever met that doesn’t like it.

Didn’t you watch Barney or Sesame Street? Everybody is different. Everybody is special and unique. Maybe your mother didn’t fondly remind you of your individuality, but that’s okay, I’m here now. Just as we all look different and act different, we all have different likes and dislikes. This is the same when it comes to food. Just because you and your family and every other person on the goddamn planet likes tomatoes, that doesn’t mean that I have to like them.

If all else fails, I have the ultimate strategy for ending the belligerent stream of ignorant assertions. In middle school, I simply adopted the practice of telling people that I am allergic to nuts, tomatoes (raw, that is, the processing of ketchup and salsa dilutes the poisonous toxin), etc. For some reason, people do not ask me why I am allergic to foods. Instead, they simply say “Oh, I’m so sorry,” as if a relative has died (and I am not exaggerating), and then they stop trying to force me to eat foods of which I do not like the taste.

Hopefully, my fellow super-tasters, these suggestions help you navigate the world of culinary ignorance. In turn, I hope that I have at least made my point and you “non-picky” people (or food whores, as I affectionately refer to you behind your backs) will think twice and try to “put yourself behind someone else’s plate” before you try to force someone to eat a food or badger them about the particulars of their taste.

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